Nedum Onuoha

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Three things we learned from Seattle-Real Salt Lake

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The game in 200 words (or less): Nick Rimando stood on his head in an outstanding 7-save performance that will be the last of his incredible career, as a fine near post header from Gustav Svensson and a late marker from Nicolas Lodeiro sent Seattle Sounders to the Western Conference Final with a 2-0 win in Washington on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Live scores, box scores, stats ]

Real Salt Lake had a strong first half, with attacking life sprung from Jefferson Savarino, but the hosts had more dangerous chances and took control of the match in the second 45 through relentless Jordan Morris and visionary midfielder Lodeiro. Svensson scored off a set piece and Lodeiro deservedly joined the scoring at the end of a Man of the Match performance before RSL’s Everton Luiz was shown a straight red for an awful two-footed tackle.


Three things we learned

1. Playoffs make unlikely heroes — It was going to take something special for Seattle to beat Rimando, and Gustav Svensson got the better of Kyle Beckerman to turn Lodeiro’s near post corner kick past the wrong-footed keeper. Brian Schmetzer’s teams have never lost a home playoff game, and that record stands thanks to Svensson’s noggin. It was the Swede’s 14th goal in 367 career matches.

2. Morris, Lodeiro lead determined Sounders — Morris, the MLS Comeback Player of the Year, has a first-class engine with a motor to match, and his on-field wisdom and improvement on both wings has made him a terror in MLS. Combine that with the vision of Lodeiro and there was a feeling of inevitability once the match reached halftime with zeroes on the scoreboard.

Lodeiro’s goal to make it 2-0, off a fine set-up from Raul Ruidiaz, was a sweet finish and a deserved marker. Look out, Los Angeles.

3. Rimando’s final game finds him in fine feather– The “Wall of the Wasatch” made a pair of very good saves in the first 15 minutes, the second causing him serious shoulder discomfort. He was needed again at halftime as Raul Ruidiaz raced onto an inch-perfect Lodeiro cross in the 43rd minute. After Nedum Onuoha blocked a shot with his face early in the second half, Rimando saved his teammate an own goal moments later. He made a flying 61st minute save to keep it 0-0, and made another terrific stop in the 86th minute to deny Victor Rodriguez with his seventh save of the night.

Twenty-two times capped by the USMNT, he played over 500 times for Major League Soccer teams and was very good on his final bow. He spoke to FS1 on the field after the game:

“I enjoyed everything. I enjoyed my 20 years and being here with family, it’s not the way we wanted to go. It’s a tough thing to swallow. It’s hard to put in words. I gave so much to the sport. To see it go, I’m just grateful you know, for everything it’s given me. It’s tough to lose like this. We’ll see what happens next.”

Man of the Match: Lodeiro — The 60-times capped Uruguay was lively from Moment No. 1 and will give Seattle hope against any remaining opponent.


VIDEO: Zlatan, Onuoha battle ends with Ibra inside RSL locker room

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The narrative that Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets away with hardly a slap on the wrist for any number of transgressions that most MLS players wouldn’t dream of committing got another chapter longer on Sunday.

[ MORE: Van Dijk beats Sterling to PFA Player of the Year award ]

Ibrahimovic, whose career has been littered with physical altercations in a number of different countries, found himself at the center of the drama once again after he sought an altercation with Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha not once, not twice, but three times (at a minimum) during the two sides’ meeting at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The two battled all game long, but things started to get personal in the 60th minute.

First, Ibrahimovic wrapped his arm around Onuoha’s neck and threw him to the ground in a lazily disguised attempt to pursue a loose ball. The two then came face-to-face and jawed at one another as Onuoha wasn’t going to be intimidated by Ibrahimovic’s stardom.

18 minutes later, Ibrahimovic scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal — he does this from time to time — but the big Swede marred his own moment by seeking out Onuoha for some more additional taunting. To Onuoha’s credit, he refused to take the bait and remained a consummate professional.

After the game, another turn for the worst: Ibrahimovic entered the RSL locker room and sought out Onuoha once again. They both say he was trying to apologize, but Onuoha had no desire to hear him out. Ibrahimovic was restrained and shown out the door by a member of the Galaxy’s staff.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Mata come to De Gea’s defense after costly error ]

After the game, Onuoha told his side of the story, which included a threat from Ibrahimovic “that he’s going to hurt me” during the run of play.

