Let’s talk about what we mean by “on the brink” in that headline.
I know we’re not supposed to talk about The Headline in this way (the internet’s equivalent of a fourth wall), but anybody familiar with the scenarios knows “on the brink” is a huge understatement. It gives the impression that the Earthquakes can still make the playoffs, and while that’s true, it will take a scenario so outlandish that police investigations into gambling influences will commence if San Jose’s playing beyond next Saturday …
Because here’s what needs to happen:
- San Jose needs to beat Dallas at Buck Shaw, scoring at least 12 goals in the process.
- If they only score 12 goals, Colorado will need to lose by at least seven in Vancouver without scoring a goal.
- That would put San Jose and Colorado even on points, wins (first tiebreaker) and goals (second tiebreaker).
- The playoff spot would then come down to goal difference, which would depend on how many goals San Jose allowed in their 12-X romp.
- The next tiebreaker, discipline points, favors Colorado.
- If, however, San Jose scores 13, they could pass Colorado on goals scored, provided Vancouver wins at BC Place. The Rapids will go into next weekend with 45. San Jose’s scored 32.
As you can see, San Jose — who entered the night four back of the fifth place Rapids — is done. If they’re “on the brink,” it’s only mathematically; not practically.
The Galaxy, however, are in. Their point leaves them with 52, though they could still finish anywhere from first to fifth in the conference.
Win next Sunday in Seattle, and they’ll pass whichever of Portland (first, 54 points) or Real Salt Lake (second, 53) fail to beat Chivas USA (both teams close their seasons with the Goats).
If LA draws in Seattle, the best they can do is third (unless RSL loses to Chivas and scores three fewer goals than Los Angeles next weekend). The Sounders won’t pass them, but Colorado can with a win in Vancouver. If that happens, Seattle and LA will fly to StubHub for an elimination leg of an unlikely home-and-home.
If LA loses in Seattle, they can finish no higher than fourth place, and if the Rapids knock off the Whitecaps, the defending champions are off to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the West’s winner-take-all playoff opener.
Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.
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Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City
Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth
The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.
But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.
Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a
Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland
Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.
One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.
Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.
The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.
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That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.
Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.
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A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.
Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.
Click play on the video above to watch it.
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.