MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-2 Chicago Fire

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One game in 100 words: Again, New York City FC is lacking the consistent midfield presence to fully utilize the potential of former Barcelona forward David Villa, but regardless, it was an early red card that put NYC in a difficult position. In the second half, down only 2-1, Mix Diskerud and the entire squad was pushing hard for the equalizer, but down a man, one goal, and susceptible to the counterattack, it was far from the ideal match to gain three points for Jason Kreis’ side. However, Villa and Shelton would come up big as time was running thin, and NYC, slotted at eight place in the East with seven points, was able to escape with a point. The Fire moved up to fifth place over Toronto FC, who plays the red-hot Revolution tomorrow.

 

Goals

New York City: Mehdi Ballouchy 45’+1′, Khiry Shelton 90’+1′

Chicago: Razvan Cocis 14′, Jeff Larentowicz 27′

 

Three moments that mattered

14’ — Cocis aware to open scoring with header — Razvan Cocis made a fast diagonal run right when he saw NYC’s defense standing flat-footed as Shaun Maloney wounded up to cross a set-piece effort into the penalty area. Cocis caught the ball on the side of his head, but luckily the ball loopped high into the back of the net, while Josh Saunders was caught far off his line. For the Chicago Fire, it was exactly the start they wanted.

27’ — Red card, PK conversion has Fire sitting pretty — A clear-cut red card was dished out to NYCFC’s RJ Allen after he fouled midfielder David Accam in the penalty area, and Chicago had captured both the man advantage and an easy opportunity for a score. Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz stepped up to the penalty spot and fired right at the middle of the net while New York goalkeeper Josh Saunders dove to his right. Up 2-0, fans at Yankee Stadium fell silent.

90’ + 1’ — Shelton, Villa combine for the late conversion — Anguish for Chicago Fire fans. Jubilation for NYCFC supporters. Khiry Shelton took a feed from David Villa and struck his left-footer tightly into the bottom corner of the net, making it exceedingly difficult for Johnson to stop. The goal was Shelton’s first in MLS, and at this juncture, New York City’s four-game losing streak looked like a thing of the past.

 

NYC: Patrick Mullins (Khiry Shelton 60’), David Villa; Josh Saunders, RJ Allen, Jason Hernandez, Chris Wingert, Jeb Brovsky (Thomas McNamara 79’); Mehdi Ballouchy, Andrew Jacobson, Mix Diskerud, Pablo Alvarez (Shay Facey 30’)

Chicago: Kennedy Igoboananike (Quincy Amarikwa 68’); Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Jeff Larentowicz, Adailton, Joevin Jones; Matt Polster, Razvan Cocis, David Accam (Jason Johnson 88’), Shaun Maloney, Harrison Shipp (Michael Stephens 71’)

La Liga: Real Madrid disappoint in home draw with Valladolid

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Liverpool bests wobbly Arsenal at Anfield | Player ratings ]

Real Madrid 1-1 Real Valladolid

With Barcelona losing on the season’s opening day, and now Real Madrid dropping points on Saturday to the side that finished 16th last season, the 2019 La Liga title race appears to be wide open.

Karim Benzema put Real Madrid 1-0 up after 82 minutes, and Los Blancos appeared to have avoided a disappointing start to their home campaign. However, Sergi Guardiola (no relation to Pep) had other ideas when he bagged an unlikely equalizer in the 88th minute.

Eden Hazard remained out with a thigh injury and the $113-million Belgian isn’t expected to make his Madrid debut until after the season’s international break which takes place the first full weekend of September. James Rodriguez made his return to Real Madrid after two seasons on loan to Bayern Munich, but the Colombian was subbed off after 57 minutes to be replaced by Vinicius Junior.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Celta Vigo 1-0 Valencia
Getafe 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Osasuna 0-0 Eibar

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Mallorca v. Real Sociedad — 11 a.m. ET
Alaves v. Espanyol — 11 a.m. ET
Leganes v. Atletico Madrid — 1 p.m. ET
Barcelona v. Real Betis — 3 p.m. ET

