Toronto FC latest MLS club burned by refereeing blunder

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Toronto FC, by virtue of defense so bad that Paolo Maldini (one of the best of all time) surely felt a disturbance in The Force and didn’t understand why, deserved to lose. Or, at very least, the Reds didn’t deserve to win Saturday.

But let’s also be very clear about this: Toronto FC was the victim of some egregiously poor refereeing by Allen Chapman, who was timid about making the necessary choices that could have easily changed this result.

SKC defender Aurelien Collin (pictured) was ever so lucky to be on the field by halftime. Already carrying a yellow card, Collin put an elbow into Alvaro Rey’s face near the penalty area. It should have been a second yellow, but Chapman barely had a word to say to the SKC center back, who has about a half-dozen of these matches each year, where he pretty much loses control and very nearly loses his mind.

But there was plenty more …

In the 73rd minute, Kansas City’s Peterson Joseph kicked Toronto’s Bobby Convey inside the penalty area. Perhaps there was enough doubt in this one for Chapman to keep the whistle quiet and not award a penalty kick, but …

Minutes later, as TFC pressed for the equalizer in an eventual 2-1 loss, there was no doubt as Collin intentionally and cynically shoved Justin Braun to the ground as the Toronto striker eyeballed a header near goal. Collin wasn’t looking at the ball nor making any effort for the ball. There was a clear goal scoring opportunity cynically denied … only Chapman and his assistants inexplicably chose to pretend that nothing happened.

(MORE: TFC sets defense back years on these two goals)

Two things to note:

Next time SKC manager Peter Vermes complains about an officiating decision that costs his team points – and the fiery Vermes will complain long and hard about pretty much every call that doesn’t go his team’s way – someone needs to remind him of this one. His team took three points when on another day, with a referee more in charge and less afraid to render a big decision, could have brought a completely different result.

And about those points: MLS matches every week, at such a critical time, are turning on refereeing mistakes. Bad ones, too … not just borderline toughies that could really go either way. Playoff spots (and by attachment, jobs) are at stake.

Major League Soccer refereeing is better this year than two or three years back, for sure. And yet there is clearly, undeniably, a long, long way to go.

Below is the elbow incident, followed by the Braun take-down:

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Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea in for Pjanic; Lozano to Juventus?

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Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.

[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]


Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.

Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo


Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.

Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.

PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.


Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.

Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.


Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.

Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.

Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.

RB Leipzig names Julian Nagelsmann future manager

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Julian Nagelsmann won’t take over at his new club until the 2019/20 season, but Red Bull Leipzig has put a lot of confidence in one of the youngest managers in global football.

[ MORE: Ronaldo’s tally gives Portugal win over Morocco ]

On Thursday, the Bundesliga side announced the appointment of the Hoffenheim coach, who will continue in his current capacity for the upcoming 2018/19 German campaign.

Nagelsmann signs on with Leipzig until the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.

France eliminates Peru en route to knockout phase

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Peru’s loss was France’s gain on Thursday, as Les Bleus reached the Round of 16 with one match remaining in Group C play.

The French knocked off Peru, 1-0, as Didier Deschamps and his side eliminated their South American foe from the 2018 World Cup.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Both Denmark and Australia — who drew 1-1 earlier on Thursday — are still alive in their efforts of advancing to the knockout rounds.

He looked to be one of the best players on the pitch once again, and Kylian Mbappe rightfully scored a tap in to give France the lead beyond the half-hour mark following a deflected cross from Olivier Giroud.

Paul Pogba was at the center of the goal as well, after nicking the ball away from Peru’s Paolo Guerrero inside the South American side’s half of the field.

Gallese made his first crucial stop in the 16th minute, when a link-up between Giroud and Antoine Griezmann forced a kick save from the Peru goalkeeper.

The Peruvians began to use their pace as the first half wore on, and Guerrero nearly scored his first goal of the tournament in the 31st minute, but Hugo Lloris was positioned well to make a save.

Paul Pogba came right back the other way just two minutes later though, and played a brilliant lofted ball into Mbappe, who couldn’t flick it past Gallese.

The Peruvians didn’t waste any time in the second stanza, and nearly came out to a flying start as Pedro Aquino struck woodwork with a brilliant outside-the-foot technique from distance.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

France closes out Group C play with a meeting against Denmark, while Peru hopes to spoil Australia’s chances of qualifying for the knockout phase.

Video: Mbappe taps home to give France first blood

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The match is really opening up now, and France has begun to assert itself with an opener just beyond the half-hour mark.

[ MORE: Denmark, Australia draw, leaving Group C wide open ]

Kylian Mbappe has given Les Bleus a 1-0 lead over Peru after a deflected Olivier Giroud cross found the Monaco attacker just in front of goal for a tap-in finish.

The sequence began after Paul Pogba dispossessed Peru deep in their own half, before dishing the ball off to Giroud.

The goal for Mbappe is his first at a World Cup, as the 19-year-old continues to impress for both club and country.