For the Vancouver Whitecaps to remain in the MLS Cup Playoffs race heading into Decision Day, a remarkable turn of events had to occur.
First off, the Canadian side had to end a run of three consecutive defeats with just one goal scored. They did just that, beating the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, and Austin FC in their last three matches by a combined scoreline of 7-1.
But they also needed the teams above them to slip up, which is exactly what happened as well. Heading into the final day of the regular season, sixth-place Portland Timbers have taken one point from their last two games, seventh-place Minnesota United have only one point from six matches, and eighth-place Real Salt Lake have won only one of their last eight MLS games.
Vancouver play Minnesota on Decision Day, while the Timbers face RSL. Is it fated that one last twist will send the Whitecaps above the Playoffs line?
“It kind of seems like the stars are aligning a little bit,” striker Brian White told reporters. “Not to jinx it, because obviously, it’s going to be a big test, a big challenge in Minnesota.”
Defender Jake Nerwinski conceded that the Whitecaps have pulled off the improbable so far and is keen to take advantage of their form and good fortune.
“It’s almost impossible and it’s something that we need to take advantage of,” he said. “Everything went our way to get to this point. Now, hopefully, we can continue to make the most of it and make it worth it.”
Of course, while the Whitecaps have been fortunate, their recent three-game sequence is impressive and must be applauded. The Galaxy already have their post-season spot booked, the Sounders are the Concacaf Champions League holders, and Austin FC are the second seed in the west.
Taking nine points from those games is no easy feat. Regardless of Sunday’s result, the Whitecaps know they’ve left nothing in the locker room.
“We worked hard to get to this point,” Nerwinski added. “We put ourselves in a great position, and now we get to go play free. And if we win, we know that we did everything we could. If we lose, you know, we did everything we could.”
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Ben White leaves England World Cup squad due to ‘personal reasons’
Arsenal star Ben White has left England’s World Cup training camp and isn’t expected to return for the remainder of the tournament.
The defender didn’t make an appearance in any of the Three Lions group stage games, and has now left the squad due to ‘personal reasons’.
In a statement released by England, the Three Lions confirmed the news: “Ben White has left England’s training base in Al Wakrah and returned home for personal reasons.
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“The Arsenal defender is not expected to return to the squad for the remainder of the tournament. We ask that the player’s privacy is respected at this moment in time.”
White has enjoyed a fantastic domestic season with Arsenal, becoming the club’s first choice right-back – and one of the best right-backs in the Premier League – as the Gunners have gone from top four challengers to table-toppers.
Poland vs Argentina: Confirmed lineups
France, who have already secured a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup 2022, play Tunisia on Wednesday in their final Group D matchup.
In the meantime, the African nation is last in the standings and must defeat the current champions to advance to the knockout stages.
Poland XI (4-4-1-1): Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash; Frankowski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Zielinski; Swiderski; Lewandowski
Argentina XI (4-3-3): Martínez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuña; De Paul, Enzo Fernández, Mac Allister; Messi, Álvarez, Di María
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