AP Photo/Troy Wayrynen

Three things learned from Portland, RSL

Leave a comment

Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Providence Park.

[ MORE: Previewing MLS Week 3

Here’s a look at what we learned from an enthralling encounter in Oregon.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage 

Three Four Five things learned

Plata hammers a free kick past Kwarasey — Joao Plata scored the third free kick of the night in MLS, and Adam Kwarasey had absolutely no chance of getting a hand on this one. Hit, and stayed hit. Plata is capable of providing the X factor for RSL and this was a reminder of his incredible talent. The side from Utah need him to do this on a regular basis going forward.

Beckerman sees deserves red to put RSL in trouble… or so we thought — Kyle Beckerman was a bit late, went over the top of the ball and went studs up into the planted foot/ankle of Fanendo Adi. Check, check and check — that’s a red card. A player of Beckerman’s experience should know better and you can easily argue that his rash challenge cost his team two points.

[ MORE: Standings | Stats | Schedule ]  

Movsisyan stuns everyone, gets in behind to make it 2-0 — Down a man? Who cares? Certainly not Yura Movsisyan, who robbed Nat Borchers blind and went all the way to give 10-man RSL a 2-0 lead. Movsisyan rolled back the years to put RSL ahead and stun the home fans in Portland.

Adi steps up to spark the comeback — Dairon Asprilla nearly scored the beautiful chip, but came up with only woodwork. Fortunately for the Timbers, the ball fell to the feet of Adi, who slotted it past Nick Rimando as any decent poacher should do. Adi has been the man on the spot and is becoming a game changer for the Timbers.

Olave elbows Adi, sees red, gives away PK — As a 34-year-old veteran, you simply can’t do things like this. You especially can’t do things like this on the road, clutching a one-goal lead, playing down a man. Brace for Adi.

Salah returns to Egypt starting lineup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A familiar name returned to the starting lineup for Egypt on Tuesday afternoon.

Egypt named star Mohamed Salah in its starting XI, after resting Salah in Egypt’s 1-0 defeat to Uguruay on June 15. Salah has been recovering from an injured shoulder that he suffered during the UEFA Champions League final in late May.

Salah makes his World Cup debut now against the host nation, Russia, at 2:00 p.m.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


Senegal hold off late charge, defeat Poland on controversial goal

Getty Images
1 Comment

Two matches, two upsets.

For the second time on Tuesday, an underdog took down a favorite as Senegal defeated Poland, 2-1, with the game-winning goal decided in controversial fashion.

In the 60th minute, M’baye Niang was waved onto the field by the referee while the ball was still in play in the middle of the field, and Niang raced on to the end of a Gregorz Krychowiak backpass that stunned the Poland defense. Niang arrived at the pass a second quicker than goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, allowing the Senegal winger to score into an empty net.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The VAR checked the goal but it was allowed, as it was a subjective decision of the referee to allow Niang back on the field following an injury, and not a clear and obvious error.

Senegal took the lead in the first half on the counter attack. With Poland slow in transition, Sadio Mane found Idrissa Gueye in space at the top of the box. After two touches, Gueye fired a strike to the far post in the 37th minute that took a wicked deflection off Poland defender Thiago Cionek and left Szczesny helpless.

Poland struggled all game against the pace and physicality of Senegal and the Lions of Teranga were very smart in controlling possession and switching the field, forcing the Poland squad to tire quickly.

Krychowiak did breathe some life into the game with a header goal off a free kick in the 86th minute, but despite some poor clock management from Senegal, its defense was able to hold off Poland’s last-ditch chance to tie the game, going level with Japan on three points at the top of Group H.

Report: Blatter to attend Portugal vs. Morocco as guest of Putin

Getty Images
1 Comment

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is still in the middle of an eight-year ban from the organization he once ran.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to miss out on some of the World Cup action, live in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

BBC journalist Richard Conway reported early Tuesday that Blatter is set to watch Portugal vs. Morocco in Moscow as a guest of Russian president Vladimir Putin. The 82-year-old would normally not be able to sit in the presidential box due to his FIFA ban, though he likely could attend matches with a regular ticket like the vast majority of soccer fans.

Just four years ago, Blatter was president during the 2014 World Cup, one that was marred by corruption scandals in addition to the corruption scandals surrounding the World Cup bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

His reign of power at FIFA finally came to an end on June 2, 2015, when he resigned following an embarrassing month for FIFA in which many of its members were arrested in a joint-raid between the Swiss authorities and the FBI.

Blatter was eventually handed an eight-year ban from FIFA’s ethics committee for an “unauthorized payment” of $2 million from Blatter to Michel Platini, the former France star and FIFA vice president who was also handed an eight-year suspension.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Fekir negotiations back on; Chelsea waiting on transfer targets; and more

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Could Liverpool get its star attacking midfield target after all?

That’s what seems to be the case, as the agent for Lyon and France midfielder Nabil Fekir told French TV channel LCI Monday evening that negotiations aren’t over between Liverpool and Lyon.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

“He didn’t sign because um… it is not over! This is not the end of the story,” Fekir’s agent, Jean-Pierre Bernes reportedly said.

It was just two weeks ago when Lyon president Jean-Michael Aulas stated that Fekir, Lyon’s captain, would remain with the club for the upcoming season, after negotiations with Liverpool fell through. According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds wanted a second opinion on a previous knee injury, and had balked at the $70 million price tag.

But now it appears Liverpool and Aulas could still be in conversations to try and find a mutually accepted fee.

At the same time, stirring up transfer drama is in Bernes interest, as it could drive other teams into the race to sign Fekir and raise his transfer fee, meaning more money to him, Fekir (if he gets a cut) and Lyon. Watch this space for more to come during and after the World Cup.

Here’s some more transfer rumors from across the Premier League and Europe: