MLS weekend roundup: FC Dallas keeps streak strong, Crew blank Dynamo

4 Comments

Here’s a quick recap of MLS action this weekend, starting on Friday.

FC Dallas 2-1 Real Salt Lake: FC Dallas kept their wonderful run of form alive against Real Salt Lake on Friday night, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games with a 2-1 victory at Toyota Stadium. Je-Vaughn Watson scored the opening goal for FC Dallas off of a corner kick following the ejection of Blas Perez on a second yellow card. In the 74th minute, the red-hot Fabian Castillo made a straight run into the box and picked the lower corner of the net to put the Toros up by two scores. In stoppage time, Olmes Garcia’s bicycle kick brought the Real closer, but it was not enough to preserve a point.

New York Red Bulls 4-2 Montreal Impact: Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry bolstered the Red Bulls attack, each nothing a brace to retain their spot in the East’s fifth-place playoff spot. Dilly Duka took it upon himself to find a hole in the New York’s defense, providing the Impact with a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute. But from that point on, it was Henry and Wright Phillips show, with the Frenchman buried an excellent diving header in the 53rd minute and a deft touch 16 minutes later. Wright-Phillips scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season in the 74th and 90th minute, Henry assisting on the first occasion.

Toronto FC 2-2 Chicago Fire: It was a tight game all the way through, and in the end, the final score reflected that even level of play. Bakary Soumare unfortunate deflection lopped over goalkeeper Sean Johnson to give Toronto FC an third-minute lead. In the 70th minute, Robert Earnshaw leveled the teams on his headed effort from Grant Ward’s cross. Toronto promptly responded nine minutes later, with Gilberto finding his way past the Fire’s back line and calmly sliding home his try. When you thought the Reds would take three points, Quincy Amarikwa smashed a volley to bring both teams back to equal footing.

Columbus Crew 3-0 Houston Dynamo: Will Bruin had a perfect chance to draw first blood in the 19th minute, unable to see through a open breakaway, and then, Columbus seized control of the game. Justin Meram weaved into the penalty box, and lifted a close-range attempt over Tally Hall. Meram followed up his score a well-placed ball for Adam Bedell, leading him to thump a header for another goal. Aaron Schoenfeld added another goal on a powerful header across the face of goal. Houston continues to falter, while Columbus stands in the thick of the playoff race, certainly making headway from last season.

New England Revolution 1-0 Chivas USA: The New England Revolution haven’t enjoyed the best form after their win streak collapsed a couple of months ago. They’ve been making their way back into serious playoff contention, though, and with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA, have gained a much-needed three points. Lee Nguyen, who has been the Revolution’s most consistent attacker and creator in the midfield this season, scored the goal to ultimately ice the match’s result for New England. Out on the wing, Kelyn Rowe muscled his pass to Nguyen right outside the penalty area, and the former PSV Eindhoven man fired a bullet past Dan Kennedy.

Sporting Kansas City 0-3 D.C. United: In about eight minutes, D.C. United scored three goals, and Sporting Kansas City, struggling at home, was shocked. Luis Silva was on the assisting end for the first two goals: Fabian Espindola’s long, rolling shot in the 24th minute and Chris Rolfe’s left-footer in the 28th minute. Perry Kitchen snagged the final goal three minutes later, staying onside and waiting for the precise moment to shoot near the top of the box. D.C. United has appreciated a top-class season, contending for the Supporters Shield as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Reigning champion Sporting KC sits one point behind United in the standings.

LA Galaxy 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps: Enjoying a six-game unbeaten streak, albeit due to several draws, the Vancouver Whitecaps looked to make some noise at the StubHub Center against the LA Galaxy, who ended up blanking the Caps to gather a two-game victorious streak. U.S. soccer legend Landon Donovan slid forward to smack what appeared to be a low cross from Robbie Keane at the far post. Before halftime rolled around, Marcelo Savras had the luck of Robbie Keane’s aim on goal roll right to his feet at the near post, easily able to nail the second goal of the contest.

