AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

USMNT 1-2 Mexico: Marquez the villain as late corner dooms Yanks

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  • Layun ruins the Cero
  • Marquez heads home winner
  • Howard injured
  • Altidore levels

An inspired second half from the United States men’s national team was wasted when Rafa Marquez nodded Miguel Layun’s 88th minute corner home to give Mexico a 2-1 win in the opening match of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualification.

Layun also scored, ensuring there would be no Cero for Mexico in the World Cup qualifier, but Jozy Altidore found Bobby Wood for a second half equalizer at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

[ MORE: Player ratings | Three things ]

Jurgen Klinsmann opened the match in a 3-5-2, and it did not work well at all.

A moment of promise in the fourth minute, as Christian Pulisic led a charge up the middle of the pitch before leaving the ball for Bobby Wood. Unfortunately, Fabian Johnson popped an attempted cross over goal.

The other end saw a neat bit of work from Miguel Layun on Mexico’s left flank end with Javier Hernandez turning the ball wide of Tim Howard‘s right post.

Tim Howard made a fingertip save that saw Jesus Corona’s 10th minute shot hit the far post, and Jozy Altidore then drew a yellow card on Diego Reyes off the counter.

John Brooks picked up the Yanks first yellow card when he chopped down Hernandez in the 15th minute.

[ MORE: Panama, Costa Rica strike first ]

The Yanks finally got an effort on Alfredo Talavera in the 20th minute, but Jozy Altidore didn’t get enough power on his header of Fabian Johnson’s long cross and it stayed 0-0.

The goal came at the other end moments later, as Layun’s shot changed direction off Timmy Chandler to skip of a diving Howard’s gloves and into the goal.

Bobby Wood earned the U.S. a corner minutes later, and Altidore looked set to make it 1-1 until a Mexican intervention inside the six.

Mexico headed a ball off the crossbar through Vela, who outjumped Matt Besler in the center of the pitch only to see his offering bomb off the underside of the bar.

[ MORE: The evolution of Pulisic ]

Timmy Chandler earned a free kick for the United States on the right side in the 33rd minute. Michael Bradley lorded over the offering from 30-plus yards, and Altidore nodded it back into the mix before Pulisic bungled his chance to make it 1-1.

Jones came close to picking up a second yellow as Mexico won a central free kick about 30 yards out, but Giovani dos Santos fired over the goal.

Howard had to come out of the game with a groin injury, and Jurgen Klinsmann used his first sub to bring Brad Guzan into the game in the 40th minute.

Chandler picked up a yellow in the 45th minute.

The U.S. came very close to knotting it up in the first 30 seconds of the second half, with a flubbed volley from Johnson after a Pulisic dribble and cross from the left.

It was a harbinger of what was to come, as Altidore made a tremendous play in the center of the park to hold the ball before playing Bobby Wood between two defenders. Wood got around Talavera, who looked sketchy all night, and it was 1-1 in the 49th.

The Yanks would soon earner a corner through Johnson, but it came to nothing. Another one came courtesy of Wood, but Omar Gonzalez missed a free header. Then a turnover had Michael Bradley and Wood working on one defender, but Bradley inexplicably shot instead of playing Wood 1v1 with Talavera.

Johnson missed a decent chance from 20 yards out, belting a curling shot just over the frame.

Talavera made a good save on Wood’s turn and rip from 16 yards after Altidore chested him Michael Bradley’s free kick.

Altidore tore into a 22-yard free kick that Talavera tipped over the bar for a 78th minute corner kick.

Mexico countered and Johnson made a goal-saving clearance before Hernandez could strike.

El Tri won a late corner, and that’s when they struck. The Yanks failed to mark the back post and Marquez, and the ex-New York Red Bulls mad pushed the ball beyond Guzan for a gut-punching finish.

LINEUPS

USMNT: Howard (Guzan, 40′); Besler (Orozco, 81′), Brooks, Gonzalez, Chandler (Yedlin, 74′), Jones, Bradley, Johnson, Pulisic, Wood, Altidore.

Goal: Wood (49′)

Mexico: Talavera, Reyes (Ayala, HT), Marquez, Moreno, Layun, Guardado (Salcedo, 28′), Herrera, G. Dos Santos, J. Corona, Vela (Lozano, 73′), Hernandez.

