NWSL Week 22- Recap and Goals of the Week
NWSL Week 22- Recap and Goals of the Week avatar

Only one round of games remain after a full round of fixtures were played over the weekend.

With all four of the playoff teams already determined, the Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars played their game knowing that wins would put give them an advantage over FC Kansas City, who were serving a bye week.

Chicago End Winless Run With Victory Over Flash

Christen Press and Jen Hoy scored a goal each to lift the Red Stars over the Western New York Flash to end a winless run of six games.

After these teams played to a 0-0 draw last Sunday, they traveled to Rochester to face each other in front of 3,525 fans.

Christen Press was once again on fire for Chicago.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Christen Press was once again on fire for Chicago.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Press was on fire from the start with her attempted chip of the goalkeeper sailed just over the crossbar in the sixth minute.

The visitors were evenly matched though with Kristen Edmonds firing a beautiful long-range shot on goal only for Red Star goalkeeper Michele Dalton to tip the ball around the post.

Press managed to find the back of the net five minutes before the break after a fantastic solo effort went in off the post. The U.S. international stormed down the middle of the field, beating two players in the process before cutting back on another defender on the edge of the area. After looking up, Press curled a beautiful shot in off the far post, giving Chantel Jones no chance in goal.

And Press set up Jen Hoy just after the hour mark to add insurance to Chicago’s lead. The forward cut inside with the ball from 25 yards out, taking a few markers with her. This freed up space for Hoy to make a run behind the defensive line and she was found by a brilliant through ball from Press. Despite the tricky angle and Jones rushing off her line, Hoy managed to squeeze the ball past the goalkeeper to the near post.

Edmonds had another great long-distance shot on goal before the game was over, but Dalton managed to tip the effort over the bar to keep her fifth shutout of the season.

The win lifts Chicago to second place, knowing that if they can hold on to that position against Houston next week, they will host the fourth-placed team in the semifinals on September 13th.

Last-Minute Goal Earns Seattle Draw With Sky Blue

After clinching first place with a victory over Boston midweek, Jessica Fishlock scored a stoppage time equalizer to cancel out Nadia Nadim’s opener versus Sky Blue FC.

Fishlock got the equaliser for Seattle and kept their record alive. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Fishlock got the equaliser for Seattle and kept their record alive. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Seattle came seconds away from facing their first home defeat since the 2013 season but Fishlock’s header from Kim Little’s cross denied Sky Blue victory.

Sky Blue took an early lead through Nadia Nadim’s well-placed free kick six minutes in. Katy Freels went down easily under a challenge from Fishlock 25 yards from goal. Despite the free kick being a tight angle, Nadim hit a powerful shot across goal that Hope Solo couldn’t keep out.

The visitors went carried the 1-0 lead into the break, but it was Seattle who went on to dominate the second half, attempting 12 shots.

Their first quality opportunity of the game came in the 58th minute through a dangerous free kick from Kim Little. The 2014 MVP bent in a set-piece from the left towards the near post and a combination of Fishlock and a Sky Blue defender diverted the ball on goal, but Brittany Cameron fell to her right to push the ball wide.

Fishlock and Little combined again in the 70th minute with the former racing onto a through ball from Little, but Cameron was quick to cut the angle and smother the chance.

The Reign’s dominance finally paid off in stoppage time as Fishlock lost her marker to power a header from Little’s free kick past Cameron to get Seattle a deserved point.

Seattle reached the 40-point plateau with the result while Sky Blue move to 7th place, thanks to a late season surge that has seen them lose only once in their last eight games.

Houston Defeat Boston For Sixth Victory

In their last game of the season, the Boston Breakers travelled to Houston only to lose to the Dash 1-0 in front of 6,842 fans.

Both teams attempted plenty of shot throughout the game but only a few managed to trouble either keeper.

Ella Masar and Cat Whitehill wrestle for the ball. (ISI Photos)

Ella Masar (L) got the lone goal for Houston.  (ISI Photos)

Houston’s goal in the 34th minute when Ella Masar beat her marker to clip Jessica McDonald’s cross over Alyssa Naeher into the back of the net. The fullback was played in the forward position on the night in the hope that her speed would help put the Dash ahead.

McDonald came inches away from doubling their lead in first half stoppage time, but her powerful header from Andressa’s corner kick cannoned off the post to the relief of the Breakers.

Houston continued to dominate the second half, much to the thanks of Carli Lloyd. The midfielder had nine shots in the game, more than double any other player in the game.

In the 59th minute she curled a shot from outside the box that seemed destined for the top corner, but it bent just wide of the upper-90. Lloyd managed to find the back of the net ten minutes from time, but he was adjudged to have been offside when Camila took a shot that came off the post. The U.S. international tapped in the rebound only to see the linesman’s flag was raised.

Lloyd’s last effort of the game, which ended up being her only shot on target, came when she robbed a defender of the ball and tried to dribble around Naeher and shoot, but the Boston goalkeeper managed to block the effort to keep it a one-goal game.

Boston struggled to create any threatening chances offensively and had to settle for their 13th loss in a disappointing campaign. The three points lifts Houston to 5th place, but without a chance to make the playoffs, their season is already wrapped up.

Portland and Washington Battle To 3-3 Draw

Providence Park, host of the 2015 NWSL Championship Game, was sold out to see the Thorns play their last home game versus the Spirit on Sunday night.

The 21,144 fans were treated a thrilling 3-3 draw, which saw the Spirit squander a two-goal lead, only for Crystal Dunn to score an 81st minute goal to level the scores.

The Washington Spirit went ahead in the 6th minute thanks to combination play of Dunn and Francisca Ordega. Dunn used her speed to glide through the midfield and play Ordega through on goal. After some hesitancy to take the angled shot, she put the ball right between Nadine Angerer’s legs to put the visitors ahead.

It looked like the scoreline would be carried into the break, but Dunn popped up to score her 14th goal of the season in stoppage time to make it 2-0. Christine Nairn put in an inswinging corner that Dunn managed to get a head on, giving Angerer no chance.

