England's so-called 'golden generation' never quite delivered on the pitch, but there might still be hope for success in the coaching arena.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's side were beaten in the quarter-finals of three consecutive major tournaments from 2002 to 2006 despite being considered among the favourites.

However, with many of these involved now long since retired, management beckons.

And Wayne Rooney will join a number of former team-mates in taking on a coaching role after agreeing to move to Derby County as player-coach in January.

We take a look at other members of that England team who have taken to the touchline.

GARY NEVILLE

The first on this list is close to the least successful, with Neville sacked after just four months in charge at Valencia, returning to his previous role as a television pundit instead.

While just three wins in 16 LaLiga games saw the end of Gary, brother Phil remained at Valencia for a time as an assistant.

PHIL NEVILLE

Phil Neville also had experience with Manchester United, England Under-21s and Salford City by the time he was surprisingly appointed boss of England Women in January 2018.

The younger brother took the Lionesses to the last four at this year's Women's World Cup. Gareth Southgate, who featured sparingly at the start of Eriksson's era, is similarly impressing with the men's team.

SOL CAMPBELL

Former centre-back Campbell was repeatedly frustrated in his initial attempts to move into management, describing attitudes towards giving black players their first chance in coaching as "archaic" in 2013.

His opportunity finally arrived last year with Macclesfield Town, then bottom of the Football League. A superb turnaround saw the side stay up on the final day. "It's definitely up there with the things I've achieved in football," he said.

STEVEN GERRARD

While Campbell was made to wait for a lowly senior job, ex-colleague Gerrard went in at the top with one of Scotland's biggest clubs, taking over at Rangers at the start of last season.

Having left the Liverpool academy to take the post, Gerrard has a positive impact at Ibrox and led Rangers to their first win over rivals Celtic in six years. He could not prevent the Hoops completing a historic treble-treble, though.

PAUL SCHOLES

Definitely not a success. Scholes' stint at boyhood club Oldham Athletic made Gary Neville's Valencia stretch look steady, with the former midfielder gone after just 31 days.

It was Scholes' decision to quit, as he explained: "It unfortunately became clear that I would not be able to operate as I intended and was led to believe prior to taking on the role."

FRANK LAMPARD

Chelsea favourite Lampard has the potential to be the biggest success of all, having been handed the reigns at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Lampard led Derby to within a whisker of promotion in the play-off final, earning a chance at Chelsea as they prepare for a tough campaign impacted by a transfer ban. His Derby departure allowed for Phillip Cocu to come in and bring in Rooney.

THE REST...

It might only be a matter of time before John Terry has a senior role. He is an assistant at Aston Villa and was linked to the Middlesbrough job, which instead went to former team-mate and fellow rookie Jonathan Woodgate .

Meanwhile, at Manchester United, both Nicky Butt and Michael Carrick form part of the coaching staff.

David James operated as a player-coach at IBV, had a short stint at Luton Town and then took over at Kerala Blasters while continuing in goal. James then returned to the Indian side in 2018 but was sacked after an 11-match winless run.

Darius Vassell has a role at Wolves, Joe Cole is at Chelsea, and Kieron Dyer is part of the Ipswich Town set-up.

Wayne Rooney's MLS career will be cut short in January after he agreed a deal to leave DC United for Derby County.

The former England captain has turned DC's fortunes around since moving stateside just over a year ago, but he will take up a player-coach role with the Championship club in 2020.

United will hope he can continue to perform in the mean time as they chase a playoff place this season.

And Rooney's displays to date in the United States capital suggest he may well prove inspirational, as these Opta numbers show.

43 - Rooney might now be 33 but he is a near ever-present for DC, playing 43 matches for the club so far, joint-second in MLS during that time.

23 - The former Manchester United man played in a deeper role at times before moving to MLS, but he has been a striker at DC and has scored 23 times in MLS. Only three players have scored more in that spell.