After all of that, Ibrahimovic explained his actions thusly…

It’s not the first time Ibrahimovic has overstepped the line of petulance since arriving in MLS. Last May, he open-hand slapped Michael Petrasso in the side of the head/face because the Montreal Impact defender stepped on his foot. The punishment? The automatic one game which comes with the red card he was (rightly) shown for violent conduct, plus… actually, that was it.

QPR has bid accepted for USMNT’s Tim Ream, defender agreeing personal terms

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U.S. national team defender Tim Ream is closing in on a move to Queens Park Rangers.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news

Ream, 27, has been linked with a move to both QPR and Fulham in the English Championship and on Thursday the manager of his current club Bolton Wanderers admitted a deal is close to being completed to see Ream’s time at the Trotters come to a close.

Sources have confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that a bid from QPR has been accepted — believed to be in the region of $2.4 million — by Bolton, and Ream is now agreeing personal terms with the R’s ahead of his move to Loftus Road.

He is expected to have a medical with QPR on Friday, while Fulham are hoping to hijack the deal but they seem to have left it too late.

Here is more from his manager at Bolton, Neil Lennon, on his potential departure.

“We’re close to agreeing a deal with QPR for Tim Ream,” Lennon said. “It frees up a wage and we’ll look to use that. Tim is a good player and has been very consistent for us. If we can get a couple of players in then it’ll improve the squad. We want to bolster the defense and bring in a quick, attacking player. We’re hoping to bring one in before the weekend.”

Ream will be a big loss for Bolton, as he’s been their back-to-back player of the season and is influential in their defense either at center back or left back.

You can understand why Ream would be interested in moving to west London and playing for QPR, as the R’s were relegated to the second-tier last season but have maintained a strong squad for a Championship outfit. Chris Ramsey’s men look well placed to challenge for an instant return to the PL and Ream has not played in the top-flight since May 2012.

When Ream joined Bolton from the New York Red Bulls in January 2012 they were still a PL club but less than six months after he arrived they were relegated to the Championship and they’ve been scrapping away in the lower reaches of that league ever since.

For QPR, Ream will likely line up at center back alongside Nedum Onuoha and become a regular for the R’s. If he does move to QPR and they challenge for promotion to the PL as expected, Ream could force his way back into the USMNT picture after being used sparingly by Jurgen Klinsmann at the 2015 Gold Cup this summer.

Premier League roundup: Big day for relegation battlers

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Seven Premier League games took place on Saturday, as plenty of teams at the bottom secured big wins to shake up the relegation picture.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays

Leicester, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Sunderland all prevailed, while poor old Burnley and QPR went down fighting away from home but their days in the top-flight looked numbered.

[ RELATED: Standings | videos | schedule ]

In the top half there were only wins for Liverpool, Swansea and West Ham as Manchester United slipped up at home to West Brom to breath new life into the top four race.

Below are recaps, reaction, videos and more from another busy day around the PL.

Aston Villa 3-2 EvertonRECAP

A double from Christian Benteke put Villa 2-0 up at half time. Romelu Lukaku scored a PK to put Everton back in the game but Tom Cleverley made it 3-1 before a late consolation from Phil Jagielka set up a tense finish. Huge win for Villa who now sit on 35 points. Everton’s six-game unbeaten run is over.

Manchester United 0-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Jonas Olsson turned out to be the hero for the Baggies, as Manchester United lost their third-straight PL  match. That’s something the Red Devils haven’t done since 2001 and their recent struggles have come at a pivotal stage of the season with the top four race now back on. Robin van Persie had a second half penalty kick saved by Boaz Myhill as West Brom won at Old Trafford for the second time in a row and are now seven points clear of the relegation zone with three games left.

Liverpool 2-1  QPRRECAP

Liverpool went ahead early on as Coutinho curled in a beauty but then QPR equalized with just over 15 minutes to go as Leroy Fer volleyed home. A crazy last 10 minutes then played out as first Steven Gerrard had a penalty kick, which Nedum Onuoha gave away, saved by Robert Green and then Onuoha was sent off for two yellows. In the 87th minute Gerrard rolled back the years and glanced home a header to make it 2-1.

Sunderland 2-1 SouthamptonRECAP

Two penalty kicks from Jordi Gomez sealed the win for the Black Cats as Dick Advocaat’s side boosted their survival chances. Sunderland still remain in the bottom three but are just one point off safety with three games to go. Saints’ lone goal came via Sadio Mane, who finished well after a defensive mix up, but Ronald Koeman’s men were lackluster and lost ground in the race for a top six finish.

