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.

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    While last season was a disappointment for the Reds, Toronto are sixth in the Eastern Conference, with 24 points from their 17 games so far in 2024.

    Johnson has kept four clean sheets in 12 MLS appearances, and his good form has been rewarded with a deal that will keep him with Toronto until the end of the 2026 campaign.

    Ahead of Toronto’s meeting with the Chicago Fire, Johnson told club media: “I am excited to extend my time in Toronto – the fans have welcomed me with open arms since arriving.

    “TFC has a rich history of success and I’m committed to giving everything to add some more special moments for the club and the city.”

    “We are happy to announce that Sean has signed an extension with Toronto as he has been an integral part of our evolution both on and off the field,” said Toronto general manager Jason Hernandez.

    “Sean will continue to provide us with the consistency and stability we will need in our group as we continue to push towards reaching our full potential. His leadership has been a fundamental aspect of our team’s identity, and we look forward to Sean helping our club achieve its goals in 2024 and beyond.”

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    Toronto FC – Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi had a goal and an assist in Toronto’s draw with D.C. on June 1, taking his total to 11 goal contributions (seven goals, four assists) this season, one more than any Toronto player recorded during the 2023 campaign.

    Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers

    Cuypers scored one of the Fire’s two goals in their win over the Galaxy and has been involved in a goal in three straight MLS appearances. No player has been involved in a goal in four straight games for the Fire since Robert Beric in September-October 2020 (five straight).

    MATCH PREDICTION: TORONTO WIN

    Chicago snapped a nine-match winless run with a 2-1 home victory over the LA Galaxy on June 1. It was the Fire’s first multi-goal performance since their previous win, a 2-1 victory over Houston on April 6.

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    The Reds are unbeaten in 12 straight home matches against the Fire (W7 D5) with Chicago’s last win in Toronto coming in 2012. This is Toronto’s longest home unbeaten run against any opponent in their MLS history.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto FC – 44.5%

    Chicago Fire – 28.7%

    Draw – 26.8%

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    This is the first time two players aged 21 or under have scored for the same team in a Euros match.

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    The gulf in quality between the sides was soon apparent, though, as Germany became just the second team to net three first-half goals in a Euros match. France have previously done so twice, scoring three against Belgium in 1984 and four versus Iceland in 2016.

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    He is the first Scotland player to be sent off at a major tournament since Craig Burley versus Morocco at the 1998 World Cup.

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