Cardiff City 1-0 West Bromwich Albion: Whittingham’s header the difference (video)

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In a game that will never be consider a classic in treacherous conditions at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff held on for a much-needed 1-0 win against struggling West Brom.

The game-winner came off the head of Peter Whittingham in the 65th minute as he bravely nodded home Craig Noone’s cross to give the Bluebirds just their fourth win of the season.

West Brom tried to get back into the game but found Cardiff’s ‘keeper David Marshall in inspired form as he stopped superbly on several occasions late on. With the massive three points the Bluebirds rise to 14th but the Baggies are now just two points and two places above the relegation zone in 16th.

Cardiff started the brighter of the two sides as the home side forced the issue early but whipping in a barrage of crosses to test the Baggies defense.

Both sides tried to push forward in the Welsh capital and West Brom nearly went ahead in bizarre fashion, as Cardiff defender Andrew Taylor almost comically put the ball past his own ‘keeper Marshall. His attempted block cannoned off his leg and went towards Cardiff’s goal but Marshall was alert to quell the danger.

In the 36th minute West Brom swung in a set piece and just as Billy Jones looked to be heading the Baggies ahead, Steven Caulker flicked the ball away superbly at the back post.

In truth, this wasn’t a classic game as both teams have been struggling and are in poor form and you could tell that from the lack of inventive play going forward in a goalless first half.

After the break Gareth McAuley had his effort cleared off the line by Gary Medel as the away side pushed forward to attack for the first time period in the match.

That near miss sparked Cardiff into life and Noone’s cross found Whittingham in the box who headed home bravely to put the Bluebirds 1-0 up in the pouring rain in South Wales. The Baggies pushed forward and Youssuf Mulumbu’s strike from distance deflected off Taylor and whizzed just wide of Cardiff’s left hand post and out for a corner.

Two penalty shouts for either side was then turned down as Peter Odemwingie was upended by Jones and then Shane Long was taken out by Ben Turner, both sides will feel aggrieved. West Brom forced the issue late on as they threw the kitchen sink at Cardiff to try and grab a point at the Cardiff City Stadium.

West Brom thought they’d equalized late on but Marshall made a terrific sprawling save to deny Long’s header across goal with a fantastic stop.

That save proved pivotal as Cardiff hung on for a fantastic win.

LINEUPS

Cardiff:
Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Turner, Caulker, Taylor; Whittingham, Medel (Gunnarsson, 87), Mutch, Noone, Odemwingie (Kim, 90); Campbell (Maynard, 82)

Goal: Whittingham (65)

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob (Sinclair, 74), Amalfitano (Berahino, 73), Sessegnon, Brunt, Long (Vydra, 88)

U.S. Open Cup: Goals a-plenty as Atlanta, Minnesota advance

Frank de Boer justin Meram Atlanta United
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The first two quarterfinal berths in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were earned Tuesday with 3-2 away wins.

Columbus Crew 2-3 Atlanta United

A pair of goals from Brandon Vazquez helped Atlanta United overcome both the Columbus Crew and a 48-minute weather delay.

Miles Robinson also scored for Atlanta, while David Accam bagged a goal for the hosts.

A 71st minute Brad Guzan own goal set up a nervy final 20 minutes for the Five Stripes, but they navigated the obstacles and emerged into the quarterfinals

Atlanta will play the winner of FC Cincinnati and Saint Louis FC.

Houston Dynamo 2-3 Minnesota United

The Houston Dynamo thought they were cruising to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, and instead just waltzed right out of the tournament.

Up 2-0 at home and at halftime, the Dynamo conceded three times in the final 24 minutes to bow out of the USOC.

The victor, who deserves full marks, is Minnesota United. Darwin Quintero struck twice and Mason Toye scored in the 89th minute as the Loons advanced to play the winner of New Mexico United and FC Dallas. No Texas Derby in the cup this year.

Berhalter names first USMNT Starting XI for Gold Cup

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Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Michael Bradley all start as the United States men’s national team will look a bit more like its best for Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener against Guyana.

The 10 p.m. ET kickoff in Minnesota will see the Yanks without injured Tyler Adams, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, and Sebastian Lletget, but Jozy Altidore has been relegated to the bench — perhaps not fully fit — behind Gyasi Zardes.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores, stats, lineups ]

The back line will see Nick Lima, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, and Tim Ream, while Bradley, McKennie work atop them.

Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd will be out wide, with Christian Pulisic central underneath Zardes.

The substitutes are Sean Johnson, Tyler Miller, Omar Gonzalez, Wil Trapp, Jordan Morris, Reggie Cannon, Cristian Roldan, Daniel Lovitz, Jozy Altidore, Jonathan Lewis, Matt Miazga, Djordje Mihailovic.

[ MORE: Mata staying with Man Utd ]

Chinese club reportedly offers $15M contract to Newcastle’s Benitez

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It would be peak Newcastle United of recent seasons to lose their coach to a squabble over the sort of players the manager wants to sign.

Rafa Benitez‘s contract expires at the end of this month, and he makes decent money at St. James’ Park, but his $6 million pales in comparison the money being offered by a Chinese Super League club.

[ MORE: Mata staying with Man Utd ]

Benitez wants to stay at Newcastle, but his concerns aren’t about his wages as much as being allowed to build a contender under stingy owner Mike Ashley. With the team possibly getting a takeover, Benitez is not guaranteed the chance to improve his roster. Not to mention Newcastle operates under club-wide restrictions.

Sky Sports says, “the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Valencia boss wants to be given the green light to sign players over the age of 26, which has been against club policy in previous years.”

Sky Sports reports that Benitez is mulling a $15 million offer from Dalian Yifang, the CSL team currently sitting in 11th place under former South Korea national team manager Kang-hee Choi.

Dalian Yifang currently employs transfer rumor mainstay Yannick Carrasco, as well as Marek Hamsik and young Ghanaian striker Emmanuel Boateng.

If Newcastle allows Benitez to leave and the takeover is not completed, it would be the most embarrassing thing for the club since Joe Kinnear couldn’t pronounce half of his players’ names. That’s saying something.

Gold Cup LIVE – USMNT meets Guyana after Panama, T&T tangle

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Gregg Berhalter’s shaky USMNT welcomes several of its star players into the fold when it kicks off its 2019 Gold Cup campaign against Guyana on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

The match comes 2.5 hours after one between the two sides which conspired to keep the Yanks out of the 2018 World Cup.

While the USMNT played the biggest role in that monumental failure, Trinidad and Tobago is the team that beat the Yanks in Couva on the same night that Panama scored a ghost goal to push the U.S. into fifth in the Hex.

Guyana has lost to Haiti, Bermuda, and French Guiana in the last eight months, and it would be stunning if the U.S. didn’t post a generous amount of goals on the scoreboard even after miserable efforts against Jamaica’s B team and Venezuela.

Panama and T&T, on the other hand, should be a beauty, with Los Canaleros getting a bit older in the tooth and the Soca Warriors maturing a bit as a side.

Panama and T&T kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the USMNT expected to kickoff with Guyana a little after 10 p.m.