Archive | April, 2008

Quakes to take on division leader, again

Posted on 30 April 2008 by Evan White

For the second time in three matches San Jose will be playing the first placed team in the Western Conference. It worked out well for them the first time, when they earned their first win over then number one Colorado in Denver. Head coach Frank Yallop and the Earthquakes look to the effort that knocked the Rapids from their first place pedestal and replicate it this week against FC Dallas. Coming off their first loss of the year against the New England Revolution, Dallas is ready to get back on track against the lowest scoring team in the league. While the underdog role is a burden the expansion Earthquakes will carry this season, Dallas need only look back a of couple weeks to the Quakes-Rapids tilt to know that San Jose should not be underestimated.

To compete with FC Dallas the way they did Colorado, the Quakes must play with intensity and passion. Excitement will not be hard to find on Saturday as San Jose will play their first home game at the newly renovated Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University. The official home of the Earthquakes 2008 season will see its first action, even though this is not San Jose’s first home game, a 2-0 loss to Chicago at Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum. With the support of their first true home crowd of the 2008 season, San Jose should have no trouble exhibiting inspiration and desire in their performance.

These two things were notably absent in their New York loss, in which the club seemed as if they were playing for a tie. The team and coach were too content with a hard earned point. Late in the game the defensive minded midfielder Joe Vide was subbed in to preserve the 0-0 stalemate. Yallop’s intent to squeak by with the tie was disrupted on a penalty kick, and the Quakes were unable to level the score.

In stoppage time an extra goal was added by New York star Jozy Altidore, and all hope of leaving New York with a tie evaporated. Yallop knew his team was not performing offensively, possibly part of his rationale to substitute the midfielder Vide. After the game Yallop admitted, “For us, we had to make sure we were prepared to get a clean sheet in the second half. I didn’t think we looked like we were going to win the game, to be honest, but I didn’t think they really did either. You just hope to get through the game with maybe not playing great but getting a point at the very least. The goal at the end was really icing on the cake for them. I was hoping to at least come out of here with a point.”

Entering last weekend as the only undefeated team in the league, FC Dallas left home field Pizza Hut Park with a 1-0 blemish on their record at the hands (feet) of New England. A tight game throughout, a 72nd minute Khano Smith goal was the only score. The two teams were able to muster only nine shots on goal the whole match. Hoops coach Steve Morrow delivered a post game speech eerily reminiscent of Yallop’s sentiments after the Quake’s loss to Chicago, saying, “I think we deserved to get something out of the game. I think New England came in here and stole the game from us; we completed dominated the game from start to finish. We’re very, very disappointed to lose that game. They had one shot on goal the second half, and we’re extremely disappointed.”

The Hoops have had a fairly successful season so far offensively despite what their last performance would suggest. New England’s shutout ended Kenny Cooper’s streak of three consecutive games with at least one goal. His four goals have him tied for second in the league behind only Landon Donovan’s eight. The Earthquakes need to keep him out of dangerous situations, and hope to deny him the ball as much as possible.

FCD has been able to find other sources of offense as well. Cooper’s forward counterparts have been productive of late, registering a goal or assist in two of Dallas’s last three games. The midfield has been productive, too, scoring three of the team’s five goals not netted by Cooper. Mid Arturo Alvarez has been arguably the second most dangerous threat for FC Dallas thus far, with two goals and two assists on the season. His ability to create and feed off his teammates has allowed him to lead the club in shots on goal with six.

A critical challenge for the Earthquakes will be slowing Dallas’s fast starts. The Texan team has yet to trail an opponent at the half—almost 65% of their goals have come in the first half. Although risky, the Earthquakes can apply a defensive strategy for Kenny Cooper. Second in the league in goals, Cooper is also second in the league in offside penalties with nine in five games. If San Jose can effectively trap Cooper in his runs without giving up the big mistake, they could significantly impede Cooper’s impact on the game without giving him the full focus of their defense. Coupled with a raucous home crowd, San Jose might have the fire to take down another member of the MLS elite. If FC Dallas doesn’t think so, they should ask the Rapids.