Goal: Layun (22′), Marquez (88′)

Silva’s sensational goal highlights Man City win over Palace

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Manchester City scored twice in two first half minutes to dispatch hosts Crystal Palace in a 2-0 win with plenty of flash points at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

City moves back into second place with 19 points, five behind leaders Liverpool who visit Manchester United on Sunday.

Palace will finish the weekend sixth on 14 points.


Three things we learned

1. Fits and starts for odd CB pairing: Pep Guardiola was without an injured Nicolas Otamendi and perhaps not ready to put 90 minutes on returning John Stones, so he deployed center mids Rodri and Fernandinho at center back. There were several dicey moments for the pair, who also did well at times in the clean sheet, but perhaps most glaring was Rodri’s absence from the midfield. He’d go there for the final 10 minutes when Stones subbed into the match. If you doubted that Pep would make his employers open the checkbook in January, this lineup may have settled that for you.

2. VAR is so weird: Wilfried Zaha shoved Kevin De Bruyne to turf with two hands, turning the playmaker on his route to the turf. Anthony Taylor didn’t see it, but hey, that’s why we have VAR, correct? Incorrect. VAR backed up the ref on the field and Palace remained in the match. Truly head-scratching on a bad day for the system.

3. Zaha not all there but shows flashes of brilliance: Crystal Palace’s Ivorian star wants out of South London, and it’s affecting his play. The winger disputes every touch from the opposition — he is fouled a lot — who knows they can get to him. He’s produced just one assist this season, and he simply doesn’t have the right desire to get things done for Roy Hodgson.

But, my, when he’s ready to roar. Zaha had several mazy dribbles in the final third and was denied a smashing goal by a flying Ederson in the 89th minute. It wasn’t enough to offset the headaches, like when he followed referee Anthony Taylor around the pitch begging for a yellow card following a tactical foul.

Man of the Match: Sterling — A killer at both ends, even if he missed a would-be third goal in the 87th.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

City flew out of the gates, and Palace’s heads were spinning over the first 10 minutes despite the reigning champions’ lack of finish.

Palace’s business was in the counter, and Wilfried Zaha raced down the pitch for a chance only to see Fernandinho intervene and cut out the danger in the 19th.

Raheem Sterling made an incredible recovery run to track Zaha after Rodri slipped to the pitch just inside his own half and allowed the Ivorian a path toward glory.

City’s breakthrough came before halftime, as Jesus dove to turn a header off the post and into the goal from a Bernardo Silva cross.

And it was 2-0 within a couple of minutes in marvelous fashion, Sterling scooping a pass over the defense and David Silva spotting the ball in front of him to lash home.

This is sensational stuff.

Joao Cancelo had one of his better performance since joining City from Juventus, and played a 1-2 with Jesus which ended with an amazing save from Wayne Hennesey.

Palace had a vivid spell of possession and nearly pulled one back off a Christian Benteke header which Ederson flew to slap off the crossbar.

At the other end, it should’ve been put to bed when Gabriel Jesus had the ball at the near post and Kevin De Bruyne raced into space for an easy tap-in. Jesus shot instead and was saved.

De Bruyne headed an Ilkay Gundogan pass off the far post with 10 minutes to play.

Zaha saw a rip saved by Ederson, who was fantastic, as time dwindled in South London.

Analyzing a day of VAR drama in the Premier League

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VAR had its most eventful day in the Premier League, so far, as the new technology introduced for this season is still settling in.

My word, the VAR control center at Stockley Park close to Heathrow Airport was busy on Saturday.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Multiple PL games had game-changing moments reviewed by VAR, and there are plenty of players, managers and fans feeling aggrieved, or lucky, as they head home.

Below we take a look at the key moments which shaped the outcome of the Premier League action.


Wolverhampton Wanderers v. Southampton – RECAP

This clash at Molineux had the most VAR decisions of the day, as Raul Jimenez had two goals chalked off in the first half. Both of those decisions were correct, as the first was a handball by Jimenez and the second saw Patrick Cutrone in an offside position. So, VAR was working well. But after Southampton had gone 1-0 up a huge moment arrived and cost them three points. Matt Doherty danced into the box and as he was off balance trying to get his shot off, he fell over with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Maya Yoshida close by. A penalty kick was awarded by the referee on the pitch, Peter Bankes, but the decision then went to VAR with many expecting it to not be awarded. But it was and Jimenez scored to secure a 1-1 draw for Wolves. Southampton were not happy at all with the decision, and you can understand why.


