MLS

MLS: Galaxy claim back-to-back wins to boost play-off hopes, Revs close on Shield

By Sports Desk October 20, 2021

LA Galaxy breathed life into their MLS play-off aspirations after securing back-to-back wins for the first time since August with a 3-0 victory at Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.

Galaxy, who had endured a nine-game winless skid, had beaten Portland Timbers 2-1 on the weekend before backing that up in Houston to reinforce their grip on sixth spot in the Western Conference midweek.

Greg Vanney's Galaxy went ahead in the 39th minute from veteran Sacha Kljestan's penalty, after Maynor Figueroa brought down Kevin Cabral inside the box.

Zarek Valentin's own goal on the stroke of half-time from Efrain Alvarez's cutback doubled Galaxy's advantage.

Two minutes into the second half, Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez provided a well-weighted pass for Kevin Cabral to add a third, moving Galaxy up to 45 points and above Real Salt Lake into fifth in the west.

New England Revolution moved another step closer to clinching the Supporters' Shield with a come-from-behind 3-2 win at DC United.

Adam Buksa, Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou all scored within 18 minutes as the Revolution responded to Nigel Robertha's 51st-minute opener for DC United.

The result moved Eastern Conference pacesetters New England to 69 points from 31 games, with Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders closest behind them on 58 points after 30 games after they lost ground following a 1-1 draw with third-placed Colorado Rapids.

Elsewhere, Nashville – second behind New England in the east – drew for the fifth straight game in a 1-1 stalemate against defending MLS champions Columbus Crew and Cristian Arango's hat-trick guided Los Angeles FC past Dallas 3-2.

Inter Miami snapped their six-game losing skid and kept alive their faint play-off aspirations with a 3-0 home victory over Toronto.

Gudmundur Thorarinsson equalised late for New York City but their winless run extended to six games after a 1-1 draw at Atlanta United, Minnesota United were 3-2 winners against Philadelphia Union, Orlando City and Montreal played out a 1-1 draw.

Chicago Fire prevailed 4-3 over struggling FC Cincinnati, Vancouver Whitecaps came from two goals down to win 3-2 away to Portland Timbers, while San Jose Earthquakes eased past lowly Austin 4-0.

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    The ties between Jamaica’s football and corporate Jamaica got stronger on Thursday as well-loved brand Wray & Nephew unveiled plans for a newly minted Wray & Nephew Football Programme.

    The programme, inspired by the longstanding partnerships with the island’s most impactful sporting competitions, was developed to foster the technical advancement of football in Jamaica, with a special emphasis on coaching education and bolstering the journey of the Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz towards the World Cup.

    The investment will be to the sum of approximately $200 million over the next three years.

    “The Wray and Nephew Football Program has been created to support our commitment to advance football in Jamaica. To that effect, we have decided to increase and widen our support and investment in the beautiful game,” said Jean-Philippe Beyer, Managing Director at J. Wray & Nephew.

    “Supporting football from grassroots programs to professional leagues is a privilege for us and I say this because, through this partnership, we are not only seeing the triumphs of our players and our coaches, we are also seeing the positive impacts their achievements have on their families and communities,” he added.

    In addition to being the title sponsors of both the JPL and Major League, Wray & Nephew will also be the official spirit of the senior Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz, supporting them in their dream of qualifying for the World Cup.

    Beyer also announced that Wray & Nephew are in the process of directly sponsoring some stadiums.

    “We are still in discussions with a number of them but tonight I can announce that we are at the contract stage with Ferdi Neita Park and Waterhouse Mini Stadium,” he said.

    Ferdi Neita Park is the home of Portmore United while Waterhouse Mini Stadium houses Waterhouse FC.

    Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts, who was also on hand on Thursday, has always pleaded for corporate Jamaica to get more involved in the country’s football and he was understandably elated that Wray & Nephew has done just that.

    “When we get a positive response from our daily calls from corporate Jamaica to come on board and help us use the sport of football to socially impact the well-being of boys and girls in this country, I am absolutely delighted,” he said.

    The Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, recognised the importance of the partnership between corporate Jamaica and sport.