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Young Revs squad hopes to douse Fire in rematch

Posted on 28 April 2008 by L.E. Eisenmenger

This Saturday, the Chicago Fire travel to New England hoping to replicate its 4-0 victory over the Revolution. The Fire and the Revolution are in second and third place, respectively, in the Eastern Conference. Both won their most recent games, the Revs 1-0 over FC Dallas and John Thorrington scoring both goals in the Fire’s 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. The depleted Revolution are using reserves to replace injured veterans Steve Ralston, Taylor Twellman, Chris Albright, Jeff Larentowicz and Gambian speedster Sainey Nyassi. The Revs have a 3-2-1 record on the season.

In the Revs’ first meeting with the Fire, Larentowicz was handed a red card in the seventh minute for a cleats-up tackle, and keeper Matt Reis took four goals in the first half of the Revs’ worst game in recent memory. In the second half, the Revs successfully held the Fire at bay without further damage, in part by adding recent acquisition Chase Hilgenbrinck to the backline.

This Saturday, the starting 11 are once again a matter of conjecture, as Coach Steve Nicol has already used five different starting lineups in six matches. Mauricio Castro, having served a one-game red card suspension for an altercation at New York, will be back in central midfield, and it’s likely that Chase Hildenbrinck will support a four man defensive line with Michael Parkhurst, Jay Heaps, and Amaechi Igwe. Igwe has improved in his performances, after attracting unnecessary yellow cards in his first few games.

If Nyassi is still injured, Wells Thompson will likely start on the right, and veterans Reis, Joseph, Parkhurst, and Jay Heaps will need to provide the leadership to pull the young squad together against the Chicago Fire’s aggressive frontline.

TV38, 7:30 ET – Chicago Fire @ New England Revolution

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Three and Counting for TFC

Posted on 28 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC recorded a historic victory on Saturday afternoon, blanking Kansas City Wizards 2-0 on Amado Guevara’s brace to move above .500 for the first time in the club’s short history.

As the sun struggled to push past The result marked a third straight win for the Canadian side, another first, and ensured John Carver’s men are on maximum points so far into a five-game home stand. The young side had snared two straight wins at BMO Field early last season and repeated that feat in recent weeks, moving to .500 with two wins and two losses in the run-up to Saturday’s encounter.

Just as the summer sun was struggling to break through the overcast conditions, Toronto started the match on the offensive, propelled by the vocal BMO Field crowd.

Guevara nearly opened the scoring early on when his left-footed strike was pushed away by an alert Kevin Hartman. The Wizards keeper was hoping to build on the clean sheet league record he cemented a week before in a 1-0 win at Chicago, and through the first half he looked well on course to add to his 65 career shutouts.

With Rohan Ricketts terrorizing the Kansas City defence as he switched from left to right, it wasn’t long before the English winger found countryman Danny Dichio wide open in the area. Dichio slotted home but the striker’s cool finish was called back for offside. Replays appeared to justify the official’s decision, showing Dichio just a few steps ahead of the last defender.

Despite the relentless assault on their opponent’s goal, Toronto’s backline had to stay alert, with Marco Vélez in particular feeding off the enthusiasm of the south end crowd. Wizards attacker Claudio López was showing the kind of skill that made him a fan favourite at Lazio in Italy, controlling the ball well and looking for teammates.

TFC’s backline managed to shut out the Argentine forward through the first half, with their collective performance ensuring that the backline stayed intact at halftime despite the presence of new signing Olivier Tébily on the Toronto bench.

“I mean, look at López,” Carver told MLSNet after the game. “He’s a world class player, so that tells you something about our defense, our midfield players and our front end who defended and kept him quiet.”

Toronto again started the second half with an attacking verve, but it looked as though Kansas City had come to earn a point and were going to be difficult to break down. It needed a stroke of luck for Toronto, but their offensive spirit finally paid off at the hour mark.

Marvell Wynne made a typically marauding run down the right flank and his scuffed pass bounced off a Wizards defender and fell right at the feet of Guevara. The Honduran kept his concentration and buried the ball past Hartman, cueing raucous celebrations in the south end as the linesman’s flag stayed down.

Wizards coach Curt Onalfo immediately brought on more attacking talent, with ex-Middlesbrough ace Carlos Marinelli and Sasha Victorine joining the fray.

Buoyed by the goal, Toronto pushed for a second and nearly paid for it just minutes later, with López drawing Greg Sutton out before finding an unmarked Ivan Trujillo in front of the open goal. Trujillo steadied himself and fired a low shot, but the 6’6″ Sutton dove across the face of the goal and was able to make the save.

