Photo: Columbus Crew SC | @ColumbusCrewSC

MLS roundup: TFC blow 3-0 lead in CLB; SEA lose 3rd straight

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A roundup of, plus a few quick thoughts about, all of Saturday’s action from Week 14 of the 2018 MLS season…

[ MORE: USMNT throws away HT lead, loses 2-1 in Dublin ]

Columbus Crew SC 3-3 Toronto FC

For every instant classic ever played in sports history, there is one fanbase that will rewatch the highlights or full-game replay every time it’s on TV, and one fanbase that will never be able to stomach the sight of such a heartbreaking loss. Despite coming away with a point in the end, Toronto FC’s 3-3 draw away to Columbus Crew SC will haunt fans and players alike as the worst result of the (league) season thus far.

It was 1-0 after 17 minutes (Victor Vazquez, from the penalty spot), 2-0 after 38 minutes (Tosaint Ricketts), and 3-0 after 57 (Sebastian Giovinco’s latest piece of free-kick magic). The three-goal advantage remained intact for nearly 10 minutes, at which point it began to slip away… quickly.

Gyasi Zardes made it 3-1 with his ninth goal of the season in the 67th minute, Alex Crognale halved the remaining deficit in the 81st, and Federico Higuain converted from the penalty spot in the 90th minute to complete the improbable comeback — or, collapse from TFC’s perspective.

The gap between the defending MLS Cup champions and the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, currently occupied by Orlando City SC, is eight points. Crew SC, meanwhile, fall to third in the East due to New York City FC’s resounding win over Orlando.

Real Salt Lake 2-0 Seattle Sounders

The Sounders’ 2018 season is only 11 games old, and already the two-time defending Western Conference champions have lost seven times, including their second three-game losing skid of the year following Saturday’s 2-0 loss away to RSL.

Rookie forward Corey Baird scored his fourth goal of the season in the 57 minute before Luis Silva secure a late insurance policy in second-half stoppage time to extend RSL’s winning run to three games. It’s the first time RSL have won three straight league games since April 2016.

Following a slow start to the season, Mike Petke’s side (22 points) suddenly sits third in the Western Conference, three points behind second-place Los Angeles FC and four back of first-place Sporting Kansas City. Seattle (8 points), on the other hand, must overturn a 12-point deficit separating themselves in 11th place and the Vancouver Whitecaps in sixth.

New York City FC 3-0 Orlando City SC

From winning six in a row to losing four straight, the tide has turned squarely against Orlando. Saturday’s 3-0 thrashing at the hands of NYCFC, who were without David Villa in the starting lineup, was a far more flattering scoreline than the game itself might have deserved.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi continues to score goals, getting two more in the 35th and 79th minutes, and Maxi Moralez grabbed a third in the 87th.

Elsewhere in MLS

Atlanta United 3-1 Philadelphia Union
Portland Timbers 1-1 LA Galaxy
New England Revolution 2-1 New York Red Bulls
FC Dallas 2-1 Los Angeles FC
Montreal Impact 1-0 Houston Dynamo
Chicago Fire 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

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Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

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Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.

Wolves snatch late point versus Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]