MLS Snapshot: Los Angeles Galaxy 2-2 Portland Timbers

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One game, 100 words or less: Bruce Arena was asked at halftime what he can do to get his team on the board. “Play better” he said. Yup, about sums it up.

The Galaxy came out of the break and would soon open the scoring, but moments of relaxation soon after would relegate them to just a point.

It was a solid point considering they ended up needing a comeback to earn it, but having gone ahead early in the second half, they’ll be disappointed to have even put themselves in that situation.

Portland will be happy to have earned a road point, but they too will be disappointed to have given it up at the end.

Three moments that mattered:

65′ – Marcelo earns it this time – Sarvas may have hit the corner 15 minutes in, but he would get his goal in the second half. With the Galaxy threatening most since the halftime break, they would pick up the opener for their patience. A cross ricocheted out to the trio of Donovan, Sarvas, and Gyasi Zardes, and Marcelo took control. Zardes slid wide to tug Timbers defender Michael Harrington just slightly off Sarvas, and the space was enough for him to rip into the far corner.

70′ – Timbers strike for a second – Just when the Galaxy thought they’d taken control, it evaporates just five minutes later. Diego Valeri bagged one in the 67th minute to level things up at 1-1, and had another wide open opportunity three minutes later, but his shot careened into a Portland defender. The ricochet came right back out to Jorge Villafaña and he struck home powerfully.

86′ – Galaxy equalize at the death – The Timbers were the ones to steal a point last time out, and the Galaxy took that role at the StubHub Center. An own goal from Raushawn McKenzie was the final result of a great ball across the face intended for Robbie Keane at the far post. The ball didn’t make it to the striker though, as it evaded Donovan Ricketts but clipped McKenzie and went in.

Three lessons going forward:

1. The most likely time to concede, etc etc

Hey Galaxy, don’t let up after scoring. The old adage “the most likely time to concede is right after scoring” remained true, and in a deadly way, as the home side conceded not once but twice in five minutes after taking a 1-0 lead. This team proved creative on the day, but a poor stretch at the back was their undoing. The Galaxy will feel unlucky to get nothing from their build-up in the final minutes before their goal where Donovan twice went down in the box, but both Portland goals came on moments that should have been cleared, so they only have themselves to blame.

2. Both these teams remain dangerous and in good form

The first half was a chess match, but the second 45 opened up and showed why these two teams are still very much in the thick of things. The Galaxy created a pair of chances that could have resulted in penalties on another day, but the referee (probably correctly) ruled them as nothing and a free kick just outside the box, much to the chagrin of Donovan.

However, they are both dangerous sides that shouldn’t be taken lightly in the push for the Western Conference playoff spots.

3.  Nobody wants to win this fixture

After what happened in Portland in the reverse, it appeared for much of this second half that we’d have a winner. Nope. The Galaxy got the own goal, and good chances on either end in the dying minutes of the game go unpunished. Rodgers tried to win it with the final kick of the game, but his howitzer flew over. Three points would do both sides a big service here, but a draw doesn’t do much for anyone involved.

Where that leaves them:

Both sides will have wanted the win to pull away from the other, but this Western Conference remains a dogfight.  These two sides both are well in the hunt and are putting horrible starts behind themselves, but mistakes still resound.

  • The LA Galaxy sit on 21 points on 14 matches played, with a 5-6-3 record.
  • The Portland Timbers are also holders of 21 points, this time in 18 matches played and a 4-9-5 record.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC
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Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

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Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).