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San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Vega commits awful howler

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Goalkeeper Daniel Vega committed a tragically bad error early in the San Jose Earthquakes’ 2-2 draw with FC Dallas that cost the home side a win and a chance to move into a playoff position.

Despite second-half goals from red-hot Chris Wondolowski and winger Magnus Eriksson, the Earthquakes were held thanks to the early mistake that came in the 27th minute. Vega took a goal-kick that he distributed to the left for defender Florian Jungwirth who sent it right back to the goalkeeper under a press by FC Dallas.

The pass squirted right under the foot of Vega as he looked to control, with no attacking player in the same zip code. Vega simply misjudged the pass and whiffed as he tried to control. The goal is the 26th San Jose has allowed this season, and with 27 after the match they sit tied with two other clubs for second-most in the West.

Francis Atuahene would go on to score an eventual equalizer for FC Dallas on his MLS debut with an absurd outside-of-the-foot finish to finish the 2-2 scoreline, keeping the visitors three points above the hosts in the Western Conference table.

MLS roundup: Timbers end road trip with emphatic win in Philly

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in MLS…

[ MORE: USA topped by Ukraine in U-20 World Cup opener ]

Philadelphia Union 1-3 Portland Timbers [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

Just when everyone had begun to take the Union seriously — to give them the respect befitting a first-place team — Jim Curtin’s side fell flat on its face and fell out of the Eastern Conference’s top spot. Saturday’s defeat to the suddenly streaking — and homeward bound — Timbers snapped Philadelphia’s six-game unbeaten run (four wins).

24-year-old attacker Brian Fernandez, signed as a Designated Player earlier this month, made his first MLS start and marked the occasion with two first-half goals (31st and 36th minutes). Diego Valeri added the third (87th) after Kacper Przybylko pulled the Union back to 2-1 in the 47th.

Now, with 14 points from their 12-game road trip to start the season, Portland heads home for 17 of their final 22 games to be played inside a newly renovated — and expanded — Providence Park. The gap between themselves and a Western Conference playoff place is just four points.

New England Revolution 1-1 D.C. United [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

With the Union slipping up and dropping all three points, D.C. United made the most of their opportunity to return to the top of the East on the back of Wayne Rooney‘s 90th-minute penalty kick to snatch a 1-1 draw with (what will soon be) Bruce Arena’s Revolution.

Juan Agudelo put the home side ahead with a header in the 61st minute, and the lead held firm for nearly the final half-hour. Alas, video review reviewed a handball late in the game, which presented Rooney the chance to play the part of hero. He duly obliged and hammered his spot kick past backup goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who replaced Matt Turner following his 56th minute red card for cleaning out Rooney.

Arena is expected to take charge of Revs training this week and make his debut as head coach next Sunday, when his new side visits… his old side, the LA Galaxy.

Colorado Rapids 3-2 Columbus Crew SC [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

Don’t look now, but the Rapids have won two straight games under interim head coach Conor Casey and appear set on clawing their way out of the league’s basement.

Sure, they blew a pair of leads at home, but they also hit back with another goal of their own every time Crew SC drew level, culminating in a stunning winner from Nicolas Mezquida.

The gap between Colorado and 23th place is now just three points, as expansion side FC Cincinnati come closer and closer on the horizon.

Elsewhere in MLS

Chicago Fire 1-1 New York City FC [ HIGHLIGHTS ]
Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 FC Dallas [ HIGHLIGHTS ]
FC Cincinnati 0-2 New York Red Bulls [ HIGHLIGHTS ]
Minnesota United 1-0 Houston Dynamo [ HIGHLIGHTS ]

Sunday’s MLS schedule

Sporting Kansas City v. Seattle Sounders — 6 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. San Jose Earthquakes — 7:30 p.m. ET

Players to watch at the U-20 World Cup

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The U-20 World Cup begins this week in Poland, and there are a bevy of future stars to watch, as well as several who will make their names during the tournament.

We’ll focus on the former. While England’s failure to qualify somewhat limits the Premier League starlets on show, there are still plenty from the English top flight.


Tim Weah, United States (PSG) — After a loan at Celtic and time with the full USMNT, how much can he dominate back in his age group?

Alban Lafont, France (Fiorentina) — At age 20, he’s already the starter between the sticks for his Serie A mainstays.

Diego Lainez, Mexico (Real Betis) — Eighteen with 12 league appearances for Real Betis, Lainez is a massive part of El Tri‘s future and carries four caps to his name.

Ruben Vinagre, Portugal (Wolves) — Wolves were promoted, and Vinagre actually made eight more appearances (17) than he made in the Championship.

Ezequiel Barco, Argentina (Atlanta United) — His sophomore season for the Five Stripes has been better than his debut campaign, though that’s not saying a ton given the hype.

Evan N’Dicka, France (Eintracht Frankfurt) — Plenty of playing time in the Bundesliga at the age of 19 for this towering center back.

Paxton Pomykal, United States (FC Dallas) — Looking good in MLS. How much should that translate on this stage?

Andriy Lunin, Ukraine (Real Madrid) — Won’t be wearing the white of Madrid in meaningful action any time soon, but made four appearances on loan for Leganes as a 20-year-old.

Sebastian Soto, United States (Hannover 96) — Not the American-born Bundesliga starlet we expected had we created this list months ago, but Soto has made his Bundesliga debut, so there’s a lot to like while Josh Sargent works with the full USMNT.

