MLS

MLS: Gil fuels fifth straight Revs win, Chicharito scores and Sounders extend club-record unbeaten start

By Sports Desk June 24, 2021

New England Revolution claimed their fifth consecutive MLS victory after staving off a late scare to win 3-2 over New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.

The Revolution raced to a three-goal lead but were forced to hold on in the final quarter of an hour after strikes from Patryk Klimala and Andres Reyes midweek.

Carles Gil provided the assist for all three Revolution goals, taking his season tally to an MLS-high 10, stabbing through to Canadian forward Tajon Buchanan for the 26th-minute opener.

Spanish midfielder Gil laid off for DeJuan Jones' 32nd-minute strike, before pumping the ball forward for Gustavo Bou to make it 3-0 six minutes into the second half before the Red Bulls rallied.

The win moved New England five points clear in the Eastern Conference, sitting ahead of Orlando City – who have a game in hand – and Philadelphia Union who are both on 18 points.

Jamiro Monteiro scored the only goal of the game as Philadelphia kept up their good form with a 1-0 victory over Columbus Crew.

Seattle Sounders remain unbeaten after Raul Ruidiaz's 88th-minute penalty clinched a 2-1 win against Real Salt Lake, extending their club-record unbeaten start to 10 matches.

Cristian Roldan had put Seattle ahead five minutes into the second half, reacting fastest to score from a rebound inside the box.

RSL levelled with 12 minutes to go, when they won a penalty which was converted by Slovakian Albert Rusnak.

Ruidiaz had the final say netting his eighth goal of the season with a cool Panenka finish from the spot for the Western Conference-leading Sounders.

New York City continued their rollercoaster run with a 1-0 triumph over Atlanta United via Ismael Tajouri's 69th-minute winner.

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez got on the scoresheet before late drama as LA Galaxy won 2-1 at Vancouver Whitecaps.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Chicharito opened the scoring, sliding home in the 47th minute with Galaxy appearing destined to claim all three points before a 90th-minute equaliser from Janio Bikel.

There would be another late twist, when the Galaxy's Efrain Alvarez scored in the third minute of stoppage – his stunning strike finding the back of the net after hopeful ball into the box.

Mexico international Carlos Vela also netted along with providing an assist as Los Angeles FC won 2-0 over Dallas.

Elsewhere, Sporting Kansas City defeated Colorado Rapids 3-1, Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo drew 2-2, Nashville outlasted Toronto 3-2 courtesy of a 92nd-minute winner, Cincinnati edged Chicago Fire 1-0, Minnesota United beat Austin 2-0, while 10-man Montreal and DC United played out a goalless stalemate.

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    The Jamaica international was forced to leave the field before halftime after pulling up against Manchester City early in December.

    The injury was similar to one the player had suffered against Aston Villa in September when he was also sidelined for several weeks.  Having missed out on the Jamaica Reggae Boyz three matches for the upcoming international window, Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard believes the period will provide the player with plenty of time to slowly ease himself back into action.

    “Leon is not too far away and we are hoping to have him back in the next two weeks.

    “The (winter) break will benefit Leon as he won’t miss many more games,” Gerrard said.

    “Hopefully in two weeks’ time he is ready to train with the group,” he added.

    The 24-year-old who moved from Bayer Leverkusen for an estimated £25million last summer has had a stop-start beginning to life at Villa Park but has shown plenty of promise whenever he has managed to get time on the pitch.  He has scored once in 9 appearances.

  • Feyenoord great Wim Jansen dies at 75 Feyenoord great Wim Jansen dies at 75

    Feyenoord great Wim Jansen has died at the age of 75.

    The Eredivisie club, where he spent 15 years as a player before taking up a variety of off-field roles, confirmed he had passed away on Tuesday. He had been suffering from dementia.

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    He won 65 caps for the Netherlands in a 13-year international career, and was part of the sides that reached the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals and finished third at the 1976 European Championship. Jansen was once described by the great Johan Cruyff as "one of only four men in the world it's worth listening to when they talk about football", according to NOS.

    In a varied post-playing career, Jansen would win two KNVB Beker trophies as Feyenoord boss before becoming technical director for the 1993 league title win, helping to restore the club following financial problems.

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    Stopping arch-rivals Rangers from winning a 10th successive title, Jansen also secured the signing of Henrik Larsson from Feyenoord, who became one of the club's greatest modern players.

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  • Florence and the talent machine: The players who left Fiorentina in big moves Florence and the talent machine: The players who left Fiorentina in big moves

    Every league seems to have those teams that just produce talent on an apparently non-stop basis, before those players inevitably get picked off by the bigger boys.

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    Roberto Baggio

    Having begun his career at Vicenza, The Divine Ponytail's move to Fiorentina saw his star rise as he spent five impressive years in the purple shirt.

    However, after he helped Fiorentina to the 1990 UEFA Cup final, only to be defeated over two ill-tempered legs by their great rivals Juventus, salt was very much rubbed into the fans' wounds as the Bianconeri paid a then world-record fee to take Baggio.

