MLS

MLS: New England trounce struggling Inter Miami, Vela nets as LAFC lose to Timbers

By Sports Desk July 21, 2021

Arnor Traustason netted a brace as New England Revolution piled on four first-half goals in a 5-0 thrashing of struggling Inter Miami in the MLS on Wednesday.

The Revolution improved their record, with back-to-back wins, to the best in the MLS with 30 points from 15 games, sitting atop the Eastern Conference.

Inter are bottom of the east, with only eight points from 14 games, having lost their past six.

Carles Gil provided the assist, his 11th of the season, for Traustason's 15th-minute header, before Teal Bunbury fired in a 27th minute goal from Inter goalkeeper Nick Marsman's parry.

Icelandic midfielder Traustason grabbed his second in the 36th minute, whipping in a shot after a goalmouth scramble from a corner.

Gil was crafty on the right side of the box before setting up another goal with Adam Buksa lashing home a fine volley on the stroke of half-time.

Buksa grabbed a double in the 83rd minute as Gustavo Bou put him into space with the Polish striker finishing with class.

Without Javier Hernandez, LA Galaxy came from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw away to Real Salt Lake.

Albert Rusnak and Maikel Chang had scored inside the opening 25 minutes to give RSL a 2-0 lead.

Victor Vazquez pulled one back with a top-corner strike in the 33rd minute, before RSL keeper David Ochoa had spectacularly saved a second-half Rayan Raveloson header.

But Madagascar talent Raveloson headed in a 77th-minute equaliser to earn a share of the spoils.

DC United scored twice in the final 10 minutes to rescue a 2-2 draw at struggling Chicago Fire.

Gaston Gimenez's 32nd-minute strike, on his return from the Copa America, and Andy Najar's 61st-minute own goal had Chicago on track but United hit back late.

In the 82nd minute, Yordy Reyna laid off for Kevin Paredes who fired in off the post, before Ola Kamara converted an 87th-minute penalty.

Hungarian forward Daniel Salloi netted a 94th minute equalizer for high-flying Sporting KC to claim a 1-1 home draw with 10-man San Jose Earthquakes who are winless in 10.

Salloi forced home a rebound after Johnny Russell's free-kick hit the woodwork after Nathan had headed the Earthquakes ahead from a corner against the run of play early in the second half.

Felipe Mora glanced on a late winner for Portland Timbers to edge Los Angeles FC 2-1 after Carlos Vela had earlier squared up following Diego Valeri's 100th goal for the club.

Colorado Rapids eased past Dallas 2-0 to extend their unbeaten run, Cincinnati drew 1-1 with Atlanta United and Columbus Crew and Nashville played out a goalless draw.

Toronto drew 1-1 with New York Red Bulls, while New York City edged Montreal 1-0.

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  • Busquets: Barcelona didn't deserve to lose El Clasico Busquets: Barcelona didn't deserve to lose El Clasico

    Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets believes his side deserved more after losing 2-1 to Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season 2-1 on Sunday.

    David Alaba and Lucas Vazquez gave Madrid a 2-0 lead before Sergio Aguero grabbed a late consolation for Barca deep into added time.

    The defeat was Barca's fourth consecutive Clasico defeat across all competitions - their longest losing run in the fixture since seven losses in a row between April 1962 and February 1965.

    Busquets, 33, felt that the Blaugrana should not have ended up on the losing side, but were undone by conceding the first goal.

    "They got it right in the first part and we didn't," Busquets said to Barca TV post-match. "We knew they were going to let us have the ball but they had speed with Rodrigo and Vinicius.

    "In a team with these characteristics, when you lose the ball it is difficult to recover. And they have scored a goal in a kick, not in a play. That changes the game completely. I don't think we deserved to lose, but that's football.

    "When there are games of these characteristics, the one who scores first has the advantage. In the second half, we had possession and control, but we had not made clear chances."

    Busquets refused to blame the referee for the result and insisted that Barca remain positive despite being five points behind the top three.

    "Yes, I have seen [the controversial incidents], but it does not matter," Busquets continued. "The referee has been good in general lines and I am not going to respond to the controversies.

    "A small gap [in the table] is opening but I think we are growing little by little. Now we are going to recover Ousmane who will give us things in attack. We have to continue."

    Barca head coach Ronald Koeman - who has now lost five games against Real Madrid (three) and Atletico Madrid (two), as many as in the previous nine seasons in the competition - agreed with his veteran midfielder, insisting that his men played well but that going behind allowed their opponents to play on the break.

    "It is always difficult to understand a result like this because we made merits to have another result, especially in the first half," Koeman said. 

    "It depended on a very clear chance to have 1-0 and instead, they scored 0-1, then it was complicated because they defended the result and we knew that is very dangerous.

    "The crowd was phenomenal until the last second, we tried but we didn't get the result we wanted. We were good in the first half. We had a lot of ball possession."

  • El Clasico: Alaba and Vinicius illustrate widening gap between Madrid and Barca El Clasico: Alaba and Vinicius illustrate widening gap between Madrid and Barca

    David Alaba is one of few footballers who can claim to have experienced consistent success against Barcelona in the 21st century and he once again proved a thorn in their side as El Clasico went in Real Madrid's favour at Camp Nou.

