MLS Snapshot: New York Red Bulls 2-1 New England Revolution

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUFpQgGzgUo]

One game, 100 words (or less) – Any momentum New England took out of its mid-week win over Colorado was squandered in today’s second half, something that should never happen against a team playing with 10 men.

Despite that advantage, one augmented by the 1-0 lead Charlie Davies gave them mid-way through the first, the Revs were outplayed in the second half, with the Red Bulls overcoming a first half, stoppage time red to Matt Miazga with goals from Dax McCarty and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

With stellar day from McCarty helping New York maintain 58 percent of the ball, the home side was able to overcome their numeric disadvantage, jumping back into the East’s top five with a 2-1 win.

Goals

New York: McCarty 47′, Wright-Phillips 63′
New England: Davies 20′

Three moments that mattered

47′ – The sign they needed – New England was the better team early, an edge that led to Davies’ first half opener. When the Revs were handed a man advantage just before intermission, the visitors had a paved route to their second win in a row. The match was theirs.

Early in the second, McCarty served notice: Nothing was going to be easy. Chipping Bobby Shuttleworth from just outside the area, the Red Bulls’ linchpin brought his team back into the game, a moment that foreshadowed the rest of his team’s second half. The most important player on the field, McCarty gave a Player of the Week-worthy performance in leading his side to victory.

63′ – A mess at the back for New England – A ball sent wide by Wright-Phillips allows Lloyd Sam to catch the Revs on the counter, something that draws Jose Gonçalves wide. The rest of the New England defense never recovers.

Sprinting through the huge hole Gonçalves leaves behind, Wright-Phillips is fed into the right of the area, where a recovering A.J. Soares can’t prevent the league’s leading scorer from cutting back onto his left foot. Putting his shot inside the far post, Wright-Phillips gives his 10-man team a 2-1 lead, a scoreline that holds through the final whistle.

87′ – Dax’s night is done – New York’s second half dominance was so complete, the team could afford to take off its best player before full-time. Never mind its lead was only one. Never mind the Red Bulls were only playing with 10. The extent to which New York controlled the half meant McCarty could take his bow.

Lineups

New York: Luis Robles; Chris Duvall, Ibraham Segaya, Matt Miazga, Roy Miller; Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty (Kosuke Kimura 87′), Tim Cahill (Eric Alexander 46′), Ambroise Oyongo; Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Péguy Luyindula 77′)
New England: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares (Daigo Kobayashi 78′), José Gonçalves, Kevin Alston; Scott Caldwell; Teal Bunbury, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Steve Neumann (Diego Fagundez 58′); Charlie Davies (Patrick Mullins 58′)

Three Four lessons going forward:

1. Charlie Davies still has a flare for theatrics – The former U.S. international’s time with D.C. United three years ago earned him a reputation for simulation, one that may have cost him in today’s third minute. Though it looked like Davies drew contact from a New England defender, his embellishment gets Kevin Stott’s attention. On the same day he scored his first New England goal, Davies also drew a yellow for diving.

2. Kevin Stott let too much go – On first half sequence summed up the official’s early approach, with Kelyn Rowe’s two-handed shove in Ibrahim Segaya’s back coming seconds before a shoulder charge from Chris Duvall left the New England midfielder sprawled out in the Red Bulls’ penalty box. Both fouls, so obvious to those watching on television, were ignored by Stott, whose let-them-play approach led to more rough play before the end of the half.

3. Remember Dax McCarty – The weekend’s not done, so somebody else could still step up, but if a player with two goals and little else bests McCarty for this week’s Player of the Week honor, flood @MLS’s mentions. The Red Bull anchor gave a strong case for this week’s honor.

4. Momentum lost – What a demoralizing day for New England. One game after snapping an eight-match losing run, you let a 10-man team come from behind to claim victory. Whatever good was done on Wednesday was thrown away at New York.

Where this leaves them:

  • Pending the result in Chicago, New England is in fifth place, but a point for the Crew will push the Revs out of the East’s top five.
  • New York, on the other hand, jumps into fourth place, and impressive showing in today’s second half keeping the Red Bulls within one point of third place Toronto.

Harry Kane’s World Cup optimism encouraging

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Harry Kane raised plenty of eyebrows on Tuesday as the newly announced captain of the English national team had the following to say in a press conference.

“It’s impossible not to dream about lifting the World Cup. It’s the biggest competition in the world,” Kane said. “I believe we can win it – anyone can. I cannot sit here and say we are not going to win it because we could do. We are not favourites but you look at this season, no-one would have thought Liverpool getting to the Champions League final. You look at Manchester United back in the Sir Alex Ferguson days, they had a young team and dominated the Premier League for years to come.

