Seattle 0-1 Vancouver: Cascadia Cup stays put, Caps in playoff control

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Almost 56,000 fans in Seattle watched as the Cascadia Cup’s fate was sealed; It will spend another year in Vancouver.

Kekuta Manneh’s 45th minute goal stood up for the visitors in a chippy affair that referee Jair Marrufo struggled to control. The match marked the first time the Sounders lost at home in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 fans, falling to 9W-1L-1T in such contests.

[ VIDEO: Manneh nets before halfZusi blasts KC into playoffs ]

The Whitecaps needed a win for a number of reasons, but most importantly their race for the final playoff spot. Vancouver entered the night two points back of Portland for the fifth spot in the East.

Seattle not only loses their chance at regaining the Cup, but no longer control of their fate in the race for the Supporters Shield. L.A. plays FC Dallas this weekend with a chance to move ahead by three points.

The chances were few and far between during the first half, as Seattle’s crowd was the clear highlight. Their loud cheers accentuated the rare bursts into Vancouver’s tight defensive shape.

But it was a Whitecaps counter that did the trick just before halftime. An injured Kekuta Manneh latched onto a sensational ball from Pedro Morales, took a few touches and buried it past Stefan Frei. Watch the goal here.

[ RELATED: Latest MLS standings ]

Manneh left the game with a quad contusion, and international duty allowed Cuban-born 18-year-old Kianz Froese to earn his MLS debut in the 46th minute.

Erik Hurtado nearly made it 2-0 after the break when Morales sprung him down the right, but Frei kicked a hard shot away.

Clint Dempsey was in a bad mood, and could’ve easily seen a second yellow multiple times. He clapped in the face of head referee Marrufo at one point, and took turns hitting the turf and hitting out at Whitecaps for much of the evening.

And a late Dempsey foul that sent Caps keeper David Ousted to the turf had Russell Teibert trying to get at the USMNT star. Marrufo had lost a bit of control, and plenty of stoppage time was in store.

Stoppage saw a free kick that bounced between heads in the box before Kendall Waston cleared it away. Waston was perhaps the Man of the Match as Seattle could not find a way past the big Costa Rican.

Lineups

Seattle Sounders: Frei, Evans, C Marshall, Anibaba (Rose, 82′), Gonzalez, Neagle, Alonso, Azira (Pineda, 66′), Pappa (Barrett, 62′), Dempsey, Martins

Vancouver Whitecaps: Ousted, Harvey, Waston, Laba, Hurtado, Manneh (Froese, 46′), Rosales (Ballouchy, 71′), Teibert, Beitashour, O’Brien, Morales (Mezquida, 81′)

Goal: Manneh (45′)

MLS Best XI unveiled with awesome foosball video

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Major League Soccer, wow, this is terrific #content.

MLS released its Best XI on Monday with a dynamite video of the players passing the ball from Zack Steffen in goal to Josef Martinez up top… via a virtual foosball table.

[ VIDEO: An unprecedented goal ]

The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.

My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.

2018 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)

Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)

Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Wayne Rooney (DC)

WATCH: Striker scores potentially unprecedented goal while helping teammate

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“Look, I know you’re injured, but I’m gonna be right back. Got a goal to score for us.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva forward Habib Habibou scored what can only be described as an unprecedented goal — at least in terms of being captured on video — Israel this weekend.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Habibou, 31, and his club were locked in scoreless tussle with Maccabi Netanya on Saturday when one of his teammates was injured in the box.

The CAR striker, formerly of Zulte Waregem and Royal Charleroi, was taking care of said teammate when he spotted an 87th minute spilled rebound.

What was he gonna do, really, other than dart onto the loose ball, score the match-winner, and then return to his ailing mate?

Petah Tikva won 1-0.

Juventus executive: Bring season Serie A game abroad

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Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci likes La Liga’s idea of taking a regular season match outside of its domestic borders.

Ricci would like Serie A to explore a similar move, saying Italian soccer can only benefit from putting its brand in other markets.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.

Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:

“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”

Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.

FC Cincinnati switches crest ahead of MLS debut

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FC Cincinnati has unveiled its crest for 2019’s maiden voyage in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.

FCC will draft up to five current MLS players in the Expansion Draft on Dec. 11. Teams will announce their protected lists on Dec. 10.

Cincinnati will play in the Eastern Conference. It won the USL regular season championship under coach Alan Koch in 2018.