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►  Obama honors NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers

You learn a lot about people when they’re down, President Barack Obama declared Thursday, and he wasn’t talking about an election. Obama saluted the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers for rallying from behind to defeat the Golden State Warriors and end a Cleveland pro sports title drought stretching back to 1964.

Obama honored the Cavs on the South Lawn of the White House, squeezing in another sports champion before he leaves office. He opened with: “That’s right. I said world champion and Cleveland in the same sentence.“

The Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the championship against a Warriors team that set an NBA record for wins during the regular season.

“The first team in history to dig themselves out of a hole like that,“ Obama said. “The comeback was remarkable, and you learn about people when they’re down.“

That comment came shortly after Obama met with Donald Trump, who won the White House race to succeed him after a campaign in which the president declared the businessman unfit.

Obama singled out several players for praise, but particularly focused on LeBron James, who won the Most Valuable Player award during the championship series. Obama called James one of the greatest players of all time and said it’s not just power and speed that make James great, but his unselfishness and work ethic. “You saw it in those last three games,“ the president said.

Obama said the Cavs also exemplified a growing generation of athletes who are using their platforms to speak out. He noted, as examples, that Kevin Love has worked to combat sexual assault and James has worked to reduce gun violence.

He said the team met earlier Thursday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to discuss steps the Cavs are taking to help build better relations between law enforcement and the Cleveland community.

“It is part of a league-wide effort to build stronger communities all across the country, including holding open conversations so we can begin to bridge divides,“ Obama said.


►  Could This Be Our First US Soccer Superstar?

Sweeter than his hometown of Hershey, Pa., is the potential represented by 18-year-old Christian Pulisic for American soccer fans: the chance for the US to claim its first bona fide soccer superstar. The Ringer profiles Pulisic, who takes to the pitch for both US Soccer and Germany’s Borussia Dortmund club team. He is being scouted by the world’s most esteemed club (Barcelona), claims multiple “youngest player ever to …“ honors, and is perpetually found on youth “phenom” lists. “Simply put: Pulisic is possibly the best 18-year-old soccer player on the planet,“ the Ringer asserts. And it’s not just fancy footwork that’s propelled the teen to the top of his game. “What impresses me most about Christian, looking at him as a player rather than a father, [is] he never makes excuses,“ says his dad, Mark, himself a former star in the National Professional Soccer League.

But is Pulisic what the Ringer calls a “one-off, freak occurrence” or a testament to an ever-improving US soccer league that could one day produce a player “who can make an impact on the international stage”? As with so many other things, “the truth is somewhere in the middle.“ Why a wealthy country like the US isn’t able to produce such stars comes down to a combination of factors including inadequate coaching and too many other sports luring kids away. There’s also the money issue, with little incentive for US clubs to develop players, and lower-income athletes sometimes being shut out of opportunities because of fees. But the domestic league is making inroads on the development front, which could churn out better prepared talent, meaning “the future, long promised, is maybe, finally, just around the corner.“ (Read the FULL STORY.)


►  Slovak brothers win burial competition with fastest, neatest grave

Two brothers from Slovakia won a grave-digging competition at an international exhibition of funeral, burial and cremation services on Thursday.

Ladislav and Csaba Skladan, aged 43 and 41 respectively, dug a grave 1.5 meters deep, two meters long and 90 centimeters wide in 54 minutes in the western Slovak town of Trencin, beating 10 other two-member teams from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary as a small audience cheered loudly.

Their grave was also the neatest, a five-member jury agreed.

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“We want to show and appreciate the hard work of grave diggers,“ said Ladislav Striz, who established the contest last year.

“Most Slovak graveyards are so crowded and spaces between graves so narrow that we need human diggers instead of machines,“ he said. “They work hard, come rain, come snow.“

“I am happy we won, it’s a satisfaction after fifteen years in this job,“ Csaba Skladan said.

“I had to focus on speed today but usually, when the weather is nice and I can chat with my brother, it’s a dream job,“ added Ladislav Skladan.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  U.S. Soccer Star Kneels Before National Team Game

Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem before a US women’s national team match against Thailand on Thursday night, the AP reports. Rapinoe first knelt during the anthem September 04 before a game with her National Women’s Soccer League team, the Seattle Reign. Rapinoe, a devoted advocate for LGBT rights, said she wanted to express solidarity with San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick. After Thursday’s game in Columbus, Ohio—which the US won 9-0—US Soccer issued a statement to ESPN that said representing the country is a “privilege and honor” for any player or coach associated with the national team.

“The playing of our national anthem is an opportunity for our Men’s and Women’s National Team players and coaches to reflect upon the liberties and freedom we all appreciate in this country,“ the statement said,.“As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.“ It was unclear whether Rapinoe would face any sanctions from the federation. “I’m very proud to pull on this shirt and play for this country, and also represent my country in a different way in speaking out for people that are oppressed,“ she told ESPN.

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►  Forbes names Pikewood National 2nd-hardest course in U.S.

Forbes Magazine named Pikewood National Golf Courseat No. 2 among its list of the Five Hardest Golf Courses in the United States.

Other courses in the Forbes list include The International in Bolton, Mass., Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla., and Kiawah Island Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.

Pikewood National is a par-72, 7,649-yard private course located near Morgantown.

“High atop a mesa in the mountains near Morgantown, West Virginia, is the breathtaking Pikewood National,” wrote Forbes contributor Erik Matuszewski. “Designed in the tradition of classic architects like Donald Ross and Alister MacKenzie, this challenging, picturesque and ultra-private course is a spectacular walk through mature forests and immense rock outcroppings.”

Last spring, Golf Digest ranked Pikewood National among “America’s Hardest Golf Courses.” Since opening in 2004, Pikewood National has been recognized by Golf Digest as the best new private course in America and listed among its “World’s Hundred Greatest Golf Courses.”

“Pikewood National is the most challenging, fair and beautiful course in the world”, says Dow Finsterwald, a former Ryder Cup captain and PGA champion who serves as pro emeritus at Pikewood National.

Pikewood National was designed by John Raese and Bob Gwynne, whose vision was to incorporate classical design with modern construction techniques. Raese is the owner of West Virginia Radio Corporation, the parent company of MetroNews.

“We are delighted to have been selected by Forbes for this honor,” Raese said. “Forbes Magazine is one of the most widely recognized and informative publications in the world. The ‘Five Hardest Golf Courses in the United States’ is a very impressive list, particularly when you consider that Oakmont, a course known for both hosting U.S. Opens and its difficulty, is not on the list.

Gwynne said Pikewood National was designed to be challenging and fair. “We wanted to test a player’s level of skill and have the course identify areas needed for improvement in a player’s game. It is exciting to see Forbes recognize Pikewood in this way.”

Forbes assembled its list by taking the USGA Course Rating System into consideration, along with both slope rating and bogey ratings. “So difficulty is gauged for your scratch golfers as well as your average amateur who tees it up once a week,” Forbes wrote.


►  Coming to Tennis: Body Cameras?

What if they put tiny cameras on players to get more dramatic TV angles? What if serves that dribbled over the net were fair game? What if servers were on a 20-second clock to start points? And how about scrapping the pre-match warmup so matches actually start on time? These are among the possible tennis tweaks and changes a top US Tennis Association official says are being seriously discussed, in some cases actually being experimented with, as the game’s leaders brainstorm ways to—someday—make play at the highest pro levels faster and more television-friendly. And she says a changing of the guard underway at the top of the men’s and women’s games makes it a good time to do it, the AP reports.

Stacey Allaster, the USTA’s chief executive of professional tennis, who came to the USTA recently after serving as chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association, said technology is a possible avenue of change. Allaster noted that shot-spotting technology to determine if balls are in or out, which has been a part of the Open since 2006, had the added benefit of helping fans get more engaged. The same could happen, she says, if tiny cameras are put on players’ bodies or hats. “People could see what it’s like to return one of these big serves.“ Other ideas that have been discussed, according to Allaster: eliminating the service let, which would allow serves that hit the net and fall in to be playable; tighter policing of player bathroom and injury breaks; and reducing or eliminating the pre-match warmup hit, which can delay the scheduled start of matches. The NCAA implemented that idea in its championships this year. And at the US Open’s junior and college invitational tournaments this year, a 20-second serve clock is being used.


►  2 Bills Players Miss Team Bus, Catch an Uber to Stadium

What to do when your team bus leaves without you? For two two members of the Buffalo Bills, Uber provided the answer on Sunday, reports the AP. Linebacker Jerry Hughes posted a video on Instagram showing him and linebacker Zach Brown in a car, supposedly en route to M&T Bank Stadium for the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. A Bills official said the two players could have waited for a second team bus leaving from the hotel, but NYup.com notes that the Bills were already short-handed and couldn’t lose two starters.


►  Wawrinka Wins 1st U.S. Open

Stan Wawrinka wore Novak Djokovic down and beat the defending champion 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday for his first US Open title and third Grand Slam trophy overall. The 31-year-old Wawrinka is the oldest US Open men’s champion since Ken Rosewall was 35 in 1970, the AP reports. Yet the Swiss man already had gained the upper hand by the time No. 1 Djokovic clutched at his left leg and grimaced after missing a forehand while getting broken early in the fourth set. From there, Djokovic briefly began conceding points, showing little of the fight he’s so famous for, and received treatment on both feet from a trainer.

