Leandro Bacuna

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USMNT uninspiring in Gold Cup QF win over Curacao (video)

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The U.S. men’s national team is through to the semifinals of the 2019 Gold Cup, despite having looked even the slightest bit impressive for only 45 of the 360 minutes they’ve played in the tournament.

[ HIGHLIGHTS: USWNT holds off France in riveting quarterfinal ]

Gregg Berhalter’s side did just enough β€” ever so slightly β€” to dispatch a Curacao side which entered as heavy underdogs but grew in confidence as the game wore on, 1-0 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Penn., on Sunday.

Christian Pulisic came within inches of opening the scoring in the 4th minute, but Eloy Room made a spectacular save to tip the ball over the crossbar. Paul Arriola sent the cross in for Pulisic and, though it was a bit behind him, Pulisic got enough on the ball to redirect it on target, but Room was up to the acrobatic task of keeping it out.

Pulisic’s fingerprints were all over the rare moment the Yanks created chances, including the game’s only goal in the 25th minute. After getting the ball out wide, the 20-year-old ran at the defender and cut the ball onto his favored right foot before lifting a delicate, curling cross over the sea of bodies inside the box. Weston McKennie arrived at the back post and the ball had eyes for his forehead, making the finish as easy as Pulisic’s ball was spectacular.

[ MORE: Jill Ellis, Phill Neville at odds over USWNT scoping out England hotel ]

Curacao dominated possession and the sparse number of scoring chances throughout the second half. While they created very little of consequence β€” outside of Leandro Bacuna‘s long-range strike in the 84th minute, forcing Zack Steffen into a desperate save over the bar β€” Curacao was the side that looked supremely comfortable in possession and in control of everything on the field.

The one time the Yanks actually threatened on the counter-attack resulted in Gyasi Zardes having the only decent chance he’d see all night. Arriola broke down the left wing and delivered a perfect cross toward the penalty spot, but Zardes skied his effort without ever looking convincing.

Up next for the USMNT is a semifinal clash with Jamaica β€” far and away the best team they’ve seen at this Gold Cup β€” on Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn.

Cardiff City relegated from Premier League

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  • Cardiff relegated from PL
  • Zaha, Batshuayi, Townsend score for Palace
  • Bluebirds will finish in 18th

Cardiff City’s second season in the Premier League ended the same way as their first: relegation after one season.

Cardiff lost 3-2 to Crystal Palace at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, as the Welsh side are four points from safety with one game to go and Neil Warnock‘s newly-promoted side have joined Fulham and Huddersfield as the three teams who were relegated this season.

With Cardiff’s relegation confirmed, Brighton & Hove Albion are now secured of being in the Premier League for the 2019-20 season.

Wilfried Zaha and Michy Batshuayi scored for Palace, who had handed Cardiff brief hope in the game through Martin Kelly‘s own goal. Then Andros Townsend made it 3-1 before Bobby Reid scored late on to make it 3-2, but that wasn’t enough to save Cardiff.

With the win Palace move on to 46 points for the season, while Cardiff have 31 points and now travel to Manchester United on the final day knowing it will be their last in the top-flight for at least 12 months.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Palace started the game well as Zaha went close and the visitors were soon ahead via their main man. Zaha controlled the ball, cut inside and placed a low finish past Neil Etheridge to put the Eagles 1-0 up as Cardiff’s slow start was punished.

But no sooner had they went behind, Cardiff equalized in bizarre circumstances. Leandro Bacuna whipped a ball into the box which was harmless, but Kelly got his clearance all wrong and shanked the ball into his own net. 1-1. Game on.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]Β 

Batshuayi then scored to regain the lead for Palace, as he played a one-two with Jordan Ayew and then slotted home to make it 2-1 in a frantic first half.

Moments later James McArthur ran down the right and found Zaha who struck a shot at goal but his effort was blocked by his own player Ayew. At the other end Bruno Manga headed over and then Vicente Guaita made a fine stop to deny Bobby Reid, while Palace then went close again but Neil Etheridge saved bravely.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half Palace looked dangerous on the counter, as Cardiff pushed forward to try and save themselves from relegation.

The Bluebirds were causing problems from set piece situations and Josh Murphy somehow shanked his effort wide after Nathaniel Mendez-Laing found him at the back post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Murphy’s shot was blocked and Kenneth Zohore‘s shot was saved by Guaita as Cardiff pushed hard, but that led to Palace scoring another as Townsend’s low strike hit the post and went in to make it 3-1.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing had a shot cleared off the line, then Junior Hoilett missed a great chance as the home side threw everything at Crystal Palace to try and keep their hopes of a dramatic survival alive.

