MLS

MLS: Play-offs set as Galaxy miss out to RSL in dramatic finale, Red Bulls extend streak and Wondolowski retires

By Sports Desk November 07, 2021

The 2021 MLS Cup play-offs are set following a wild final round of the regular season which saw LA Galaxy dramatically eliminated from the post-season picture by Real Salt Lake.

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scored twice for the Galaxy in a 3-3 draw with Minnesota United on Decision Day, but RSL's last-gasp 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City changed the landscape of the Western Conference.

RSL pipped the Galaxy – without post-season football for the second straight campaign – to the seventh and final play-off spot on victories for the season via a 95th-minute winner, having finished level on 48 points at the end of 34 rounds.

Minnesota finished fifth to clinch a post-season berth in the west, along with sixth-placed Vancouver Whitecaps, who drew 1-1 against Seattle Sounders.

Seattle's stalemate and Sporting KC's late loss allowed Colorado Rapids to secure top seed in the Western Conference following a 5-2 rout of Los Angeles FC, who were eliminated as a result.

In the Eastern Conference, Orlando City beat Montreal 2-0 for a spot in the play-offs, along with Atlanta United (2-1 over FC Cincinnati) and New York Red Bulls – the latter using a 1-1 draw against Nashville to extend their post-season streak to 12 years.

Supporters' Shield winners New England Revolution lost 1-0 to already eliminated Inter Miami, Portland Timbers eased past lowly Austin 3-0, DC United defeated Toronto 3-1, 10-man New York City drew 1-1 with Philadelphia Union and reigning champions Columbus Crew – who will not defend their title – beat Chicago Fire 2-0.

Chris Wondolowski scored in the San Jose Earthquakes' 1-1 draw against Dallas before the league's all-time leading scorer announced his retirement.

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  • Los Angeles FC aiming for 'long-term partnership' with Bale Los Angeles FC aiming for 'long-term partnership' with Bale

    Los Angeles FC want to form a "long-term partnership" with Gareth Bale, not just an agreement for six months before the World Cup.

    That is the message from LAFC's co-president John Thorrington, who spoke for the first time on the reported one-year deal to bring the Wales international to the United States.

    Bale revealed on Sunday he would join the MLS side when his Real Madrid contract expires and is said to have turned down a return to Tottenham, alongside an offer from hometown club Cardiff City.

    The 32-year-old will hope to prove his fitness before the World Cup in November, but Thorrington insists LAFC aim to keep Bale beyond the tournamnent in Qatar.

    "I'd love to get into specifics but, as policy, I don't," Thorrington told reporters when asked about the finances behind the deal. 

    "What I can tell you is that LAFC and Gareth are hoping that this is a long-term partnership and step for Gareth and his family.

    "It was never about six months just for the World Cup. We were always talking about longer-term than that. That was very clear from Gareth and his representative.

    "Obviously, we expect him to be a top, top player for us and in this league, but we will do so sensibly.

    “When Gareth is looking at what he needs to do, his priority will be at LAFC, we are absolutely sure of that, but we're not naive to the fact that he, like some other players of ours, have a World Cup on the horizon."

    LAFC lead the Western Conference in MLS after a 2-0 victory over New York Red Bulls.

    Steve Cherundolo's side host LA Galaxy on July 9, the first fixture after Bale could arrive, and Thorrington hopes to have the forward in action by then.

    "We don't have a firm date. Our window opens in early July and that will be the first time we can register him," he added.

    "We still have to go through immigration paperwork and things like that but we are hopeful that in the next week to 10 days we'll be able to take care of that for him and his family, to welcome them to Los Angeles and in order for him to start to get up to speed with the group and get his fitness up.

    "The first game he would be potentially available for would be the game we have here on July 8."

    World Cup winner Giorgio Chiellini has also signed for LAFC from Juventus this month, but Thorrington assures neither the centre-back nor Bale have moved for financial reasons.

    "You don't win five Champions League trophies, you're not the most valuable player of recent times, if you don't have that hunger," Thorrington continued.

    "We did our due diligence and I'm really excited about what this change of scene will mean for Gareth and his ability to focus on playing.

    "If Gareth was making this decision with a financial motive, he wouldn't be in MLS. I think what he saw in LAFC is a unique opportunity to make a real impact."

  • Rumour Has It: Liverpool set Salah price tag Rumour Has It: Liverpool set Salah price tag

    Liverpool have reportedly placed a £60million price tag on star Mohamed Salah after it became clear he is unlikely to remain with the club when his contract expires at the end of the upcoming season.

    Salah arrived at Anfield in 2017 in a £36.5m move from Roma and during his time with the Reds he has become one of the best players in the world.

    In his five Premier League seasons, Salah has tallied 118 goals and 50 assists in 180 games, been named PFA Players' Player of the Year twice, collected three Premier League Golden Boots and won the Puskas Award in 2018.

     

    TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL LOOK TO CASH IN BEFORE SALAH WALKS FOR NOTHING

    Liverpool have long since been in contract talks with the Egypt superstar, but recent developments have caused the club to investigate what they could get in return for him entering the final year of his deal.

    The Mirror is reporting Liverpool have decided that £60m is the number they would be comfortable with, but it remains to be seen if there is interest from rival clubs given he could leave Anfield for nothing next year.

    Meanwhile, The Sun claims Liverpool are confident they can land Borussia Dortmund's England midfielder Jude Bellingham at the end of next season.

    Liverpool have already seen Sadio Mane depart for Bayern Munich.

     

    ROUND-UP

    – According to Sky Sports, West Ham are exploring a potential move for Villarreal winger Arnaut Danjuma, who is said to have a £40m release clause in his contract.

    – Sky Sports also claim  West Ham are interested in signing Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse .

    Manchester United are hoping to sell young defender Brandon Williams for £10m, according to the Daily Mail, while The Sun claims the club have made around £100m available for Erik ten Hag to rebuild the team.

    – United have declined Barcelona 's request for the Red Devils to include Harry Maguire in their bid for Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong, according to The Sun.

    – The Athletic say  Crystal Palace are confident they will land 22-year-old Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure .

  • Monaco 'convinced' by Minamino qualities as Liverpool forward closes on move Monaco 'convinced' by Minamino qualities as Liverpool forward closes on move

    Monaco head coach Philippe Clement hopes Takumi Minamino can bring new qualities to his side as the Liverpool forward closes on a move to Ligue 1.

    Minamino is widely expected to join Monaco in the coming days, with the club reportedly agreeing a €13.3million (£15.5m) deal to sign the Japan international.

    The forward has scored four goals in 30 Premier League appearances for Liverpool since joining from Salzburg in 2020, but he started only five of those games as he struggled for regular minutes in Jurgen Klopp's star-studded side, spending half a season on loan at Southampton.

    Ahead of Monaco's 1-0 friendly win over Cercle Brugge on Sunday, Clement revealed Minamino was set to complete his move to the principality and affirmed his belief in the 27-year-old's ability.

    "I'm very happy, I've known him for a long time," Clement said of Minamino. "He was very high on our list. Everyone here is convinced that he has the qualities to bring something to the team.

    "He already has experience and has done a lot of good things at Salzburg, in a style close to ours, just like at Liverpool where there is a lot of competition. That's why this is an opportunity."

    Monaco ended the 2021-22 season third in Ligue 1, having finished the previous campaign in the same position.

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