21.3 - Rooney, by scoring 23, has bettered his xG, although that statistic also has him fourth in MLS over that time.

19 - Of his strikes, Rooney has scored 19 times with his right foot. That is the most of any MLS star since he left Everton.

6 - The ex-England ace is renowned for his ability to shoot from distance and that is evident in another two statistics in which he has led the way in MLS. He has scored more goals from outside the box (six) than any other player, with more of those (four) coming from direct free-kicks than any rival.

14 - Rooney can be a creator, too, though, and he has laid on 14 assists in a DC shirt. He has created 101 chances in all.

37 - The combined figure of goals and assists puts Rooney tied for second for goal involvements since joining DC. Los Angeles FC's runaway MVP candidate Carlos Vela (50) is the only player with more. He has been involved in 53.6 per cent of his team's goals.

13 - DC have won 13 points thanks to Rooney's goals this season, a figure that puts him second in MLS. Only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (20), his former Manchester United team-mate at LA Galaxy, has had a greater hand in his team's success.

121 - Rooney has been effective without needing to have every match run through him. Of those MLS players to play at least 16 games since his arrival, Rooney (56.5) ranks 121st for touches per game.

Wayne Rooney's illustrious career will continue back in England when he leaves DC United and joins Derby County in a player-coach capacity in January.

Rooney has been a key man for DC in just over a year in MLS so far, but news of a return home with Derby in the Championship quickly developed before the move was announced on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old burst onto the scene as a teenager with boyhood club Everton before going on to become Manchester United's all-time leading scorer, managing 253 goals in 559 appearances in all competitions.

His 13-year stay at United - which included winning the Premier League, Champions League and both domestic cups - ended in 2017 when he returned to Goodison Park, giving him the opportunity to play again for the team where it all began, before moving on to become the latest big-name star in MLS.

From an unforgettable first league hit to a long-range lob via a moment of Manchester derby magic, we take a look back at Rooney's top 10 goals from his club career.

 

Arsenal (H): October 19, 2002

Talk about making an instant impact. A fresh-faced Rooney, wearing a shirt appearing to be several sizes too big, scored his maiden league goal in stunning fashion for Everton - and against England's first-choice goalkeeper at the time, too.

Arsenal had arrived at Goodison Park on a 30-game unbeaten run in the Premier League but came unstuck against the Toffees due to a moment of brilliance, as a 16-year-old substitute turned a hopeful punt forward from Thomas Gravesen into one of the most memorable moments in the competition's history.

Rooney controlled the ball on the left, spun around quickly and then, after taking the opportunity to line up the target, arched a curling shot beyond David Seaman that found the net via the underside of the bar.

 

Fenerbahce (H): September 28, 2004

If United fans were unsure if an 18-year-old Rooney was worth a reported £25.6million outlay, a hat-trick on his Old Trafford debut went some way to quieten the doubters.

Rooney opened the scoring in the match - a Champions League group game against Fenerbahce - with a well-taken first-time finish, before doubling his tally with a clever turn and precise shot before half-time.

The pick of the goals, however, came in the second half. After wrestling the ball away from more established stars including Ryan Giggs, Rooney set himself before bending a 20-yard free-kick over the wall and beyond Rustu Recber, sending the home fans into raptures.

 

Middlesbrough (H): January 29, 2005

Rooney boasts two candidates in a list of his top United goals from this 3-0 FA Cup victory, and his stunning volley in the closing stages of the match came close to making the cut here.

However, the place must be reserved for a moment of magic 67 minutes in. Gary Neville slid a pass through to Rooney on the break, and, some 40 yards from goal, he chipped the ball up and over the stranded Mark Schwarzer and into the back of the net.

United went on to reach the final - Rooney's first - where they lost on penalties to Arsenal.

 

Newcastle United (H): April 24, 2005

Often criticised for moments of petulance, especially early in his career, it paid off for Rooney in spades against Newcastle.

