MLS weekend roundup: Sporting KC blasts Chivas, NE Revolution keep winning

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Below is a roundup of MLS matches from this weekend, and it was quite the entertaining stretch of games.

Seattle Sounders 3-2 Real Salt Lake: Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers was penalized with a red card in the 68th minute, and Andy Rose netted the stoppage-time strike to give the Sounders three points. Here’s the MLS Snapshot of the contest.

Chivas USA 0-4 Sporting Kansas City: Once again, Chivas USA found themselves on the losing end of a match, and Sporting Kansas City, namely Dom Dwyer notching his 19th goal of the season that broke a club record, flexed their muscles. The game was fairly even until Dwyer buried his goal in the 40th minute. Then, two scores came in succession. Benny Feilhaber  tapped in Soony Saad’s shot that bounced off the far post during extra time before halftime, and in the 52nd minute, Graham Zusi cut into the box and patiently waited for an open lane to rocket a low shot past Dan Kennedy. Claudio Bieler added the final goal in the 87th minute.

Philadelphia Union 2-2 New York Red Bulls: For those who know the Philadelphia Union, it was no surprise to see clutch veteran Sebastien Le Toux score the PK goal in the dying moments of the match to preserve a point for Philadelphia. Peguy Luyindula buried the game opening goal on a penalty kick, but he was the culprit (soft foul or not) who brought down Pedro Ribeiro that caused Le Toux’s 92nd minute score. Philadelphia is separated from the Red Bulls by one point in the East. Richard Farley has the recap.

[RELATED: Latest MLS standings]

New England Revolution 2-1 Montreal Impact: The Revolution continue to exercise their excellent run of form, beating the Montreal Impact off two nicely-executed goals. The Impact, without star players Marco Di Vaio and Ignacio Piatti, were able to strike first, but New England answered 10 minutes later when midfielder Kelyn Rowe beamed a long shot that fiercely dipped prior to bouncing into the back of the net. In the 25th minute, Lee Nguyen, coming off near perfect buildup, deftly chipped goalie Troy Perkins to clinch the scoreline. New England has somewhat separated themselves in the third place spot of the East, four points ahead of the New York Red Bulls, while Montreal has the lowest point total in MLS.

Chicago Fire 1-1 Toronto FC: This match was not short of drama despite the low scoring finish. Goalkeeper Joe Bendik fouled Fire midfielder Grant Ward to spark the penalty kick in the 56th minute, and Jeff Larentowicz hit the PK in the bottom left corner of the net only for Bendik to stop the attempt in the very vital point of the match. Lovel Palmer scored earlier to give Chicago the early lead, and in the 89th minute, Dwayne De Rosario notched the loose ball off the corner kick that was directed inside the five-yard box. Then, Gilberto’s stoppage-time goal was disallowed because he over-aggressively muscled his way toward the near post, each team having chances to possibly net the winner. Chicago sits at ninth place in the East, and Toronto FC is a couple spots ahead.

[RELATED: MLS stats]

FC Dallas 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps: Blas Perez struck twice, one of his goals at an extremely odd angle, as he arched his cross up from the wing that snuck into the side of the net at the far iron. Erik Hurtado tied the match in the 67th minute. Access the full debriefing right here.

Houston Dynamo 2-2 Columbus Crew: For the Columbus Crew, this contest revolved around fighting back from a two-goal deficit given up in the first half. Aaron Schoenfeld conceded the own goal in the 11th minute, and in the 39th minute, the gap grew deeper when Giles Barnes dinked the goalkeeper breaking free from Omar Cummings’ through ball. Promising youngster Will Trapp then smacked a long range effort that sizzled by goalkeeper Tyler Deric to halve the score in the 48th minute. Six minutes passed before Crew drew level on Ethan Finlay’s header, the midfielder unmarked in front of goal. Columbus could snipe a playoff position for the first time since 2011, at fifth place in the Eastern Conference currently. The Dynamo find themselves on the outside looking in standing at eight place. Nonetheless, they’re only five points off the Crew.

