Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool: ten-man Newcastle hold on for a point (video)

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Liverpool were desperate to take all three points and move to the top of the table, at least until Arsenal face Norwich later on Saturday. Yet it was Newcastle that took the lead, before the half-hour was up. Yohan Cabaye took the ball in midfield and flew up the right, getting his shot off from more than 30 yards out. Simon Mignolet stood rooted to the spot, waiting too long to prevent the ball from flying into the back of the net. But there was little the goalkeeper could’ve done to prevent Cabaye’s shot, as it swerved and twisted, moving to the inside and back out again, before landing in goal.

Newcastle looked like they just might manage to keep their lead; despite a shaky centerback pairing in the absence of captain Fabricio Coloccini, the defense was holding strong. Until the 40th minute, that is. A ball from Daniel Sturridge sent Luis Suarez free up the right, causing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to panic and bring the Uruguayan down inside the area. That earned the French defender a straight red for denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity, and brought Steven Gerrard to the spot. His low shot to Tim Krul’s right brought Liverpool level, and gave the Reds captain his 100th Premier League goal.

With Newcastle down to ten men with 50 minutes left to play, it looked as though Liverpool would be able to pull off a comeback win and retake the number one spot in the table. But again, the hosts surprised, retaking the lead through a set piece goal. The free kick floated into the Liverpool area, and Kolo Toure got a piece of it. But his headed flick fell right to Paul Dummett, who’d come around the edge of the Liverpool defenders and was able to side foot the ball into the back of the net. What a great show for the defender, whose yet to make his Premier League debut.

Of course, the tale would’ve been far more dramatic if Daniel Sturridge hadn’t come along to erase Newcastle’s lead. Liverpool’s second equalizer of the afternoon came through another great interplay between Sturridge and Suarez, with the latter flicking the ball over an onrushing Tim Krul for Sturridge to tap in with his head.

The visitors were determined to leave with all three points, with Sturridge very nearly putting in another just a minute later. Two minutes after that, Suarez hit the bar. Liverpool very nearly had their fairy tale ending when, five minutes into the four added on, Andre Marriner gave a free kick when Suarez went down under a foul by Mathieu Debuchy. Krul managed to save the shot, however, and Newcastle escaped with a point.

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy,Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Santon; Cabaye (Anita 78), Tiote, Sissoko (Dummett 45); Gouffran, Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 78), Remy

Subs not used: Elliot, Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Cisse

Goals: Cabaye 23′; Dummett 56′

Red Card: Yanga-Mbiwa 40′

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson (Sterling 83), Cissokho, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Alberto 63), Henderson, Gerrard, Moses, Suarez, Sturridge

Subs not used: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Flanagan, Allen

Goals: Gerrard 42′; Sturridge 72′

Workers to fix automation issues on Atlanta stadium’s roof

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ATLANTA (AP) Workers will begin the final construction phase of Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s tricky retractable roof on Tuesday, nine months after the facility opened.

The $1.5 billion stadium will be open in good weather for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United games. Automation problems kept the roof closed for most of the stadium’s first year.

Beginning Tuesday, the roof will remain in a locked open position for 10 days, including June 2, when Atlanta United plays the Philadelphia Union.

The management group of Arthur Blank, who owns the Falcons and Atlanta United, says the final commissioning work to complete the automation will last several weeks.

When work is completed, the roof is expected to close or open in as few as 12 minutes.

“The complexity of the design and our heavy events schedule has made it take longer than we had hoped, but great things take time and we’re happy to see the finish line,” Steve Cannon, CEO of Blank’s management group, said in a statement.

The stadium will be host to the 2019 Super Bowl. The NFL prefers for the roof to be open for the Super Bowl, weather permitting.

The roof has been closed for most major events at the new stadium, including the Southeastern Conference championship game, Peach Bowl and College Football Playoff national championship game.

For the Falcons’ first season in their new home, the roof was open only for the first home regular-season game against Green Bay.

Falcons CEO Rich McKay said on Jan. 24 the plan was to have more games played with the roof “fully operational.”

“Fully operational means you will see us go to much more of an open configuration as we designed at the beginning,” McKay said. “When it’s ready to go, we’ll be open depending on weather.”

