Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City were upstaged by Houston Dynamo 2-1 in MLS, while Vancouver Whitecaps stunned Toronto.

Houston routed Sporting KC 5-2 in August and Dynamo claimed another win over their rivals in the west on Saturday.

After a short weather delay at BBVA Stadium, Dynamo came from behind following Erik Hurtado's 30th-minute opener in Houston.

Within a minute of his introduction, Alberth Elis equalised for Houston in the 59th minute – on the end of Darwin Ceren's cross.

Fellow substitute Mauro Manotas completed the fightback with four minutes remaining to extend Houston's unbeaten streak to five matches.

Sporting KC are only two points clear of Seattle Sounders, who are due to play on Sunday, while Houston are third and four points adrift.

Eastern Conference high-flyers Toronto suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat against Canadian rivals the Whitecaps.

Toronto, who had their bid to set an MLS record for consecutive regular-season wins, slumped to back-to-back losses.

Jake Nerwinski's 76th-minute goal saw the Whitecaps trump Toronto at BC Place, where Vancouver snapped a three-game losing streak.

Toronto are second and two points behind Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew after 10 games, while Vancouver are 10th in the west.

Elsewhere, Atlanta United salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Orlando City and San Jose Earthquakes were held to the same scoreline by Colorado Rapids.

New York Red Bulls have dismissed head coach Chris Armas following a run of one win in their past six games.

The Red Bulls failed to get out of their group in the MLS is Back Tournament and followed up a derby victory over New York City with a three-match winless stretch, leaving them seventh in the Eastern Conference with 11 points.

Assistant coach CJ Brown has also been let go, with an interim boss to be confirmed "in the coming days".

"On behalf of the organisation, I'd like to thank Chris for his hard work and dedication to the club," said Red Bulls head of sport Kevin Thelwell.

"In this business, we have to make difficult decisions based on performances and, fundamentally, results. At this time, it's my decision that we must go in a different direction in order to meet the ambitions we have for our football club.

"We wish Chris and CJ all the best in their future endeavours. We will conduct a wide, thorough search for our next head coach."

Armas took over the Red Bulls in July 2018 after Jesse Marsch left and led them to the Supporters' Shield that year. He also twice guided the team into the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Red Bulls are back in action with a home clash against Philadelphia Union on Sunday.

It seems little progress was made between Barcelona and Lionel Messi.

Messi, 33, has sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants, but the transfer saga looks set to drag on.

A meeting between the parties was tipped to provide some clarity, but it seems little has changed.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, BARCELONA YET TO REACH AGREEMENT

Messi and Barcelona did not reach an agreement on Wednesday, according to widespread reports in Spain.

AS reports Messi is insisting he leaves, while Barca are refusing to negotiate.

Messi has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City, while Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus have also been credited with an interest.

According to The Telegraph, Messi could leave for as little as €100million.

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- Staying at Barcelona and Luis Suarez has also been linked with a move away from Camp Nou. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the forward has almost agreed terms with Juventus, who may pay Barcelona a small fee for the 33-year-old. Suarez is out of contract next year.

- Liverpool are seemingly still trying to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara. RMC Sport reports Liverpool is Thiago's only choice despite links to Manchester United.

- Inter Miami could be set for a huge signing. ESPN reports Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain is very close to agreeing to personal terms with the MLS club.

- After a fine loan spell at Roma, Chris Smalling is wanted by the Serie A club. Gianluca Di Marzio reports there is confidence from Roma they can get a permanent deal done for the Manchester United defender, who could sign a three-year deal.

- Roma and Manchester United may yet be involved in another deal. CalcioMercato reports Roma are looking at United midfielder Fred on a loan deal with an obligation to buy for €20m (£17.8m) to €25m (£22.2m).

- Emiliano Martinez continues to be linked with a move from Arsenal. The Telegraph reports Villarreal, who have former Arsenal boss Unai Emery in charge, are considering the goalkeeper if he is told he will not be Arsenal's first choice this season.

Los Angeles FC recorded a resounding win in MLS on Wednesday, while the Galaxy extended their winning streak.

After three straight losses in all competitions, Los Angeles FC responded by thrashing the San Jose Earthquakes 5-1 at Banc of California Stadium.

Diego Rossi's beautiful finish into the corner opened the scoring after a poor turnover of possession by the Earthquakes in the 21st minute.

But LAFC had to wait until the second half to truly take control.

Another bad turnover allowed Bradley Wright-Phillips through to double the lead, before Jose Cifuentes made it 3-0.

