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MLS Snapshot: Martinez, Dwyer, Larin score all 6 in ATL, ORL thriller

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The game in 100 words (or less more): First of all, let’s start with the numbers and get those out of the way. In three games at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, there have been 16 goals scored (13 by the home side, Atlanta United). Seven of those 16 goals have been scored by Josef Martinez (16 in 14 games this season), including three more (his second straight hat trick, joining Eddie Johnson and Robbie Keane as the only players in MLS history to achieve the feat) in Saturday’s breathtaking 3-3 draw with Orlando City SC.

On the other side, Dom Dwyer bagged his first two goals for Orlando City, while Cyle Larin also got his name on the scoresheet to bring his season tally to a dozen. While the six goals were certainly thrilling for the new MLS-record 70,425 fans in attendance, the result is hardly ideal for Atlanta (43 points), who so desperately needed to make good on their games in hand. With seven games left to play, Tata Martino’s side sits fifth in the Eastern Conference, just two points back of the Chicago Fire (with a game in hand), and seven back of second-place New York City FC. Orlando, meanwhile, remain ninth in the East, six points back of the sixth and final playoff place.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — TFC’s Shield chase continues in LA ]

Three Four Five Six moments that mattered

10′ — Dwyer heads home at a near-impossible angle — It took him seven appearances and 445 minutes, but Dwyer has his first goal since being traded to Orlando at the end of July.

36′ — Martinez taps home at the back post for 1-0 — Julian Gressel did the really hard part, keeping the ball in play and somehow sliding it past Joe Bendik. Martinez arrive to the right place at the right time, and it was 1-1.

39′ — Dwyer does it again, puts Orlando back ahead — 445 minutes for his first goal, but just 29 minutes for his second. 99 percent of strikers are streaky scorers, and Dwyer has never been any different.

55′ — Martinez rises above to head ATL level — Chris McCann’s cross begs to be headed into the back of the net, and Martinez duly obliges.

58′ — Larin heads home Dwyer’s cross to restore the lead — Scorer turns assister, as Dwyer floats the ball to the back post for Larin.

69′ — Martinez slots home at the near post for 3-3 — Martinez explodes into the space as he races to get onto the end of Hector Villalba’s cross. Terrible recognition on the defense’s part, and brilliant movement by Martinez.

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Man of the match: Josef Martinez

Goalscorers: Dwyer (10′, 39′), Martinez (36′, 55′, 69′), Larin (58′)

LIVE — USMNT seeks ‘payback’ v. Canada in CONCACAF Nations League

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The USMNT’s CONCACAF Nations League hopes are on the line when it meets Canada in Orlando at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.

[ FOLLOW: USMNT on Twitter ]

The Yanks seek to avenge a 2-0 loss to the Canucks in Toronto last month, one that heaped pressure on coach Gregg Berhalter.

If the USMNT fails to win on Friday, a match Canada also needs for its World Cup qualifying hopes, it will bow out of the tournament before the semifinal round.

There’s no place for DeAndre Yedlin in the back line, as Tim Ream‘s been chosen to play right back with a center back pairing of John Brooks and Aaron Long. Sergino Dest starts on the right.

The midfield will have Jackson Yueill lying deep, with Weston McKennie and Sebastian Lletget also getting the call.

Gyasi Zardes starts at center forward with Jordan Morris and Paul Arriola on the wings.

EURO qualifying wrap: Sweden joins Finland in qualifying

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Finland and Sweden have qualified for EURO 2020 after posting big wins on Friday, the former doing it at home to relative minnows Liechtenstein while the latter scored an impressive win away to Romania.

[ WATCH: G. Jesus’ comical penalty miss ]


Romania 0-2 Sweden

Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison scored first half goals as Sweden qualified for its sixth-straight EURO. Both are having decent starts to the club season. The veteran Berg has scored five times for Krasnodar, while the 26-year-old Quaison has scored four times for Mainz this season.

Spain 7-0 Malta

The Spanish had seven different goal scorers beginning with Alvaro Morata and Santi Cazorla providing a 2-0 halftime lead. Spain out shot Malta 25-1, with Pau Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, and Gerard Moreno also scoring for an experimental squad.

And what if we told you Jesus Navas scored? Cause he did.

Denmark 6-0 Gibraltar

Christian Eriksen scored twice in the final five minutes after Robert Skov’s brace came sandwiched around Christian Gytkjaer and Martin Braithwaite goals. The Danes climbed to the top of Group D, one point better than the Swiss and three better than Republic of Ireland (who it meets on the last match day).

Switzerland 1-0 Georgia

Granit Xhaka went 90 minutes and Cedric Itten scored the game’s lone goal as the Swiss joined the Danes in climbing above Republic of Ireland.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-3 Italy

The Azzurri were clinical on Friday, with Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne, and Andrea Belotti bagging

Elsewhere
Norway 4-0 Faroe Islands
Finland 3-0 Liechtenstein — RECAP
Armenia 0-1 Greece

WATCH: Gabriel Jesus comically misses penalty; Messi pots winner on Argentina return

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As long as Lionel Messi is on the field, Argentina and Brazil is going to be must-watch no matter the location.

Messi converted a rebound of his own won and saved penalty to score his 69th international goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win in a Saudi Arabia-hosted friendly on Friday.

[ MORE: Finland makes history ]

It was Messi’s first match with Argentina since the summer, when he was banned three months for claiming the 2019 Copa America tournament was fixed for hosts Brazil.

Let’s be real, though: You should be here for this terrible penalty miss from Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian also won his penalty, but his miss was a dreadful dribble wide of the frame. It clicked three boxes of terrible: no direction, no conviction, no technique.

Pique: Griezmann growing into Barca role “little by little”

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This summer, there was plenty of talk that Barcelona’s players wanted Neymar in town and quite the opposite regarding Antoine Griezmann.

The Atletico Madrid star was the player purchased by Barcelona.

[ MORE: Finland makes history ]

Griezmann, 28, has four goals and three assists in 15 matches, but the bulk of that outlay came in two matches and he’s without a goal or assist in the UEFA Champions League.

A bit different from his 21 goals and 10 assists in 48 matches last season, at least on the goals end, but the Frenchman is settling into a new club and city.

While it’s not like his new teammates think he’s garbage, they aren’t sugarcoating their opinion of his transition nor downplaying their lofty opinion of Barca.

Here’s Gerard Pique, via AS.com:

“Real Sociedad and Atlético were teams who played for Griezmann. That’s not the case at Barca, because the level is higher and he has to find his place in the side. Little by little he’s finding it. He’s got the quality and talent for it.”

Pique also blew off Barca’s extra rest before the new El Clasico date, and talked about Leo Messi’scontract talks as well as his relationship with Sergio Ramos. It’s all here.