    Reports claimed that fans hurled bricks, chains and Molotov cocktails at Fiorentina's headquarters, and for the two days after the transfer was announced, club president Flavio Pontello took shelter in the stadium, with 50 injuries and nine arrests recorded.

    Baggio would only improve his reputation further at Juve, winning the UEFA Cup in 1993, before securing a league and cup double two years later, scoring 115 goals in 200 games across five seasons before moving to Milan, where he won another Scudetto in his first year.

    After being dismissed by Fabio Capello at San Siro in 1997, Baggio had an impressive season at Bologna where he scored a personal best 22 league goals, before moving back to the city of Milan with Inter.

    Things did not work out at the Nerazzurri but he still went on to enjoy four final seasons in Serie A with Brescia, where he reached double figures in each campaign before retiring in 2004.

    Gabriel Batistuta

    There is arguably no more iconic player in Fiorentina history. A striker who football fans of a certain vintage remember banging in goals on Sunday afternoons during the nineties.

    Unlike most of the players on this list, Batistuta actually spent the majority of his career at Fiorentina, staying for nine years before his big-money move to Roma.

    The man affectionately known as 'Batigol' remains the club's record goalscorer with 159 goals in 198 games, though it does help his record that people like Vlahovic are usually sold before they can get anywhere near that total.

    Though he had won a Coppa Italia, Batistuta wanted a Scudetto and moved to Roma in 2000 in order to get it. It was the highest fee ever paid for a player over the age of 30, a record which stood until Leonardo Bonucci moved to Milan from Juventus in 2017.

    It seemed like a justified move when Batistuta scored 20 goals, including netting against his former club, on the way to winning the title in his first season in the Italian capital, but was unable to reach those heights again, scoring just 11 over the following season and a half before a loan move to Inter.

    Rui Costa

    The Portuguese maestro had made a name for himself at Benfica before moving to Italy in 1994 and making 230 appearances in seven years with La Viola, winning two Coppa Italia titles.

    However, like Batistuta, Rui Costa was moved on for big money to try and help the club's finances, ending up at Milan for a then club-record fee of around £35m.

    Rui Costa spent five years at San Siro where he won six trophies, including the Champions League in 2003 and Scudetto a year later. He moved back to Benfica in 2006 after the emergence of Kaka saw his minutes reduced.

    Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi came through the youth ranks at Fiorentina, with big things expected of him as he burst onto the scene after an impressive loan at Crotone in Serie B in the 2013-14 season.

    During three years in the first team, Bernardeschi scored 23 goals in 93 games and registered 11 assists, which unfortunately for Viola fans saw old enemies Juve come swooping in again.

    He has claimed three Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia trophies in Turin, as well as being a part of the Italy squad that won the rescheduled Euro 2020 last year.

    Bernardeschi, who has scored just 11 times in 170 games for Juve, largely remains a squad player under Massimiliano Allegri, in part because of this next man...

    Federico Chiesa

    Another Fiorentina youth product, Chiesa had all eyes on him as soon as he broke through due to being the son of former Viola and Italy striker Enrico Chiesa.

    Chiesa Jr made his first-team debut, somewhat ironically, against Juve at the age of 18, and over the next couple of years began to establish himself as the potential future of the club.

    More suited to playing out wide than his father, who was a traditional central striker, Chiesa's managed 34 goals and 19 assists in 153 games at Fiorentina but it his tenacity, pace and skill that sets him apart.

    That was enough to tempt – yes, you guessed it – Juve to come along and take him on a two-year loan, with an obligation to make it permanent at the end of the current campaign.

    Chiesa had an impressive first season at Juve, including scoring the winning goal in the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta, before starring for Italy in their successful Euro 2020 campaign, scoring twice in seven appearances and making the team of the tournament.

    He started 2021-22 in sharp form, only for a serious knee injury to end his season early.

     

    There also must be honourable mentions for the likes of Luca Toni, whose emergence at Fiorentina earned him a lucrative move to Bayern Munich, and Francesco Toldo - he was sold to Inter at the same time that Costa was packed off to Milan to ease club debts.

    Juan Cuadrado (now at Juventus) and Marcos Alonso were both sold to Chelsea for decent money two years apart, while Felipe Melo (Juventus), Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) and Matias Vecino (Inter) continued Fiorentina's philosophy of buying low and selling high.

    The path well-trodden out of the Stadio Artemio Franchi has often led to bigger and better things, and that bodes well for Vlahovic now that it appears he will be the next in line.

    He seems to have all the tools to be the star striker this current, rather dour, edition of the Bianconeri require. Indeed, Vlahovic's 33 goals in Serie A last season matched the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo at Juve in 2020.

    It might be tough to take (again) for Viola fans, but if history is anything to go by, their next hero won't be far away.

    Of course, he'll probably also sign for Juve eventually, but that will just be a case of crossing the Ponte Vecchio when they come to it.

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