The No. 3-seeded Wawrinka has won only five of 24 career meetings against No. 1 Djokovic, but has now beaten the 12-time major champion on the way to each of his own Grand Slam titles, including in the 2014 Australian Open quarterfinals and 2015 French Open final. Wawrinka took time out at the end of his victory speech to remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks. “It’s been a big battle on the court ... four hours,“ Wawrinka told the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. “But I just want to remember what happened 15 years ago.“ His statement followed that of American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who won the women’s doubles title with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, and appeared to choke up during her victory speech, telling the crowd: “It’s a special day today here for everybody in New York.“


►  Abby Wambach: I Boozed, Popped Pills for Years

Soccer legend Abby Wambach retired in December with a laundry list of dizzying highs that included last year’s Women’s World Cup title, two Olympic gold medals, a marriage to fellow soccer player Sarah Huffman—not to mention her status as the top goal scorer that international soccer has ever seen, male or female. By April, she found herself knocked to her lowest low: Charged with DUI in Portland, Ore., her bleary-eyed mugshot splashed all over creation. That night wasn’t an aberration, she tells the AP ahead of the Tuesday release of her memoir, Forward. It was the culmination of years of substance abuse, washing her successes down with vodka, Vicodin, Ambien, and Adderall. “That night getting arrested was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Because if I don’t get so publicly shamed and publicly humiliated, I don’t think I wake up,“ she says.

“Not only was I hiding this secret from the world for so long, so were the people that I loved—they loved me so fiercely they wanted to protect me as much as possible, almost from myself,“ she says. Wambach says she’s been sober since that night. She publicly took responsibility, pleaded guilty, and completed treatment. Since retiring, she’s campaigned for Hillary Clinton, worked for ESPN, and, in her words, worked on becoming a “whole human being,“ though ultimately her marriage did not survive. “It’s really hard to talk about things when you’re ashamed,“ she says. “And I’m not ashamed about what happened to me anymore because it led me to where I’m at right now. I’m proud of where I’m at.“

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  10 Best U.S. Cities for Runners

If you’re a runner, you won’t find a city better than San Francisco. Runner’s World ranks it as the best in the country for runners, based on running routes, the running community, safety, food, and weather—because it’s just not fun to run in a snowstorm. Here’s the top 10:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Seattle
  3. Boston
  4. San Diego
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Portland, Ore.
  7. Minneapolis
  8. New York City
  9. Omaha
  10. Denver

Click for the FULL LIST.


►  Navy Brings Student Out of Stands to Play QB

When starter Tago Smith went out with an injury in the first half of Navy’s game Saturday against Fordham, the team literally pulled a student out of the stands to play quarterback, USA Today reports. Granted that student, Malcolm Perry, is technically the team’s fourth-string quarterback, but still. Perry was out of uniform (but in his Navy dress whites, according to CBS Sports) and in the stands because he was sick. But at halftime he found himself suiting up and joining the rest of the team. Despite being a backup to the backup, Perry actually saw some game time at the end of a 52-16 Navy blowout, leading the team on a 90-yard drive for a field goal. ESPN reports the freshman ran for 30 yards and didn’t throw a pass while living out the fantasy of anyone who’s ever attended a football game.


►  Thundering Herd to finally get 2016 underway this week

After watching the rest of the college football world kickoff the 2016 season, Marshall finally gets its turn this Saturday when it welcomes Morgan State to Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Herd players and Herd fans are eager to actually see Marshall take the field against someone other than itself.

Herd fans will get a good look at the 2016 Herd and by the end of September should have a good idea what this team is capable of. Marshall opens the year with three consecutive home games, with quality of opposition increasing each week, culminating with a ranked Louisville team on September 24.

“I don’t think there is any question that there is a comfort level you have at home that you don’t have on the road,” said coach Doc Holliday.

“That’s obvious. Our kids have been extremely successful playing in this stadium, and they understand the importance of playing at home and what that means. There is no doubt I would rather have three straight home games than three straight road games.”

To call Marshall a favorite this week against FCS opponent Morgan State, might be the understatement of the year.

In interim-Head Coach Fred Farrier’s first game, the Bears allowed 30 consecutive points to Holy Cross, dropping their season opener 51-24. Morgan State had 14 penalties for 115 yards and turned the ball over twice inside the Holy Cross 5-yard line.

Holy Cross rushed for 258 yards and four touchdowns while it racked up nearly 500 yards of total offense. Unfortunately for Farrier, it could be more of the same this Saturday in Huntington.

“We’re going to be a whole lot better than we were last year,” promised sixth-year tackle Clint Van Horn.

“We have a seasoned quarterback who played a lot of football last year. We have some running backs that can really go. The offensive line looks good. We have depth like we’ve never had since I’ve been here.”

Marshall simply needs to take care of business on Saturday. Much like an NFL preseason game, the Herd coaching staff will want to see the team eliminate any mistakes, execute the gameplan and most importantly get through the weekend healthy.


►  Obama on Kaepernick: ‘Tough Thing’ for Service Members

Everyone is weighing in on the Colin Kaepernick controversy, from the cops who say they may stop providing security at 49ers games to the female soccer player who took a knee in support of Kaepernick at her own game Sunday. Now a more high-profile defender is speaking up: President Obama, who says the football player was “following his constitutional right to make a statement,“ the New York Post reports. Speaking from a press conference in China, where he’s attending the G20 summit, Obama touched on the concept of “active citizenry” and lauded Kaepernick—who has been refusing to stand for the national anthem at NFL games to protest racial inequities in America—for his stand, though he says he’s been busy and not really following the entire hubbub that closely.

Acknowledging that Kaepernick’s perspective is “a tough thing … to get past” for service members who’ve fought for liberty and justice for all—and that there are many ways to express one’s POV on the matter—Obama said, “I don’t doubt his sincerity” and that “I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about,“ per NBC Sports. He added there’s “a long history of sports figures” who’ve used their positions to make similar statements and that, at the very least, “he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about,“ rather than being a young person “just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all.“


►  U.S. Soccer Star Kneels for National Anthem

Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has spread to soccer: Megan Rapinoe, a Seattle Reign midfielder and member of the US women’s national team, knelt for the national anthem before her team’s 2-2 with the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday, Mashable reports. The 31-year-old, who has been on the US team for 10 years, including their 2015 World Cup win and Olympic gold in 2012, says the move was a “little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now”—and she plans to keep it up.

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,“ Rapinoe tells American Soccer Now. “It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this.“ Kaepernick retweeted Rapinoe’s response to thanks from activist Shaun King: “It’s the least I can do. Keep the conversation going.“

In Sports….

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►  Excited about baseball season? Watch this kid bust a move on first base


►  Soccer Star on Lack of Equal Pay: ‘We Are Done With It’

Carli Lloyd loves playing soccer—so much so that she helped the US national women’s team to two gold Olympic medals and the 2015 World Cup. What she doesn’t love: the estimated 40% wage discrepancy between men and women players paid by US Soccer, leading her to join a federal suit against the organization with four other players. In a New York Times essay, Lloyd explains why she felt it necessary to take that step, noting it has nothing to do with her passion for the game and “everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair, and with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play.“ Lloyd makes her case on merit, citing the team’s champion play and the fact that, with a total of three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals under its belt, the “United States women’s national team is the most successful team in the history of US Soccer.“ (Meanwhile, another Times article notes the men’s team “has historically been mediocre.“)

And it’s not just the team’s trophy-gathering that deserves recognition, but also its ability to draw TV ratings and millions of dollars in profit for US Soccer, Lloyd says. The numbers she puts forth are jarring: She notes that men’s team members who win a World Cup receive a $390,000 bonus, while she only brought home $75,000 after last summer’s win. The women are apparently shafted even on their per diem payments, with Lloyd stating she gets $60 per day while she’s traveling, compared to the $75 that men’s player Michael Bradley pockets. “Maybe they figure that women are smaller and thus eat less,“ she wryly notes. There are other figures she throws out, though she insists there are no sour grapes with the guys, whom she says they “love” and “support.“ It all comes down to the federation itself. “Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens,“ Lloyd says. “It wears on you after a while. And we are done with it.“ (Her hard-to-argue-with argument in full   HERE .)

Major League Soccer (MLS)

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►  Kaka helps MLS All Stars to 2-1 win over Tottenham

COMMERCE CITY, CO — The news kids in the league can play a little bit.

Kaka and David Villa, a pair of 33-year-old international icons in their first season in Major League Soccer, showed they still have some panache to their games.

Kaka scored on a penalty kick and set up Villa’s goal minutes later in the first half to help the best players in MLS beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on a blustery Wednesday night.

The MLS improved to 9-3-1 against international competition in its All-Star Game. Kaka, who served as the team’s captain, was selected the game MVP.

“Not bad for my first All Star,“ said Kaka, a midfielder for Orlando City. “I didn’t expect that for tonight.

“Everybody is happy, because tomorrow in the soccer world everybody will talk about the MLS All-Star team beating a very good European team.“

Although the MLS players had just one real workout together, coach Pablo Mastroeni said everything flowed together because of Kaka.

“His desire to be here was tremendous,“ said Mastroeni, who coaches the Colorado Rapids. “For a guy who’s done everything you can pretty much do in a football career and still have this desire to come and participate in Colorado, in altitude, mid-week, and be excited and hungry about it? That speaks more about the human than the player. ... He rubbed off, even for a moment, on a lot of us.“

Harry Kane scored for the Spurs, who open the English Premier League season against Manchester United on August 08.

“As a team we could have done better,“ Kane said. “Our first tough game of the preseason, but we created some good chances in the first half.“

Especially Kane, who was stopped three times early in the game by keeper Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake.

“Have to say thank you to (Rimando),“ Kaka said. “He saved the team.“

David Ousted, who plays for Vancouver, took over in goal for the second half. He preserved the lead in the 73rd minute when he made a sprawling save on a point-blank attempt by Josh Onomah.

U.S. national team member DeAndre Yedlin entered the game for Tottenham early in the second half and had a good chance at a goal in the 83rd minute, but sent the ball flying over the crossbar.

The 22-year-old Yedlin was acquired by Tottenham from Seattle and MLS in January. He’s trying to make the Hotspur club and a good showing over the next few days may go a long way to securing a spot this season. He could also be moved to another team on loan.

“I feel comfortable wherever I go, whether it be Tottenham — it doesn’t matter,“ Yedlin said. “It’s one of the things you have to deal with as a pro.“

Kaka converted a penalty kick in the 20th minute after a hand ball in the box. Although Spurs keeper Michel Vorm guessed right on Kaka’s kick, he couldn’t stop the shot from the Brazilian midfielder.

Three minutes later, Kaka set up another goal when he delivered a pass that Villa tapped in with his left foot. Villa, who plays for New York City FC, is Spain’s career scoring leader. U.S. national standout Clint Dempsey, a former player at Tottenham before going to Seattle, also was given an assist.

Asked how this MLS bunch would fare as, say, a squad in the Premier League, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino thought they could hold their own.

“They start a couple of wonderful players like Kaka, Villa,“ Pochettino said. “They have big skill and top quality.“

Early on, it was a frustrating first half for Kane as he was stopped time and again by Rimando. But Kane wouldn’t be denied in the 37th minute, when he juked defender Omar Gonzalez to create just enough space to unleash a line shot into the corner of the net.

“The keeper was in top form,“ Kane said. “Delighted to see the goal go in and delighted to be out there.“

The MLS All Stars were without quite a few big names as Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Frank Lampard (New York City FC) and Chris Tierney (New England Revolution) all sat out due to injuries.

Landon Donovan attended the game as a spectator. The U.S. soccer great retired last season after winning the MLS title.

Donovan may have found his next calling, though. He stepped into the role of head coach in the MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, his side losing in a shootout to Club America under-20s.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  RSL stops streaking Sporting KC at Rio Tinto

Sandy, UT - Jao Plata’s goal gave Real Salt Lake a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas CIty on Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Sporting Kansas City is looking for their fourth straight win, while Real Salt Lake is looking to start a win streak with a win tonight.

Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) right footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sebasti’n Jaime with a headed pass. 34’

In the 50th minute Sporting KC would get on the board when Roger Espinoza found Benny Feilhaber 25 yards out. Feilhaber blasted a shot past RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to tie the score 1-1.

RSL would put the game away when Olmes Garcia drove into the box and Tim Melia took him down in the box for a penalty shot. Plata stepped up and planted the ball in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute.


►  Altidore’s late PK completes TFC’s rally in Columbus

Columbus, OH - Toronto FC came from three goals down in the second half to claim a 3-3 draw with Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday as Jozy Altidore converted a penalty kick in the 89th minute.

First-half tallies from Kei Kamara and Tony Tchani handed Crew SC a 2-0 lead before Ethan Finlay stretched the advantage to 3-0 in the 47th.

Sebastian Giovinco started the comeback with his 13th goal of the campaign in the 50th minute, while Collen Warner added another five minutes later to make it 3-2.

Altidore then drew a foul inside the penalty area on Waylon Francis in the closing minutes before stepping to the spot and firing home the equalizer.

Finlay had a hand in the opening goal when his shot was parried to Federico Higuain, who nodded the ball into the path of Kamara for an easy finish.

Tchani struck nine minutes before the break to double the lead as he curled home a shot from 20 yards.

Justin Meram’s through ball in the 47th allowed Finlay to beat goalkeeper Joe Bendik with a shot between the legs.

Giovinco scored on a nice volley a few minutes later on a cross from Warner, who tallied TFC’s second goal with a shot into the top corner after arriving at the back post.

Altidore then completed the comeback when he was tripped inside the area by Francis and he picked himself up and converted from the spot to salvage a point for his side.


►  Ciman’s late header sinks Sounders

Montreal, ON - Laurent Ciman’s header in the 88th minute lifted the Montreal Impact to a 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC at Saputo Stadium on Saturday.

Seattle failed to register a shot on target in the match and the team’s woes continue without both Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins as Sigi Schmid’s side has now lost six of its last seven games.

Montreal, meanwhile, controlled large portions of the match but had to wait until the closing minutes for a reward as Ciman’s goal handed the team its second win in six matches.

Sounders goalkeeper Troy Perkins did his best to keep the team in the game with a big stop on Dominic Oduro after the forward broke through on goal in the 21st minute.

Dilly Duka was next to threaten in the 67th with a shot that he curled just the post, while Ignacio Piatti came even closer nine minutes from time with an effort that struck the crossbar.

But Ciman finally broke the deadlock when he got on the other end of Marco Donadel’s free kick to head home the winner.


►  Revs claim point at Fire behind Rowe’s goal

Bridgeview, IL - Kelyn Rowe’s goal in the 77th minute salvaged a 2-2 draw for the New England Revolution against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday.

Lee Nguyen opened the scoring for the Revs in the 28th before a penalty kick from Shaun Maloney late in the first half knotted the match at 1-1.

Razvan Cocis put Chicago in front 15 minutes from time, but Rowe canceled out the tally two minutes later to give New England four points from its last two games after a five-game losing streak.

A low cross from Scott Caldwell led to the opening goal as it forced Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson to parry the ball into the path of Nguyen for an easy finish.

David Accam was brought down inside the penalty area in the 44th minute, allowing Maloney to step forward and bury his shot to the left of goalkeeper Brad Knighton.

Cocis nearly handed the Revs the lead when he scuffed a clearance attempt from Tierney’s cross that struck his own post, but he found the correct net 12 minutes later to put the Fire into the lead when he bundled the ball home from close range after a scramble in front of the net.

Just two minutes later, however, Rowe equalized with a simple finish from Tierney’s cross to prevent the Fire from claiming a rare win.


►  Barrios nets brace as FCD claims fifth straight win

Frisco, TX - Michael Barrios scored a first-half brace to lead FC Dallas to a 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday at Toyota Stadium to give FCD a fifth successive win.

Barrios got things going early with goals in the 12th and 22nd minutes before an excellent long-range effort from Kellyn Acosta and a late penalty kick from Mauro Diaz in the second half.

Fanendo Adi spoiled the clean sheet with a penalty kick in stoppage time for the Timbers, who have claimed just one point from their last three outings.

Acosta set up the opening tally for Barrios when he picked out the forward with a pass, allowing him to beat a defender and fire a shot past goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.

Barrios was in the right place at the right time 10 minutes later when Fabian Castillo’s shot was blocked and fell to him inside the area, setting up an emphatic finish to double the lead.

Atiba Harris headed a corner kick from Mauro Diaz just wide early in the second half as Dallas attempted to add to the lead.

Portland then created a good spell of pressure that saw Liam Ridgewell head a free kick from Diego Valeri narrowly past the post.

However, Acosta put the result away with a wonderful long-range effort against the run of play to crush any hopes the Timbers had of a comeback.

Diaz put the finishing touches on the win with a penalty kick in the 87th minute after Victor Ulloa was brought down inside the box.


►  Davis leads the way as Houston hammers Galaxy

Houston, TX - The Los Angeles Galaxy saw their winning ways come to an end on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium as the club was handed a 3-0 defeat by the Houston Dynamo with Brad Davis scoring a goal and registering an assist in the first half.

The Galaxy entered the fixture having won four of their last five games, but a flat performance left them second best on Saturday as Will Bruin and Davis scored in the opening 27 minutes before a late goal from Leonel Miranda rounded out the victory.

Davis started the game by setting up a goal for Bruin nine minutes into the match with a cross that eluded Galaxy defender Leonardo and found Bruin for an easy finish.

Nathan Sturgis played provider on the goal for Davis when he picked out the midfielder with a pass and watched as Davis beat goalkeeper Brian Rowe with a shot from 20 yards that the netminder should have kept out.

Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric didn’t have a lot to do in the match, but he had to be alert to deny a close-range shot from Robbie Keane in the 32nd to keep the Dynamo up two goals.

Erick Torres made his Dynamo debut as a second-half substitute and nearly scored in the 82nd when his close-range effort was stopped by Rowe.

But the hosts managed to put another shot past Rowe two minutes from time on a nice chip from Miranda to cap a rough night for the defending champions.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Streaking Sporting squares off with RSL

Sandy, UT - Sporting Kansas City is eyeing a fourth straight win in league play on Friday when the club travels to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Real Salt Lake.

Sporting’s 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact last weekend moved the club to within two points of the top spot in the Western Conference, and the team will be even more encouraged by the continued production of forward Dom Dwyer.

RSL, meanwhile, secured a much-needed 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo that snapped a four-game winless run in league play.

The result was huge for head coach Jeff Cassar’s team after a late collapse against the Colorado Rapids saw the side give up three goals in the final 10 minutes of a 3-1 defeat.

A win in the U.S. Open Cup over the Los Angeles Galaxy followed, as did a meeting between the players that seems to have had the desired effect based on RSL’s win over Houston, which marks just the third time this season that the club has put together back-to-back wins.

“The Colorado game was very disappointing,“ Cassar said. “But the team has really come together since then. They had a meeting and talked about holding each other accountable and really working for each other. When we get back to that mentality, that’s when we’re at our best. It’s not about the name on the back of the jersey. It’s about the crest on the front and when we have everyone working for each other, we’re going to get good results.“

Javier Morales and Joao Plata each scored a goal and assisted on another in the win, with Plata finding the net for the first time this season.

The Ecuadorian has battled injuries this season after leading RSL in goals last term, so Cassar will be hoping the goal last weekend can spark Plata’s confidence and return him to last season’s form.

Sporting would like to continue its current form, and with both Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber playing at their peak, there is a good chance the winning streak can continue on Friday.

Feilhaber scored the opening goal and set up Dwyer’s tally in the first half of the win over Montreal, giving him 10 assists on the season.

After a slow start to the campaign, Dwyer is now beginning to round into form and it is making the Sporting attack much more difficult to handle as the Englishman has netted six goals in his last five games in all competitions.

“I love the progression that Dom is going through right now,“ Sporting head coach Peter Vermes said. “He’s got this hunger that is really coming from game to game and you can see it. Every time he is facing the goal he is on the verge of putting it in the back of the net or getting a good chance off. He’s starting to feel it again.“


►  Crew SC aims to continue winning ways against TFC

Columbus, OH - Columbus Crew SC will attempt to keep stringing wins together on Saturday when the club welcomes Trillium Cup rivals Toronto FC to MAPFRE Stadium.