Serie A: Juventus edge past Parma; Napoli-Fiorentina thriller (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: Liverpool bests wobbly Arsenal at Anfield | Player ratings ]

Parma 0-1 Juventus

Juventus’ quest to win a ninth straight Serie A title began with a win away to Parma on Saturday, but only just barely. Giorgio Chiellini scored the game’s only goal in the 21st minute, redirecting Alex Sandro’s half-volley past the goalkeeper after a corner kick wasn’t fully cleared. The victory sets Maurizio Sarri‘s side (Sarri wasn’t in charge of the team on Saturday as he continues to recover from pneumonia) on its way in a season that figures to feature multiple challengers to the throne, with Napoli and Inter Milan each strengthening their squads considerably in the summer. Sarri will also miss out on next weekend’s heavyweight clash between Juve and last season’s runners-up Napoli at Allianz Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal taken off the board after the video-assistant referee picked up on the narrowest of offside calls.

$85-million center back Matthijs de Ligt was named to the bench, where he remained for the entirety of 90 minutes, with veterans Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci preferred to the 20-year-old. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon joined De Ligt on the bench in his return to Juve after spending last season at Paris Saint-Germain.

Fiorentina 3-4 Napoli

Napoli’s 4-3 victory over Fiorentina was a truly wild ride. There is no other way to describe it.

Napoli went from a goal down inside the first 10 minutes, to 2-1 up just before halftime, level at 2-2 in the 52nd minute, 3-2 ahead just four minutes later, level at 3-3 in the 65th, and finally 4-3 ahead just two minutes later.

Dries Mertens (38th), Lorenzo Insigne (43rd and 67th) and Jose Callejon (56th) got the goals for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Hirving Lozano, who joined Napoli for $44 million on Friday, wasn’t yet available to make his debut but will only add another level of quality to what has proven to be an already impressive attacking unit.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Udinese v. AC Milan — 12 p.m. ET
Roma v. Genoa — 2:45 p.m. ET
Sampdoria v. Lazio — 2:45 p.m. ET
Cagliari v. Brescia — 2:45 p.m. ET
Verona v. Bologna — 2:45 p.m. ET
SPAL v. Atalanta — 2:45 p.m. ET
Torino v. Sassuolo — 2:45 p.m. ET

Messi to miss Barcelona’s next game; Suarez, Dembele also out

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona’s squad to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool bests wobbly Arsenal at Anfield | Player ratings ]

Messi returned to training this week after recovering from a right calf injury picked up in preseason, but the Argentina star was not included in the list of players available for the team’s home opener at Camp Nou Stadium.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener last weekend.

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also without forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele because of injuries.

Klopp preens after Liverpool win: ‘Our identity is intensity’

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Liverpool and Arsenal entertained on Saturday, with the Reds earning a deserved 3-1 win and keeping the Gunners off-kilter for most of the day.

Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds pushed the tempo for much of the match and overcame some wobbly moments at the back to cruise to the win.

[ MORE: Liverpool-Arsenal recap | 3 things ]

They were tough, fiery, and deserved every bit of the win. And Klopp knows it, and knows that you know it. From the BBC:

“Our identity is intensity, and we showed that today. … We were a bit surprised by their system. We couldn’t know that they would play a diamond, but we switched things around and coped very well.

“The last 10 minutes I saw the possession – 53 to 47 or something like that – but over 80 minutes it must have been completely different. For 80 minutes we were completely in charge of the game. We are not Disneyland, we do not need to excite everyone in every second.”

This guy is an absolute beauty. Even those who despise him have to admit that we are lucky to have him.

Klopp’s men lapsed late and allowed a Lucas Torreira goal. The defense has been wobbly over the first three weeks of the season, and preseason was just as rough. Klopp would’ve loved a clean sheet for the first time since the first week of preseason, but he’s happy with the performance.

“I would have loved to have it, but things can happen. They’re a quality side, Arsenal. I didn’t see that many chances, but we were really in charge today and completely deserved the win.”

Liverpool is off to Burnley next, and then will enjoy the international break.