MLS Preview: Portland Timbers at LA Galaxy

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  • Portland on a 13-match unbeaten run
  • Galaxy have allowed eight goals in their last two games
  • LA took nine of nine points from Portland last season

Remember that one time Caleb Porter lost a Major League Soccer game? Unless you’re a Timbers or Montréal Impact fan, you might not, because that single loss came in the season’s second round, before narratives around the league’s two most surprising teams became entrenched. But now, three-and-a-half months into the season, that March meeting at JELD-WEN looks like one of the more important games of the young season. The East-leading Impact remain the only team to derail Portland, while the Timbers have a 13-match unbeaten run.

If Portland’s to catch FC Dallas’s record of 19 without a loss (set in 2010), they’ll have to navigate a six-match stretch that includes four road games and two meetings with the defending champion Galaxy. But for a team that’d only won two road games in their MLS history coming into the season, games away from JELD-WEN suddenly pose surprisingly few fewer concerns. The Timbers have MLS’s only unbeaten record away from home (2-0-6).

The Galaxy games, however, could reintroduce an element Portland hasn’t dealtwith since the beginning of their run: Doubt. Coming into the year, the Timbers needed to prove their new coach’s concepts would lead to results, something that became evident by the middle of April. Since then the team has pushed on, become a confident, efficient team that’s as capable of opportunistic wins as impressive results. Yet although the Timbers have proved themselves against conference leaders (FC Dallas), league stalwarts (Dom Kinnear’s Houston), and some of the league’s most talented squads (Sporting Kansas City), the one true benchmark remains.

There is something different about the Galaxy. Two-time league champions, managed by the league’s best coach of all time, possessing transcendant talents like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, Los Angeles is a unique challenge no matter the circumstances. The MLS embodiment of Atreyu’s mirror, LA engender doubts in anyone, not just the Timbers. Even without Omar Gonzalez, away on national team duty, the Galaxy are capable of presenting a greater challenge than any team in Major League Soccer. Even if they only sit fifth in the West, if LA decides tonight meeting in Carson’s a big game, recent history says they’re likely to win it.

Whether the Galaxy are capable of flipping the switch right now is a point of concern. Two weeks ago, the team was routed in New England, an embarrassing 5-0 loss that failed to serve as a wakeup call ahead of last week 3-1 defeat in Utah. Without Gonzalez, the team’s allowed eight goals in two games, terrible form to carry into a match against one of the league’s best attacks.

Unfortunately for the Timbers, their weaknesses play into LA’s greatest strength. Depleted by injuries at the back (having lost and Mikael Silvestre and David Horst while Futty Danso left Saturday’s win over Dallas), Portland will be particularly susceptible to a league best counter attack that’s buttressed back-to-back titles. Will Johnson and Diego Chara have done a great job protecting their center backs from other team’s counters, but other teams don’t have Donovan pulling the strings, Keane making the runs. Particularly away from the snug confines of JELD-WEN Field, Portland could see their vulnerabilities exposed.

There is, however the case to be made for Johnson and Chara. As well as the help they get from Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri, the support they receive as an outlet from Michael Harrington, as well as the disaster insurance that is right back Jack Jewsbury. Look beyond the drawbacks of Pa Modou Kah and Andrew Jean Baptiste and you see a complete picture that explains why a defense that was seen as a preseason liability has yet to pose a significant problem. The pieces around the men in the middle are compensating for the issue.

And against an LA central midfield that’s failed to assert itself this year — one that will be without Marcelo Sarvas (suspended, yellow card accumulation) — Portland may be able to claim another result. Without his partner, Juninho will need to find the form he carried through the middle of last season. Given his talents, that only seems like a matter of time, but unless he can pick up his game against a Timbers system that sends numbers at opponents with each change of possession, the Galaxy will have a difficult time springing those nightmare-inducing counters.

