Adama Diomande

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Three things we learned from LAFC-LA Galaxy (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): If at first (and second and third and fourth and fifth) you don’t succeed, try try again. Los Angeles FC, on their sixth time of asking, have finally beaten the LA Galaxy and did so in the highest-stakes meeting of the LA rivals — Thursday’s Western Conference semifinal at Banc of California Stadium, by the final score of 5-3. The game, as it tends to do when these sides meet, swung wildly in all directions. LAFC went 2-0 up through Carlos Vela, but it was 2-1 less than 60 seconds later. Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up the Galaxy’s first goal and scored their second just before the hour mark. Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande hit back in quick succession in the 66th and 68th minutes. Rolf Feltscher drew the Galaxy back to within a goal in the 77th, but Diomande put the game to bed three minutes later. Built up as the most hyped game in recent, if not all of, MLS history, LAFC versus LA Galaxy lived up to and surpassed the hype once again.

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Three things we learned

  • Big game, big stars: Vela showed up early and often, while Ibrahimovic arrived fashionably late and with a bit of assistance up the stairs to the main level of the party. Vela was sensational and highly influential once everyone in Black and Gold found their footing after a rocky opening 10 minutes.

There was also this stunning through ball from Ibrahimovic to set up Cristian Pavon for the Galaxy’s first goal. That was just about it from the big Swede, though, as he was forced deeper and deeper into midfield to get on the ball. Vela and Rossi were involved in absolutely everything, from winning the ball back on the press, to springing the counter-attacks, to setting up goals and finishing them off. At the end of the day, the youth and mobility of LAFC’s stars won out against the mega-stardom of the Galaxy’s main man.

  • VAR (What is it good for): It sure looks like Brian Rodriguez is narrowly offside as Latif Blessing, who impacted this game in a dozen different ways, plays the through ball prior to Rodriguez setting up the easiest goal of Vela’s season. It’s close, no doubt about it, but what better time than a decisive moment in a pivotal playoff game to make sure the call is correct with 100 percent certainty?

It should be noted that it’s always possible the camera angle paints a somewhat murky picture, but if video review is a tool made available so referees can get potentially missed calls correct, why not use it when you’ve got a potentially missed call that doesn’t require any interpretation of the rule?

  • Defense optional: If you expected anything different from these teams, given their previous five meetings which averaged — averaged — 4.8 goals per game, that is entirely your own fault. Defending has been the Galaxy’s achilles heel for going on five seasons now, so much so that the jokes almost aren’t even worth making anymore. They were always going to lose to LAFC at some point — it couldn’t go on forever — and it was almost certainly going to be largely down to their own incompetent defending, coupled with LAFC’s obvious brilliance, that did them in. LAFC were a far better defensive side in the regular season — much of that was always down to the amount of possession they held and their suffocating press, so it stands to reason they’ll be fine in the back half as these playoffs wear on. If, however, some of the goals LAFC conceded weren’t just a one-off, the final three games are suddenly far from the foregone conclusion they were 48 hours ago.

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Man of the match: Carlos Vela

Goalscorers: Vela (16′, 40′), Pavon (41′), Ibrahimovic (55′), Rossi (66′), Diomande (68′, 80′), Feltscher (78′)

Vela scores 24th, LAFC clinches playoff berth

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SANDY, Utah (AP) – Carlos Vela scored his MLS-leading 24th goal of the season, Tyler Miller had four saves and Los Angeles FC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff berth.

LAFC played a man down after defender Walker Zimmerman, who was shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 17th minute, was given a red for unsporting behavior in the 48th., Real Salt Lake’s Aaron Herrera, who blocked two would-be goals in the first half, was shown a straight red for denial of a goal scoring opportunity on Vela, who then converted from the spot to make it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Vela, whose 15 assists are tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the league lead, broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists. Sebastian Giovinco’s had 22 goals and 16 assists for Toronto FC in 2015.

Miller has eight shutouts this season for LAFC (18-3-4), who have won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight dating to June 28.

Adama Diomande side-netted a rising right-footer to cap the scoring in the 82nd minute.

Salt Lake (12-10-4) had its six-game unbeaten streak, including three straight wins, snapped and allowed multiple goals for the first time since a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on June 1.

MLS Deadline Day sees Saints winger move to RBNY

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We’ve had loads of moves on Deadline Day in Major League Soccer involving teams like Southampton, Barcelona, and Stoke City amongst others.

[ MORE: PST’s PL preview roundtable ]

The Red Bulls have added Southampton’s Josh Sims on a short-term loan deal as a Young Designated Player.

It’s a little surprising we don’t see more of this from the Premier League to Major League Soccer, and Sims will hang out at Red Bull Arena before returning to Saints by New Year’s Day.

Sims, 22, plays right and left wing, and chipped in three assists in a half-season loan to Reading last season. He also played 208 Premier League minutes, picking up an assist, and has 27 first team appearances for Saints.

Montreal is turning to a familiar face in taking 20-year-old academy product Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla on loan from Barcelona.

