Samuel Inkoom

Houston Dynamo acquire former Espanyol center back Raul Rodriquez

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Houston Dynamo wanted to bolster their backline coming off a season where their central defense had some issues, and the addition of center back Raul Rodriquez through a free transfer was aimed to address that area.

Rodriquez was out of contract with La Liga side RCD Espanyol this week after making 80 appearances for the club since his debut in 2010, when he came on the field as a substitute in November during current Tottenham manger Mauricio Pochettino’s reign.

[RELATED: Altidore exploring MLS options]

Before performing for the senior side’s first squad, the Barcelona-born defender played a year on Espanyol B and totaled three years (2007-2010) on Spanish lower-division side UDA Gramenet.

“He is an intelligent defender who reads the game well, is technically sound and will provide leadership to our back line,” Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan said, via the club’s website. “He joins our club at a very good age with a big ambition to succeed in Houston and MLS.”

Rodriquez expressed his content at his recent move to America.

“I’m very excited to join the Houston Dynamo,” said Rodríguez. “This move represents a great challenge for me in my career with the growth of MLS. The Dynamo are an ambitious club with a clear vision and I’m excited to be a part of this project. Houston is a great city with a lot of possibilities for me and my family. I can’t wait to join my teammates and coaches and get to work.”

Among the Dynamo’s other acquisitions this offseason are goalkeeper Joe Willis, Ghanian back Samuel Inkoom, and former Chivas USA forward Erick “Cubo” Torres.

MLS half-day trade window roundup: Very busy day as Timbers, KC extremely active

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There was a decent amount of movement between MLS clubs during Monday’s abbreviated trade window, not all of it trade-related.

And it’s important to note that the trades may not all have hit the news yet, as the deadline for trades to be completed was 1pm ET. They could be announced afterwards, and the trade window reopens after Wednesday’s expansion draft for Orlando City and New York City.

[ MLS: New match ball | On Landon ]

Portland sent Michael Harrington to Colorado for allocation money, then turned around and sent allocation money to Real Salt Lake for Nat Borchers. The well-liked bearded Borchers, 33, started 32 of 32 games for RSL this season, while the 28-year-old Harrington made 21 starts for the Timbers.

Portland picked up four more players, adding Ghanaian goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasay and Colombia right winger Dairon Asprilla to go with an official purchase of Alvas Powell from his Jamaican club. They also picked up Brazilian defender Jeanderson Salvador Pereira from Santa Rita.

Kwarasay is an eyebrow-raiser, having 21 caps for Ghana and coming from strong Norwegian side Stromsgodset.

Sporting KC went nuts, dealing for Bernardo Anor from Columbus and sending Aurelien Colin and CJ Sapong packing to Orlando City and Philadelphia, respectively.

Columbus has sent defender Josh Williams to New York City FC for allocation money. The 6-foot-2 Cleveland State product saw his playing time dip dramatically under Gregg Berhalter, going from 27 to 14 games played. NYCFC also picked up an international roster slot for 2015 and 2016 from DC United for allocation money.

Philly sent the rights of Amobi Okugo to Orlando City as well. He’s been expected to leave for Europe but could be tempted to stay and play with Collin and Kaka. Orlando is not acting like its just a rights move, and also picked up international roster slots from DC for 2015 and 2016 for allocation money.

DC United picked up defender Andrew Driver and a fourth-round pick in 2016 from Houston in exchange for goalkeeper Joe Willis and defender Samuel Inkoom. The Tally Hall deal is also now official.

Elsewhere, Philadelphia decided to part ways with bruising 33-year-old forward Conor Casey.

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 1-1 DC United

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One game in 100 words: Given the fact that DC United contended for the Supporters Shield at one point this season, while the Montreal has been one of Major League Soccer’s worst teams, it’s easy to applaud the effort that the Impact put forth in this match. They looked like the better squad in the first-half, holding DC to few legitimate scoring opportunities and grabbing the first goal of the match. But as has been their issue during the regular season, Frank Klopas’ crew had difficulty retaining the quality of their performance for the entire 90 minutes, and in classic United fashion, capitalization at a significant time served them well.

