Jordan Morris returns, but Sounders held to draw with LA Galaxy


SEATTLE — Not that he forgot the sound, but USMNT forward Jordan Morris took a moment to appreciate the noise when he stepped back on the field in a Seattle Sounders uniform.

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“It’s been almost two years since I played in front of fans, so that was a special moment,” Morris said.

Morris made his return to the field eight months after suffering a major knee injury as the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy played to a 1-1 draw on Monday night.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored in the 19th minute off a corner kick for the Galaxy, while Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz scored on a penalty kick early in the second half, after Cristian Roldan was fouled in the box.

Both teams earned a needed point in the fight for playoff positioning in the Western Conference. For the moment, Seattle (17-8-8, 59 points) went one-point clear of Sporting Kansas City and Colorado for first place in the West. Kansas City has two games remaining, while both Seattle and Colorado have one.

But Seattle is winless in its past five games heading into the regular-season finale.

“I would say it’s very concerning,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said.

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The Galaxy (13-12-8, 47 points) pulled even on points with Vancouver for one of the final two playoff spots, but the Whitecaps (47 points), Real Salt Lake (45) and LAFC (44) all have two games remaining, and LA has one.

“This is going to be a great experience for this group of players together to go home and try and get it done,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said.

But the night was about USMNT forward Morris and his return well ahead of any initial expectations.

Morris suffered a torn ACL in his left knee last February while on loan with Swansea City in the English League Championship. It was the second major knee injury of Morris’ career and was expected to knock him out for the rest of 2021.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

His recovery was well ahead of schedule and he returned to training with Seattle several weeks ago, and was given clearance by the team’s medical staff to be included against the Galaxy.

Morris came on in the 60th minute, replacing Ruidiaz. He was greeted by a huge ovation in his first appearance for the Sounders since the MLS Cup final loss to Columbus last December.

Morris never got a clean look at goal, although it wasn’t for a lack of effort by his teammates.

“Definitely some chills and goosebumps going onto the field, but my thought process was what can I do to help the team win,” Morris said.

But this was the first step for Morris and should give a boost to Seattle entering the playoffs. It’s also the start of his journey getting back on the radar of coach Gregg Berhalter as the USMNT winds its way through World Cup qualifying. Morris won’t be a candidate for the matches later this month against Jamaica and Mexico, but he could be in the mix for a USMNT spot in January and beyond.

Chicharito scored for the fourth time in his past six matches to give Los Angeles the early advantage, while Ruidiaz scored his 17th of the year, tying the club record set by Obafemi Martins in 2014. It also pulled Ruidiaz within one of NYCFC’s Valentin Castellanos in the race for the Golden Boot. Ruidiaz is tied with Ola Kamara for second.

Seattle had several chances to find a winning goal, but Roldan hit the post twice and Xavier Arreaga’s header in second-half stoppage time that Los Angeles goalkeeper Jonathan Bond saved off the crossbar.

“In the balance of the game, I thought they dominated the second half and we had to be resolute and stand strong,” Bond said.

VOTE: Yellow? Red? Crazy incident in 6-goal Luton Town-Swans (video)


It’s a potential legbreaker, but is it on purpose?

On first blush, it’s very difficult to make any excuses for Luton Town’s Henri Lansbury when he smashes into Swansea City’s Ryan Manning in Championship action on Saturday.

Probably on second look and a third review, too, if we’re honest.

[ MORE: Leon Bailey shines in big Villa win ]

But Hatters fans are in the comments section to let you know that Lansbury had no idea he’d connect with a mischievous Manning when he let fly with his long ball attempt in the Luton Town end.

It was 3-0 to the Hatters in the 28th minute when Manning walked toward a deadball to poke it away from Lansbury’s long run-up, and that didn’t stop Lansbury from making a full-blooded attempt at a 60-yard long ball and Manning was dropped to the turf.

Video below.

Both were sent off.

Just kidding.

Both were shown yellow cards.

Not kidding.

The thing is, if the referee is going to discipline this, how can it not be a red? He’s clearly seen it, viewed it as a foul, and issued a… yellow?

It’s difficult not to recall Lansbury’s reputation here. The 30-year-old has been shown the most yellow cards this year and been whistled for the fourth-most fouls. Lansbury also has 93 career yellow cards.

Alas, officiating is supposed to be done in a vacuum and even if it wasn’t, Manning’s been fouled 20 times — the third-most in the Championship.