Back-to-back wins over the Chicago Fire in the span of five days last week will surely boost the confidence of Gregg Berhalter’s men, while TFC will also be buoyed by a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union that snapped a three- game winless streak.

Sebastian Giovinco continued his fantastic run of form with a goal and an assist against the Union, giving the Italian four goals and two assists over his last two games.

But it was another player, midfielder Marky Delgado, who drew praise from head coach Greg Vanney after the victory with Delgado helping fill the void left by Michael Bradley being away on international duty at the Gold Cup.

“[Marky Delgado] did a great job last week in New York of helping us defensively, but still having the energy and the speed to get forward into good spots,“ Vanney said. “He did that last week when he scored the goal and today, he has such a big engine to help us defend a little bit deeper, but also to get out and help Jozy [Altidore] and Sebastian in transition.“

Delgado scored a goal and registered an assist against NYC last week before adding another goal against the Union to help take some of the scoring burden off the shoulders of Giovinco.

Kei Kamara knows a thing or two about shouldering a scoring load at the Crew SC forward scored a goal in each game against the Fire to give him a league- leading 14 tallies on the season.

But while Kamara has been a consistent scoring threat this season, Columbus has failed to be consistent in its overall performances from game to game.

Berhalter’s side has struggled to string together wins, but defender Tyson Wahl hopes last week’s wins over Chicago can help the team take another step toward rectifying that problem.

“I think it shows a lot of great character and grittiness,“ Wahl said of his team winning two games in five days. “I think over the last two years we’ve shown that we can be a great team, but we haven’t always been consistent. So I think it shows, with two sound wins in a row, that maybe we’re on our way to becoming a more consistent team. I think that’s the next step in our development.“

Wahl’s team may be heading in the right direction, but he knows successive wins over the last-place Fire is certainly not a reason for his side to get complacent.

“This isn’t good enough,“ he said of winning two straight games. “We’re not going to get complacent. We know we can play better, and this is the right time to get a couple wins in a row and build momentum for the end of the season.“


►  Sounders hope to stop slide in Montreal

Montreal, QC - Slumping Seattle Sounders FC hope to find a solution to their struggles at Saputo Stadium against the Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Seattle is in the midst of a slide that has seen the club lose five of its last six games, including a 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last weekend.

It marked the second straight match the Sounders have lost 1-0, while Sigi Schmid’s side has been held without a goal in four of those five defeats during the current funk.

Seattle has been competitive in all of those games except for a 4-1 defeat against Portland, and Schmid believes his side just needs a break or two to get things turned back in the right direction.

“Sometimes, when you’re in [a slump] like this, it just takes something to bounce your way,“ Schmid said after the loss. “Then all of the sudden the dam breaks. It’s not like we’re getting outplayed. We’re not getting annihilated in these games. We’re in every game but because we haven’t been able to score, the pressure mounts on the defense.“

A big reason why the Sounders haven’t been able to score is the fact that the club is missing its top two goal threats in Clint Dempsey, who is away at the Gold Cup with the United States, and the injured Obafemi Martins.

The Sounders must find a way to get offensive production outside that duo, even it means a big dose of luck.

Montreal has gotten solid production from Ignacio Piatti recently, but it hasn’t always translated to positive results as the team lost 2-1 at Sporting Kansas City last weekend despite Piatti’s third goal in four games.

The problem for the Impact was that the goal came in the 59th minute after Montreal was already down 2-0 to first-half strikes from Benny Feilhaber and Dom Dwyer.

Head coach Frank Klopas believes his team must change its mentality away from home in order to reduce costly mistakes.

“We’ve got to realize that we can’t take risks and chances away from home against a quality team,“ Klopas said. “Other than that, I felt that we regrouped. The focus was to win the second half. I felt we did that. We pushed the game. Unfortunately, those early mistakes we made cost us.“

Montreal must still find a way to collect results away from home, but fortunately for the Impact, Saturday’s match comes on home soil, where the team is 5-2-1 this season, against a side that is struggling badly in front of goal.


►  Fire search for spark against Revs

Bridgeview, IL - The New England Revolution just ended a terrible skid last weekend, while the Chicago Fire will try to do the same on Saturday when the two sides tangle at Toyota Park.

The Revs ended a five-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over New York City FC thanks to a first-half goal from Lee Nguyen, while the Fire lost twice in the span of five days against Columbus Crew SC to give the team four defeats from its last six outings.

New England’s win was certainly not the most pleasing on the eye, which forward Charlie Davies acknowledged, but it could be the start of a turnaround for the Revs, much the same way the team’s season took off last term.

“It was ugly at times, but we all stuck with it,“Davies said after the match. “I thought we were pretty good tactically and we got the job done.“

Last year, New England endured an eight-game losing skid before turning things around in midseason and going on to reach MLS Cup, and the Revs will be hoping for a similar situation this time around.

One thing that changed for New England was the fact that the team didn’t fall behind in the opening 10 minutes of the game the way they had in the previous two matches.

Goalkeeper Brad Knighton felt it was important for the team’s confidence to avoid giving away the early goal, which he had a hand in with a few key saves.

“We’ve gone down early in the first part of the game in a handful of games and for us to get that early goal and get that confidence in us was huge tonight,“ said Knighton.

Chicago knows very well how frustrating a losing streak can be, and Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Columbus was a good example.

The Fire gave away a penalty kick in the opening minute of the match but were able to get back on level terms through a ninth-minute goal from David Accam.

However, the team handed Kei Kamara his 14th goal of the season eight minutes later, and was reduced to 10 men in the 50th minute of a questionable second yellow card to Jason Johnson.

From there, Ethan Finlay added a third goal seven minutes from time to close out the defeat.

Accam was certainly disappointed with the result of Sunday’s game, but felt that the work from his teammates was where it needs to be if the Fire is going to turn around an increasingly difficult campaign.

“I think we gifted them two easy goals, but for me, the performance from everyone [was good],“ said Accam, who scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season on Sunday. “Everyone worked really hard. On another day, we might get a good result because we worked so hard, even though we gave them two easy goals. I’m really proud of the team because they did really well.“


►  Timbers hope to halt FCD’s winning ways

Frisco, TX - The Portland Timbers will try to slow a streaking FC Dallas side at Toyota Stadium on Saturday in a battle of Western Conference contenders.

A run of four straight wins has vaulted FCD to the top of the West, while Portland sits just three points back in sixth place in an extremely tight table.

The four-game winning streak is the club’s longest since a run of six successive wins in 1999, and it continued thanks to the magic of Fabian Castillo in last weekend’s last-gasp 2-1 win over D.C. United.

With the match level at 1-1 and the game in stoppage time, Castillo, who had been named to the All-Star team earlier in the day, pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty area and fired home the winning goal.

It was a dramatic winner from Castillo, who not only extended his team’s winning run, but also continued his top form as he has scored four goals in the last five games.

“I thought the will of the team to go and fight for the three points, that was incredible,“ Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “That was a magic night for the whole team, and I can’t be more proud.“

The Timbers will try to get back into the win column on Saturday after taking one point from their two most recent outings.

Portland was in great form following a run of six wins in seven games, but that momentum came to a screeching halt in a 3-0 road defeat at Philadelphia two weeks ago.

Caleb Porter’s team returned home last weekend to meet rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but after a 1-1 draw, the side would love to collect three points to try and kickstart another good run.

However, the Timbers have lost six of their 10 games away from Providence Park this season, and defender Nat Borchers knows this must improve for his team to get where they want to be.

“The road is where the good teams become great and that’s what separates teams from making the playoffs and not making playoffs,“ Borchers said. “We’ve got to find a way to get points on the road, to grind results out, to manage games and we’ve shown we can’t do that recently and I think now that’s the challenge.“

Winning in Dallas has been a big challenge for the Timbers over the years with Portland claiming just one win in six visits to Frisco.


►  Galaxy, Dynamo set to battle at BBVA

Houston, TX - The Los Angeles Galaxy will shoot for a second consecutive victory in league play on Saturday when the club travels to BBVA Compass Stadium to battle the Houston Dynamo.

The defending champions have been a bit up and down through the first half of the season, but Arena’s men have made of habit of heating up during the summer along with the weather.

With new Designated Player Steven Gerrard fully integrated, the club is coming off its best performance of the season last week, roaring back from a 2-0 first-half deficit to earn a 5-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.

The ‘Quakes opened the scoring when Sanna Nyassi sent a cross into the middle of the box. Quincy Amarikwa redirected the ball into the lower left corner to give San Jose a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.

Three minutes later Amarikwa struck again. This time Clarence Goodson sent a header into the box where Amarikwa finished for his second goal of the game.

In the 30th minute Tommy Thompson received a yellow card for a hand ball in the box to give the Galaxy a penalty kick. Robbie Keane beat San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham to the lower right corner to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Then in the 37th minute Gerrard registered his first goal when he blasted a shot past Bingham to tie the score.

In the second half the Galaxy picked up where they left off in the first half when Gerrard sent a cross into the six yard box to Keane, who buried his flicked attempt into the top right corner to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead in the 64th minute.

In the 80th minute Bingham conceded a foul in the box which gave the Galaxy their second penalty shot. Keane was appointed to take the shot and converted to give Los Angeles a two goal lead. Then just before the final whistle Robbie Rogers sent a cross to Sebastian Lleget, who scored to complete the rout.

“They played well,“ Arena said of Gerrard and Keane’s on-field chemistry. “Our first 20 minutes of the game was not good, it was sloppy. The last 20-25 minutes of the first half got better, and the second half was a pretty solid half. I thought our guys responded real well. I think we were fortunate to get that penalty, and the second goal was important for us to get us back in the game, and I think we played well in the second half. Robbie and Stevie looked like they’ve played together before. Obviously two very good players and this is why we have Stevie Gerrard here. We think he is going to make our team better.“

Houston, meanwhile, will be aiming to bounce back after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Real Salt Lake.

