New England gets second win, hands Houston 2-0 defeat in Foxborough (video)

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We called Toronto up-and-down after the Reds lost to the Rapids, but over the last three weeks, the Revolution may be an even better example of early season inconsistency. With Saturday’s 2-0 win over visiting Houston, New England has gone from winning in San Jose, to losing at D.C. United, to defeating the Dynamo in a 15-day span, something home fans are unlikely to complain about after the Revs claimed their first home win of the season.

Two weeks ago, New England got its first victory in an unlikely place, with Lee Nguyen delivering a stoppage time winner to end the Earthquakes’ 21-game home unbeaten run. Last week, however, a poor performance at RFK Stadium allowed United to record its first win in 16 games. In the course of eight days, Jay Heaps’ team was on opposite ends of streak-busting performances, giving us little clue as to how good the team might be.

But with Heaps in the stands (having seen ejected from last week’s game), New England recaptured its San Jose form. Exerting a control of play that didn’t necessarily translate into the possession numbers (a statistic that ended 50-50), the Revolution ended up outshooting the Dynamo 13-9, with a 6-0 edge in shots on target reflecting the slightly better quality possession New England maintained all day.

In the second half, that edge finally paid off. In the 68th minute, building down its left, New England saw play exchanged between Kevin Alston, Daigo Kobayashi, and Teal Bunbury produce Alston’s first MLS goal. Later, after Houston had opened up in pursuit of an equalizer, Jerry Bengston was given a chance behind the Dynamo defense, eventually making Tally Hall pay for misreading a long ball sent out of the New England defense.

Coming off a disappointing result last week against Dallas, Houston played its worst match of the season, but whereas the suspension to David Horst hinted defending might be a problem against the likes of Diego Fagundez, Saer Sene, and Lee Nguyen, it was the inability to do anything going forward that proved the Dynamo’s failing. Had Houston done better than an early A.J. Cochran chance headed over the bar, Alston’s goal wouldn’t have been too much to overcome.

Instead, the Dynamo served as the perfect tonic for a New England team desperate for a rebound. After last week’s loss in D.C., the momentum the Revs carried out of San Jose was blunted. Now, the team can see its RFK performance as a fluke. With two wins in their last three, there’s slightly more reason to believe New England is recapturing its 2013 self.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Halted World Cup flip-throw heard around the world

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
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Milad Mohammadi knew the time was right for something special, but special isn’t always good.

And good is a subjective term. Cause to us this is very good, Milad.

The Iranian national team defender failed with a flip-throw bid in the final moments of a 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

And this wasn’t like he illegally flipped or broke some other rule. No, like a kid trying an audacious jump into the deep end, Akhmat Grozny star Mohammadi just bailed and climbed in from the side (so to speak).

The kiss, the look skyward, the headbutt… all integral parts of a wonderful World Cup moment.