Rooney

Getty Images

DC United back to winning ways with 4-1 rout of FC Cincinnati

Leave a comment

D.C. United hasn’t added too many tick marks to the win column of late, but they got back to victory lane with a 4-1 victory over FC Cincinnati that featured a fantastic second half.

The win is just the club’s second since May 13, and that should give Ben Olsen and company a huge boost as they jump into second place in the East past Atlanta United and move four clear of the fourth-placed New York Red Bulls. With Philadelphia just a single point on top, it’s all to play for despite the nine-match run that saw just one win, now ended by the victory at Cincinnati.

Luis Rodriguez bagged a brace while Wayne Rooney and Paul Arriola added one each to complete the scoreline. The visitors to Nippert Stadium went ahead on the first of Rodriguez’s pair, a curling effort with his right foot that put D.C. United up before halftime.

The home side struck back with a penalty by Emmanuel Ledesma nine minutes after the break, but it took D.C. just two minutes to restore the lead as Rodriguez again came through, this time via a deflection that took the ball into the top-left corner.

Rooney and Arriola were then on hand to put the game away, with the former England international latching onto an exquisite long ball from Leonardo Jara that was presented on a platter for Rooney to split the center-backs and finish cooly for a 3-1 lead. Arriola finished it off with 17 minutes to go, again on the breakaway as the American international burst down the left and finished it himself from a tight angle.

Playing with the lead for most of the second half, D.C. United was happy to let FC Cincinnati hold much of the possession, 57% to be exact. They were deadly on the counter, leading the shot count 17-11 despite the possessional deficit, including 8-3 on target. Up next for D.C. United is a critical date with Atlanta United on Sunday as the two duke it out near the top of the Eastern Conference.

Delph completes transfer to Everton

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton has added an England international in a move to bolster its midfield.

The club announced that it had signed Fabian Delph to a three-year contract, after an undisclosed permanent transfer from Manchester City. Delph comes to the blue half of Liverpool after spending the last four seasons at Manchester City, where he began as a central midfielder but was quickly pushed out wide as a left back, and only featured 20 times in all competitions for the Sky Blues last season.

“Every time I have played against Everton, whether it was home or away, straight away the first thing that comes to mind when you see the fans is passion,” Delph said on Everton’s website. “The Everton fans seem to know football, seem to understand it, it seems to be in their blood and they really back the team. You are always going to hear Evertonians and I’m excited to play at home and hear them when I am playing. I’m really happy to be here, I’m going to give absolutely everything – nothing less than 100 per cent.

Although it feels like he’s been around forever, Delph is actually still only 29-years-old, and should still have a few years left in the tank to help propel Everton to the next level. At the least, Delph adds steel and technical ability in the middle of the park, where he could likely partner with Andre Gomes, who made his move to Everton permanent this summer from Barcelona.

Delph also adds versatility, and that should help him stay in the Everton lineup, should it need him out wide or to play in the center of the park.

However, the most important aspect Delph brings is the winning mentality. Even though he didn’t play a massive role, Delph has had the opportunity to train and play alongside the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, all winners in their careers who do whatever it takes to get three points and win a title.

Bringing that attitude and mentality to Everton is huge for the club, which needs a lift after the departure of Wayne Rooney and other big names who have departed since the end of the David Moyes era.

MLS Saturday Wrap: What we learned

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MLS is entering the dog days of summer, and some teams are separating themselves from the pack, while others continue to struggle, even at home.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s a look back at some of Saturday’s MLS action.


Savarino makes a statement for RSL

There’s a lot of talk about Designated Players like Carlos Vela, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, and for good reason. But one Designated Player people may need to pay more attention to now is Jefferson Savarino.

In just his second game back at Real Salt Lake from the 2019 Copa America with Venezuela, Savarino scored two outstanding goals and set up another as RSL trounced the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union, 4-0. The Union didn’t do itself any favors defensively, with a ton of communication errors, but Savarino has that clinical finishing touch that teams spend huge money for. Finally in his third season in MLS, he appears to have taken the next step in his development – he’s still only 22-years old – and could lead RSL into a playoff run.

Mike Petke’s squad, with still plenty of season to go, sits in sixth place, tied with FC Dallas on 29 points. Watch out for Savarino to be a difference maker down the stretch this season.


Pozuelo, Altidore come up big for Toronto FC

There’s no doubt that Toronto FC fans are happy to see Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley back with their club.

With goals from Altidore and other Designated Player, Alejandro Pozuelo, TFC knocked off rival Montreal Impact, 2-0 at Stade Saputo, boosting itself back into playoff contention. Toronto FC is currently just above the red line for the playoffs, with 26 points, one ahead of Orlando City SC, which also won on Saturday to stay in the playoff hunt.

It has been a tough couple of months for TFC. Prior to Saturday, TFC had won just one in its last 11 games in all competitions, including six defeats. Even the win, a 3-2 triumph over Atlanta United, could have been a draw if Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez had scored a penalty kick deep into second half stoppage time.

