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MLS Snapshot: Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 Sporting Kansas City

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One game in 100 words:  Neither team wanted to break out the aggressive offense in this contest, so a closely contested result appeared very possible. Sporting finished the competition with less possession (45.4 percent) than Vancouver had and numbered two fewer shots on target than the home side. Nonetheless, the Whitecaps let up at the wrong time and SKC, delivering on the loan goal and harnessing stout defending, did not see this opportunity go to waste. Play got chippy near stoppage time as Dom Dwyer and Kendall Waston tried to gain the attention of referees. At sixth place in the Western Conference, Kansas City is now five points in front of the San Jose Earthquakes. Vancouver sits at second place, and is bound to FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders with 32 points.

 

Goals

Vancouver: None

Kansas City: Kevin Ellis 52′

 

Three moments that mattered

61’ — Off the line — A throw-in to dangerous Vancouver forward Octavio Rivero–his back to the net–gave Cristian Techera room to receive a back-heeled through ball. The Uruguayan broke free in the box and fired a left-footer from close range that, bouncing off goalkeeper Tim Melia and Matt Besler, creeped along the goal line prior to a heads-up clearance from Amadou Dia.

52’— Ellis converts — Defender Kevin Ellis scored his second goal of the 2015 season by connecting with a header. Krisztian Nemeth planted his feet and dropped a pinpoint cross between two defenders, and Ellis knocked it perfectly. This score proved to be the decisive one due to Sporting’s ability to hold firm on defense.

90’ — Melia with the huge stop — Whitecaps midfielder Mauro Rosales skyrocketed a delivery into the box from a long-range set piece. It landed right on the head of a high-jumping Tim Parker, but Melia’s reflexes were strong enough to cause his rapid reaction–a diving save to his right side.

 

Lineups 

Vancouver: Octavio Rivero; David Ousted; Steven Beitashour (Robert Earnshaw 84′), Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie (Deybi Flores 59′), Mauro Rosales, Cristian Techera, Kekuta Manneh (Erik Hurtado 80′)

Kansas City: Jacob Peterson (Connor Hallisey 83′), Dominic Dwyer, Krisztian Nemeth; Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Amadou Dia; Benny Feilhaber, Soni Mustivar, Roger Espinoza

CONCACAF Gold Cup: Mexico remain at second place in Group C following draw vs. Guatemala

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Ending their match against Guatemala tonight in a scoreless draw, Mexico stays behind Trinidad and Tobago in the Gold Cup Group C standings.

The first half exhibited Mexico as the dominant side on the attack, and even though they enjoyed a large majority of possession, Miguel Herrera and Co. were struggling to find ways to break through Guatemala’s back line.

In the 16th minute, Jonathan Dos Santos whipped a cross from a set piece into the box and it appeared to have caused the handball by striking Los Chapines’ midfielder Jose Contreras. Referees didn’t make the call.

The good news for Mexico in the first 45 minutes was the fact that La Bicolor weren’t intimidating on the offensive end.

Mexico’s best chance came in 34th minute when Oribe Peralta cooly drew several defenders to his body and looped a cross for Andres Guardado at the far post, but the PSV Eindhoven man, who faced a nearly open net, sprayed his flick above the crossbar.

In the 75th minute, Guatemala netminder Paulo Motta was bailed out when Peralta couldn’t hit the ball at close range correctly off a Hector Herrera assist.

One minute later, Contreras was sent off with a red card after succumbing to a second yellow card within three minutes.

Still, Mexico couldn’t come up with the one moment needed to change the course of the game.

El Tri pushed hard at moments with a promising combination between Giovani Dos Santos and Guardado ended in a shot deflected away.

Forward Carlos Esquivel slammed an attempt off the crossbar in the 86th minute.

The unfortunate Mexicans challenged Motta’s basic goalkeeping skills in stoppage time.

Morgan Schneiderlin undergoing medical after Southampton accept $38 million move to Manchester United

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Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is off to Manchester United as reports have detailed that he is set to join the Premier League side for around $38.75 million (£25 million), full agreement pending a medical.

Schneiderlin spent seven seasons with the Saints following a move from the club he called home since his early youth days, French team Strasbourg.