    “This evening, we add another to the many partnerships between Jamaican companies and sporting bodies, communities and the Government over the years,” she said.

    “This partnership with a Jamaican-born company, J. Wray & Nephew Ltd, is a cause for celebration because, not only are we stronger together, but this partnership also highlights our shared passion for football and our vibrant sporting culture which, together, have brought so much joy to our people,” she added.

     

     

  • Spalletti confident Italy can live up to fans' dreams at Euro 2024 Spalletti confident Italy can live up to fans' dreams at Euro 2024

    Luciano Spalletti is confident Italy can live up to expectations as they aim to win a second consecutive Euros title.

    Roberto Mancini led Italy to Euro 2020 glory during an impressive 37-game unbeaten run as they beat England 3-2 on penalties at Wembley Stadium.

    Since taking over, Spalletti led Italy to qualification for the tournament and is unbeaten in six matches.

    Now trying to emulate his predecessor's success, the 65-year-old is confident his squad have what it takes to become just the second team to win back-to-back editions of the tournament.

    "For any child that goes out every evening and sweats, grazes their knees, then we are their heroes, what they dream of," he said.

    "It's up to us to live up to that. Giants and heroes don't go out with fear; they go out with passion and belief. Every one of us needs to ensure they have their toolbox and can screw or unscrew what they need to.

    "We have our own brand of football, and need to keep faith in it, but sometimes your opponents stop you. That's football! But I'm confident we can impose our game plan."

    Spalletti also confirmed Nicolo Barella could be in contention for Italy's opener against Albania after overcoming a muscle injury that kept him out of their warm-up friendlies.

    "Yesterday he did everything," Spalletti added. "We will see what happens today. We will see how he feels.

    "But as of yesterday evening, everything suggests that he will be available for selection."

    Gianluigi Donnarumma was the hero in the Euro 2020 final, saving Bukayo Saka's penalty in the shootout to ensure victory for the Azzurri.

    Now captaining the side, the goalkeeper is hoping to get off to a positive start against Albania to avoid any early nerves over their fate in the competition.

    "This match is the biggest banana skin in our group," Donnarumma said. "We have to be 100 per cent switched on. Albania have a lot of pace, a lot of threat. This match will be hugely important.

    "When you prepare to embark on a competition like this, then you can only be motivated. We start in the same spirit of three years ago, and we will try to recreate the magic of 2021. The survivors of three years ago will certainly give the newer players a few pointers.

    "If we win tomorrow night, it will be a big step to qualification. Winning will put us in a strong position; not winning would put us under pressure."

  • Coleman 'honoured' after signing contract extension with Everton Coleman 'honoured' after signing contract extension with Everton

    Seamus Coleman says he is "going to cherish and enjoy every moment" after signing a new one-year deal at Everton.

    The club captain, who arrived from Sligo Rovers in January 2009, has extended his contract with the Toffees, ensuring he will play in their final season at Goodison Park.

    Coleman has made a record 364 appearances for Everton in the Premier League, while only 12 players have appeared more times than the Republic of Ireland defender across all competitions (422).

    The 35-year-old full-back, who was appointed skipper in 2019, is thrilled to remain with "this special club", especially as they prepare to say farewell to Goodison.

    "Everyone knows what Everton means to me, and I'm very proud and honoured to sign a new contract and to keep playing for this special club in the best league in the world," Coleman told evertontv. "I'm going to cherish and enjoy every moment.

    "It's hard to believe it’s going to be our last season at Goodison, such a special place to me and every Evertonian. Of course, I want to be part of that. 

    "I still feel I can do a job for this football club on and off the pitch. This being our last season at Goodison is a nice way to go into the campaign, but I wouldn't have signed the contract if I didn't feel capable of contributing to the team."

    "From the day I became Everton manager, Seamus has been a great example to his team-mates and staff of what it means to play for the club," head coach Sean Dyche added.

    "He is a model professional and helps set standards, and his leadership is rightly admired by everyone. His vast experience and know-how on the pitch will continue to be valuable qualities for us in the season ahead."

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