The opening goal arrived in the 24th minute when Joao Plata played a ball to Javier Morales that he lashed past goalkeeper Tyler Deric on the half-volley from 20 yards.

Deric reacted well just before halftime to prevent an own goal when a low cross from Abdoulie Mansally deflected off Raul Rodriguez but was kept out by the alert goalkeeper.

Just six minutes after the restart, the Dynamo went down a man as Kofie Sarkodie came in from behind on Mansally with a poor tackle that earned him a straight red card.

RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made a rare save in the 62nd on Rodriguez to keep his team ahead and Plata sealed the win in the 65th when he played a one- two with Morales and slotted his shot past Deric.

This will be the third and final regular season clash between the sides. The first match ended in a 1-1 draw at the StubHub Center on March 21, while the Galaxy claimed a 1-0 win on May 22.


►  Expansion cousins meet again as NYCFC hosts Orlando City

New York, NY - A pair of expansion cousins will clash for the second time this season when Orlando City SC heads to Yankee Stadium to battle New York City FC on Sunday.

As usual with expansion clubs, both teams have had exciting wins as well as some extended runs of poor form. Both sides will be looking to get back to winning ways coming off losses last week.

The Lions suffered a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls at the Citrus Bowl, a match which saw impact rookie Cyle Larin and manager Adrian Heath dismissed from the field.

New York went in front in the 21st minute when Sacha Kljestan sent a rocket into the top right corner of the net from 25 yards with a splendid strike that left goalkeeper Tally Hall with little chance.

Things got worse 11 minutes later when Larin came in on Kljestan with his studs up in a challenge at midfield, earning the Orlando man an early exit.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Cristian Higuita nearly equalized in the 81st with a shot that was tipped onto the near post by New York goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Mike Grella then secured all three points for New York by beating two defenders and slotting his shot past Hall in the first minute of stoppage time.

“I am really proud of the players. I thought their attitude was absolutely magnificent,“ said Heath. “The fact that all evening, with 10 men, they were the dominant team on the field. But their desire to get something out of the game was incredible. They were fantastic. And if we keep playing like that, we are going to win more than we lose. I guarantee you! 14 games left, and we are going to give it everything. This group is going to be fine.“

New York City, meanwhile, is coming off a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium last week.

New England got off to a good start with Lee Nguyen’s 12th-minute goal and was helped by a 55th-minute red card from Ned Grabavoy.

Some good play between Daigo Kobayashi and Diego Fagundez set up the chance for Nguyen, and he made the most of the opportunity by lashing a shot past goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

Chris Tierney nearly doubled the lead a few minutes before the break with a shot that went inches wide of the left post, but things got easier for the hosts in the 55th when Grabavoy was hit with a straight red card for a poor challenge on Kobayashi.

“I’m really, really pleased with the guys’ efforts,“ head coach Jason Kreis said. “They gave everything they had, they stuck together and gave us a chance at the end. To be down a man as long as we were and to have a chance there at the end, I think that’s meaningful.“

After missing the past two weeks due to lingering calf injury, Designated Player Frank Lampard could be set to finally make his debut for the club.

This will be the second-ever meeting between the expansion sides, which met in the opening fixture of the season back in March. Kaka and Mix Diskerud traded goals as the sides played to a 1-1 draw at the Citrus Bowl.


►  East rivals tangle as United hosts Union at RFK

Washington, DC - Two heated Eastern Conference rivals are set to tangle on Sunday when the Philadelphia Union travel to RFK Stadium to meet conference-leading D.C. United.

Philadelphia has been in decent form in recent weeks, but will shoot to get back to winning ways in league play following a 2-1 loss to Toronto FC last week at BMO Field.

Philadelphia got off to a good start in the game and C.J. Sapong had a dangerous chance in the opening 10 minutes that was hit into the outside of the net.

But the hosts snatched the lead in the 29th with Sebastian Giovinco slipping a nice pass into the penalty area for Marco Delgado to slam into the roof of the net.

The Italian then beat Union goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre himself on his second effort as he got to the edge of the area and drove a ball on target that the netminder stopped. However, Giovinco followed up the play and drove home the rebound to double the lead.

Giovinco then came within inches of adding to that lead in the 40th after he slid a shot just wide of the post while being played in on goal by Jozy Altidore.

The Union thought they had pulled a goal back on the hour mark when substitute Eric Ayuk had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside, while Conor Casey’s goal arrived in the first minute of stoppage time but wasn’t enough.

“I thought in the first 25 minutes we had a lot of the ball, had a lot of chances, [but] we don’t get a goal,“ Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “To Toronto’s credit they were well organized, they were tough to break down with the block of eight guys that defended. Again, credit to them but I think if we were a little sharper in the first half I think we could have got a goal.“

United, meanwhile, will aim to snap a four-match winless run across all competitions following a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium last week.

D.C. goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra was playing in place of the injured Bill Hamid, and he made a fine stop on a volley from Mauro Diaz before stopping a close- range header from Fabian Castillo late in the first half.

Atiba Harris nodded a ball off the crossbar in the 66th minute as Dallas pressed for the lead, and the hosts managed to find it in the 73rd when David Texeira drove a low ball into the six-yard box that was finished off by Kellyn Acosta.

United managed to equalize when a cross from Taylor Kemp deflected off Dallas defender Matt Hedges and found the net, but Castillo fired home the winner in the closing moments to leave United with just one point from their three most recent outings.

“We’re disappointed in the result, and frankly at this point, in the performance,“ said United head coach Ben OlSenator “We were second best for most of the night, but credit their guys. Like Seattle, we hung in there and then again late we didn’t do a good enough job of seeing out the game. But what are you going to do? You pick yourself up and get better for next week against Philadelphia.“


►  ‘Caps host ‘Quakes at BC Place

Vancouver, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC will aim to snap a three-match winless run in league play on Sunday when the club hosts the San Jose Earthquakes at BC Place.

Last time out, the ‘Caps battled to earn a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Cascadia rivals the Portland Timbers at Providence Park,

Kekuta Manneh was denied at point-blank range by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey in the 16th minute, while he had an even better opportunity in the 27th when he rounded Kwarasey after taking a pass from Mauro Rosales, only for Timbers defender Nat Borchers to clear the ball off the goal line.

Portland snatched the lead in the 33rd when Fanendo Adi dribbled the ball toward goal and laid a pass off on the right for Diego Valeri, who beat David Ousted with a shot at his near post.

The Whitecaps responded after the break when Matias Laba found space 30 yards from goal and ripped a shot through traffic that found its way inside the right post past a diving Kwarasey.

Substitute Gaston Fernandez had the best chance to win the game for the Timbers in the 85th when his deflected shot sailed just over the crossbar from the top of the penalty area.

“It was important that we didn’t get beat today because we had two defeats on the trot. But the character on this team and in this young group is absolutely fantastic,“ said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson. “We might not win every game, which is clear, but when I ask them to respond they certainly will respond. It’s credit to the guys today.“

San Jose, meanwhile, will attempt to get back to winning ways after suffering a 5-2 thrashing at the hands of the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy last week.

Robbie Keane scored his second successive hat trick in MLS play, converting two penalty kicks and netting the 64th-minute winner in a vibrant clash played in front of a sellout crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center.

Steven Gerrard drew the penalty kick that Keane converted after a half-hour, netted an equalizer in the 37th minute, then set up Keane’s finish on the winning strike with a precisely placed free kick.

Keane added an 80th-minute penalty kick after San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham tripped Baggio Husidic after diving to deny Keane at the left post and Sebastian Lletget added a header in the 91st minute.

Sunday’s clash will be the second meeting of the season between the sides. San Jose took a 1-0 victory over Vancouver on April 11 at Avaya Stadium.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Gerrard, Keane lead the Galaxy over ‘Quakes

Carson, CA - Robbie Keane registered a hat trick and Steven Gerrard scored his first MLS goal in his first game to lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 5-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night at the Stubhub Center.

The Galaxy have won three out of their last four games before Gerrard even played a minute in MLS. Meanwhile San Jose is coming off of back to back loses.

Both teams played cautious in the first 20 minutes. The Quakes opened up the scoring when Sanna Nyassi sent a cross into the middle of the box. Quincy Amarikwa redirected the ball into the lower left corner to give San Jose a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.

Three minutes later Amarikwa struck again. This time Clarence Goodson sent a header into the box where Amarikwa finished for his second goal of the game.

In the 30th minute Tommy Thompson received a yellow card for a hand ball in the box to give the Galaxy a penalty kick. Keane beat San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham to the lower right corner to cut the score to 2-1.

Then in the 37th minute just what everyone was waiting for, Steven Gerrard registered his first goal when he blasted a shot past Bingham to tie the score at 2-2 leading into the break.

In the second half the Galaxy continued where they left off in the first half when Gerrard sent a cross into the six yard box to Keane. Keane buried the shot in the top right corner to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead in the 64th minute.

In the 80th minute Bingham conceded a foul in the box which gave the Galaxy their second penalty shot. Keane was appointed to take the shot and converted to give Los Angeles a two goal lead. Then just before the final whistle Robbie Rogers sent a cross to Sebastian Lleget who scored to give Los Angeles a 5-2 win.


►  Giovinco helps TFC hold off Union

Toronto, ON - Sebastian Giovinco scored a goal and assisted on another to lead Toronto FC to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at BMO Field on Saturday.

Both goals for Toronto arrived in the span of three first-half minutes as Giovinco set up a goal for Marco Delgado in the 29th before scoring his 12th goal of the campaign in the 32nd.

Conor Casey pulled a goal back in the 90th minute for the visitors, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Union’s three-game unbeaten run from being snapped, while TFC collects its first victory in four matches.

Philadelphia got off to a good start in the game and C.J. Sapong had a dangerous chance in the opening 10 minutes that was hit into the outside of the net.