Ongoing work on the roof delayed the 2017 opening of the stadium by about a month. Atlanta United used Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium as its temporary home for the inaugural season in 2017 before moving to the new stadium.

The stadium will host the men’s NCAA Final Four in 2020.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

MLS roundup: Dynamo top NYCFC, Toronto suffers seventh defeat

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Three matches took over the slate of Major League Soccer’s Friday night fixture list, and it was a rough evening for two of the Eastern Conference’s best clubs.

Here’s a look back at the night’s matches.


Toronto FC 0-1 FC Dallas

Last season’s MLS Cup winners are in some real danger right now, with Greg Vanney’s side losing their seventh match of the year on Friday. To put that into context, TFC lost five regular season matches a season ago, en route to their first MLS title. Despite a dominating effort from the host, including nine shots on target (23 shots overall), Sebastian Giovinco and TFC simply couldn’t break past Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.

In all, Gonzalez made nine saves on the night. Check out a few of them below.

Houston Dynamo 3-1 New York City FC

David Villa made the Dynamo pay for an early miscommunication in clearing from the back, but after that, the home side simply dominated. The NYCFC back line looked out of sorts on a number of occasions, including the first goal allowed on an Alejandro Fuenmayor header at the far post. The Dynamo are now unbeaten in their last four matches.

LA Galaxy 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes

In reality, this was probably an unfair result considering the way the two sides have been playing as of late. Neither side managed a shot on target until the 82nd minute, however, the Galaxy nicked a goal late through Romain Alessandrini.

The Quakes had reason to be furious though in the first half when Valeri Qazaishvili’s volley from inside the Galaxy penalty area hit the arm of Emrah Klimenta. No penalty decision was made though, and it was likely the only legitimate chance of the match.

Chicharito says Mexican team “always feels welcome” in the United States

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Mexico will take on Wales on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA as they warm up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Playing in the United States is nothing new for the USMNT’s southern neighbors, and it doesn’t phase them. In fact, they love it.

Star striker Chicharito told reporters that he and the rest of the squad is more than happy playing north of the border, because according to him, apart from a pair of venues, they can’t even tell they’re on the road.

“We always feel welcome here,” Chicharito said. “It’s like our second country, if we can say that, apart from Columbus [Ohio] and apart from the stadium in Miami when we played Colombia…those two stadiums, that’s the only time I’ve felt that we were the away team.”

Chicharito knows that the high population of his countrymen and women in the United States helps the Mexican team feel close to home when they play over the border. He’s all for the melting pot of the US.

“We feel at home [in the United States],” Chicharito said. “We have plenty of Mexicans here, so I don’t know what else to tell you, we feel welcome, we feel glad, happy to be in touch with those people here. They are sacrificing a lot of things, and they are all enjoying their lives that they decide to live in the USA…it’s great. It’s great when you come to another country and you feel like you are home. You see all the stadium green, shouting and screaming your names, screaming your goals, so yeah, it’s great.”

Mexico will play Wales on Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET, and will return home to take on Scotland at Azteca on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

England international Delph expecting child in middle of World Cup

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England international Fabian Delph could face quite the dilemma if England advances past the group stage of the World Cup.

Delph’s wife Natalie is expecting the couple’s third child on June 30, which is two days after their pivotal group stage match against Belgium, and two days before the squad would take the field July 1 for its Round of 16 game should they win Group G. If they finish second in the group, they would play their Round of 16 game on July 3.

When asked what his plans are, Delph joked that his wife would manage on her own. “She’s tough, she’s a Yorkshire lass so she’ll deal with it,” Delph said with a smile.

He then coughed up the truth: they’re not quite sure what the plan is.

“We’re not 100% certain, with a game on the 28th there might be an opportunity to fly back and then get back fast,” he said. “[England manager] Gareth [Southgate] has been fantastic. There’s nothing more important than family to me – family always comes first and always will.”

There’s another dilemma that Southgate must navigate involving Delph. The 28-year-old is a natural winger, but played wing-back in Pep Guardiola‘s title-winning system for much of the year and saw a massive uptick in form in the new role, playing in place of the injured Benjamin Mendy. Southgate must decide where he wants to deploy Delph – if at all – and if he wishes to fit his formation and tactics to mold Delph’s season under Guardiola.