Nani

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

USOC wrap: Saint Louis, New Mexico knock out MLS sides (video)

Leave a comment

USL sides delivered the drama on Wednesday night and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup got five more quarterfinalists to join Atlanta United and Minnesota United.

Still to come Thursday, LAFC and San Jose will decide the eighth slot and a date with Portland Timbers.

[ MORE: VAR will not review GKs on PKs in PL ]


DC United 1-2 New York City FC

Wayne Rooney‘s 32nd minute goal gave the hosts a lead which would only last six minutes, as Alexandru Mitrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi made it 2-1 before halftime on the way to an away win at Audi Field.

Portland Timbers 4-0 LA Galaxy

Three goals in nine first half minutes helped spring Portland to an easy win over disinterested LA. Guillermo Barros Schelotto didn’t bring the majority of his first choice stars to Oregon, and the Timbers routed their Western Conference opposition to the tune of a 19-7 edge in shots.

Saint Louis FC 1-0 FC Cincinnati

They won’t be forgetting this any time soon; Saint Louis got a stoppage time goal from Sam Fink against their old USL rivals to book a place in the USOC quarterfinals.

Orlando City 2-1 New England Revolution

What began with stars on the bench and a 0-0 score line through 90 minutes really escalated quickly in extra time. Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele gave Orlando a 2-0 lead through 15 minutes of extra time, but Carles Gil set up Justin Rennecks early in the second frame to up the drama. Ultimately, Nani‘s men had enough despite New England’s 22 shots.

FC Dallas 1-2 New Mexico United

FC Dallas took the lead through U-20 World Cup star Brandon Servania, but Kevaughn Frater scored again, and ex-Colorado Rapids draft pick Sam Hamilton added the match winner.

Ellis squashes notion of USWNT ducking France in knockouts

Getty Images
1 Comment

In a move that shocked nobody, United States head coach Jill Ellis confirmed that her squad will not be easing off the gas to avoid France in the knockout stages of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The two powerhouse teams are expected to meet in the quarterfinals, should all prior results go as expected. For Ellis, if there are any slips before that meeting with the host nation to veer off that collision course, it certainly won’t be intentional.

“I struggle to tell my team not to tackle in training the day before,” Ellis joked during Saturday’s pre-match media conference, explaining if she can’t get her team to take it easy in practice, there’s no way she could get them to go half speed during a game. “I think at this point it’s making sure your focus is on yourself and your performance and you put yourself in the best position to advance in this tournament. For us, it’s making sure that we play as well as we possibly can and win the game.”

The United States has Chile next on its radar, a team that fell 2-0 to Sweden in its first match of the group stage and has not won a single game since a 5-0 beating of Peru in the first round of the 2018 Copa America Feminina over a calendar year ago. It’s possible the United States rotates the squad in that game, but it will not be to throw the game. Instead, Ellis may look to ease the burden on her more delicate legs.

“We want to make this a long tournament,” Ellis said. “To do that, we certainly know it’s going to take a lot of physical effort and output from every single one of those players.”

For Ellis, she needs her players in the right place mentally, and there’s no room for shenanigans at that level.
“My job right now is to obviously prepare them for games, but it’s also to keep them in a good space,” she said. “That’s everything from how we are in training, to the things that we do, to meetings, to just making sure they have time with their families. Everything kind of has to come together in terms of making sure that the mindset is right. It’s about healthy players., and a very good mindset is a big part of teams who win championships.”

After Chile, the U.S. will clash with Sweden in a game that is expected to decide the top spot in Group F. The winner of Group F is expected to meet the winner of Group A – the host nation France’s group – in the quarterfinals in Paris on June 28.

MLS roundup: Red Bulls, Orlando, Atlanta all win big

Associated Press
Leave a comment

A full slate of Major League Soccer games came our way on Champions League final day, so if you missed any of the action while Liverpool secured the European crown. There was plenty of movement made, with the Eastern Conference getting a new leader for a short time and the West seeing a number of playoff teams go down.

Atlanta United 2-0 Chicago Fire

Josef Martinez is back to scoring in bunches and the defending champions was back on top of the Eastern Conference – for a short time – as they beat Chicago 2-0. Martinez scored his second brace in a row, giving the Venezuelan six goals in his last five games and into double digits on the full league season with 10.

The clean sheet is also the second straight for the club and eighth on the year, helping to bounce back from a two-game losing streak to temporarily claim the top spot in the conference (D.C. United since jumped back on top, but Atlanta closed the gap to just one point). Frank De Boer‘s back line looks to be gaining traction, conceding just three goals over the last nine matches.

NY Red Bulls 4-0 Real Salt Lake

RSL’s road woes continue as they were trounced at Red Bull Arena. The game was 0-0 at the break, but a 58th minute own-goal broke the deadlock and it got out of hand as Daniel Royer doubled the lead a minute later, Michael Murillo made it three on a deflection, and Omir Fernandez capped it off with seven minutes to go.

The win leaves New York unbeaten in five and pushed them to fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points off the leaders.

Montreal Impact 0-3 Orlando City

Orlando City went on the road and got a massive win over a playoff team as they got all three in the first half and held on from there. Nani opened the scoring from the spot for his 100th career goal, while Tesho Akindele tapped in at the back post past the half-hour mark for the second and Will Johnson’s diving header capped off a beautiful flowing move for the third minutes before the break.

The win broke a 4-game duck against the Impact for Orlando City and avenged a 3-1 loss at home earlier in the season. Montreal managed just a single shot on target out of its nine total efforts, without Ignacio Piatti for the first time in what will be a long injury layoff.