“You know my job is try and keep these games in our pockets,” Sutton told the club’s website after the final whistle. “Our guys did a great job today, defensively, again. I think we’ve grown [in] leaps and bounds from the first couple of games.”

If Sutton and Guevara were competing for man-of-the-match honours at that stage, Guevara was intent to upstage his teammate. The midfielder won a free-kick 20 yards from Hartman’s goal and stood over it with Laurent Robert, an increasingly deadly combination that may lack the precision of David Beckham but more than makes up for it in variety.

With Hartman and the Kansas City wall expecting a Robert piledriver, Guevara calmly stepped up and dispatched a curling shot off the near post and in. The strike marked Toronto’s first two-goal lead since last season’s 4-0 rout of FC Dallas and the first two-goal performance by a single player in club history.

“Laurent and I usually look at the ball and the position and who has the better shot at the net,” Guevara told MLSNet later. “Last week it was Laurent, and this week, he looked at me and told me I had a better shot. I took it and thankfully it went to the right place.”

With the local hockey team and MLSE affiliate Toronto Maple Leafs missing out on the NHL postseason and the basketball franchise the Toronto Raptors on the brink of a playoff elimination of their own, TFC’s recent momentum has taken the Queen City by storm.

Carver, Guevara and the rest of the side will hope to carry that momentum over to Thursday night, when Red Bull New York visit BMO Field for the third of five straight home games for Toronto. Guevara will be one day shy of his 33rd birthday but the only thing on the Honduran’s mind will be helping his new club gain maximum points from their home stand and keeping up the club’s 100% home record so far in 2008.

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Carli Lloyd nets dramatic winner over Aussies

Posted on 28 April 2008 by ASN Staff

In a match that was delayed 53 minutes due to rain and lightning, the U.S. Women’s National Team earned its first domestic win of 2008 with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Australia on a stoppage time goal from midfielder Carli Lloyd.

The stadium was pounded by rain starting 40 minutes before the original kickoff of 7 p.m. and along with several bursts of lightning, caused almost an hour delay.

When the teams finally took the field, the fans were treated to a wonderfully exciting match that saw three goals in the final six minutes.

A goal from Natasha Kai in the 35th minute and another from Abby Wambach in the 49th had staked the USA to a 2-0 lead, which seemingly was to be the final score. Australia had other plans, though, scoring twice in three minutes in the 86th and 88th minutes to tie the game.

That set the stage for heroics from Lloyd after substitute Angela Hucles was fouled by Selin Kuralay on the left wing about 20 yards from the sideline. Halftime substitute Cat Whitehill sent an excellent service to the far post that drew Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams off her line. In a tight pack of players, she tried to punch clear but hit the ball high in the air. It fell to Lloyd inside the six-yard box and she jumped over an Australia player to nod the ball into the open net with her head, setting off a wild celebration by the U.S. players and fans.

“You are 2-0 up, and then 2-1 and 2-2 and you can see in the body language that we still wanted to win,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “When we got the free kick, you could feel it. That feeling is contagious. The goal is just huge, even though it’s just a friendly game, but still that goal is huge. Not only for Carli, but for the whole team including myself, because it gives you the feeling you can win no matter what.” [More quotes]

The win was the first for Sundhage inside the United States and moved the USA’s record in 2008 to 11-0-1. The two teams will meet again next Saturday, May 3, in Birmingham, Ala., at the famed Legion Field (tickets). Kickoff is 4 p.m. CT and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

The heavy rains actually ceased six minutes into the game, but the field was still saturated, making for extremely slick conditions in some parts of the field and plodding puddles in others. Even though the heavy rains started about 55 minutes into the game, the field held up extremely well throughout the match.

The USA’s first goal came as Lloyd cleverly slipped through two defenders in the midfield and dribbled with pace toward goal. She then played a perfect diagonal pass into the penalty area to the cutting Wambach, but the U.S. forward unselfishly let the ball run through her legs and into the path of the streaking Kai. With her first touch, Kai almost let the ball skid too far in front of her, but recovered with speed to slide and knock her shot off the inside of right post and in from seven yards out. It was Kai’s 15th career goal and seventh of 2008.

Young forward Amy Rodriguez replaced Kai at halftime and immediately made an impact, creating the second goal almost on her own. She took a pass just over midfield and raced by Aussie defender Clare Polkinghorne into the box before sending a delicate short chip to top the six-yard box. Almost falling backwards, Wambach got a head on the cross and looped it into the side-netting of the left corner. The goal, her seventh of 2008, was the 93rd of Wambach’s career as she races toward the magical 100-goal mark.

