CJ Sapong

AP Photo/Pedro Rocha

Portugal 1-1 USMNT: New era begins

Leave a comment
  • USMNT returns after World Cup debacle
  • McKennie, CCV, Adams earn 1st caps
  • McKennie scores from Sapong assist

Weston McKennie’s goal on debut was the highlight of a disjointed but encouraging 1-1 draw for the United states men’s national team in Portugal on Tuesday.

The match was the United States’ first since its historic loss in Trinidad and Tobago last month, and interim boss Dave Sarachan oversaw a young and spirited effort.

Vitorino Antunes leveled for the Portuguese before halftime, a significant error from American backstop Ethan Horvath.

[ WATCH: McKennie goal, Horvath howler ]

CJ Sapong and Kellyn Acosta took early attempts for the U.S., and Portugal was forced into a 10th minute sub when Pepe was injured.

The first 10 minutes were understandably frantic with two clubs with any fine tuning together, and Eric Lichaj bailed out an indecisive Ethan Horvath in the early goings.

DeAndre Yedlin had a few shaky moments at right back thanks to RB Leipzig forward Bruma.

[ MORE: 3 things | Player ratings ]

The Yanks had a promising move flutter when Tyler Adams couldn’t get full muster on a cut back from CJ Sapong. Beto made the save.

That’s when the Americans went ahead following a center circle interception by Acosta. Sapong raced down the left and side-footed a pass for McKennie, who worked a defender before beating Beto to the near post. Slick stuff.

[ RELATED: PST talks with McKennie ]

Horvath had been inactive before a massive error in the 31st minute. A knuckling shot dipped between his legs and trickled past John Brooks’ sliding clearance. 1-1.

The keeper made a nice collection of a Bruno Fernandes blast in the 35th minute, as this attempt didn’t dip enough. And he’d be called on for another save off a bad giveaway in the 39th.

Brooks hammered a header into the goal off a Kellyn Acosta set piece, but a foul on Miazga pulled the marker off the board before it got there.

Subs at the break: Bill Hamid for Horvath, and Cameron Carter-Vickers for Brooks. Portugal inserted Joao Mario for Fernandes.

Williams’ left-footed cross deflected to Adams, whose header saw a terrific save by Beto.

The ensuing corner saw McKennie head off the bar, and the rebound was cleared before Miazga could attempt a follow-up.

It was still 1-1 in the 59th minute, when Lynden Gooch and Jorge Villafana entered the fray for an ineffective Juan Agudelo and solid Eric Lichaj.

Man City’s Bernardo Silva stripped McKennie in a dangerous place to force Hamid into a fingertip save on Gonçalo Paciência, and Portugal couldn’t convert on the ensuing corner kick.

Carter-Vickers almost maneuvered a free kick home in the 72nd minute, but Beto’s karate kick save led to another corner.

MLS Snapshots: Shield contenders TFC, FCD slip up in DC, PHI

Photo credit: @PhilaUnion
1 Comment

Philadelphia Union 3-1 FC Dallas

The game in 100 words (or less): The last 180 minutes of soccer have resulted in a pair of losses, by a combined score of 7-0, for the defending Supporters’ Shield winners (and contenders once again) FC Dallas — 4-0 at the hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps last week, followed by a 3-0 drubbing courtesy of a floundering Philadelphia Union side which entered the weekend with one win from their last five games. Saturday’s game featured the very first call to be made via the brand new video-assistant refereeing system, as Ricardo Salazar went to the field-side monitor and determined an FCD goal should be negated for a foul in the build-up. From the time he made the VAR signal, to the time he announced his decision, 47 seconds had passed during a period of time when the game was already stopped.

[ MORE: Sunday’s MLS schedule is chock-full of important matchups ]

Three moments that mattered

17′ — Sapong finishes a slick piece of build-up for 1-0 — Sapong gets the credit for the goal, but Ilsinho and Haris Medunjanin did all the heavy lifting — particularly Ilsinho for the clever backheel that unlocked the entire FCD defense.

22′ — Ilsinho drives a volley home for 2-0 — You don’t have to blast it on the full volley, as long as you control it and place it perfectly.

68′ — Ilsinho and Sapong clean up Seitz’s mess for 3-0 — Ilsinho’s first 43 games in MLS produced five goals and three assists. Ilsinho’s 86 minutes on Saturday yielded a goal and two assists.

