Spain roundup: Big Three win, Getafe & Valladolid climb to safety

Leave a comment

Real Madrid may be in real trouble despite the thumping they unleashed on Rayo Vallecano this weekend, as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid show no signs of weakening ahead of a run-in to the end of a thrilling La Liga season.

Meanwhile, the weekend saw a shakeup in the relegation zone, as Getafe has at least temporarily escaped the terrors of the Bottom Three thanks to a surprising road win at Valencia.

After Barca’s heart-pounding win over Real Madrid last weekend officially made La Liga a three-horse race, Real lost its second straight with a Tuesday loss at Seville, while wins from Barca and Atletico propelled them into better paths to the title.

So this weekend provided a big question for Real supporters, and their club responded with a resounding, “Yes, we’re still here,” pounding away at Vallecano to the tune of 5-0. It took just 15 minutes for the Bernabeu to see a goal, as Cristiano Ronaldo scored before Daniel Carvajal and Alvaro Morata contribued a goal and Gareth Bale picked up a brace.

But a 77th minute penalty conversion from Lionel Messi sealed three points for Barca in its derby date at Espanyol, and Atletico overcame a sixth minute tally from Iker Muniain to see a 2-1 win at Bilbao behind goals from Diego Costa and Koke (above).

And so Real has to resort to hope, as it could win the rest of its matches and still be monitoring matches outside their participation right up until the final week’s Atletico/Barca power fixture.

Before you think we only care for the big name squads, how about a hand for Getafe and Valladolid? The other Madrid club fell behind 1-0 early before Lafita, Ciprian Marica and Pedro Leon scored to lift Getafe out of the relegation zone. They are now one point free of a three-way tie for the final two drop zone tickets.

And Valladolid is now surviving via goal differential in that three-way tie after a sixth minute Manucho goal paced them by Almeria in a massive relegation battle. The home team pushed Almeria down into the drop, as Valladolid picked up eight of its 30 points in March including the March 8 upset of Barca.


  • Celta Vigo 1-0 Sevilla FC — The hosts waited until the 87th minute to break through on a Nolito penalty.
  • Villarreal 1-1 Elche — Jonathan canceled out a penalty from Damian Suarez, but Villarreal failed to take advantage of stumbles from Sociedad and Sevilla.
  • Osasuna 1-1 Real Sociedad— A disappointing draw leaves Sociedad muddled with two clubs in a race for fifth, while Osasuna is now the third team in a three-team tie for two relegation spots. Not the good kind of third.
  • Granada vs. Levante — Monday
  • Real Betis vs. Malaga– Monday




Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Atlético Madrid 31 24 4 3 69 22 47 13-3-0 11-1-3 76
Barcelona 31 24 3 4 89 25 64 14-0-1 10-3-3 75
Real Madrid 31 23 4 4 86 32 54 13-0-2 10-4-2 73
Athletic 31 16 8 7 53 34 19 11-3-2 5-5-5 56
Sevilla 31 14 8 9 55 46 9 8-3-4 6-5-5 50
Real Sociedad 31 14 8 9 54 44 10 10-3-2 4-5-7 50
Villarreal 31 14 7 10 51 37 14 7-6-3 7-1-7 49
Espanyol 31 11 7 13 34 36 -2 7-3-6 4-4-7 40
Valencia 31 11 7 13 44 45 -1 8-3-5 3-4-8 40
Levante 30 9 10 11 27 38 -11 5-5-5 4-5-6 37
Celta Vigo 31 10 6 15 34 44 -10 4-6-6 6-0-9 36
Granada 30 10 4 16 28 40 -12 6-1-8 4-3-8 34
Rayo Vallecano 31 10 3 18 34 68 -34 6-0-9 4-3-9 33
Málaga 30 8 8 14 29 38 -9 5-2-8 3-6-6 32
Elche 31 7 11 13 25 42 -17 5-6-5 2-5-8 32
Getafe 31 8 7 16 29 48 -19 4-6-6 4-1-10 31
Valladolid 31 6 12 13 32 50 -18 5-7-3 1-5-10 30
Almería 31 8 6 17 33 58 -25 5-5-5 3-1-12 30
Osasuna 31 8 6 17 26 52 -26 5-3-7 3-3-10 30
Betis 30 5 7 18 26 59 -33 4-3-8 1-4-10 22

MLS Cup Playoffs: LA Galaxy 3-1 Real Salt Lake (video)