The USA fired 22 shots (seven by Lloyd and five from Wambach) to Australia’s 13, but were almost made to pay for not being able to manufacture a third goal despite numerous chances over 90 minutes.

Australia pulled a goal back with four minutes left as Heather Garriock, playing her 100th match for the Matildas, sent a cross in from the right wing to the far post that was expertly headed by Kate Gill across the goal mouth and into the far post from an extremely tight angle.

One minute later, the crowd was stunned as Lori Chalupny was whistled for handling the ball in the penalty area as she slid to tackle the ball away. She won the tackle, but the ball rolled up and hit her on the arm with her whole body on the ground. The assistant referee waved her flag and referee Margaret Domka point to the spot.

Australia captain Cheryl Salisbury took the kick and drove it to the left corner where Solo made a spectacular save, but the ball bounced right back to the Aussie captain who headed it into the open net to tie the game.

Showing great fighting spirit, the Americans tallied 45 seconds in the first minute of stoppage time. Before Domka whistled the end of the game 75 seconds later, Rodriguez almost made it a two-goal victory when she missed wide right of the post on a golden chance from 15 yards.

“I have to say it’s a good start (to the run of three domestic games),” said Sundhage. “This game had so many things. Some parts were very good in the first half and the people coming off the bench did very well. I said to the players, the way we won the game, it’s a winning feeling and that is so important to have when we go into the Olympics. This is perfect training for us.”

Solo was excellent in the horrible conditions over 90 minutes, making at least three powerful punches in first half, coming out to the top of the box twice to corral dangerous through balls and tipped a dangerous 19-yard half-volley from Sarah Walsh over the cross bar in the 20th minute. She also held several skipping shots well, and made the initial stop on the PK.

Despite not being able to punch clear at the end of the match, Williams also had a solid game on the wet field for Australia, holding numerous hard crosses and shots on which rebounds would have been finished by crashing U.S. forwards. She made 10 saves in the match.

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage made all six of her allowed substitutions during the match and also gave a start to defender Heather Mitts, who returned to the U.S. lineup with an excellent performance after missing the last year while recovering from an ACL injury. Mitts played 53 minutes before being replaced by Rachel Buehler.

The U.S. team will now head to Birmingham where they will train all week in preparation for the second leg against Australia. Tickets starting at $18 and can be purchased through ussoccer.com, by calling 205-715-6000, and at all Birmingham-area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Publix and FYE stores).

From Birmingham, the USA will travel to Washington, D.C., to face Canada on May 10 at 7 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium in a re-match of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying championship game held earlier this month in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Match Report

USA vs. Australia
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Date: April 27, 2008; Kickoff – 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 3,698
Weather: Heavy rain, thunderstorms – 67 degrees

Scoring Summary:

USA – Natasha Kai (Carli Lloyd) 35th minute.
USA – Abby Wambach (Amy Rodriguez) 49.
AUS – Kate Gill (Heather Garriock) 86.
AUS – Cheryl Salisbury (unassisted) 88.
USA – Carli Lloyd (unassited) 91+

Lineups:
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts (26-Rachel Buehler, 53), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 15-Kate Markgraf (4-Cat Whitehill, 46), 17-Lori Chalupny; 9-Heather O’Reilly (16-Angela Hucles, 67), 7-Shannon Boxx (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 68), 11-Carli Lloyd, 13-Tobin Heath (21-Kacey White, 46); 6-Natasha Kai (19-Amy Rodriguez, 46), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 1-Briana Scurry
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

AUS: 18-Lydia Williams; 3-Karla Reuter (19-Kim Carroll, 76), 5-Cheryl Salisbury – Capt., 11-Clare Polkinghorne, 16-Lauren Colthorpe; 7-Heather Garriock (2-Kate McShea, 89), 13-Amy Chapman (12-Kate Gill, 58), 14-Collette McCallum, 15-Sally Shipard (6-Amber Neilson, 65); 9-Sarah Walsh (22-Selin Kuralay, 82), 17-Kyah Simon (20-Joanne Burgess, 59).
Subs not used: 1-Melissa Barbieri
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni

Statistical Summary:
USA / AUS
Shots: 22 / 13
Shots on Goal: 13 / 8
Saves: 5 / 10
Corner Kicks: 6 / 5
Fouls: 6 / 8
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
AUS – Cheryl Salisbury (caution) 37th minute.