Dan Zagadou, France (Borussia Dortmund) — The left- and center back has 25 first team appearances for BVB at 19.

Diogo Dalot, Portugal (Manchester United) — Red Devils supporters know about this fella, who was purchased under the watch of Jose Mourinho last summer.

Mickael Cuisance, France (Borussia Monchengladbach) — Took a step back after his blockbuster ‘Gladbach breakthrough in 2017-18, but will be a key piece for the favorites.

Moussa Sylla, France (Monaco) — The winger is already a factor for AS Monaco, even if they struggled this season.

Bonus: Erling Håland, Denmark (Red Bull Salzburg); Ronald Araujo, Uruguay (Barcelona); Tom Dele-Bashiru, Nigeira (Manchester City).

Might there be a surprise name in Berhalter’s Gold Cup USMNT?

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Gregg Berhalter is fully aware that this summer’s Gold Cup is his first true showcase tournament, and so it won’t be a surprise if there are no real surprises on his roster.

That will be announced soon, but of course there’s a chance Berhalter does elect to bring a new name into the fold.

He may not use that player in a meaningful situation, but taking a hopeful along for the ride is not unusual (It happens at World Cups all the time).

It would make the most sense if such a call-up were to come from MLS, which will be in full flow when the Gold Cup arrives on our shores.

As usual, the best performers in MLS this young season have mostly not been American. While kids are playing more often, the influx of money into the league has clubs buying known entities or sexy foreign prospects rather than showing love to its youth (Paxton Pomykal and Djordje Mihailovic not withstanding).

Not only that, but the leading American goal scorer so far is 30-year-old CJ Sapong (4), while Benny Feilhaber and Chris Pontius are the only Yanks with a pair of primary assists.

Which brings us back to a name we mentioned earlier: Pomykal. The 19-year-old was one of FC Dallas’ next big things and through nine appearances is their current pretty big thing.

With attacking midfield having some supply but needing depth, Berhalter could well consider a call-up for the teenager. Pomykal has two goals and an assist, and is the second-rated American in MLS according to advanced stats site WhoScored. He could also be called up to the U-20 side as a key piece, so keep that in mind.

Two more names to look at are DC United center back Steve Birnbaum and Houston Dynamo creator Memo Rodriguez. Birnbaum is 28 and has been capped before, and could be an “older” piece for Berhalter’s back line currently led by John Brooks and Matt Miazga, but the center backs do appear set.

Rodriguez is pretty interesting, too, with four goals and an assist in 538 minutes. He’s also posted decent numbers in dribbling and key passes for Wilmer Cabrera’s revitalized Dynamo.

MLS (early) roundup: Galaxy, TFC, FCD all lose at home (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action from the early set of games in Major League Soccer…

[ MORE: Ex-NYCFC star pushes Leeds ahead of Derby in promotion playoffs ]

LA Galaxy 0-2 New York City FC

Following a strong start to the Guillermo Barros Schelotto era (six wins from seven games), the Galaxy have fallen back onto hard times in recent weeks and lost three straight, including Saturday’s home defeat at the hands of NYCFC. In those three successive defeats, they have conceded eight goals. At the risk of overreacting, they look once again like the 2018 team that conceded 64 times and missed the playoffs.

NYCFC did all of their damage in a three-minute span just before the halftime whistle, which left the Galaxy reeling as they went into the locker room. Heber and Maxi Moralez (penalty kick) got the goals, and NYCFC hardly broke a sweat in the second half.

The only real moment of danger for Dome Torrent’s side came in the 86th minute, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Chris Pontius each hit the woodwork. This, as is becoming all too commonplace these days, resulted in Ibrahimovic becoming physically violent against an opponent.

Toronto FC 1-2 Philadelphia Union

Speaking of teams looking more like the 2018 version of themselves rather than the new and improved 2019 squad, Toronto FC lost its second straight game, at home against the first-place Union.

Chris Mavinga put the ball into his own net in the 25th minute, but Alejandro Pozuelo dazzled the North American masses once again with a sublime free kick in the 51st minute.

The Union responded brilliantly, though, as Kacper Przybylko found a wide open Jamiro Monteiro inside the TFC penalty area, once again harkening back to the Reds’ 2018 form at the most inopportune time.

FC Dallas 1-2 New York Red Bulls

Cristian Casseres Jr. (12th minute), Sean Nealis (58th) and Brian White (85th) each bagged a goal in the Red Bulls’ comfortable 3-1 victory over FC Dallas. Chris Armas changed 10 of 11 starters from last week’s game, and the move paid off.

Entrenched starters Aaron Long, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Luis Robles, Daniel Royer and Marc Rzatkowski didn’t even travel with the team to Dallas.

FC Cincinnati 2-1 Montreal Impact

The Alan Koch era in Cincinnati ended abruptly this week, thus 29-year-old Yoann Damet’s (interim) tenure began on Saturday. Anytime you can end a five-game losing skid (and a winless run of seven), it’s a good day.

Allan Cruz opened the scoring in the 7th minute, ending Cincinnati’s 528-minute scoreless drought in the process. Fatai Alashe made it 2-0 just after the hour mark, and good thing he did because Orji Okwonkwo pulled a goal back for the Impact not even 15 minutes later.