    In three games against Barca for Bayern Munich, Alaba enjoyed a 100 per cent win record.

    Bayern scored 15 goals and conceded just two across those matches, eight of those coming in Die Roten's incredible Champions League quarter-final win of 2020.

    And the Austria international remains unbeaten versus the Blaugrana, his stunning left-foot finish helping settle a game in which Barca misfired in their first Clasico since Lionel Messi's departure and Madrid's brightest young talent rose to the occasion.

     

    Alaba opens his account in style

    Alaba's goal, his first since joining Madrid, was one worthy of winning a fixture of such magnitude. Having won the ball from Memphis Depay on the edge of his own box, he surged forward before finding Vinicius Junior on the left flank.

    The former Bayern star initially wanted the return pass but Vinicius eschewed that option, instead playing a superb ball to Rodrygo Goes in the centre.

    Rodrygo's pass to find Alaba continuing his charge was inch-perfect, only bettered by the quality of a blistering finish from just inside the area.

    Barca struggled to deal with Madrid's threat down the left flank throughout, Vinicius taking the chance to emerge as the star of a Clasico absent its departed modern-day leading man.

     

    Vinicius shines in the spotlight

    Vinicius went into the fixture having scored seven goals and provided the assist for three in all competitions. He did not add to either of those tallies but his influence across the Brazilian's 87 minutes on the pitch was obvious,

    Ensuring Sergino Dest endured a difficult afternoon at both ends of the pitch, Vinicius attempted a game-high eight dribbles, four of which were successful.

    No player on the field participated in (20) or won more duels (10) as Vinicius excelled at putting Barca under pressure.

    Only Depay (six) and Ansu Fati (seven) had more touches in the opposition box, yet Barca's inability to make the most of those touches was telling.

    Barca bereft of attacking inspiration

    Alaba's shot that gave Madrid the lead had an Expected Goals (xG) value of 0.08, reflecting the difficulty he should have had in beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

    It came seven minutes after Dest had blazed high over the crossbar with the goal seemingly at his mercy from close range. Barca did not have a chance as presentable until Sergio Aguero scored with a point-blank effort from effectively the final kick of the game after Lucas Vazquez had put it to bed with Madrid's second goal.

     

    Barca finished with 12 shots but only two on target. Madrid hit the target with five of their 10 efforts. Nine of Barca's shots came from inside the box but they ended a frustrating encounter with only two 'big chances' compared to three for Los Blancos.

    Those numbers are reflective of a game in which, without Messi there to stretch Madrid's shape, Carlo Ancelotti's men succeeded in staying deep and compact and hitting Barca on the counter, which they twice did to devastating effect.

    When Barca got into the final third, the lack of creativity and threat in contrast to Madrid was startling.

    Ronald Koeman could do nothing to prevent Messi from leaving under the financial pressures faced by Barca and he certainly cannot be blamed for a howitzer of a strike from Alaba that tilted matters in Madrid's favour.

    Yet there will surely be questions asked as to how a man who played under Johan Cruyff at Barca can oversee a team that, at least on Sunday, was so desperately short of the attacking flair that has for so long defined this famous club.

    The final score may have looked tight but, in the post-Messi era, the gap between Barca and their arch-rivals is a chasm.

  • Ancelotti proud of Real Madrid suffering together in Barcelona triumph Ancelotti proud of Real Madrid suffering together in Barcelona triumph

    Carlo Ancelotti hailed Real Madrid's togetherness and defensive work after Los Blancos defeated Barcelona 2-1 in Sunday's Clasico to return to the top of LaLiga.

    David Alaba opened the scoring on his Clasico debut before Lucas Vazquez tapped in a second in stoppage time as Madrid seemed to be cruising to their fourth consecutive win over Barca in all competitions – their best run since 1965.

    Sergio Aguero's pulled one back at Camp Nou but that was not enough as the hosts went winless in a fifth straight LaLiga Clasico, their longest run without a victory against any team in the competition since May 2008.

    However, at times Madrid had to soak up significant pressure and Ancelotti was delighted with his side's resolute defending as Ronald Koeman became only the second coach to suffer defeat in his first three Clasico meetings.

    "We can compete, the team is very solid," Ancelotti started as he spoke to Movistar Plus post-match.

    "We have played against a great one, who has played a great game. We have suffered, but we have known how to suffer together. Not to lose control when you don't have the ball, it is also a virtue.

    "We have done very well. On the defensive aspect, I liked it a lot. We would all like to put pressure on the whole field, but it can't be done.

    "It was a practical game. This team has this quality to play against and we have to enjoy it. Barca has complicated the game for us. It was not simple.

    "I'm happy to win, El Clasico is the most important game. We are happy, but unfortunately, this is only three points."

    Thibaut Courtois was required to make just the one save in a quiet game for the Belgium international but sustained a slight knock late on, revealing he was suffering while kicking the ball.

    "Here you have to defend," Courtois told Movistar Plus after the match. "It is important to be well organized. Barca will be there until the end, winning here is good "

    "We were always good, they didn't have chances until that final goal. We have to be more focused, because with two minutes remaining, with the stadium squeezing everything could happen [after Aguero's goal].

    "I felt a pain when kicking, I could continue, I hope it is nothing serious."

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