Inter Miami boost playoffs hopes with Toronto win, LAFC clinch postseason berth despite defeat

By Sports Desk August 20, 2022

Inter Miami claimed a crucial three points in the race for the MLS playoffs with a 2-1 victory over star-studded Eastern Conference outfit Toronto on Saturday.

The win means Phil Neville's side are unbeaten in five games and have won three of their past four to move up to fifth spot in the east.

All the goal scoring action occurred in the first half, with Inter going ahead after Toronto goalkeeper Alexander Bono's inexplicable error from Jean Mota's hopeful long-range strike in the 24th minute.

Italian recruit Lorenzo Insigne produced a moment of magic with a low right-foot volley to equalise four minutes later.

But Inter restored their lead in the 44th minute with a classy set play from a free-kick ending with Damion Lowe nodding back for Ariel Lassiter to stab home from close range.

Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley forced a save in the 72nd minute while Filippo Bernardeschi had a 94th-minute penalty shout waved away for the visitors.

Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union flexed their muscle with Julian Carranza netting a hat-trick in a 6-0 away win over struggling DC United.

Philadelphia were in a ruthless mood although it was scoreless until Mikael Uhre got free and squeezed in the opener in the 37th minute.

Daniel Gazdag netted a penalty won by Uhre on half-time, before Carranza scored three goals inside 27 second-half minutes capitalizing on some inexplicable passing from the United defence. Cory Burke curled in the sixth in the 79th minute.

Reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC went down 2-1 at San Jose Earthquakes but became the first side to book their playoffs spot by virtue of other results.

Colorado Rapids drew 1-1 with Houston Dynamo, who found a late equaliser from Sebastian Ferreira, while Vancouver Whitecaps could only draw 1-1 at Real Salt Lake, locking in LAFC.

Kei Kamara moved into outright third in the MLS goal scoring charts with his 135th career league goal as Montreal defeated New England 4-0.

Matt Miazga marked his return to the MLS with a goal in his second game for FC Cincinnati as they drew 1-1 at his former club New York Red Bulls.

Minnesota United boosted their playoffs' hopes with a 2-1 win over Austin thanks to Franco Fragapane's 62nd-minute winner.

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    Luis Enrique is "sorry" after Spain's early exit at the 2022 World Cup led to him leaving his position as head coach on Thursday.

    After a goalless 90 minutes and extra-time period against Morocco on Tuesday, 2010 champions Spain were dumped out on penalties in a huge shock.

    Luis Enrique's contract was due to expire at the end of the tournament in Qatar, and the Royal Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Thursday he would not stay on as head coach.

    The RFEF subsequently announced Luis de la Fuente is set to take over the role, having previously been in charge of Spain's Under-21 side.

    In a statement released on Thursday, Luis Enrique spoke of his gratitude to those who had helped him in his time as Spain boss, while imploring supporters to get behind De La Fuente.

    "It all started four years ago and how fast time has passed," Luis Enrique said in a Twitter post.

    "I can only be super grateful to those who signed me twice (president Rubiales and sports director Molina), to all the RFEF employees with whom we share experiences of all kinds, of course, to the players who have been exemplary in their behaviour and faithful to the idea raised.

    "I'm sorry I couldn't help you more.

    "It has been very special to be a part of this.

    "Last but not least, to the fans who have uniformly conveyed their support to us at all times and especially in the most delicate ones.

    "It's time to say goodbye and in these cases just a little reflection... what the team needs is support in all its meaning so that Luis de la Fuente achieves everything he wants."

  • PSG confident Messi will extend contract and confirm Rashford interest PSG confident Messi will extend contract and confirm Rashford interest

    Lionel Messi will extend his contract with Paris Saint-Germain after the World Cup, according to president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

    The Argentina superstar is out of contract at the end of the season and it has been reported during the tournament in Qatar that he had already agreed to terms to move to MLS, where he would join Inter Miami.

    Those links have since been downplayed, however, with Messi not set to make a decision on his future until after the World Cup, where Argentina are preparing for a quarter-final showdown against the Netherlands.

    Al-Khelaifi is optimistic his two-year spell at Parc des Princes will be extended as, when suggested by Sky Sports that Messi wants to stay in the French capital for longer, he said: "Definitely. He's very happy, you can see that with the national team.

    "If a player's not happy you will see their performance is not good for the national team. He performed fantastic this season for us, he's scored a lot of goals and assists for the national team and for the club.

    "So, what we agreed together – that after the World Cup, sit down together. But both sides – our side of the club and him – are very happy, so we will talk after the World Cup."

    Another player who could be a topic of discussion for PSG after the conclusion of the action in Qatar is England forward Marcus Rashford, who has scored three goals for Gareth Southgate's side in the tournament.

    Rashford's contract at Old Trafford is due to expire at the end of the season, though Manchester United have an option to extend for a further year, and Al-Khelaifi confirmed the French champions would look to revive their interest in such a scenario.

    "He's another player that is really amazing. And for free? To have Rashford for free, every club would run after him, definitely," he added.

    "We're not hiding it, we spoke before and [there was] interest. But the moment was not a good moment for both sides. Maybe, at the end of the season, why not?

    "Today if he's a free agent of course we can talk to him directly, but we are not going to talk to him now. Let him focus on the World Cup. Then in January, hopefully, if we're interested we will talk to him."

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    The tussle down the French left has been characterised as the key battleground ahead of the quarter-final at Al Bayt Stadium.

    Mbappe's electric pace, sublime dribbling skills and eye for goal have made him the standout player at the finals so far, and the leading scorer with five goals.

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    He pointed to French Ligue 1 clubs having previously all set out with game plans to handle the Paris Saint-Germain frontman, only to have those blown out of the water by the 23-year-old's sheer brilliance.

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    "We've seen it since the Euros, they're constantly progressing. It will be a great match," said the 23-year-old Monaco player.

    As a teenager, with his career in limbo after leaving the French national football academy at Clairefontaine, Fofana delivered pizzas for a living while trying to forage for a way forward in his preferred career.

    He needed to earn a crust, but doors soon began to open as Strasbourg gave him an opportunity, before Monaco came calling almost three years ago.

    "When you leave Clairefontaine, there are doubts," Fofana said of that time in his life. "When there are doubts you have to move forward. You need money, I had to make some. It was the best way to do that while trying to follow my dreams."

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