Portland Timbers 2-4 Seattle Sounders: Clint Dempsey scored his fifth goals vs. the Timbers this season, but when the whistle blew at the end of the game, Obafemi Martins was the real hero, as he totaled a brace in addition to Dempsey and Chad Barrett’s strikes. Fanendo Adi also registered a brace. With the win, Seattle is back to being in the Western Conference lead and at the head of the running for the Supporters’ Shield. The Timbers, on the other hand, are dealing with a close competition between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapid for the 5th place playoff spot in the West.

Philadelphia Union 4-2 San Jose Earthquakes:  Andrew Wenger and Sebastien Le Toux each put away a goal early in the contest, in the 10th and 14th minute respectively, with Le Toux supplying the former Montreal Impact man on the assist. However, it was a matter of sustaining their lead, while the Earthquakes fought back into match. Sam Cronin and USMNT forward Chris Wondolowski converted two consecutive goals, and the scoreboard was even in the 70th minute. Le Toux, who brandished an absolutely wonderful performance, assisted both Sheanon Williams and Wenger to provide the Union with a comfortable lead. San Jose’s losing sight of the postseason in the Western Conference, whilst the Union make their case for a playoff ranking, one point behind the Red Bulls in fifth place.

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

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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
1 Comment

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.

Renard, Morocco ‘very proud’ of unlucky national team

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
Leave a comment

If you would’ve told Morocco fans or their manager, Herve Renard, that they’d outshoot and outpossess both Iran and Portugal at World Cup, their next question would probably be, “So do we need to do against Spain to win Group B?”

Alas, Morocco lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to become the first team knocked out of the 2018 World Cup.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The Lions of Atlas fell to Iran in their opener on a stoppage time own goal after carrying 64 percent possession and a 13-8 advantage in shot attempts, then lost to a Cristiano Ronaldo fourth minute goal on Wednesday despite a 16-10 shot advantage and 53 percent of the ball.

“I’m very proud of the performance and I am very proud of my players, I’m very proud of this country,” Renard said.

With no hope of advancing to the next round, the manager is finding the experience bittersweet. From RTE:

“What I am sure of at this moment is that the entire Moroccan people is proud of this team. Of course it’s easier to play with a player who has one chance and he puts it away. But we are in Morocco.

“We have quality players. Despite the ups and downs of the game, we should have been more effective. Because, like in the first game, we had plenty of chances. I won’t blame anyone. That’s football. It’s always those who know how to be present in the box, the most gifted players, who make the difference. We took a lot of risks and we didn’t get our reward.”

It’s unlikely Morocco will hold either of those statistical advantages against Spain, especially a Spanish side yet to qualify, but there is plenty to like from the tournament aside from poor finishing quality.

But the performances of 19-year-olds Amine Harit (Schalke) and Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid) — not to mention Hakim Ziyech (25, Ajax) — seem to hint at a promise for 2022. And Renard’s men can still play spoiler for Spain, which is no small shockwave.

Queiroz: Iran has one ‘match point’ left in World Cup group stage

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
Leave a comment

Iran manager Carlos Queiroz isn’t going to let his tournament be defined by one win or one loss, especially with a massive moment on the horizon.

Iran fell 1-0 to Spain on Wednesday, days after defeating Morocco in its World Cup opener. Team Melli was denied its equalizer despite VAR review thanks to an offside, and failed in several other bids to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Now Queiroz and his men need a win over Portugal to qualify for the first knockout stage in its five World Cup history.

“We showed that we were ready to suffer and ready to compete. I felt we deserved a better result. There’s no doubt Spain play wonderful, stylish football but I thought we deserved more for the way we played.

“But congratulations to Fernando Hierro and Spain. We will learn a lot from this game. If you think of it like tennis, we had one match point today and we will have another against Portugal. Everything is still open. We are still alive and still dreaming.”

What chance do you give Iran of getting over on Portugal, who only topped a dominant Morocco side via a terrific designed play executed to perfection by Cristiano Ronaldo?

The odds are in Portugal’s favor, if only for its experience in tight games on massive stages. Well, perhaps the better “if only” would be to say if only for Ronaldo. Either way…