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Takeaways from the Weekend in World Soccer

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1. Manchester United are pretty good

Anthony Martial was the main reason for Man U’s success against Southampton Sunday. He netted a brace while creating chances left and right, combining with Wayne Rooney to terrorize the Saints’ defense.

Louis Van Gaal decided to go with a 4-2-3-1 with Martial as the lone striker and Rooney as the attacking midfielder. Let’s just say it worked.

The defense looked shaky early on, but when you have David De Gea behind you, you can make more mistakes than normal. They were feeling the loss of Anthony Shaw, the left back who suffered a horrible leg injury mid-week against PSV in the Champions League. Daley Blind should have been better at center-back while Marcus Rojo wasn’t combining with Memphis like Shaw was.

United are second in the Premier League, but despite their offensive success, the defense needs to be improved.

2. Houston Dynamo are not

The Houston Dynamo entered Sunday’s match in Philadelphia absolutely needing three points to remain in the playoff conversation.

Same with the Union.

A draw would do no good for either. So who got the points they so desperately needed? The Union.

The home team ran right through the Dynamo’s makeshift backline that was decimated by injuries and suspensions (DaMarcus Beasley was out, Raul Rodriguez was suspended, and Kofi Sarkodie could only go 45 minutes). They scored early and never looked back.

Will Bruin couldn’t get many chances on goalkeeper John McCarthy while the team couldn’t control anything in the midfield because they were playing a 4-3-3. Owen Coyle did switch to a 4-2-3-1 at the half to try and get more numbers in the middle, and it worked for about seven or so minutes until the offensive chances petered out.

So that all but secures the number-one overall draft pick will fall to the Chicago Fire, who will need it as they just fired manager Frank Yallop.

3. Juventus get big win

Juventus finally got their first win of the season when they defeated Genoa in the Serie A. They got a pretty big monkey off their back in doing so.

They didn’t look perfect–a far cry from when they dominated the Italian league last season–but got the job done against a weaker opponent.

A lucky own goal got them on track, and they used a Genoa red card to dominate the flow of the game en route to a 2-0 win.

Now the focus is on Frosinone Calcio, a newly-promoted side who haven’t quite gotten on track just yet, as they have failed to score a goal in their last three games and are 0-4.

4. Real Salt Lake is better than you think

Real Salt Lake, at first glance, are just one of the many Western Conference teams fighting for a playoff spot. But they proved over the weekend that they’re better than that.

They creamed third place LA Galaxy 3-0, with Nick Rimando playing like Nick Rimando, Devon Sandoval scoring two and Javier Morales adding another to seal the win.

They can thank the Red Bulls for beating the Timbers on Sunday to keep their red-line deficit to only three points.

They might just overtake offensively-challenged Portland.

Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Harrison Hamm

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