D.C. United 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes

D.C. United maintained its spot atop the Eastern Conference, but the gap is now just a single point as the home side was forced to come from behind to secure a draw against San Jose. Chris Wondolowski can’t stop scoring after setting the career MLS goalscoring record, bagging a goal for the third straight match with his 37th minute header, assisted by USMNT call-up Nick Lima.

That forced D.C. to play from behind, and they earned a draw on Luciano Acosta’s 67th minute equalizer, with the 25-year-old pouncing on a save spilled by Daniel Vega. There were 36 total shots ripped off by the two teams combined and 12 of them on target, but the two goalkeepers combined for 10 saves.

Columbus Crew 2-2 NYCFC

The home side blew a pair of leads in a 2-2 draw with NYCFC. Gyasi Zardes struck from the spot in the 28th minute, and again Columbus took the lead in the 61st minute when Pedro Santos was left all alone at the far post. It wasn’t enough though, as Valentin Castellanos blasted a long-distance rip to equalize with 14 minutes to go.

The draw spoiled Zack Steffan’s sendoff with Columbus with the goalkeeper headed to U.S. national team duty before departing on a transfer to Manchester City. It also kept Columbus from moving into a playoff position, potentially jumping three teams with a win.

Houston Dynamo 1-1 Sporting KC

Two goals six minutes apart shared the spoils in Houston as the Dynamo fail to keep pace with the Western Conference leaders. Sporting KC jumped in front in the 63rd minute as Yohan Croizet chipped a charging Joe Willis on the break to open the scoring. Houston pulled back level in the 69th minute with a fabulous volley that found the top corner, but they were unable to finish the full comeback.

That left Houston in fourth in the West, three back of third-placed Seattle and four behind the second-placed LA Galaxy. Sporting KC also missed a big opportunity to pull closer to the playoff positions, currently in 10th with 15 points. Kansas City has just one league win since late March, leaving them four points back of a playoff spot.

Colorado Rapids 3-1 FC Cincinnati

The Rapids shook off a 72nd minute visiting equalizer to claim a critical victory and pull two points from dragging themselves off the bottom of the East, beating fellow basement-dwellers FC Cincinnati 3-1.

With the hosts holding a 1-0 lead, Kekuta Manneh came off the bench to level the score in the 72nd minute, but that lasted just a single minute as Colorado went back in front via Nicolas Mezquida. The winning goal came from a tight angle to the right, with the shot clattering off the hands of goalkeeper Spencer Richey. Diego Rubio put the game away with eight minutes remaining with a header off a corner. Cincinnati would have pulled off the bottom of the East with a win, but instead it’s Colorado who earns the spoils to pull within two points of Portland.

FC Dallas 2-0 Seattle Sounders

A pair of own-goals five minutes apart has FC Dallas up 2-0 at the break. The first came off Xavier Arreaga as Ryan Hollingshead delivered a header in the 33rd minute, and soon after Brad Smith deposited one into his own net on a Michael Barrios cross.

Portland Timbers 0-0 LAFC

The late Saturday night start is just under way at Providence Park.

LA Galaxy moves third in West with 1-0 win over Orlando

Associated Press
Leave a comment

A Jonathan dos Santos howitzer was enough to give the LA Galaxy a 1-0 win over Orlando City at home to move them into third place in the Western Conference standings.

The win not only boosted the Galaxy back up the standings but also stopped a brutal four-game losing skid that had threatened to erase the fabulous winning start to the season. It marks the club’s first clean sheet since a 0-0 draw with Minnesota United in late April.

The winner came in the 19th minute, a blast for his second goal of the season and first since mid March.

The clean sheet did not come easily. Dave Bingham stopped a Nani penalty in the 32nd minute after dos Santos tackled Sebastian Mendez in the area. Perry Kitchen – off the bench for his 2019 debut – was on hand to clear off the line after Bingham whiffed on a 68th minute Sacha Kljestan cross, while Bingham came up big three minutes later to stop a header by Chris Mueller off a corner.

Los Angeles’s victory moves them to 25 points, one behind Seattle who has a game in hand, and two ahead of Houston who has played three fewer games. For Orlando, they remain on 15 points, good for 10th in the East.

Nani scores twice as Orlando City thrashes FC Cincinnati

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nani may not be the star he once was while he played for Manchester United, but he’s still making a powerful impact in MLS.

The Portuguese international scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season as Orlando City ran circles expansion side FC Cincinnati, winning 5-1. Along with Nani, Tesho Akindele scored a brace and Dom Dwyer came off the bench and scored a header in the win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Aside from having a chance to record a big win over a struggling side, Orlando City may have been ultra motivated on Sunday. Orlando City manager James O’Connor has history with FC Cincinnati from his time at Louisville City, with intense rivalry matches taking place as well as arguments between O’Connor and former FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch on the sidelines.

FC Cincinnati actually went up early with a Darren Mattocks finish past Brian Rowe, but it didn’t take long for Orlando City to respond. Akindele fired home from 20-yards out in the 37th minute to make it 1-1. Early in the second half, Nani scored on a penalty kick rebound to make it 2-1 to the hosts, and then he added a second off a cross from the right to blast the game wide open.

With the win, Orlando City moved just one point outside of a playoff place, while Cincinnati remains in the basement of the Eastern Conference. However, Orlando City has a difficult road ahead, with matches against the LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact and D.C. United to come.