Reid curled home to make it 3-2 late on, but that was how the game finished as the Eagles sent the Bluebirds back down to the second-tier.

Watch Live: Cardiff City v. Crystal Palace

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Cardiff City host Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) and the equation for the Bluebirds is simple.

Neil Warnock‘s men must win to keep their faint hopes of Premier League survival alive, as they are four points behind Brighton with two games to go for both teams but Cardiff have a much worse goal difference compared to Brighton who sit one place out of the relegation zone.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

As for Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson, they will be aiming to finish as high as possible after a fairly comfortable campaign.

In team news Cardiff bring in Josh Murphy, Danny Ward and Bobby Reid for Leandro Bacuna, Junior Hoilett and Oumar Niasse.

Crystal Palace make four changes as Joel Ward, Michy Batshuayi, Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew replace Patrick Van Aanholt, Cheikhou Kouyate, Max Meyer and Christian Benteke.


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Fulham win, Cardiff on the brink (video)

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  • Babel scores winner
  • Third-straight win for Fulham
  • Cardiff 3 points from safety, two games to go

Already-relegated Fulham won a third-straight Premier League game with a shutout as they beat Cardiff City 1-0 at Craven Cottage to push their opponents closer to the drop.

Ryan Babel smashed home an incredible strike to win it for Fulham who impressed throughout, while Cardiff sat back and then pummelled the Fulham goal late on but a combination of Sergio Rico making stops and poor finishing saw the Bluebirds lose.

After a third-straight win Fulham move on to 26 points, while Cardiff have 31 points and face Crystal Palace and Manchester United in their final two games of the season. Neil Warnock‘s side will likely have to win both to stay up, and even then it may not be enough.

[ MORE:Β Watch full PL match replays ]

There was an even start to the game as Sean Morrison went down in the box and appealed for a penalty kick after tussling with Mitrovic.

At the other end Mitrovic was then denied by Neil Etheridge who made a fine save across his goal to deny Fulham’s top goalscorer.

[ VIDEO:Β Premier League highlightsΒ ]Β 

A worrying moment then arrived as Denis Odoi was kicked in the face by his own teammate Maxime Le Marchand and appeared to be knocked out instantly. Odoi was down for almost 10 minutes receiving treatment before being carried off the pitch on a stretcher.

After that lengthy break in play Fulham were the better team as Ryan Sessegnon went close.

[ MORE:Β Latest Premier League standingsΒ ]

Mitrovic spurned a glorious chance at the start of the second half as Tom Cariney picked him out, but the Serbian striker fired way over the bar. At the other end Cardiff started to push men forward as Leandro Bacuna slipped at a vital moment.

Late on Cardiff threw themselves at the ball as Joe Bennett denied Joe Bryan with a great last-ditch tackle. Mitrovic curled another effort just over as Fulham looked the more likely to score and then they did.

[ MORE:Β Full lineups, stats, box scoreΒ ]

Babel curled home a magnificent strike to make it 1-0, as his sensational strike from distance was his fourth goal in his last six games. But that strike sprung Cardiff into life as Sergio Rico saved on multiple occasions.

Bennett went close but Rico saved, then Hoilett hit the crossbar and Rico then denied Bennett, Morrison (twice) and Danny Ward who all should have scored.

Somehow Fulham held on for the win which pushed Cardiff closer to relegation.

Deulofeu leads Watford to win at Huddersfield Town (video)

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  • Deulofeu scores two more
  • Grant pulls one back very late
  • Watford a point clear of 8th place Wolves

Watford reclaimed seventh place through a Gerard Deulofeu brace, as the Hornets won 2-1 at Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.

Karlan Grant scored in stoppage time for the already-relegated Terriers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Deulofeu’s goal was delightful, even if quite aided by Huddersfield’s defense.

The Spaniard dribbled into the box and popped a shot off the inside of the far post for 1-0.

Town was just a step or a touch off all day, despite some lively play from Leandro Bacuna.

Andre Gray and Christoph Schindler nearly came to blows after the striker pestered a ball-bobbling Jonas Lossl in the 59th minute.

Aaron Mooy hit a low shot to Watford keeper Ben Foster in the 63rd.

The Hornets put it to bed as the clock hit 80, with Deulofeu cranking an Abdoulaye Doucoure rebound under Lossl (when in all actuality he was a bit fortunate, as he should have hit it at any other part of the net).

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]