Watch Live: Swansea vs. Sunderland (lineups and discuss)

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It may be early in the season, but Sunderland are already fighting a relegation battle and absolutely must get a result at Liberty Stadium today (10 am ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra). Swansea, for their part, are above the drop zone thanks to a combination of goal difference and goals scored.

It’s the first match in charge of Sunderland for Gus Poyet, and boy does he have a tough task on his hands. The Black Cats have just one point this season, earned against Southampton, and have lost their last five straight. After sacking Paolo Di Canio, Sunderland very nearly caused a huge upset against Manchester United last time out, with Craig Gardner scoring the opener within five minutes. But we all know the sad ending to the tale: Sunderland’s leaky defense was ripped apart by Adnan Januzaj, and now they can boast of having let in 16 goals in seven games. But with the return of Steven Fletcher today, they may at least have a chance to put a goal or two in the back of the net. That means Jozy Altidore drops to the bench for the visit to Wales.

The Swans, meanwhile, really need to get their act together, starting with getting three points at home, a feat they haven’t accomplished since March. It’ll be Michu, of course, that Swansea will look to in order to get the attack flowing, but they’ll also be hoping Wilfried Bony can add to his league scoring tally. The hosts welcome back Jonathan de Guzman and Leon Britton, with Jose Canas and Jonjo Shelvey making way.

Swansea starting XI: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Amat, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Michu, Dyer, Routledge, Bony

Subs: Tremmel, Taylor, Tiendalli, Canas, Shelvey, Pozuelo, Vazquez

Sunderland starting XI: Westwood, Celustka, Bardsley, O’Shea, Roberge, Cattermole, Johnson, Larsson, Gardner, Giaccherini, Fletcher

Subs: Dossena, Colback, Vaughan, Altidore, Cuellar, Borini, Mannone

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

Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images
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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.