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Dempsey sparks surge, Sounders beat FC Dallas 5-0

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SEATTLE (AP) Andreas Ivanschitz knew a game like this was coming for the Seattle Sounders.

It came in a big way Wednesday night against the best team in MLS.

Clint Dempsey, Ivanschitz and Jordan Morris scored during a 15-minute span of the first half and the Sounders routed league-leading FC Dallas 5-0 to snap a four-game winless streak.

[ MORE: Allardyce, Klinsmann both in England picture ]

Joevin Jones and Cristian Roldan added second-half goals for the Sounders (6-10-2), who started the night with the lowest goal total in the league (14).

Ivanschitz, an Austrian midfielder, helped set up the first goal when his shot led to a Seattle penalty kick, then scored the second, and assisted on the fifth.

“It was a perfect night. It feels great for us,” Ivanschitz said. “After so many games where we ended up losing and were pretty disappointed because we played great and didn’t score, it was a frustrating time for us. But this win tonight is well deserved because we started pretty well, we were on our front foot, we pressed them pretty high, and we finished up our chances.”

Dempsey scored in the 6th minute when he drilled a penalty kick past goalkeeper Chris Seitz for his third goal of the year. The PK was set up when defender Maynor Figueroa was called for an intentional hand ball on a shot by Ivanschitz just outside of the 6-yard box and shown the red card. Dempsey’s kick went high into the right side of the net, with Seitz leaping the opposite way.

That halted a 321-minute shutout streak for Dallas (11-6-4).

Seattle had not scored on its home field since a 2-0 victory against San Jose on May 7 – a drought of 277 minutes.

Ivanschitz increased the lead to 2-0 in the 18th minute. Osvaldo Alonso sent a long through ball toward the top of the penalty area. Ivanschitz and Dallas’ Atiba Harris both went for it, Ivanschitz got there first and chipped a shot over the onrushing Seitz and watched it bounce into the net for his third of the season.

Just four minutes later, Morris pushed it to 3-0 with his team-leading seventh. Dempsey sent a ball into the box, and Morris met it at the top right corner of the 6, sending it into the far left corner.

“It was very important to have those moments to have a good start at home,” Ivanschitz said. “In the last games, we always had the first chances in the game, but didn’t score.”

Jones scored in the 61st, his second of the sesaon, followed by Roldan in the 73rd. Roldan, who played his college ball at nearby University of Washington, notched his first MLS goal.

“We always felt if we got a goal, maybe those floodgates would open up,” said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, whose team hadn’t scored that many since a 6-2 win against Columbus in August 2011. “And they opened up a little bit for us today.”

Dallas coach Oscar Pareja, whose team played its second game in six nights on the road, didn’t start three of his leading scorers: Michael Barrios (six goals), Fabian Castillo (five) and Maximilano Urruti (four). Barrios came in to start the second half, and Castillo entered in the 61st minute.

“We needed to choose tonight. We have a game in three days at home, and we just came from San Jose,” Pareja said. “We have a (U.S.) Open Cup game in the middle of next week, and that’s an important tournament for us, and after that, we have Colorado away.

“Seattle had a lot of intensity and did a lot of good things,” Pareja added. “And for those moments, we couldn’t find the rhythm of the game. We have to give them credit.”

The Sounders also finished with 10 men after Dempsey was sent off in the 34th minute.

Carlos Vela scored a celestial goal. We are blessed to have seen it

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Carlos Vela is making all other spectacular individual MLS seasons look run of the mill.

I mean, look at the gumption on this guy.

[ VIDEO: Rooney sent off, Kamara scores golazo ]

The Cancun-born playmaker left the San Jose Earthquakes back line on the beach with a soft shoe routine to give LAFC its third goal in a 4-0 win on Thursday

Vela, 30, now has 25 goals and 11 assists in 25 league matches for LAFC this season. He added two goals and an assist in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

But this one, yeah, this one takes the cake.

First, there’s Vela’s non-chalant dummy before picking up the pass.

Then, there’s Florian Jungwirth’s body language during and after his being cooked with a nutmeg. That’s an entire mood.

Next, Vela dribbles around the keeper and allows a slide tackler so glide past him before finishing with aplomb, the magic touch his going near post as if to say, “Can I beat this guy a second time, or do I have to use the easier route?”

Diego Rossi also had a goal and an assist, while Mark-Anthony Kaye continued his strong season with an assist to ex-Fiorentina prospect Joshua Perez. It’s a first MLS goal for the California-born Perez, now 21.

WATCH: Rooney sees red for forearm shiver, Kamara scores golazo

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Midweek MLS provided plenty to talk about on Wednesday, with two red cards and a golazo in one match alone.

The two main talking points from the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over DC United weren’t really part of what led the victors to three points.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

How? Well, one of the world’s marquee names earned a red card via VAR and a returning star scores an absolute stunner, that’s how.

Here’s Ola Kamara’s debut marker for the Black-and-Red, adding to a record which included 49 goals in 97 matches between Columbus and the LA Galaxy before moving to the Chinese Super League for a wildly disappointing time with Shenzhen FC.

All of that is forgotten.

As for the Rooney incident, the Red Bulls already led 1-0 when DC’s star striker went forearm shiver on Cristian Casseres Jr.

It’s the second red of the season for Rooney, who is set for Derby County in January.

Amro Tarek was later sent off for the Red Bulls, who moved ahead of DC in the standings. Kaku and Daniel Royer had RBNY’s goals.

Newcastle takeover could be back on if in holiday relegation battle

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How much do Newcastle United supporters dislike their owner Mike Ashley right now?

Enough that this report is likely to condemn many to hoping their favorite club in the world is in the Bottom 3 come Christmas.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas speculates that Ashley will lower his asking price for the club if it is in a relegation fight come December — something that looks certain after the Steve Bruce-led Magpies got bossed around by promoted Norwich City.

Nothing But Newcastle transcribed Douglas’ chatter from his podcast, in which he says,

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear more in December because there are still people sniffing around that football club and if the team are in the bottom three, there’ll be people thinking they can get a bargain out of Mike Ashley again. … He will probably more open to listening to lower offers in January and December which is what happened last December. He was basically saying ‘take it off my hands, you now have to take the risk’'”

This is notable for two reasons. First: the social experiment of wondering how many fans could see themselves rooting for their team to take a major and perilous back step just to see the back of a man they perceive is at the root of their failures (and that perception is widespread in this case).

But second, we can see if this rumor comes true because it’s difficult to imagine Newcastle as comfortably mid table by Christmas.

Fan protests and anger are nothing new, but here’s an effort to show how wobbly Ashley’s reputation is on Tyneside: Fans have taken to selling a black and white striped shirt with player name and number but no sponsor just so they can have a Newcastle jersey that doesn’t put money into Ashley’s pockets. And this is after he broke the club’s transfer record twice in one year.

If we’ve learned anything from the past few seasons, though, it’s that boycotts and anger will spur Ashley into insisting that he’s willing to sell and just conveniently enough it will be before the January transfer window. He “won’t be able to buy any players” with the takeover in play, and talks will hit a wall come late January, when they’ll loan a couple young players from Top Six sides.

Yes he spent significant money on Joelinton, Allen Saint-Maximin, and others this summer, but one decent window doesn’t make a culture. Count us amongst the skeptical, for now.

Messi back in training, could be fit for Betis

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi was back in full training again on Wednesday and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

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

Barcelona has not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday’s match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suarez also isn’t likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday’s game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn’t loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

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