Rossi added his second in the 69th minute before Danny Musovski made it 5-0, Danny Hoesen later adding a consolation goal for San Jose.

The win lifted LAFC up into third in the Western Conference, with San Jose sitting 11th.

The Galaxy made it three straight wins by edging the Portland Timbers 3-2 at Providence Park.

Efrain Alvarez opened the scoring for the Galaxy, completing a fine team move with a finish into the top corner from inside the area.

It took until five minutes into the second half for the visitors to double their lead through Cristian Pavon's individual effort.

Felipe Mora gave Portland hope with a 67th-minute goal, but Joe Corona struck for the Galaxy with a wonderful 20-yard strike.

Diego Valeri came off the bench to add a second for Portland in additional time.

The Timbers are sixth in the Western Conference, one spot behind the Galaxy while being level on points.

Columbus Crew returned to the top of the Eastern Conference after a 1-0 win over Philadelphia Union.

Lucas Zelarayan's deflected 25-yard effort in the 55th minute was enough for Columbus.

Elsewhere, Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City were held to a 1-1 draw by Dallas.

Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders drew 2-2 in a clash that featured a screamer from Pablo Ruiz, while Orlando City played out a 1-1 draw with Nashville.

New York City overcame New England Revolution 2-0, Houston Dynamo beat Minnesota United 3-0 and Erik Sorga scored a 98th-minute winner for DC United as they edged the New York Red Bulls 1-0.

Atlanta United and Inter Miami drew 0-0, while Cincinnati's clash with Chicago Fire also finished goalless.

With a crucial meeting set to take place in the Lionel Messi saga, the Barcelona star has reportedly agreed to a deal with Manchester City.

Messi, 33, has sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants, where he has spent his entire professional career.

But just whether a move happens could hinge on an upcoming meeting.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI AGREES €700M DEAL WITH CITY

Messi has agreed to terms on a deal worth £623million (€700m) with the City Football Group (CFG), which owns Manchester City, according to the Daily Record.

The deal is reportedly five years in length, including three in Manchester and two with MLS side New York City.

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi is set for a Barcelona exit after a tumultuous and trophy-less 2019-20 season.

 

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- Messi's dad, Jorge, is set to meet with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, according to Mundo Deportivo. It reports Jorge is drafting an exit for Messi, but Barcelona plan to tell him the superstar has a contract and they will not negotiate. It also reports Barca are preparing to offer Messi a renewal until the 2022 World Cup.

Montreal Impact prevailed 1-0 as Thierry Henry's men ended Toronto's 18-game unbeaten streak in MLS on Tuesday.

Eastern Conference leaders Toronto had the chance to tie the record for consecutive regular-season matches without defeat, but they were upstaged by their Canadian rivals.

A 14th-minute header from Rudy Camacho was the difference at BMO Field in Toronto, where the Impact defender was left unmarked to head home Romell Quioto's cross.

Toronto thought they had equalised via the penalty spot in chaotic scenes in first-half stoppage time, following a foul on Jozy Altidore.

Alejandro Pozuelo and Pablo Piatti combined, the former rolling the ball forward for the latter to fire a penalty past Impact goalkeeper Clement Diop.

Referee Drew Fischer, however, ruled out the goal after Piatti was judged to have entered the penalty area before Pozuelo passed the ball forward.

In the 95th minute, Montreal's Emanuel Maciel was sent off for a challenge on Toronto captain Michael Bradley but VAR downgraded the card to yellow.

Toronto remain a point clear of Columbus Crew in the east, while Montreal are five points off the pace in fifth.

With Donny van de Beek set to arrive, are Manchester United targeting another new signing?

RB Leipzig defender and France international Dayot Upamecano is reportedly high on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's list as the United manager eyes a partner for captain Harry Maguire.

It could be a busy transfer window for United.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT UPAMECANO

Manchester United are targeting RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano, according to ESPN.

United are poised to complete the signing of star Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek and the Red Devils are now eyeing further recruits.

While United continue to pursue Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, the Premier League giants have made French defender Upamecano – who signed a new deal until 2023 – a top transfer target. Upamecano has also been linked to the likes of Bayern Munich and Arsenal.

 

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Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona but his possible move to Manchester City could prove difficult. Tuesday's Mundo Deportivo claims City will abandon their bid to bring Messi to Manchester if they are forced to pay a transfer fee for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner. Messi feels he is a free agent following the 2019-20 season.