Morgan scored her first goal of the 2015 campaign. (ISI Photos/Howard C Smith)

Morgan scored her first goal of the 2015 campaign. (ISI Photos/Howard C Smith)

Despite the two-goal deficit, Portland came out the break on the front foot. They halved the deficit in the 53rd minute thanks to Alex Morgan’s lobbed finish over Ashlyn Harris. The goal is Morgan’s first goal of the 2015 season, with the World Cup and injury making it a stuttering campaign for the American international.

Fellow international Tobin Heath earned and dispatched a penalty kick in the 70th minute to level the game at 2-2 after begin taken down by Estelle Johnson as Heath raced towards the end line. She sent Harris the wrong way to send the crowd into a frenzy.

They went delirious ten minutes later when a cross to the back post was headed across goal by Morgan to Jodie Taylor, who tapped into the empty net to give Portland their first lead of the night.

But Dunn silenced the crowd from the ensuing kickoff as the ball found Nairn inside the box. Her blocked shot fell to the feet of Dunn, who cut inside and finished with composure past Angerer to make it 3-3. The scoreline would hold until the final whistle, bringing one of the most entertaining games of the season to a close.

The point gives Washington a one point advantage over fourth-placed Kansas City heading into the final round of fixtures, while Portland sit in sixth place.

Team

Games Played

Wins

Losses

Draws

GD

Points

Seattle

19

12

3

4

19

40

Chicago

19

8

3

8

9

32

Washington

19

8

5

6

4

30

Kansas City

19

8

6

5

11

29

Houston

19

6

8

5

-5

23

Portland

19

6

8

5

-1

23

Sky Blue

19

5

7

7

-5

22

Western New York

19

5

9

5

-11

20

Boston

20

4

13

3

-21

15

 

Goals of the Week: Week 21

Every week, GotSoccer will give you the top three goals of the week. We will factor in skill, difficulty, and importance to determine the top three finishes of the week.

#3: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit) vs. Portland Thorns 8/30/2015

It was vital that the Spirit get at least a point to gain the upper hand on Kansas City and avoid Seattle in the semifinals. It was going well at halftime with Dunn getting a goal and an assist in a 2-0 game. But after falling behind 3-2 in the second half, Dunn managed to score her 15th goal of the season in great fashion, gathering the ball inside the box, quickly cutting to her right and shooting low past the goalkeeper.

#2: Nadia Nadim (Sky Blue FC) vs. Seattle Reign 8/29/2015

Sky Blue has been one of the best teams in the second half of the season, but it was still surprising to see them lead in Seattle. It was all thanks to Nadia Nadim’s free kick which was rocketed from 25 yards out across goal beyond Hope Solo in goal. It was fantastic early effort that could’ve been the winning goal if not for Seattle’s late equalizer.

#1: Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars) vs. Western New York Flash 8/29/2015

Another great solo effort in the NWSL earns GotSoccer’s vote as goal of the week as Christen Press put the Red Stars ahead with this beautiful run and finish from outside the box. She ran fairly unopposed for the most part, sprinting past a couple of stagnant defenders before cutting back on the edge of the area. She curled the ball in off the far post, giving the goalkeeper no chance at all.

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Tim Howard is Back for Big September Friendlies
Tim Howard is Back for Big September Friendlies avatar

Tim Howard is back! Last seen representing the Stars and Stripes in heroic fashion during the Brazil World Cup, the Everton keeper has ended his voluntary sabbatical and been recalled to the U.S. roster for a pair of September friendlies versus Peru and Brazil.

Howard had been outstanding for Everton thus far this season. (Gettu Images)

Howard had been outstanding for Everton thus far this season. (Gettu Images)

In Howard’s absence longtime understudy Brad Guzan made his claim for the number one goalkeeper job, although a poor showing in the Gold Cup semifinal loss to Jamaica by the Aston Villa man could give Jurgen Klinsmann an opening to reinstate Howard.

The U.S. MNT will play Peru September 4 at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. (7pm ET on Fox Sports 1) before going up against Brazil September 8 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts (8pm ET on ESPN).

As the final two games before the October 10 Confederations Cup playoff showdown with Mexico at the Rose Bowl, these two friendlies take on added importance for the U.S. MNT.

That all or nothing October match with Mexico could have been avoided had the Americans won the 2015 Gold Cup, but when the U.S. capped a poor tournament with a shock loss to Jamaica the die was cast.
Howard is not the only veteran recalled by Klinsmann, also back in the fold are Jermaine Jones, Geoff Cameron and Danny Williams. The U.S. MNT coach and Technical Director has left Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey out of the squad for the Peru match, although the team’s two most recent captain’s could be called in to face Brazil.

Altidore returns to the squad after a poor Gold Cup. (Getty Images)

Altidore returns to the squad after a poor Gold Cup. (Getty Images)

Minus Dempsey, the U.S. forward pool looks a bit thin. Jozy Altidore returns after a poor Gold Cup that saw him sent back to Toronto early. Aron Johannsson should play an important role after his transfer to Bundesliga club Werder Bremen, and Klinsmann has called in a new German-American prospect Andrew Wooten, who has scored five goals in five games this season for 2 Bundesliga side SV Sandhausen.

Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes, selected as a forward and not a midfielder, round out the strike force.

Similarly, the midfield will badly miss Bradley’s leadership while Greg Garza is the only full-time fullback selected. With Fabian Johnson and Tim Chandler both unavailable through injury, versatile middlemen Geoff Cameron, Tim Ream, Ventura Alvarado and Michael Orozco could end up out wide, although Klinsmann could choose to give DeAndre Yedlin, listed as a midfielder, a run at his former position.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

DEFENDERS (8): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Greg Garza (Atlas), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Joe Corona (Veracruz), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Andrew Wooten (SV Sandhausen), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

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STYSA: Playing for Kicks with Abby Wambach
STYSA: Playing for Kicks with Abby Wambach avatar

Courtesy of STYSA

Courtesy of STYSA

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The Legends Match: Open Tryouts
The Legends Match: Open Tryouts avatar

 

Courtesy of CSA

Courtesy of CSA

On Saturday, Aug. 29 the Colorado Rapids will hold open tryouts for a chance to play alongside Marcelo Balboa, Claudio López, Brian Mullan and Terry Cooke in The Legends Match against Mexican National Team greats Ramón Ramírez, Luis Hernández, Claudio Suárez and Luis García on Sept. 12 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Bring your Heart, Hustle, Teamwork and Athleticism- because 20 lucky fans will be chosen to compete based on these attributes. All skill levels and walk-ups are welcome, but  participants must be 18 years or older to tryout.

