MLS

NYC slump continues with shock loss to Rooney's DC United in Benteke debut, Riqui Puig nets Galaxy stunner

By Sports Desk August 31, 2022

Reigning MLS Cup champions New York City slumped to their fifth loss from their past six games as Christian Benteke debuted for DC United who claimed an upset 2-1 win on Wednesday.

City had ended a three-game losing run with a 2-0 win at Chicago Fire 10 days before losing to Orlando City on the weekend but their poor form continued at Red Bull Arena.

Ola Kamara tapped in from point blank range to give the visitors at 24th-minute lead, but Heber side-footed in an equalizer three minutes later.

Steven Birnbaum restored United's lead with a header from a Martin Rodriguez free-kick in the 57th minute and City could not find a response with David Ochoa palming away Gedion Zelalem's 95th-minute effort.

The win is Wayne Rooney's second since taking over at United who are still last in the Eastern Conference, while it sees City slide down to fourth in the east.

Riqui Puig scored a spectacular late equalizer with a long-range curler after a give-and-go to earn LA Galaxy a 2-2 draw away to Toronto.

Douglas Costa had put the Galaxy into a 24th-minute lead before Toronto hit back with second-half goals to Jesus Jimenez and Filippo Bernardeschi before the Spaniard's 89th-minute strike.

Riqui Puig was making only his third appearance for the Galaxy following his August move from Barcelona.

The result dents star-studded Toronto's playoffs aspirations, leaving them 10th in the east, while the Galaxy are eighth in the west.

Philadelphia Union became the second team behind LAFC to book their postseason berth with a 4-1 home win over Atlanta United.

Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre, Daniel Gazdag and Nathan Harriel were all among the goals for Union who are eight points clear in the east.

New York Red Bulls moved up to third in the east with a 1-0 win at second-placed Montreal with Lewis Morgan hitting the winner in the 43rd minute.

LAFC suffered a shock 2-1 loss to lowly Houston Dynamo, who condemning the Western Conference leaders to their third straight defeat.

Inter Miami slumped to back-to-back losses with a 1-0 defeat at Columbus Crew, while New England's winless run extended to four games after a goalless draw with struggling Chicago Fire who snapped a three-game losing run.

Hany Mukhtar netted a hat-trick as Nashville beat Colorado Rapids 4-1, while Orlando City came from two goals down to defeat Seattle Sounders 3-2.

Real Salt Lake proved too good for Minnesota United 3-0 and Portland Timbers moved into the west's top seven with a narrow win against second-placed Austin 2-1.

Related items

  • Kane will 'come alive' for England against Senegal, says Rooney Kane will 'come alive' for England against Senegal, says Rooney

    Wayne Rooney has backed Harry Kane to end his World Cup goalscoring drought and "come alive" in England's last-16 clash with Senegal.

    Captain Kane has yet to find the net at the finals, though he has provided three assists for Gareth Southgate's side.

    Kane won the golden boot at the 2018 World Cup with six goals and Rooney expects the pressure of the knockout stages to inspire a return to that kind of form.

    "Harry Kane is made for these games," England's record goalscorer wrote in his column in The Times. 

    "The games that are tighter, where the pressure is higher, where the football has to be more calculated – they are where Harry steps up.

    "He hasn't scored in the tournament yet but I think there will be a shift in his mindset. He'll think, 'right, it's on me now to make sure we progress', and I think this is when he'll come alive.

    "Gareth's other forwards are talented but no one has Harry's consistency. He is always calm and composed and he doesn't let misses bother him.

    "Failing to score in the group stage won't affect him like at Euro 2016, where you could see frustration. I reckon this will be more like Euro 2020 when we had similar conversations about his lack of goals in the group stage – and then he started scoring."

    Rooney anticipates changes to the starting XI from the 3-0 win over Wales, but would stick with both Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford in the front three.

    "It wouldn't surprise me if Gareth brought back Sterling or Bukayo Saka, and maybe even both," the DC United manager added.

    "I think he will leave either Foden or Marcus Rashford out and will be keen to use Sterling because he knows and trusts Raheem more than any of the other wide forwards.

    "Me? I would stick with the side that beat Wales and keep Rashford and Foden. Foden gives you better control and helps you a lot more and you could see Rashford's confidence grow after his goals against the Welsh. Confidence is key with him."