United, behind to a Darren Ambrose goal and struggling for fluidity, were becoming increasingly frustrated in their search for an equaliser as the Old Trafford crowd made their feelings clear.

Rooney's own irritation threatened to boil over as he berated referee Neale Barry, but he immediately turned that anger onto the football itself as he blasted in a volley beyond Shay Given after Peter Ramage's header looked to have cleared the danger.

United went on to win 2-1 thanks to a Wes Brown goal.

 

Portsmouth (H): January 27, 2007

Luck seemed to be against United in this FA Cup clash at Old Trafford, especially when Nemanja Vidic and Henrik Larsson both had goals controversially ruled out and visiting goalkeeper David James produced a string of good saves.

It was Rooney, however, who turned the game on its head with two goals in the final 13 minutes - the second of which was a moment of magic.

Having tapped in Giggs' cross to give United the lead six minutes earlier, Rooney collected the ball 25 yards from goal and sent a stunning chip over James and into the far corner.

Manager Alex Ferguson hailed Rooney's sheer audacity for attempting the effort, comparing it to Eric Cantona's famous strike against Sunderland 11 years previous. Around Old Trafford, praise doesn't get much higher than that.

 

Manchester City (H): February 12, 2011

Described by United prodigy Marcus Rashford as the best goal he has ever seen, Rooney's strike to secure a 2-1 win over Manchester City was as important as it was spectacular.

David Silva's deflected shot had cancelled out Nani's opener in a tense derby at Old Trafford but, with only 12 minutes remaining, Rooney produced a moment of magic to snatch the victory and send his side four points clear of Arsenal at the top of the table.

Nani's cross from the right took a deflection, and Rooney, adjusting his body position on the edge of the area, met the ball with a sensational bicycle kick to send it crashing past Joe Hart and into the top corner.

The goal, which was named as the greatest in Premier League history in 2012, took United a step closer to their 19th top-flight title.

 

West Ham (A): March 22, 2014

There were certainly not many moments to shout about for United during David Moyes' single season in charge, but Rooney's goal away to West Ham drew plenty of superlatives.

Ashley Young cleared the ball to just inside the Hammers' half, where Rooney, having outmuscled James Tomkins, unleashed an incredible half-volley that flew over the head of Adrian and into the net.

The goal was compared to David Beckham's audacious halfway-line lob of Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan, which had brought Selhurst Park to its feet 18 years earlier. Beckham was even in the stands at Upton Park to witness Rooney's moment of genius.

The strike moved Rooney to third in United's all-time scoring list, behind only Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, but it did little to brighten the mood at Old Trafford during a dismal campaign. Indeed, Moyes was sacked exactly one month later.

 

Stoke City (A): January 21, 2017

Rooney came off the bench after 67 minutes in place of Juan Mata and made a late impact.

It appeared to be an afternoon of frustration for Jose Mourinho's men, who dominated at the bet365 Stadium, only for the 31-year-old to grab a 94th-minute equaliser in stunning fashion and put his name in lights.

Rooney lined up a free-kick on the left of the area and, with Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant perhaps expecting a cross, whipped a stunning set-piece into the top corner for a goal which saw him become United's all-time leading scorer.

 

West Ham (H): November 29, 2017

"It was a no-brainer for me and the only place I was going to go," Rooney said after sealing his return to Everton, 13 years after an acrimonious departure. 

The comeback did not quite go according to the script - Everton's grand plans to push for the top six quickly fell apart, with manager Ronald Koeman departing early in the campaign - but Rooney still made it to double figures, scoring 10 goals despite often occupying a deeper role.

The best of the lot completed a hat-trick against West Ham at Goodison Park, as the experienced forward intercepted Hart's clearance before lobbing the ball over the head of the stranded goalkeeper and into the unguarded net. The perfectly weighted strike, made from inside his own half, was a reminder of how, even while no longer in his prime, he was still able to produce magical moments.

