Ooofff - LA Galaxy season hits bottom, Elfborg in the middle, FFF with still something to strive for

It has been a rough season with many low points and it seems the season has hit yet another low with a 4-0 defeat.

I had a prior event commitment so I was not able to watch the match.

However, from the post-game report from Corner of the Galaxy, it looks like Coach Sigi Schmid had seen enough and was at wits end. Excerpt:

The normally talkative Schmid appeared worn out and frustrated after a 4-0 drubbing by Toronto FC. His hand was pressed against his face as he struggled to find the right words to express his anger at the events without yelling at reporters.

And some of the fans had seen enough such that the Angel City Brigade (one of three official supporter groups) demanded a response from the club. Excerpt:

Meanwhile, back at field level, Galaxy supporters group Angel City Brigade still was singing nearly 45 minutes after the final whistle. Those fans were determined to stay in section 121 at the north side of the stadium until either a player or Galaxy President Chris Klein talked to them. They wanted answers for a disappointing season and were adamant in not leaving without them. Not even L.A. County Sheriffs, a K-9 unit and several officers in bulletproof vests could persuade them to leave.

Eventually, Romain Alessandrini came out to address the fans. Excerpt:

according to one fan, “Romain just apologized for the situation and said, ‘We need you guys.’ “He assured us that next year will be very different. Considering Sigi is getting ready to chop heads and players’ jobs are on the line, we feel a lot will change next year. But this year is lost.”


Meanwhile, keeping an eye on Swedish soccer, Elfsborg's season continues to be inconsistent. Throughout the season, they win some, draw some, lose some and thus sit at eighth place right in the middle of the 16-team table. Today, they have a home match against Djurgarden, one of the Stockholm clubs. who currently sits in second place.

As for Laget vid Havet, the team by the sea, Falkenberg, the opportunity to make the promotion playoffs is slipping away. After the huge win over number two in the table Bromapojkarna, FFF has had two draws and a loss and have slipped back into fifth place and six points behind number three Trelleborg. Trelleborg has been on the upswing going undefeated in eight matches of which seven were wins.

FFF does face the two teams ahead of them so those are essentially must win matches. They also need to collect three points from some of the other matches and need Trelleborg and Helsingborg to take a few losses in order to get back into the race for that promotion playoff spot.

What it feels like to be a fan - LFC struggles

After the initial teeth grinding of the Watford 3-3 draw, LFC went on a pretty good tear: winning on the road against Hoffenheim, winning against Crystal Palace (a team that has always caused trouble), closing out Hoffenheim to stamp their ticket to the Champions League, and then the demolition of Arsenal.

Fans were dreaming of a serious run at the Premier League title and in the Champions league.

The wheels came off the band wagon with the crack up at Manchester City when Liverpool went down to 10 men and gave up five unanswered goals. This was followed by getting only a point against Sevilla when Liverpool had three points well in hand. And to top off the stretch of matches, Liverpool fired shotgun pellets against Burnley (35 shots) but only came up with only 1 goal. Meanwhile, Burnley got 5 shots of which 1 went in, 1 was headed away by an alert Matip right at the goal-line and 1 blocked away by Mignolet again right at the goal-line. LFC fans ground their teeth down breathing a sigh of relief their club didn't LOSE to Burnley after those two set pieces.

The 35 shot stat is a bit like baseball's "left on base." You win baseball games by scoring runs which is made easier by getting people on base. But of course, you need clutch hitting to cash in those runners in scoring position. Likewise, in soccer, Liverpool was running rampant dominating possession and firing shots at the goal. But in the end, of those 35, I can't recall how many were near misses verses weakly hit shots and shots that went somewhat wide of target.

The draw to Sevilla was similarly frustrating. LFC missed a PK and failed to cash in an extra goal from their many opportunities.

In my observations, losing to Manchester City is not surprising since people are saying Manchester City and Manchester United are likely to be fighting it out for the Premier League title. And given LFC went down to 10 men, the situation was doubly difficult to salvage anything from.

What will Liverpool do?

Certainly, the key is Mane and Salah. If Mane was in against Burnley, I think Liverpool gets a second and even third goal either from Mane directly or the fact that he would so scramble the minds of the defenders that someone else from LFC would have scored.

However, Mane will miss two more Premier League matches so Klopp needs to figure out if Sturridge is the best running mate with Salah. Perhaps, Solanke may take that role? And who does Klopp send out to give Salah (340 minutes in 5 Premier League matches) and Firmino (396 minutes in 5 PL matches) the occasional break.