- Fabrizio Romano reports United expect to receive a bid from Roma for defender Chris Smalling, who spent the 2019-20 season on loan in the Italian capital. It comes as the Red Devils eye a new centre-back.

- Sky Sport reports Milan are set to complete a one-year loan deal for Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz. The 21-year-old Spaniard has struggled for game time since arriving in 2019. Le10 Sport, meanwhile, says Milan are very interested in Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare, who has been previously linked to the likes of United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Madrid.

James Rodriguez is on the cusp of leaving Madrid for Carlo Ancelotti's Everton, according to Romano.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain is in advanced talks to join former team-mate Blaise Matuidi at David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS.

Arturo Vidal wants to terminate his Barca contract, says Sky Sport Italia. Gianluca Di Marzio also reports Inter are already in talks about signing the former Juve midfielder.

- France Football says Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has agreed personal terms with City amid interest from United and PSG.

LA Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said he would love to see Lionel Messi play in MLS as the Barcelona superstar reportedly eyes a move to Manchester City.

Messi did not feature in Barca's first day of pre-season training under new boss Ronald Koeman on Monday after the six-time Ballon d'Or winner handed in a transfer request.

As with Sunday's coronavirus testing for members of Koeman's first-team squad, Messi did not attend because he believes a clause in his contract allowing him to leave on a free transfer is now active, meaning he is no longer a Barcelona player.

Pep Guardiola's City are believed to be the frontrunners to sign Messi and the Premier League giants have reportedly offered a long-term contract that would end with the 33-year-old playing for sister club New York City in MLS.

Schelotto, whose Galaxy were previously linked with a move for Messi, was asked about the Argentina skipper possibly moving to the United States.

"I was shocked when I heard about Messi's decision about abandoning FC Barcelona because we all thought he was going to retire there," fellow Argentinian Schelotto told reporters.

"But he must have his reasons and as a fellow Argentine I wish him the best always and I hope he comes to the MLS, it would be great."

Messi has called Barca home since 2001, emerging from the club's famed youth system in 2004.

Since making his debut 16 years ago, Messi has won a club-record 33 trophies – including 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns.

Messi – linked to Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter – also holds the records for most goals scored for LaLiga giants Barca.

Jordan Morris scored a second-half brace as reigning MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders defeated Los Angeles FC 3-1.

In a battle between the titleholders and last season's Supporters' Shield winners LAFC, the Sounders came out on top thanks to Morris on Sunday.

The Sounders broke the deadlock in the 11th minute via Raul Ruidiaz's stunning long-range effort at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Morris made it 3-0 after scoring twice within a 61-second span to shock LAFC – the Sounders forward outpacing two defenders and dodging the onrushing Kenneth Vermeer for his first of the night.

The American then cushioned home a volley from a Joao Paulo cross in the 49th minute.

Diego Rossi pulled one goal back for LAFC on the hour mark, but it was not enough away from home.

Seattle are second in the Western Conference and two points behind leaders Sporting Kansas City, while LAFC are seventh.

Elsewhere, Nashville edged fellow expansion franchise Inter Miami 1-0 thanks to Anibal Godoy's superb strike.

Godoy curled a shot into the top corner of the net from the edge of the area in the 53rd minute to sink Inter.

Nashville are 10th in the Eastern Conference with two wins from eight games, while David Beckham's Inter are bottom with three points.

Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen has put the Major League Soccer franchise up for sale after being criticised for failing to support players calling for racial justice.

Hansen said he felt "disrespected" by team members after they opted not to play against LAFC on Wednesday.

Those players joined in the widespread protests which have followed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, by police in Wisconsin.

"All I can say is they supported other issues nationally; they clearly did not support our city or our organisation," Hansen said.

"It's a moment of sadness. It's like somebody stabbed you and you're trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward. That's what it feels like. The disrespect is profound to me personally."

Hansen warned he would start cutting employees he had brought back from furlough because of the possibility of further strike action from the team, with his stance drawing condemnation.

Salt Lake's former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha told BBC World Service: "I don't want to be here because I'm not here to play for someone who isn't here to support us."

A statement from MLS commissioner Don Garber on Sunday confirmed Hansen had put the team's holding company up for sale, suggesting Onuoha and his team-mates might not have to work under their current owner for much longer.

His stewardship of National Women's Soccer League team Utah Royals and Real Monarchs of the USL Championship is also set to come to a close.

Garber's statement read: "Major League Soccer has been informed that Real Salt Lake investor-operator Dell Loy Hansen has decided that he will begin a process to sell Utah Soccer Holdings, the entity that owns Real Salt Lake, Utah Royals FC and Real Monarchs.