“Being young is not an excuse – it could be a good thing. I believe we can and that is what we want to try and do. Anything else is not good enough.”

And just like that, England’s new skipper appeared to set the bar ridiculously too high once again ahead of a major tournament.

Compare Kane’s comments to that of England captain Steven Gerrard ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“Anyone who thinks we can’t win the World Cup has to be barking up the wrong tree,” Gerrard said, before England crashed out at the group stage four years ago…

Are England going to win the World Cup this summer? Probs not. Kane, and his manager, likely know that but what’s the point of having a negative mindset from the get-go? True, it hasn’t helped England in the past but this is a fresher, younger squad than in previous campaigns and there is a real sense of optimism building that Kane and Co. are flying under the radar.

The Three Lions have a chance of reaching the last eight, and even the semifinals if the draw is kind to them, and then, I guess, they’ll have a fighting chance. Germany, Spain, France, Brazil, Argentina and Belgium are still the clear favorites.

Still, Kane’s comments will no doubt be scoffed at and dismissed as nonsense by England fans and neutrals across the globe. Yet there is a growing sense that this is the strongest unit the English national team has had over the past decade with individual sentiments put to one side and Southgate fostering a team-first approach.

His selections for the final 23-man squad were based on sensibility and picking players who were in form, and fit, heading into this summer. So often the English national team has been about massaging big egos (Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, John Terry) and trying to fit square pegs in round holes come tournament time.

That’s no longer the case. With a humble, hard-working and talismanic figure such as Kane leading the line, and their charge, this summer, you get the sense that England will end up surprising many in Russia.

They won’t win the World Cup but they could win plenty of hearts for a brave style of play in a 3-4-3 formation and the likes of Kane, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford excelling on the biggest stage.

Kane’s optimism is encouraging but unless England get out Group G (they face Tunisia, Panama and Belgium) comfortably, the negativity won’t take too long to take over the mood in the England camp.

That’s the way it always works for England as stars from the Premier League are put on a pedestal after a few decent performances and then knocked off it quickly with one slightly shaky displays. Perhaps the failure of the past two tournaments (knocked out in the last 16 at EURO 2016 by Iceland, plus the group stage exit at the last World Cup) will have toughened up this England squad.

With just five players left over from the Three Lions’ last World Cup exploit in the 2018 squad, this is very much a fresh, young squad looking to write their own history and not be haunted by the ghosts of England’s past.

“First-choice” Emery reveals his plans for Arsenal

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Unai Emery spoke to the media for the first time as Arsenal manager on Wednesday, with the Spanish coach detailing his vision for the Gunners as more details emerged about the managerial search.

Emery, 48, was named as Arsenal’s new “head coach” with the former PSG coach replacing Arsene Wenger and edging ahead of Mikel Arteta in the battle to take charge at the Emirates Stadium.

Sat alongside Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, Emery spoke to reporters at Arsenal’s home stadium on Wednesday and although his English is limited he seemed excited by the challenge ahead.

“My English is not very best now and I want to make sure, to the supporters to explain my idea, my ambition, to explain that I am very excited for this opportunity at a big club, a great city and a grand stadium. Also, great players for this work,” Emery said.

Before adding that “it’s a great challenge but in my career, every year I grow up with new challenge and for me this challenge is a dream.”

Asked about changes to his current squad and which players may stay or leave this summer, Emery wanted to focus on speaking about the club as a whole rather than individuals but hinted at change.

“We think we need change, little things, a little players, today I want to work and want to speak globally for the squad,” Emery said.

Asked about the specific style of play he aims to achieve at Arsenal, Emery believes he can follow a similar style to the one Wenger created over two decades.

“In my career I am very demanding of myself as well as the people at the club and the players. The history here is one thing, they love to play with possession of the ball,” Emery said. “I like this personality and when we don’t have the ball I want a squad to play with intensive pressure. Two important things are position of the ball and pressing when you haven’t got it.”

Gazidis revealed that he led a three-man team in the managerial search which involved Raul Sanllehi, the head of football relations, and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat.

The keys for Gazidis and Co. were to bring in “progressive, entertaining football, a personality and a record of developing players, particularly young players through detailed tactical instructions and cultural demands.”

Arsenal’s CEO also revealed that there was an eight-man shortlist and all eight were interviewed in-person and none of the candidates withdrew their interest.

Gazidis confirmed that Emery was their “first-choice” after meeting him on May 10, and the Spaniard was then recommended “unanimously” on May 18 to the board.

