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MLS roundup: Rooney, Audi Field debut and DCU win

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It was a wild night in MLS action — even by Major League Soccer’s lofty standards of weirdness — headlined by the debuts of Wayne Rooney and Audi Field in Washington, D.C., Orlando City SC winning a game, and Sporting Kansas City’s ongoing slide down the Western Conference standings.

[ MORE: World Cup final preview — France vs. Croatia ]

D.C. United 3-1 Vancouver WhitecapsFULL HIGHLIGHTS

Rooney and Audi Field were meant to be the stars of the night, and they will ultimately be remember as such, but Alphonso Davies did everything in his power to steal the headlines. Despite the fact his Whitecaps were 3-0 down late in second-half stoppage time, Davies scored one of the goals of the season after taking on a trio of United defenders at the corner of the penalty area.

Yamil Asad’s opening goal, the first in the history of Audi Field, wasn’t half-bad either, and at some point on Saturday, United morphed into Barcelona (Lite) and shredded the Vancouver defense with a pair of tiki-taka sequences for a second and third goal.

As for Rooney, he was quite good. The 32-year-old notched an assist on goal no. 3 (Paul Arriola) and was pretty clearly the sharpest, quickest-thinking player on the field. His speed of play — receiving the ball, reading the field and getting rid of the ball — was phenomenal and he stood out as the best player on the field during his 32-minute shift.

New York Red Bulls 3-2 Sporting Kansas CityFULL HIGHLIGHTS

Sporting KC, without the like of Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Felipe Gutierrez (in the starting lineup) or a natural left back, were in a strong position to secure a quality result away from home, but came away empty handed after conceding a pair of late goals at Red Bull Arena.

Bradley Wright-Phillips put the home side ahead after just four minutes, but the lead last only as long as it took to establish it, as Johnny Russell scored for a second game in a row to make it 1-1.

Six minutes into the second half, Roger Espinoza smashed his own Goal of the Week nominee past Luis Robles to put Peter Vermes’ side ahead and, it appeared briefly, in position to snap a three-game winless skid.

It wasn’t to be, though, as Marc Rzatkowski scored twice in quick succession — in the 72nd and 79th minutes — to punish Sporting’s shorthanded defensive unit and give the Red Bulls a much-needed boost and first victory under new head coach Chris Armas. The win sends New York to 35 points, five clear of fourth-place Columbus in the East, and keeps them within touching distance (five points back) of both Atlanta and New York City with a pair of games in hand. Sporting, meanwhile, remain third in the West, five points back of first-place FC Dallas.

Orlando City SC 2-1 Toronto FCFULL HIGHLIGHTS

It’s been a rollercoaster season for Orlando, who won six straight games between the end of March and the start or May, then lost nine straight immediately thereafter. Jason Kreis was fired as a result, and now — after more than two months without a win, or a point — the Lions are winners again. Somehow, some way, they are only five points out of sixth place in the East.

Toronto, on the other hand, are 11 points back and with each passing game and draw/defeat, they must overcome an even taller task just to return to the playoffs a year after winning MLS Cup.

Chris Schuler scored the opener in the 34th minute and Dom Dwyer made it 2-0, which turned out to be the game-winning goal, three minutes into the second half. Nick Hagglund’s 94th-minute tally was merely a footnote on a relief-filled night at Orlando City Stadium.

New England Revolution 2-3 LA GalaxyFULL HIGHLIGHTS

In a battle of two teams about which no one understands anything after more than half of the season, the LA Galaxy made the most of the 67 minutes playing with a man advantage… by scoring in the 92nd and 93rd minutes to overcome a 2-1 deficit and win 3-2 at Gillette Stadium.

Cristian Penilla was sent off after 23 minutes, but Diego Fagundez and Luis Caicedo had Brad Friedel‘s side 2-1 ahead at halftime (Chris Pontius made it 1-1 at one point). No more goals were scored until Dave Romney made it 2-2 in the 92nd and Pontius completed the scoring in the 93rd. Just like Sigi Schmid drew it up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic not making the trip to Foxborough.

Minnesota United 3-2 Real Salt LakeFULL HIGHLIGHTS

Darwin Quintero has singlehandedly made Minnesota not only watchable, but downright delightful to watch. At some point, MLS goalkeepers are going to remember that he’ll go for the chip, and he’ll probably beat them with it.

After the game, RSL head coach Mike Petke delivered another all-time great MLS rant. Speaking about the inconsistencies with video-assistant review (VAR), Petke hit every high note in perfect pitch (watch until the very end, please, we beg of you).

