MLS

Agada bags a birthday brace in big Sporting KC victory, NYCFC collect derby win over New York RB

By Sports Desk September 17, 2022

Sporting Kansas City treated their home fans to an impressive 4-1 upset win against Minnesota United on Saturday, with William Agada netting a brace on his birthday.

Against the Western Conference's fourth-placed side in Minnesota, 12th-placed Sporting closed the first half in style, with three goals in the space of 15 minutes.

The first was courtesy of a friendly bounce, with a hard, low cross in the 31st minute being deflected by the Minnesota goalkeeper straight off the legs of centre-back Michael Boxall and into the back of the net for an own goal.

Johnny Russell then hit the post in the 41st minute, but was able to track down the rebound and dish one off for Erik Thommy in the box, who sidestepped a challenge before firing home Sporting's second goal.

Capping off a terrific first half, Ben Sweat whipped in a dangerous ball in the 45th minute for Agada to meet with his head, sending his side into the sheds leading 3-0.

Mender Garcia Torres was able to peg one back for Minnesota in the 57th minute, but Agada would put the game to bed with his second goal in the 81st, tapping in a smart low cross from Daniel Salloi.

Earlier in the day, in a battle between two of the Eastern Conference's top four teams, New York City won their local Hudson River Derby against New York Red Bulls 2-0 at Yankee Stadium.

The opening goal came just 50 seconds into the contest, when a corner was expertly flicked on by Santiago Rodriguez, giving defender Alexander Callens an easy close-range header.

City doubled their lead in the 23rd minute, and it was again the result of a well-worked corner, this time with Rodriguez on the receiving end of a floated ball that he was able to control and bring down before sliding it past the keeper.

It was a match bereft of chances in open play, as City finished with just 0.60 expected goals, while the Red Bulls had 0.71.

In a match with similarly few goal scoring opportunities, the top-ranked Philadelphia Union were the ones holding on for a point in their 0-0 draw away against non-playoff side Atlanta United.

Philadelphia could only muster 0.16 expected goals, while Atlanta United controlled 60 per cent of the possession and won the shot count 16-5, finishing with 1.30 expected goals.

Showing off some excellent finishing, Orlando City defied their 0.95 expected goals to hammer Toronto FC 4-0, netting two goals in each half.

The East's second-placed team, CF Montreal, were good enough to leave their away fixture against the New England Revolution with a 1-0 win, with Alistair Johnson finding the winner 72 minutes in.

Charlotte conceded goals in the third and 30th minutes to fall behind early against the Chicago Fire, but they rallied back and scored in the 68th and 76th to tie things, before stealing the points with a 96th-minute winner.

The league's top goalscorer Hany Mukhtar scored his 23rd of the season as he helped Nashville take a 1-1 draw on the road against Austin, while Cincinnati strengthened their playoff position with a 2-1 win at Real Salt Lake.

In the late window, the Vancouver Whitecaps rode two quick strikes in the first half to a 2-1 home win against the Seattle Sounders, while Chicharito was one of four Los Angeles Galaxy goal scorers in their 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids, and FC Dallas secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw with 10 men against the San Jose Earthquakes.

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    Goncalo Ramos is unsure if he will be picked ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo again in Portugal's World Cup quarter-final after a last-16 experience beyond his "wildest dreams".

    The Benfica striker was a surprise choice from the start in Tuesday's game against Switzerland but justified his selection by hitting a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout.

    The pre-match focus was on Ronaldo's demotion to the bench, but Ramos hogged the limelight once the match kicked off.

    Even starting seemed improbable for the 21-year-old, who made his international debut in November, let alone scoring three times.

    "Not even in my wildest dreams I thought of being in the starting eleven in the knockout stages of the World Cup," Ramos said, but he does not know if he will keep his place for a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

    The forward added to RTP: "These are matters that are not for me. I have to work to the fullest and then you see what's going to happen."

    Ramos was named the player of the match and revealed Ronaldo's support in his post-match news conference.

    "Honestly, in our team, no-one talked about [Ronaldo being dropped]," he said. "Cristiano as captain did as he always does, helped us, encouraged us, not only to myself but to my colleagues."

    The level of Ramos' performance may have come as a shock to some, but not to team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

    "If you've never heard about him, it's because people are not aware of the quality of the Portuguese league," the Manchester United man said.

    "He has been doing really well in the Champions League, first in the group of PSG, so people should be aware of Goncalo, of his qualities.

    "I'm really happy for him, because a hat-trick at his age is a big achievement. But for Goncalo and for everyone else, the most important thing is that we are in the quarter-finals against Morocco."