But the hosts snatched the lead in the 29th with Giovinco slipping a nice pass into the penalty area for Delgado to slam into the roof of the net.

The Italian then beat goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre himself on his second effort as he got to the edge of the area and drove a ball on target that the netminder stopped. However, Giovinco followed up the play and drove home the rebound to double the lead.

Giovinco then came within inches of adding to that lead in the 40th after he slid a shot just wide of the post while being played in on goal by Jozy Altidore.

The Union thought they had pulled a goal back on the hour mark when substitute Eric Ayuk Mbu had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offsides, while Casey’s goal arrived in the first minute of stoppage time but wasn’t enough.


►  Nguyen’s goal snaps skid for Revs against NYC

Foxborough, MA - The New England Revolution snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday as Lee Nguyen’s 12th-minute goal was enough for a 1-0 victory over 10-man New York City FC at Gillette Stadium.

NYC had won four of its previous six games while the Revs had claimed just one win in 12 matches entering Saturday’s fixture.

But New England got off to a good start with Nguyen’s goal and was helped by a 55th-minute red card from Ned Grabavoy.

Some good play between Daigo Kobayashi and Diego Fagundez set up the chance for Nguyen, and he made the most of the opportunity by lashing a shot past goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

Chris Tierney nearly doubled the lead a few minutes before the break with a shot that went inches wide of the left post, but things got easier for the hosts in the 55th when Grabavoy was hit with a straight red card for a poor challenge on Kobayashi.

Charlie Davies struck the crossbar 20 minutes from time as the Revs tried to pad their lead, but they saw out the rest of the match with little trouble to end a woeful run of results.


►  Red Bulls topple 10-man Orlando City

Orlando, FL - Red Bull New York claimed a fourth win in five games on Saturday at the Citrus Bowl with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Orlando City SC.

Sacha Kljestan’s goal after 21 minutes put New York in front, while Cyle Larin was sent off for the home side in the 32nd, leaving Orlando with plenty of work to do.

Mike Grella then put the finishing touches on the victory with a goal in stoppage time to hand Orlando a second straight defeat.

Carlos Rivas nearly put Orlando in front 15 minutes into the match when some nice work from Kaka set him up for a shot that clipped the outside of the post.

But New York went in front six minutes later when Kljestan sent a rocket into the top right corner of the net from 25 yards with a splendid strike that left goalkeeper Tally Hall with little chance.

Things got worse 11 minutes later when Larin came in on Kljestan with his studs up in a challenge at midfield, earning the Orlando man an early exit.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Cristian Higuita nearly equalized in the 81st with a shot that was tipped onto the near post by goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Grella then secured all three points for New York by beating two defenders and slotting his shot past Hall in the first minute of stoppage time.


►  Feilhaber leads the way as Sporting tops Montreal

Kansas City, KS - Benny Feilhaber scored a goal and set up another in the first half to lead Sporting Kansas City to a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact at Sporting Park on Saturday.

Feilhaber found the net four minutes into the match and turned provider in the 34th to set up Dom Dwyer for a goal that put Sporting up 2-0.

Ignacio Piatti pulled the Impact back to within a goal just before the hour mark, but the visitors were unable to produce an equalizer and sustained their second defeat in three games.

Sporting, meanwhile, claimed a third straight victory and has won five of its last six outings.

Feilhaber got the home side off to a great start when he got on the other end of a low ball from Krisztian Nemeth and took a touch before lashing a shot past goalkeeper Evan Bush.

A well-weighted ball from Feilhaber released Dwyer in the 34th and he slotted his shot past Bush to put the hosts in control.

Bush kept Montreal within two goals as he made a double save on Dwyer shortly before halftime, while Piatti tightened things up with a goal in the 59th as he danced past Kevin Ellis and found the bottom corner of the net.

However, Sporting held on to claim an eighth straight home victory across all competitions, tying the franchise record set in 2004.


►  Castillo leaves it late as FCD edges DCU

Frisco, TX - FC Dallas claimed a fourth straight win on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in dramatic fashion as Fabian Castillo scored in stoppage time to give his side a 2-1 win over D.C. United.

Kellyn Acosta scored his first MLS goal in the 73rd to give Dallas the lead, but his goal was canceled out four minutes later by an own goal from Matt Hedges.

But Castillo rescued the win on a counter-attack goal to hand United a second successive defeat.

D.C. goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra was playing in place of the injured Bill Hamid, and he made a fine stop on a volley from Mauro Diaz before stopping a close- range header from Castillo late in the first half.

Atiba Harris nodded a ball off the crossbar in the 66th as Dallas pressed for the lead, and the hosts managed to find it in the 73rd when David Texeira drove a low ball into the six-yard box that was finished off by Acosta.

United managed to equalize when a cross from Taylor Kemp deflected off Hedges and found the Dallas net, but Castillo fired home the winner in the closing moments to leave United with just one point from their three most recent outings.


►  Morales, Plata lead RSL past Houston

Sandy, UT - Javier Morales and Joao Plata were instrumental in Real Salt Lake snapping a four-game winless streak with a 2-0 triumph over the Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.

Morales scored in the 36th minute after being set up by Plata, and he returned the favor in the 65th for Plata’s first goal of the campaign after Houston’s Kofi Sarkodie was sent off in the 51st for the Dynamo, who lost for the third time in five games.

RSL controlled large parts of the match and nearly took the lead in the 24th minute when Justen Glad headed a Morales corner kick off the crossbar.

The opener arrived 12 minutes later when Plata played a ball to Morales that he lashed past goalkeeper Tyler Deric on the half-volley from 20 yards.

Deric reacted well just before halftime to prevent an own goal when a low cross from Abdoulie Mansally deflected off Raul Rodriguez but was kept out by the alert goalkeeper.

Just six minutes after the restart, the Dynamo went down a man as Sarkodie came in from behind on Mansally with a poor tackle that earned him a straight red card.

RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made a rare save in the 62nd on Rodriguez to keep his team ahead and Plata sealed the win in the 65th when he played a one- two with Morales and slotted his shot past Deric.


►  Doyle’s goal piles more misery on Sounders

Seattle, WA - Kevin Doyle’s goal in the 84th minute was the difference as the Colorado Rapids claimed a third straight win on Saturday at CenturyLink Field with a 1-0 triumph over Seattle Sounders FC.

Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin kept his side in the match with a few big saves, and Doyle made the most of a rare chance six minutes from time to hand the Sounders a fifth loss in six games.

The Sounders threatened in the opening minute of the match when Cristian Roldan’s pass found Thomas and he fired a shot on goal that Irwin tipped over the crossbar.

Roldan then had a good opportunity himself in the opening minute of the second half when Michael Harrington’s slip gifted him a great look at goal, only for Irwin to come to the rescue.

A few minutes later a cross from Tyrone Mears was headed on goal by Andy Rose at close range, but Irwin once again reacted well to tip the ball to safety.

In the 73rd minute the Sounders put together a good break that ended with a shot from Gonzalo Pineda that he saw Irwin stop.

The hosts were then stunned in the 84th when Doyle took down a ball from Jared Watts, split two defenders and drove a low shot past goalkeeper Troy Perkins.


►  Honors even in Cascadia clash between Timbers, ‘Caps

Portland, OR - A second-half goal from Matias Laba helped Vancouver Whitecaps FC earn a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Saturday in the third and final meeting of the season between the Cascadia Cup rivals.

Diego Valeri’s 33rd-minute tally had the Timbers in front, but Laba’s goal after the break helped the Whitecaps avoid a third straight defeat.

Kekuta Manneh was denied at point-blank range by Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey in the 16th minute, while he had an even better opportunity in the 27th when he rounded Kwarasey after taking a pass from Mauro Rosales, only for Timbers defender Nat Borchers to clear the ball off the goal line.

Portland snatched the lead in the 33rd when Fanendo Adi dribbled the ball toward goal and laid a pass off on the right for Valeri, who beat David Ousted with a shot at his near post.

The Whitecaps responded after the break when Laba found space 30 yards from goal and ripped a shot through traffic that found its way inside the right post past a diving Kwarasey.

Substitute Gaston Fernandez had the best chance to win the game for the Timbers in the 85th when his deflected shot sailed just over the crossbar from the top of the penalty area.


►  Kamara, Crew SC douse Fire again

Columbus, OH - For the second time in five days Kei Kamara netted the deciding tally to lift Columbus Crew SC to a 3-1 victory over the 10-man Chicago Fire on Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium.

The two Eastern Conference rivals met on Wednesday at Toyota Park, where Kamara’s blistering first-half goal handed Crew SC a 1-0 result.

Things followed a similar path for Columbus on Sunday.

Referee Chris Penso awarded a penalty to Columbus just eight seconds into the match when Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson clattered forward Ethan Finlay in the box.

Federico Higuain stepped to the spot and dispatched it easily to put the hosts ahead.

The visitors pulled level seven minutes later, however, when David Accam lined up a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Accam’s blast deflected off the Columbus wall and beat goalkeeper Steve Clark.

Columbus regained the advantage in the 17th minute when defender Waylon Francis lofted a cross into the box, allowing Kamara to get on the end of it and finish the play with another authoritative header, leaving Johnson with no chance.

Things got even worse for Chicago five minutes into the second half when Penso showed forward Jason Johnson a second yellow card for a dive, reducing the visitors to ten men.

Columbus pushed for an all-important insurance goal and it came with seven minutes to play as Finlay got on the end of a quick back-heeled pass in the box by substitute Kristinn Steindorsson to put away his sixth goal of the season.

Crew SC easily saw out the final minutes, including three minutes of added time, to claim all three points and move back into second place in the East with 30 points.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Union aim to continue form against TFC

Toronto, ON - A pair of in-form Eastern Conference foes will clash on Saturday when the Philadelphia Union travel to BMO Field for the first time this season to face Toronto FC.

After starting the season poorly, Philadelphia had heated up as the weather has heated up and come into the clash off their best performance of the season, a comfortable 3-0 destruction of the Portland Timbers last week at PPL Park.

