Archive | September, 2008

Quakes seek to regain momentum

Posted on 30 September 2008 by mdiamond

Ronnie O’Brien and the Quakes hope to regain their footing ©Mike Murphy/ASN

After suffering a demoralizing 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, Ronnie O’Brien and the San Jose Earthquakes look to regain their momentum and energize their final playoff push with their game against FC Dallas this Thursday. The Quakes need to recover quickly in their short week in order to stay in the playoff hunt. As it stands, they are in second-to-last place in the West, with a game in hand over every Western conference team save Houston. With a win Thursday night, the team will be just two points outside a playoff berth, an exciting prospect for any expansion franchise and possibly even more so for a city who has come to expect championships from its team. As the regular season comes to a close, San Jose is in a must-win situation. Coach Frank Yallop remains optimistic about the team’s chances, reminding his players and the press that, if the team can “get a result then everything is wide open again.”

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Quakes seek vengeance, playoff berth.

Posted on 30 September 2008 by mdiamond

Ronnie O’Brien and the Quakes hope to regain their footing ©Mike Murphy/ASN

After suffering a demoralizing 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, Ronnie O’Brien and the San Jose Earthquakes look to regain their momentum and energize their final playoff push with their game against FC Dallas this Thursday.

Despite Darren Huckerby’s two goals, the Quakes fell to a Real Salt Lake team that looked both more energetic and more creative on the ball, something that no other team had been able to do in the previous nine games. The Quakes need to recover quickly in their short week in order to stay in the playoff hunt. As it stands, they are in second-to-last place in the West, with a game in hand over every Western conference team save Houston. With a win Thursday night, the team will be just two points outside a playoff berth, an exciting prospect for any expansion franchise and possibly even more so for a city who has come to expect championships from its team. As the regular season comes to a close, San Jose is in a must-win situation. Coach Frank Yallop remains optimistic about the team’s chances, reminding his players and the press that, “…If [the Quakes] can go to [Dallas’] place and get a result then everything is wide open again.”

San Jose’s offense still looks to be in good shape. Huckerby’s goals on Saturday offer some encouragement, but it was the versatility and variability of the other players’ attacks that give the Quakes hope Thursday and for the rest of the season. Ryan Cochrane’s crossbar-rattling header, Scott Sealy’s (offside) finish and Jason Hernandez’s redirection of a Huckerby corner kick which forced a save from goalkeeper Nick Rimando are all prime examples of what the Quakes already know: they can score with just about anybody they have on the field, and in order to win the rest of their games they are going to have to. While it has been nice to be able to count on the Englishman’s prolific scoring since his acquisition, the chances that materialize outside of Huckerby’s flanking runs and Ronnie O’Brien’s crosses will most likely prove to be the difference in the remainder of the campaign. That being said, the bench needs to do its part in cleaning up and putting away games. John Cunliffe has 2 goals in 389 minutes this year, whereas the inexplicable fan-favorite Shea Salinas has yet to post a point in his 18 appearances. In a situation as delicate and desperate as the Quakes’, player development has to take a back seat to the more pressing goal of making the playoffs.

The Earthquakes showed some uncharacteristic defensive weakness Saturday night, allowing 3 goals for the first time since a mid-June matchup with D.C. United. The back line had severe issues containing Yura Movsisyan, a strong, fast, physical striker who was not intimidated or deterred by the usually-impeccable San Jose defense. Movsisyan’s style of play is actually quite similar to…oh, I don’t know… Kenny Cooper, anyone? If San Jose is to survive against the 6’3” FC Dallas forward’s aerial onslaught, one of two things must happen. Either the back line must be so tight that crosses cannot possibly be swung into the box (improbable) or, as I think will be the case, coach Yallop needs to examine his bench closely and pick out a player who is tall enough, strong enough, and preferably not in yellow-card trouble to pester Cooper all game and keep the ball off of his crown, thus ensuring that it does not end up in the back of the net. Unfortunately for the Quakes, their bench is shallow on size and height. San Jose contained Cooper in their 5/4 matchup with Dallas, but given the disconcerting ease with which Real Salt Lake exploited the Quakes’ defense on Saturday night, it would be naïve to expect another easy shutout. Kelly Gray seems like the natural choice for the job – his 4 yellow cards this season are a testament to his willingness to bend the rules to keep the ball out of the goal. After Eric Denton’s and Nick Garcias’ failure to overpower Movsisyan, big changes are necessary to prevent a repeat performance Thursday night. My ideal defensive lineup for the game: Gray as Cooper’s hit-man in the center defense or as a holding midfielder, Garcia retains his post in the center for organizational purposes, Denton stays wide left with Hernandez adding support from the right, and Francisco Lima assists in maintaining the integrity of the central defense. The Quakes are not short on talent, determination, or execution ability, but it will take a near-flawless combination of all three to ensure the team gets to keep playing into November.

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Collegiate academy grads update

Posted on 30 September 2008 by ASN Staff

The latest news on Dynamo Academy graduates plying their trade in the collegiate ranks:

Sophomores:
Daniel Roberts (UNC-Wilmington / Fort Bend Clements / Texans) – Named Colonial Athletic Association co-Player of the Week after playing a major role in three of the Seahawks’ four goals in their come-from-behind, 4-3 overtime win over conference rival Drexel on Saturday. Roberts set up a first-half goal, then scored a 76th-minute penalty kick to tie the game and an overtime penalty for the win. Roberts is tied for the team lead with three goals, all from the penalty spot.