The game was absolutely insane: The good, bad, and the ugly. The good? Six goals in a 3-3 draw as Swans came back. The bad (and maybe the ugly)? This foul.

And the ugly? Swansea released a statement alleging that on-loan Liverpool defender Rhys Williams was racially-abused by a Luton Town fan.

Transfer news: Edouard to Palace; James to Leeds; Traore to Spurs


Daniel James to Leeds has been confirmed, while Crystal Palace and Tottenham are working on deals late on deadline day.

Few clubs seem to be risking fax machine errors or deadline drives when it comes to signing their David De Gea or Peter Odemwingie this transfer window.

[ MORE: Premier League player power rankings ]

There have been flurries of transfers over the line or imminent on Monday, with Deadline Day just over 24 hours away and teams set to be stuck with their squads until January (with the exception of free agents).

Here’s what we’re seeing as international break is underway.

Edouard, Boga to Crystal Palace

“French Eddy” is getting his move away from Celtic as the once-prolific hero spent one season too long in Glasgow.

Electric on his day — and it’s often his day — reports say that Palace has agreed to pay just over $20 million to make the Bhoy an Eagle.

Edouard, 23, has scored 86 goals and chipped in 39 assists in 179 appearances for Celtic since arriving from Toulouse as an 18-year-old.

For those worrying about whether he’ll adjust to the jump in opposition, he’s scored against Lazio, AC Milan, RB Leipzig, and Red Bull Salzburg in European competition.

Edouard was linked with Arsenal in 2020, and was said to be headed to Leicester City earlier this summer before the club landed Patson Daka.

There are also reports that Palace is chasing Jeremie Boga, the former Chelsea serial loanee who moved to Serie A side Sassuolo in 2018.

Boga, 24, has three caps with the Ivory Coast national team and would seemingly have an endorsement from Wilfried Zaha.

His best season was an 11-goal, 4-assist 2019-20 campaign with Sassuolo and he bagged four goals and two assists in 27 matches last season.

Boga is said to be interesting Everton, Lyon, and West Ham.

Daniel James to Leeds

This one’s wild: Leeds have broken their transfer record to sign Daniel James from Manchester United.

The 23-year-old James was said to cost United around $20 million in 2019 when he arrived as a surprise signing from Swansea City.

James came very close to signing for Leeds before that, but Leeds ran out of time on deadline day in January 2019 and couldn’t get the deal confirmed, as James was at Leeds’ Elland Road home but left without becoming a Leeds player.

Now, he is.

Leeds have paid more than $34.3 million for the winger, according to the BBC.

James has nine goals and nine assists in 74 matches and has played 128 minutes over two matches this season, but just four of those goals and two assists came last season when he played just 28 times for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Welsh winger will surely slot in extremely well for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, with his incredible pace and energy perfect for the way they play.

Vlasic to West Ham United

$30 million for a seemingly prototypical Hammer?

David Moyes is said to be closing in clinching Nikola Vlasic’s rumored move to West Ham from CSKA Moscow.

Vlasic moved to Everton from Hajduk Split in 2018 but managed just two goals and an assist for the Toffees and no goal contributions in 574 Premier League minutes.

He has 26 caps for Croatia and has six goals, one of which was against Scotland at EURO 2020.

Traore to Spurs

Adama Traore and Nuno Espirito Santo were a match made in Wolverhampton, but is North London the next part of their journeys.

Nuno, of course, is already at Tottenham Hotspur, but a report out of Spain says that the 25-year-old Traore would love to join his former boss.

Traore has been electric this season despite, coincidentally enough, being less used by Espirito Santo last year.

The Spanish national team winder and Barcelona product was long-linked with a return to the Camp Nou, and will enter the last year of his contract next season.

Nuno, Adama, and Doherty at Spurs? Surely Ruben Neves is next (Sorry Wolves fans).

Brentford promoted to Premier League


Brentford have been promoted to the Premier League for the first time in their history, as they won the Championship playoffs.

[ MORE: Full highlights, analysis of PL season  ]  

The Bees beat 10-man Swansea City 2-0 in the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium, securing their first season in the top-flight of English soccer since 1946-47.

That season was the first full season in England after the Second World War ended.

Thomas Frank’s side scored twice early on through Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes, while Swansea rarely threatened and had Jay Fulton sent off midway through the second half.

Brentford lost to Fulham in the Championship playoff final last season, but there was not stopping them this time as the Bees will buzz around the Premier League next season with their ‘Moneyball’ methods in the transfer market securing promotion.

After selling the likes of Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma, Neal Maupay and Ezri Konsa in recent years, the likes of Toney, Emiliano and Jansson will now grace the Premier League for the Bees.

“Right now I just want to get so drunk tonight and then tomorrow I will think about the Premier League!” Frank said.

Most Brentford fans will be in that same mindset too.

Brentford took an early lead after Bryan Mbuemo was taken down by Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.

Toney slotted home the spot kick coolly for his 33rd goal of the season, as the Bees were in dreamland.

It soon got better as a lethal counter attack, led by Mbuemo, saw Roerslev set up Marcondes to slot home. And moments later it could have been 3-0.

Toney’s audacious effort from distance hit the underside of the bar and bounced on the line and out, as the Bees were on fire.

Swansea improved and caused problems with a few set-piece situations as Andre Ayew’s header clipped the crossbar, but Brentford always looked more dangerous on the break.

Ayew should have scored for Swansea, as Connor Roberts whipped in a great cross but he couldn’t get enough on his header.

Mbuemo fired over as Brentford had a few chances on the break as the Swans pushed forward to try and get back in the game. Jamal Lowe whipped a shot wide but then Swansea were reduced to 10 men as Fulton was shown a straight red card for a lunging tackle.

That summed up their miserable outing, but Brentford went wild at the final whistle.

For the first time in 74 years, Brentford are back in the big time.

“It’s crazy. I’ve got no words, my voice is going,” Toney said. “It’s the best dressing room I’ve been in, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m in the Premier League with the best bunch of boys I could ever dream of. I’m a Premier League striker now and I can’t wait to score goals there.”

Bet on Brentford to cause plenty of shocks next season, as their incredible data-driven rise continues.

“This group of players are incredible. I think we’ve been one of the best teams in the Championship last two years,” Frank added.

Championship playoff final: How to watch Brentford – Swansea, odds


Saturday’s Championship playoff final between Brentford and Swansea City is a familiar tale of the familiar versus the unfamiliar.

Swans rose into the Premier League ahead of the 2011-12 season and refused to go away, finishing mid-table five-straight seasons before a 15th-place season preceded 2017-18’s relegation campaign.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Their second season in the second tier was just as unconvincing as the first, but a sixth-place finish was enough to get them into the playoffs and now they’re 90 (or more) minutes away from a return to the PL.

Brentford has become one of the fun stories of the Championship, flashing style and winning games while always scoring goals. Since coming up from League One in 2014-15, the Bees have not finished lower than 11th and only once failed to score 70 goals in a season.

Team news

Last season’s playoff final derby loss to Fulham was supposed to signal a real problem, as the Bees sold Said Benrahma to West Ham and Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa a year after dealing Ezri Konsa and Neal Maupay to PL sides.

It hardly slowed them, with an absurd 79 goals being met by a surprising figure: one goal conceded per game.

Brentford holds the league’s fifth-best possession total and takes the third-most shots. The Bees move the ball well and have two tremendous playmakers in dual-threat Bryan Mbeumo and 32-goal, 10-assist striker Ivan Toney.

There’s a reclamation story of sorts here, too, as once-heralded Newcastle United prospect Toney could never quite impress the Magpies and took six loan stints between 2015-18.

Signed by Peterborough United in 2018 for, allegedly, under $1 million, he’s become an eight-figure transfer target for Brentford and now would fetch a whole lot more.

Can he spring Brentford past Swans? Maybe. Would you bet on it? Read on…

Championship Final betting odds (full odds provided by our partner, Pointsbet)

Brentford (-115) | Swansea City (+340) | Draw (+230)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

Brentford – Swansea prediction

There aren’t a ton of faces you’ll remember from Swansea City’s PL tenure, but Andre Ayw is one and he still knows his way around the box. Jamal Lowe has also delivered for Swans and Freddie Woodman is an excellent keeper. Would you bet on him stymying Toney over 90 or even 120 minutes. Aye, there’s the rub. If it gets to kicks, don’t say we didn’t warn you but we won’t stop from picking a winner. Brentford 2-1 Swans.

How to watch Brentford-Swansea in the Championship Final stream, start time

Kickoff time: 9am ET Saturday
Stream: ESPN+

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