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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Takeaways: MLS season slipping away from Montreal Impact

Posted By: Valentin Valica - 3:27 AM
Sportsnet.ca
Takeaways: MLS season slipping away from Montreal Impact
Takeaways: MLS season slipping away from Montreal Impact
• Los Angeles Galaxy 1 (Kamara 75’), Montreal Impact 0 GAME RECAP IN A SENTENCE

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off late in the first half, but the Galaxy managed to spoil the Impact’s 25th anniversary festivities with a win over a hapless Montreal side on a sunny afternoon at Stade Saputo.

MAIN TALKING POINTS

1. Season slowly slipping away from Montreal
Monday marked the 25th anniversary – to the exact date – of the first home game in Montreal Impact franchise history. What a shame that the Impact put in another dire and uninspiring effort before a sellout home crowd.

Monday’s result marked the Impact’s third straight loss, and seventh in their last eight matches. Montreal sits second last in the Eastern Conference with a 3-9-0 record and have conceded a league-high 27 goals this campaign.

Just as worrisome for the Quebec club is how the goals have dried up. The Impact’s three straight losses have all been shutouts, and they’ve gone 292 minutes without a single goal.

It’s still only May, and there are 24 games remaining on the schedule, so it’s way too early to write off Montreal’s playoff chances. Still, the Impact are every bit as bad as their anaemic record suggests, and there’s been very little that I’ve seen during this year that indicates they are underperforming or even capable of offering anything more.

No doubt, the Impact have been decimated by injuries on the defensive end. That has hurt them, as players have been asked to play out of position.

But aside from Ignacio Piatti, this team doesn’t appear to have any other dangerous attacking threats. Canadian forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel is coming off a decent 2017 but, for some reason, manager Remi Garde has sparingly used him this season.

Slowly but surely, the MLS season is slipping away from Montreal. Unless Garde can quickly light a fire under this team, especially on the attacking end, they’re going to slip even further down the table and out of the playoff race altogether.

2. Ibrahimovic sees red
MLS caught its first glimpse of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s infamous temper on Monday.

Ibrahimovic was sent off in the 41st minute for violent conduct after slapping Montreal defender Michael Petrasso in the back of the head. Petrasso stepped on Ibrahimovic’s foot as he had his back to the Swede, but there wasn’t much in it. That didn’t stop the LA Galaxy from reacting, or in this case, overreacting.

The incident escaped the attention of referee Ismail Elfath, as it happened off the ball and behind the play. Once alerted about what happened by the video assistant referee (VAR), Elfath went to the sidelines to watch a replay. He barely took any time in issuing a yellow to Petrasso and a red card to Ibrahimovic.

VAR has come under heavy criticism in MLS the season, from frustrated fans, coaches and players who aren’t quite sure what can be reviewed, and over apparent inconsistencies in its application.

In this case, though, the system worked flawlessly. The game was only interrupted for less than a minute, and Ibrahimovic deservedly saw red.

KEY MOMENT

75’ GOAL! Los Angeles 1, Montreal 0: LA broke the deadlock on the counter when Emmanuel Boateng flicked on a header into the path for teammate Ola Kamara. The Norwegian did well to beat Impact defender Marco Donadel to the ball, and then slip in between the recovering Donadel and defensive partner Jukka Raitala before slipping a shot through the legs of goalkeeper Evan Bush for his fifth goal of the MLS season.

BURNING QUESTION


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INTERESTING STAT

Montreal has gone 32 consecutive MLS games without a draw, a stretch that dates back to June 17, 2017 when they battled to a 3-3 draw away to Orlando City.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Ola Kamara, Los Angeles: Aside from scoring the winner, the Norwegian recorded two shots on target and had an overall effective game in causing problems for Montreal’s back line.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Japan World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

Posted By: Valentin Valica - 5:24 AM
News – World Soccer
Japan World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

It wasn't a smooth qualification run, but Japan did what had to be done and qualified for Russia.

Japan World Cup FixturesStill Through: Japan lost their final game to Saudi Arabia, but still qualified in top spot. (Getty Images) It wasn't a smooth qualification run, but Japan did what had to be done and qualified for Russia.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Chelsea need investment insists goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois

Posted By: Valentin Valica - 4:00 AM
Sport: : BreakingNews.ie
Chelsea need investment insists goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois
The Blues finished the 2017-18 season in fifth place.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rebbe to join Huddersfield as sporting director

Posted By: Valentin Valica - 4:48 AM
Soccerway.com
Rebbe to join Huddersfield as sporting director
Olaf Rebbe will take over as Huddersfield Town sporting director on June 1, less than two months after being sacked by Wolfsburg.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Reyna’s 2-point night helps Whitecaps draw against Earthquakes

Posted By: Valentin Valica - 4:30 AM
Sportsnet.ca
Reyna’s 2-point night helps Whitecaps draw against Earthquakes
Reyna’s 2-point night helps Whitecaps draw against Earthquakes

VANCOUVER — Forward Jordy Reyna scored one goal and assisted on another by Cristian Techera as the Vancouver Whitecaps battled back from one goal down for a 2-2 Major League Soccer draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night.