 

Orlando City (H): June 26, 2019

Just as Rooney executed two stunning long-range strikes against West Ham in the Premier League, he saved two of his best moments in MLS for home games against Orlando.

A 2018 run to the playoffs was kickstarted by Rooney's incredible last-gasp assist when he hunted down Will Johnson, sprinting towards an open DC United goal, to make a stunning tackle, then supplying an inch-perfect lofted assist from halfway.

In the same fixture in June this year, and from similar distance, the former England captain did it all himself.

Few players have had such a record of consistently netting from inside their own half, with Rooney adding another as he profited on a mix-up between two Orlando players and drilled past Brian Rowe to end DC's five-match winless run.

Wayne Rooney will return to English football from MLS's DC United in January after agreeing to a player-coach role under manager Phillip Cocu at Derby County.

Rooney, 33, will join the Rams on an 18-month contract with the option of a further year, having spent 13 months in the United States.

The former Manchester United and England captain made a strong impact in MLS, scoring 23 goals in 44 matches.

However, his desire to get into management has brought about a return to England, linking up with Cocu in a position that will see him develop as a coach and continue playing.

"I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with," Rooney told the club's website.

"I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January.

"I am sure I can make a big contribution and can't wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters.

"I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with. I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs."

Cocu said: "Wayne Rooney is an extremely talented and top-class footballer.

"It is an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby County and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch. He has enjoyed a wonderful career, both in club football and for England, and he still has so much to give as well.

"His credentials speak for themselves. But to have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us. He knows what it takes to succeed as a player and I have no doubt he will have a positive impact right across the club."

Rooney's last season in England did not go entirely to plan, as he often appeared off the pace in the Premier League with Everton, despite scoring 10 goals in 31 games.

Previously he became United's all-time leading scorer in 2017, surpassing Bobby Charlton's record of 249 to cement his name in the club's history.

He also won a host of trophies in his time at Old Trafford, including the 2007-08 Champions League and five Premier League titles, and became club captain.

Rooney is also the most-capped outfield player for England, having played 120 times for his country and scored a record 53 goals.

Derby's primary goal this season will be to return to the Premier League from the Championship, having lost in the play-off final to Aston Villa last term.

Wayne Rooney will return to English football from MLS's DC United in January after agreeing to a player-coach role under manager Phillip Cocu at Derby County.

Wayne Rooney is "sure" to sign with Derby County but will not take up his player-coach role until January, said the club's owner.

An agreement is set to be finalised on Tuesday after former England captain Rooney flew into London from the United States, where he is contracted to DC United.

The 33-year-old still has over two years left to run on his deal at Audi Field and will see out the remainder of the MLS season before joining up with Phillip Cocu's squad for the second half of their Championship campaign.

"He wants to finish the season there and of course it's pivotal to them that they're in [contention for] the play-offs at the moment," Rams owner Mel Morris told Sky Sports.

"He was wanting to make sure he saw the season out. He'll join us in January if we can get the deal done."

Morris added: "I'm hoping it's really close. Obviously, we'd love to get it over the line, we're working hard towards that. I'm sure we'll get it done today."

Derby opened talks with Rooney after learning the ex-Everton and Manchester United forward wanted to return to England.

"It stemmed from a conversation between Phillip Cocu and Wayne which was pivotal to this thing," Morris said.

"I think for Wayne [it was important] to come and work with a manager he holds in high esteem and obviously for Phillip the opportunity to get a world-class player and somebody he can have on the field to help bring on the youngsters.

"Wayne is coming here to play for the club but he's also wanting to accelerate his coaching badges.

"A key thing for him in terms of his long-term career ambitions is to become a manager.

"I think the time we had with Frank [Lampard] was great in terms of demonstrating that willingness to give people time, to work with them, to help them develop. I think Wayne sees us as a good place to come and do that."

Morris denied Rooney's arrival at Pride Park would negatively impact the club's Financial Fair Play standing, claiming the "great commercial opportunity" could instead have the opposite effect.

