For the third year in a row, the LA Galaxy are once again facing the prospect of missing out on the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Galaxy had everything to play for heading into their tie at the Vancouver Whitecaps, trailing Real Salt Lake in the final Western Conference Playoffs spot by just three points, with a game in hand and a better goal differential.
RSL even lost 3-0 away at Austin FC, opening the door further. But a second-half collapse saw LA fall by the same scoreline in Vancouver, even after dominated the first half.
“It comes down to execution and I feel like we’ve allowed these opportunities to come into a game where we can execute and move ourselves into a good spot and we don’t get across the line in the way we need to,” head coach Greg Vanney said after the match.
“Again, it’s a mentality that we have to turn – turning draws into wins and things like that – and it’s time for us to press forward on that. It’s the thing that we discuss a lot with our group: taking that next big step forward to turn possession into attacks, turn attacks into goals, put teams away, move up the table. It’s all the same thing. It’s a mentality.”
Wednesday’s result ends a six-game unbeaten run for the Galaxy but even that hasn’t done much to save their season, picking up just two wins during that time and often throwing away leads or salvaging late draws.
“We were just six unbeaten, but we need to turn some of these draws into wins and our season is on the line now, so we have to do it. If we don’t do it, we don’t deserve it, so let’s go,” said center-back Derrick Williams.
Reflecting on the poor showing in Vancouver, he added: “Similar to last year, we shouldn’t even be in this position. Today was a perfect example; we dominate the ball, don’t create the chances, they score a goal, and then things fall apart. It’s frustrating, but we have to get on with it.”
The Galaxy don’t have to wait long to put things right. Up next is a home clash against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, before they end the season against the San Jose Earthquakes, Real Salt Lake, and the Houston Dynamo.
Now more than ever, LA need to be ruthless, putting opponents to bed in their periods of dominance and now allowing teams chances to deliver the sucker punch.
“It’s a quick turnaround, there are things to consider as we move into the weekend,” said Vanney. “To, again, turn possession into chances. Chances into goals. That’s ultimately the thing that we need to accomplish between now and Saturday. Because in these games, we have a lot of the ball. But we need to score more goals on that.
“And, again, we need to bury opposition when we have the chance to bury them. Otherwise, we can’t just let them hang around. Because we’re letting teams hang around right now.”
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Europa League & Europa Conference League roundup: 06/10/22
We’re halfway through the group stages of the Europa League and Europa Conference League, with tables now starting to take shape.
Arsenal played host to Bodo/Glimt in one of the later kick-offs, after fellow Premier League sides Manchester United and West Ham jetted off around the continent to face Omonia Nicosia and Anderlecht respectively.
Here’s a round-up of the evening’s action.
FC Zurich 1-5 PSV Eindhoven
Arsenal cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Bodo/Glimt under the lights at the Emirates.
Eddie Nketiah tapped home a rebound after Kieran Tierney’s thumping effort bounced back off the post, minutes before Rob Holding headed home from a cross from the excellent Fabio Vieira.
Bodo/Glimt grew into the game as things progressed but Arsenal killed things off with a third five minutes before full-time as a glorious Gabriel Jesus run ended in a tap-in from Vieira.
Rennes 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv
Fenerbahce 2-0 AEK Larnaca
HJK Helsinki 1-1 Ludogorets
A late meltdown from Roma saw them slump to a 2-1 defeat at home to Real Betis.
Betis were the most dangerous early on but Roma took the lead through a Paulo Dybala penalty just after the half-hour mark, although their lead lasted about five minutes as Guido Rodriguez fizzed in an equaliser before the break.
Nicolo Zaniolo hit the bar and Dybala saw a volley expertly saved before the interval and Roma continued that momentum after the break. They failed to find the back of the net, however, and were punished for their profligacy as Luiz Henrique headed home a winner with two minutes to go.
Things ended on a sourer note for Roma as they lost Zaniolo to a pointless red card in stoppage time. The Italian kicked out at an opponent and was deservedly dismissed, leaving him suspended for the next game.
Malmo 0-1 Union Berlin
Braga 1-2 Union SG
FC Sheriff 0-2 Real Sociedad
Manchester United came perilously close to a major European upset as they were forced to come from behind to seal a 3-2 victory over Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia.
United could have had a few goals early on – Antony fluffed a cut-back and Bruno Fernandes hit the bar – but some shocking defending saw the Red Devils punished on the counter by Karim Ansarifard ten minutes before half-time.
Seven minutes into the second half, substitute Marcus Rashford fired home a delightful equaliser following an excellent pass from Fernandes, before Anthony Martial came off the bench and fired United ahead shortly after the hour mark.
Rashford tapped home a third with five minutes to go but Omonia grabbed an immediate response to set up a nervy equaliser, but United held on to seal an uncomfortable three points.
Sturm Graz 0-0 Lazio
Midtylland 2-2 Feyenoord
Freiburg 2-0 Nantes
Olympiacos 0-3 Qarabag
Red Star 4-1 Ferencvaros
Monaco 3-1 Trabzonspor
Hearts 0-3 Fiorentina
RFS 0-0 Basaksehir
A late strike from Gianluca Scamacca fired West Ham to well-earned victory over Belgian giants Anderlecht.
West Ham were dominant from start to finish but had to wait until the 79th-minute for Scamacca to touch down Lucas Paqueta’s flick and fire across goal into the bottom corner to get the lead they deserved.
However, West Ham had goalkeeper Alphonse Areola to thank for the three points as the Frenchman pulled out what will surely be the save of the tournament to repel a close-range header and secure the victory. Sensational stuff.
Silkeborg 5-0 FCSB
Lech Poznan 0-0 Hapoel Beer Sheva
Villarreal 5-0 Austria Vienna
Slovacko 0-1 Nice
Koln 0-1 Partizan
Dnipro-1 2-2 Vaduz
AZ Alkmaar 3-2 Apollon Limassol
Molde 3-0 Shamrock Rovers
Gent 0-1 Djurgarden
Sivasspor 3-4 Ballkani
Slavia Prague 0-1 CFR Cluj
Pyunik Yerevan 2-0 Zalgiris
Basel 0-2 Slovan Bratislava
Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury
Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.
The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.
There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.
The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.
Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.
‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.
“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”
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