Posts Tagged ‘LA Zlatan Ibrahimovic’

SEATTLE – Please visit Pro Soccer USA for my story on MLS Commissioner Don Garber and his comments on LA Galaxy striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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MLS Commissioner Don Garber in Seattle, Washington, on November 8, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist 

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Whitecaps FC will be looking to end the season on a high note when they host Real Salt Lake on Sunday at B.C. Place. Vancouver comes into the season finale riding a three-match unbeaten streak thanks to a wins over the LA Galaxy, Houston, and a draw vs Columbus Crew SC. If Whitecaps FC can earn a result against playoff bound, Real Salt Lake they will have reached a season high, four-match unbeaten streak.

Over the course of the final month of the season, Whitecaps FC have taken on a spoiler role.

In that process, Vancouver may have found a hidden gem on the back-line.

Jasser Khmiri, made his MLS debut on Sunday against the Galaxy, and he did not look out of place. The ‘Towering Tunisian’ played with poise, pace, and power. Khmiri had his timing down, and his instincts looked terrific.

Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos was not at all surprised by Khmiri’s performance.

“Guys, look, we watch players,” Dos Santos started to explain. “It would unprofessional on my part to watch a player and then bring him here, and say ‘Oh, I’m surprised that he’s good’. It would be very unprofessional. We watched him, we watched games. We sent a staff member to Tunisia. We knew that there was a lot of interest from French clubs, and Belgium clubs. He had a problem in his knee, when we brought him here. We took that risk, other clubs didn’t want to take that risk. Our performance group did a fantastic job with him. We know his qualities, the qualities of Jasser, he has very good height. He’s very good in the air, both attacking and defending. He’s comfortable on the ball. He’s a fast player for his position. He’s very aggressive, so positionally he could still grow. He’s an aggressive player, he’s young, and it’s his first game with the club.”

The 22-year-old, Khmiri, was paired with MLS veteran, Doneil Henry. The Canadian international could sense the hunger, and anticipation from his defensive partner. Henry helped make sure Khmiri, kept his composure, and stayed focused.

“It was good,” Henry said. “I know when a player has been out for that long, he’s hungry. I was kind of nervous going into the game. When you’ve been out that long and you haven’t played in any warm-up games, and you go against a front-line like the one we played against, it’s not easy.

I just wanted to coach him throughout the game, and make sure he wasn’t overly excited to go into tackles. You can get burnt or do something wrong. Jasser was excellent for the game, I’m happy. I read that he had nineteen clearances, that’s amazing. It’s a good start for Jasser and there’s a lot to continue to do, and I just want to help him.”

The Galaxy boast one of the top attacking squads in all of MLS. Anytime you can pencil Zlatan Ibrahimovic into your lineup, you have a chance to win, and win big. Khmiri wasn’t fazed by the bright lights, and big names at the other end of the pitch.

He battled with Zlatan, and managed to frustrate the Swedish striker. As close as the Galaxy came, they were never able to take control of the match. Vancouver won 4-3 thanks to a stoppage time winner from Michaell Chirinos. The play that sprung Chirinos, and In-Beom Hwang was setup by Khmiri, who won the ball in his own defensive half.

“We wanted his first game, for him to feel right away what MLS was about,” Dos Santos explained. “I think he was a player in the ninety minutes that understood his role, helped, jumped a lot with Ibra. Challenged a lot with him in the box. We knew a lot of the things from the game against the Galaxy would be crosses in the box, that’s why we wanted to make sure, Doneil, and Jasser would be there to cope with that, and I think they did a good job overall.”

Have Whitecaps FC found a new top centre-back duo for next season?

“Yeah, that’s down to the coaches,” Henry said. “Like I said, while I’m playing, I just want to help the boys out, and be a leader. Just leave the rest to the coaches, and the club.”

Marc Dos Santos wasn’t willing to discuss his centre-back duo for the 2020 campaign.

