Friday’s soccer news starts with more from MLS Week 22, with NYCFC shutting out Orlando City 2-0 on the road. Maximiliano Moralez opened the scoring in the 40th minute and assisted on Anton Tinnerholm’s goal a minute into first-half stoppage time. Orlando’s Shane O’Neill saw red for violent conduct in the 83rd minute. Sean Johnson made five saves to keep the clean sheet.
“The biggest thing for me is I’ll never make excuses,” Orlando coach James O’Connor said. The easy thing for me to do is to come out here and say, ‘Oh we hit the post four times.’ There’s something to that, but equally for me there shouldn’t be a disparity between the first and second-half.”
The El Trafico between LAFC and the LA Galaxy ended 2-2 with the Galaxy staging a late comeback. LAFC looked to be in control at Banc of California Stadium, with Carlos Vela scoring in the 7th minute. Lee Nguyen made it 2-0 in the 20th. Romain Alessandrini cut that lead in the 82nd with Zlatan Ibrahimovic assisting. Ola Kamara equalized in the 86th.
“I think in the MLS, anything can happen,” Ibrahimovic said. “You can lose 2-0 and the game is back and forth, or you can come up and catch them, and even win the game, because you will get chances. You will get chances and you will get good chances, and the only thing you have to make sure is that you score when you get those chances and it’s not like that in the championship or in the countries I’ve played in. There, you don’t get a lot of chances, you get one or maybe two, and if you don’t score on those chances, you don’t win the game and they punish you for that. Here you get a lot of chances and I’m starting to understand the game much more. Today, we got chances, and even if LAFC was the better team, we got chances and we took care of those chances. If we did a little bit more we could’ve even won the game.”
Piggybacking on Zlatan’s comments is easy enough, but he raises a distinct point about MLS. It’s not just a league where hanging on late is an issue for a lot of clubs. It’s a league where locking a game down in a similar way to what we see in Europe is extremely difficult.
“When there’s a game with a motion at the end and it’s spinning out of control, that there’s a couple of players on the field that have the composure and the intelligence to just make sure that we get it right,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “That’s the part that we still must get in order to get to the next level as a team. It’s a classic example, because at that part of the game it’s just about making smart plays.”
In fairness to Bradley and LAFC, it’s also that part of the game that most of the league can’t handle consistently. There’s not a coach in the league somehow avoiding those same frustrations over the course of a season.
Joe.co.uk’s Melissa Reddy talks to Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner. FourFourTwo’s Seb Stafford-Bloor on Newcastle United’s finances. ESPN’s Rob Dawson interviews Manchester United player Luke Shaw. Pro Soccer Talk’s Daniel Karell reports on QPR’s Financial Fair Play issue. Inside World Football’s Andrew Warshaw with the Court of Arbitration for Sport keeping former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke’s ban in place.
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Photo by John Dorton – ISIPhotos.com