Officials
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Asst. Referee: Sharon Wheeler (USA)
Asst. Referee: Kathleen Casto (USA)
4th Official: Chris Spivey (USA)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

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Carli Lloyd nets dramatic winner as USWNT beats Aussies

Posted on 28 April 2008 by ASN Staff

In a match that was delayed 53 minutes due to rain and lightning, the U.S. Women’s National Team earned its first domestic win of 2008 with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Australia on a stoppage time goal from midfielder Carli Lloyd.

The stadium was pounded by rain starting 40 minutes before the original kickoff of 7 p.m. and along with several bursts of lightning, caused almost an hour delay.

When the teams finally took the field, the fans were treated to a wonderfully exciting match that saw three goals in the final six minutes.

A goal from Natasha Kai in the 35th minute and another from Abby Wambach in the 49th had staked the USA to a 2-0 lead, which seemingly was to be the final score. Australia had other plans, though, scoring twice in three minutes in the 86th and 88th minutes to tie the game.

That set the stage for heroics from Lloyd after substitute Angela Hucles was fouled by Selin Kuralay on the left wing about 20 yards from the sideline. Halftime substitute Cat Whitehill sent an excellent service to the far post that drew Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams off her line. In a tight pack of players, she tried to punch clear but hit the ball high in the air. It fell to Lloyd inside the six-yard box and she jumped over an Australia player to nod the ball into the open net with her head, setting off a wild celebration by the U.S. players and fans.

“You are 2-0 up, and then 2-1 and 2-2 and you can see in the body language that we still wanted to win,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “When we got the free kick, you could feel it. That feeling is contagious. The goal is just huge, even though it’s just a friendly game, but still that goal is huge. Not only for Carli, but for the whole team including myself, because it gives you the feeling you can win no matter what.” [More quotes]

The win was the first for Sundhage inside the United States and moved the USA’s record in 2008 to 11-0-1. The two teams will meet again next Saturday, May 3, in Birmingham, Ala., at the famed Legion Field (tickets). Kickoff is 4 p.m. CT and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

The heavy rains actually ceased six minutes into the game, but the field was still saturated, making for extremely slick conditions in some parts of the field and plodding puddles in others. Even though the heavy rains started about 55 minutes into the game, the field held up extremely well throughout the match.

The USA’s first goal came as Lloyd cleverly slipped through two defenders in the midfield and dribbled with pace toward goal. She then played a perfect diagonal pass into the penalty area to the cutting Wambach, but the U.S. forward unselfishly let the ball run through her legs and into the path of the streaking Kai. With her first touch, Kai almost let the ball skid too far in front of her, but recovered with speed to slide and knock her shot off the inside of right post and in from seven yards out. It was Kai’s 15th career goal and seventh of 2008.

Young forward Amy Rodriguez replaced Kai at halftime and immediately made an impact, creating the second goal almost on her own. She took a pass just over midfield and raced by Aussie defender Clare Polkinghorne into the box before sending a delicate short chip to top the six-yard box. Almost falling backwards, Wambach got a head on the cross and looped it into the side-netting of the left corner. The goal, her seventh of 2008, was the 93rd of Wambach’s career as she races toward the magical 100-goal mark.

The USA fired 22 shots (seven by Lloyd and five from Wambach) to Australia’s 13, but were almost made to pay for not being able to manufacture a third goal despite numerous chances over 90 minutes.

Australia pulled a goal back with four minutes left as Heather Garriock, playing her 100th match for the Matildas, sent a cross in from the right wing to the far post that was expertly headed by Kate Gill across the goal mouth and into the far post from an extremely tight angle.

One minute later, the crowd was stunned as Lori Chalupny was whistled for handling the ball in the penalty area as she slid to tackle the ball away. She won the tackle, but the ball rolled up and hit her on the arm with her whole body on the ground. The assistant referee waved her flag and referee Margaret Domka point to the spot.

Australia captain Cheryl Salisbury took the kick and drove it to the left corner where Solo made a spectacular save, but the ball bounced right back to the Aussie captain who headed it into the open net to tie the game.

Showing great fighting spirit, the Americans tallied 45 seconds in the first minute of stoppage time. Before Domka whistled the end of the game 75 seconds later, Rodriguez almost made it a two-goal victory when she missed wide right of the post on a golden chance from 15 yards.