Derby County are "confident" of completing a deal to sign ex-England captain Wayne Rooney on Tuesday, according to club owner Mel Morris.

Rooney, 33, is set to make a surprise return to English football in what is expected to be a player-coach role in support of Rams boss Phillip Cocu.

According to reports, the former Everton and Manchester United forward could see out the MLS season at DC United before moving to Pride Park in January.

"It's never done until it's done but we're obviously focused and very keen to get it over the line this morning," Morris told talkSPORT.

Wayne Rooney arrived at Heathrow Airport in England on Tuesday ahead of a reported move to Derby County from MLS side DC United.

Rooney, 33, is rumoured to have agreed to a player-coach role under manager Phillip Cocu at Derby, bringing a close to his time in the United States.

Media reports relating to a return to English football began circulating on Monday as Derby opened their Championship campaign with a 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town.

England's most-capped outfield player was said to be flying to London to complete the deal and was spotted at Heathrow the following day, taking photos with fans after his arrival.

The former Manchester United and Everton star has long been expected to go into management, having undertaken coaching courses alongside his duties as a player.

Should reports prove accurate, he will combine those roles at Pride Park.

After breaking the world-record fee for a defender, Manchester United do not appear to be done just yet.

With Harry Maguire joining Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James at Old Trafford, a London-based Dane could make the move to Manchester.

It could also lead to an in-demand Portuguese midfielder swapping Sporting CP for Tottenham.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE LAST-DITCH ERIKSEN MOVE

Manchester United are hoping to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen before Thursday's deadline, according to the Daily Mail.

Eriksen is reluctant to renew his contract – which expires in 2020 – with Tottenham and United are looking to lure the Denmark international to Manchester prior to the transfer window closing.

If Eriksen, who has also been linked to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, leaves Tottenham then he could be replaced with Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

Portugal international Fernandes has long been tipped to join United.

 

ROUND-UP

- InfoSport+ says Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60million offer for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala. Dybala was linked to Manchester United as part of a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku but that move has seemingly ended over reported wage demands.

- Staying with the same theme and Corriere dello Sport reports that D-Day is approaching. Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing Dybala to leave Turin, as the Argentina international weighs up offers from Manchester United and PSG. Lukaku, meanwhile, is said to have already reached an agreement with the Serie A champions.

Bayern Munich are set to sign Manchester City's Leroy Sane, claims France Football. The Germany international will reportedly return to his homeland in a club-record €113m (£104.4m) transfer on a five-year contract.

Inter are considering signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal on loan, according to FcInterNews. Vidal worked under Antonio Conte at Juventus and they could be reunited in Milan as Barca look to lighten their midfield following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong.

- Widespread reports in Italy claim a deal involving Joao Cancelo and Danilo is done. Manchester City will reportedly send Danilo and €28m to Juventus in exchange for Portugal full-back Cancelo.

- According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Premier League side Wolves are ready to offer €30m for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. The 25-year-old has also been linked to Arsenal following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral.

Everton have put together a £100m transfer package to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. According to The Sun, Everton will offer £65m plus striker Cenk Tosun and midfielder James McCarthy.

- Widespread reports in the United Kingdom claim Wayne Rooney is close to joining Championship outfit Derby County as a player-coach. Former Manchester United and England captain Rooney has two seasons remaining on his contract with MLS team DC United.

MLS has backed Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya's stand against gun violence after he labeled the situation in the United States as "absurd" in the wake of mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Bedoya, who opened the scoring in Philadelphia's 5-1 thrashing of DC United, took his chance to send a message to the nation's leaders.

After finding the bet, Bedoya ran toward an on-field microphone and shouted: "Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let's go!"

In response, MLS released a statement that didn't mention Bedoya specifically but alluded to his actions: "The Major League Soccer family joins everyone in grieving for the loss of lives in Texas and Ohio, and we understand that our players and staff have strong and passionate views on this issue.”

