Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle wrap up an eventful Saturday of Premier League action. Breaking down the big match between Liverpool and Tottenham, review Man United’s progress under Jose Mourinho, mull over Maurizio Sarri and his exciting style of play and take a deep dive into the problems at West Ham.
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Confession: The above headline was actually quite difficult to write, because the world has never seen anyone score a goal in exactly the same manner that Zlatan Ibrahimovic did on Saturday.
[ FOLLOW LIVE: Sounders go for 9 straight wins; TFC’s last stand? ]
When you consider that 1) he’s falling away; 2) he’s spinning away from the ball; 3) the ball is roughly chest high; 4) there’s a defender between him and the ball, that should be reason enough to not score this goal. Consider, then, that the man is 36 years old — turning 37 in a couple weeks — and you realize just how unfair it is that one person can possess so much talent, ingenuity and swagger.
In true 2018 LA Galaxy fashion — heck, it’s true 2018 Toronto FC fashion as well — Ibrahimovic’s goal set into motion a three-goal comeback in a matter of 15 minutes.
Sorry, that was the part that’s representative of TFC’s season. The part that represents the Galaxy in 2018 came in the final 15 minutes of the game, when they conceded twice to lose 5-3.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan scored and the Portland Thorns advanced to the National Women’s Soccer League championship game with a 2-1 semifinal victory over the Seattle Reign on Saturday.
The defending NWSL champion Thorns (13-6-6) will play the winner of the other semifinal between the Chicago Red Stars and the North Carolina Courage for the title next Saturday at Portland’s Providence Park.
The semifinal between the Courage (17-1-6) and Red Stars (9-5-10) was originally set for Sunday in Cary, but the game was moved to Tuesday night in Portland because of Hurricane Florence.
The move left the Courage, who finished with the best record in the league, without a postseason game at home. The NWSL named its championship venue in May.
The Reign went up first in the 28th minute when Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick appeared to hit the cross bar and carom straight to Jasmyne Spencer, who scored.
Horan was challenged by defenders and handed the ball off to Heath, whose shot from the corner of the box n the 43rd minute to tie it.
Heath appeared to score again in the 69th minute but she was called offside. The crowd roared with boos when the replay shown on the video scoreboard showed she wasn’t.
Horan scored the go-ahead goal in the 77th minute on a header that bounced in off the post. It was her 14th of the season.
“Obviously we were ready,” Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna France said afterward. “That was a wild game. The first half, they came down our throats but we stayed in it and we got the job done.”
The Thorns defeated the Reign 3-1 in the regular-season finale last week. With the win, the Thorns secured home-field advantage for the semifinal.
Neither Rapinoe nor Allie Long played last week but both played in the semifinal. Long had missed the last three games with a knee injury while Rapinoe had rib soreness and missed the team’s last two.
Saturday night’s slate of MLS fixtures gets under way at 7:30 p.m. ET, when Toronto FC begin what can only be described as their last chance at securing a 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs berth, at home against LA Galaxy. With seven games remaining, Greg Vanney’s side — the defending champions — trail Montreal Impact by nine points. D.C. United and New England Revolution must also be leapfrogged in the process, meaning TFC sit ninth in the Eastern Conference halfway through the month of September.
[ FOLLOW LIVE: 8 games in MLS, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET ]
Later in the evening, the Western Conference’s top three seeds — FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City and Los Angeles FC, in that order, for now — are all in action. FCD will host Columbus Crew SC at 8 p.m. ET; Sporting KC will visit San Jose Earthquakes at 10:30 p.m. ET; LAFC will host New England in the same late-night time slot.
The last time Brian Schmetzer’s Seattle Sounders lost a game was June 30. That was a dozen games ago. Since then, the Sounders have won nine of 11, including the last eight in a row. The two-time defending West champs go for nine straight against their Cascadia Cup rival Vancouver Whitecaps at 10 p.m. ET.
Click the link above to follow along in real-time, and check back with PST early Sunday morning for a full recap of all of the action.
Tonight’s full MLS schedule
Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy — 7:30 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Union vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew SC — 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers — 8:30 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United — 9:30 p.m. ET
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders — 10 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City — 10:30 p.m. ET
Los Angeles FC vs. New England Revolution — 10:30 p.m. ET
Sunday’s MLS schedule
D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls — 1 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC — 5 p.m. ET
A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…
[ MORE: What did we learn today in the Premier League? ]
Real Sociedad 1-2 Barcelona
Ousmane Dembele has a lot to live up to ($120 million, to be more specific), but the 21-year-old Frenchman is beginning to repay Barcelona for the massive transfer fee they paid to acquire his services last summer. Three times this season already, including Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sociedad, Dembele has scored the game-winning goal to snatch victory from the jaws of a draw. First, he did it in the Spanish Super Cup against Sevilla, before scoring the only goal in Barca’s victory over Real Valladolid last month.
Barca fell behind after Aritz Elustondo’s opener in the 12th minute, an advantage they maintained until after the hour mark. Luis struck in the 63rd, though, and Dembele completed the comeback three minutes later (his fourth goal of the season – all competitions). The victory makes Barca a perfect four-for-four to start the season, and they now lead the rest of the league by at least two points, thanks to results elsewhere on Saturday.
Atletico Bilbao 1-1 Real Madrid
Speaking of results affecting the top of the table, Real Madrid dropped points for the first time this season as they, too, had to overcome a halftime deficit. Iker Muniain put Bilbao ahead in the 32nd minute, but the lead would last only 32 minutes more. Isco got on the end of Gareth Bale‘s cross to the top of the six-yard box and headed home from close range (his first goal of the season).
Elsewhere in La Liga
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Eibar
Valencia 0-0 Real Betis
Sunday’s La Liga schedule
Leganes vs. Villarreal — 6 a.m. ET
Espanyol vs. Levante — 10:15 a.m. ET
Real Valladolid vs. Alaves — 12:30 p.m. ET
Sevilla vs. Getafe — 2:45 p.m. ET