“I have to say it’s a good start (to the run of three domestic games),” said Sundhage. “This game had so many things. Some parts were very good in the first half and the people coming off the bench did very well. I said to the players, the way we won the game, it’s a winning feeling and that is so important to have when we go into the Olympics. This is perfect training for us.”

Solo was excellent in the horrible conditions over 90 minutes, making at least three powerful punches in first half, coming out to the top of the box twice to corral dangerous through balls and tipped a dangerous 19-yard half-volley from Sarah Walsh over the cross bar in the 20th minute. She also held several skipping shots well, and made the initial stop on the PK.

Despite not being able to punch clear at the end of the match, Williams also had a solid game on the wet field for Australia, holding numerous hard crosses and shots on which rebounds would have been finished by crashing U.S. forwards. She made 10 saves in the match.

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage made all six of her allowed substitutions during the match and also gave a start to defender Heather Mitts, who returned to the U.S. lineup with an excellent performance after missing the last year while recovering from an ACL injury. Mitts played 53 minutes before being replaced by Rachel Buehler.

The U.S. team will now head to Birmingham where they will train all week in preparation for the second leg against Australia. Tickets starting at $18 and can be purchased through ussoccer.com, by calling 205-715-6000, and at all Birmingham-area Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Publix and FYE stores).

From Birmingham, the USA will travel to Washington, D.C., to face Canada on May 10 at 7 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium in a re-match of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying championship game held earlier this month in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Match Report

USA vs. Australia
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Date: April 27, 2008; Kickoff – 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 3,698
Weather: Heavy rain, thunderstorms – 67 degrees

Scoring Summary:

USA – Natasha Kai (Carli Lloyd) 35th minute.
USA – Abby Wambach (Amy Rodriguez) 49.
AUS – Kate Gill (Heather Garriock) 86.
AUS – Cheryl Salisbury (unassisted) 88.
USA – Carli Lloyd (unassited) 91+

Lineups:
USA: 18-Hope Solo; 2-Heather Mitts (26-Rachel Buehler, 53), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 15-Kate Markgraf (4-Cat Whitehill, 46), 17-Lori Chalupny; 9-Heather O’Reilly (16-Angela Hucles, 67), 7-Shannon Boxx (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 68), 11-Carli Lloyd, 13-Tobin Heath (21-Kacey White, 46); 6-Natasha Kai (19-Amy Rodriguez, 46), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 1-Briana Scurry
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

AUS: 18-Lydia Williams; 3-Karla Reuter (19-Kim Carroll, 76), 5-Cheryl Salisbury – Capt., 11-Clare Polkinghorne, 16-Lauren Colthorpe; 7-Heather Garriock (2-Kate McShea, 89), 13-Amy Chapman (12-Kate Gill, 58), 14-Collette McCallum, 15-Sally Shipard (6-Amber Neilson, 65); 9-Sarah Walsh (22-Selin Kuralay, 82), 17-Kyah Simon (20-Joanne Burgess, 59).
Subs not used: 1-Melissa Barbieri
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni

Statistical Summary:
USA / AUS
Shots: 22 / 13
Shots on Goal: 13 / 8
Saves: 5 / 10
Corner Kicks: 6 / 5
Fouls: 6 / 8
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
AUS – Cheryl Salisbury (caution) 37th minute.

Officials
Referee: Margaret Domka (USA)
Asst. Referee: Sharon Wheeler (USA)
Asst. Referee: Kathleen Casto (USA)
4th Official: Chris Spivey (USA)

Sierra Mist Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

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Donovan hat-trick clinches Superclassico

Posted on 28 April 2008 by ASN Staff

A hat-trick by Landon Donovan and brace by Alan Gordon added up to five goals and victory for the L.A. Galaxy in the first Superclasico of 2008. Through five games, Donovan now has a staggering tally of eight goals. “I think Landon is in great shape,” said head coach Ruud Gullit.

The game was closer than the score might indicate, however, as Ante Razov scored a 62nd minute equalizer for Chivas USA and the two sides were level at 2-2 through the 75th minute of play. Gordon struck a minute later and that opened the floodgates.

For the full match report go here to read ASN’s Chivas correspondent’s take.