And yet, Altidore’s free kick and Pozuelo’s natural finish could be a sign that this team is looking like a title contender again, ready to shed off the poor form and like a gazelle, race up the standings.


Columbus, Chicago continue to drop points

It’s a rough summer to be a soccer fan in the east-to-central Midwest. Specifically, if you’re a fan of the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati won its second-straight game, this time at the expense of the Chicago Fire, though it’s still dead-last in the Eastern Conference standings, tied with Ohio rivals Columbus Crew on 17 points. The Fire themselves aren’t much better, with just 22 points this season, good for 10th place in the conference.

For FC Cincinnati, a rough season may have been expected, especially how the team operated in the offseason. But there was so much hope for the Crew and Fire, which has made 2019 even more deflating. After the fan-led mission to #SaveTheCrew was successful and Caleb Porter – a former MLS Cup winning coach – was hired, it looked like the Crew could really take a step forward this season after all the off-the-field drama from a year ago.

And yet, thanks to a season-ending injury for Federico Higuain and poor performances from Wil Trapp, Gyasi Zardes, Justin Meram (who has since been traded), Pedro Santos and many others, the Crew have been in the doldrums all season. It certainly didn’t help to lose Trapp, Zack Steffan – who was signed by Man City but loaned back for the first half of this season – and Zardes for the month of June, just to see them mostly come off the bench, if at all for the national team.

Chicago, meanwhile, signed coach Veljko Paunovic and Designated Player Bastian Schweinsteiger to new contracts this offseason, and acquired CJ Sapong, David Ousted, Francisco Calvo and the gem, Nicolas Gaitan.

Yet all these individual talents have yet to merge into a cohesive unit under Paunovic, and the Fire are looking once again at missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons. With Schweinsteiger likely gone after the season, will Paunovic walk as well, unable to turn around this once-proud club for the last 2 seasons?


Top Goals from Saturday

Jefferson Savarino

Jozy Altidore

Fanendo Adi (first league goal with FC Cincinnati)

Arena’s Revs blow two-goal lead, split points with DCU (video)

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Leave a comment

The game in 200 words (or less): The good news for D.C. United: they came back from 2-0 down to rescue a point in Friday’s 2-2 draw with New England Revolution, even if that’s a mostly disappointing home result. The bad news: a draw does them very little good, as it’s the sixth time they’ve split the points in their last nine games. Ben Olsen’s side now has just one win from its last nine games. The gap between the Red and Black, who currently sit second in the Eastern Conference, and first-place Philadelphia Union is four points. The good news for the Revs: for much of the first half, they were dominant and raced out to a 2-0 lead; Bruce Arena’s pragmatic tactics are producing results. The bad news: after going up 2-0, they let United back into the game much too easily, and that’s before Wilfried Zahibo’s boneheaded red card just after the hour mark. The point takes them above Toronto FC (for now) for the seventh and final playoff place in the East, but they should have taken so much more from this game.

[ MORE: Allie Long has wedding ring, cash, key to NYC stolen from hotel room ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Teal Bunbury wins the foot race, beats Hamid early — Route 1 soccer is hardly easy on the eyes, but it’s still effective when applied properly.

32′ — Carles Gil slots home the rebound for 2-0 — Again, Route 1 soccer starts it for the Revs, and though Bill Hamid makes a nice save on the initial chance, there’s no one home on the follow-up.

43′ — Jara gets free at the back post to halve the deficit — Paul Arriola’s breakout 2019 campaign (on the back of an equally strong 2018) rumbles on, as it was his cross to the back post that found Leo Jara for a tough, but manageable, finish to make it 2-1.

63′ — Zahibo picks up a second yellow — On the road, lead already cut in half, increasingly under pressure… not hardly an ideal time to get sent off and leave your team with just 10 men, but that didn’t stop Zahibo from making a needless, poorly timed challenge at midfield and picking up his second yellow of the game.

86′ — DCU makes the most of their advantage, Amarikwa equalizes — Lo and behold, the Revs couldn’t withstand that much pressure, for that long, down a man. Wayne Rooney‘s free kick landed in the heart of no man’s land and Quincy Amarikwa made the most of his chance.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Carles Gil

Goalscorers: Bunbury (4′), Gil (32′), Jara (43′)

Did VAR get it right in changing Rooney’s straight red to yellow?

Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Did DC United’s Wayne Rooney get the superstar treatment?

The English veteran was initially sent off from Thursday’s match against FC Dallas following a tactical foul on Michael Barrios.

[ MORE: Sunday’s USMNT opportunity ]

Barrios had Rooney beaten for pace and was racing down the right side of the pitch when he was felled by a lunging kick to his trailing leg.

Referee Nima Saghafi initially paused before producing a straight red card from his back pocket, and reds are subject to video review in Major League Soccer.

The offense was changed to a caution upon review, perhaps because it was a fair assumption to expect that Rooney rakes his studs on Barrios and it wasn’t quite like that.

Fair or foul?