  • Argentina 'born to play these games' – Scaloni lauds Albiceleste mentality as Messi vanquishes Socceroos Argentina 'born to play these games' – Scaloni lauds Albiceleste mentality as Messi vanquishes Socceroos

    Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said his players were born to handle high-pressure World Cup contests after Lionel Messi led them to a 2-1 win over Australia in the last 16.

    Messi scored his ninth World Cup goal – and his first in a knockout tie – as Argentina edged out Australia at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Saturday, with Julian Alvarez also getting on the scoresheet following a mistake from Mathew Ryan.

    Argentina will now face the Netherlands for a semi-final place on Friday, a prospect which appeared unlikely when they began their campaign with a stunning defeat to Saudi Arabia 11 days ago.

    Asked how the Albiceleste had managed to turn their tournament around, Scaloni said: "What I said before the Mexico match was that these guys were born to play these games.

    "Argentina have played three games which were very intense, where being knocked out was a reality. But these players are capable. Sometimes the urgency and anxiety makes you feel different.

    "Even if things happen like the Saudi Arabia game or the Australia goal today, we have to keep believing in our football. 

    "There is no pressure in football, that's how I see it. Pressure is something else.

    "If you've watched Argentina today, these are memories which will stay with you forever. You've seen these young players, and also Leo, playing beautifully."

    The next hurdle for Argentina to overcome will be a heavyweight tussle with the nation they beat in both the 1978 World Cup final and the 2014 semi-finals.

    While Scaloni acknowledges the Oranje's current crop may not be as easy on the eye as some of their predecessors, he expects a tough test against Louis van Gaal's men.

    Asked about Van Gaal's qualities, Scaloni said: "I was a young player at Deportivo La Coruna when he was coaching at Barcelona. He's a great coach and many have to try to take a page from his book. It's a pleasure to face him at a World Cup.

    "Today we saw the Netherlands match. They probably don't play as beautifully as some older Dutch teams, but they have very strong points that they will try to use.

    "It will be a beautiful game between two historic national teams, and one will be knocked out, unfortunately."

    Argentina are hopeful of receiving a fitness boost ahead of Friday, with Scaloni revealing Angel Di Maria – who was an unused substitute on Saturday after suffering a thigh injury – could return.

    "I didn't think we were going to help anyone by bringing him on today," he said of Di Maria. "We hope that in the next few days he keeps evolving and he can make it for the next match."

  • Messi overtakes Maradona with ninth goal, but Argentina legends are amazingly tied for two World Cup stats Messi overtakes Maradona with ninth goal, but Argentina legends are amazingly tied for two World Cup stats

    Lionel Messi has now gone past Diego Maradona for World Cup appearances and goals – and the Argentina number 10 has pulled exactly level with his predecessor on two important statistics that showcase their creative brilliance.

    Saturday's hard-fought 2-1 win over Australia carried Argentina into the quarter-finals, with Messi scoring the ninth World Cup goal of his career to put Lionel Scaloni's team 1-0 in front in the first half.

    That nudged Messi ahead of Maradona's career haul of eight goals, while he has moved to 23 World Cup appearances during this tournament, two ahead of his late compatriot and fellow number 10 shirt wearer's previous national team record.

    Messi is just one behind Gabriel Batistuta's record of 10 World Cup goals with Argentina, and he may have that in the back of his mind ahead of Friday's last-eight clash with the Netherlands.

    The Paris Saint-Germain forward is picking off records as he goes during this tournament, and he will surely overtake two more Maradona marks in that clash with Louis van Gaal's team.

    That is because Messi and Maradona are now exactly level when it comes to chances created and open play chances created at the World Cup.

     

    They have both created 67 chances, and with each man, 48 of those chances have come about in open play, Opta data shows.

    Messi created four chances in all against Australia, including a golden opportunity for Lautaro Martinez that the substitute ballooned wastefully late in the game as Argentina looked to put the game beyond their gallant opponents.

    Where Maradona beats Messi is in goal assists. Maradona's eight from 1982 to 1994 beats Messi's haul of six assists to date, since his World Cup debut at the 2006 finals.

    Maradona was the driving force behind Argentina's 1986 World Cup triumph in Mexico, and later coached the national team, notably at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

    He died in November 2020 at the age of 60.

    Saturday's game against Australia was the 1,000th of Messi's career for club and country.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.