The chosen 20 will also receive a free official uniform, free tickets to the Rapids vs. D.C. United Game and VIP Experiences.

To register and read the original story, please visit the Colorado Soccer Association website.

Tryouts Information

Tryout Date & Time: Saturday, August 29 from 5:00-7:00pm

Location: Field 10 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

Requirements: Must be 18 years or older to sign up and cannot be a former or current professional soccer player

Legends Match Information

Legends Match Date: Saturday, September 12 following the Colorado Rapids vs. D.C. United match

Location: Stadium Pitch at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

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Herzog Names U-23 Roster for Final Camp
Herzog Names U-23 Roster for Final Camp avatar

With Olympic qualifiers on the horizon U.S. MNT U23 coach Andy Herzog has named a 24 player squad to travel to England to face their host’s September 3 in Preston and Qatar on September 8 in Bury.

This is the final camp for the team prior to CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers in October, so players will want to impress Jurgen Klinsmann’s right hand man.

Andy Herzog coaching the U-23's. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Andy Herzog coaching the U-23′s. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Herzog won’t have had access to the entire player pool, but he has still assembled a strong squad, with seven players making the jump from the 2015 U20 World Cup team.

The seven are Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga, the central defense pairing that did so well for Tab Ramos in New Zealand, midfield general Emerson Hyndman, Arsenal wonderkid Gedion Zelalem (recently loaned to Rangers), impressive Freiburg goalkeeper Zack Steffan, Utrecht striker Rubio Rubin, and Maki Tall.
The U20 defense duo will likely battle each other to start alongside Shane O’Neill in the center of the U.S. defense. O’Neill starred for Herzog at the U23 Toulon Tournament, and recently transferred from the Colorado Rapids to Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.

Midfielder Luis Gil continues to be called into U.S. teams despite a difficult season with Real Salt Lake. With the sell by date on his Next Big Thing status already a little behind him, Gil could use a convincing Olympics to reanimate his career.

Ethan Horvath is gaining great experience in Europe. (Getty Images)

Ethan Horvath is gaining great experience in Europe. (Getty Images)

Goalkeeper may be the most interesting position on this roster with Molde keeper Ethan Horvath making a strong bid to start over Cody Cropper (MK Dons) and Steffan. Steffan wowed at the U20 World Cup, while Cropper has held down the U23 job for some time.

But if club form matters then Horvath should have moved to the head of the class with his play for Molde in both the Tippeligaen and in the UEFA Champions League.

U.S. National Team coach and Technical Director Klinsmann has repeatedly emphasized the importance of qualifying for the Olympics, and in light of the recent U.S. failure at the Gold Cup, pressure will be squarely on Herzog to draw good performances from his squad with CONCACAF Qualifiers looming.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (MK Dons; Maple Grove, Minn.), Ethan Horvath (Molde; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downington, Pa.).

DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact; Woodbury, Minn.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Apollon Limassol; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif).

MIDFIELDERS (8): Gboly Ariyibi (Chesterfield; Arlington, Va.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Tex.), Benji Joya (Club Necaxa; San Jose, Calif.), Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; Milwaukee, Wisc.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio), Gedion Zelalem (Rangers; Bethesda, Md.)

FORWARDS (5): Alonso Hernandez (C.D. Juarez; El Paso, Texas), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Mönchengladbach; North Hollywood, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Scion; Washington, D.C.).

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EPL Week 4 – Top Picks and Predicitons
EPL Week 4 – Top Picks and Predicitons avatar

West Brom Agree fee for Evans

West Brom have agreed a fee of $9.22m plus $3m in add-on with Manchester United for defender Johnny Evans.

Jonny Evans (Getty images)

Jonny Evans has no place in Van Gaal’s plans (Getty images)

Evans will travel to West Brom on Saturday and expected to finalize the move over the weekend.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis thinks Evans will be a great addition to his side.

“Jonny would be a great signing for the football club but it’s down to the money men and his side,” Pulis said at a news conference on Friday.

Evans has made 198 appearances for the Red Devils winning three EPL titles in the process. However, the Northern Ireland international has fallen out of favor with United boss Louis van Gaal and has yet to feature for the Red Devils this season.

 

Spurs Sign South Korean Son

Tottenham have signed South Korean international Son Heung-Min from German club Bayer Leverkusen.

Son Heung-Min in action in this year's Champions League qualifications. (Getty Images)

Son Heung-Min in action in this year’s Champions League qualifications. (Getty Images)

The 23-year-old forward has scored 19 goals in 87-appearances for Leverkusen since joining in 2013.

The deal, which is reportedly worth $33.87m and will see Son stay until 2020, casts doubts over speculation linking Saido Berahino with a move to the club – Spurs have reportedly had two bids for Saido Berahino rejected by West Brom, who say the 22-year-old will not be sold.

Predictions

Week 4

SATURDAY Predictions
Newcastle v Arsenal 1-2
Aston Villa v Sunderland 1-1
Bournemouth v Leicester 2-3
Chelsea v Crystal Palace 3-0
Liverpool v West Ham 2-0
Man City v Watford 4-0
Stoke v West Brom 2-1
Tottenham v Everton 1-0
SUNDAY  
Southampton v Norwich 2-1
Swansea v Man Utd 1-2

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Previews

SATURDAY

Newcastle v Arsenal

Newcastle lost last week and will be hoping they can improve with a good result against Arsenal this week.

They drew 0-0 with Manchester United last weekend and remain without a win in the EPL this season. The have played against three tough sides – Southampton, Swansea and Manchester United – and did show good resilience against Manchester United, but they need to start picking up points soon or it could be a tough season for them.

Petr Cech earned himself the MVP for his performance against Liverpool. (Getty Images)

Petr Cech earned himself the MVP for his performance against Liverpool. (Getty Images)

Arsenal failed to score a goal at the Emirates for the second successive game with a 0-0 draw at home to Liverpool. The Gunners could quite easily have been two or three goals down in the open quarter of the game, if not for the heroics of keeper Petr Cech. However, they did have a legitimate goal ruled out and finished the game the stronger side.

Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko is a doubt, but Papa Cisse looks likely to return after illness. Daryl Janmaat is available again after a ban and Florian Thauvin could be handed his first Premier League start.

Arsenal look set to continue without the defensive pairing of Laurent Koscienly and Per Mertesacker. While Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere also remain out with injury.

Arsenal have scored just 5% if their shots this season – the lowest of any EPL side. However, they have won their last seven games against Newcastle, scoring 20 goals and conceding just six and I expect them to edge this one.

Prediction: 1-2

 

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Jose Mourinho celebrates his 100th EPL home game this weekend with a London Derby against Crystal Palace.

 (Getty Images)

John Terry was sent off lat week and will have to sit out of this one.(Getty Images)

Chelsea edged out West Brom 3-2 last week. The Blues played well with new signing Pedro impressing on his debut. But the sending off John Terry changed the game and in the end Chelsea were lucky to leave with all three points.

Crystal Palace beat Aston Villa 2-1 at home last week to make it two wins out of three. The Eagles have improved immensely under Alan Pardew and actually have the joint best away record in the EPL in 2015 – 22-points, level with Chelsea and Arsenal.

Chelsea will be without captain John Terry who is suspended, meaning Gary Cahill will partner Kurt Zouma at the back.

New signing Baba Rahman is short of fitness, while Victor Moses and Oscar remain injury doubts.

Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie will be involved despite the passing of his father. Mile Jedinak will miss the game after suffering a hamstring injury in the midweek League Cup win over Shrewsbury.

Jose Mourinho faces the best away side in the EPL so far in 2015 for his 100th EPL home game. But he has only ever lost one of his previous 99 games at Stamford Bridge in the EPL and I expect him to win this one.

Prediction: 3-0

 

Liverpool v West Ham

Liverpool continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 0-0 draw away to Arsenal. The Reds played well and will be scratching their heads wondering how they didn’t score goal.

Coutinho has made a fantastic start to the season for Liverpool. (Getty Images)

Coutinho has made a fantastic start to the season for Liverpool. (Getty Images)

Philippe Coutinho was again impressive and appears to have a formed a good connection with new signing Christian Benteke.

West Ham lost 4-3 at home to Bournemouth, to lose their second successive game on the trot. The Hammers have signed a lot of new faces over the summer and looked like a team of strangers at Upton.

Liverpool  captain Jordan Henderson is a doubt with a  foot injury, while Adam Lallana Jon Flanagan and Joe Allen all remain out injured.

West Ham will be without Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate and Andy Carroll because of injury, while Adrian and Carl Jenkinson are suspended. Though Diafro Sakho should feature despite a muscle problem.

Liverpool are playing well and seem to be improving by the week, while West Ham seem to have deteriorated since their opening day win at Arsenal.

West Ham have not won in 42 visits to Liverpool with their last win at Anfield coming in 1963 – The Reds only have a longer top-flight unbeaten home streak against Stoke City (52 matches) – and I think they will continue that streak with an easy victory on Saturday.

Prediction: 2-0

 

Man City v Watford

Manchester City continued their impressive start to the season with a fine 2-0 victory away to Everton. The signing of Raheem Sterling on the left seems to have given David Silva more room in the middle to operate, which is bad news for opposing teams and it means City are going to create a lot more chances.

Newly promoted side Watford drew 0-0 at home to Southampton to make it three draws in their opening three  EPL games. The Hornets have kept a clean sheet in their last two games, but Saturday will probably be their biggest test of the season as they face the EPL’s top scoring side from last season.

David Silva continues to orchestrate the creative play for City. (Getty Images)

David Silva continues to orchestrate the creative play for City. (Getty Images)

Manchester City are unbeaten in their last seven league and cup games against Watford (W5, D2).

Wilfred Bony, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Fernando are ruled out for City, but new signing Nicolas Otamendi is available for his debut.

Watford will continue without Joel Ekstrand who is injured, while Miguel Britos is suspended following a red card in the League Cup midweek.

Manchester City are unbeaten in their last seven league and cup games against Watford (W5, D2) and I expect them to extend that unbeaten run with a comfortable victory.

Predictions: 4-0

 

SUNDAY

Swansea v Man Utd

Swansea 1-1 drew away to Sunderland last week to remain unbeaten in their opening three games. Bafetimbi Gomis was once again on the scoresheet for the Swans and has now scored eight goals in his last nine Premier League games for Swansea.

Rooney got the monkey off is back with his mid-week hat trick in Europe. (Getty Images)

Rooney got the monkey off is back with his mid-week hat trick in Europe. (Getty Images)

Manchester United 100% record ended last week with a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle United. Wayne Rooney once again looked isolated and devoid of service up top against Newcastle, but he scored a hat-trick midweek in the Champions League qualifier so he may have found his mojo again.

Ki Sung-yeung is vying for a place in the starting lineup after returning from injury, otherwise Swansea are likely to name the same side that drew away to Sunderland last week.

Marouane Fellaini is available for Manchester United again after serving a three-game suspension. Marcos Rojo may also come back into the squad but Phil Jones will miss out again with mild thrombosis.

Swansea City did the double against United in the EPL last season -They were the only team to do the league double against United in 2014-15. In fact, United have won only two of their 12 league matches at Swansea (D3, L7).

Swansea are playing well and have transformed themselves into one of the EPL’s toughest teams to play against. I think they will give United a game, but I expect the Red Devils to just sneak this one.

Predictions: 1-2

 

 

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NWSL Recap: Playoffs Set After Exciting Midweek Action
NWSL Recap: Playoffs Set After Exciting Midweek Action avatar

The four playoff spots have been secured after some exciting games were played on Wednesday and Thursday night.

The playoff seeding has yet to be locked into place, however, as two games still remain for the majority of the teams.

Seattle Claim Second-Straight Shield With Win Over Boston

History was made last night as the Seattle Reign defeated the Boston Breakers to secure the 2015 NWSL shield, the trophy that is awarded to the team that tops the regular season standings.

Kendall Fletcher got on the scoresheet for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Kendall Fletcher got on the scoresheet for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Strikes from Megan Rapinoe, Kendall Fletcher, and Kim Little put Seattle over the hills and far way before a late consolation goal from Maddy Evans made it 3-1.

