MLS

Arango's stoppage-time winner sends LAFC into Conference Finals past Galaxy, Union edge Cincinnati

By Sports Desk October 21, 2022

Cristian Arango fired home a dramatic 93rd-minute winner as LAFC won their Battle of the LA Conference Semifinal 3-2 over LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup on Thursday.

Arango's goal capped a wild final 15 minutes where three goals were scored in the clash at Banc of California Stadium, with Galaxy substitute Devan Joveljic having curled in an 85th-minute equalizer.

The win means Western Conference top seed LAFC progressed to the Conference Finals where they will host either Dallas or Austin.

LAFC had taken a 23rd-minute lead when Carlos Vela slipped in a pass for Denis Bouanga to clinically score, but Galaxy leveled before the break when Samuel Grandsir lashed home a bouncing shot.

Bouanga restored LAFC's advantage in the 80th minute when he tapped in Ryan Hollingshead's low ball across goal.

But Joveljic scored barely a minute after entering the game as a substitute, curling in from the edge of the box.

LAFC would find a winner in the third of six additional minutes in stoppage time, when Kellyn Acosta's corner found Bouanga whose volley was parried by Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond into Arango's path and he lashed in the rebound.

Eastern Conference top seed Philadelphia Union also advanced into the last four, winning 1-0 over Cincinnati at Subaru Park.

Leon Flach scored the winner in the 59th minute with a left-foot strike, marking his first goal since October last year.

Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made several key saves, including an 83rd-minute block to deny Brandon Vasquez's chance to ensure Philadelphia hosted the Eastern Conference Final for the second straight year. They will welcome either 2021 MLS Cup winners New York City or Montreal.

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  • ‘We can’t impact visa decisions’ – JFF hits back at Bailey claims, demands player provide evidence of  accusations made in explosive interview ‘We can’t impact visa decisions’ – JFF hits back at Bailey claims, demands player provide evidence of accusations made in explosive interview

    The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has refuted claims made in a recent interview by national player Leon Bailey and called for evidence in lieu of some of the explosive accusations levied against the organisation.

    In particular, the association took exception to a claim made by the player that suggested that the JFF had actively played a role in preventing his ability to travel abroad when he attempted to do so as a developing young player.

    “From I was 8 or 9 I have been getting 'fight' from the federation. They even tried to block me from going to Europe.  They linked up with the embassy to deny me a visa…the last time I went to Europe I had to fly to Cuba to get my visa,” Bailey told the Let’s Be Honest podcast.

    In addressing the issues, via a press release, the JFF expressed disappointment with many of the utterances made by the player and the manner in which the grievances were aired.

    Leon Bailey speaks out in explosive interview! The 25 y-o says JA football needs a proper system

    “It is unfortunate that Leon has apparently felt this way about the JFF, especially while playing for the Jamaica National team and not expressing it, and knowing his commitment to the program and country. He has indicated that the persons in the JFF, and by implication the JFF, has given him a fight and tried to block him from going to Europe by working through the Embassy…,” the release read.

    “This is quite unfortunate as the JFF has always seen Leon as an important member of the National team, and what he has said is baseless and is consistent with recent similar comments made, which we have called for evidence to be shared, either privately or publicly, so that we can act on it. To date, no such evidence has been shared. It is not credible to make anecdotal accusations without evidence, and by doing so seek to damage the reputation of individuals and the JFF as an organisation. We also find it impractical that a child between 8 and 12 years old would understand what the actions and motives of the JFF or any organisation would be, with any clear understanding as first-hand information,” it added.

    “In fact, by saying that the JFF has the capability to block an Embassy from issuing a visa, also implies that the Embassy is complicit with the JFF in acting, as he implies, in a “corrupt” manner. The JFF can assure everyone that we do not have the ability to influence a visa decision with any Embassy, and we would never seek to intervene in such a process.”

    The release went on to state that the matter had been referred to the team manager and coach for review.

     

     

  • JFF issues statement in response to fiery Bailey interview JFF issues statement in response to fiery Bailey interview

    The Jamaica Football Federation has issued a statement responding to some scathing claims made by Aston Villa and Jamaica forward Leon Bailey in an interview on the ‘Let’s Be Honest’ podcast YouTube on Sunday.

    Perhaps the most noteworthy claim made by the Reggae Boy was that the JFF worked with the US Embassy to prevent him from getting a visa to go to Europe.

    “The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has taken note of an interview by one of our national players, Leon Bailey, which has been circulating on social media,” the statement read.

