Uhre, Gazdag extend Union lead in East as Austin claim Copa Tejas

By Sports Desk July 17, 2022

The Philadelphia Union extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference in the MLS, defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 on Saturday.

The best defence in the MLS had to chase the result this time after Gustavo Bou's well-taken opener for the Revolution in the 61st minute, with goals from Mikael Uhre and Daniel Gazdag handing the Union the three points.

The Union still created little from open play but they were gifted goals to turn the result around via the dead ball. Uhre equalized in the 75th minute, heading into what was effectively an open goal after Revolution keeper Djordje Petrovic failed to claimed the ball after coming off his line at a corner.

Gazdag then scored the eventual winner in the 79th minute, converting from the penalty spot after he was clumsily shoved by Henry Kessler.

Jim Curtin's side moved to 39 points, building a four-point lead from New York City, whose derby against New York RB on Sunday is one of two games they have in hand.

CF Montreal also moved to outright fourth in the East on Saturday, with Lukas McNaughton's own-goal handing them a 1-0 win over Toronto FC.

Chad Ahston momentarily remains in charge of D.C. United until Wayne's Rooney's work visa is finalized and Minnesota United took full advantage, earning a 2-0 win at home.

The Chicago Fire claimed an upset 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders, while Emerson Rodriguez's 93rd-minute goal gave Inter Miami a 3-2 victory over Charlotte FC.

Gonzalo Higuain bagged his second goal of the week for Inter, scoring the equaliser after Yordy Reina's first-half brace gave Charlotte a 2-0 load.

In the Western Conference meanwhile, Austin FC claimed the Copa Tejas with a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas, but now only hold a two-point lead over Los Angeles FC, who have two games in hand.

The race for the last playoff spot in the conference tightened up, with the Colorado Rapids defeating Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0.

Along with the Sounders' loss, only three points now separate the seventh-placed Galaxy from the Rapids, moved to 11th with the win.

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  • Denmark 1-1 England: Kane strike cancelled out in underwhelming Three Lions display Denmark 1-1 England: Kane strike cancelled out in underwhelming Three Lions display

    England passed up the chance to progress to the knockout stage of Euro 2024 with a game to spare as they were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by Denmark in Frankfurt. 

    Harry Kane's goal in the 18th minute had eased the early Three Lions nerves, only for Morten Hjulmand to take aim from distance and fire beyond Jordan Pickford. 

    Yet bar the move for Kane's opener, England's performance was deeply lacklustre, and Gareth Southgate may well face scrutiny, even though the Three Lions remain in pole position in Group C.

    Denmark, who looked the more likely to win it in the second half, sit second, ahead of Slovenia and Serbia, who drew in Thursday's earlier match.

    There were calls for concern early on in the contest as Kyle Walker was the first to succumb to a choppy surface, taking a chunk out of the pitch as he went forward, requiring a change of footwear. 

    Walker showed no signs of an injury, however, taking advantage of Victor Kristiansen's lapse in concentration to sprint clear before his deflected cross found Kane, who tucked away his 64th international goal. 

    But as was the case against Serbia, Southgate's side failed to nail home their advantage, and this time they were punished as Hjulmand rifled home the 13th goal scored from outside the box at Euro 2024.

    Denmark concluded the first half much the better team, with Joachim Andersen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg going close to giving Kasper Hjulmand's team an advantage at the break.

    England almost regained their advantage when Phil Foden was able to find space to send an effort towards Kasper Schmeichel's goal early in the second half, only for the post to come to the Danes' rescue. 

    Southgate made a triple change in the 70th minute, and it almost proved fruitful when Ollie Watkins forced another save from Schmeichel.

    But Denmark soon regained control, and Pickford was a spectator as Hojbjerg fired an effort from distance that narrowly evaded the far post, with the spoils ultimately shared.

    England in strong position, but still far from convincing

    Having arrived in Germany among the tournament favourites, England are still yet to show they have the potential to end their 58-year wait for an international honour. 

    The Three Lions continued their run of having never won their opening two matches at a European Championship tournament, and a disjointed midfield remains a problem for Southgate, with Trent Alexander-Arnold once again replaced early in the second half by Conor Gallagher, and it appears crucial that balance is found sooner rather than later. 

    It was another disappointing performance from Phil Foden, but he showed glimpses of his promise from central areas which will give the England boss another decision to navigate. 

    Kane can take solace in becoming only the third player to score in four separate major tournaments for England, after Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, but he managed just 22 touches, though only one of those came in Denmark's box.

    All eyes on Munich for Denmark 

    Denmark will arguably be the more disappointed of the two sides, given they looked more likely to score late on.

    Hjulmand's side outfought and outplayed England at times, but were unable to improve their record against the Three Lions and have now failed to beat them in their previous four meetings (D2 L2) at major tournaments.

    But the Danes can take the positives from their performance, registering more shots (16 to 12) and more possession (51%) than their opponents, but the result is the most important statistic next Tuesday when they take on Serbia.

    Denmark have now won just one of their last 10 group stage games at major international tournaments, beating Russia 4-1 on matchday three at Euro 2020.

  • CF Montreal v New York Red Bulls: Schwarz not worried about misfiring front line ahead of Stade Saputo trip CF Montreal v New York Red Bulls: Schwarz not worried about misfiring front line ahead of Stade Saputo trip

    New York Red Bulls head coach Sandro Schwarz insisted he is not worried about his side's lack of firepower as they travel to the Stade Saputo on Thursday.