Philadelphia took the game to Portland in front of the home crowd and opened the scoring in the 69th minute through a fantastic left-footed strike from local lad Andrew Wenger when he dribbled to the top of the penalty area and curled his effort inside the left post.

Argentine playmaker Cristian Maidana then pulled a ball back from the end line for Vincent Nogueira to hammer home with a first-time finish just two minutes later.

The Frenchman then put the finishing touches on the win in the 82nd when he played a quick one-two with Maidana to get in behind the Portland defense ands finished the play by sliding it past Portland goalkeeper Andrew Weber to the back post.

“It’s been a long time and I thought maybe I really was cursed there for a little bit but I’m happy to finally see it go in,“ Wenger said of scoring his first goal of the season. “Little bit of shock on my face because I thought maybe there was a post back there somewhere.“

The victory improved the Union’s record to 7-3-1 over their past 11 games, something manager Jim Curtin had a simple explanation for.

“Right now I think that you can see a confident team,“ Curtin said. “Every good team I’ve ever been on in my life as a player had some hard moments together before they won anything together. [You’re] starting to see a group that believes in each other.“

Toronto, meanwhile, is coming off perhaps the most exciting game across the league this season, a wild 4-4 draw with expansion side New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.

TFC came into the New York match without the services of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, both away with the U.S. national team at the Gold Cup, but that didn’t seem to matter as Sebastian Giovinco netted a first-half hat trick and added another crucial assist in the stalemate.

Giovinco scored in the 34th, 40th and 43rd minutes to complete the third- fastest hat trick in league history, while also missing a penalty kick early in the first half.

Marco Delgado also scored for TFC as the newly-minted rivals finished level.

“It was crazy, hectic and as unpredictable a game as I’ve been involved in, for sure,“ Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney said. “It was maybe one of the ones you could put up there in a shortlist of MLS games that have been crazy. It’s a very small field, bodies are close together, and there’s a lot of contact. If fouls are called easily, then this field is going to have a lot of fouls because people are so close together. Today, we dealt with a lot of set pieces, and in the end set pieces were a huge factor in the game.“

“You see what he’s capable of doing on a day like today because he brought out a lot of skills and treats,“ Vanney said of Giovinco’s performance. “But every game is different. Today, he showed what he’s capable of doing. This one has to go down as one of his best games for sure. He was excellent.“

Giovinco also the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia in the clubs’ last meeting at PPL Park on May 02.


►  Orlando City set to host Red Bulls

Orlando, FL - A pair of newly-formed Eastern Conference rivals will battle on Saturday when the New York Red Bulls travel to the Citrus Bowl to face Orlando City SC,

New York comes into the contest in decent form following a 4-1 thrashing of the New England Revolution last time out at Red Bull Area.

The hosts jumped on New England early with Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring in the fourth and 12th minutes while Lloyd Sam added a goal in between.

Andy Dorman pulled one back for the Revs before the break, but Anthony Wallace tacked on another goal after the break to help New York to a third win in four games.

“Credit to the guys. The message from me and (head coach) Jesse (Marsch) this week was that when we are at home, we’re in attack mode,“ said assistant coach Denis Hamlett. “We want to take the game to the team and tonight, those guys were able to do that. I think once they got going, it was just a matter of finishing their chances. I think we’ve created a lot of at home this year, but just haven’t been able to finish them, and tonight we finished them and made the game look a lot easier.“

“Excellent performance,“ added Wright-Phillips. “I said to Lloyd and Sasha (Kljestan) when I got on the bench I was proud to be on the team. These are the type of things we do in training and it came off in 12 minutes and we won the game.“

Orlando, meanwhile, saw its five-match unbeaten streak at home come to an end thanks to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of FC Dallas last week.

Playing without the suspended Kaka, Orlando struggled to generate much of an attack, although Carlos Rivas struck the post after 16 minutes.

Dallas worked its way into the match and the visitors were awarded a penalty kick just before halftime when Cristian Higuita tripped Fabian Castillo inside the box, allowing Mauro Diaz to fire his spot kick beyond the reach of goalkeeper Tally Hall.

Pedro Ribeiro had the ball in the net for Orlando after the break, but it was ruled out for offside, while Dallas doubled its lead seven minutes later.

Victor Ulloa and David Texeira combined on the goal as the latter got to the front of the net to finish off Ulloa’s cross.

“It was a long 90 minutes. We started slowly a little lethargic lacking in energy and we probably got what we deserve, which is nothing,“ said head coach Adrian Heath. “It will probably be the easiest three points on the road Dallas will get this season. It is a disappointing night. I feel for our supporters who unfortunately couldn’t get them [the team] going. I couldn’t get them going either, it seemed. A very bad night. And the penalty just about summed the evening up I think.“


►  NYCFC, Revs clash at Gillette

Foxborough, MA - The New England Revolution will aim to put an end to a lengthy losing streak on Saturday when the club welcomes New York City FC to Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution come into the clash riding the longest losing streak of the season by any club—five straight games—following a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of the New York Red Bulls last week.

The hosts jumped on New England early with Bradley Wright-Phillips scoring in the fourth and 12th minutes while Lloyd Sam added a goal in between.

Andy Dorman pulled one back for the Revs before the break, but Anthony Wallace tacked on another goal after the break to help New York to a third win in four games.

Sam played provider on the opening goal with a cross that Wright-Phillips got up to head home.

A nice build up in the 10th minute resulted in New York’s second goal as Mike Grella finished off the play by setting up Sam for a finish.

Dax McCarty teed up a second goal for Wright-Phillips two minutes later, leaving the Revs down 3-0 and with no way back.

Dorman finished off a nice ball from Lee Nguyen in the 37th to make it 3-1, but Wallace restored the three-goal advantage for his side with a shot that took a wicked deflection off New England defender Jose Goncalves, leaving goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth with no chance.

“Enough is enough,“ said defender Andrew Farrell of the club’s struggles. “Every week we say it’s got to be better, we’re going to turn it around, and we haven’t. This is a crucial point in our season where three points will go a long, long way, but another terrible result will put us at the lowest that I’ve been in this club. We really know the importance of this game. It’s huge. Everybody knows it and we’re ready to work hard to get to where we need to be.“

New York City, meanwhile, is coming off a wild 4-4 draw against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium last Sunday.

David Villa scored a brace for New York City, but Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco netted a hat trick in a span of nine minutes as the clubs were forced to settle for a point.

“We are really starting out games well, creating attacking chances, creating goal scoring chances and taking goals,“ head coach Jason Kreis said. “But for whatever reason, there seems to be a moment in every game where we just stop. I think the moment probably came when we gave away that penalty kick—the second one that he (Sebastian Giovinco) actually scored to make it 2-1. I think a lot of guys kind of hung their heads at that moment and said, ‘Here we go again.‘“

“That’s not a good enough reaction and we’ve got to continue to strive to improve because we need to be able to put 90 minutes together. That always has to be our goal. I think in soccer, you’re never going to be dominant and the leader of the match for 90 minutes, but it certainly needs to be our goal.“


►  Impact, SKC set to tangle at Sporting Park

Kansas City, KS - A pair of clubs aiming to continue positive runs of form will clash on Saturday when Sporting Kansas City welcomes the Montreal Impact to Sporting Park.

Sporting comes into the match looking for a third straight victory across all competitions following a nervy 1-0 result over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place last Sunday.

Both teams played wide-open, attacking soccer in the first half, but the finishing was off just as tad as the sides went into the intermission on level terms.

The breakthrough came seven minutes into the second half on a bit of a broken play as Krisztian Nemeth collected a loose ball on the right side of the pitch and lofted a cross into the box. Kevin Ellis, up from his center back position, nodded it past Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted for his second tally of the season.

SKC had an excellent opportunity to double the lead in the 58th minute when Nemeth let one go from the top of the box with pace, but it clanged the post and stayed out.

Vancouver was a step slow all night, but manager Carl Robinson switched to a back-three and added striker Robert Earnshaw to the mix in the 84th minute hoping for a late strike.

Things boiled over between the sides in the final moments as hard challenges were flying in all over the field. Despite the emotion, the Whitecaps were unable to find a late equalizer as the Sporting defense held out just long enough.

“I thought (rookie Abdul-Salaam) Saad was tremendous tonight in his first start for us,“ SKC head coach Peter Vermes said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Whitecaps midfielder) Kekuta Manneh, and he’s a fantastic player, but Saad did a tremendous job—and he’s not an easy player to play against. I think he’s a very dangerous player in their team.“

Montreal, meanwhile, is looking to maintain its form after a comfortable 3-0 rout of the Columbus Crew last week at Stade Saputo.

Ignacio Piatti’s through ball in the fifth minute set up Dominic Oduro’s first goal of the day as he tracked down the ball and rounded goalkeeper Steve Clark before sliding home the opening goal.

Three minutes later that lead swelled to 2-0 as a short corner was played to Calum Mallace and he slid a pass to Marco Donadel, who unleashed a rocket from 35 yards that found the top right corner of the net.

Oduro then clinched the victory 10 minutes from time when he arrived to fire home the rebound after Dilly Duka’s shot was saved by Clark.

“It was important for us to keep a clean sheet,“ said head coach Frank Klopas. “I think that helps with the confidence also because that’s another thing we need to continue to improve. We know we’re going to create opportunities and score goals, but the more clean sheets that you keep, the more you give yourself opportunities to win.“


►  United aim to stop the rot against FC Dallas

Frisco, TX - D.C. United will shoot to end a three-match winless run across all competitions on Saturday when the club travels to Toyota Stadium to battle FC Dallas.

D.C. United has been flying high for most of the season, entering the clash on top of the Eastern Conference with 35 points from 21 games played, eight ahead of second-place Columbus Crew SC.

But Ben Olsen’s club will aim to break its slide following a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC back on July 3.

Seattle had a great chance when Thomas’ right-footed shot from the left side of the box was saved by United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra in the center of the goal in the sixth minute.