Colorado Rapids 2-2 Portland Timbers: The Timbers were in danger of damaging their postseason hopes as they are battling others in the Western Conference’s tight playoff race, but Gaston Fernandez brought Portland back to even playing in the 76th minute. He tracked an uncleared ball in the Rapids’ box and slotted the goal home. Of course, Diego Valeri scored for the Timbers as well, and well-struck left-footed volley that one comes to expect out of the star forward. Dillon Power converted on a penalty kick to level the score, 1-1, and Deshorn Brown knocked a wonderful header on the run in the 66th minute to increase the Rapids lead to one goal.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 LA Galaxy: A.J. DeLaGarza was back in the lineup for the first time since the passing of his infant son, and unfortunately, the top-rated Galaxy didn’t get the winning result they certainly desired. LA did, however, extend their unbeaten run to seven matches. U.S. international Omar Gonzalez scored the header in the 28th minute to propel his squad into the advantage, but in the 66th minute, San Jose’s goalscorer Chris Wondolowski rocketed the ball into the upper netting as it was about to dribble out of bounds. The Galaxy remain as the second-best team in the West behind the Seattle Sounders, who have already clinched a playoff berth, and San Jose still lingers in the bottom of the table.

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 15

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The congested schedule means we’ve had two match days since we last took stock of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

We’ve got a brand new Top Five (well, in terms of the four behind eventual champions Liverpool) and two teams dipping to season lows on our ol’ litmus test.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Watford — As many losses as goals (9), and that figure is one more than the Hornets’ total points. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them on the verge of full-time manager No. 3, as full-time manager of Watford is a bit more like seasonal help.
Last week: 18
Season high: 17
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

19. Everton — A top half team in terms of talent seeks the manager who can organize its way out of the drop zone.
Last week: 17
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Leicester City

18. Norwich City — The first team to 10 losses is four points shy of 17th.
Last week: 16
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-0 at Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Arsenal

17. West Ham United — A gigantic ball of “blah.” Should thank the world Everton exists so people aren’t more focused on this particular collection of currently squandered talent.
Last week: 20
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

16. Bournemouth — It’s just not good enough, is it? To have held onto Callum Wilson and get another step up in class from Philip Billing and still be so wildly inconsistent.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Spurs

15. Southampton — It really feels like the Danny Ings revival show could rival any story for the best individual one in the league this season. Happy to see Ralph Hasenhuttl get some good performances, as he was being scapegoated in a hurry.
Last week: 19
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Arsenal
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

14. Aston Villa — Allowing a league-worst 18.8 shots per game, but staying in the mix thanks to Nick Pope and Tyrone Mings.
Last week: 13
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

13. Arsenal — The Gunners back line gets a lot of heat, and rightly so, but maybe a little help from the midfield would be nice considering Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz have combined for 39 blocks. Sokratis is third in the PL and Luiz fourth.
Last week: 12
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Southampton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Norwich City


12. Brighton and Hove Albion — First win ever away to Arsenal is another feather in the cap of Graham Potter, especially nice considering they had lost four on the bounce.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

11. Newcastle United — No one is punching above its weight more than Steve Bruce‘s Magpies, and they’ve been aided in a big way by Martin Dubravka. The Slovakian goalkeeper has a league-best 44 saves from shots inside the 18.

Also, according to Understat’s xG numbers, they should’ve lost to the Blades. In fat, the xG table says they should be dead last. Life’s funny like that. It’s Steve Bruce’s world and we’re living in it.
Last week: 15
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Aston Villa
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Man City

https://understat.com/match/11786

10. Sheffield United — Just lost for the first time since September. That’s amazing.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 3-3 v. Manchester United
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

9. Burnley — Striker Chris Wood has been credited with 12 “big chances missed” by Sofascore, more than any player in the league.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. Saturday v. Crystal Palace

8. Spurs — Jose Mourinho learned Wednesday that Moussa Sissoko is nice for the squad, but not to be leaned on.
Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-2 at West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

7. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s 68 dribbles are 13 more than anyone else in the league.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

6. Manchester United — Ole had himself a moment in outfoxing Mourinho without Pogba or Martial.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 3-3 at Sheffield United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. Sunday v. Aston Villa

5. Chelsea — We told you, Frank. WE TOLD YOU.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham United

4. Manchester City — Aymeric Laporte is still two months away and that’s two months too long.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

