MLS

MLS: Dallas secure play-off berth, Fire earn point

By Sports Desk October 31, 2020

Dallas earned bragging rights in the Texas Derby as they clinched a spot in the MLS play-offs by accounting for Houston Dynamo 3-0.

Fafa Picault scored twice for Dallas, who ended Houston's post-season hopes on Saturday.

Franco Jara opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he slid onto a headed pass across the six-yard box from Michael Barrios.

Dallas were further rewarded for their dominance eight minutes later after Picault headed home to double the lead at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Picault completed the scoring in the third minute of stoppage time as Dallas – in the play-offs for the third consecutive year – recorded just their third win in eight games.

The Dynamo have conceded at least once in 30 consecutive away matches, tied for the fourth-longest streak in MLS history.

Dallas are sixth in the Western Conference, while the Dynamo are bottom of the standings.

Elsewhere, play-off chasing Chicago Fire earned a valuable point in a 1-1 draw with Nashville.

Nashville – already assured of a play-off berth – hit the front via Daniel Rios in the 28th minute, with designated player Randall Leal playing a key role.

Leal has been directly involved in five of Nashville's last six goals (two goals, three assists).

The Fire, though, claimed a share of the spoils thanks to Boris Sekulic's equaliser three minutes prior to half-time.

Related items

  • 'Best Bale' delights Mourinho with double as Spurs down Burnley 'Best Bale' delights Mourinho with double as Spurs down Burnley

    Jose Mourinho felt Gareth Bale turned in the best display of his Tottenham second coming against Burnley and insists every manager in the world would pick the Wales star, fitness permitting.

    Bale was handed only his third Premier League start since re-joining Spurs on loan from Real Madrid last September and he responded with two goals and an assist for Harry Kane in a dominant 4-0 win over Burnley.

    Persistent fitness struggles have made Mourinho reluctant to give Bale too much action outside of cup competitions but he was thoroughly impressed after the forward put Sean Dyche's woeful Clarets to the sword.

    "It's the best Bale that we have had during this season, more confidence, better condition, no bad feelings with injuries," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    "His left foot will always be his left foot but the change of speed and direction and winning duels is not something he was able to do three or four months ago. Now he's giving us that."

    Bale won five of eight duels contested including two out of two in the air – the only Spurs player to have a 100 per cent record on this metric against Burnley.

    The 31-year-old was also perfect in a more headline-grabbing fashion, scoring twice from two shots on target and setting up Kane's 15th-minute goal with his only key pass.

    A hectic schedule continues at pace with back-to-back London derbies for Tottenham against Fulham and Crystal Palace this week.

    Mourinho plans to continue carefully managing Bale's workload, despite having instincts to the contrary.

    "Sometimes some of you like to imagine stories and you have to write stories. Sometimes you like to say things that are not really true," he said at a post-match news conference, referencing allusions to a strained relationship between himself and the Wales international.

    "But there is not one manager in the world who does not play Gareth Bale if Gareth Bale is in good condition. There is not one.

    "His knowledge of his body and his feelings are going to be fundamental.

    "A player who gives me this kind of performance, I want to play him Thursday and I want to play him Sunday and I want to play hm next week against Dinamo Zagreb [in the Europa League].

    "But I don't think I can. This is a process that we have to manage day bay day. The day after tomorrow we have to see how he feels.

    "He is a very important part of this decision making because he has a lot of experience."

  • Tottenham 4-0 Burnley: Brilliant Bale at the double for Mourinho's men Tottenham 4-0 Burnley: Brilliant Bale at the double for Mourinho's men

    Gareth Bale marked his return to a Premier League starting line-up with a brace in Tottenham's 4-0 thumping of Burnley.

    Bale had only been named from kick-off twice in the top flight since re-joining Spurs from Real Madrid last September, but a goal in each leg of the Europa League win over Wolfsberger AC persuaded Jose Mourinho to give the Wales international a chance.

    Tottenham's recent run of five defeats in their past six Premier League matches became a fast fading memory as Bale notched after 68 seconds and set up Harry Kane's second.

    It was 3-0 after the half hour thanks to Lucas Moura, who kept Dele Alli on the bench despite the England midfielder's similarly impressive European form, and Bale's eighth goal of his second Tottenham spell came in the 55th minute.

    Bale wasted little time in making the most of his selection by stealing in behind a sleeping Burnley defence to convert Son Heung-min's cross – Nick Pope having charitably stayed on his line.

    There was fleeting defiance from the visitors, with Davinson Sanchez forced to make a last-ditch challenge on Jay Rodriguez.

    Pope denied Lucas at close quarters before Bale was given time and space to send a raking ball into Kane's path in the 15th minute.

    The England captain advanced infield from the left and rifled home an emphatic finish.

    Any lingering doubt over the result was put to bed when Sergio Reguilon's cross clipped off James Tarkowski and Lucas pounced.

    Burnley's misery deepened nine minutes into the second half with Bale allowed room for a touch and a clinical finish after Son played the provider once more.

    Lucas and Bale made way but Kane and Son remained a nuisance for the Clarets.

    Pope pushed over a swerving drive from the England captain before getting down sharply to deny Son.

     

  • Rashford leads Man Utd line against Chelsea as Tuchel benches Werner Rashford leads Man Utd line against Chelsea as Tuchel benches Werner

    Marcus Rashford was tasked with leading Manchester United's attack at Stamford Bridge, while Timo Werner dropped to the Chelsea bench.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer declared on Friday that he was unsure if Cavani, who has had a positive impact this season since arriving on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, would overcome a knock which has kept him out since mid-February.

    Paul Pogba was a confirmed absentee, however, and neither player featured as Solskjaer made five changes to his United team.

    Rashford, who has been involved in seven goals in all competitions against Chelsea (five goals, two assists) – more than against any other side in his career – was instead given the central role that Anthony Martial had started in against Real Sociedad on Thursday.

    That was one of five changes made by Solskjaer, who also brought back Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and David de Gea.

    United are unbeaten in 19 Premier League away games (W13 D6), a run that began with a 2-0 win at Chelsea in February 2020. 

    This is the Red Devils' longest unbeaten away run in their top-flight history, though their previous longest of 17 between December 1998-September 1999 ended with a 5-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, and Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea team have been in strong form.

    After a frustrating draw with Southampton last week, Chelsea beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League thanks to Olivier Giroud's stunning winner.

    Giroud is rewarded with a start up top, with Tuchel making three alterations.

    One of the players to drop out is Werner, who ended his long goalscoring drought in Chelsea's last home game – a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.

    Hakim Ziyech is in to partner Mason Mount – who has scored two goals in his last three Premier League games, as many as in his previous 21 in the competition – behind Giroud, with N'Golo Kante replacing Jorginho in midfield and Ben Chilwell coming in at left wing-back.

    Opposite Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi retains his place, despite the youngster being subbed on and subbed off in the draw with Southampton.

    The away team has won all four of the previous managerial matches between Tuchel and Solskjaer, with all of those games taking place between United and PSG in the Champions League.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.