Regardless of who wins, we’re like to learn something tonight at StubHub Center (10:30 p.m. EDT kickoff). If Portland wins and climbs to the top of the West, they’ll send another notice to the rest of the league, claiming as validating result against the league’s standard-bearers. And if LA derails a team that carries a 13-match unbeaten into Carson, it will be affirm their place as the league’s true litmus test, rendering any contenders’ progress irrelevant until they’re tested against the defending champions.

Other notes: Omar Gonzalez will miss tonight’s match while on international duty. José Villarreal is also gone, with the U.S. U-20s, while Portland will be without Rodney Wallace, returning from international duty with Coast Rica … Los Angeles took all nine points from Portland last year, scoring five times in the team’s last meeting … Portland have never earned a point in Carson … Brian Rowe got the start last week in Utah. Few Galaxy fans would be upset if he keeps the struggling Carlo Cudicini on the bench … Todd Dunivant returned to full training this week. He could start only his third game in nine … Portland’s unbeaten run is the 10th-longest in MLS history … The run leaves Porter tied with Tom Soehn for the longest streak for a first-year head coach. Soehn did the same with D.C. United in 2008.

NBC Sports Premier League schedule

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The new NBC Sports Premier League schedule for the 2019-20 season has been released, with time and dates for the upcoming matchweeks confirmed and here’s how you can watch it all live on TV in the USA.

[ WATCH: Premier League video ] 

With games spread out across multiple days and many in separate time slots, there are lots of changes to your regular schedule as the league returns on June 17 after being suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Games will be played in empty stadiums and at home venues.

The full TV schedule for the games this month are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com, the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold and the new Peacock streaming service from NBC.

Below is the new schedule for the Premier League on NBC Sports from June 17 to July 22 , as we will release the dates and times for the final matchweek of the 2019-20 season when they become available and how to watch them in the USA.


Premier League: How to watch, schedule in USA (all times EST)

Matchday 29

Wednesday, June 17: Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United
Wednesday, June 17: Man City 3-0 Arsenal

Matchday 30

Friday, June 19: Norwich 0-3 Southampton
Friday, June 19: Tottenham 1-1 Man United
Saturday, June 20: Watford 1-1 Leicester
Saturday, June 20: Brighton 2-1 Arsenal
Saturday, June 20: West Ham 0-2 Wolves
Saturday, June 20: Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
Sunday, June 21: Newcastle 3-0 Sheffield United
Sunday, June 21: Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea
Sunday, June 21: Everton 0-0 Liverpool
Monday, June 22: Man City 5-0 Burnley

Matchday 31

Tuesday, June 23: Leicester 0-0 Brighton
Tuesday, June 23: Tottenham 2-0 West Ham
Wednesday, June 24: Man United 3-0 Sheffield United
Wednesday, June 24: Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa
Wednesday, June 24: Norwich 0-1 Everton
Wednesday, June 24: Wolves 1-0 Bournemouth
Wednesday, June 24: Liverpool 4-0 Palace
Thursday, June 25: Southampton 0-2 Arsenal
Thursday, June 25: Burnley 1-0 Watford
Thursday, June 25: Chelsea 2-1 Man City

Matchday 32

Saturday, June 27: Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
Sunday, June 28: Watford 1-3 Southampton
Monday, June 29: Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley
Tuesday, June 30: Brighton 0-3 Man United
Wednesday, July 1: Everton 2-1 Leicester
Wednesday, July 1: Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle
Wednesday, July 1: Arsenal 4-0 Norwich
Wednesday, July 1: West Ham 3-2 Chelsea
Thursday, July 2: Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham
Thursday, July 2: Man City 4-0 Liverpool

Matchday 33

Saturday, July 4: Norwich City 0-1 Brighton
Saturday, July 4: Leicester 3-0 Crystal Palace
Saturday, July 4: Man United 5-2 Bournemouth
Saturday, July 4: Wolves 0-2 Arsenal
Saturday, July 4: Chelsea 3-0 Watford
Sunday, July 5: Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United
Sunday, July 5: Newcastle United 2-2 West Ham
Sunday, July 5: Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Sunday, July 5: Southampton 1-0 Man City
Monday, July 6: Tottenham 1-0 Everton