Aston Villa v. Brighton – RECAP

In the end, Aston Villa beat 10-man Brighton 2-1 in stoppage time so this may be forgotten about quickly. But Dean Smith was livid after the game as Conor Hourihane‘s fine strike was ruled out in the first half. With Wesley challenging for the ball in front of the goal, Brighton’s goalkeeper Mat Ryan seemed to run into him when trying to catch the ball. Played went on and after Hourihane’s goal was scored and Villa Park had celebrated, VAR ruled that Wesley had fouled Ryan and the goal was chalked off. It was a baffling decision checked and checked again with a long delay. It was a huge shock that this goal wasn’t allowed to stand after being reviewed.


Tottenham Hotspur v. Watford – RECAP

Okay, this was wildddddddd. In the first half, with Watford 1-0 up, Gerard Deulofeu dribbled into the box and with Jan Vertonghen sliding in, the Spurs defender clearly made contact with Deulofeu. No penalty was awarded by referee Chris Kavanagh but VAR reviewed the supposed foul and gave nothing. How was that not a “clear and obvious error” as contact was clearly made? Spurs got away with another VAR call late on too, as Dele Alli looked to have handled in the box before scoring the equalizer. VAR reviewed the goal and although the referee signalled the goal was fine to stand, which in itself was shocking as the replays showed the ball hitting the top of Alli’s arm, on the big screens at Spurs’ stadium a “No Goal” signal flashed up. It has since been stated that it was a mistake in the system for the screen to show that message, but there was so much confusion and Watford’s players and manager Quique Sanchez Flores were upset the goal stood. Dele Alli was sheepish when asked about the goal after the game, as VAR got two out of two huge goals incorrect in Spurs’ draw with Watford.


Leicester City v. Burnley – RECAP

Now, describing Sean Dyche as being apoplectic with rage is something we do quite often during a PL season. But he and his staff were beyond that as Burnley’s late goal was ruled out at Leicester. Chris Wood thought he had made it 2-2 after bundling home his second of the game, but VAR ruled out the goal for a slight touch on Johnny Evans by Wood. It was a faint clip and coming together between the Burnley striker and Leicester defender with the ball already going in, and the Foxes knew they had got away with one. Dyche was trying to be as diplomatic as he could be after the game but this was a harsh call against Burnley who should have grabbed a point.

Lampard ‘pleased for Pulisic,’ praises subs in Chelsea win

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Frank Lampard‘s fired up on-field response to Chelsea’s resilient 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday carried over to the post-match press conference.

The manager’s subs enabled the Blues to claim all three points, as Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic changed the midfield and helped prod Marcos Alonso‘s second-half winner.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle ]

“Saw a spirit and energy of the team, keep picking up the wins and take nothing for granted,” he said.

“We had a problem in the game, but solved it. Kovacic was outstanding and Christian got at people. I am pleased, we have to play like that. We got our way.”

Lampard was asked specifically about Pulisic, and said the atmosphere around the American star needs to calm down a little bit.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch ]

“I am really pleased for him,” Lampard said. “He is a hot topic. Everyone has got a little carried away. To see him play that way (was good).”

Chelsea will finish the weekend in the Top Five and its favorable run of fixtures continue after the Champions League midweek. The Blues next see Burnley, Watford, and Crystal Palace before its next top-end tilt with Man City.

LIVE — MLS Cup Playoffs begin; Atlanta, Seattle at home

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Reigning champs Atlanta United kick off a four-match docket as the MLS Cup Playoffs begin Saturday around North America.

[ FOLLOW: MLS Cup Playoffs live, box scores, stats ]

Pity Martinez starts on the bench for the Five Stripes, who are without injured USMNT back Miles Robinson.

Two other recent cup champions, Toronto and Seattle, are home later in the day, while Utah is the scene for the final match of the night.

Schedule

Atlanta United v. New England Revolution — 1 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. FC Dallas — 3:30 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. DC United — 6 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake v. Portland Timbers — 10 p.m. ET

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