The twice-capped Canadian international has three goals and two assists for Montreal before moving to the Camp Nou, where he’s been a fixture for Barcelona B, where Ballou has posted three goals and two assists as well.

Ballou may pair with Bojan, as the ex-Barcelona and Stoke City striker has also moved to Montreal.

The Houston Dynamo have acquired a seldom-used player with a good league track record in the form of Christian Ramirez.

It’s all about the GAM and TAM going back to LAFC, who have Adama Diomande and plenty of depth in attack. Then again, Houston’s got some spice, too.

DC United has added three players, the most prominent being former Galaxy and Crew striker Ola Kamara.

The Norwegian will buttress Wayne Rooney‘s game before taking the starring wheel from him after the season (Mesut Ozil has also been linked with a move to DC).

DC also acquired Felipe Martins from Vancouver and Emmanuel Boateng from the Galaxy.

LAFC erases an early deficit, cruises to win in Houston (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): On a night when Carlos Vela failed to score and Diego Rossi had a marginal impact on the game’s proceedings for the majority of the night, Los Angeles FC cruised to a 3-1 victory over a playoff-bound Houston Dynamo side, on the road, and extended their lead in the Supporters’ Shield race to a cool 10 points. Don’t let anyone tell you that LAFC is a one-man team. They even had to overcome an early deficit after conceding a goal inside the game’s first 180 seconds. Increasing the difficulty level for themselves, because are unable to do so? Perhaps. What an embarrassment of riches when Adama Diomande, who would be a star no. 9 for the majority of MLS teams this year and scored a brace on Friday, is the third or fourth or fifth scoring option. A year after Atlanta United rewrote all the MLS record books, we can confidently say we’ve never seen a team as dominant as what LAFC is doing in just its second season of existence.

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Three moments that mattered

3′ — Quioto gets a favorable deflection and an early goal — LAFC have hardly been great defensively this season; they’ve just been so good at the other end of the field that it hasn’t mattered. They give up a lot of easily avoidable goals, like this one.

45’+2 — Diomande skies and loops a magnificent header — There’s no better time to score a goal, particularly one that erases an opponent’s lead, than in the seconds just before halftime. From this point forward, it felt like there could only be one possible outcome.

49′ — Diomande slots it home for 2-1 — Remember that thing about LAFC’s defense being a bit of a mess at times? Houston heard that, and took it as a personal challenge.

88′ — Rossi puts the game away with a stellar chip — Just trying to imagine how much we would be praising Rossi if he didn’t share a team with Vela.

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

Man of the match: Adama Diomande

Goalscorers: Quioto (3′), Diomande (45’+2, 49′), Rossi (88′)

MLS wrap: Vela drives six-star LAFC, Quakes win late (video)

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Carlos Vela is too good for MLS, FC Cincinnati can win in the league, and the Caleb Porter experience in Columbus needs a major shakeup as the embattled coach can’t push the same buttons mashed by his predecessor. (video)

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It’s all in the MLS wrap.

FC Cincinnati 3-2 Houston Dynamo

For the first time since May 11 and just the fourth time this season, FC Cincinnati won a league match. It wasn’t easy despite a 3-0 lead built by Kekuta Manneh, Rashawn Dally, and Victor Ulloa, as a PK and an own goal two minutes apart allowed the visitors within one with nine minutes to play in Ohio.

Los Angeles FC 6-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Yordy Reyna’s fifth minute goal was… misleading for the hosts, who conceded four times between the 35th and 54th minutes as Bob Bradley‘s men piled up the goals in California. Carlos Vela had two goals and an assist, while Adama Diomande, Diego Rossi, and Mark-Anthony Kaye joined a ‘Caps own goal on the score sheet.

Vela now has 19 goals and 12 assists in 19 games, which is pretty good. Both lead the league, and the goals total is six more than second-place Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Columbus Crew 1-2 Seattle Sounders

Offsetting penalty kick conversions had it 1-1 after 56 minutes, but Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro completed his brace in the sixth minute of stoppage time to pour more misery on Caleb Porter’s Crew. Turns out Gregg Berhalter did some pretty good work in Ohio. Columbus is six points back of seventh place Toronto FC and a miserable 4W-6L-2T at Crew Stadium in a league which favors the home side in a big way.

Montreal Impact 2-3 Minnesota United

Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored 27 seconds after the opening kick and the Impact had a 2-1 lead after just 13 minutes after Rudy Camacho added a marker. Sandwiched in between was a Mason Toye goal, and the youngster would follow-up an Ethan Finlay equalizer at the end of the first half to win it for the Loons just after halftime.

Sporting KC 1-0 Chicago Fire

Yohan Croizet scored for the second time this week as SKC picked up the pieces from a midweek loss to win for just the third time since May 26.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Real Salt Lake

Danny Hoesen’s goal in the third minute of stoppage time helped the Quakes rebound from a midweek hiccup and extend an impressive run to 5W-1L-2T under coach Matías Almeyda. San Jose moves into a playoff spot and sits six points back of second in the West.

Philadelphia Union (PPD) Orlando City

Lightning strikes caused a postponement until 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday.