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Five Stripes’ MLS Cup Playoffs hopes extinguished

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Atlanta United’s 2022 season effectively came to a miserable end with a 2-1 defeat to the New England Revolution on Saturday.

With the Revs already eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs contention thanks to Inter Miami’s win over Toronto FC on Friday, there was a sparse crowd and flat atmosphere at Gillette Stadium.

However, the hosts still looked far more up to the task and after hitting the woodwork on a couple of occasions, New England took a deserved lead through Giacomo Vrioni’s 32nd-minute penalty.

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Atlanta United dominated possession throughout but it took until the 81st minute for them to finally find a meaningful response, with Josef Martinez coming off the bench and scoring a stunning bicycle kick to equalize.

But the Five Stripes were level for just four minutes, with Carles Gil feeding Gustavo Bou, who cut inside of Juanjo Purata and ended Atlanta’s Playoffs hopes once and for all.

It was a fitting end to a season where Atlanta United have been plagued by injuries and unable to form any sort of consistency.

As for the Revs, it was a nice way to pick themselves up after their own post-season hopes were wiped out.

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Read on for full player ratings from Saturday’s match:

GK: Djodje Petrovic – 6/10 – Could do nothing about Martinez’s brilliant equalizer, but made a few good saves.

RB: Brandon Bye – 8/10 – Was solid defensively and provided plenty of attacking thrust. Hit the post with a header in the first half.

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CB: Andrew Farrell – 7/10 – Simple yet effective at the back. Played a few nice forward passes.

CB: Henry Kessler – 7/10 – Alert to all the loose balls that dropped nearby and used the dark arts to defend as always.

LB: Ryan Spaulding – 6/10 – A clean performance from Spaulding, who was given a rare start but subbed out at half-time.

CM: Tommy McNamara – 7/10 – Confident on the ball and won plenty of challenges in the middle.

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CM: Matt Polster – 7/10 – Used the ball well and did his part in stopping Atlanta United building momentum.

RW: Nacho Gil – 7/10 – Didn’t quite connect with his final ball but always looked to make things happen and worked hard for his team.

CAM: Carles Gil – 9/10 – Was the Revs’ best player once again, creating from open play and set pieces. Glides past players with ease. Assisted Bou’s winner.

LW: Gustavo Bou – 7/10 – Was restricted to half-chances for most of the match but kept battling away and deserved his winning goal.

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ST: Giacomo Vrioni – 7/10 – Struggled to compete at times but made up for it by winning and scoring the penalty that initially put the Revs ahead.

SUB: Christian Makoun (46′, for Spaulding) – 7/10 – Reliable and solid from the bench.

SUB: Wilfrid Kaptoum (58′, for Polster) – 6/10 – Picked up well from where Polster left off.

SUB: Justin Rennicks (76′, for Vrioni) – 6/10 – Looked lively despite limited minutes.

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SUB: Dylan Borrero (76′, for N. Gil) – 6/10 – Like Rennicks, did well in his short time on the field.

SUB: Omar Gonzalez (88′, for Bou) – N/A – Brought on late to add defensive security.

GK: Raul Gudino – 3/10 – Hesitated when claiming a loose ball which led to him clattering Vrioni and giving away a penalty.

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RB: Ronald Hernandez – 6/10 – Played better than most but was the obvious choice to bring off when Atlanta needed a goal.

CB: Juanjo Purata – 6/10 – Did about as well as he could in defense, winning plenty of headers and making some vital interceptions. Beaten too easily for Bou’s winner, however.

CB: Alan Franco – 5/10 – Was generally strong with and without the ball but played a part in giving away the penalty, hesitating just like Gudino.

LB: Andrew Gutman – 7/10 – Was Atlanta United’s best starter, offering bundles of energy and attacking threat down the left flank.

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CM: Amar Sejdic – 5/10 – Tidy enough but far too conservative with the ball.

CM: Santiago Sosa – 6/10 – Clean and calm with the ball but was rightly subbed out when Atlanta needed more endeavor.

RW: Brooks Lennon – 7/10 – Provided an excellent cross for Martinez’s equalizer and worked hard to offer a threat down the right.

CAM: Thiago Almada – 7/10 – Always looked to be positive but, once again, needed more help from his teammates.

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LW: Luiz Araujo – 5/10 – Had a few more bright moments but still delivers so little on his huge potential.

ST: Ronaldo Cisneros – 2/10 – Almost non-existent. Barely touched the ball and when he did, he often gave it away.

SUB: Josef Martinez (55′, for Cisneros) – 8/10 – Instantly more threatening than Cisneros and sent another message with his incredible equalizer.

SUB: Matheus Rossetto (55′, for Sejdic) – 6/10 – Added a little more creativity to the midfield.

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SUB: Edwin Mosquera (55′, for Hernandez) – 5/10 – Lively but should have done better with his late chance. The Revs then went down the other end and won the match.

SUB: Marcelino Moreno (76′, for Sosa) – 7/10 – Played his part on Martinez’s goal and injected energy to Atlanta United.

SUB: Caleb Wiley (76′, for Araujo) – 5/10 – Didn’t adjust to the pace of the match.





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Football

Portugal vs Uruguay: Confirmed lineups

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By defeating Uruguay in Lusail, Portugal will be hoping to advance to the World Cup’s last 16 in 2022.

During their first match, Cristiano Ronaldo and company defeated Ghana in a five-goal thriller, while Uruguay and South Korea drew 0-0.

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Refresh later…

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How to watch Japan vs Spain on TV & live stream

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How to watch Japan vs Spain in the World Cup on TV.



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EPL

Conor Coady responds to ‘daft’ question about Liverpool allegiance

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Conor Coady has told England teammate Jordan Henderson to do better in his goading after the Liverpool captain taunted him over his Everton connection.

Coady was a product of the Liverpool youth system and made a solitary appearance for his boyhood club in the 2012 Europa League. He has since moved on to Huddersfield Town and Wolves before joining Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton on loan last summer.

Speaking on the latest episode of Lion’s Den from England’s World Cup camp, though, Henderson could not resist trying to wind up Coady by quizzing him on his allegiances.

“Conor, we are all England here,” Henderson said. “But what I really want to know is: are you blue or red?”

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Henderson then started laughing, which prompted a similar response from Coady, who appeared both irritated and amused by the question.

“It’s so poor from him,” Coady said while smiling. “We have banter all the time. Of course, I am playing for Everton. He knows deep down.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

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“So, for him to come out there and ask that question is daft. Of course, I am blue. Of course, I am blue, without a shadow of a doubt.

“For him to say that…you know what I am going to go back there sit down and have a coffee with him. I will give him a bit. That’s nowhere near good enough from the big fella. Blue all day long.”

Everton have a clause allowing them to sign Coady permanently from Wolves this summer for a fee of just £4.5m.



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