“I don’t know, no, I don’t know. I don’t know, let’s see how things develop.”

Fans might see Henry and Khmiri in action when Vancouver takes on Real Salt Lake on Sunday. The visitors will be looking to lock up a home playoff date, while Whitecaps FC will look to ‘screw’ another MLS opponent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VANCOUVER, B.C – As the MLS season draws closer to an end, teams are jockeying for key playoff positioning in both conferences. Whitecaps FC will not be heading to the playoffs. Instead of a potential run to the MLS Cup, Vancouver has taken on a spoiler role.

Whitecaps FC will head to California this weekend for a Sunday afternoon battle against the LA Galaxy, at Dignity Health Sports Park. Vancouver comes into the match riding a two-match unbeaten streak. A 2-1 win over Houston, and a 1-1 draw vs Columbus Crew SC significantly struck a blow to the playoff aspirations of both clubs.

“It’s kind of a positive note that we screwed with Columbus, and Houston,” Whitecaps FC’s Max Crépeau told reporters on Tuesday. “Honestly, if you can knock someone out, you do it. It’s good to actually get points.”

Vancouver’s number one goalkeeper has missed the previous two matches. Crépeau has been nursing a right ankle sprain. He picked up the knock earlier this month, while on international duty with Canada. Although he wasn’t healthy enough to start on Saturday he was able to back up, Zac MacMath.

Heading into Whitecaps FC’s final road trip of the season, Crépeau is good to go.

“I am, I am,” Crépeau beamed. “Life is good, if you see me in training, it’s because I’m 100%. Obviously it was a little bit of work to do on it, because it happened Friday, before the Cuba game. Now I feel really good.”

The 15-13-3, LA Galaxy currently sit 4th in the western conference with 48 points. Back to back, home victories over Sporting Kansas City, and the Montreal Impact have the Galaxy rounding into form.

If Whitecaps FC are going to disrupt the Galaxy’s momentum, it starts with containing the one and only, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. A task, that’s a lot easier said than done.

The imposing Swedish striker was a handful when Vancouver and LA met earlier this season. Ibrahimovic had a goal, and an assist in a 2-0 win over Whitecaps FC on April 5, at B.C. Place.

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If Vancouver is going to earn another result, they’ll have to stop more than just Ibra.

“Zlatan, even this weekend against Montreal, he’s really dangerous,” Crépeau said. “There’s good players around him too. Sometimes we focus too much on this guy, and we don’t even focus on the other guys. They have a lot of quality around him. We’ve seen it this weekend, he created two good chances for his team, just because he has the ball, and others get free.”

“I expect that Zlatan is going to be up to the task.”

In his first full season as a number one keeper, Crépeau has posted a 6-12-6 record. He has five clean sheets, and his 107 saves, are 4th highest in Major League Soccer.

The Greenfield, Park native, has saved Whitecaps FC’s bacon on numerous occasions this season.

Vancouver’s 7-15-10 record could have been much worse without Crépeau in net.

Having watched his teammates earn results against teams fighting for their playoff lives, Crépeau is eager to potentially return to take on the Galaxy. It would mean a great deal to finish the season on a high note.

“I’m with the boys, I’m with the group,” Crépeau said. “I want us to win, I want us to win the last two games.”

“Now it’s about doing the same with the Galaxy,” Crépeau talked about playing spoiler. “They’re in a tough spot, that they need to win everything. After that it’s finishing off against the last game against Salt Lake.”

Whitecaps FC will be ‘California Dreaming’ of an upset over Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy. The pressure is squarely on the LA Galaxy, Vancouver has nothing to lose.

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Daily Hive for my LA Galaxy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic story.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Pro Soccer USA for my Whitecaps FC vs LA Galaxy report.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Pro Soccer USA for my Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs LA Galaxy preview.

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VANCOUVER, B.C –  Please visit Daily Hive for my story on LA Galaxy superstar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

https://bit.ly/2WDlbcS

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