MLS

MLS Cup play-offs: Timbers will host first final after beating RSL

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

Portland Timbers will host the MLS Cup final for the first time in their history after conquering Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday.

Felipe Mora and Santiago Moreno were both on target as 2015 MLS champions the Timbers advanced to the showpiece for the third time.

The Timbers will face either New York City or Philadelphia Union in the December 11 final.

Portland made the perfect start to the Western Conference decider when Mora was on hand to fire his deflected shot past David Ochoa after five minutes.

RSL – who were looking to become the first team in MLS history to reach the final without playing a home play-off fixture – had a golden chance to equalise just past the half-hour mark but Damir Kreilach's header was somehow saved by Steve Clark.

The Timbers sealed the victory in the 61st minute – Moreno's long-range effort ricocheting off the post and back off Ochoa at Providence Park – as Portland extended their winning streak to six matches, just their second such run after 2018.

Related items

  • Simeone on struggling Suarez: 'I have spoken to him for two months' Simeone on struggling Suarez: 'I have spoken to him for two months'

    Diego Simeone has opened up about conversations with Luis Suarez as Atletico Madrid attempt to get the former Barcelona striker back to form.

    The Uruguay international is Atletico's top scorer in all competitions this season, albeit with just nine goals from 27 appearances.

    The 34-year-old, whose contract at Wanda Metropolitano expires at the end of the campaign, has only found the net once in his last 11 club matches.

    Suarez's frustration was evident when he was substituted during last month's defeat at Sevilla, with the former Liverpool striker appearing to direct expletives towards coach Simeone.

    With the striker's sharp shooting deserting him and his future uncertain, the Atleti boss said there have been discussions between the pair in recent times.

    Ahead of Atletico's Copa del Rey clash with Real Sociedad on Wednesday, Simeone said: "We have spoken with Luis for two months about what I think of him, of how important he is for us.

    "What I think of him, he knows it and I didn't speak to him after Sevilla, I have spoken to him for two months."

    Suarez has scored 30 goals across all competitions since his September 2020 transfer from Barcelona – more than any other Atletico team-mate. Karim Benzema (54) and Gerard Moreno (41) are the only players currently based in Spain to have scored more often during that time.

    Additionally, only Messi (231) betters Suarez's tally of 175 LaLiga goals since the Uruguayan joined Barcelona from Liverpool in July 2014.

  • AFCON matchday preview: Egypt just need a point, Nigeria eye 100 per cent record AFCON matchday preview: Egypt just need a point, Nigeria eye 100 per cent record

    Wednesday's action at the Africa Cup of Nations sees Group D conclude with two heavyweights seemingly set for the knockout phase.

    Egypt certainly have not been without their critics in this tournament, with the performances turned in by Carlos Queiroz's men far from spectacular, but they remain on the brink of progression.

    Assuming they get the job done, they will join Nigeria in the next round after the Super Eagles won both of their first two matches.

    The two giants of AFCON football will be expected to prevail on Wednesday.

    Guinea-Bissau v Nigeria (19:00 GMT)

    Considering Nigeria have come into this tournament essentially under the guidance of a caretaker manager in Augustine Eguavoen, the Nigerian Football Federation's technical director, they have made a very solid start.

    They head into matchday three with six points from two games and have the chance to win all three first-round matches for the first time since 2006.

    Nigeria will be massive favourites as well. Guinea-Bissau have never won an AFCON game in eight attempts, with only Benin (14), Mozambique (12) and Namibia (nine) playing more tournament matches without a single success.

    Their issue this time around has been an obvious wastefulness in front of goal, failing to score from 16 shots that convert to an expected goals (xG) total of 2.2 – if they are goalless in this game, Guinea-Bissau will become the first team in AFCON history to go seven successive matches without scoring.

    One to watch: Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria)

    Union Berlin forward Awoniyi may be a relatively new face at international level, but he has looked a prominent threat for Nigeria. His nine shots over the first two games was more than twice as many as any other Super Eagles player, while his 14 touches in the opposition's box is also the most of anyone in the squad. Still, one goal from 2.4 xG suggests he could sharpen up a little.

     

    Egypt v Sudan (19:00 GMT)

    A point will be enough for the Pharaohs to follow Nigeria into the knockouts, though their defeat to Eguavoen's men means second place is the best they can hope for.

    Egypt have looked every inch a side reliant on Mohamed Salah in this tournament, with his goal against Guinea-Bissau last time out breathing some life into their campaign.

    While a draw will be enough for them, in reality only a win over Sudan will satisfy the expectations of supporters.

    Sudan's xG total (1.25) and xGA (expected goals against) of 3.17 are the worst of the four teams in Group D, and Egypt will hope to capitalise on their lack of defensive solidity and attacking threat.

    One to watch: Ali Achrine (Sudan)

    If Sudan are to stand any chance of beating Egypt and potentially going through to the knockout phase, goalkeeper Achrine will surely need to be in inspired form.

     

  • Kolasinac joins Marseille after Arsenal exit Kolasinac joins Marseille after Arsenal exit

    Sead Kolasinac has joined Marseille on a free transfer after the defender was released by Arsenal.

    The Bosnia and Herzegovina international left the Gunners on Tuesday, having reached an agreement to terminate his contract.

    Kolasinac had fallen out of favour at the Premier League club and returned to Schalke on loan last season.

    The 28-year-old is on the move again, joining Ligue 1 side Marseille on a deal until the end of the next campaign.

    Kolasinac made 118 appearances for Arsenal following his switch from Schalke in June 2017, but only played for Mikel Arteta's men five times this season.

    He becomes Marseille's second signing of the January transfer window following the arrival of striker Cedric Bakambu from Beijing Guoan.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.