Matchday 34

Tuesday, July 7: Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea
Tuesday, July 7: Watford 2-1 Norwich City
Tuesday, July 7: Arsenal 1-1 Leicester City
Wednesday, July 8: Man City 5-0 Newcastle
Wednesday, July 8: Sheffield United 1-0 Wolves
Wednesday, July 8: West Ham 0-1 Burnley
Wednesday, July 8: Brighton 1-3 Liverpool
Thursday, July 9: Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham
Thursday, July 9: Everton 1-1 Southampton
Thursday, July 9: Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United

Matchday 35

Saturday, July 11: Norwich City 0-4 West Ham
Saturday, July 11: Watford 2-1 Newcastle United
Saturday, July 11: Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
Saturday, July 11: Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea
Saturday, July 11: Brighton 0-5 Manchester City
Sunday, July 12: Wolves 3-0 Everton
Sunday, July 12: Aston Villa 2-1 Crystal Palace
Sunday, July 12: Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
Sunday, July 12: Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester City
Monday, July 13: Man United v. Southampton, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN

Matchday 36

Tuesday, July 14: Chelsea v. Norwich, 3:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Burnley v. Wolves, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Man City v. Bournemouth, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Newcastle v. Tottenham, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Arsenal v. Liverpool, 3:15 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Everton v. Aston Villa, 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Leicester v Sheffield United, 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Crystal Palace v. Man United, 3:15 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Southampton v. Brighton, 3:15 p.m. ET
Friday, July 17: West Ham v. Watford, 3 p.m. ET

Matchday 37

Saturday, July 18: Norwich City v. Burnley, 12:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 19: Bournemouth v. Southampton, 9 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 19: Tottenham v. Leicester, 11 a.m. ET
Monday, July 20: Brighton v. Newcastle, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, July 20: Sheffield United v. Everton, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, July 20: Wolves v. Crystal Palace, 3:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, July 21: Watford v. Man City, 1 p.m. ET
Tuesday, July 21: Aston Villa v. Arsenal, 3:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 22: Man United v. West Ham, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 22: Liverpool v. Chelsea, 3:15 p.m. ET

Premier League standings

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The Premier League is back a three month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Below you will find a reminder of the Premier League standings as we get back to business.

[ MORE: Latest PL TV schedule ]

With three matchweeks remaining in the 2019-20 Premier League season, there is plenty to play for up and down the league and the standings are extremely tight.

Liverpool have wrapped up the Premier League in stunning fashion over Man City, with the reigning champions and current second-place side eager to focus on cup competitions.

Three of the top four should stay there unless Leicester City’s form dips considerably, but the race for fourth and fifth should be fierce. We may know whether fifth is a Champions League place after scheduled June 8-10 meetings to hear Man City’s appeal over its European ban.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

With between nine and 10 matches left for everyone and eighth potentially being a Europa League spot, all the teams between fourth and 11th still have European hopes in the balance. That would change should Norwich City or Newcastle win the FA Cup, so call it 13 clubs.

The action is going to come fast and often, with the league putting together a staggered schedule of kickoff times that will make matches even more of an all-weekend affair.

Below are the Premier League standings in full, as we will updated them throughout the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

