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.

Manchester United: Solskjaer hopeful of new Paul Pogba contract

Paul Pogba contract
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is singing a new tune, hopeful that star midfielder Paul Pogba will stick around Old Trafford for the long term.

Reports say that United has an option to extend Pogba’s contract by an extra year beyond its 2021 expiry, but Solskjaer is thinking bigger. He has been praising Pogba plenty since the World Cup winner returned to the lineup.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

It’s a bit surprising given Pogba and his super agent’s constant time in the rumor mill, with Real Madrid often linked with the Frenchman. And that agent, Mino Raiola, has not been so nice when it comes to judging Solskjaer.

But Solskjaer is reportedly hopeful that Pogba can join Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and others in building a new power.

“I can’t comment on discussions between player and the club but. of course, we want to keep the best players around the club,” Solskjaer said. “We want to build a squad for the future and Scott and Nemanja are a similar position but at different stages in their careers. One at the start, one really experienced one.”

Pogba leads United in key passes per game with 2.3, though his minutes have been severely limited by injuries this season. He had 13 goals and nine assists last season, and turned 27 in March.

The way United’s performed in recent weeks it would not be a surprise if keeping its main talents while adding another stalwart center back and wing would propel it into a more serious table discussion.

Do you buy the idea that Pogba could be with United well into the future?

Suarez goal gives Barcelona win, relegates neighbors Espanyol

Espanyol relegated
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Seventh-place one season ago, La Liga mainstays Espanyol are being relegated from Spain’s top flight.

The final decision came at the hands of their Catalan neighbors Barcelona, who got a second-half goal from Luis Suarez to relegate Espanyol.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Espanyol are 11 points back of 17th place and can only capture nine more points this season following the 1-0 loss in a match where both teams had a player sent off.

Suarez’s goal was a nice one after Antoine Griezmann’s back heel pass to Lionel Messi saw the Argentine’s shot deflect onto the path of the Uruguayan finisher.

Espanyol had been in the top flight since 1994 and has only spent four single seasons outside La Liga since 1929. Leganes and Mallorca may join them soon.

Barcelona moves a point back of Real Madrid. Real has four matches left to Barca’s three and holds the tiebreaker.

Klopp reacts to Liverpool wins, says Henderson injury ‘not nothing’

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Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion was a bit more what we’re used to from the Premier League champions.

But that wasn’t the focus of the post-match despite a highlight-reel show from Mohamed Salah, as Reds boss Jurgen Klopp sounded an ominous note when asked about Jordan Henderson leaving the match with injury.

“I don’t know exactly but it was something with the knee I think. We know it’s not nothing.”

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Henderson’s not exactly a player to hit the deck unless he’s feeling pain, and Klopp removed him for James Milner with 10 minutes to play.

That’s about the only bad news from the win, as Liverpool became the first team this season to breach the 90-point mark and saw Salah’s brace move him within three goals of the Golden Boot lead.

Salah would only say, “Let’s take it game-by-game,” but it’s clearly on his mind.

Trent Alexander-Arnold says the Egyptian is hungry to get a share of a third-straight Golden Boot.

From the BBC:

“He has his targets, he’s around the Golden Boot and it’s something he wants to retain,” Alexander-Arnold said. “He’s a world class player who scores so many goals for us and we try to get him on the board as much as possible.”

As for the match, Brighton almost as missed some big chances as Liverpool before the game was out of reach. Klopp admits that it was a challenge.

“We started really well,” Klopp said. “We had to adapt a little bit as we knew what they wanted to do but it was a little bit hard to defend. We left one or two players in a position where if we won the ball we had players in the counter-attack position. We got the first two goals with super balls but we could have scored more. I said to the boys at half-time they could have been 2-2 too. It was a nice game to watch.”

The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.

Liverpool march continues with 3-1 win at Brighton

Brighton - Liverpool recap
Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Mohamed Salah had two goals and an assist in the first eight minutes of Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday.

Salah is now three goals behind league leader Jamie Vardy, and Liverpool’s 92 points are 23 more than Man City. Jordan Henderson also scored for the Reds.

BRIGHTON – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Leandro Trossard scored for Brighton, whose 36 points are nine clear of the bottom three with four matches to play (The 18th and 19th place sides do have a match each in hand).

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Liverpool’s 30 wins through 34 outings is a Premier League record and Jurgen Klopp’s men are chasing several PL records. The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.


Three things we learned

1. Salah somehow under the radar: Look, the Egyptian star’s 32-goal league season was an outlier. Not a lot of guys consistently hit 25, let alone the 30 mark in the Premier League. But Salah has rather quietly put together another amazing season with 19 goals and nine assists in PL play plus another four and three in cup competitions. Salah is one assist of joining the a small group of players to get double digit league goals and assists in a top five European league this season.

While it’s become sexy to praise Sadio Mane as the Reds’ top winger, Salah has been just as good. He could’ve had another goal in the 53rd but Mat Ryan made a fine intervention at close range. If Salah is under the radar, it’s because Liverpool has spread the wealth this season and had so many heroes in close matches. But boy, oh boy, is he their best weapon.

2. Lamptey shows glimpses, then youth: The sample size is very small, but 19-year-old Chelsea outcast Tariq Lamptey has played well at right back in most of his outings for Brighton since the return from the coronavirus pause. Lamptey was at blame for Liverpool’s third goal in both the chance conceded and actual finish from Salah, but the $4 million January buy looked well worth the price tag in a terrific first half at the Amex.

3. Seagulls still missing final ball: Brighton produced four big chances in the game to Liverpool’s two, but only put one in the back of the net (SofaScore). That’s sadly been par for the course this season, as Brighton’s style has been worthy of a top half place. Brighton entered the day with seven fewer goals than its expected goals total. Only Everton, Watford, and Norwich have been less fortunate.

Man of the Match:

Salah.


Brighton – Liverpool recap

Salah had a goal and an assist within 500 seconds of kickoff.

The Egyptian took a feed from Naby Keita to score off a Davy Propper giveaway and then set up Henderson’s second to have the Seagulls’ heads spinning early.

Brighton found a chance in the 19th but Neco Williams recovered with a slide to block Leandro Trossard from slotting a point-blank goal.

The Seagulls pulled within one just before halftime when in-form youngster Tariq Lamptey swept a cross into the mix for Trossard to punch home.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Salah could’ve had it 3-1 at one end but Brighton’s Dan Burn asked the Egyptian to hold his drink with a butchered wide-open shot at the back post in the 60th minute.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t like the close score, and brought on Fabinho, Andy Robertson, and Sadio Mane in the second half. One of the players he removed, Naby Keita, had a strong hour before departing the contest.

Henderson almost produced a third Liverpool goal after a rare Lamptey error spring a chance that took a wicked turn off Dale Stephens.

The Reds made it 3-1 off the ensuing corner, Salah’s clinical header in front of Lamptey. Henderson limped off for Liverpool late in the contest.

Ryan denied Salah a hat trick in stoppage time and the Egyptian headed over the bar at the final whistle. He could’ve had five.