MLS

New York City slump to third consecutive loss, Criscito stunner rescues Toronto draw

By Sports Desk August 17, 2022

Reigning MLS Cup winners New York City continued their recent slump after suffering a third straight loss, going down 3-1 at home to playoff hopefuls Charlotte FC.

Charlotte's win moves them up to 10th in the Eastern Conference, with the visitors scoring twice in the final quarter of an hour to claim victory.

The defeat means City have only managed one point from their past four games and sit third in the east with 42 points from 25 games.

Karol Swiderski had put Charlotte ahead in the fourth minute despite goalkeeper Sean Johnson's best efforts on the line, but City levelled before the half hour mark via Maxime Chanot's 30-yard strike into the top corner.

City's Anton Tinnerholm struck the crossbar from range before Charlotte found an avenue to victory with Swiderski's clever back-heel for Brandt Bronico to restore their lead in the 77th minute.

The visitors won an injury time penalty after video review which ex-Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs coolly converted to seal all three points.

Domenico Criscito lashed in a spectacular 75th-minute equaliser to earn Toronto a 2-2 draw with New England Revolution.

Filippo Bernadeschi had put Toronto ahead with a 31st-minute spotkick, but the Revs replied with goals either side of half-time from Tom McNamara and Justin Rennicks.

But Criscito intervened when Toronto took a corner short to Michael Bradley who lobbed to the edge of the box towards the former Italy international, who rifled in a left-foot volley.

Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union were beaten 1-0 by FC Dallas with US international Jesus Ferreira scoring the only goal in the 34th minute.

Paul Arriolo broke down the right flank and passed centrally for Ferreira, who showed good skill to create space inside the box and fire a low strike past Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

New York Red Bulls reinforced their status as playoffs contenders with a 2-1 win at struggling Atlanta United while Vancouver Whitecaps defeated Colorado Rapids 2-1.

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    Argentina were never in any danger during their 3-0 friendly win against Jamaica on Tuesday, played at a neutral site in the United States' Red Bull Arena.

    Alvarez opened the scoring in the 13th minute thanks to some terrific work from Lautaro Martinez, who was able to snake his way into the box, beating multiple defenders to get to the touchline and drag one back along the edge of the six-yard box for a simple tap-in.

    Argentina continued to create half-chances throughout the remainder of the first half, and it was more of the same to begin the second 45, with Martinez going close after a slick one-touch pass from Alexis Mac Allister gave him some space inside the box, but he pushed his shot wide of the far-post.

    Lionel Messi was subbed on in the 56th minute, and just 10 minutes later he had his first chance after a one-two on the edge of the area allowed him to break into the left-hand side of the box, but his shot from a sharp angle was easily thwarted at the near post.

    But fans in attendance would get what they came for in the 87th minute, when Messi picked up a deflected pass just outside the penalty area and fired his left-foot shot hard and low across his body into the bottom-right corner.

    Just two minutes later Argentina were awarded a free kick in the same spot, and Messi again converted, this time around the wall into the bottom-left corner.

    What does it mean? Argentina now two games away from history

    With this result, Argentina are now unbeaten in their past 35 games dating back to their loss in the 2019 Copa America semi-final against Brazil. 

    Italy holds the record at 37 games without a loss – which they set just last year. Argentina's next two games will be in the World Cup against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, and if they make it through unscathed, they will play Poland for the new record.

    Messi the super sub

    Despite only playing 35 minutes, Messi led all players with five shots, four shots on target and three successful dribbles. Only Alvarez (three) created more chances than Messi's two, and he scored two goals for his second consecutive international fixture after also netting a double against Honduras this past weekend.

    Reid struggles with Argentinian physicality

    Bobby Reid had a difficult outing down the left-hand side, being credited with only two duels won from 11 tries – the lowest percentage on the pitch. He also had a passing accuracy of 77 per cent, which was one of the lowest marks from either side, while attempting no shots and creating no chances.

    What's next? 

    Argentina will take their unbeaten streak into the World Cup, where they will play Saudi Arabia first up. Jamaica do not have any fixtures scheduled until March's CONCACAF Nations League.

  • 'We just need to put things together' - Bailey, Antonio start for Reggae Boyz against Argentina 'We just need to put things together' - Bailey, Antonio start for Reggae Boyz against Argentina

     Jamaica Reggae Boy forward Leon Bailey is convinced the unit can produce plenty of quality once they get things right, but admittedly expects a tough outing against Argentina.

    The Jamaicans will clash with Argentina, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, for only the fourth time in the team’s history and the debut outing for new head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, who officially took over the post last week.

    The Reggae Boyz have lost all three previous encounters but performed creditably in the team’s last meeting at the 2015 Copa America Centenario, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to the Lionel Messi-led outfit.  Bailey is looking forward to his first taste of the high-profile fixture.

    “There are a lot of quality players in the team, we just need to put together, obviously it’s a system that the coach will be improvising but we should be able to do good things and hopefully come away with a result,” Bailey said.

    “It’s going to be a good game, the first game for the manager as well, but it should be exciting for everybody playing against a good opponent and I think we just have to be focused and work hard for the whole game.”

    Reggae Boyz starting line-up

    Andre Blake

    Leon Bailey

    Daniel Johnson

    Ravel Morrison

    Shamar Nicholson

    Bobby Reid

    Damion Lowe

    Michael Antonio

    Adrian Mariappa

    Javain Brown

    Amari'i Bell

     

  • Scotland 'don't want to stop' after leapfrogging England in Nations League Scotland 'don't want to stop' after leapfrogging England in Nations League

    Steve Clarke believes there is more to come from his Scotland team after they earned promotion to the top tier of the Nations League via a 0-0 draw with Ukraine, leapfrogging rivals England following their relegation.

    Scotland approached Tuesday's match – played in Krakow, Poland – needing just a point to top Group B1 following home wins over Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland last week.

    Although they managed just one shot on target against Oleksandr Petrakov's team, Scotland produced a fine rearguard action to cling on for the result they craved – also earning a spot in pot two for October's Euro 2024 qualification draw.

    Topping the table means Clarke's men are already assured of a play-off place for the next European Championship.

    And with England picking up just three points from six games to finish bottom of Group A3, Scotland will begin the next Nations League campaign looking down on their old foes.

    But Clarke was focused on his own side's continued development after the match, looking forward to more against Europe's elite.

    "It is a big night," Clarke said. "We wanted to win the section. We wanted to show people what happened in the summer [when Scotland lost a World Cup play-off to Ukraine] wasn't us.

    "We wanted to be better this week. We pressed the big button to reset and go again, and we came up with three fantastic performances, all different but all vital. 

    "I sat down with my whole staff and said we had to set a different environment and be more demanding of the players, and we have to push that agenda.

    "Then I sat with the players and went through what we thought we did well in the summer and what we didn't do so well.

    "We gave them a lot of information to change the system and play a slightly different way. They took it on board, and we have had a really good week. 

    "Now we are in pot two and in the A league – but we don't want to stop. We want to try and get better and better."

    With Clarke's contract as Scotland head coach set to expire following Euro 2024, he joked that competing with Europe's finest in League A would not be his problem.

    "That'll be the next head coach," he added. "My contract is up before then!"

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