PREMIER LEAGUE STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Liverpool 35 30 3 2 76 27 49 17-1-0 13-2-2 93
 Manchester City 35 23 3 9 91 34 57 13-2-2 10-1-7 72
 Chelsea 35 18 6 11 63 49 14 9-3-5 9-3-6 60
 Leicester City 35 17 8 10 65 36 29 10-4-3 7-4-7 59
 Manchester United 34 16 10 8 59 33 26 10-5-2 6-5-6 58
 Wolves 35 14 13 8 48 37 11 7-7-4 7-6-4 55
 Sheffield United 35 14 12 9 38 33 5 10-3-5 4-9-4 54
 Tottenham Hotspur 35 14 10 11 54 45 9 11-3-4 3-7-7 52
 Arsenal 35 12 14 9 51 44 7 8-6-3 4-8-6 50
 Burnley 35 14 8 13 39 47 -8 8-3-6 6-5-7 50
 Everton 35 12 9 14 41 52 -11 8-6-3 4-3-11 45
 Southampton 34 13 5 16 43 56 -13 5-2-10 8-3-6 44
 Newcastle United 35 11 10 14 36 52 -16 6-8-3 5-2-11 43
 Crystal Palace 35 11 9 15 30 45 -15 6-4-7 5-5-8 42
 Brighton & Hove Albion 35 8 12 15 36 52 -16 5-6-7 3-6-8 36
 West Ham United 35 9 7 19 44 59 -15 5-3-9 4-4-10 34
 Watford 35 8 10 17 33 54 -21 6-6-6 2-4-11 34

 Bournemouth 35 8 7 20 36 60 -24 5-6-7 3-1-13 31
 Aston Villa 35 8 6 21 38 65 -27 6-3-9 2-3-12 30
 Norwich City 35 5 6 24 26 67 -41 4-3-11 1-3-13 21

Leicester ‘too soft, lacked courage’ after stunning collapse at Bournemouth

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Leicester ‘lacked courage’ according to reaction from their manager and captain as an inquest was held in the aftermath of their stunning collapse at Bournemouth on Sunday.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

The Foxes led 1-0 at half time but a few minutes of madness saw them make huge errors, have Caglar Soyuncu sent off and concede four goals as they lost 4-1 at relegation-threatened Bournemouth and are now in real danger of not qualifying for the Champions League.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game in an interview, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers shared his reaction lambasted his side for their unbelievable collapse at Bournemouth

“We lacked courage in the second half, to take the ball,” Rodgers said. “We had good opportunities and decent control in the first half. They changed their shape a little bit. For the first 15 minutes you’ve got to grind it out. They’ve got nothing to lose and have to come after the game. You’ve got to grind it out in football sometimes. You can always play fantastic football. That first 15 minutes we did that but we weren’t making quick enough angles, weren’t taking responsibility on the ball. We concede the penalty, which is then, okay, we get to 1-1. But we still have to show a greater mentality in the game. It is something that surprised me, to be honest. In all the time I’ve been here I mentioned in the week about the strength of mentality in this team. But second half we were too soft in too many ways. That was the big disappointment. To end up losing 4-1, it was a big surprise, especially after the first half.”

Leicester captain and goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, made a huge error for the first goal as he smashed the ball against Wilfred Ndidi from a goal kick and that set off the entire collapse.

“It is obviously not good enough from us. It is a good wake up call for us and hopefully it’s there in time,” Schmeichel said. “We’re accountable. I’m very, very sorry to our fans for that second half particularly. It starts with me on that goal kick because it changes the game.”

Schmeichel then went on to say that the collapse shouldn’t happen and questioned the focus and work ethic of his teammates.

“This is football. These things can happen. They shouldn’t but they can do. We are going to have to reflect on that and make a positive out of it. We are going to have to work a hell of a lot harder than we did second half if we want to achieve anything this season. It is an eye-opener. It doesn’t matter who you are playing against in the Premier League, if you don’t run, track your runners, if you don’t win your tackles or have the courage to have the ball, like we didn’t have second half, then anyone can beat you.”

With Sheffield United, Tottenham and Chelsea left to play, Leicester finish the season by playing three teams around them in the table.

Rodgers admits he has learned a lot about his team from this defeat and it is a big opportunity missed in their hunt for the Champions League.

“I think it is a great learning game for me and looking at the team because I think everyone is classifying us being up there and we have shown great talent to be up there but we still have much to do. In terms of being up there consistently and showing again that you need to see the likes of that through,” Rodgers said. “It was a big opportunity. The door was wide open to jump up into third place. To have that level of performance in the second half, it shows we have a lot of work to do.”

