Photo: Columbus Crew SC | @ColumbusCrewSC

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

Leave a comment

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

Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

twitter.com/RealMonarchs
Leave a comment

Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

Getty Images
Leave a comment

TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.