{democracy}

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Red Bulls overcome Quakes at Swamp

Posted on 28 April 2008 by ASN Staff

The New York Red Bulls beat the San Jose Earthquakes on a second half penalty conversion by Mike Magee, with Jozy Altidore adding a second in the waning seconds. “For us it was frustrating because we played the Red Bulls in the preseason and did quite well,” said Quakes captain Nick Garcia, who was skeptical on the penalty kick. “Maybe the penalty is not called if we’re at home,” he said.

Read the match review from the Red Bulls correspondent’s viewpoint here.

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For DC United, practice means progress as basics improve

Posted on 28 April 2008 by Steve Long

Moreno goes airborn ©ASN/Jim Brault

Judging solely from the score of 4 – 1, one might believe that DC United had returned to its old dominant form against Real Salt Lake at RFK in front of 23,269 fans last night. That was not really the way it went. Since the beginning of its history, United has begun its games with high pressure. That strategy is basic, but also predictable. That predictability was why the fans didn’t see very much high pressure early on.

It was clear from the start of the game that DC was not pressing the RSL defenders or midfield until near the halfway line and then only loosely. United’s characteristic tight doubling yielded to a more subtle shading of passing anes. The effect was to allow RSL to do its own pressing, also loosely, a bit further forward than DC.

As a consequence, the ball spent more time in United’s end of the field. The change was intentional. Clyde Simms explained, “I think us holding a bit more and making them play was the difference. The last time we played them there, we pressed the entire game and they were playing kickball and bypassing our whole midfield.

Celebration time for DCU fans ©ASN/Jim Brault

“With the big guy up top, he’s a handful. We tried to make them come out and play and then counterattack them a little bit and get a goal and get a hold of the game.” The idea was to create space for United’s attack by yielding a bit, but the plan had to be well executed.

Simms agreed that the team had played slightly looser pressure while maintaining good shape, “If you’re gonna pressure, you’ve got to all be in it together otherwise it all breaks down…..We feel that no team in the league can play through us if we’re compact and make the field as small as possible.”

The space created by the change in flow freed up United to vary its attack with more room and led to a threatening run and attempted cross that former United midfielder Dema Kovalenko swatted down to give Jaime Moreno a penalty kick in the 31st minute. The league’s all-time leading scorer, from both the penalty spot (now 35) and overall (now 115), cheekily chipped the shot over the space that his run up had led Nick Rimando to vacate.

Despite continuing to play with his back to the goal, not his best attacking style, Luciano Emilio, did increase his overall effectiveness, earning the second penalty of the night for DC in the 62nd minute by rounding his defender and forcing another former United midfielder, Carey Talley to swipe at him, only to take out his legs in the penalty area.

Moreno strikes PK ©ASN/Jim Brault

Moreno took the PK in a more orthodox manner the second time as his hard shot to the left side netting easily beat the diving Rimando and put United ahead by two. DC’s third goal came from the run of play in minute 67. Tino Quaranta struck a spectacular full volley goal taking Moreno’s cross before it could touch the ground and coolly driving it past Rimando into the side netting.

He seemed quite relieved to have scored so well, but later responded to a reporter’s observation that the final fourth DC United goal of the match, a stunning full volley of a high Marc Burch cross by Marcelo Gallardo in the 80th minute, had taken a goal of the week away from him, Quaranta said, “He can have it, believe me. To see that, it’s a pleasure to watch.”

He seems to have matured to a stage where he knows that a good performance only leads to the need for him to do more. Apprised that Coach Tom Soehn in praising his efforts had noted that he had more to work on, he replied, “I learn something new every day. Tommy did a great job this week in showing us our roles. Of course, I‘ve got stuff to learn in a 3-5-2 and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to learn.”

He emphasized the value of a total team effort, heaping high praise on Simms, the midfield’s dynamo, for his effect on the rest of the team, “Clyde (Simms) is the most underrated player in this league….his work rate and having five in the middle gave Marcelo (Gallardo) more freedom and Jaime (Moreno) played well tonight. When he plays like that everybody else follows.”

Soehn believes that the opportunity to run practices rather than playing a compressed schedule, which allowed no real training sessions to focus on adjustments, had indeed been beneficial but he looks for more improvement as the new players adapt and bad habits picked up under game pressure are corrected on the training field.

Given the difficulties that DC United has had the last two times that it played at altitude under pressure, we might expect that the same looser pressure tactics may be applied in Colorado next Sunday afternoon.