Bournemouth stun self-destructing Leicester

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Bournemouth stunned Leicester City to secure a remarkable 4-1 comeback win as Brendan Rodgers’ side led at half time but hit the self-destruct button in the second half.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

Jamie Vardy gave Leicester the lead but a few minutes of madness cost Leicester dear. Kasper Schmeichel gave away a penalty kick which Junior Stanislas scored to make it 1-1 and 60 seconds later Bournemouth went 2-1 up as Dominic Solanke slotted home as Schmeichel should have done better. Stanislas deflected effort made it 3-1 and then Solanke made it 4-1 as Bournemouth ran riot and Leicester totally unravelled.

The win moves Bournemouth on to 31 points, three points from safety with three games to go, while Leicester sit in fourth on 59 points.


Three things we learned, Bournemouth – Leicester

1. Bournemouth up for the fight: This was the first time in two years Bournemouth came from behind to win a Premier League game and boy did they time it to perfection. Howe’s young side made the most of awful errors from Leicester and you could see them grow in confidence throughout the second half. This is a huge result for Bournemouth in their relegation scrap as they now face Man City, Southampton and Everton in their final three games of the Premier League season. Two wins from those three games should keep them up as they battle with Watford, West Ham and Aston Villa to try and stay up. At half time they looked relegated. At full time they looked anything but.

2. Leicester implode to leave Champions League dream in tatters: Brendan Rodgers watched on in disbelief as his side collapsed in the second half to leave their Champions League dream. Three minutes of madness saw a mistake from Schmeichel led to a penalty kick, then Soyuncu got himself sent off for lashing out as the Foxes just lost the plot. This has been coming. They haven’t played well for months and both Man United and Chelsea look better set to finish third and fourth. If Leicester don’t qualify for the Champions League it will be one of the biggest collapses in PL history. After 24 games of the season, they were 14 points ahead of Man United. Tomorrow they could fall two points behind Man United. Leicester face Sheffield United, Tottenham and Man United in their final three games and the way they are playing, and now without the suspended Soyuncu, they could easily lose all three.

3. Bournemouth have belief: Sure, they were given this win by Leicester but Bournemouth grabbed the opportunity with both hands. This is a massive boost in their relegation battle. They have to get at least six points from their last three games but that is doable. West Ham and Watford square off on Friday and ahead of their big South Coast derby against Southampton on Sunday, there is huge belief Bournemouth can drag themselves out of trouble.

Man of the Match


Early on Bournemouth whipped in some good crosses but Callum Wilson just couldn’t connect in the box as the hosts started well.

Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho went close as Leicester woke up and a mistake from Dan Gosling then allowed Leicester to open the scoring.

Iheanacho’s effort was flicked off the line but Vardy was waiting to pounce and tap home his 23rd goal of the season, as the ultimate fox in the box put the Foxes 1-0 up.

Danjuma with a terrible ball back and set up Vardy as Nathan Ake deflected his shot over the bar. Ake injured himself with that block as Steve Cook replaced him, while at the other end Kasper Schmeichel kept out David Brooks’ fine effort.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Bournemouth put pressure on Leicester and Cook clipped a low ball to the back post which just evaded Wilson.

Out of nothing, Kasper Schmeichel smashed the ball against Wilfred Ndidi from a goal kick and the ball bounced to Wilson who was brought down by Ndidi and a penalty kick was awarded. Stanislas slotted home to make it 1-1 and moments later Bournemouth were ahead.

Solanke was played in and his low shot squirmed under Schemeichel and just over the line, as Bournemouth’s players went wild and in the aftermath it got even better as Caglar Soyuncu was sent off after a mad moment which saw him kick Callum Wilson while he was on the floor in the net.

Late on Bournemouth went 3-1 up as Stanislas’ shot deflected off two Leicester defenders and in, then it got even better as Solanke poked home his second and Bournemouth’s fourth to complete a truly remarkable comeback.

Sub Sam Surridge could have scored twice as he hit the bar and headed over as Leicester totally gave up.