4,484 fans were on hand to witness the victory, which also guarantees Boston of the ninth and final spot in the standings.

U.S. international Megan Rapinoe was ever-present throughout the game, causing Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher into a great reflex save in the eighth minute. Katrine Veje played a great low cross to the penalty spot, where Rapinoe connected with the ball, but Naeher tipped the ball onto the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.

But twelve minutes later, Seattle got the goal their play deserved as Rapinoe finished off a low cross from Stephanie Cox. Naeher managed to get a hand onto this shot as well, but the ball still managed to trickle over the line for Rapinoe’s fourth goal of the year.

Veje and Rapinoe linked up again for another chance in the 33rd minute, but Naeher managed to divert the ball away from goal to one of her defenders. Boston’s clearance went straight to Kendall Fletcher at the top of the box, where Fletcher took a touch and powered in a shot to give Seattle a two-goal lead.

Little hit double figures once again for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Tim Bouwer)

Little hit double figures once again for Seattle. (ISI Photos/Tim Bouwer)

The Reign’s lead was stretched to three in the 56th minute, with Rapinoe notching the assist on Kim Little’s tenth goal of 2015. Rapinoe flicked the ball into the middle of the field from the edge of the box where it found Little. The Scottish forward, fresh from a hat-trick in Houston last Friday, took a touch and finished past Naeher.

Seattle could not hold onto the shutout, however, as Maddy Evans scored a late consolation goal following a great pass from Kristie Mewis. The midfielder’s floated pass beyond the defense found Evans, who chested the ball forward and slotted an angled shot past Hope Solo in the 88th minute.

The win serves as Seattle’s sixth in a row and guarantees them that they will host the fourth-placed team on September 13th in the semifinals.

Washington Claim Final Playoff Spot In Kansas City Stalemate

The Washington spirit and FC Kansas City played to a stalemate Thursday night in front of 2,492 fans on Thursday night.

The point guarantees the Spirit of a playoff spot, which means all 4 teams have secured their playoff spot and the Portland Thorns have been eliminated from contention.

Kansas city was the better team throughout, but couldn’t find the back of the net thanks to a combination of Ashlynn Harris’ saves and the frame of the goal.

Harris’ first meaningful save came in the 21st save as she tipped Leigh Ann Robinson’s cross onto the crossbar and out for a corner.

Amy Rodriguez has a great record against (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Amy Rodriguez went close with her shot off the post.  (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Amy Rodriguez was inches away from scoring her third goal in two games, but when she ran to the near post to connect with Heather O’Reilly’s low cross, she could only put her shot off of the post.

O’Reilly had a great chance to put the hosts ahead herself but Harris managed to make a great diving save on her angled shot to keep the game scoreless.

Crystal Dunn, who leads the league with 13 goals and 5 Player of the Week awards, was responsible for the only shots on goal for the visitors. Nicole Barnhart wasn’t particularly troubled by either shot as she was well positioned for both efforts.

Kansas City secured their playoff berth with a 3-0 win over Boston last week and will have to fight it out with Chicago and Washington to finish in second place and host the second semifinal.

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NWSL Week 21- Recap and Goals of the Week
NWSL Week 21- Recap and Goals of the Week avatar

Three out of the four playoff spots are locked up following another exciting weekend of NWSL action.

Three shutout victories and a goalless draw across the four games also meant that three more teams joined the Boston Breakers as teams eliminated from contention.

Seattle Eliminate Houston With Lopsided Win

Seattle stretched their lead at the top of the table to seven points with a 3-0 victory on the road over the Houston Dash.

Kim Little scored all three goals in the victory, which means that Houston are eliminated from playoff contention.

Despite scoring 16 goals in a MVP season last year, this was Little’s first hat-trick in the NWSL.

Little scored her first NWSL hat trick. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Little scored a hat trick to lead her team to a convincing victory. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

After exchanging multiple chances early on in the game, Little found the net in the 42nd minute for her first goal.

Seattle defender Lauren Barnes played a long ball over the top of the Houston backline and Little sprinted past Ellie Brush and finished emphatically past Erin McLeod.

The game’s next chance came in the 67th minute through Seattle’s Jessica Fishlock. The midfielder managed to get a head on Megan Rapinoe’s free kick on the left wing, but McLeod did well to palm the chance wide of the post.

But the Reign got the insurance goal their play deserved seven minutes later when Little gathered a pass from Rapinoe, dribbled towards goal and unleashed a bouncing shot across goal past McLeod.

The Scottish international saved her best goal for last as she clinched her hat-trick in the final minute of the game. Little received the ball on the corner of the box and turned towards goal. She cut past Toni Pressley, stutter-stepped past Meghan Klingenberg and Allyscha Chapman, before evading Pressley again and clipping the ball over McLeod.

At the beginning of the month, Houston occupied the coveted 4th spot in the standings, but four losses in the month of August has left the Dash eight points adrift of a playoff spot with two games remaining.

Seattle only need two more points to clinch their second-straight Supporter’s Shield after all but guaranteeing home-field advantage for their semifinal.

Sky Blue Narrow Win Over Thorns

In a match that Portland needed to win to keep a realistic chance of making the playoffs, they fell 1-0 on the road to Sky Blue FC in front of a sellout crowd.

Sky Blue, who have only lost in one of their last seven games, were eliminated despite the win since Kansas City got three points in their match Saturday night.

Nadia Nadim once again led her team to a 1-0 victory. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

Nadia Nadim once again led her team to a 1-0 victory. (ISI Photos/Bill Barrett)

After dominating the opening quarter of an hour, Nadia Nadim finally gave Sky Blue a deserved lead in the 19th minute after some lackadaisical defending from Alyssa Kleiner.

Samantha Kerr played in a low cross to the back post from the left wing that found Kleiner. But rather than clearing, Kelley O’Hara stepped in front of her and played the ball back across goal to Nadia Nadim, who tapped it in the back of the net.

Kerr spurned a golden chance just a few minutes later when she found herself beyond the defensive line. The Australian international cut inside towards goal but hesitated on getting a shot off, which allowed defenders to get back and snuff out the chance.

