MLS

MLS Review: Atlanta extend winning streak, Sounders hold on

By Sports Desk May 15, 2019

Atlanta United made it five straight wins in MLS on Wednesday, while the Seattle Sounders closed the gap atop the Western Conference.

Frank de Boer's Atlanta have found form and recorded a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place Stadium.

Josef Martinez's first-half penalty was all they needed to stretch their winning run to five and climb into third in the Eastern Conference.

Incredibly, Atlanta have not conceded once during their five-game streak.

The Sounders jumped to second in the Western Conference after a 2-1 win at home to Orlando City.

Raul Ruidiaz tapped in a Brad Smith cross for the opener before Handwalla Bwana put away Nicolas Lodeiro's delivery in the second half.

Chris Mueller's fine 20-yard effort pulled one back for Orlando, but they were unable to find an equaliser.

Seattle moved above the LA Galaxy and are now just two points behind conference leaders Los Angeles FC.

Eastern Conference leaders DC United were held to a 0-0 draw by Toronto at BMO Field, while Houston Dynamo and the Portland Timbers drew 1-1.

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    A brace from Jonathan David helped power Canada past Martinique 4-0 in the opening match of 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Group A on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

    After the two teams traded chances in the first half-hour, Canada broke through when a heavy touch from the Martinique defense allowed David to fire in past Martinique GK Loic Chauvet in the 33’ for the 2019 Gold Cup’s first goal and a 1-0 Canada lead.

    Martinique looked to respond and FW Kevin Parsemain had three separate cracks at goal right before halftime, but was denied each time by Canada GK Milan Borjan.

     

    Canada looked to wrestle back control and it doubled its lead to 2-0 in the 53’ when Samuel Piette flighted in a pass to David, who calmly stroked home his second goal.

     

    The momentum was with Canada and 10 minutes later in the 63’ Junior Hoilett managed to push in a cross from an Alphonso Davies cross for a 3-0 Canada lead. That was then followed by a Scott Arfield strike in the 67’ for a 4-0 advantage.

     

    From there, the Canada defense did the rest to secure the clean sheet win and three points.

  • Mexico 7 Cuba 0: Antuna scores hat-trick in Gold Cup rout Mexico 7 Cuba 0: Antuna scores hat-trick in Gold Cup rout

    Uriel Antuna scored a hat-trick as Mexico thrashed Cuba 7-0 in their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener in California on Saturday.

    Antuna stole the show with his treble, which went with a Raul Jimenez brace and goals from Diego Reyes and Alexis Vega in what was a one-sided encounter at the Rose Bowl.

    Gerardo Martino's men struck four times in the first half, marking their fifth win in as many games since he took over in January.

    Cuba were outclassed by a Mexico side who showed why they are once again among the favourites for the title.

    Mexico dominated from the outset and needed just two minutes to open the scoring through Antuna, who was a late addition to the Mexico squad as an injury replacement.

    Jimenez hit the post after a cross from the left and Antuna was on hand to scramble in his first international goal.

    Mexico's second just after the half-hour mark through Jimenez had been coming as the forward caused Cuba plenty of problems.

    Andres Guardado chipped a pass through a poor Cuba defence, Jimenez producing a composed finish into the bottom corner.

    Mexico struck twice more before half-time through Reyes and Antuna.

    Jimenez side-footed a corner that drew a save from Cuba goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez, but the rebound fell straight to Reyes to tap in.

    Antuna completed his brace just prior to the break as Jimenez's cross was blocked by a last-ditch clearance, the LA Galaxy forward – who is on loan from Manchester City – on hand to rifle into the roof of the net from close range.

    Mexico's intensity dropped slightly to begin the second half, but Jimenez struck again, firing through Sanchez's legs after a pass from Carlos Rodriguez.

    Vega came off the bench to net his first at international level, tapping in after Antuna unselfishly crossed for him to score the easiest of goals in the 74th minute.

    In just his third international, Antuna completed his hat-trick, putting away a rebound after Sanchez did well to keep out a Rodriguez effort.

     

    What does it mean? Mexico flex muscle

    This was meant to be a one-sided affair and Mexico ensured it was with a blistering first half. Mexico are seven-time Gold Cup champions and they deserve to be favourites for number eight.

    Jimenez provides major impact

    Jimenez, who starred on loan at Wolves from Benfica last season before the deal became permanent, impressed. As well as scoring his 18th and 19th international goals, the forward was involved in three other goals.

    Martino proven right so far

    Martino said in the lead up he would prefer Mexico to play at the Copa America over the CONCACAF Gold Cup. With wins over Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela and Ecuador this year, Mexico were never going to be threatened by Cuba and it remains to be seen how much they will be tested throughout the tournament.

    What's next?

    Mexico's campaign continues against Canada on Wednesday, while Cuba face Martinique on the same day.

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    Lionel Scaloni criticised the state of the pitch in Salvador after Argentina's 2-0 loss to Colombia in their Copa America opener.

    Roger Martinez's stunner and a late Duvan Zapata goal saw Colombia to victory in the Group B clash at Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova on Saturday.

    However, head coach Scaloni was unhappy with the pitch on which his side slumped to a disappointing defeat.

    "I think it was a shame the condition of the pitch, considering this is just the first game here," he told a news conference.

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    "I think it is a shame."

    Argentina struggled to create chances against Colombia, losing their Copa opener for the first time since 1979.

    Scaloni, whose team take on Paraguay in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday, was upbeat about Argentina's second-half display.

    "I think they [Colombia] are a good team. They are really focused on what matters," he said.

    "The most important thing is I think we faced them well, they were better at some times, some times we were better.

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