Los Angeles Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme (37) congratulates forward Alan Gordon (9) for scoring against the Real Salt Lake during the first half of a knockout round MLS playoff soccer match in Carson, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): The LA Galaxy are through to the conference semifinals of the MLS Cup Playoffs, where they’ll take on the Colorado Rapids beginning Sunday, for the seventh time in eight years with a 3-1 knockout-round triumph over Real Salt Lake at the StubHub Center on Wednesday. Alan Gordon put the home side ahead inside the first quarter-hour before RSL drew level seven minutes later, but Emmanuel Boateng bagged a quickfire brace to complete a pair of brilliant individual exhibitions of dribbling inside the penalty area. With Steven Gerrard unavailable and Robbie Keane only fit to feature off the bench, Bruce Arena turned to Gordon, who gave way to Keane early in the second half after picking up an injury of his own, to play the fulcrum of the Galaxy attack, and it worked to near-perfection during the opening half-hour. Landon Donovan started the game and played 87 minutes, providing the kind of defensive work rate that’s been missing up and down the flanks of LA all season. Sebastian Lletget put in a near-flawless passing performance while playing deep in midfield. Don’t look now, but those are the Galaxy’s biggest question of 2016, all just about answered as the playoffs begin. I won’t say, “I told you so” if/when they win MLS Cup 2016, but…

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

14′ — Gordon finishes from close range for 1-0 — Landon Donovan -> Giovani dos Santos -> Alan Gordon. Just like Bruce Arena drew it up in preseason midseason last month this week this morning.

21′ — Plata converts from the spot after Morales’ dive — Javier Morales was angling for a penalty from the moment he entered the penalty area. All Emmanuel Boateng had to do was look at him, and Morales was going down.

26′ — Boateng weaves through to make it 2-1 — Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Boateng took advantage of some poor defending, and the Galaxy were back in the lead.

34′ — Boateng cuts inside, blows past his man, makes it 3-1 — There’s playing in top gear, and there’s having an extra gear that you rarely have to use because no one else on the field has it. Boateng falls into the latter category.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Emmanuel Boateng

Goalscorers: Gordon (14′), Plata (21′), Boateng (26′, 34′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union (video)

Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): 10 years later, Toronto FC are MLS Cup Playoffs victors. For eight seasons, the playoffs eluded them altogether. Last year, they were one-and-done in embarrassing fashion at the hands of their local rivals. In 2016, it was  their year — a proclamation we’d heard plenty times before — and so far, they’ve lived up to the hype. Wednesday’s 3-1 home victory over the Philadelphia Union in the knockout round gets the monkey off the Reds’ back, but more importantly, afforded Sebastian Giovinco, who bagged a goal and an assist on the night (his second straight game with such a line), 90 more minutes of game time after missing more than a month through injuries as the regular season wound down. After 270 minutes of action, the Atomic Ant looks sharp as ever, and destined to terrorize New York City FC, whom TFC will face in the conference semifinals, beginning Sunday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

15′ — Atlidore feeds Giovinco for 1-0 — The first playoff goal in TFC’s 10-year history. Poor goalkeeping, ball-watching defending, terrible touches, an overhead cross, and a strike off the crossbar. There’s a lot going on here. Watch it all right here.

49′ — Osorio slams home from the corner for 2-0 — The Union have been bad at defending set pieces all season, so is it at all surprising a set-piece gaffe effectively ended their season? No, it’s not.

73′ — Bedoya puts the loose ball home for 2-1 — Speaking of failing to effectively clear a corner kick, the Union were gifted a lifeline 15 minutes before full-time.

85′ — Altidore puts it out of reach, seals it for TFC — Ken Tribbet did not have the best night a center back has ever seen. His final blunder resulted in Jozy Altidore reclaiming TFC’s two-goal lead, and ending the Union’s 2016 season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Giovinco (15′), Osorio (49′), Bedoya (73′), Altidore (85′)

Men In Blazers podcast: Mourinho’s Chelsea return; Bradley’s 1st point

Men In Blazers
Leave a comment

Rog and Davo break down Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea with Manchester United, another stumble for Manchester City and Bob Bradley’s first Premier League point.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

VIDEO: Altidore, Giovinco combine for TFC’s first-ever playoff goal

Sebastian Giovinco
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
Leave a comment

It’s been 10 years in the making, and Toronto FC finally have their first-ever goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

After failing to qualify for the playoffs in each of their first eight seasons, 2015 saw the Reds venture into the postseason for the first time ever, only to be thumped in the knockout round, 3-0, by their 401 derby rival Montreal Impact, of all sides.

This is the year, though, or so we’ve said and been told all season long. While it remains to be seen how deep of a run TFC can muster in 2016, they’ll always have the Jozy Altidore‘s terrible first touch; Altidore’s wayward second and third touches; Altidore’s overhead cross; and Sebastian Giovinco’s strike, all of which you can watch in all its hilarity glory below.

[ MORE: Power rankings — Playoffs edition | MLS Cup predictions ]