The next quality chance fell to Christine Sinclair in the 67th minute. The Canadian international broke through on goal, leaving two defenders in her wake but after her initial shot was well saved by Brittany Cameron in goal, she had a follow-up chance that Cameron got a slight touch on to put it off the crossbar.

For all of Cameron’s heroics, she was a bit reckless to give away a penalty kick in the 87th minute when she brought down Sinclair on the edge of the area. Her angry protests to the referee only got her a yellow card.

With Sinclair off injured, Alex Morgan stepped up to take the penalty kick, but Cameron redeemed herself with a great double save to preserve Sky Blue’s lead. She made a good save to her right to save Morgan’s effort, but the rebound went straight back to Morgan. The American international put it back on goal, but Cameron went back her left to make a great save.

With the loss, Portland sit six points behind Washington in 4th place. While not eliminated, Portland will need to win both of their remaining games (vs. Washington and Western New York) and hope Washington lose their other two games (vs. Kansas City and Seattle), all while making up a goal difference gap of five.

Kansas City Clinch Playoffs With Win Over Boston

With the Boston Breakers already eliminated, FC Kansas City won 3-0 in front of 2,321 fans to clinch a playoff spot for the third year in a row.

Coming into the game, Amy Rodriguez only had two goals across eight NWSL games, but she doubled her total after scoring a brace and notching an assist on the third goal in a dominant performance by the hosts.

Her first goal came in the 29th minute after finishing well from a lay-off from Leigh-Ann Robinson. Her powerful finish from 12 yards left Alyssa Naeher with no chance.

Despite numerous chances to extend their lead prior to the break, Kansas City couldn’t find a way past Naeher in goal. A-Rod had a great chance to double their lead, but after rounding Naeher on a breakaway, her shot was well saved by Julie King, who retreated back to the goal line.

Kansas City finally made their domination count in the 50th minute as a neat passing move found Lauren Holiday through on goal. The American international slotted past the onrushing goalkeeper to double the lead and just two minutes later, the lead was extended further.

Amy Rodriguez ghosted behind defenders as Holiday dribbled around on the edge of the box. As soon as Holiday found a passing lane, she put Rodriguez through. While the defenders appealed for an offside flag, A-Rod fired the ball beyond Naeher to make it 3-0.

The hosts had plenty of chances through Frances Silva and Rodriguez to extend their lead even further, but it was all she wrote. The loss doesn’t affect the Breakers playoff implications as they were already eliminated following last week’s results. Kansas City will need to overtake Chicago and hold off Washington if they hope to host their semifinal in mid-September.

Chicago Headed To Playoffs Despite Draw With Flash

The Chicago Red Stars and Western New York Flash battled to a 0-0 draw Sunday afternoon in a game that eliminated Flash from playoff contention, while Chicago moved up to 2nd place with the draw.

There were a number of chances for both teams throughout the game, especially early on. Jamia Fields failed to make clean contact when she was free in the middle of the box, while Julie Johnston came inches away from heading Chicago ahead at the other end.

Michelle Dalton only had one save to make in the game for Chicago, but it was a great one as she tipped Jamia Fields’ angled shot over the bar.

Christen Press could not find the back of the net.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Christen Press could not find the back of the net.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Christen Press had a great effort from distance saved by Chantel Jones. Jones made another great save from Sofia Huerta. Huerta, who had another one-on-one chance saved earlier in the game, was in miles of space as she beat the offside trap, but Jones leapt to her left to deny the forward.

There were no shots on goal in the second half, but plenty of close calls for Chicago. It seemed that every Red Star corner led to a chance, but Julie Johnston and Abby Erceg could not connect cleanly with any of their headers to give the hosts their first win in six games.

These teams will meet again this weekend, but with their playoff fates already decided, Chicago should make easy work of clinching home-field advantage for their semifinal.

Team

Games Played

Wins

Losses

Draws

GD

Points

Seattle

17

11

3

3

17

33

Chicago

18

7

3

8

7

28

Kansas City

18

8

6

4

11

25

Washington

17

8

5

4

4

25

Portland

18

6

8

4

-1

22

Sky Blue

18

5

7

6

-5

20

Houston

18

5

8

5

-6

19

Western New York

18

5

8

5

-9

18

Boston

18

4

11

3

-18

15

 

Goals of the Week: Week 21

Every week, GotSoccer will give you the top three goals of the week. We will factor in skill, difficulty, and importance to determine the top three finishes of the week.

#3: Kim Little (Seattle Reign) vs. Houston Dash 8/21/2015

Kim Little’s performance Friday night showed why she was a runaway winner with the MVP  winner last season. Her first goal was a good breakaway, but her second was a great shot from distance. She did well to gather a pass from Megan Rapinoe and turn towards goal. Since there weren’t any defenders that wanted to close her down as she dribbled towards goal, she unleashed a good, bouncing effort across goal past Erin McLeod in goal.

#2: Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City) vs. Boston Breakers 8/22/2015

While Holiday didn’t do any harm with her finish, the build up to her goal was some of the best passing you’ll see in the NWSL this year. Holiday started the move with a pass to Mandy Laddish. The midfielder played a smart ball into the path of Holiday, but the U.S. international let it go to Amy Rodriguez, who put the ball on a platter for Holiday to finish. One-touch passing doesn’t come much better than this.

#3: Kim Little (Seattle Reign) vs. Houston Dash 8/21/2015

It’s amazing that in her MVP season last year, in which she scored 16 goals, Little didn’t score a single hat-trick. But she managed to get one this season with a glorious solo goal in the 90th minute vs. Houston. Her tricks were on show as she cut back on Toni Pressley, hesitated to throw Meghan Klingenberg and Allyscha Chapman off, before keeping her composure to clip the ball over Erin McLeod.

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Kansas Soccer Hall of Fame
Kansas Soccer Hall of Fame avatar

Please see the original post on the Kansas State Youth Soccer website.

Nominations must be submitted by:  October 1, 2015

About the Hall of Fame

The Kansas Soccer Hall of Fame was started in 2009 with eight (8) inductees.  Others have been added, and the Hall of Fame continues to grow.  The Kansas Soccer Hall of Fame was set up to honor the outstanding contributions of individuals whose significant accomplishments and effect upon the sport in Kansas merit the highest recognition.  With this Hall of Fame many deserving individuals’ legacies will be preserved for their contribution to the soccer community in our state.