Striker Danny Hoesen, on a disputed play, and defender Nick Lima scored for San Jose.

The Whitecaps (4-5-3) are 1-4-2 in their last seven games.

The Earthquakes (2-5-3) have one win in their last nine games (1-5-3).

Brian Rowe started his second consecutive game for Vancouver with usual starting goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic out with a sprained knee.

Lima put the Earthquakes ahead 2-1 in the 53rd minute. The Whitecaps gave too much space to midfielder Valeri Qazaishvili, allowing him to dribble into Vancouver territory. He dished off to Lima who scored his first goal of the year on a bending shot.

Reyna tied the match in the 64th minute. Left back Marcel de Jong sent a long ball into the box. Reyna headed a shot that bounced off the back of San Jose defender Shea Salinas, a former Whitecap, and past Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.

Vancouver opened the scoring in the 19th minute on a pretty three-way passing play. Midfielder Felipe feathered a ball to Reyna. He slipped a pass to an open Techera who beat Tarbell with a low shot.

Hoesen tied the game in the first minute of first-half injury time. The Netherlands native got behind the Whitecaps’ defence, took a long pass from Florian Jungwirth, and lifted a shot over Rowe for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

The crowd of 17,357 at BC Place Stadium booed loudly as the Whitecaps argued the play was offside. Video replays showed it was a close call.

The teams exchanged early chances. In the fourth minute Reyna sprinted into the clear but his right-footed shot from inside the box went wide.

Just a minute later Earthquake forward Magnus Eriksson took a cross from Lima and headed a shot that was just wide.

Vancouver defender Kendall Waston made a nice play in the 15th minute knocking a ball out of bounds before Qazaishvili could get a shot off.

Tarbell had to look sharp in the 27th minute, making a diving save off a long shot from de Jong. Late in the half he swatted away a Waston header.

The Whitecaps leave Thursday to play FC Dallas Saturday.

NOTES: Waston, who was named to the Costa Rican World Cup team earlier this week, made his 100th MLS regular-season appearance and 99th start. … The Whitecaps used a 4-4-2 formation for the third consecutive match. …. De Jong signed a contract extension Tuesday through 2019 with an option for 2020. … San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski didn’t start for the third time this season.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Brazil pulls level with Germany atop 2018 World Cup odds

Posted By: Valentin Valica - 5:21 AM
Sportsnet.ca
Brazil pulls level with Germany atop 2018 World Cup odds
Brazil pulls level with Germany atop 2018 World Cup odds

With less than a month to go before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup it has turned into a dead heat at the top of the odds, with Brazil joining defending champion Germany as the +450 co-favourites in World Cup betting at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Brazil helped its case with a 1-0 victory as a +140 favourite over the defending World Cup champions in a March 27 friendly at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, improving its win-draw-loss record to 15-3-1 in its past 19 outings across all competitions.

The Brazilians will be looking to continue their recent strong play in upcoming friendlies against Croatia and Austria before opening their group stage schedule against Switzerland on June 17 as -300 betting favourites.

For Germany, the loss to Brazil as a +180 bet extends a worrisome trend that has seen them go winless in four friendlies since closing out UEFA World Cup qualifying with a decisive 5-1 win over Azerbaijan.

Die Mannschaft followed up with a trio of unsatisfying draws with European rivals England, France, and Spain, but have ample opportunity to right the ship with pre-tournament friendlies against Austria and Saudi Arabia before hitting the ground running at Russia 2018 with a huge group stage matchup with Mexico on June 17, in which they are pegged as -225 favourites.

Spain has held steady on the World Cup futures, closely trailing the favourites at +600, followed by France at +700, while Argentina rounds out the top of the odds at +900.

The Spaniards have remained undefeated since compiling a 9-1-0 record during UEFA World Cup qualifying. In addition to playing level with Germany as heavy +230 underdogs, Spain also played Russia to a 3-3 draw, and dominated in a 6-1 win over Argentina as -120 chalk in their last outing, extending their unbeaten streak across all competitions to 18 matches.

France has seen its odds dip from +550 after going 1-1-1 in three recent friendlies, including a 3-2 loss to Colombia as a -230 favourite on March 23.

Conversely, Argentina has held steady despite carrying over its struggles during CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying into recent friendlies. In addition to their lopsided loss to Spain, the Argentines also dropped a 4-2 decision to Nigeria as -190 chalk, and own an 8-5-6 overall record since losing to Chile on penalties in the Copa America Centenario final two years ago.

Elsewhere on the 2018 World Cup odds, Belgium leads the best of the rest at +1100, followed by England at +1600, and Portugal at +2500, while Uruguay, Croatia, and host nation Russia sit deadlocked at +3300.

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