The weekend shootings resulted in the deaths of 30 people, sparking fresh calls for politicians to address the country's gun laws.

Speaking after Sunday's game, Bedoya, 32, said he wanted to take his chance to push for change.

"It's absurd. I'm not going to sit idly and watch this stuff happen and not say something," the former USA international told a news conference.

"Before I'm an athlete, before I'm a soccer player, I'm a human being first. This stuff affects me. I've got kids. I mean, I can't be the only one here... all you guys I'm sure feel the same way in this day and age, in our society.

"I'm dropping my kids off at school and I'm looking around paranoid, thinking about exit strategy, when I'm at the mall, when I'm at a movie theater, when I'm at a concert, a festival down the street, big gatherings.

"Something's got to be done. It's got to the point where we've almost become numb to it and that's a big problem."

By Monday, it was clear that MLS wouldn't punish Bedoya for his actions, a possibility that Bedoya was unfazed by because, he said, he had to stand up for what he believed in.

"I don't care. Fine me if they want. I've got to make a stand. Like I said, I'm a human being before I'm an athlete, you know what I mean, and that should be everybody here," he said.

"We're all human beings, we're all affected by this type of stuff. I don't know about you but my kids man... it's scary, man, to think about what can happen at any time, right now, in this day and age, here in America."

Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya explained his stand against gun violence, labelling the situation in the United States as "absurd".

Bedoya opened the scoring in Philadelphia's 5-1 thrashing of 10-man DC United in MLS on Sunday and the midfielder took his chance to send a message to the nation's leaders.

Mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend resulted in the deaths of 29 people, sparking fresh calls for politicians to address the country's gun laws.

After scoring, Bedoya ran towards an on-field microphone and shouted: "Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let's go!"

Speaking after the game, the 32-year-old said he wanted to take his chance to push for change.

"It's absurd. I'm not going to sit idly and watch this stuff happen and not say something," the former USA international told a news conference.

"Before I'm an athlete, before I'm a soccer player, I'm a human being first. This stuff affects me. I've got kids. I mean, I can't be the only one here... all you guys I'm sure feel the same way in this day and age, in our society.

"I'm dropping my kids off at school and I'm looking around paranoid, thinking about exit strategy, when I'm at the mall, when I'm at a movie theatre, when I'm at a concert, a festival down the street, big gatherings.

"Something's got to be done. It's got to the point where we've almost become numb to it and that's a big problem."

Bedoya is unfazed by the possibility of sanctions from MLS officials, saying he had to stand up for what he believed in.

"I don't care. Fine me if they want. I've got to make a stand. Like I said, I'm a human being before I'm an athlete, you know what I mean, and that should be everybody here," he said.

"We're all human beings, we're all affected by this type of stuff. I don't know about you but my kids man... it's scary, man, to think about what can happen at any time, right now, in this day and age, here in America."

Philadelphia Union crushed 10-man DC United 5-1 to return to the top of the Eastern Conference but there was more to the game than three points for captain Alejandro Bedoya.

Bedoya set the tone away to DC in Washington, where the Union skipper opened the scoring in the third minute on Sunday.

The former United States international used his early goal to take a stand against gun violence after two mass shootings rocked the country on Saturday.

At least 29 people were killed as a result of two mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, sparking growing calls for politicians to address the nation's gun laws.

After scoring past Bill Hamid, Bedoya ran towards an on-field microphone and shouted: "Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let's go!"

It was all about the Union in the American capital, where the visitors doubled their lead via Marco Fabian in first-half stoppage time after Junior Moreno had been sent off minutes earlier.

Moreno received a red card following a VAR review for pulling down Kacper Przybylko, who missed the 41st-minute penalty.

Przybylko did manage to score seven minutes into the second half to make it 3-0 for the Union, while DC's Frederic Brilliant reduced the deficit two minutes later.

Fabian added his second of the match with 20 minutes remaining and Fabrice Picault capped the rout at the death for Philadelphia, who are three points clear of Atlanta United in the east.