Elsewhere in MLS action

Montreal Impact 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes
New York City FC 2-0 Columbus Crew SC
FC Dallas 3-1 Chicago Fire
Colorado Rapids 0-0 Houston Dynamo

NYCFC shut down Rooney, DCU for first win (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): New York City remedied their rocky start to the 2019 season with a Sunday stroll through Audi Field and three points. D.C. United, on the other hand, looked a sad shell of their former selves, the side hotly picked to represent the Eastern Conference in MLS Cup 2019. Alexandru Mitrita and Heber bagged the goals for Domenec Torrent’s side, which has lost just once in seven games to start the season and suddenly sits a point outside the East’s seven playoff places. Heber stole the spotlight in his first MLS start, bagging NYCFC’s second goal and notching a secondary assist on their first. Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta were mostly held in check, outside of set-piece opportunities, in large part to a formational switch by Torrent: he opted for three center backs including 18-year-old academy product James Sands.

[ MORE: Everton pummels Manchester United (video) ]

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Mitrita scores through a sea of legs — Mitrita gets a bit lucky when his shot deflects off the leg of Frederic Brilliant, but United’s defending as a whole is far too lax to begin the sequence.

45’+4 — Moralez’s penalty smashes off the post, keeps DCU alive — When it happened, Maxi Moralez’s missed penalty kick appeared to be the second chance United needed to get back into the game. Alas…

56′ — Heber rifles inside the far post to make it 2-0 — United’s lifeline lasted all of 11 game-minutes, as they were slow to react to a simple ball over the top. Heber made the most of his first real look at goal, from a tight angle.

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Man of the match: _______

Goalscorers: Mitrita (35′), Heber (56′)

Dortmund hammer Freiburg but gain no ground on Bayern

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Borussia Dortmund moved back within one point of Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich with a 4-0 win against Freiburg on Sunday.

[ LA LIGA: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of 2nd ]

Dortmund went ahead in the 11th minute when 19-year-old Jadon Sancho scored from the six-yard box after a run by Marco Reus. It was Sancho’s 11th Bundesliga goal this season.

Dortmund added three after the interval with goals from Reus, Mario Gotze and Paco Alcacer with a penalty.

[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]

In the day’s other game, Hertha Berlin was held 0-0 at home by bottom side Hannover, which ended an eight-game losing streak.

On Saturday, Bayern beat Werder Bremen 1-0.

With four rounds left, Bayern leads with 70 points, Dortmund has 69 and Leipzig is third with 61.

La Liga: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of second

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]

Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao

Karim Benzema bagged a hat trick (WATCH HERE) — his 19th, 20th and 21st goals of the league season (second-most, 12 behind Lionel Messi) — to send Real Madrid to a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result also keeps Los Blancos within four points of capital rivals Atletico Madrid in something of a battle for second place behind runaway leaders Barcelona.

Benzema has scored 10 goals in his last seven La Liga appearances, a run in which Madrid have complied a 5W-1D-1L record. Benzema failed to score in Zinedine Zidane’s re-debut as Madrid manager, but has scored eight goals in five games since.

Sunday’s game marked the 300th league appearance for midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in a Real Madrid shirt.

Getafe 3-0 SevillaWATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sevilla’s hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League following a one-year hiatus took a serious hit on Sunday, as Pablo Machin’s side was hammered by Getafe, the side which now occupies fourth place, two points ahead of them. Getafe continue to enjoy their meteoric rise through the Spanish ranks, as they were competing in the second division this time two years ago.

Two of the three goals the scored on Sunday came from the penalty spot, as Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina converted in the 35th and 45th+4′, respectively. Molina completed the scoring eight minutes into the second half.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Valencia
Levante 2-2 Espanyol
Villarreal 2-1 Leganes

PSG wins French league after second-place Lille fails to win

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PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain clinched the French league title without kicking a ball as second-place Lille could only draw 0-0 at Toulouse on Sunday.

Lille had to win to have any chance of catching PSG, but PSG is now 16 points ahead of its only rival with five matches left after this weekend.

After failing to clinch the title in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG can celebrate the eighth title in its history ahead of its home game against Monaco later Sunday.

It is PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons, with only Monaco in 2017 breaking PSG’s dominance.

Although the title was long expected from a side scoring 92 goals in 32 games so far, it took longer than it should have.

PSG could have won it three games ago, but drew 2-2 at home to Strasbourg when a win would have clinched it.

Then PSG needed a draw at Lille last Sunday, only to lose 5-1 in the club’s heaviest defeat since Qatari investors QSI took charge of the club in June 2011.

A win away to Nantes would have sufficed, too, on Wednesday night only for PSG to lose 3-2 .

The 10 goals conceded in those three games made for PSG’s worst defensive record during a three-game spell since 1985.

Also Sunday, striker Kalifa Coulibaly scored twice as 13th-place Nantes beat 17th-place Amiens 3-2.

Later, Saint-Etienne needed a draw at Reims to move above Marseille and into fourth place.

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