    The Red Bull Army failed to find the back of the net in their encounter against Nashville last time out, registering 14 shots with only six on target in front of their home supporters.

    Schwarz's side sit third in the Eastern Conference table, six points behind second-placed FC Cincinnati, but are hopeful of closing the gap with a win over their opponents.

    The Red Bulls head coach has said he will pass on his own experiences he went through as a player to try and combat their recent struggles in front of goal, but is confident his side can create those moments against Montreal.  

    "I am not worried about that," Schwarz said. "The only way, and this is my experience as a player and as a head coach, is to create every time in the next situation and to try it again in the next situation.

    "To come into the box position, this is what we have to do. I am sure, and I think this season we have scored a lot of goals, but against Nashville it was 0-0.

    "It is good that if you don’t score it is not necessary you didn’t concede a goal. Now, we have to create these moments against Montreal on Wednesday."

    Meanwhile, Montreal played out the same scoreline in their encounter with Real Salt Lake last time out but remained in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

    Laurent Courtois' side are now unbeaten in their last four matches (W1 D3) in all competitions for the first time since a six-match winning streak between April and May last year.

    Montreal had lost five of its previous six games (D1) and will be looking to continue their recent momentum in front of their home supporters.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Montreal – Joaquin Sosa

    Sosa won five of the nine tackles he attempted against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, which is the most tackles won in a match by a CF Montreal player this season.

    Sosa had won just 10 tackles in his first nine appearances for the club.

    New York Red Bulls – Elias Manoel

    With top scorer Lewis Morgan away with Scotland at Euro 2024, and Emil Forsberg out with a foot injury, it offers the chance for Elias Manoel to take centre stage.

    The Brazilian has scored three goals in 17 appearances this season, with his last coming in May against DC United.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK RED BULLS WIN

    It looks set to be a tightly contested affair at the Stade Saputo on Thursday, but NYRB should have enough to edge the contest away from home.

    The Red Bulls' defensive rearguard was a big positive from their goalless draw with Nashville, not allowing their opponents a shot on target – the fourth time they have managed this since 2022.

    Schwarz's side reached the 30-point mark on Sunday with their draw at home to Nashville, reaching that total in fewer games just twice in the club's history, which came in the 2012 and 2018 campaigns, taking just 16 games to achieve.

    The two sides have alternated wins over the last eight meetings, with New York winning the last match 2-1 in May 2023. None of the last 17 regular-season meetings between the sides have ended in a draw.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Montreal – 31.6%

    Draw – 25.3%

    NYRB – 43.1%

  • FC Cincinnati v Philadelphia Union: Noonan not ready to write off former side despite recent league struggles FC Cincinnati v Philadelphia Union: Noonan not ready to write off former side despite recent league struggles

    FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan expects a tough test against the Philadelphia Union despite their recent form, as he faces his former side this Thursday.

    The Orange and Blue come into the contest as the overwhelming favourites having won eight of their last nine matches, the latest coming in a 4-2 win over San Jose Earthquakes last time out.

    Noonan's side are just two points behind the Eastern Conference league leaders, Inter Miami, but have played two games less than the side directly above them.

    However, Noonan was quick to look past the two sides' differing recent form, insisting the game will be a tougher encounter than many will expect.

    “They've been stable for a long time, and when you're stable and at the top of the league for so long, anytime there's a stretch where you're not winning games, you're not getting results, there's going to be criticism,” Noonan said.

    “That's a part of what we're all dealing with. So I think the compliment there is it's been so long since we've seen them have struggles. But I can tell you, with Jim (Curtin) and with some of those leaders, they're going to be fine.”

    “That's my view of it, and it doesn't make me any more comfortable about Wednesday. If there's anything that you know, anytime their backs are against the wall, these guys step up. Jim knows how to lead that group, so we have to be very cautious about an opponent that, while they might be struggling with results, has been in these situations before and come out on top.”

    The Union come into the encounter at the TQL Stadium having won one of their last 11 league matches, leaving them in eighth place in the East table following their 2-1 defeat to Inter Miami last Saturday.

    Their recent meetings with their opponents have also ended on the wrong end of the scoreline, losing their last three meetings.

    Prior to this run, the Union were unbeaten in their first seven meetings with Cincinnati (W5 D2) and they will be hopeful of gaining a much-needed triumph to gain some belief back into their squad.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

    Acosta's creative spark shone in Cincinatti's win victory over San Jose, recording three assists for the second time in his MLS career, last coming in September 2018 with DC United.

    The Argentine became the 13th player in MLS history to have two such games, something no player has done three times, hoping to add to 19 goal contributions from 17 league games this season.

    Philadelphia Union – Mikael Uhre

    Uhre netted his sixth goal of the season on Saturday, becoming the third different Union player with six or more goals (Daniel Gazdag – 10, Julian Carranza – six).

    The only other team with three players with six or more goals this season are Portland (Felipe Mora, Evander, Jonathan Rodriguez).

    MATCH PREDICTION: FC CINCINNATI WIN

    FC Cincinnati have won three of their last five matches against the Union (D1 L1), including eliminating Philadelphia from last season's playoffs.

    FC Cincinnati have won eight of their last nine matches (L1), and are looking to become just the fourth team in the post-shootout era (since 2000) to win nine times in a span of 10 league matches.

    Meanwhile, The Union have won one of their last 11 league matches (D5 L5) following their loss to Inter Miami on Saturday. The eight points Philadelphia have collected over that span are their fewest in any 11-game stretch of league play since 2015.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Cincinnati – 50.8%

    Draw – 25%

    Philadelphia – 24.3%

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