As for the midfield, when Coutinho's rust gets scraped off, Liverpool's attack will go up another level. Also, key will be for one of the other midfielders to be much more conscientious about defense. Who can play the "6" best?

EFL Cup on Tuesday. Its a 50:50 proposition since LFC will send out some members of the "B-team." Will be curious how many of the "A-team" will start and will come in as substitutes.

Playing catch-up - USMNT struggles

Been away from blogging for a bit.

To catch up some ....... there was quite a stir over the defeat of the US to Costa Rica and then the late rally to snatch a point in Honduras.

As a result of the bad results, Alexi Lalas went on an epic rant.

Craig Burley on ESPNFC also went on a rant about the USMNT.

The USMNT still controls its own destiny. They need to beat Panama and Trinidad Tobago to finish third which they should. If they don't, they don't deserve to go to the World Cup, it is that simple

I think USMNT has the players to make it through. However, there is the feeling the team is less than the sum of its parts. How much of it is players not being alert on the field - losing concentration at the wrong moments? How much of it is picking the wrong combination of players to match up against the opponents? How much of it is the coaching staff not preparing and motivating the team? How much of it is the players themselves not pushing each other to give that extra 5% that often separates victory from defeat?

After all the storm and thunder of Burley and Lalas - correct sentiments if stated in a somewhat over-the-top fashion, the bottom line is the USMNT needs to get it done on the field. I think they will. However, we may have to acknowledge that CONCACAF number 4-6 have gotten better and USMNT cannot just toss the ball out on the field and win playing something less than 100%.

FFF has an epic fail against Gefle

Falkenbergs FF fans witnessed a total collapse in the home match against last place, relegation bound Gefle.

Using google translate, here is how the reporter at the Hallands Nyheter put it.

It was Saturday night, there were nine matches without loss. It was sunny and hot in September. It was Gefle's last placed on the other side of the board, a team that lacked three suspended punches (players). Everything set for celebration; tjo and tjim (idiom for making sounds of celebration) and much more. It ended in embarrassing silence at the Falcon Alcohol Free Arena and crowds who left far before the end signal.

Final score: 0-4

The result leaves FFF in fourth place in the table two points out with 8 matches to go.

FFF goes on the road to take on Dalkurd in the next match.

Swedish soccer is unpredictable. Brommapojkarna and Dalkurd are sitting respectively at 47 and 46 points and in solid position for promotion. Nonetheless, FFF beat Brommapojkarna 5-1 on August 27. Dalkurd has been on fire going undefeated since June 12. However, in the previous meeting FFF beat Dalkurd 2-0 back on May 21.

We shall see!

Laget vid Havet!

Old news (a couple of days old) Galaxy Win!

Galaxy 3 Rapids 0. A win is a win even if the Rapids are below LA on the table!
Below is the highlight package from MLS Soccer.

In transfer news, LA had been rumored to be interesting in bringing in French Ligue 1 veteran Michael Ciani to provide some experienced cover at center back. Well, it appears that the deal was finally inked. He would be available to play in the next match. I would think he would need a week or two to acclimate to his teammates before he takes the field so at most perhaps a late sub next week. But the week after, if fully fit, would see him starting.

Would envision the depth chart would look something like this:
Central defense
1. Ciania
2. Steres
3. Romney
Wide defense
1. Cole
2. Romney
3. Diallo

Game 4 Grenfell - UK Guardian photos, BBC article and report from QPR

Some photos from the charity match at Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers, one mile from the terrible Grenfell Tower fire.

To read about the BBC report on the event go here.

Text report and photos from the Queens Park Rangers site can be seen at this link.

Well done by all involved!

Game4Grefell - Hats off to QPR

While catching up on European soccer news, came across the charity match that will be televised in the UK to raise support for those who suffered so much loss as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire.

QPR, Queens Park Rangers, are the soccer club very closest to the site of the terrible fire. The club and its non-profit charitable foundation arm has teamed up with a number of other organizations and concerned individuals to host this event. If you follow the links, there is one that leads to an online donation page. I've made a small contribution and hope you will consider doing so as well. Thanks!

Hats off to QPR and all involved!

Heading into the October international break

LA Galaxy have dropped two in a row and in both cases their defense was the culprit. As a result, they go into the MLS playoffs in fifth pla...