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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    Real Salt Lake head coach Pablo Mastroeni says his team are aiming to be champions and are looking to continue their impressive form against LA Galaxy on Saturday.

    RSL sit top of the Western Conference on 37 points, having lost just two matches so far this season while putting together an astounding 15-game unbeaten run in the league.

    Mastroeni knows exactly where his side are in the table, and he has embraced the challenge that comes with being the leader.

    "It's about connecting to the big picture - we want to be champs," said Mastroeni. "There's all these sayings in sport for a reason, the one I go by is offence will win you games, but defence will win you championships.

    "It always goes back to what we want to achieve as a team. It's about fine-tuning some things and having a real understanding that we're now the hunted and need to get everyone's best game."

    The Galaxy are one of those chasing Salt Lake down, sitting just three points below them in third, having lost just one of their last nine matches.

    Having won their last two games, head coach Greg Vanney was particularly pleased with how his side defended in those two victories.

    "When we're following through on our responsibilities and making the games as predictable as we possibly can, then it helps the group to deal with situations a lot easier and cleaner," Vanney said.

    "We've done a nice job of that in the last two games, and it helps us to defend better. It gives the group a lot of confidence in understanding that if we stick to what we want to do, we can be a lot more efficient, especially in defence."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango

    Arango has scored six goals in six career MLS matches against the Galaxy (incl. playoffs), tied for his most against any opponent in MLS play (Austin, Dallas).

    No player has scored more goals against the Galaxy since Arango joined MLS in August 2021.

    LA Galaxy – Dejan Joveljic

    Joveljic had both a goal and an assist in the Galaxy's win over New York City FC on Wednesday, his second straight game with one of each.

    The only other Galaxy player to have three straight regular-season games with both a goal and an assist is Zlatan Ibrahimovic (September 2019).

    MATCH PREDICTION: REAL SALT LAKE WIN

    Salt Lake have lost only one of their last six regular-season matches against the Galaxy (W2 D3), though that defeat came in their last home league match against them in May 2023.

    The Galaxy have won consecutive regular-season road games against RSL just once, doing so in 2012-13.

    RSL are unbeaten in 15 straight regular-season matches (W9 D6), equaling the longest single-season streak since the Portland Timbers went 15 straight without defeat in 2018. There have only been three longer single-season streaks in MLS history, most recently a 16-match run by New York Red Bulls in 2016.

    Meanwhile, the Galaxy have won four of their last five games (L1) with the last three of those wins coming by at least two goals. It is the first time the team have had three victories by multiple goals in a four-game span since doing so in September-October 2018.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Real Salt Lake – 53.7%

    Draw – 23.8%

    LA Galaxy – 22.6%

  • Colorado Rapids v CF Montreal: Armas has faith in hosts' squad, plots rotation Colorado Rapids v CF Montreal: Armas has faith in hosts' squad, plots rotation

    Chris Armas has full faith in the depth of his Colorado Rapids squad as he ponders potential changes ahead of Saturday's clash with CF Montreal in MLS.

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    "We have really strong internal competition that's driving the team forward and then I can take the tough decisions, but that's my job."

    Montreal, meanwhile, sit 12th in the Eastern Conference after being pegged back in a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls last time out.

    Midfielder Bryce Duke believes adjusting to the altitude in Denver will be a major test for them next time out, saying: "Getting here two days before the game helps us with our preparation. 

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Colorado Rapids – Djordje Mihailovic 

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    CF Montreal – Sunusi Ibrahim 

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    That is double the number of regular-season goals scored by any other player before turning 22 in Montreal's MLS history (six by Orji Okwonkwo).

    MATCH PREDICTION: COLORADO RAPIDS WIN

    This will be the first meeting between the Rapids and Montreal since a 6-3 home win for Colorado in August 2019. Those six goals are the most Colorado have ever scored in a match.

    While it may not be as convincing as that win, Colorado are fancied for another victory here.

    They have won each of their last two games to nil. The last time the Rapids had consecutive shutout victories was in March 2022, and the last time they won three straight with shutouts was in August 2007.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Colorado Rapids – 45.3%

    CF Montreal – 27.8%

    Draw – 26.9%

  • Los Angeles FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cherundolo aiming to live up to high expectations Los Angeles FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cherundolo aiming to live up to high expectations

    Steve Cherundolo is expecting to get back to winning ways back at home against the struggling San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

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    "San Jose have the ability to score goals, which they've shown, but also concede. It's going to be a tough task, but we're at home and our expectations are always great at home."

    The Earthquakes sit bottom of the table, having won just three of their matches all season.

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    "It's going to hurt because we had the game [against Portland] in our hands until we didn't," Gonzalez said. "It's about control.

    "We control the next moment, and we're never going to give up. I'm not going to ever give up. These guys won't give up. We're going to learn and keep trying to figure this out. That's what we can control."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Los Angeles FC – Kei Kamara

    Kamara scored his first goal of the season in the 90th minute of LAFC's 1-1 draw with Austin FC on Wednesday. It was the 150th goal of his MLS career (regular season and playoffs), the third player to reach that mark after Chris Wondolowski (173) and Landon Donovan (150).

    San Jose Earthquakes – Paul Marie

    Marie scored his second goal of the season with an outside-the-box finish against Portland Timbers.

    Marie has scored in five straight seasons for San Jose, but 2024 is the first in which he has scored more than once.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC WIN

    After San Jose lost each of their first six matches against Los Angeles in all competitions, they lost only three of the last 11 (W7 D1), including a 3-1 win on May 4. Still, LAFC have won seven of their nine all-time home matches against the 'Quakes (D1 L1).

    Dating back to last season, Los Angeles are unbeaten in their last 13 home games in all competitions with 11 wins and two draws. LAFC have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four competitive matches at home – it is the longest such streak in the team's history.

    Meanwhile, the Earthquakes have lost 13 of their 18 regular-season games in 2024 (W3 D2), including each of their last three. Dating back to last season, San Jose have conceded in 24 straight regular-season matches, one shy of their team record of 25 (in both 1999 & spanning 2017-18).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Los Angeles FC – 67.9%

    Draw – 17.8%

    San Jose Earthquakes – 14.4%

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