Amasssing 230 appearances and 14 goals at SFC, the Frenchman was targeted by multiple big-name squads last summer due to his quality performances, and decided to perform one more year for his longtime outfit.

The 25-year-old was professional about theses circumstances and informed us toward the end of the year that he wished to test himself “at the highest level” with a Champions League-bound team.

[RELATED: Agent says Southampton leads chase for Jordy Clasie]

In the summer transfer window now, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham were keen on the veteran, but the Red Devils dished out two bids–the second being suitable enough to cement the deal.

United has also signed Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and Torino right back Matteo Darmian this weekend. Louis van Gaal is also looking at Argentine winger Nicolas Gaitan from Benfica.

PST’s lead writer and editor Joe Prince-Wright weighed in on Manchester United’s latest transfers.

Southampton proceed to lose players that necessitate replacement. Manager Ronald Koeman will evaluate and possibly alter his tactics based on the talent he acquires from the riches of Schneiderlin’s sale.

Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 Cuba: Soca Warriors clinch appearance in Gold Cup quarterfinals

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The 16-man squad of Cuba fell to Trinidad Tobago in Gold Cup play at University of Phoenix Stadium and finalized the Soca Warriors’ advancement into the quarterfinals.

The Cubans remain at the bottom of the Group C table, where Trinidad has moved into the first spot–a win ahead of second-place Mexico, who will clash against Guatemala later tonight.

Trinidad and Tobago did well on the defensive end, only allowing two shots within the penalty box from the Cubans’ lack of successful moves forward. Trying near the left edge of the six-yard box, Maykel Reyes couldn’t find twine in the 44th minute following goalkeeper John Michael Williams’ determined break-up.

The netminder was injured here and replaced by Marvin Phillip for the remainder of match. Four minutes later, Reyes saw his effort blocked down on the opposite border of the area.

In the 17th minute, Trinidadians captured the momentum by scoring first after Sheldon Bateau cleaned up a threatening sequence at the doorstep. Cuba keeper Diosvely Guerrasan made an excellent initial stop but on the next endeavor, was unable to cover up for his side’s absence of defensive urgency.

Then in the 42nd minute, midfielder Andre Boucaud executed first-class technique to drill a strike from outside the box, doubling the advantage. Daniel Cyru’s throw-in deflected away from the goal line and luckily landed on the feet his fellow countryman.

Sir Alex Ferugson on Paul Pogba transfer: “If I were Juve now, then I would let him go.”

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Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson believes Juventus should sell midfielder Paul Pogba over the summer transfer window.

Three years ago, the Scotsman said Pogba lacked respect before the footballer signed a four-year contract with the Zebras–away from Old Trafford–where he was slated to become a first-team regular in the near future.

Pogba, worth as high as a €80 million ($89.09 million) fee now, was available from Manchester United on a free transfer when he was 19 years of age. At the end of the 2014-15 campaign, scoring eight goals and contributing three assists in 26 league games for Juve, he possessed notable athletic awareness in the midfield.

[RELATED: PSG manager Laurent Blanc to target Angel Di Maria]

Thinking that Pogba was not the faulty man, ex-teammate Andrea Pirlo countered Ferguson’s statement about the disagreement between player and team. The recently acquired NYCFC midfielder pointed the blaming finger at the Red Devils’ organization, specifically acknowledging Ferguson’s name.

“I would sell Pogba. It’s true I already let him go, but if I were Juve now then I would let him go,” Ferguson is quoted as saying by multiple media outlets.

“Juve have a fantastic team, they have won four Serie A titles in a row and in my view were unlucky in the Champions League final..they were hit by Barcelona counterattacks, but before those had dominated the game.”

Thierry Henry had noted that Pogba was skillful enough to act as dependable starter for United, but Ferguson saw it differently, believing his youthful tendencies needed development on the pitch. That attitude from the coach must have compelled the Frenchman to seek opportunities elsewhere, since the teenaged prospect was adamant about steady playing time to show his actual capability.

United achieved a balance of effective attacking and defending to break into the top four in May, and hold the burden of exceeding that triumph this coming season. Pogba and his crew, meanwhile, have a bigger objective: a fifth-straight league title and one Champions League crown.

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