United had a chance in the 15th minute when Perry Kitchen took a right-footed shot from outside the box missed to the left corner. D.C. United’s Fabian Espindola received a red card in the 27th minute and United will be down a man the rest of the game.

After nearly a full half of constant pressure from the Sounders, Tyrone Mears broke the tie with a blast to the top right corner that found the back of the net.

“I’m as proud as I’ve been in a while of this group,“ Olsen said. “The effort they put in, the way they looked out for each other out there—in the end it takes a wonder strike from them to get all three points.“

United will also have a bit of extra firepower in the forward ranks as the club acquired veteran striker Alvaro Saborio from Real Salt Lake earlier in the week.

“Saborio has been a proven goal scorer throughout his career, especially in Major League Soccer,“ United general manager Dave Kasper said. “He’s a true No. 9 that will provide an immediate spark to our offense.“

FC Dallas, meanwhile, will be shooting for a fourth consecutive win following a 2-0 victory over expansion side Orlando City SC last week.

Dallas worked its way into the match and the visitors were awarded a penalty kick just before halftime when Cristian Higuita tripped Fabian Castillo inside the box, allowing Mauro Diaz to fire his spot kick beyond the reach of goalkeeper Tally Hall.

Pedro Ribeiro had the ball in the net for Orlando after the break, but it was ruled out for offside, while Dallas doubled its lead seven minutes later.

Victor Ulloa and David Texeira combined on the goal as the latter got to the front of the net to finish off Ulloa’s cross.

The hosts had a chance to spoil the clean sheet in the 88th minute when Dan Kennedy took down Ribeiro inside the area, but Carlos Rivas fired his spot kick over the net.

“We knew we came from a tough stretch, especially away [from home], so we were mentally very prepared,“ Ulloa said. “I think we showed that on the field. We were aggressive and we won the game and got three points.“


►  Struggling Sounders welcome Rapids to CenturyLink

Seattle, WA - The Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders FC come into their meeting at CenturyLink Field on Saturday in very different frames of mind.

While the Rapids have won back-to-back games for the first time this season and are hoping to build momentum, Seattle has lost four of its last five outings and is trying to find a way to cope without some key players.

The Rapids secured a second straight victory last weekend as the team came from a goal down in the final 10 minutes to notch a 3-1 win at Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake.

Colorado remains on the bottom of the Western Conference despite putting two straight wins together, but despite their struggles, the Rapids feel as though they were never low on confidence.

“We were never massively low on confidence, we just weren’t getting our just rewards,“ said Colorado forward Kevin Doyle, who is beginning to round into form in his first MLS campaign. “Now that we’ve won a couple of games hopefully that will help us build momentum.“

And while Doyle is pleased his side has started to get a few positive results, the Irishman is not content with simply winning two straight games, and he feels his team has a good sense of unity at the moment.

“Two wins is still not good to us. We need to win a whole lot more to finish the second half of the season,“ Doyle said. “We’re all in together.“

Despite propping up the West table, Colorado is just nine point out of a playoff spot with plenty of matches remaining.

Seattle has spent most of the season at or near the top of the Western Conference, but Sigi Schmid’s side must find a way to turn around a poor run of form.

A 1-0 defeat to the Chicago Fire last weekend marked a fourth defeat in five games, and it continued the Sounders struggles in front of goal without top scoring duo Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.

Seattle has now scored just two goals in its last five games, being held without a goal in three of those matches, and Sounders goalkeeper Troy Perkins knows that despite missing its top two offensive players, the team must find a way to get results.

“When you’re missing guys and you’re winning, you don’t think about it,“ Perkins said of the big absences. “Certainly, now we’re thinking about that.

“But you know what? They’re not going to come anytime soon. We’ve got to turn around now and figure out a way to win.“

Fortunately for Seattle, the club has had plenty of success against the Rapids in recent years, and the Sounders will be going for their third win of the season against Colorado.

The Rapids have never won in Seattle, which has claimed victory over Colorado in 12 of the last 14 meetings between the two sides in regular season and MLS Cup play.


►  Houston hits the road to tangle with RSL

Sandy, UT - Real Salt Lake is out to snap a four-game winless skid when the club welcomes the Houston Dynamo to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.

A disappointing 3-1 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last weekend continued a disappointing run of form for head coach Jeff Cassar’s team, while Houston snapped a three-game winless run with a 2-0 defeat of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Sebastian Jaime had RSL in position to claim three points against the Rapids last weekend with a second-half goal to put his side up 1-0.

But things fell apart in the final 10 minutes for RSL as Jaime was sent off and Colorado netted three goals to close out the win.

“We became very undisciplined,“ Cassar said of his team’s performance in the final 10 minutes. “To have a one-goal lead with 10 minutes left in the game, we’ve got to do much better. We’ve got to make better choices. We’ve got to realize that we can’t take small breaks and we need to finish out that game. It’s unacceptable the last 10 minutes of that game.“

Jaime has scored five goals in the last six games for Salt Lake to help carry the scoring load, but he will be suspended for Saturday’s clash, while the team made a big trade on Thursday, sending Alvaro Saborio to D.C. United in exchange for fellow forward Luis Silva.

Houston has been extremely inconsistent this term, especially on the defensive end, but Owen Coyle’s team put together the type effort defensively that he has been waiting months to see.

The Dynamo kept their first clean sheet since April 11 in the win over San Jose, and Coyle feels that his team’s defensive success was due mainly to the fact that his team cut down on individual errors.

“We needed to get back to being difficult in respect to not giving up goals through individual errors,“ Coyle said. “There’s not, when I look back at the games, there’s nobody that’s really cutting us wide open - it’s self-inflicted errors. We scored two goals tonight and kept a clean sheet. We played very, very well against a good San Jose side.

“This is San Jose who coming into the game had the best defensive record in MLS and we scored two tonight and could’ve had a few more. That was because we took care of the ball.“


►  Whitecaps, Timbers square off in Cascadia clash

Portland, OR - The Portland Timbers will aim to bounce back quickly from a big loss when the club plays host to Cascadia Cup rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Providence Park on Saturday.

The Timbers were in a great run of form heading into last weekend’s match with the Philadelphia Union having won six of their last seven games.

However, head coach Caleb Porter was missing five starters and two other regulars for the Union match due to injury, international duty and rest, and his team came out on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat.

“I think we hit somewhat of a wall with some players in the last game,“ Porter said this week. “We hung in there for 68 minutes, we were in position to win the game, that’s pleasing. But you could see after the first goal we kind of hit a wall. Not making excuses, but that’s a reality.“

The match entered the second half scoreless, but the Union hit for three goals over the final 20 minutes to hand the Timbers just a second loss in the past eight games.

Portland will be happy to be returning home to Providence Park as both of those losses over the last eight games came away from home and saw the club give up a combined total of eight goals, while the Timbers gave away just two goals in the six wins.

Vancouver could also be a good opponent for a bounce back for Porter’s men as the team has a history of success against the Canadian side.

In 13 all-time MLS meetings against Portland, the Whitecaps have managed just two wins, although both of those victories came in the last five games between the sides.

Vancouver won three straight games prior to suffering losses in the last two outings, but the last match was particularly disappointing.

The club returned home following a lengthy road trip and lost 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City, marking the team’s fourth home defeat already this season.

After the match, head coach Carl Robinson acknowledged that his side still has improvements to make despite residing near the top of the Western Conference.

“We’re still building. We know where are. We need to be better, I need to be better, and we will be better,“ Robinson said. “A lot of things need to be better after today.“

And while Robinson feels his side must still improve, he was able to take away some positives from the defeat as well.

“[It’s] not as concerning as it would be if we didn’t create one chance in that first half,“ Robinson added. “The game’s about taking your chances. When you cross that white line, whoever takes those chances and scores usually wins the game. Today, we had a number of chances, we didn’t take them. KC had a lot of chances and they took one of them.“


►  Crew SC, Fire square off for second time this week

Columbus, OH - The Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew SC renew acquaintances once again on Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium just four days after they tangled in Chicago.

The two sides met up at Toyota Park on Wednesday in a midweek clash that saw Columbus claim a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Kei Kamara late in the first half.

And Crew SC will be eyeing a second straight win over Frank Yallop’s team to keep them in second place in the Eastern Conference.

Wednesday’s win not only gave Crew SC three points, but it also marked the first road win of the campaign for Gregg Berhalter’s bunch, which entered the match with an away record of 0-5-4.

“It’s been really tough for us on the road and we came in here determined,“ said Kamara, whose goal on Wednesday gave him 14 on the season. “We knew we were going to play them here and go back home against the same team. We really said, ‘It’s finally time. We have to get something on the road.‘ And it was perfect work from everyone.“

The feeling on the Chicago side of things was much different, however, as Yallop gave a very blunt assessment of Wednesday’s match.

“It ###### me off when we don’t play well, it ###### me off we don’t have our players on the field too,“ Yallop said. “You get judged on what you play like. It’s not always the true picture, but I can’t say anything, because it’s excuses.

“We’re all injured, we’ve got guys away. It’s just very, very frustrating - and you’re playing a team that’s good, so you’ve got to be at your best.“

Chicago certainly wasn’t at its best on Wednesday, which Yallop acknowledged.

“It was plain to see that they were a better side than us tonight - they had better players on the field, that were playing. We had six guys sitting watching,“ a frustrated Yallop said.

It has been a difficult campaign thus far for Chicago, which sits on the bottom of the Eastern Conference table, but the team is just six points from a playoff spot with plenty of games to play.

With that in mind, Yallop was eager to move past Wednesday’s loss and look ahead to another tough match with Columbus, which has earned 20 of a possible 30 points at home this season.

“We’ve got to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game, which is the big thing for us now,“ Yallop said. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t dwell on this one. We’ve got to look forward, we’ve got to go get a result in Columbus now. Obviously, it’s going to be tough, but we’re capable of doing it.“

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