MLS Preview: New England Revolution vs. Houston Dynamo

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Ah, the stretch run.  Five matches to go, and the playoffs are anybody’s for the taking. This is what you live for, right?

Ok fine, the playoffs are what you live for.  But you have to get there first.

For Houston and New England, they’ve secured a pole position, now they have to hold onto it. These final games are no longer about amassing as many points as possible – it’s now about getting more points than those below you (thanks, John).

The results couldn’t get more mind-boggling in New England right now. Can anybody figure out where the Revs fit? Right in the middle seems to work.  In their last 8 matches, they lost 1-0 at home to a bad team, got trounced 3-0, won 2-0, stomped 5-1, drew 1-1, lost 4-2 and 3-2, and won 2-1.

What?

Unfortunately there’s more bad than good in that list, and with their fifth and final playoff spot dangling by a hair, they can’t afford any more slip-ups.  They know it, too.

“We all said that it’s a must-win game” said Revolution teen Diego Fagundez after their win over D.C. United last week. “We’re in the playoffs right now. This game was part of our playoff games, so it was very important.”  Those playoffs are starting now for the Revolution, and a few others as well.

The Houston Dynamo are in the same boat.  They have a four-point cushion above the Line of Death, but it’s still precarious enough that each result is vastly important.  They’ve taken that to heart, responding well from a rough patch by winning their last three matches.  The Dynamo have been streaky all season, but just like last year they’re arranging the streaks to finish strong.

“I think the way we responded says a lot about this team,” Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “It’s something we hadn’t done earlier and the middle part of this season and it’s something we’re doing now.”

They’ve carried their success over to the CONCACAF Champions League as well, defeating W Connection FC 2-0 midweek.

Juan Aguedelo and Brad Davis are out for their respective teams according to Goal.com, but for this late in the season, both squads are outstandingly fit.

The previous few matches between these two sides have been barnburners, with goals, red cards, goals, drama, upsets, oh and goals.  So this should be a fun watch from Gillette, with Houston looking for revenge from earlier in the year.

When so much is on the line, the play is always amped to a new level.  Consider this the beginning of the playoffs.

Heartbroken Karius issues apology to Liverpool

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Liverpool’s disappointing result in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final can be chalked up to many factors, but all anyone will ever remember is Loris Karius‘ performance… and the goalkeeper knows it.

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real Madrid to third straight UCL title ]

Karius issued this series of tweets on Sunday, declaring his disappointment from the team’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, as well as an apology to the supporters and his entire club.

Of the two errors Karius made, the Real Madrid equalizer from Karim Benzema was certainly the more glaring.

After receiving the ball on a routine grab, Karius rushed his distribution from goal while Benzema read the play perfectly and stepped in front of the throw to get a foot on the ball.

The ball then deflected into the back of the Liverpool net, and changed the complexion of the match drastically.

While Karius’ mistakes cannot, and won’t, go unnoticed, the Reds were still reeling from Mohamed Salah‘s gruesome shoulder injury in the first half — which leaves the Egypt international’s availability uncertain for the summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Rotherham gains promotion to Championship

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After one season down in League One, the Millers are returning to the Sky Bet Championship in 2018/19.

[ MORE: Tammy Abraham rescues England in Toulon opener ]

Rotherham United defeated Shrewsbury Town, 2-1, in extra time on Sunday at Wembley Stadium to reach the Championship.

Regulation wasn’t enough to decide the League One playoff final, but Richard Wood brace ensured his side, Rotherham, would reach the English second division ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Wood did superbly to volley home his squad’s second goal in the first half of extra time, after a brilliant Joe Newell set piece curled into the path of the defender.

Shrewsbury equalized around the hour mark when Alex Rodman calmly placed the ball beyond goalkeeper Marek Rodak from close ranger after a perfectly-executed set piece that caught the Millers off guard.

The first half went largely in favor Rotherham though, having taken the lead in the 32nd minute through Wood’s header to the bottom left corner.

The lead should have been larger though heading into halftime, but David Ball’s early penalty kick was saved by Shrews keeper Dean Henderson in the ninth minute to keep the match scoreless at the time.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man United plans Joe Hart move and more

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Pro Soccer Talk takes a glance at some of the biggest transfer rumors on Sunday…

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real to third straight UCL title ]


We start in Manchester, where the Red Devils are reportedly interested in raiding their cross-town rivals for a back-up goalkeeper.

Man United is said to have interest in Manchester City’s Joe Hart, who missed out on being called up to England for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hart has spent the last two seasons on loan from the Citizens, spending 2016/17 in Serie A with Torino and this past season with West Ham United.


Sticking with United, the Red Devils are preparing a new contract for Anthony Martial, according to the Sun.

Martial has become a regular for United since joining from Monaco in 2015, scoring 36 goals in all competitions.


Finally, Danny Rose could be making a Merseyside move if Everton has it their way.

The Toffees are eyeing up the Tottenham left back, although Manchester United has also expressed its interest in the England international.

Rose missed a significant portion of the 2017/18 season due to a knee injury, and the 27-year-old could be on the move this summer despite spending the last 11 seasons in London with Spurs.

Tammy Abraham rescues England in Toulon opener

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It took a late finish to nab three points on Sunday, but England’s title defence at the Toulon Tournament is off an running.

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real Madrid past Liverpool ]

The Three Lions’ Under-21 squad picked up a 2-1 win in their Group A opener against China, after having fallen behind to the Asian nation inside the opening half hour.

England, winners of the last two editions of the competition, conceded in the 20th minute to Yan Dinghao, and went into the halftime break behind 1-0.

Manager Paul Simpson and his side came out strong in the second stanza, though, and found an equalizer five minutes in through Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry‘s header.

It seemed as though England would be destined for a point, however, Tammy Abraham‘s tap-in finish in the 85th minute ensured a crucial victory to open the tournament for the Three Lions.

England will round out Group A with matches against Mexico and Qatar on March 28 and June 1, respectively.

At the Toulon Tournament, the three group winners automatically reach the semifinals, while the best second-place nation also receives a bid into the final four.