{democracy}

Scoring Summary:

DC — Jaime Moreno 2 (penalty kick) 31
DC — Jaime Moreno 3 (penalty kick) 52
DC — Santino Quaranta 2 (Jaime Moreno 2, Rod Dyachenko 1) 67
RSL — Carey Talley 1 (Tony Beltran 1, Javier Morales 2) 77
DC — Marcelo Gallardo 2 (Marc Burch 1, Jaime Moreno 3) 80

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Ian Joy (Andy Williams 58), Dema Kovalenko, Javier Morales, Carey Talley, Kyle Beckerman (Tony Beltran 73), Kenny Deuchar, Robbie Findley (Yura Movsisyan 59),
Substitutes Not Used: Matias Cordoba, Matias Mantilla, Tino Nunez, Chris Seitz

D.C. United — Zach Wells, Bryan Namoff, Gonzalo Martinez, Gonzalo Peralta, Dan Stratford (Rod Dyachenko 41), Santino Quaranta, Marcelo Gallardo, Clyde Simms, Fred (Marc Burch 22), Luciano Emilio, Jaime Moreno (Quavas Kirk 82),
Substitutes Not Used: Jose Carvallo, Ryan Cordeiro, Franco Niell, Pat Carroll

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Carey Talley (caution; Reckless Foul) 5
DC — Fred (caution; Reckless Foul) 9
DC — Rod Dyachenko (caution; Reckless Foul) 47
RSL — Dema Kovalenko (caution; Game Disrepute) 86
DC — Marcelo Gallardo (caution; Game Disrepute) 86
RSL — Jamison Olave (caution; Reckless Foul) 89

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: Rob Fereday; Craig Lowry
4th official: Jorge Gonzalez
Time of game: 1:53
Attendance: 23,269
Weather: Cloudy -and- 74 degrees

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DC United discussions forum

Posted on 27 April 2008 by ASN Staff

For some time we have been looking for a way to implement forum functionality into this site. It appears we finally have a winner. The brand new DCU.ASN forum does not require separate registration. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Gmail or Yahoo! username (and seriously who doesn’t nowadays) you are IN and can start posting! This doesn’t mean the forum isn’t moderated however (spammers beware). Obviously hate speech and threats of violence or other intimidation are not tolerated either.

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Red Bulls gore San Jose

Posted on 27 April 2008 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The New York Red Bulls beat the San Jose Earthquakes on a second half penalty conversion by Mike Magee. Jozy Altidore added a second in stoppage time to give the Red Bulls a 2-0 win over the expansion Quakes. It was the first win since opening day for Juan Carlos Osorio’s team, who were playing without Juan Pablo Angel.

For most of the game, the Earthquakes were able to stifle New York’s attack. Nick Garcia and Ryan Cochrane were particularly effective in shutting down Altidore, who had few touches in the first 45 minutes. “It was a tough first half,” Altidore admitted after the game. “Something I haven’t faced really before. Nick Garcia and Cochrane; they’re pretty aggressive and it definitely disrupted me a bit and I let it get to me. It wasn’t something that I liked but it’s part of the game and I have to learn how to deal with it.”

A halftime pep talk with Osorio soothed Altidore’s nerves and helped him get back into the game. “I said a couple of things to him at the break and in the second half he dominated the game,” said Osorio. Asked what words of wisdom he imparted unto his teenage striker, Osorio answered “not to let the players get in his head and start personal battles and personal duels on the pitch. Just play football and use his strength and his pace to the benefit of the team and forget about personal issues on the ground.”

It finally paid dividends in the 79th minute when Altidore was brought down just inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Juan Pablo Angel, who is normally the team’s designated penalty taker, missed the game with a left hamstring strain leaving the question of who would take the spot kick. “Jozy looked like he wanted it,” said Magee. “But I put on my saddest face and asked him please and he let me.” Magee buried the PK, sending the ball narrowly out of reach of San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon. “I knew where I was going the whole time,” he said of his penalty, which was deposited into the right corner of the San Jose goal. “Joe Cannon was actually kind of standing toward the side where I wanted to go. That threw me off a little bit, but I was like ‘man I gotta go there either way.'”

For Magee, a second half substitute who has played sparingly, if at all the past two years and hadn’t scored an MLS goal since 2006, the game was elusive. “It’s been a really long and tough road for me,” he said after the game. “There were a lot of ups and downs, injury problems. To finally get a goal after all the rehab and time spent on a bicycle, is kinda worth it.”

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