Nomination Information

The recognition must be for personal achievement in, or contribution to, soccer in Kansas which sets a clear and positive example for the soccer community to emulate and regard as a model to be followed for personal achievement.  It may also include accomplishments or service in other states and countries.

  • Players, coaches, and referees should have distinguished themselves with an outstanding standard of play and/or performance.
  • Players must have reached the minimum age of 22 and have distinguished themselves with an outstanding standard of play and/or performance as a member of an organized soccer program, or programs, whose institutional and program base is, or was, in the state of Kansas.
  • Referees must have been on the FIFA list for a minimum of seven (7) years.  An exception may be made in the case of those who are deemed to have made exceptional contributions beyond their active refereeing career or who have particularly distinguished themselves without attaining the required seven (7) years.  Referees on the eligibility list as of 2007 are grandfathered.
  • Administrators, supporters, and volunteers should have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and/or leadership which contributed to the improvement of the sport and its participants.
  • Nominations in all categories may be made posthumously.

 Nominees may be selected in four (4) categories:

  • Founder: This recognition must be for an individual who made his/her mark in soccer in a non-playing capacity and had a major, sustained and positive impact on Kansas soccer.  This category includes owners, administrators, coaches and referees.  Candidates must be at least 50 years of age (posthumous candidates are an exception) and deemed to have contributed at the requisite level for a minimum of six (6) years.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Nominee must have been a member for not less than ten (10) years of an organized soccer program, or programs, whose institutional and program base is, or was, in the state of Kansas.  A posthumous nomination need not meet this requirement.
  • Outstanding Achievement: Nominee must have been a member of an organized soccer program whose institutional aims and program base is, or was, in the state of Kansas.  A relevancy between the achievement being recognized and participation in a Kansas-based soccer program must be demonstrated in the nomination submission.
  • Merit Award: This award may be presented, from time to time, by vote of the members of the Kansas Soccer Hall of Fame.  This award is designed to be given to a person who does not necessarily reside within the state of Kansas but has shown exceptional dedication to the sport or to the advancement of the participants in the sport.  This person would be considered an honorary member of the Kansas Soccer Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kansas Youth Soccer Awards Celebration
Kansas Youth Soccer Awards Celebration avatar

Please see the original story on the Kansas State Youth Soccer Association website.

Nomination deadline is Sept. 15, 2015.

WHAT IS KANSAS YOUTH SOCCER’S AWARDS CELEBRATION?

Each year individuals are recognized in various categories and represent Kansas Youth Soccer at the Regional level (Region  II).  If individuals are selected as Regional award winners, they represent our region at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala in conjunction with the US Youth Soccer Workshops.  Individuals chosen at the Awards Gala become National Level winners in their respective category.  In addition to State awards, the Kansas Soccer Foundation honors Kansas Hall of Fame Inductees.

AWARD CATEGORIES

  • Administrator of the Year
  • Young Referee of the Year
  • Competitive Coach of the Year
  • Recreational Coach of the Year
  • Goal of the Year
  • Save of the Year
  • TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year

2014 AWARD WINNERS

  •  Young Female Referee of the Year – Emily Stalcup
  • Young Male Referee of the Year – Peyton Sanders
  • Boys Competitive Coach of the Year – Mark Allen
  • Boys Recreation Coach of the Year – Jose Reyes
  • Girls Competitive Coach of the Year – Derek Shoare
  • Volunteer of the Year – Brian Ebert
  • Youth Soccer Administrator of the Year – Lori Hamel
  • TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year – Brogan Heinen
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Utah Youth Soccer 2016 RSL State Cup
Utah Youth Soccer 2016 RSL State Cup avatar

Courtesy of UYSA

Courtesy of UYSA

Registration is now open for the 2016 RSL State Cup to be held at the new Salt Lake Regional Complex in Salt Lake City, UT. Oct. 19-29.

Please be aware that the RSL State Cup format has changed, and will consist of pool play with teams advancing to knockout rounds. Please read State Cup rules for complete outline.

For more information and to register, please visit the Utah Youth Soccer Association website.

Important Fall 2015 Dates

  • Registration Closes – October 2, 2015
  • Mandatory Mgr Meeting – October 7, 2015 (UYSA State Office)
  • Roster Freeze – October 9, 2015
  • Check In – October 16, 2015
  • Play Dates – October 19 – 29, 2015
  • Finals – October 28 & 29, 2015

RSL State Cup Fees

  • Entry Fee: $900.00
  • Bond Fee: $250.00
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Colorado Soccer 2015/2016 ODP Invitational Tryouts
Colorado Soccer 2015/2016 ODP Invitational Tryouts avatar

Colorado Soccer Association will be holding ODP Invitational tryouts this fall on October 3, 4 and 11

The Colorado Soccer ODP Program will evaluate, select and train eligible players, as well as offer competition for Colorado Soccer’s “cream of the crop”.  In an effort to streamline the process and make the program more affordable, tryouts will be by invitation only this year as opposed to open tryouts last year.

The Olympic Development Program (ODP) continues to offer Colorado elite player’s opportunities for added development and player recognition as it has in the past.  The ODP has been a valuable stepping stone for many talented Colorado players over the years.

**ALL PLAYERS **

·        Please bring a properly inflated ball with your name and phone number on it.

·         Please bring water to hydrate.

·    Please note: Coaches will only be focused on selecting players and will not have the ability to give individual evaluations to players trying out.

·        Please inform coaches of what position you would like to be evaluated.

For more information please visit the Colorado Soccer Association website.

 

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Missouri Youth Soccer Passback Program
Missouri Youth Soccer Passback Program avatar

Courtesy of MYSA

Courtesy of MYSA

The Missouri Youth Soccer Association Passback Program is now accepting grant applications with recipients to be announced in January 2016 at the 2016 MYSA Annual General Meeting in Columbia, MO.

The Missouri Youth Soccer Passback Program is a wonderful initiative aimed at providing more support to member players and recreational clubs in Missouri.

The grant program is geared towards providing funding for equipment, facility rental, marketing/advertising in the local soccer community and other operational expenses that the organization may incur.

Grant applications can be received throughout the seasonal year for consideration.  The submission deadline for the 2015/2016 seasonal year is October 31st, 2015.

