MLS

MLS: Resurgent Timbers win again, Union snap skid

By Sports Desk September 19, 2021

Portland Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to five games in MLS after topping Los Angeles FC 2-1 on Sunday.

The resurgent Timbers continued their run thanks to goals from Dairon Asprilla and George Fochive at Providence Park.

Asprilla opened the scoring at home to LAFC – the Timbers forward headed home in the 21st minute, though the visitors responded six minutes later via Cristian Arango's penalty.

But the Timbers emerged triumphant courtesy of Fochive's game-winning header 22 minutes from the end in Portland.

The Timbers are fifth in the Western Conference – nine points behind leaders Sporting Kansas City, while LAFC are eighth and a point outside the play-off spots.

Elsewhere, Philadelphia Union returned to winning ways by defeating Orlando City 3-1 to surge back into the play-off positions.

The Union were three games without a win in MLS heading into the contest, however, Kacper Przybylko's brace ensured Philadelphia – eliminated in the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals – snapped their skid.

After Philadelphia's Kai Wagner and Orlando's Ruan traded goals, Przybylko lifted the Union with a second-half brace.

Orlando ended the match with 10 men after Antonio Carlos was sent off in the 88th minute.

Montreal – fifth in the Eastern Conference – accounted for Chicago Fire 2-0 and Vancouver Whitecaps drew 1-1 at Colorado Rapids.

Meanwhile, Dallas and head coach Luchi Gonzalez parted ways amid their four-match winless streak which has left the team 11th in the west and seven points off the pace.

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    Massimiliano Allegri hailed Juventus' mental fortitude after responding to a troublesome period following their points deduction with victory at Salernitana.

    Juve had not won in three Serie A games, including a 5-1 thrashing by Napoli and a surprise 2-0 defeat to Monza, while the club had also been docked 15 points following an investigation into past transfer dealings.

    But Allegri's side bounced back on Tuesday with a dominant 3-0 victory at Salernitana as Dusan Vlahovic scored twice and assisted Serbia team-mate Filip Kostic for the other.

    Victory moved Juve up to 10th, albeit some 13 points off fourth-placed Lazio, and Allegri heaped praise on his side's resilience amid a difficult time in Turin.

    The Juve head coach told reporters: "The lads are responsible, we can tell each other many things, but I think it wasn't and isn't easy to keep your head in the championship after 15 points were taken away from you.

    "We set ourselves some goals, which is to catch those in front of us. Then there's the Coppa Italia [semi-final] with Inter and the Europa League.

    "It was important to win. We have 26 points, no one remembers that we scored 41 and we would be third in the standings. Look at the current standings."

    Vlahovic took his tally to eight for the season with his first-half penalty and cool finish after the interval, with Allegri delighted to see his star striker returning to form, along with some vital minutes for Angel Di Maria.

    "If Di Maria always plays 60 minutes, I'm happy, he's a champion. Vlahovic is coming back well, meanwhile [Moise] Kean has had important chances," Allegri added.

    "We need all these players, it's normal that we need to improve in possession. We play every three days, so everyone is important."

  • Wrexham accused of 'eyeing up Spurs' as Hollywood cup run ends at Sheffield United Wrexham accused of 'eyeing up Spurs' as Hollywood cup run ends at Sheffield United

    Wrexham and their Hollywood owners will not get a blockbuster Premier League tie in this season's FA Cup after falling agonisingly short of the fifth round and a meeting with Tottenham.

    The National League side, backed by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, would have faced Spurs had they won a replay against Sheffield United on Tuesday following a 3-3 draw in the original tie.

    But Premier League hopefuls United delighted in dumping Wrexham out of the competition after a pair of late goals secured a 3-1 home win at Bramall Lane.

    Wrexham had threatened to turn another gripping encounter on its head when Paul Mullin cancelled Anel Ahmedhodzic's opener from the penalty spot and then stepped up to take a second spot-kick, having earned both himself.

    Blades goalkeeper Adam Davies brilliantly saved the second penalty, however, and the Championship side settled the tie on the counter-attack in the closing stages as Billy Sharp scored in the 94th minute and Sander Berge added a clincher in the 96th.

    Sharp was particularly enthused by his role in eliminating Wrexham, having been frustrated by the underdogs' attitude to facing United, as he explained afterwards.

    "It was a great cup tie over the two games," Sharp told ITV Sport. "[Wrexham] played excellent. I think they've been disrespectful, though.

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    "Hopefully we've put that one to bed now, because a few of their players I wasn't happy with.

    "I was a little bit frustrated at the end – I probably should have put the game to bed before I did, but it's one of those things. I wanted to win and wanted to get through to the next round."

    Asked to expand on his comments, Sharp added of Wrexham: "I wasn't happy with the way they've been as a club. Before the game, they were eyeing up Spurs and they've not even beaten us.

    "We're an honest set of lads and we want to go as far as we can in this competition. If we get beat in the next round, so be it. We'll give it a right go.

    "I think they thought we were just going to roll over when they get back in it. I think the referee was helping them all night, as well. I don't think he gave me one foul all night tonight, but it's one of those things.

    "I've probably lost my head a little bit, but I've got a smile on my face because we've got through to the next round of the cup and the boys deserve it."

    Deadpool star Reynolds wrote on Twitter: "So proud of these boys. And the 4,000 plus away supporters who gave it all."

    McElhenney, the creator of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, added: "I could not be more proud of those men than I am right now. They gave it absolutely everything."

    The owners would have been concerned by the sight of star striker Mullin hobbling off injured, but McElhenney said in a second post: "Now let’s go win this f***ing league."

  • RB Leipzig captain Orban could miss Union clash for potentially life-saving stem-cell donation RB Leipzig captain Orban could miss Union clash for potentially life-saving stem-cell donation

    RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban could miss the Bundesliga clash with Union Berlin on Saturday as he attempts to save a life.

    The defender will undergo a procedure to donate his stem cells in Dresden on Wednesday after recently finding he is a match for a patient who has blood cancer.

    Orban, who has been registered with the DKMS (German national bone marrow donor registry) since 2017, has been taking special injections since Saturday in order to increase the number of stem cells in his bloodstream.

    The 30-year-old may sit out the showdown between his fourth-placed side and a Union side that are in second place due to having a much more important commitment.

    He told the club's official website: "Of course I was surprised when I received the info that I was a match. I without a doubt wanted to make the donation as soon as possible.

    "I have the chance to potentially save another person's life with very little effort. It was a no-brainer. I hope my donation will help the recipient to recover from their illness.

    "I might of course miss the Union game but even with my sporting ambitions, football is of secondary importance. Those who know me know that I will do everything I can in order to rejoin the team as soon as possible.

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