MLS roundup: Quakes down Sounders; RSL in 3-3 draw; FC Dallas rout Sporting KC

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Wow. Week 2 of the 2015 season — at least, so far — was a little bit crazy and out of control.

First things first, refereeing controversies dominated more than half of Saturday night’s games, as questionable (read: very poor; wrong) calls greatly impacted results, and in most cases, the quality of the game.

Furthermore, just when you think you’ve figured out a team — let alone, the league — think again. Saturday’s results will leave more than a few casual and hardcore onlookers scratching their heads all week. MLSsoccer.com’s Matthew Doyle said it best:

Missed you last week, real MLS.

Chicago Fire 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Missed chances galore in the first half, particularly by Vancouver’s Pedro Morales and Kekuta Manneh, and a pair of strong performances from goalkeepers Jon Busch and David Ousted were just enough to keep things scoreless for 85 minutes.

Octavio Rivero finally showed the composure in front of goal the game had been missing and beat Busch with five minutes of regular time to play. Steven Beitashour’s overlapping run down the right and subsequent cross set up Rivero near the penalty spot and the Uruguayan hit it low, to the back post and found the back of the net.

Columbus Crew SC 2-0 Toronto FC

A first-half red card to Toronto’s Justin Morrow completely changed what was an even, back-and-forth game for 45 minutes. At their best, both of these teams look likely be at the top of the Eastern Conference come October.

Justin Meram and Kei Kamara tallied for the Crew, who pick up their first victory of the season. | FULL RECAP WITH HIGHLIGHTS

FC Dallas 3-1 Sporting Kansas City

FC Dallas, on the back of two Blas Perez goals, brushed aside Sporting KC at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night. Fabian Castillo provided FCD’s third goal, while Roger Espinoza was the lone SKC goalscorer.

The game, however, was tarnished by a brutal missed call from the assistant referee on the game-winning goal. | FULL RECAP WITH HIGHLIGHTS

Real Salt Lake 3-3 Philadelphia Union

Nothing about this game screamed “goalfest” before kickoff. RSL regularly have one of the most stable defenses in MLS and the Union were extremely poor in the final third in last week’s 0-0 draw with Colorado.

On Saturday, the RSL defense was in tatters and Philadelphia punished them at every opportunity. And then, a night of unjust refereeing decisions continued, robbing the Union of two points. RSL, down 3-2, were awarded a undeserved penalty in the 85th minute and Alvaro Saborio converted, stealing a point for the hosts.

RSL goalscorers: Morales (29′), Olave (55′), Saborio (86′) | Union goalscorers: Aristeguieta (34′, 38′), Olave (OG – 58′)

Seattle Sounders 2-3 San Jose Earthquakes

Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be, because this is MLS. It’s what MLS does.

Don’t ever forget about Chris Wondolowski, scorer of two goals. He’ll score 15 this year, easily. Not even a Clint Dempsey goal 18 seconds into the game could stop Wondo on Saturday night. | FULL RECAP WITH HIGHLIGHTS

Houston Dynamo 0-1 Orlando City SC (Friday night)

Kaka hounded Houston ‘keeper Tyler Deric, who was up to the tasking of turning away the 2007 World Player of the Year, all night. Unfortunately for Deric, it was his Gaffe of the Year candidate that cost Houston all three points. | FULL RECAP WITH HIGLIGHTS

Sunday’s MLS schedule

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution (5 pm ET, ESPN2)
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy (7 pm ET, Fox Sports 1)

Messi finishes season leading La Liga in goals, assists, and more

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Lionel Messi turns 32 this summer, and after more than a dozen years of first team soccer, playing more than 50 games a season, the old man’s still got it.

The Argentine star, playing his first season in almost a decade without direct competition from Cristiano Ronaldo, scored twice as Barcelona tied Eibar, 2-2. The two goals gave him 34 for the season, by far the most by any player in the league, and his 50th in all competitions.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Messi also led La Liga this season with 13 assists, 136 shots, 85 shots on target and 70 through balls. In terms of successful dribbles, Messi’s 132 fell seven short of Celta Vigo’s Sofiane Boufal.

Messi’s 34 goals gave him his sixth Pichichi, the trophy given to the league’s leading scorer. Messi is now tied with legendary Telmo Zarra for the all-time record of most Pichichi’s, and Messi is now three ahead of Ronaldo.

As if Messi wasn’t already a legendary player, the man seems to be showing no signs of slowing down. It may have helped that he skipped matches with Argentina after the 2018 World Cup this past fall, keeping him fresh for Barcelona. Even so, the man looks as good, if not better, with age.