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

Man of the match: Ilsinho

Goalscorers: Sapong (17′, 68′), Ilsinho (22′), Barrios (90+2′)


D.C. United 1-1 Toronto FC

The game in 100 words (or less): Meanwhile, in America’s capital, the defending Eastern Conference champions (and Shield leaders for 2017), Toronto FC, spotted the league’s (runaway) worst team, D.C. United, an early goal and needed a spectacular own goal in order to reverse their fortunes and rescue a point despite playing 46 minutes with a man advantage. TFC managed just two shots on target all game long. The result moves TFC to five games unbeaten (they’ve lost just two of their last 17), but will result in their Shield lead shrinking, should the Chicago Fire (five points back) or Sporting Kansas City (seven points back) pick up all three points this weekend.

[ MORE: Sunday’s MLS schedule is chock-full of important matchups ]

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Opare heads DCU to an early lead — Kofi Opare rises, and Kofi Opare heads a very deserved opening goal home.

44′ — Sam slides through Mavinga, sees read — Even United’s red cards are earned in a half- or quarter-hearted manner this season…

52′ — Jeffrey clears it off Birnbaum, into his own goal — D.C. United’s 2017 season, in seven seconds…

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

Man of the match: Bill Hamid

Goalscorers: Opare (6′), Birnbaum (52′ – OG)

MLS Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Columbus Crew

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less)Goals from Ilsinho, CJ Sapong, and Marcus Epps led the Philadelphia Union to a 3-0 win over the Crew, who had not one but two players sent off in the loss. Jonathan Mensah saw red in the 35th minute for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, and Lalas Abubakar was sent off for violent conduct with about a quarter hour to play. Sapong had two assists and Ilsinho added a helper too. Philly pulls to within five points of sixth-place Columbus, and have played one less game.

Three moments that mattered

20′  — Overhead pass gets deserved finish — Ilsinho made Zack Steffen’s diving attempt look feeble with a blast after Sapong’s bike-like ball across the box.

38′ — Alberg PK denied — Did we mention it could’ve been worse for Philly? Roland Alberg was stopped by the left hand of the law, er, Steffen. The left hand of the Steffen.

81′ — Epps puts it to bed — The man was credited with eight shots on the night, as 22-year-old Marcus Epps has his first MLS goal (He has scored in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup).

Man of the Match: Sapong.

MLS Snapshot: Sporting KC 1-1 Philadelphia Union (video)

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Despite a double-digit edge in shots and seven minutes of stoppage, SKC couldn’t find a winner. CJ Sapong won a penalty that Roland Alberg converted as Philadelphia came back to steal a surprise point at Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday in the last MLS match before the Gold Cup break. Diego Rubio scored a splendid opener for Sporting KC, which inches ahead of FC Dallas for first in the West. The point moves Philly within five points of the East’s Top Six.

The goals

49′ — Ru-ru-rubio (to the tune of Susudio) — Diego Rubio was given a second too long and a yard too much, and lashed a gorgeous goal home to give SKC a 1-0 lead.

69′ — Alberg converts PK to level the score — Benny Feilhaber fouled Sapong in the box, and that was the opening Philly needed.

MLS Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 3-0 New England Revolution (video)

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Earth to the New England Revolution … the 2016 MLS season has begun and you’re welcome to show up to the party anytime. Through three weeks of the season, no side in MLS has looked more lifeless than the Revs, who on Sunday finished with 10 men and lost, 3-0 away from home, to the Philadelphia Union and couldn’t have looked anymore disinterested in doing so had they tried. In Union-related news, CJ Sapong had one of the best games an MLS player has had all season. Not only did the 27-year-old score twice on the day, but the all-around game he once again put on display reminded everyone how underrated he really is, and just how wrong Sporting Kansas City were to, 1) play him out wide for two seasons before, 2) trading him. If the Union were smart, they’d have let Sapong take both of their penalties on the day, and he’d have the first four-goal game of his career. #Sapong4USMNT

[ MORE: Saturday night’s MLS roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

18′ — Sapong gets on the end of the cross, hammers it home — Fabinho got down the left flank and whipped in a dangerous ball toward the penalty spot. Sapong was waiting to apply the left-footed finish (with the deflection) for his first goal of the season.

33′ — Sapong slots home the cross for 2-0 — Warren Creavalle got down the left flank and whipped in a dangerous ball toward the penalty spot. Sapong was waiting to apply the left-footed finish (with the deflection once again) for his second goal of the season.

36′ — Watson goes in wildly, sees red — What in the world is with MLS players making reckless, high, studs-up challenges the first three weeks of the season? It’s happening with shocking regularity. Je-Vaughn Watson is the latest offender.

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

Man of the match: CJ Sapong

Goalscorers: Sapong (18′, 33′), Le Toux (90+3′)