 

Goals

Montreal: Marco Di Vaio 26’

D.C. United: Fabian Espindola 86’

 

Three moments that mattered

26’ — Vintage Di Vaio — Montreal midfielder Dilly Duka took advantage of a miss-aimed forward pass from D.C. United defender Bobby Boswell, and Italian veteran Marco Di Vaio, who’s set to officially retire since the Impact’s season has concluded, edged toward the box and sprinted to the near post once he received the pass. Outrunning United’s back line, the classic collected close-range finish from the striker gave the East’s last-place squad the first-half advantage.

86’ — Espindola equalizes — He took Samuel Inkoom’s layoff outside the box, and Fabian Espindola, DC United’s key offensive attacker this year, took it upon himself to tie the match in the late stages of the match. He made a bold diagonal run across the edge of the penalty area, avoiding the legs of multiple United players before rocketing a left-footed, cross-body shot that somehow skidded into the back of the net past goalkeeper Evan Bush, shocking the crowd at Stade Saputo.

13’ — Iron denies Issey Nakajima-Farran — Waiting on the outskirts of the United’s box, Nakajima-Farran received a back pass from Di Vaio and knew exactly what he was going to do with the space available to him, uncorking a deep attempt that dipped and slid off the top of the crossbar. DC goalie Bill Hamid dove frantically to his left, but luckily for him, the endeavor couldn’t find twine. This sequence signified the great start Montreal had captured in the competition’s opening minutes.

 

Lineups

Montreal: Evan Bush; Eric Miller, Karl Ouimette, Wandrille Lefevre, Maxim Tissot (Krzysztof  Krol 59’); Patrice Bernier, Calum Mallace, Andres Romero, Dilly Duka (Jack McInerney 74’), Issey Nakajima-Farran; Marco Di Vaio

D.C. United: Bill Hamid; Sean Franklin (Samuel Inkoom 65’), Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Korb; Nick DeLeon, Jared Jeffrey (Lewis Neal 62’), Perry Kitchen, Collin Martin (David Estrada 81’); Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson

Watch Live: D.C. United vs. Sporting Kansas City (Lineups)

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Two top-notch squads in the Eastern Conference—D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City—will face each other at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.

United will take to their home turf at RFK Stadium, looking to solidify a playoff birth after holding down the Philadelphia Union in a 1-0 win last week. D.C. currently stands in the East’s first-place spot, boasting 61 points from all league competitions, six points in front of the New England Revolution in second place.

[WATCH LIVE: D.C. United vs. Sporting Kansas City]

Ben Olsen’s squad has defeated Sporting on the two occasions they’ve played this season. In May, the lone goal from forward Fabian Espindola determined the 1-0 result, while in late August, Perry Kitchen, Espindola and Chris Rolfe notched scores to snag a 3-0 outcome at Sporting Park, where the Wizards continue to struggle.

A week ago, the New England Revolution ran away with three points in a 3-2 victory over Sporting at their home grounds, the team’s third straight defeat in Kansas City. This match’s conclusion also marked the fact that Sporting has lost the last five of its six league games.

Sporting still sits at third in the Eastern Conference table, however, tied with the Revs on points (45).

[RELATED: Latest MLS standings]

 

LINEUPS

D.C. United: Bill Hamid; Chris Korb, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp; Sean Franklin, Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud, Chris Pontius; Luis Silva, Fabian Espindola

Bench — Joe Willis; Samuel Inkoom, Kofi Opare; Lewis Neal, Jared Jeffrey; Eddie Johnson, David Estrada

Sporting Kansas City: Andy Gruenebaum; Igor Juliao, Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Lawrence Olum, Graham Zusi; Toni, Dominic Dwyer, C.J. Sapong

Bench — Eric Kronberg; Benny Feilhaber, Sal Zizzo, Mikey Lopez, Jimmy Medranda; Claudio Bieler, Soony Saad