LA Galaxy confirm 2021 roster decisions

Minutes after announcing the departure of captain Jonathan Dos Santos, the Los Angeles Galaxy revealed the 2021 roster decision ahead of the upcoming Major League Soccer campaign.

As previously reported, the Galaxy chose not to extend Jonathan Dos Santos’ contract after it expired in the fall. After four and a half seasons, Dos Santos will leave the Los Angeles team and leave a Designated spot open on the roster.

“That designated player spot is something that is certainly important to Greg and it was always important for kind of the next stage of the team,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein.

Goalkeeper Justin vom Steeg is out of contract and will not return to the Galaxy for the 2022 campaign.

LA declined the 2022 contract options of forwards Kai Koreniuk and Augustine Williams and defenders Daniel Acosta and Oniel Fisher. All four players are out of contract.

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan is also out of contract, but LA remains in discussions with him for the 2022 season.

The Western Conference club did not exercise 2022 contract options on goalkeeper Eric Lopez or midfielder Victor Vázquez, while forward Ethan Zubak remains in discussions with them for the 2022 season

Players already under contract for the 2022 season include: goalkeeper Jonathan Bond; defenders Julian Araujo, Séga Coulibaly, Marcus Ferkranus, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Jalen Neal, Jorge Villafaña and Derrick Williams; midfielders Efrain Álvarez, Carlos Harvey, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan Perez and Rayan Raveloson; and forwards Kévin Cabral, Cameron Dunbar, Samuel Grandsir, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Dejan Joveljić.

The Galaxy’s current roster headed into 2022, listed alphabetically by position, is below:

Goalkeepers (2): Jonathan Bond, Jonathan Klinsmann

Defenders (9): Julian Araujo, Séga Coulibaly, Nick DePuy, Marcus Ferkranus, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Jalen Neal, Daniel Steres, Jorge Villafaña, Derrick Williams

Midfielders (7): Daniel Aguirre, Efrain Álvarez, Carlos Harvey, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan Perez, Rayan Raveloson, Adam Saldaña

Forwards (5): Kévin Cabral, Cameron Dunbar, Samuel Grandsir, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Dejan Joveljić

Jack McGlynn delivers in penalty kicks to send Philadelphia Union into conference final

The stakes could not have been any higher for Philadelphia Union’s Jack McGlynn in Sunday’s MLS Cup Playoff match.

The 18-year-old stepped up to the line with a chance to give his team a 2-0 lead in penalty kicks, putting the Union just one save away from the Eastern Conference Final if he scored. And the teenager delivered.

McGlynn buried a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net, as Nashville SC goalkeeper Joe Willis dove the opposite direction.

After McGlynn scored, he pointed towards the veins in his right arm, an “ice in my veins” celebration. His team agreed that the goal was just as ice cold as McGlynn’s celebration suggested.

“For him to step up in that moment, there’s a word for it that I won’t use in the press conference, but he has brass ones,” head coach Jim Curtin said. “He stepped up in a big spot in a full stadium in an elimination game and calmly goes about it like it’s nothing.”

Curtin sees McGlynn as a future star for the Union, a homegrown talent from the Philadelphia Union Academy already contributing to the MLS club.

“Jack McGlynn has a huge future. I know that a lot of people haven’t seen him play as much as maybe he would like or even the league would like – the same goes for Quinn Sullivan, the same goes for Paxten Aaronson,” Curtin said. “But these kids are going to be really, really special. And a night like tonight only builds confidence for him.”

McGlynn’s teammates were also impressed with his clutch postseason performance. Goalkeeper Andre Blake, who saved two shots in penalties, had high praise for the Queens, New York, native.

​​“He’s a great player. He’s humble, he listens and he wants to learn. He’s very technical. We had no doubt in him,” Blake said. “He shoots every time in training so we know how well he hits the ball and we know that he’s confident. We had no doubt putting him in the top five and he went out there and executed. That’s big-time for us and definitely does a lot for his confidence going forward as well.”

Belenenses request 7-0 defeat to Benfica be replayed due to COVID outbreak

Belenenses have formally requested a rematch against Benfica after their meeting last week was suspended due to the home side not having enough players.

A COVID-19 outbreak at Belenenses left them with just nine players for the game, two of whom were goalkeepers, but they were told that they still had to play on as they had more than the league minimum of seven fit squad members.

Benfica showed no mercy and racked up seven goals in the first half, after which only seven Belenenses players came out for the second 45. Three minutes in, backup goalkeeper Joao Monteiro, who was playing outfield, went down with an injury and forced the referee to suspend the game.

As it stands, the match is still official and has contributed to the current league table, but Belenenses have formally requested for the game to be struck from the record and replayed at a later date.

“Belenenses SAD have received the report of the match referee, and it appears that the referee declared ‘… the game ended due to numerical inferiority, during the third minute of the second half,” a statement began (via Record).

“Article 45, no. 4 of the Regulation of Liga Portugal Competitions provides that ‘when a game has been finished by the referee before the end of regulation time, the result registered by the referee will not be ratified, instead being decided by a new match, except in the cases expressly provided for in the regulations.

