MLS Snapshot: New York Red Bulls 2-1 Sporting Kansas City

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One game, 100 words (or less): Sporting’s ongoing problems at the back nearly cost them early, giving up a penalty kick along with good chances for Lloyd Sam and Thierry Henry. By halftime, however, the visitors were starting to build some momentum, albeit while trailing 1-0.

Early in the second half, a spectacular strike from Thierry Henry doubled New York’s lead, but with Dom Dwyer’s 18th goal of the season two minutes later, Sporting stayed in the match. Over the game’s final 36 minutes, however, Kansas City was unable replicate the chance Dwyer converted, the 2-1 result at Red Bull Arena handing the defending champions their fourth straight loss.

Goals

New York: Bradley Wright-Phillips 11′, Thierry Henry 52′
Sporting Kansas City: Dom Dwyer 54′

Three moments that mattered:

10′ – Should Besler have been sent off? – On a Luis Robles kick out of New York’s end, Bradley Wright-Phillips is allowed to run onto a ball bouncing between Sporting’s center backs, to the left of Andy Gruenebaum’s goal. Going down for a challenge just outside the 18-yard box, Matt Besler’s slide ends up making contact with Wright-Phillips as the players enter the penalty area. Perhaps more controversial, Wright-Phillips’s first touch has gone toward goal, where, if he can get past Besler, he’ll have a chance on Greuenebaum.

Ultimately, Besler’s foul draws a penalty but no card, let alone a red. As Wright-Phillips buries his 21st of the season, fans are still debating whether Besler denied an obvious goal scoring chance.

52′ – Forgot about Henry – Lloyd Sam did a good job is attracting attention, given the ball on the right during a New York counter, but if there’s one person Sporting should never lose track of, it’s Thierry Henry. As Sam brought the ball toward the middle of the part, Sporting had done just that, allowing Henry to gain possession just outside the penalty area. When Paulo Nagamura tried to close him down, Henry cut onto his right foot and, from just beyond the 18-yard mark, finished into Greuebaums’ upper-right corner to double New York’s lead.

54′ – KC’s quick response – Henry’s goal threatened the thwart momentum Sporting had built since the end of the first half, but with a quick response from their leading scorer, the visitors were able to respond to Henry’s insurance. Off a restart from the right flank, Seth Sinovic headed a ball down at the far post, finding Dom Dwyer at the edge of the New York six-yard box. A quick reaction from the league’s second-leading scorer allowed Dwyer to get his left foot behind the ball, elevated to volley Sporting’s opener past Robles and into the middle of goal.

Lineups

New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles; Chris Duvall, Jámison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Armando 65′), Roy Miller; Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Péguy Luyindula, Eric Alexander; Thierry Henry (Ruben Bover Izquierdo 90′), Bradley Wright-Phillips
Sporting Kansas City: Andy Gruenebaum; Igor Juliao, Aurèlien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Lawrence Olum (Jorge Claros 70′), Paulo Nagamura (C.J. Sapong 85′), Benny Feilhaber; Toni (Sal Zizzo 58′), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi

Three lessons going forward:

1. The thin margins of MLS – Lose Jimmy Neilsen, Chance Myers and Oriol Rosell, see a slight downturn in from from Matt Besler and Aurèlien Collin, and all of a sudden the league’s best defense looks bad. It illustrates how thin the margins are in MLS. Not only is the league designed with parity in mind, but the nature of the league’s rosters means there isn’t a wealth of talent in reserve when things go wrong.

Downgrade at a couple of places, and you may not have the resources to recover. We’ll see if this holds true for Kansas City.

2. The confusion of DOGSO – You hear about The 4 Ds when judging denial of obvious goal scoring scenarios: Direction of the ball; number of Defenders; Distance from goal; Direction of play. From a certain point of view, a perfectly reasonable one, Bradley Wright-Phillips had all of those factors in his favor in the 10th minute. From another point of view, Besler was just going in for a ball that wasn’t fully in Wright-Phillips’ possession, yet.

Does that even matter? You can imagine a scenario where a player is in on goal, gets fouled, and has yet to touch the ball. You can also imagine situations where players making a valid play for the ball commit a foul that’s less an attempt to prevent a chance than an attempt to win possession. When, during the course of establishing possession, do The 4 Ds become relevant?

But again, does that even matter? DOGSO is a strange, controversial place, often one that’s best left to the professionals. Tonight, one of those professionals decided Besler’s infraction was a somewhat benign foul, one that happened to be committed in the 18-yard box.

3. Big result for both sides – Sporting didn’t seem to be taken by surprise in this one (D.C. United loss). They weren’t undone by set pieces (Houston). They weren’t trying to stop one of the league’s hottest midfielders (New England). The defending champions seemed focused on Saturday, had chances to end their slide, yet they still lost.

With every result, this is looking like more than a slump. The team may only go as far as that struggling defense will take them.

For New York, it was the game Mike Petke wanted. The attack could have done more with its changes. At times, the defense gave Sporting too much control (particularly at the end of the first half). Through all that, the Red Bulls got three points.

Like their coach said yesterday, no excuses. The team got it done.

Where this leaves them:

  • The win vaults New York fifth in the East, the team’s 34 point pushing Toronto into out of the conference’s top five.
  • Sporting is still six points clear of third in the East, but the team has lost four in a row for the first time since 2011.

Transfer news: Werner to Chelsea; Sanchez to Inter

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In the latest transfer news Timo Werner is reportedly being chased by Chelsea, while Alexis Sanchez could be staying at Inter Milan instead of returning to Man United.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, a juicy report from Bild says that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is trying to convince his Germany teammate and close friend Timo Werner to join hm at Stamford Bridge.