For the original story and more information please visit the MYSA website.

Please mail or fax to:

Missouri Youth Soccer Association

Attn: Passback Grant
2230 Bluestone Drive
St. Charles, MO 63303
Fax: 636-946-0939

All grant applications must include the following items in order to receive consideration:

  1. Organization name and location.
  2. Documentation of tax-exempt status
  3. Indicate what type(s) of funding your organization is requesting* as well as the level of funding request.  You may request funding in multiple categories in a single grant request.
  4. Description of your project, including who the project will serve, why the community needs the project, construction timeline (if applicable) and the current funding and planning status of the project.
  5. Grant application contact information

*Projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Club-based Community Program
  • Coaching Education
  • Equipment
  • Facility Improvements
  • Field Improvements
  • To bring a MYSA Soccer Camp to your community

Once all applications are received, the MYSA Passback Program Grant Selection Committee will discuss and select all grants to be awarded.

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

Last weekend was a thriller for Major League Soccer fans, so let’s give it a look in this week’s MLS Big – 5.

1) Let the Worst Be 1st!

This week the Los Angeles Galaxy, the New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders and Sporting KC all gave very notable performances, all worthy of the top spot on this list.

However despite those performances from the league’s top teams we begin today with a battle that took place at the bottom of the Eastern Conference between Philadelphia and Chicago.

This 3-3 thriller in Chester, Pennsylvania began with a ninth minute goal by Chicago’s Kennedy Igboananike, ended with a 92nd minute tally by the same player and featured thrills aplenty in between.

Sean Johnson(ISI Photos/Robim Alam)

Sean Johnson once again showed his star quality in goal. (ISI Photos/Robim Alam)

Philadelphia is probably still kicking themselves for blowing this game after getting three assists from Christian Maidana, enduring several costly misses from Fernando Aristeguieta, all while being repeatedly robbed by Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Johnson’s eight saves only begin to suggest how well the once (and future?) U.S. heir apparent played despite being beaten three times.

When Sebastian Le Toux put one behind Johnson in the 90th minute the Union must have thought that the three points were secure.

Instead, Igboananike struck for a stoppage time goal that was as wild as the game itself. First the ball appeared to bounce up and strike Chicago’s Joevin Jones for a handball, but there was no call.

Then Chicago sent a pass toward the endline that Harry Shipp somehow reached before crossing to Mike Magee. Magee’s pass banged off of the post, before somehow finding its way to Igboananike who buried his chance.

Did the ball go out before Shipp played it? How about when Magee got his cross in? The officials said no and the goal stood, meaning still more frustration for Philadelphia and a rare glimmer of hope for Chicago as 2015 winds down.

2) Red Bulls Ease to “Very Comfortable” Shutout Win Over TFC

Staying in the Eastern Conference the surging New York Red Bulls had little trouble with Toronto and its big-name trio, rendering Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and even leading MVP candidate Sebastian Giovinco virtually harmless.

McCarty (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

McCarty was very happy with his team’s performance.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

After Saturday night’s win, Red Bull captain Dax McCarty went so far as to say, “I thought tonight it was very comfortable.”

Not so comfortable? DC United. Despite a five point lead in the standings, the longtime Eastern Conference table toppers have to be feeling Red Bulls breathing down their necks.

United has played three more games than New York and lost dependable fullback Chris Korb for the season in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to NYCFC.

Next up for DC is San Jose at home on August 22nd with the Red Bulls traveling to play Chicago on the 26th. Then the two old rivals square off in Red Bull Arena on August 30 on national television.

Sounds like fun.

3) Sporting KC on the Move

There has been a change at the top of the Western Conference standings with Vancouver giving way to Los Angeles in the wake of Kansas City’s stunning comeback win over the Whitecaps last Saturday at Sporting Park.

Kekuta Manneh (David Bernal)

Kekuta Manneh got a brace for Vancouver. (David Bernal)

KC spotted Vancouver a two goal lead through a brace from Kekuta Manneh before halving the deficit on a Kevin Ellis header in the 53rd minute.

KC could easily have dropped their heads when Pedro Morales re-established that two goal cushion with a stunning free kick in the 75th minute.

But Peter Vermes’ side is not built that way and so the home team stormed back with three late goals to knock Vancouver from the top spot while climbing to third themselves.

First Dom Dwyer made it 3-2, but the unlikely hero was Paulo Nagamura who equalized in the 87th minute before winning it for Sporting with a goal four minutes into added time.

4) Seattle and L.A. Rising

When the season began the above duo looked odds on to be battling for supremacy in the Western Conference, if not the league itself. Then L.A’s indifferent start gave way to a night of U.S. Open Cup madness for Seattle.

Clint Dempsey and Co at sitting sweet at the top of the table.(ISI Photos/Joshua Weisberg)

Clint Dempsey’s suspension couldn’t have come at a worst time..(ISI Photos/Joshua Weisberg)

Clint Dempsey was suspended, Obafemi Martins injured and Seattle began to slide down the standings. Now that tide is turning with the Galaxy invigorated by a healthy Robbie Keane and a raft of quality signings.

And the Sounders are beginning a similar uptick. Martins is back as his two goals in Seattle’s 4-0 win over Orlando attest. Newcomer Nelson Valdez scored on his debut, rugged defenseman Roman Torres picked up an assist on his and Dempsey is expected back soon.

The Galaxy lead the tight Western Conference with 43 points, one better than Vancouver, two clear of KC with Portland, FC Dallas and Seattle within shouting distance.

5) Homegrown Player News

A possible negative side effect to all of the L.A. player signings could see Gyasi Zardes moving overseas. The forward/winger has shown great progress this season making his mark with the national team while continuing to show well with the Galaxy.

Gyasi Zardes made an immediate impact. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Gyasi Zardes made an immediate impact. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Now word comes that there is Euro interest in the still developing 23 year old, with Belgian side Genk prominently mentioned. The Galaxy may be inclined to sell the talented attacker to clear some cap space.

At the other end of the development spectrum, the Houston Dynamo have signed their former Academy player Christian Lucatero to a Homegrown contract.

The 18 year old midfielder has drawn interest from both the U.S. and Mexican Youth international teams and as recently as July represented the U.S at the U18 level.

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