MLS Roundup: LA rescued by Donovan, Vancouver ends Cascadia streak

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A trio of MLS games graced our Sunday, and a streak came to an end as Vancouver held off a late surge from Portland to beat the Timbers for the first time ever in Major League Soccer play.

The win for Vancouver puts them third in the Western Conference, but it certainly had more meaning than that. In addition, the win for the Whitecaps ends Portland’s 22-match unbeaten streak, and the Whitecaps will gladly take home these spoils along with the three points.

As for the others, Landon Donovan continues his post-cut tear, beating the Chicago heat to steal a point from the Fire, and the Colorado Rapids clearly didn’t take out enough frustration on Montreal last week and took another victim for a spin by thoroughly trouncing Houston.

Chicago Fire 1-1 Los Angeles Galaxy

Landon Donovan cancelled out a Jeff Larentowicz penalty in the 74th minute and secured a point for Los Angeles.  Things seemed dire as the Chicago defense held the Galaxy to a single shot on target – Donovan’s goal.

The Fire played extraordinary defense, but it ultimately let them down. Defender Chris Ritter, on his full debut for Chicago, made a single mistake, giving the ball away to Robbie Keane and the Galaxy duo made Chicago pay by snatching a point.

Manager Frank Yallop was visibly conflicted after the match, calling it “frustrating points-wise, but encouraging performance-wise.”  Larentowicz bagged his penalty in the 68th minute after Quincy Amarikwa was taken down.

The point for either side allows the Galaxy to draw level with San Jose and even leapfrog them into 6th on goal difference. Meanwhile, Chicago has to settle for no change in the table, while the full spoils could have brought them exactly level with New York in 7th.

Following the match, Keane was publicly furious with the decision to play a 3:00 game in the middle of June as temperatures climbed into the 90’s in Chicago.  It should be fun when he watches the international teams play in Brazil.

Colorado Rapids 3-0 Houston Dynamo

23-year-old Deshorn Brown picked up a first-half brace and Kamani Hill added another as Colorado asserted their dominance over a surprisingly hapless Houston squad.

Colorado controlled 62% of possession and registered 15 shots/9 on target, while holding Houston to a big goose egg in the shots on target category.  Houston didn’t have a shot on goal of any type until Will Bruin clanged the post in the 72nd minute.

The win means Colorado remains unbeaten against Houston in their last eight meetings, and completes a remarkable turnaround following their pair of losses to Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA.  The Rapids have not only bounced back to win their last two, but they’ve done so by a combined 7-1 scoreline.

The three points take Colorado all the way up from eighth to third in the tight Western Conference, and they still hold at least a game in hand on those around them.

Portland Timbers 3-4 Vancouver Whitecaps

Just as things were starting to look up for Portland, they have come crashing down.  On the heels of back-to-back road wins – just their second and third wins of the season – the Timbers returned home and caught Vancouver at the wrong time, hammered by the surging Whitecaps 4-1.

The Whitecaps got a pair of penalties from Pedro Morales, plus Erik Hurtado picked one up deep into first half stoppage time and Jordan Harvey completed the halftime sandwich with one just four minutes after the break.

Vancouver’s win gives them a six-match unbeaten run dating back to a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles in early April. Portland nearly completed a remarkable comeback, but down 4-1 it was too big a mountain to climb. Max Urutti scored in the third minute, and after Vancouver poured on the goals, Will Johnson and Gaston Fernandez did their best to pull back level for Portland, but they fell one short.

Reina faces hearing over links with trio connected to mafia

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ROME (AP) Outgoing Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been summoned to a hearing at the Italian football federation over his association with people with links to the mafia.

Reina, along with Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica, is to face the FIGC’s disciplinary committee after an investigation by Naples’ anti-mafia department.

It is reportedly one of the reasons why Napoli decided not to renew Reina’s contract, with the former Liverpool goalkeeper set to move to AC Milan on a free transfer.

The FIGC says Reina “has had and continues to have inopportune association and friendship with Gabriele Esposito, Francesco Esposito and Giuseppe Esposito.” It adds that that includes holidays and “an exchange of favors.”

Cannavaro, who had two spells with Napoli, retired at Sassuolo last year. Aronica also spent several years at the southern club before joining Palermo in 2013.

Iran names initial squad for World Cup

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jalal Hosseini and Vouria Ghaffouri have both been left off Iran’s provisional 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not say why Hosseini, a Persepolis defender, and Ghaffouri were not included.

There was space for midfielders Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, however. Both played with Greek club Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in August 2017. Iran does not recognize Israel and its supreme leader has threatened the country in the past. Both Shojaei and Hajsafi missed matches with the national team after the game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a 24-year-old forward who plays in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, is also in the squad, which was announced Sunday.

In the midfield, Queiroz chose Saeid Ezatolahi, although the Amkar Perm player will miss the team’s first World Cup match because he was given a red card in a game against South Korea in qualifying.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was also chosen.

Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh of Portuguese club Maritimo made the squad. His father, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, was Iran captain and goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Iran will play in Group B at the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The team will play warm-up matches in Turkey and Greece before heading to Russia.

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

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