Leicester City 3-0 Newcastle UnitedRECAP

The Foxes’ wonderful form continued as they raced into an early lead and never looked back. Leonardo Ulloa gave Leicester the lead after 38 seconds and Wes Morgan added another on 17 minutes. Newcastle were all over the place and Ulloa scored a penalty kick three minutes into the second half to put the game beyond doubt. The Magpies then had Daryl Janmaat and Mike Williamson sent off as they are now just two points above the drop zone with three games to go. Leicester have now won five of their last six and is one point above the bottom three.

West Ham United 1-0 BurnleyRECAP

It was a nightmare start for Burnley at Upton Park as Michael Duff was sent off and Mark Noble scored the resulting penalty kick to give the Hammers a lead after 25 minutes. The Clarets never fully recovered and despite the Hammers being wasteful, they secured their first win in five matches. Burnley is now eight points from safety with three games left. It’s time to start waving goodbye to the PL, Burnley fans.

Swansea City 2-0 Stoke CityRECAP

The Swansea scored twice late in the second half to grab all three points and keep their record-setting season going. Garry Monk’s boys took the lead through Jefferson Montero and Ki sealed the victory in the final minute. Stoke had Marc Wilson sent off late on for two yellows.

Liverpool 2-1 Queens Park Rangers: Gerrard’s late header wins it (video)

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Liverpool beat 10-man Queens Park Rangers 2-1 on Saturday as Steven Gerrard played the hero and all but ended Rangers’ hopes of surviving in the Premier Legaue.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The Reds went ahead early on thanks to a magical goal from Philippe Coutinho but QPR stuck to the task and Leroy Fer volleyed home an equalizer with just over 15 minutes to go. Gerrard first had a penalty kick brilliantly saved by Robert Green, while QPR’s Nedum Onuoha was also sent off in a crazy final 10 minutes, but Liverpool’s captain atoned for his error in the 87th minute as he flicked home Coutinho’s corner to give his side victory.

With the win Liverpool stay in fifth and closed the gap to fourth-placed Manchester United to four points, while QPR remain in 19th and are seven points off safety with three games to go.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

QPR started brightly at Anfield as a corner kick from Matt Philllips found Leroy Fer at the near post and the Dutchman flicked home what he thought was the opening goal of the game. However the strike was chalked off as the linesman adjudged Phillips’ corner kick to have gone out of play before reaching Fer.

Fer had another shot from distance that went close but Liverpool responded well after that good start for the R’s and took the lead through a moment of magic.

Rickie Lambert picked up the ball ont he right flank and hit a superb pass across the box into Coutinho. The Brazilian playmaker took one touch to settle himself and curled an unstoppable shot into the top corner. 1-0 to Liverpool. After that the Reds went close to doubling their lead but Robert Green saved well from Steven Gerrard’s free kick as the half time whistle blew.

After the interval Liverpool continued to push forward and Jordan Henderson’s crossed missed everyone and found Raheem Sterling at the back post but the winger somehow missed from six-yards out.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

QPR tried to get back into the game and Phillips had an effort in the 65th minute that deflected into the arms of Simon Mignolet. Then Fer volleyed home Joey Barton’s corner to make it 1-1 in the 73rd minute and hand the R’s a lifeline. As Fer wheeled away to celebrate, he lifted up his jersey to show a message for teammate Rio Ferdinand after the tragic news of his wife dying on Friday night after a short battle with cancer.

Liverpool were then given a great opportunity to go ahead as Onouha hauled down Martin Skrtel in the box and a penalty was awarded. Gerrard stepped up but his spot kick was saved by Green. In the 82nd minute, Onuoha was sent off for a second yellow after bringing down Ibe and the 10-men couldn’t hold as as Gerrard scored the winner to send the home fans wild.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Lovren, Johnson (Markovic, 84′), Gerrard (Lucas, 89′), Henderson, Lallana (Ibe, 68′), Sterling, Coutinho, Lambert

Goals: Coutinho (19′), Gerrard (87′)

QPR: Green; Onuoha, Caulker (Yun Suk-young, 45′), Dunne, Hill; Phillips, Sandro, Barton, Henry (Zamora, 71′); Fer; Austin

Goal: Fer (73′)