Chris McCann

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Atlanta United cuts McCann just weeks before season begins

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It’s not often that MLS teams cut veteran players a few weeks into preseason training.

But that’s what happened on Saturday, as Atlanta United announced the departure of utility player Chris McCann. The Irishman spent two seasons with ATLUTD as a team original, deputizing in both his natural central midfield and out on the left as a left wing back.

[READ: Solskjaer hails Pogba after win]

One possible reason for the decision to cut McCann before the start of the season could be due to his large cap hit, as Atlanta United looks to potentially bring in more players or better pay for Josef and Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez’s (no relation) contracts. McCann earned a total compensation package last season of $588,000, despite playing 22 games and scoring just one goal with no assists. At 31-years old, it may have been time for Atlanta United to look for younger players in his position.

In addition, with George Bello a year older and Brek Shea brought in, Atlanta United has plenty of options at left wing back this season.

The timing is rough for McCann. There’s still time for him to latch on to another MLS club if he wants to stay in the U.S., but it would be difficult for him to go back to England, with most team’s rosters set after the end of the January transfer window.

NYRB 2-0 Atlanta: Supporters’ Shield race not over yet

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The New York Red Bulls did the impossible. They held Atlanta United scoreless for a full 90 minutes.

The hosts kept their Supporters’ Shield hopes alive by beating visiting Atlanta United 2-0, ahead for good on a first-half penalty by Daniel Royer. The penalty was given after Chris McCann clearly handled the ball on a set-piece as Aaron Long looked to nod in a corner with his head. Royer sent Brad Guzan the wrong way from the spot to give New York the advantage.

They would kill the game off with 16 minutes to go as Alex Muyl timed his run perfectly and slid to chip the ball over a charging Guzan, leaving Tim Parker to tap in on the doorstep.

Atlanta struggled mightily against New York’s defense, holding 55% possession but only managing one lone shot on target out of seven attempts on goal. Meanwhile, Guzan had plenty of work to do, needing a big save to keep Kaku out late with Atlanta already down 2-0.

The result marked the first time since a May 9th loss to Sporting KC that Atlanta United was held without a goal in Major League Soccer play. It also means New York completes the double over Atlanta this season, although head-to-head record is not a tiebreaker used by MLS in the standings. The result does, however, push New York within two of Atlanta on goal differential, with Atlanta at +27 and New York at +25.

The win pulls New York within one of Atlanta, and each team has three games remaining. Atlanta has home games against New England and Chicago before a visit to Toronto to end the season. New York, meanwhile, has road trips to San Jose and Philadelphia before finishing at home against Orlando City.

Atlanta United adds Irish midfielder from Wigan Athletic

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Atlanta United has added Wigan Athletic midfielder Chris McCann ahead of its debut in Major League Soccer next Spring.

McCann, who turns 29 later this month, becomes the fifth player signed to the nascent MLS side, and will go out on loan until United starts camp in January.

[ MORE: Morris, Sounders beat West Ham ]

He’s been with the Latics since 2013-14 after spending eight years and making 268 appearances with Burnley.

Here’s technical director Carlos Bocanegra:

“We see Chris coming in to play a midfield role, but having the capacity to play in defense as well,” said Bocanegra. “He has good versatility, technical ability and can contribute with goals and assists from various positions on the field.”

He joins Junior Burgos, Andrew Carlton, Jeffrey Otoo and Alexandros Tabakis on United.

It was previously reported that Atlanta is in pursuit of Mexican stars Carlos Vela and Andres Guardado.

Championship side Wigan knock Cardiff out of the FA Cup

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Last year’s FA Cup winners will continue their charge to this year’s final, with Championship side Wigan beating Premier League side Cardiff to advance to the quarterfinals.

The visitors took a surprise lead early in the first half, when Jordi Gómez got away from the Cardiff defense to slide the ball across the face of goal. Chris McCann got on the end of it, catching the ball on the volley and sidefooting past David Marshall into the back of the net. It seemed the cup-holders were on course to make it through to the next round, particularly when they closed rank and defended.

But Wigan’s lead lasted less than ten minutes. It looked as though the Latics defense would manage to hold out, shutting down an attempt from Wilfried Zaha. But they couldn’t clear their lines, allowing Fraizer Campbell to pounce. Cardiff’s cup-hero threaded his shot through the Wigan bodies, past Ali Al-Habsi and into the back of the net.

Wigan weren’t prepared to let go of the Cup just yet, however. Another cup-hero stepped up in the form of Ben Watson, latching on to a ball from Marc-Antoine Fortune and blasting it into the back of the net.

As if that wasn’t enough action in the first half, the Bluebirds very nearly tied it up once more. Defender Cala, in his first appearance for Cardiff, managed to hit the post just before the break. Al-Habsi rescued the danger and Wigan went into the second half leading 2-1.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the second half failed to live up to the excitement of the first. Wigan held fast while Cardiff’s urgency increased, the hosts doing whatever they could to try and get into a good scoring position. Perhaps the biggest bit of excitement was when Al-Habsi had to stop a shot from Zaha in the 80th minute, but the offside flag was up anyway. In injury time, Zaha almost got ahold of a flick from Cala, but again Al-Habsi was there to save.

Cardiff: Marshall, Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Cala, Taylor, Medel (Cowie 46), Eikrem (Kim 78), Daehli, Berget (Noone 61), Zaha, Campbell

Goals: Campbell 27′

Wigan: Al-Habsi, Perch, Boyce, Ramis, Beausejour, Watson (McEachran 58), McManaman (McClean 67), McCann, Espinoza, Gomez (Crainey 78), Fortune

Goals: McCann 18′, Watson 40′