Elsewhere, in-form Minnesota United extended their unbeaten run to seven games by edging Portland Timbers 1-0 and Sporting Kansas City upstaged Seattle Sounders 3-2.

Josef Martinez equalled his own record for most consecutive MLS games with a goal as defending champions Atlanta United beat LA Galaxy 3-0.

Martinez converted a 72nd-minute penalty as the reigning MLS MVP scored in his ninth successive league match on Saturday.

The Atlanta star has scored 13 goals in the nine-game period, with Martinez's season tally at 18 – four behind MLS leader Carlos Vela.

Frank de Boer's Atlanta were too good for the Galaxy, who were without suspended talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in front of 72,548 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

A pair of own goals put Atlanta 2-0 ahead at half-time – David Romney and Giancarlo Gonzalez both turning the ball into their own net.

Playing in front of a record regular-season crowd, Atlanta put the game beyond doubt when Martinez scored a penalty with 18 minutes remaining after VAR judged that Gonzalez fouled Emerson Hyndman.

Atlanta are top of the Eastern Conference – level on points with Philadelphia Union, while the Galaxy are third and 15 points adrift of Western Conference leaders and rivals Los Angeles FC.

Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC snapped New England Revolution's 11-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing.

Kei Kamara scored a hat-trick as Colorado Rapids overcame Montreal Impact 6-3 in a wild match.

Kamara opened the scoring, albeit at the other end via an 18th-minute own goal, but the Rapids star bounced back with another three where it mattered most.

His three-goal haul helped the Rapids – who led 4-1 at half-time – set a new team record with six goals in a regular-season match.

Elsewhere, New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto 2-0, Orlando City topped Dallas by the same scoreline, Vancouver Whitecaps edged FC Cincinnati 2-1, Houston Dynamo lost 1-0 to Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake were too good for New York City 3-1 and San Jose Earthquakes drew 1-1 with Columbus Crew.

New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long hopes the United Kingdom's "strange" work permit system will not deny him the chance to join West Ham.

Manuel Pellegrini is reportedly keen on signing the 26-year-old to bolster his options at centre-back.

Long started five times for the United States at the recent Gold Cup but has not yet satisfied the Football Association's requirements for endorsement of a work permit.

Premier League clubs must submit their applications before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

"As our biggest ally, it seems strange that a football player from the US can't automatically get a work visa to play in England," Long told Sky Sports.

"Every kid in the USA dreams of playing in the English Premier League.

"Not many players get the chance, so of course I would like to play there some day."

Multiple Ligue 1 clubs including Marseille have been linked to Long, the MLS Defender of the Year for 2018.

"I just signed a new contract, so the decision is up to my club and the other team," he said.

The Colorado Rapids' MLS home game against Montreal Impact will go on as scheduled on Saturday, but the post-game fireworks display has been cancelled for a rather unusual reason.

In a news release issued on Friday, the Rapids explained the decision as being down to "the confirmed presence of plague-infested fleas affecting prairie dog colonies" in the area surrounding Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

The Plague, known as the bubonic plague, killed an estimated 50million people in the Middle Ages.

"Our highest priority is the health and safety of our fans, staff, and local community," the team said in its release. 

"We will continue to monitor the situation in the lead up to the Rapids home game with Montreal Impact on Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people typically contract plague if they are bitten by rodent fleas carrying Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes the disease.

Although plague is an extremely serious illness, it is treatable with commonly available antibiotics.

The cancellation of the fireworks show at the stadium in suburban Commerce City, north of Denver, was at the recommendation of the Tri-County Health Department and the City of Commerce City, the Rapids said.

Additionally, at the health department’s recommendation for the safety of those planning to attend the soccer game, parking will be restricted to asphalt lots until further notice.  

According to the Rapids, the health department feels that these precautions "will greatly minimise the risk of exposure to patrons, players, and employees and help ensure a safe experience".

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