Stoke City 1-1 Swansea City: Potters deny late chances to preserve point (video)

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Chico Flores’s 52nd minute header allowed Swansea City to claim their second straight result under player-coach Garry Monk, the 1-1 result at Stoke City lifting the team into the Premier League’s top half. The draw also Stoke’s unbeaten run to three games, with a first half goal from Peter Crouch allowing the Potters to move three points clear of the drop.

Crouch opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he put home the rebound of a Peter Odemwingie shot sent off Asmir Begovivc’s right upright. Swansea, controlling possession throughout, equalized through Flores after play following an early second half corner. Close calls late from Wilfried Bony and Jonathan De Guzman were turned away by Ryan Shawcross and Begovic, leaving the teams on even footing come full-time.

The result gives Swansea four points from two games after Michael Laudrup’s departure, moving last year’s League Cup winners 10th in the Premier League. Stoke, having claimed five points in their last three games, sit 14th.

Swansea’s control of possession left the home side seeking their chances in transition, with the Potters’ luck coming good in the 17th minute. After Charlie Adam forced his way through the Swans half, Crouch was able to find  Odemwingie in the right of the penalty area. The Nigerian’s far post shot nailed Michel Vorm’s right upright before careening back to Crouch, who put the rebound off a Stoke defender and into Swansea’s goal.

A chippy first half that left Swans without a shot on target reached half-time with that one-goal margin, but only after players had gone face-to-face multiple times as Swansea attempted to deal with Stoke’s physical play. The most prominent incident came in the 36th minute, with Ashley Williams yellow carded after taking exception to how Adam was defending Nathan Dyer. Having kicked at Dyer from behind twice in a matter of seconds, the Stoke midfielder also went into the book.

Early in the second half, Swansea’s monopoly of possession finally paid off. On the second ball in off a corner kick, Pablo Hernández had what appeared to be a far post shot flicked on by Flores, the Swans defender beating Begovic inside the far post from seven yards out.

Swans continued to control the ball through the remainder of the match, coming close to a winner in the 77th minute when Dyer found Bony alone in front of goal. A moment’s hesitation from the Ivorian allowed Begovic to come out and get a hand on the shot, slowing the chance down enough for Shawcross to clear it off the line.

In the 86th minute, a swerving chance from long distance by De Guzman forced Begovic into a leaping save on what turned out to be the match’s final shot on goal. Swans finished the match with 64 percent possession and a 13-7 edge in shots, but Stoke would put four tries on target to Swansea’s three.

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Whelan (Guidetti 68′), Adam; Odemwingie, Walters (N’Zonzi 56′), Arnautovic (Assaidi 56′); Crouch

Goals: Crouch (17′)

Swansea City: Vorm; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies; Cañas, Britton (Amat 90′); Dyer (Emnes 82′), Hernández (De Guzman 75′), Routledge; Bony

Goals: Chico (51′)

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.