“The game was terminated by the referee before the end of regular time. The regulations do not expressly provide for the case of a game being ended by the referee before the end of regulation time, that is, they do not provide for what must happen in that case.

“Consequently, the League must not ratify the result of this game, but must arrange a new game, with Belenenses available to set the date of the new game under the terms of the regulations and calendars of both teams.”

A club spokesman confirmed to Reuters that no fewer than 44 players and staff are isolating after 13 cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant were detected in the club.

An investigation has now been opened into the match, with league officials looking at whether the curtailed match actually conformed to health regulations in the first place.

The local health department have denied responsibility for postponing the game, with everybody blaming each other at this point.

Fantasy Premier League tips: Gameweek 14

Depending on how your Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 13 went, you’re probably still licking your wounds or rubbing your opponents’ faces in your success.

However, the world of FPL keeps on turning and the Gameweek 14 deadline is just around the corner.

With a full contingent of midweek fixtures for us to get our teeth stuck into, here are the players you should be looking to bring in.

James Maddison, Moussa Sissoko

Maddison is back / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

At long, long last James Maddison is finally showing signs of being back to his mercurial best.

A goal in the Europa League in midweek was followed by two assists and another fine finish against Watford on Sunday, earning him 16 FPL points.

His previous highest return of the season was just eight and there is little chance of Brendan Rodgers dropping him against Southampton.

Ademola Lookman

A risk that could pay off big / Malcolm Couzens/GettyImages

If Maddison is out of your price range, it is worth considering Ademola Lookman, who also scored against the Hornets this weekend.

Owned by less than 0.1% of managers, he the potential to be one of this season’s most pivotal differential pick ups.

Conor Coady

Coady is a mainstay of the Wolves starting XI / Stephen Pond/GettyImages

Wolves suffered a minor setback this weekend, slumping to a goalless draw with relegation-threatened Norwich City.

The result may have irked Bruno Lage but owners of Conor Coady didn’t mind as the defender secured two bonus points, as well as a clean sheet.

Burnley at home is another ‘easy’ fixture for Wanderers, making Coady an attractive low-cost proposition.

Teemu Pukki

Pukki loves goals / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

The games come thick and fast in December and this opens your FPL assets up to possible rotation.

One player who should be safe from any such chopping and changing is Teemu Pukki. Why you ask?

Well, without being mean, Norwich’s other striking options are pretty pants.

Reece James

James is a must have / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Marcos Alonso failed to impress in Ben Chilwell’s absence against Man Utd on Sunday and on the opposite flank Reece James was not his imperious self either.

This was likely a blip though, and one of the best players of the Premier League so far will be keen to get back to his best against struggling Watford.

Daniel James, Marc Cucurella

James is due a big points return / Charlie Crowhurst/GettyImages

From one James to another, Daniel is starting to really click at Elland Road.

The former Man Utd man has been one of his side’s best performers over their last two games and he is getting into scoring positions with increasing regularity.

If you cannot afford Raphinha, James is your man.

Diogo Jota

Jota cannot stop scoring / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Diogo Jota is in astounding form for Liverpool and at just £7.7m he represents terrific value.

With Roberto Firmino still out, Jota is likely to retain his position as a nominal centre-forward for some time yet.

We expect the goals to keep on flowing.

Harry Kane

Kane surprised a few fans after the postponement / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Yes, we know we recommended him last week and it did not exactly go well – though in fairness, it was tough to predict Burnley vs Tottenham falling victim to the weather.

That is behind us now though, and with some unscheduled, extra days rest, Harry Kane will be chomping at the bit against Brentford.

For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!

LA Galaxy part ways with captain Jonathan Dos Santos

The LA Galaxy has parted ways with captain Jonathan dos Santos after four and a half seasons with the club following the expiration of his contract.

The news comes as a shock after fans were thrilled to see him parter with Mexican international teammate Chicharito Hernandez.

“We thank Jonathan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “In five seasons with the Galaxy, Jonathan was a key contributor and leader for us. We very much appreciate his work ethic, professionalism and passion during his time with our club and we wish him all the best.”

Dos Santos kicked off his career in Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy when he was 12, alongside older brother and former LA Galaxy player Giovani. He was reunited with Gio on the Galaxy midway through the 2017 season, when he joined the team from La Liga’s Villarreal.

Jonathan quickly became an integral part of the team, working through the ranks to become a staple and eventually club captain.

Dos Santos became the 30th player in club history to appear in 100 regular season matches for the Galaxy. Since signing with the club in 2017, Dos Santos managed 103 regular season outings (91 starts) for the Galaxy and tallied six goals and 12 assists.

Things are about to get interesting in Los Angeles as Jona’s departure frees up a Designated Player spot on the roster.

“That designated player spot is something that is certainly important to Greg and it was always important for kind of the next stage of the team,” Klein said.

Head coach Greg Vanney has kicked off a revolution at the Galaxy, bringing in 16 new players this season and letting go of club veterans to prepare for the 2022 campaign.

The LA Galaxy will commence their 27th season in Major League Soccer by hosting New York City FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 2:00 p.m. PT.