    The statement continues: “The JFF has tried not to comment on this, as we were hoping that this would be handled internally, but based on the comments received from the public and stakeholders, we have been forced to comment publicly. We want to say that it is quite unfortunate that these comments were made, and in such a public manner, as we had hoped that we have arrived at a place where any disagreements are handled internally.”

    “It is also unfortunate that Leon has apparently felt this way about the JFF, especially while playing for the Jamaica National team and not expressing it, and knowing his commitment to the programme and country. He has indicated the that the persons in the JFF, and by implication the JFF, has given him a fight and tried to block him from going to Europe by working through the Embassy. He further stated that the system in Jamaica, implying the JFF, is “too corrupt”. He also states that if players do not play for certain clubs they do not get selected for the national team, which this allegation was already made without any presented.”

    “Leon also implies in one of his answers that the media also is biased. This is quite unfortunate as the JFF has always seen Leon as an important member of the National team, and what he has said is baseless and is consistent with recent similar comments made, which we have called for evidence to be shared, either privately or publicly, so that we can act on it. To date no such evidence has been shared. It is not credible to make anecdotal accusations without evidence, and by doing so seek to damage the reputation of individuals and the JFF as an organisation. We also find it impractical that a child between 8 and 12 years old would understand what the actions and motives of the JFF, or any organisation would be, with any clear understanding as first-hand information.”

    “In fact, by saying that the JFF has the capability to block an Embassy from issuing a visa, also implies that the Embassy is complicit with the JFF in acting as he implies in a “corrupt” manner. The JFF can assure everyone that we do not have that ability to influence a visa decision with any Embassy, and we would never seek to intervene in such a process.”

    “The JFF can categorically state that none of the accusations made in the interview are factual. However, if there is any evidence at all supporting these allegations, we ask again in this case that this be shared with the JFF so that it can be acted upon as any action as alleged is unacceptable and would be dealt with strongly by the JFF.”

    “In the meantime, we have referred this matter to the Team Manager and Coach for review, as they are the ones who deal with issues relating to the players and the team.”

    “We look forward to receiving the evidence of the unfortunate allegations made.”

  • Rashford talks 'massive ambitions' for England after superb double Rashford talks 'massive ambitions' for England after superb double

    Marcus Rashford has "massive ambitions" with England after his double downed Wales and sent the Three Lions into the World Cup's knockout stage as Group B winners.

    Rashford took his goal tally in Qatar to three after a wonderful free-kick and brilliant individual effort helped Gareth Southgate's side book a last-16 data against Senegal with a 3-0 victory at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

    The forward, who became the first United player to score three times for the Three Lions at a World Cup since Bobby Charlton in 1966, hopes his team-mates can carry their momentum into that clash on Sunday.

    "It's obviously a great feeling [to score two goals]," he told BBC Sport. "To be honest, we were a little bit disappointed as a team after the last game against the USA. I thought we could've played a lot better.

    "The only way to bounce back from that is to have a good performance in your next game, and I thought we did that. The first half, we defended brilliantly, we didn't give them any opportunities.

    "It was just about us killing the game off really and taking the chances when they came.

    "I fancied [a free-kick] in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there, it's just about being calm and trying to execute what you've practised in training. They don't go in often, but I'm pleased that it went in today.

    "Moments like this - this is what I play football for - the biggest moments, the best moments. I'm really happy that we're going through to the next round.

    "Hopefully, we can build on this performance because I still have massive ambitions for this team, and I think we can play even better than what we've shown today."

    Player of the match Rashford was the subject of high praise from team-mate Jude Bellingham, who also highlighted Phil Foden after the Manchester City midfielder marked his first start at the finals with the second goal in Al Rayyan.

    "We've got lots of depth in those attacking areas and whoever comes on always seem to make an impact," the Borussia Dortmund midfielder said. 

    "Whether it's from the start or from the bench, the change of personnel doesn't really affect the style or performance of the team, which is quite rare. 

    "I'm so happy for [Marcus], what a performance - he was brilliant. When he gets the ball and he's got that freedom to take people on.

    "In a game like this, there's big pressure on a free-kick like that, and the way he's delivered is brilliant. He put us in a really good position for the rest of the match.

    "I'm [also] really happy for Phil. He's had quite a bit of pressure on him the last few days, given all the attention. But he's just shown today how good he is again.

    "What you saw in the first game was a really good attacking display. The second game, we defended our box really well and today, you got a mix of both.

    "The aim coming this game was to make sure we tie them both up, and we did. It was a good performance from us."

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