MLS

Red Bulls and NYC beaten in MLS opening weekend, Pato injured in Orlando debut

By Sports Desk April 17, 2021

The New York Red Bulls let slip a lead to lose 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on the opening weekend of the new Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

Caden Clark had put the Red Bulls up with a spectacular goal early in the second half but last season's Western Conference top spot finishers hit back.

Gadi Kinda netted a 59th minute penalty with Hungarian forward Daniel Salloi putting KC ahead barely 60 seconds later with a simple close-range finish.

New York City were also opening day losers, blowing a 1-0 lead to go down 2-1 at D.C. United.

City, who reached last season's play-offs, went ahead on the quarter hour from Valentin Castellanos.

But United responded by taking the lead before the interval with a sensational long-range drive from Brendan Hines-Ike and another from Russell Canouse, coming from a perfectly executed corner routine.

 

10-man Revolution hit back, Pato debut

Last season's semi-finalists New England Revolution fought back from two goals down to claim a thrilling 2-2 draw away to Chicago Fire.

Revolution, who were reduced to 10 men in second-half stoppage time after a DeJuan Jones red card, trailed 2-0 after 11 minutes following goals from Robert Beric and Luka Stojanovic.

Polish attacker Adam Buksa and Gustavo Gou netted in the following 15 minutes to level the match.

New England debutant Edward Kizza should have scored the winner when he struck the crossbar with an 87th minute header.

Victor Wanyama was among the goals as Montreal eased past Toronto 4-2 in their Canadian clash, while former Brazil international Alexandre Pato debuted for 2020 quarter-finalists Orlando City who had a scoreless draw with Atlanta United.

However, Pato limped off in the 80th minute with an apparent knee issue which will have Orlando sweating on scans.

Los Angeles FC started the new season with a solid 2-0 victory at home over newcomers Austin with goals from Corey Baird and Jose Cifuentes.

Nashville fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Cincinnati thanks to Randall Leal's 64th minute long-range curler, while Dallas and Colorado also played out a 0-0 draw.

 

Premature substitution

LAFC coach Michael Bradley admitted he "might have jumped the gun" when he accidentally subbed off star Mexican attacker Carlos Vela in the 22nd minute after he waved in his direction. In hindsight, Vela was calling for treatment from a trainer after picking up a knock.

 

Teenager's special strike

The Red Bulls went ahead when 17-year-old midfielder Clark fired in a superb volley out of mid-air. The teenager appears a star in the making.

 

Saturday's results

Montreal 4-2 Toronto FC
Orlando City 0-0 Atlanta United
Los Angeles FC 2-0 Austin
Sporting KC 2-1 New York Red Bulls 
FC Dallas 0-0 Colorado Rapids
DC United 2-1 New York City FC
Chicago Fire 2-2 New England Revolution
Nashville 2-2 Cincinnati

 

Galaxy in Florida

There's three games on Sunday including a glamour fixture between David Beckham's Inter Miami against his former club Los Angeles Galaxy.

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    Ronald Koeman says referees in Spain send people off "for nothing" after both he and midfielder Frenkie de Jong were dismissed in Barcelona's dire 0-0 draw with Cadiz on Thursday.

    Barca's hopes of leaving Andalusia with a much-needed win were dealt a blow when De Jong received a second yellow card in the 65th minute for following through on Alfonso Espino after initially winning the ball. 

    The Catalan giants' woes were compounded deep into stoppage time when Koeman was also ejected for his protestations towards referee Carlos del Cerro Grande.

    The stalemate means Barca have now drawn three of their opening five LaLiga games this season to sit seven points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, although Carlo Ancelotti's side have played a game more. 

    Koeman's dismissal followed a frantic period that saw two balls in play at the same time, with the Dutchman claiming he was given his marching orders by Cerro Grande for alerting him to the situation. Sergio Busquets was booked for kicking the rogue ball towards the Cadiz player in possession.

    "It was not because of nervousness, it was because I told the fourth official that there was a second ball on the field and the referee had to stop the game. Everyone except the referee saw it," he told Movistar.

    "They expel you for nothing, in this country they expel you for nothing. I have asked the referee as normal. Attitude? We leave it because it is not my problem."

     

    The goalless draw means Barca have failed to scored in two of their past three games across all competitions – as many as in their previous 41 matches. 

    Meanwhile, their tally of eight goals scored at this stage of the season is their worst since the 2003-04 season when they scored just five in their opening five matches. 

    Koeman's future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks and the Dutchman is aware that is unlikely to subside in the coming days.

    "I do not talk about my personal situation," he added. "It seems that if I win I continue and if I lose the club has to find another coach. It is for you [to talk about].

    "The president [Joan Laporta] was at the hotel, and we greeted each other shortly before leaving. Surely there will be more days to talk about this issue if the club wants to talk."

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  • Mourinho praises Roma's fighting spirit after matching Allegri's record home run Mourinho praises Roma's fighting spirit after matching Allegri's record home run

    Jose Mourinho praised his Roma players for holding on with 10 men to claim a 1-0 win against Udinese that saw the Portuguese equal Massimiliano Allegri's record unbeaten home run in Serie A.

    Tammy Abraham scored what proved to be the only goal of the game in Thursday's clash at Stadio Olimpico with a flicked finish nine minutes before half-time.

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    Pellegrini's contentious dismissal means that he is set to miss Sunday's Derby della Capitale showdown with bitter rivals Lazio, but Mourinho suggested he intends to appeal against the decision.

    "It was ridiculous. We had an educational meeting with the referee chiefs and the rules were explained for two hours," Mourinho said. "Then we get to the game and see a red like this.

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    Speculation about the Dutchman's future has been rife following a slow start to the LaLiga campaign that had seen Barca drop points to Athletic Bilbao and Granada in their opening four games, while also losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

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    Koeman was also dismissed in the closing seconds for his protests during a frantic finish.

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    While Barca did most of the pressing in the early stages, they did not have a shot on target until the 30th minute, Memphis Depay's weak effort comfortably saved by Jeremias Ledesma.

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    Salvi Sanchez squandered a glorious opportunity inside the final 10 minutes, firing against Ter Stegen after being played in by Espino, with the ball bouncing behind off Ruben Sobrino.

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    What does it mean? Koeman's time could be up

    Speaking ahead of the match, Barca president Joan Laporta insisted Koeman's job did not depend on the outcome of the result, but he did warn that "if decisions have to be taken, we will take them".

    That decision may well be nearing after another woeful display from a Barca side desperately short of ideas, pace and attacking threat. Their task was made harder by the dismissal of De Jong, though they scarcely looked like scoring when they had their full complement of players. 

    Busquets quality still on show

    While many at Barca are seemingly losing their heads, Sergio Busquets continues to be a reliably serene presence at the base of the midfield. The Spain international made more successful passes (77) than any player on the pitch, while he gained possession eight times – a total not bettered by any Barca player.

    Demir fails to shine

    Yusuf Demir struggled on just his second start for Barca. It was little surprise to see the 18-year-old brought off at half-time after an opening 45 minutes that did not herald a single shot or key pass.

    What's next?

    Both sides are in action again on Sunday, with Barca hosting Levante at what could be a hostile Camp Nou and Cadiz travelling to Rayo Vallecano.

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