Wild half at SJP comes to end as Martin Atkinson gives two red cards to Stoke in two minutes

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Stoke City’s found the dark cloud behind their silver lining, as their nightmare away season may be continuing at St. James Park.

Martin Atkinson has handed out two red cards in two minutes amongst a bevy of questionable late first half decisions, allowing Newcastle United to draw level with the visitors before half.

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Twenty-five year-old Oussama Assaidi had put Stoke up after 29 minutes with a brilliant dash inward from the left flank, sending an absolute laser past a flying Tim Krul, but the Morrocan-supplied joy was short-lived for the visitors.

Soon after, Glenn Whelan picked up a yellow card for a sloppy challenge on Moussa Sissoko in the 33rd minute and it wasn’t more than a handful of minutes more before Whelan was sent off. The decision was questionable, as Whelan’s tap to the right leg of Yohan Cabaye was made to look horrific by the French midfielder.

Whelan was off and it was just the beginning of the Potters’ frustration. A member of the coaching staff was sent to the stands as well for his protests.

Just moments later, a second red came Stoke’s way thanks to a rough challenge on last man Loic Remy in the box. Marc Wilson was off and the Potters were down to 10-men.

But Remy missed the kick! A short run-up was not the recipe for success as Thomas Sorensen — no stranger to Northeast drama — stopped the hot Frenchman.

Controversy continued to follow Atkinson on Newcastle’s equalizer. A lightning-quick Stoke counter seemed to have been stopped by a Mike Williamson’s handball outside the box, but there was no whistle. Newcastle marched down the field and Remy would not be denied a second time.

And that’s how we’re at halftime… 1-1 with Newcastle leading in players, 11-9.

Wild stuff.

Stoke is winless in its last six away matches and has produced just two points.

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

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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.