MLS Roundup: DC and NE wins congest the East, Seattle thumped

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What a weekend in Major League Soccer. The best part: Only one tie (though of course it featured the Tying Timbers).

Philadelphia Union 0-1 DC United: Even a new formation couldn’t help Philly’s struggling offense, and Chicago’s offload of Chris Rolfe and his salary continues to reap dividends for DC, which surged into second place in the Eastern Conference after the midfielder’s 6th minute goal. Could United be for real?

Montreal Impact 0-3 Sporting KC: Seventy-three minutes of 10-man ball is not a recipe for beating the reigning MLS champions, and Sporting took care of business after Collin Warner received an early red card. Two goals came courtesy of Dom Dwyer, while Paolo Nagamura also found the back of the net. Montreal is not clicking under Frank Klopas so far, while KC is tied atop the East.

New York Red Bulls 4-5 Chicago Fire: Chicago has a win! Chicago finally has a win! The good Shipp, Harrison, buried his first three MLS goals as it looked like the Fire were going to make a mockery of the Red Bulls in New York, but the hosts came charging back thanks to Bradley Wright-Phillips. He added a league-best eighth and ninth goals on the night, but couldn’t bring New York all the way back.

Columbus Crew 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps: Super-early-season darlings Columbus lost again at home, where their record fell to 1W-2L-2T. The villain in this one was Erik Hurtado, who netted his first MLS goal for Carl Robinson’s surging club. It was Vancouver’s first win on the road.

San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 FC Dallas: Oscar Pareja and FC Dallas red-hot opening slate has fizzled into four straight losses, and perhaps San Jose will start to get a bit more respect after this triumph that saw just 45 minutes of even play. No Mauro Diaz did not help — nor will it — as Dallas tries to find answers. Meanwhile, San Jose has pulled into fifth-place after the tough, congested start that included CONCACAF Champions League matches.

Portland Timbers 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy: Who had the Portland Timbers as the team with the West’s worst record in mid-May? The traditionally-tying Timbers caught a major break to even get one point, as a takedown of Juninho on a breakaway could’ve easily been the penalty attempt to make it 2-0. Both markers came in stoppage time, as Diego Valeri scored at the death to cancel out Robbie Keane’s fifth goal of the year.

Colorado Rapids 1-3 Chivas USA: Break up the Goats. Chivas USA is technically out of the basement again after substitute Martin Chavez scored twice in the second half to lift the visitors. Erick Torres was solid again with a goal and assist, and Dan Kennedy lost his shutout late when Deshorn Brown scored in stoppage time.

New England Revolution 5-0 Seattle Sounders: Diego Fagundez took nine games to score his first of the season, but picked up two as New England picked apart Seattle to the tune of a 4-0 halftime lead. Bobby Shuttleworth was fantastic as the Sounders tempted the frame several times early, but Sigi Schmid will regret many missed chances.

Houston Dynamo 2-5 Real Salt Lake: The story could’ve been Mark Sherrod’s first two MLS goals, but instead it’s about a dicey red card to Servando Carrasco and Javier Morales finding his goal-scoring boots. Morales netted a hat trick, with two in the first 17 minutes and an 89th minute penalty kick. RSL led 3-1 at halftime on the way to a comfortable 5-2 win at BBVA Compass Stadium, its first ever at Houston.

STANDINGS

Eastern
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Sporting KC 9 5 2 2 14 6 8 3-2-0 2-0-2 17
New England 10 5 2 3 14 10 4 3-1-0 2-1-3 17
D.C. 9 4 2 3 13 11 2 3-1-1 1-1-2 14
Houston 11 4 2 5 15 19 -4 3-1-2 1-1-3 14
New York 11 3 5 3 18 17 1 2-2-1 1-3-2 14
Columbus 10 3 3 4 10 11 -1 1-2-2 2-1-2 12
Toronto FC 7 3 0 4 7 9 -2 1-0-2 2-0-2 9
Chicago 9 1 6 2 17 18 -1 0-3-1 1-3-1 9
Philadelphia 11 1 5 5 10 14 -4 1-3-1 0-2-4 8
Montreal 9 1 3 5 7 17 -10 1-2-2 0-1-3 6
Western
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Seattle 11 7 1 3 22 19 3 4-0-2 3-1-1 22
Real Salt Lake 10 5 5 0 21 12 9 2-2-0 3-3-0 20
FC Dallas 11 5 1 5 20 19 1 4-0-2 1-1-3 16
Vancouver 10 4 4 2 16 12 4 3-1-1 1-3-1 16
Colorado 10 4 3 3 11 12 -1 2-1-2 2-2-1 15
San Jose 9 2 4 3 10 11 -1 2-3-1 0-1-2 10
Los Angeles 7 2 3 2 8 6 2 1-0-1 1-3-1 9
Chivas USA 10 2 3 5 12 19 -7 1-1-3 1-2-2 9
Portland 10 1 6 3 13 16 -3 1-5-0 0-1-3 9

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VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Arsenal close in on Leno; Man City near Jorginho signing, and more

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Arsenal looks like it will have a new man between the pipes for next season.

According to a report from German publication SportBild, Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno will be introduced as an Arsenal player on Tuesday, after a reported $23-29 million transfer fee. The 26-year-old was on Germany’s 35-man pre-World Cup squad, but was one of the last cuts as Joachim Low went with Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp in Russia.

Leno became the full-time starter for Leverkusen as a 20-year-old, and has held the position of the No. 1 for the last six seasons, earning plenty of Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League experience along the way.

It’s unclear what will happen to current Arsenal No. 1 Petr Cech. The 36-year-old Premier League legend experienced one of his worst seasons in net for Arsenal and he could begin the season as a backup, unless he moves to a new club. He reportedly has a contract through 2019.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from around the Premier League and Europe.

(more…)

VIDEO: Mertens scores wonderstrike for Belgium

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After a frustrating 45 minutes, it took only two minutes for Belgium to finally get on the board, even if it was a goal sprinkled with magic dust.

Off a partially cleared ball on the right side of the box, Belgium attacker Dries Mertens whalloped a shot that arced over Panama (and former LA Galaxy) goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, giving Belgium a 1-0 lead.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Croatia’s Kalinic sent home from World Cup

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It’s only been five days, and we have our first World Cup dismissal.

According to a bombshell report out of Croatia, Croatia National Team head coach Zlatko Dalic has sent home striker Nikola Kalinic from the team’s camp, after the AC Milan player reportedly refused to be a substitute during Croatia’s 2-0 win over Nigeria.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

[Update: The Croatia FA confirmed the decision, releasing this statement from Dalic. “During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinić was warming up and was supposed to come on in the second half. However, he then stated that he wasn’t ready to come on due to a back issue. The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday. I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision.”]

The report states that Kalinic refused to come on due to an injury, but Dalic had said recently that his team had no injuries that would keep players out, potentially meaning that Kalinic used the injury claim as an excuse.

Croatia’s FA is expected to confirm the news on Monday.

After a rough season at AC Milan, with just six league goals in 31 Serie A appearances, Kalinic, at 30, is likely finished with the Vatreni. He scored three goals in World Cup qualifying but hasn’t started for Croatia since a 2-0 win over Peru in March. Kalinic did score against Spain in Croatia’s shock 2-1 win exactly two years prior to Saturday’s match.

He was deemed second choice to Mario Mandzukic as the center forward up top, but was reportedly asked to spell Mandzukic during Croatia’s match against Nigeria, and Kalinic reportedly refused.

If true, Croatia will continue with 22 players for the remainder of the tournament.