Kroenke’s statement on Wenger

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Stan Kroenke has been a mostly hands-off owner for Arsenal over the past 10 years, preferring to put his trust in Arsene Wenger.

But today, with Wenger’s public announcement that he will step away at the end of the season, Kroenke released a poignant statement, calling on the club’s fans around the globe to back the side as it looks to hold on to a place in next season’s Europa League.

[MORE: Reaction to Arsene Wenger’s decision]

“This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” Kroenke said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.

“Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.

“We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game.

“We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”

Kroenke has drawn the ire of many Arsenal fans who had been calling for Wenger to be sacked for years, as the Arsenal board year after year continued to offer Wenger a new contract. It appeared that as long as the club was stable financially, with UEFA Champions League television revenues coming in and the team competing for a top-four Premier League position, the board was content.

However, the last two seasons have seen Arsenal slip, with a record amount of defeats during Wenger’s tenure and a second-consecutive season outside of the Champions League, leading to more lost revenue.

MLS gets new 2nd youngest goal scorer in hilarious fashion (video)

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Gianluca Busio is going to score a lot of goals in his professional career, but the new second-youngest goal scorer in MLS history will find few as memorable as his first MLS goal.

Definitely in terms of hilarity.

[ MORE: USWNT beats Canada ]

The center midfielder, 16, ran onto a Johnny Russell pass and had a gaping goal in front of him during stoppage time of Sporting KC’s 4-1 defeat of Vancouver on Wednesday.

Busio, who recorded assists in both his USL and MLS debuts, just had to tap it into the goal. He did that, just.

Only Freddy Adu (14 years, 320 days) was younger than Busio when he scored his first MLS goal.

“Johnny was working and he outran the dude, worked it, and right when he turned that corner,” Busio said in a post-match interview on Fox Sports Kansas City. “It was him against one defender. I was so happy I almost missed it. I was just so excited, I didn’t know what to do.”

Busio now has a goal and an assist in 153 minutes spread over seven appearances. And Sporting KC moves into second out West with two matches to play.

Lavelle goal leads USWNT to CONCACAF Championship

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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Rose Lavelle’s early goal was enough for the United States women’s national team to seal its eighth CONCACAF Women’s Championship with a 2-0 win over Canada in Texas on Wednesday.

Alex Morgan scored an offside goal in stoppage time, a deserved marker despite the captain’s transgression. The dominant striker has 17 of her 97 national team goals in 2018.

[ MLS: Rooney scores another wonderful goal ]

Both sides had already clinched berths in this summer’s World Cup in France, while Jamaica earned a spot via a third place match win over Panama earlier Wednesday.

The USWNT is 15W-2D in 2018 and in fine form heading into a World Cup year. The last loss came in the 2017 Tournament of Nations.

The game was vicious, with Tobin Heath the target for a number of hard Canadian fouls and Megan Rapinoe responding on behalf of the Americans.

“Obviously, we hate Canada and they hate us,” Rapinoe said after the game on Fox Soccer. “It was very apparent tonight.”

Lavelle sent a second minute loose ball just past the reach of Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.

Seattle clinches unlikely playoff spot with win over Orlando

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Say this for the Seattle Sounders: It’s not wise to write them off.

Brian Schmetzer’s men are going to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 10th straight season after beating Orlando City 2-1 in Florida on Wednesday.

[ MLS: Rooney scores another wonderful goal ]

The Sounders still have an outside look at finishing as high as third in the West, which is wild considering the start of their season.

Seattle lost its first three matches and had a whopping 12 points through 15 games.

They then kicked off a sparking 13-2-2 run which included a nine-match winning streak.

Not a bad goal from Victor Rodriguez, either:

Rooney swerves long free kick around the wall (video)

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Thirty-plus yards is a tricky distance for defending a free kick.

How many guys do you put in the wall in case the shooter has the audacity to shoot?

[ MORE: Henry looks to Pep, Wenger ]

It didn’t matter all that much during Wednesday’s match between DC United and Toronto FC. The shooter was Wayne Rooney, and he curled a fireball around the wall and inside the near post.

The amount of spin on the ball is out-of-this-world, as Rooney and DC aim to gain a four-point advantage over seventh place Montreal with two matches to play.

It’s Rooney’s 10th MLS goal in 18 games. He’s also posted six assists in leading United up the table.