Messi already holds the record for most goals in league history, and at this rate, he’ll set it to a level that will be almost impossible to reach. While he’s going to be remembered for his incredible control on the ball, it doesn’t hurt that he’s been incredibly productive during his career, including in 2018-2019. Barcelona won the league title with ease and the club made the UEFA Champions League semifinal. If for some better defending, Messi could be contesting for another Champions League title.

Nani scores twice as Orlando City thrashes FC Cincinnati

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Nani may not be the star he once was while he played for Manchester United, but he’s still making a powerful impact in MLS.

The Portuguese international scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season as Orlando City ran circles expansion side FC Cincinnati, winning 5-1. Along with Nani, Tesho Akindele scored a brace and Dom Dwyer came off the bench and scored a header in the win.

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Aside from having a chance to record a big win over a struggling side, Orlando City may have been ultra motivated on Sunday. Orlando City manager James O’Connor has history with FC Cincinnati from his time at Louisville City, with intense rivalry matches taking place as well as arguments between O’Connor and former FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch on the sidelines.

FC Cincinnati actually went up early with a Darren Mattocks finish past Brian Rowe, but it didn’t take long for Orlando City to respond. Akindele fired home from 20-yards out in the 37th minute to make it 1-1. Early in the second half, Nani scored on a penalty kick rebound to make it 2-1 to the hosts, and then he added a second off a cross from the right to blast the game wide open.

With the win, Orlando City moved just one point outside of a playoff place, while Cincinnati remains in the basement of the Eastern Conference. However, Orlando City has a difficult road ahead, with matches against the LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact and D.C. United to come.

Serie A: Napoli rout Inter, leaving UCL race wide open heading into final week

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The race for the third and four places in Serie A, and with it, a berth in the UEFA Champions League next season, remain open heading into the final week of the season, thanks to a stellar performance from Napoli.

Playing at home in the Stadio San Paolo, Napoli thrashed Inter Milan, 4-1, to keep Inter in fourth place in the table on 66 points. That’s just one point ahead of AC Milan in fifth place, which jumped up after a 2-0 win over Frosinone, and three points ahead of AS Roma, which succumbed to a scoreless draw with Sassuolo this weekend. Atalanta meanwhile came ten minutes from beating Juventus in Turin, and even with a point in a 1-1 draw, Atalanta is still only in third place by 66 points.

[READ: Bayern Munich still too good for the rest this season]

Piotr Zielinski made a statement with a 30-yard blast past Samir Handanovic in the 16th minute to put Napoli up 1-0 and then Dries Mertens and a pair of goals from Fabian Ruiz gave the Neapolitans a massive lead, while leaving Inter in a precarious position. Mauro Icardi scored late to give Inter a small reprieve, but the defeat was set and it leaves Inter essentially needing to win in the final week of the season to secure a place in the Champions League next year.

Elsewhere, Josip Ilicic scored his 12th league goal of the season as Atalanta took Juventus down to the wire in Juve’s final home match of the season. Juventus fans serenaded Andrea Barzagli, playing his final game for the Bianconeri, and even had a message of support for Daniele De Rossi.

Gianluigi Buffon was even in attendance.

Also in action in Serie A, Parma beat Fiorentina, 1-0 and Empoli defeated Torino, 4-1.

Report: Former Chelsea great Clarke set to be new Scotland manager

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The Scotland FA is set to appoint a former Chelsea star as its new men’s national team manager.

Former Chelsea midfielder, and West Bromwich Albion and Reading manager Steve Clarke is reportedly in talks with the Scotland FA to take over the national team. Clarke has a difficult job ahead, with Scotland already having lost, 3-0, at Kazakhstan in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying.

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Although Scotland finished top of their group in Level C of the UEFA Nations League and earned promotion to League B, the team’s play was very up and down under Alex McLeish, back in the job after a one-year spell in 2017. McLeish eventually lost the federation’s support after the 3-0 defeat at Kazakhstan, ranked then 117th in the world, made Scotland look like Europe’s whipping boy. Though Scotland saved some face with a 2-0 win over San Marino, the damage was done.

Clarke, after disappointing tenures at West Bromwich and Reading in his first full managerial roles, has since found success in Scotland. He’s led Kilmarnock this season to third place in the table and a spot in the Europa League, an impressive feat considering the club’s budget is dwarfed by Celtic and Rangers. Aberdeen have impressed, while both Hibernian and Hearts of Midlothain have also recently spent big on new signings, yet Kilmarnock finished above them this season.

Clarke, who only played a half dozen times for Scotland during his playing career, will now have to galvanize the squad ahead of two crucial qualifications in June and quickly imprint his tactical ideas and plan in a short amount of time. During his time at Chelsea, Clarke won the FA Cup, League Cup, and UEFA Cup Winners Cup between 1987 and 1998. He was also assistant coach under Jose Mourinho and played a key role in some of their most successful seasons.