"MLS will work with Mr Hansen on supporting the sale efforts for the company and will work closely with the club's executive staff to support the operations of the team during the transition period."

Garber added: "I want to acknowledge Dell Loy Hansen's significant efforts to build the sport of soccer in the state of Utah and his commitment to Major League Soccer."

A 94th-minute equaliser helped Real Salt Lake salvage a dramatic 4-4 draw at Portland Timbers in MLS action on Saturday.

Trailing 4-2 heading into the 90th minute, former Manchester United and Italy forward Giuseppe Rossi reduced the deficit for RSL in Portland – his first MLS goal.

And Sam Johnson completed the stunning comeback against the MLS is Back Tournament champions in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

In a wild showdown, the Timbers opened the scoring through Diego Chara in the sixth minute before RSL's Corey Baird restored parity 13 minutes later, but Jaroslaw Niezgoda's effort within two minutes ensured Portland led 2-1 at half-time.

After Real Salt Lake equalised again, this time courtesy of Damir Kreilach three minutes into the second half, Portland took control of the contest.

Sebastian Blanco's stunning effort with 20 minutes remaining and Felipe Mora's effort five minutes from time seemingly had the Timbers on track before the hosts capitulated.

The Timbers are fourth in the Western Conference, a point above RSL after seven matches.

LA Galaxy beat San Jose Earthquakes for the first time since 2018 thanks to their 3-2 triumph in the California Clasico.

Sebastian Lletget's 82nd-minute goal settled the five-goal thriller after the Earthquakes had led 1-0 and 2-1 against the Galaxy.

After posting just their second win in the regular season, the Galaxy are ninth in the west, while the Earthquakes are eighth.

In other results, Philadelphia Union crushed DC United 4-1, New York City accounted for Chicago Fire 3-1, Dallas defeated Minnesota United by the same scoreline and Orlando City also topped Atlanta United 3-1.

FC Cincinnati played out a 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls drew 1-1 against New England Revolution, while Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City were held to a 1-1 draw by Colorado Rapids.

Toronto returned to the top of the Eastern Conference after a 1-0 Canadian Classique win over Montreal Impact on Friday.

Alejandro Pozuelo's second-half penalty proved to be enough for Toronto at Saputo Stadium as the MLS season resumed.

The season was briefly postponed amid protests against racial injustice across the United States following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Pozuelo put away a spot-kick in the 50th minute for Toronto, who claimed their fifth win in eight MLS games and are unbeaten.

Toronto returned to the top of the Eastern Conference, sitting two points clear of Columbus Crew.

Thierry Henry's Montreal, meanwhile, are fifth in the table.

MLS will return with Montreal Impact versus Toronto FC on Friday following the pause in play after the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The league followed the NBA in postponing games on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks went on strike in protest against police brutality and racial inequality.

Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin, the Bucks' home state.

Just one MLS match went ahead on Wednesday, with Orlando City beating Nashville, but the players are now ready to resume play. The NBA will return on Saturday.

"Following a period of reflection and conversation with the Black Players for Change (BPC), the league's players and the MLS Players Association, matches will resume, beginning tonight with the Montreal Impact hosting Toronto FC," a statement read on Friday.

"BPC are scheduled to meet with MLS owners, as the players and the league continue working together to create long-term change both inside and outside of MLS."

MLS bosses have largely supported the teams in their demonstrations, although Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen sparked outrage as he criticised his club and threatened to cut funding.

RSL players past and present hit back, while Toronto striker Jozy Altidore and NBA playoff star Donovan Mitchell - a player for Salt Lake City's Utah Jazz - each called on Hansen to sell the team.

Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha told the BBC he was considering his future at the club after Hansen's comments.

"I don't want to be here, because I’m not here to play for someone who isn’t here to support us," the former Manchester City centre-back said.

"We are trying to create a bigger conversation, but a lot of the people who are in power don’t empathise or sympathise or do anything. They are more concerned with themselves."

Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha said he wants to leave the MLS club following owner Dell Loy Hansen's comments criticising his players for boycotting Wednesday's fixture amid racial injustice protests.

Five of the six MLS games scheduled midweek were called off following nationwide protests within professional sports in the United States after Jacob Blake – a black man – was repeatedly shot by police in Wisconsin.

RSL's clash with Los Angeles FC did not go ahead as games across the NBA, MLB and WNBA were called off on Wednesday and Hansen accused his team of disrespect.