Werner, 24, has dazzled at RB Leipzig this season (31 goals in 40 games in all competitions) and is widely expected to leave with Liverpool, Man United and many others clubs across Europe chasing his signature. Per the report, Chelsea have Rudiger working hard to convince his friend and former Stuttgart teammate that west London is the place for him.

The release clause on Werner’s current contract is said to be $60 million and Chelsea are one of the few clubs who have a healthy transfer budget as they had a transfer ban for a whole year and Frank Lampard has just spent $44 million on one new signing so far, bringing in Hakim Ziyech who will not arrive until later this summer.

Werner is exactly what Chelsea need. They have created so many golden goalscoring opportunities and although Tammy Abraham was putting them away at the start of the season, his form and fitness was a concern in the last few months before the suspension.

Olivier Giroud is their only other forward option and Werner would be perfect to finish off the chances this attack-minded Chelsea team create. Even better for him, he would actually play at Chelsea which may not be the case at Liverpool and Man United given their stacked attacking lineups.

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Heading to Manchester, it appears Alexis Sanchez may not be going back to his parent club next season.

Sanchez, 31, is on loan at Inter Milan for the 2019-20 season and the Daily Express claim that he could stay at Inter rather than heading back to Old Trafford despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously saying he was open to the idea. Per the report, Man United are keen to loan Sanchez out to Inter once again on a similar arrangement and the Serie A side are willing to see how Sanchez does when the season restarts in a few weeks. With Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and others around at Man United, he may struggle for minutes at Man United.

Would another loan be a good move for Inter?

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been their main strikers this season under Antonio Conte, with Sanchez out injured for large chunks of the campaign and then doing okay when he did play. However, with Martinez chased by Barcelona, if they do sell the Argentine forward for over $115 million, having Sanchez around on loan would soften the blow.

The main problem with Sanchez is that over the last three years he has picked up consistent injury problems. If he can shake those issues off, we all know he is capable of scoring goals and creating havoc. Given this recent track record though, that’s a big if, as he’s scored just one goal and added three assists in 15 outings for Inter this season.

Premier League confirm zero positive COVID-19 test results

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Following the latest batch of tests on players and club staff the Premier League have revealed that zero out of 1130 COVID-19 tests taken on Thursday and Friday have come back positive.

Zero.

The fourth round of testing is the first time that no positive tests have come back, as a total of 3,882 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out with 12 positive results.

All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, as full contact training is now up and running and a restart date of June 17 has been set.

Here is the statement from the Premier League in full:


The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive.

The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.

Previous test results

Round 1: 17-18 May – 748 tested, with six testing positive from three clubs.
Round 2: 19-22 May – 996 tested, with two testing positive from two clubs.
Round 3: 25-26 May – 1,008 tested, with four testing positive from two clubs.


This is more good news for the Premier League as the UK government gave the green light for elite sport in the UK to return from June 1 in empty stadiums, as the top-flight of English soccer continues to clear each hurdle in its way to finishing the final 92 games of the 2019-20 season.

With just over two weeks to go until the action returns, Premier League clubs will have to keep these test results low for the restart to take place.

Bayern Munich batter Fortuna, go 10 points clear at the top (video)

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Bayern Munich are waltzing their way to an eight-straight Bundesliga title as they battered Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0 on Saturday at the Allianz Arena to record an eight-straight win in the German top-flight.

[ MORE: Schalke lose again; Saturday recap ]

An own goal, two from Robert Lewandowsk and a goal each from Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies did the damage to Fortuna as Bayern Munich are now just three wins away from securing the title, as they have five games left in the season.

Hansi Flick has now won 22 of his 25 games in charge of Bayern Munich after he took charge in November with the German giants struggling under Niko Kovac. Now, they are rampant and are one of the favorites to win the UEFA Champions League.

The Bavarian giants dominated early on as USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales made an important clearance but Mathias Jorgensen was so lucky a few moments later.

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule, stats

A ball into the box found Benjamin Pavard and his scuffed effort was going wide before it hit Jorgensen and went into his own goal.

Bayern then doubled their lead as Thomas Muller’s shot was pushed wide and from the resulting corner Pavard nodded home to make it 2-0.

Lewandowski made it 3-0 before the break as he has now scored against all of the current Bundesliga clubs and had previously gone without a goal in five outings against Fortuna.

Kimmich’s surging round saw the loose ball find Muller and his pass to Lewandowski was perfect as he swept home to an empty net.

Lewandowski was at it again just a few minutes after the break as he finished off a slick Bayern move as the Bavarian giants put their foot on the accelerator.

Alphonso Davies made it 5-0 as he bulldozed his way through the Fortuna defense and slotted home, while Muller and Pavard went close to adding a sixth and Fortuna had the odd chance on the break.

In the end, the victory was as routine as possible for Bayern Munich who have more than one hand on the Bundesliga title.

USMNT’s Weston McKennie honors George Floyd with armband

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Schalke and USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie has released a statement after he wore a personalized armband with the message ‘Justice for George’ on it to honor George Floyd.

McKennie, an American international who has played in the Bundesliga for the last four seasons at Schalke, was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He wore the armband in Schalke’s defeat at home to Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN on Monday there have been widespread protests across the USA. A video showed former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 1/2 minutes. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with murder, authorities confirmed.

Weston McKennie released the following statement after wearing the armband at the weekend to honor George Floyd:

“To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on to long feels good!!! We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard! #justiceforgeorgefloyd #saynotoracism

Here is a photo of McKennie wearing the armband which he put on before the game kicked off and wore on his left arm.