  • Bruno on benched Ronaldo: 'Do you think Cristiano would be happy?' Bruno on benched Ronaldo: 'Do you think Cristiano would be happy?'

    Bruno Fernandes suggested Cristiano Ronaldo had been angry with Fernando Santos' decision to bench the Portugal captain, while he believes the veteran forward also would have thrived in the 6-1 win over Switzerland.

    Ronaldo came out of the Portugal XI following a moment of controversy in the side's previous match against South Korea, when he appeared to insult Santos after being substituted.

    Santos "really didn't like it at all" but insisted the matter had been "resolved" before naming Ronaldo among the substitutes against Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup.

    Goncalo Ramos, drafted in to replace Ronaldo, scored a hat-trick in a stunning display at Lusail Stadium, while the Portugal skipper failed to net as a second-half substitute – though he did see an effort rightly ruled out for offside,

    Asked of Ronaldo's reaction following Santos' decision, Fernandes said: "It was like everyone else. Do you think anyone likes to be on the bench?

    "Jose Sa – he didn't play one minute, he knows that he's the third goalkeeper, but he's not happy to be on the bench.

    "Do you think Cristiano would be happy? If the manager in the next game put me on the bench, I would be angry."

    But Fernandes bristled at the idea Portugal had won specifically because Ronaldo had come out of the team.

    "We won the first two games with Cristiano in the first XI," the midfielder said. "If Cristiano had played, he could have scored three goals and nobody would be talking about Cristiano on the bench.

    "Cristiano is doing his job, he's doing his part, and he's happy with the result, because the goal for everyone is to go as far as possible.

    "I don't think people should be talking about the situation with Cristiano and why he's playing, why he's not playing.

    "When Cristiano plays and the team wins, nobody talks about that. When Cristiano plays and the team loses, everyone talks about that."

    Even as Portugal scored goal after goal in the second half, the crowd in Lusail chanted Ronaldo's name and jeered as they waited for his introduction.

    Fernandes added: "Cristiano is the most famous player in the world, of all time. No-one is more famous than Cristiano in sports. Not in football, in sports.

    "It's normal that people come to see Cristiano, cheering him and everything. I don't see any surprise in that. I don't know why anyone is surprised by that.

    "Cristiano is Cristiano. It's normal that people are cheering him, even if he's on the bench and not playing. It's a simple thing."

  • Ronaldo risks 'scruffy end' to career after being dropped by Portugal, says Neville Ronaldo risks 'scruffy end' to career after being dropped by Portugal, says Neville

    Cristiano Ronaldo risks bringing his career to an unsavoury end after displaying a petulant attitude in recent months, according to his former Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville.

    Ronaldo was dropped by Portugal ahead of their World Cup last-16 tie with Switzerland on Tuesday, having irritated coach Fernando Santos with his reaction to being substituted in a group-stage defeat to South Korea. 

    Portugal did not suffer for the striker's absence as his replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a brilliant hat-trick in a 6-1 rout of the Swiss, teeing up a quarter-final meeting with Morocco.

    Ronaldo has courted controversy on several occasions this season, with his turbulent second spell at United being ended by mutual consent last month after he said the club had "betrayed" him in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

    Speaking to ITV ahead of Portugal's game on Tuesday, Neville showed little sympathy for Ronaldo's situation, saying he must accept the end of his career is approaching.

    "This is a manager who has had an unbelievable relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo for eight years," Neville said.

    "There are a lot of fans of Cristiano Ronaldo who aren't willing to tell him the truth and I think he does need to listen to the truth.

    "It's becoming a little bit of a scruffy end. The petulance, the stomping around, the sulking… it's got to stop because it doesn't reflect well on him at all.

    "His long-term legacy is set, he's protected, he's one of the all-time great players, but in the short term, he's got to do a lot better because… is the Juventus manager wrong? Is the Manchester United manager wrong? And now is the Portugal manager wrong? There's three of them that now have done the same thing with him.

    "You're leaving the game early like you did at United twice, stomping off the other day [against South Korea]. It's coming to that point where he's not accepting the end of his career very well."

    Ronaldo – who has been strongly linked with a move to Saudi Professional League outfit Al Nassr in recent days – was introduced as a 73rd-minute substitute with Portugal already 5-1 up.

    While Neville believes Ronaldo's drive to be the best served him well in the past, he says the five-time Ballon d'Or winner must now accept a more limited role.

    "His single mindedness has been one of his greatest strengths over the last 10 or 15 years," Neville added.

    "His determination to become one of the best in the world, to score the most goals, to break all the records, that fight with [Lionel] Messi.

    "But there comes a point where you still have to think about the collective and that's your team-mates in the dressing room."

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