"It's a moment of sadness," Hansen said on radio station X96 on Thursday. "It's like somebody stabbed you and you're trying to figure out a way to pull the knife out and move forward. That's what it feels like. The disrespect is profound to me personally.

"It's taken a lot of wind out of my sails, what effort I want to put into recruiting players and building a great team. It just seems that's not a very good path to take."

"We will not be inviting fans back to the stadium in the future," Hansen added. "Monday, I start having to cut 40, 50 jobs again. We would not go through the risk of inviting people back to have that kind of an outcome."

Hansen's comments sparked backlash within the club and across the league, with former Manchester City defender and RSL's Onuoha telling BBC World Service: "I don't want to be here because I'm not here to play for someone who isn't here to support us.

"We are trying to create a bigger conversation but a lot of the people who are in power don't empathise or sympathise or do anything. They are more concerned with themselves."

"It didn't feel right to be playing a game when people are trying to highlight a big conversation and things that are bigger than sport," the 33-year-old Englishman continued. "I was brought to tears this morning as I was listening to stories of what has happened over the last few days and knowing the owner isn't in agreement and now seeing this stuff here.

"These are cries for help and for people at the very top to get behind us because that is where the biggest change can come, but we are being left and being criticised. If you want to make a stance, the pushback is massive and MLS players don't earn enough money to feel that they have enough value to have an opinion and to be able to make change. I'd like to say I'm proud, but I wish it is something that we didn't have to do."

MLS also responded to Hansen's comments, with commissioner Don Garber saying in a statement: "I appreciate Dell Loy Hansen's efforts to build the sport of soccer in Utah.  His commitment to MLS, the NWSL and the USL, as well as the game at the youth level, has been significant.  However, I strongly disagree with the comments he made today, the way they were expressed, and they do not reflect the views of MLS.

"This is a time for all of us to work together in the pursuit of racial equality and social justice. Major League Soccer and all of its clubs will continue to support and create initiatives that enact real change."

MLS is also investigating allegations that Hansen has a history of making racially charged remarks in his time as owner of RSL.

"We are deeply concerned about the allegations made in a report published this evening concerning language used by and the conduct of Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen," the league said. "Major League Soccer has zero tolerance for this type of language or conduct and will immediately commence an investigation."

Barack Obama, Billie Jean King and LeBron James led rallying calls on a seismic day in American sport, as games were called off in protest at racial injustice.

In a forceful message, athletes and teams downed tools in North America as they boycotted scheduled fixtures following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by police in the state of Wisconsin.

Blake was shot several times in the back, prompting nationwide protests.

All three NBA playoff games set for Wednesday were postponed, and it was reported widely that players from the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers were in favour of boycotting the rest of the season.

The NBA board of governors were set for a Thursday meeting, with players also reportedly due to hold a follow-up to their Wednesday get-together.

Major League Baseball saw three games postponed, namely those between the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, and Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres.

Five of six Major League Soccer games also did not go ahead, while Thursday's play at the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament in New York was suspended, with Naomi Osaka pulling out of the tournament after reaching the semi-finals.

Former US president Obama saluted the Milwaukee Bucks for boycotting Game 5 in their series against the Orlando Magic.

Milwaukee is the nearest major city to Kenosha, where Blake was shot. Obama also saluted Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who criticised President Donald Trump when he spoke powerfully on Tuesday. Rivers accused the Republican Party of "spewing this fear".

Obama wrote on Twitter: "I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It's going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values."

Speaking earlier in the day, Lakers superstar James wrote on Twitter: "F*** THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT".

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer added: "I am again angry over the shooting of a black man #JacobBlake. @DocRivers and The @Bucks players said it well, we need real police accountability. Give citizens data to do so. Let's have criminal justice reform that keeps all people safe but not senselessly imprisoned or afraid."

Tennis great King, who has fought for the growth of women's sport and for social justice, praised Japanese player Osaka's decision to abandon the Western and Southern Open in her individual protest.

King wrote: "A brave and impactful move by @naomiosaka, in support of the protest movement moving through the sports world. She was to play in the semis. Athletes using platforms for good means so much. Don't remain silent. #BlackLivesMatter"

Fellow tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova added: "An amazing stance Naomi ... well done, nothing but respect!!!"

The NHL faced criticism, however, for a perceived lack of response as the Stanley Cup playoffs continue.

Canadian star Evander Kane, who plays for the San Jose Sharks, tore into the league by saying: "Actually it's incredibly insulting as a black man in hockey the lack of action and acknowledgement from the @nhl, just straight up insulting."

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