Emery, Gazidis and Sanllehi then flew to Atlanta, Georgia to meet majority owner Stan Kroenke and his son Josh on Tuesday before arriving back in London to meet the media on Wednesday.

“Thank you to all the chairman and the board,” Emery said. “They feel with their heart Arsenal and the conversation with the chairman and the board is very important for me to know better Arsenal. Also, thank you Ivan, Raul and Sven, the first meeting with Arsenal’s board, after three hours I felt a very good feeling and we will work together and we will create a new present and future at Arsenal. Thank you Arsene Wenger for your legacy. For all the coaches in all of the world he is a reference. A learned from him all of the things in football.”

Emery will have a strong Arsenal squad to work with but fans and the board will no doubt expect him to challenge for the top four, at least, and that’s before any big-name arrivals this summer.

Reports: Rooney flying to DC to finalize MLS move

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Wayne Rooney is edging closer to his move to Major League Soccer.

Multiple reports state that Rooney will fly to Washington D.C. on Thursday for a 48-hour trip to check out D.C. United and meet with club executives as he moves towards finalizing his move to MLS.

[ MORE: Rooney to DCU “done deal” ]

Rooney, 32, is already said to have agreed a “deal in principle” with DCU but with Everton without a manager following Sam Allardyce‘s departure last week, there is no real rush for him to push through the move ahead of the MLS’ transfer window reopening in July.

It is also believed that Rooney still has plenty of negotiating to do with Everton about the remaining year of his contract.

Per a report from the BBC, Rooney’s trip to D.C. is more about him getting a feel for the club, the city and what will be on offer as DCU’s coaching staff and players will not be around as they’re currently out on the West Coast and will face LAFC on Saturday.

It does seem like Rooney is moving closer to a surprise move to MLS just 12 months after he agreed to move back to his boyhood club Everton after a 13-year stay at Manchester United.

The potential for the all-time leading goalscorer for England and Man United joining DCU has split opinion in American soccer circles.

Many would rather see D.C. United think outside the box and spend big Designated Player money on younger attacking talents from South America (a la Atlanta United), but some suggest Rooney’s star name will attract plenty of interest towards DCU as they prepare to move into their new home at Audi Field in July.

There will be plenty of eyes on Rooney in the coming days as he nears his move to MLS.

Arsenal announce Emery as new head coach

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Unai Emery has been unveiled as Arsenal’s new head coach.

The Spanish coach, 46, left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the 2017/18 season after winning the domestic treble in France but after two years with Les Parisiens he failed to take them beyond the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

So, maybe he is very well suited to Arsenal…

Emery was handed the two most-expensive signings on the planet in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe and although they dazzled domestically, they were knocked out by Real Madrid in the UCL this season after their dramatic collapse to Barcelona in 2016/17.

Following a near 22-year spell in charge of the Gunners for Arsene Wenger, Emery becomes Arsenal’s first managerial appointment since 1996 as the north London club seemed set to appoint Mikel Arteta as their new coach but moved instead for the former Valencia, Sevilla and PSG boss who has won eight major trophies in Europe over the past five years.

In a statement released on the club website, Emery is delighted to have landed at the Emirates Stadium.

“I am thrilled to be joining one of the great clubs in the game. Arsenal is known and loved throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run,” Emery said. “I’m very excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new chapter in Arsenal’s history. I have met Stan and Josh Kroenke and it’s clear they have great ambitions for the club and are committed to bringing future success. I’m excited about what we can do together and I look forward to giving everyone who loves Arsenal some special moments and memories.”

Arsenal’s CEO Ivan Gazidis added that Emery “plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly” while majority owner Stan Kroenke hailed the Spaniard as “a proven winner” who can “build on the platform created by Arsene Wenger and help this club enjoy greater success.”

Emery will speak to the media for the first time as Arsenal’s head coach on Wednesday.

And that title as the new “head coach” is telling, especially with so many new roles added within the club in recent months in terms of recruitment and a technical director.

Like Antonio Conte at Chelsea, Emery’s role at Arsenal will be clear: coach the players and make them better. That’s it.

That’s in stark contrast to Wenger’s overarching role over the past two decades and many will see the Gunners have found something of a “yes man” who will simply work with the players he is handed by the board.

Emery’s appointment has raised plenty of eyebrows but given his pedigree of leading Sevilla to three-straight Europa League titles, managing in the Champions League and winning everything in France last season with PSG, his resume speaks for itself.

Yet his reputation as a manager who is solid defensively and loves to set his teams up to counter and react to weaknesses opponents show during a game may see the Gunners add a little more stability to their fluid, passing play.

Surely that’s a good thing, but only time will tell if Emery will shine at the Emirates.