Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP

MLS Snapshots: Crew SC 4-4 Impact; Toronto FC 1-0 FC Dallas

Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): After two months of sputtering out of the starting blocks, Columbus Crew SC are without a doubt back to their old selves following a 4-4 draw with the Montreal Impact at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday. Not only were the Black and Gold a counter-attacking terror through last year’s scorer of 22 goals, Kei Kamara (two goals), but they were an all-too-familiar disaster defensively, shipping a 4-1 lead in favor of the all-fours final scoreline. After the game, Kamara went nuclear on his team and his teammates (and continued and continued) after he was denied the opportunity to complete his first career hat trick from the penalty spot. As for Montreal, the Didier Drogba-Ignacio Piatti partnership is simply delightful and a big reason why L’Impact remain and will continue to reside at or near the top of the Eastern Conference all season long.

[ MORE: Previewing the weekend in MLS ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

16′ — Kamara finishes the alley-oop with ease — At his very best (and with proper service), there’s perhaps no force in MLS more unstoppable than Kamara.

26′ — Piatti curls a beauty far post — Oh. Oh, my.

45+1′ — Kamara powers through Cabrera for 2-1 — See the above comment about Kamara’s physical advantage, again. It’s not just leaping ability, it’s also power and it’s speed as well.

58′ — Piatti dances through the box, cuts it to 4-3 — Piatti is basically a video game at this point. So effortless, and so smooth.

90+3′ — Oduro bags the late equalizer against (one of) his former team(s) — Good for you, Dom Oduro, celebrating a late equalizer like you just don’t care. To be fair, more than a third of the league’s teams are his former teams, so…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ignacio Piatti

Goalscorers: Kamara (16′, 45+1′), Piatti (26′, 58′), Higuain (48′, 52′ – PK), Drogba (57′ – PK), Oduro (90+3′)


The game in 100 words (or less): Toronto FC survived their eight-game road trip to start the 2016 season, passing the test with flying colors (11 points from eight games). On Saturday night, the Reds christened the new BMO Field with a home-opening victory over one of the favorites to take the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup this season, FC Dallas. Tsubasa Endoh scored the game’s only goal (assist courtesy of Sebastian Giovinco, but you probably already knew that). As for FCD, that’s three straight losses for Oscar Pareja’s side, dropping the former Western Conference leaders off the top spot. The victory sees TFC move to within a point of Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact (who have played a game more, and played at home before this weekend). The East’s road to MLS Cup runs through Canada, no doubt about it.

[ MORE: Previewing the weekend in MLS ]

Three moments that mattered

26′ — Giovinco smashes the crossbar from 30 yards — Giovinco had no business having a go from 30 yards out at such an angle, but then again Giovinco should always have a go no matter where he’s at on the field.

28′ — Endoh takes it down, slots past Gonzalez for 1-0 — Endoh did it all on the game’s opening goal, collecting a brilliant ball over the top from Giovinco and picking his spot inside the far post oh so well.

66′ — Irwin saves Castillo’s one-on-one effort — You’d expect a player of Fabian Castillo’s caliber to put a chance like this away, but Clint Irwin has quietly been on of the best goalkeepers in MLS this season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Michael Bradley

Goalscorers: Endoh (28′)

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

AC Milan
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

UEFA Champions League
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

Leave a comment

Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]