Vito Mannone

Toronto FC

Toronto FC pulls within a point of East lead with win over Minnesota

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Toronto FC snatched all three points in a wild finish at BMO Field, taking the spoils 4-3 over Minnesota United thanks to a pair of goals each from Alejandro Pozuelo and Jordan Hamilton.

Minnesota struck first through Darwin Quintero in the 17th minute, but Toronto swung back in front on a quickfire double from Pozuelo, striking twice in two minutes right on the half-hour mark. His first was a beauty, carrying the ball all the way down the attacking half himself before a couple stepovers preempted a rifle into the top corner.

Two minutes later he found space in the box, and taking a feed from Justin Morrow, he powered the ball home above Vito Mannone. With that, Toronto went into the halftime break with the lead, and Pozuelo grabbed a club record for fastest brace with just 110 seconds between goals.

Out of the break, it was Minnesota’s turn to swing back into the lead as Angelo Rodriguez bagged a header to the far post as two Toronto defenders misjudged a cross from Romain Metanire. Quintero then hit for the second time in the 70th minute, this time from the spot after Chris Mavinga fouled Rodriguez in the area.

With wild status officially achieved and Minnesota ahead, Toronto snagged control of the match in front of the home fans. Hamilton, who came on in the 73rd minute, had an instant impact, scoring the equalizer just four minutes after entering play. Jonathan Osorio fed him a perfect through-ball between defenders, and Hamilton finished expertly with a chip over a charging Mannone. Hamilton gave Toronto the lead in the 79th minute, although this time the Minnesota defense will want to burn the tape. Jozy Altidore popped the ball over a defender right in front of the goal mouth, and while Michael Boxall had position to clear the ball off the line, Hamilton jumped it and tipped it into the back of the net.

After that, Minnesota melted down. Jan Gregus was shown a straight red card in the 89th minute, and Minnesota was reduced to nine men minutes later after Francisco Calvo earned his second yellow card. The win sent Toronto to second in the Eastern Conference on 13 points, one behind D.C. United for the lead with a game in hand.

New York Red Bulls slump continues after defeat at home to Minnesota

Minnesota United
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Just a year after winning the Supporters’ Shield, the New York Red Bulls are in a world of hurt after the first month of the season.

The Red Bulls suffered their third straight defeat, falling 2-1 to Minnesota United at home. The Red Bulls have just three wins this season in all competitions, with two coming against a Dominican club in CONCACAF Champions League play and the other against lowly San Jose at home. Otherwise, New York has drawn one and lost five.

Minnesota United struck first after the half-hour mark as Angelo Rodriguez strongly held off two defenders before feeding Abu Danladi who finished cooly into the lower right corner. New York defender Sean Davis was drawn towards the ball at Rodriguez’s feet and lost sight of his spot, which Danladi burst forward to fill with little contest.

Danladi came off at halftime for Romario Ibarra, and Minnesota doubled the lead just five minutes later via the substitute who acrobatically scissored the ball past Luis Robles. The Red Bulls goalkeeper had committed to the opposite end where Rodriguez took aim, but his deflected shot instead fell right at the feet of Ibarra. This time Tim Parker was the defensive culprit, having been drawn towards Rodriguez with the ball, completely losing sight of Ibarra behind him.

The Red Bulls drew within a goal with Cristian Casseres’s first MLS goal in the 70th minute, pouncing on a rebounded save, but that was all they could muster.

New York had moments to strike, but Vito Mannone was huge in goal for Minnesota, making multiple big stops.

With the loss, New York now sits on just four points, which leaves them in ninth position in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota, meanwhile, rises to sixth in the Western Conference with nine points after picking up the club’s third win of the season.

VIDEO: Sunderland takes a lap through Central Park in broad daylight

@SunderlandAFC
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Did you see any Black Cats in Central Park on Tuesday?

On Monday we told New Yorkers to keep an eye out for Vito Mannone and Company as Sunderland took a January trip to the Big Apple for team bonding.

[ WATCH: Huge howler for Newcastle GK ]

The relegation-threatened Black Cats were indeed making the rounds in New York City this morning, up in team gear to take a run around the park.

We’re confident this would be a bit more difficult to achieve without interruption in Northeast England. Of course, in the picture above, American midfielder Lynden Gooch is front and center on home soil.

Sunderland 0-4 Southampton: Italian ace Gabbiadini keeps paying dividends

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  • Black Cats shotless through 65
  • Saints shoot up to 11th
  • Gabbiadini three goals in two

Manolo Gabbiadini scored a first half brace as Southampton got a much-needed blowout win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

The 4-0 result was the opposite of what Sunderland scooped over Crystal Palace last week, as the Black Cats are last in the Premier League table with 19 points.

Saints entered the day with a chance at falling into the relegation mix, but now have 30 points and sit 11th after a Jason Denayer own goal and Shane Long tally met Gabbiadini’s brace on the scoresheet.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Adnan Januzaj saw a promising sixth minute shot deflected out for a corner, but Saints cleared the danger from Sebastian Larsson.

Southampton found its footing as the half wore on, and Gabbiadini was awarded his second goal when Nathan Redmond’s cross deflected home off his arm.

The second was not controversial, as Gabbiadini beat Vito Mannone with a classy finish after taking care of Jason Denayer with quickness.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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It took more than an hour for Sunderland to put a shot on target, when Didier Ndong hit a shot directly to Fraser Forster.

Denayer then turned a goal into his own net before Long nabbed a late insurance marker to make it 4-0.

Sunderland’s Defoe, Mannone pay visit to Bradley Lowery

@Bradleysfight
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Terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has inspired many in the soccer world with his fervent love for Sunderland.

Bradley’s relationship with several Black Cats has warmed many very cold hearts, and Vito Mannone, and Jermain Defoe took some time Thursday to catch up with their ailing little buddy.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines ]

And Bradley — who suffers from neuroblastoma — fell asleep, wearing his soccer ball drawers, in the arms of Sunderland’s star striker.

Mannone made a lot of fans last year when he admitted that his relegation fears were more for people who worked for Sunderland than the players. And clearly his heart continues to be in the right place.

Apologies to other relegation candidates, but here’s hoping Sunderland makes Bradley’s year with a run out of the zone.

Fight on, Bradley. Learn more about Bradley’s Fight here.