Stuart Holden on his first Sheffield Wednesday appearance

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Stuart Holden was held out of Sheffield Wednesday’s lineup Monday, the victim of that ridiculously jammed-up schedule in the physically demanding English second tier.

The Bolton man was signed on a month-long loan to Sheffield Wednesday late last week, and the Owls got Holden right into their lineup. The U.S. international worked his way through 62 minutes Saturday in a huge win over local rival Barnsley.

Holden was stationed as central midfielder, assigned to play slightly higher than his central partner in the Owls’ 4-4-2.

He says he came through wonderfully, physically. Trouble was, the Owls of Sheffield Wednesday had just one full day of rest before their next match, Monday’s clash with Bristol City. The contest finished in a 1-1 draw; Holden was not named to the squad, which wasn’t too surprising.

Here’s what Holden said on Soccer Today (disclosure: it’s a radio show I co-host along with Marc Stein) on Sunday, just hours after making his first appearance for Wednesday. Holden had played a scattering of minutes for Bolton since returning from that extended injury absence six weeks ago but was ecstatic getting into the action for Wednesday, which is desperate to stave off relegation into England’s third tier.

Holden’s first contest for his new (temporary) club wasn’t just any old night, either, but a derby match for Sheffield Wednesday.

I feel great today. Nothing is like playing in a local derby game, running around, making a few challenges, getting up and down the pitch. To be able to come through that, that feeling of doing that, it makes you feel like a footballer again, that you really are back and that everything is great.

Holden then hinted that perhaps it wasn’t prudent to follow up so quickly, but noted that he was willing and certainly able if management asked:

We’ve spoken before, the gaffer here. We sat down and we spoke to me and said I need to be honest with him, to let him know how I’m feeling through this process, for it to be more of a give and take. Obviously, I don’t know that playing two games over three days is the best thing … but I certainly feel like I could do it. It’s going to be a decision that’s up to the manager.

Sheffield Wednesday takes the field again on Saturday, at home against Blackburn.

The full Holden interview is here, starting at about the 14-minute mark of the hour-long show.

MLS Three Things: RBNY beats Atlanta, is a special club right now

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At this point, Jesse Marsch could take the USMNT job, Tyler Adams could bolt for the Bundesliga, and we’d still have to select the New York Red Bulls to finish with a home playoff game.

[ MORE: Willian’s shot at Conte ]

That’s how well run RBNY is these days, which is to take nothing away from their coach and 19-year-old star, but considering they navigated a solid CONCACAF Champions League run en route to this start… well…. wow.

On a night when Luis Robles’ ironman streak ended, Kaku recorded two assists, and Ezequiel Barco bagged his second goal in three matches, they don’t even meet the requirements of our three things.

Form giants deliver more goals

Marsch’s men have been shutout once this season, and most multiple goals in four-consecutive wins. Three of those four wins have come on the road, at LA, Colorado, and now Atlanta.

RBNY has the best points-per-game in Major League Soccer, has scored the joint-most goals despite playing in the second-fewest games, and is allowing barely more than a goal-a-game.

Bet against ’em. We dare ya.

BWP delivers the goods

RBNY’s 33-year-old English star scored twice and won a penalty that Daniel Royer converted as he continued his assault on all future Red Bulls’ hopes of becoming the club’s leading scorer.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has almost 50 more goals than his nearest competitor, Juan Pablo Angel, and he makes headers look like child’s play.

Victory comes with a price

Kemar Lawrence was lost with a scary-looking face-plant on a clearance, and needed to be stretchered off the pitch. Hopefully it’s not long-term for the Jamaican back.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.