3. Wolves — This is going to sound nuts, but there are days I’d rather see Liverpool on my schedule than Wolves. The Reds are obviously better weaponized, but Wolves come at you in waves, man, and Nuno Espirito Santo is doing it without his best center back.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Sheffield United

2. Leicester City — How’s this for an unsustainable stat? Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira rank first and second in the league in tackles, with 67 and 62.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton
1. Liverpool — Big Virgil Van Dijk is on track to become the first Premier League player to complete 1000 passes this season, currently at 953.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton and Hove Albion

Report: Everton targeting former Porto, Fener boss Pereira

Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images
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Everton might be looking to the Chinese Super League for its next manager.

Vitor Pereira is the top target for the Merseyside set, report our partners at Sky Sports, as the Toffees begin life after Thursday’s firing of Marco Silva.

Pereira, 51, has been in management since 2002, leading Porto, Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, and current club Shanghai SIPG amongst others.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

He’s won titles in Greece, China, Saudi Arabia, and his native Portugal, but there are suitors beyond the Toffees’ reported interest.

The 51-year-old is currently one of the highest paid coaches in the world and was recently offered the job of managing the Chinese national team.

It is understood he is currently considering a new contract offer from Shanghai, which will guarantee he earns £30m a year.

Duncan Ferguson is the interim boss as Everton hosts Chelsea this weekend.

MLS teams no longer will play every opponent each season

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NEW YORK (AP) Major League Soccer is breaking away from soccer’s tradition of having each team play every opponent in its league.

MLS is expanding to 26 teams in 2020 with the additions of Miami and Nashville but will keep a 34-game regular-season schedule. A team will play each of its 12 conference opponents home and away, and will face only 10 of the 13 teams in the other conference.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Nashville opens Feb. 29 at home against Atlanta and David Beckham’s Inter Miami starts March 1 at Los Angeles, the league said Thursday in announcing all home openers. Defending champion Seattle opens March 1 against Chicago.

Other Feb. 29 openers are Colorado at D.C., New England at Montreal, LA Galaxy at Houston, Toronto at San Jose, Philadelphia at Dallas, Salt Lake at Orlando and Kansas City at Vancouver. Games the following day include New York City at Columbus, Cincinnati at New York Red Bulls and Minnesota at Portland.

Home openers on March 7 are Chicago at New England, Red Bulls at Salt Lake, NYC at Toronto, Cincinnati at Atlanta, Houston at Kansas City, Orlando at Colorado and Vancouver at LA Galaxy. Four more home openers are set for March 14: Dallas at NYC, LA Galaxy at Miami, D.C. at Cincinnati and San Jose at Philadelphia.

The final home openers are Red Bulls at Minnesota on March 15 and Atlanta at Chicago on March 21 as the Fire return downtown to Soldier Field, their home from 1997-2005. The played in suburban Bridgeview from 2006 through last season.

More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Saint-Maximin proud to score first Premier League goal on mom’s birthday

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Newcastle United is reveling in another win, the Magpies claiming a point for the fifth time in six matches with a 2-0 win at Sheffield United.

Allan Saint-Maximin was richly rewarded for his effervescent season with a first Premier League goal, though it came in unexpected fashion.

[ RECAP: Blades 0-2 Newcastle ]

The dribbling wizard rose above his mark to head a Javi Manquillo cross past Dean Henderson for the first goal of the match at Bramall Lane, and he was quite happy to do it on a memorable day for his family.

“It’s special because I score with my head and I never think I can score with my head,” he said, via The Chronicle.  “I’m really proud because today is the birthday of my mother, and I score my first goal for my mother and I’m really happy to do that.”

Saint-Maximin has quickly become a fan favorite, and the Frenchman showed he’s ready with a joke, too, when noting midfield Jonjo Shelvey scored his team-best fourth goal of the season thanks to some decisive refereeing from Stuart Atwell and VAR.

[ MORE: Wilder enraged with VAR ]

“I’m happy for the best striker in Newcastle – four goals.”

Funny stuff from the man his manager Steve Bruce once described by saying, “He’s only 22 and he’s got more outfits than I’ve seen.”