Josue Soto (Campbell / Monterrey, Mexico) – Started, played 102 minutes, and took two shots on goal in the Camels’ 3-2 overtime loss to William & Mary on Saturday.

Walberto (Pana) Vasquez (SMU / Cy Falls / Houstonians) – Has not played this season due to injury. No. 6 SMU lost to Tulsa 4-1.

Freshmen:
Alex Dixon (North Carolina / Humble Atascocita / Texans) – Played final 12 minutes as a sub and had a shot on goal in North Carolina’s 2-1 win over Elon last Wednesday. The game-winning goal came just two minutes after Dixon entered the game. He played 52 minutes and scored as a sub in the Tar Heels’ 8-0 victory over East Tennessee State Saturday. The shot came from 25 yards out and was Dixon’s third goal of the year.

Edward Estrada (San Jacinto / Northbrook / Houstonians) – No information available.

Josue Garcia (San Jacinto / Jersey Village / Houstonians) – No information available.

Clayton Holz (Stanford / St. John’s / Houstonians) – Played 25 minutes as a sub and took one shot in Stanford’s 1-0 overtime loss to Santa Clara on Saturday before a crowd of 1,116.

Matt Kirby (Denver / Bmnt. Msgr. Kelly / Texans) – Started and played the first portion of each half, totaling 35 minutes, in Denver’s 2-0 road loss to Creighton, which is ranked as high as No. 5 in the country, on Saturday.

Carlos Recinos (Coastal Carolina / Cy Ridge / Houstonians) – Started, played 46 minutes, and scored the game-winning goal in the Chanticleers’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Virginia Military Institute in the Big South Conference opener on Sunday. After Coastal Carolina rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the second half to force overtime, and Recinos scored from 12 yards out in the 105th minute to decide the contest.

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U-14s improve to 3-0

Posted on 30 September 2008 by ASN Staff

The New York Red Bulls Under-14 side improved to 3-0-0 in CJYSA (Central Jersey Youth Soccer Association) League action with a 1-0 win over Jersey United SC Bulldogs on Sunday, Sept. 28. Nicholas Innocenzi tallied the game-winner for the Red Bulls.
Sunday’s win follows CJYSA victories over Parsippany, 4-0, and Hamilton SC Attack, 2-0. The Red Bulls also dropped friendly matches to PDA (1-0) and TSF Academy (2-0).

The U14s face Ironbound on Saturday Oct. 4th in the New Jersey State Cup first round. The game will be played at Ironbound Stadium.
The next CJYSA game is Sunday Oct. 5 at Warrington SC at 4pm.

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Study finds MLS customer experience ‘less than stellar’

Posted on 30 September 2008 by ASN Staff

A new study conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer Council finds Major League Soccer toward the bottom of a list of 25 companies reviewed for customer experience. The study (registration required) examined the accuracy, uniformity and timeline of information delivery across “customer touchpoints.” What this truly means is anybody’s guess, but Home Depot received the highest grades. Others whose performance was “less than stellar” included DirectTV, JetBlue, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, Music TV and Comcast.

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Playoff hopes resuscitated

Posted on 30 September 2008 by pwoodruff

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At the start of the game there were two teams fighting for their MLS playoff hopes but only the home side, FC Dallas, was able to net any goals in front of 12,138 faithful at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Tex., on a hot Sunday afternoon. Goals from Andre Rocha, Jeff Cunningham and Kenny Cooper gave FCD a 3-0 win against D.C. United. The Hoops have now won consecutive matches for only the third time this season, while United lost for the third time in their last four league matches. It was a disappointing game for the visitors, the most decorated team in MLS history with 10 domestic trophies. It really appears that all the extra games they have played this year (CONCACAF Champions Cup, SuperLiga, CONCACAF Champions League, various friendlies and winning the 2008 U.S. Open Cup) have really taken a toll on this team.

Andre Rocha gave FCD the early lead on a direct free kick from about 33 yards out. He connected on a perfect ball that everyone assumed would be headed at some point but it bounced just inside the six-yard box and into the far side of the net. His goal came in the 9th minute and on the first shot of the game for either side and marked the first time this year that FCD had scored directly on a free kick. That early goal proved to be important to FCD as so far this season Dallas has scored seven times in the first 15 minutes of play and now have a 5-0-2 mark when that occurs.

After some nice saves from FCD keeper Dario Sala and the fact DC never really seemed to get untracked, the stage was set for FCD to put the game away. In the 56th minute, Cunningham was set up by a nice pass from Marcelo Saragosa and Cunningham stuck his right foot out and caught just enough of the ball to put it past United keeper Louis Crayton for the 2-0 home side lead. It was Cunningham’s fifth goal in seven games since being traded from Toronto FC to north Texas. It was Saragosa’s second assist of the season.

Things got worse for United as Jaime Moreno was given a straight red card with six minutes to play after getting his arm into Rocha’s face. This happened right in front of referee Ricardo Salazar and he quickly went to his pocket to show the MLS veteran the door. Then in the 3rd and final minute of stoppage time, FCD All-Star Kenny Cooper connected on his 15th goal of the year. The Dallas striker, still second in the MLS Golden Boot race behing LA’s Landon Donovan with 19, dribbled into the United box, sidestepped Clyde Simms and with no one challenging him shot one past Crayton and into the back of the net. The Hoops are now 19-1-7 all-time when Cooper scores.

Both teams find themselves just outside the playoff picture. With this win, FC Dallas stays in fifth place in the Western Conference, but stay within three points of second-place Chivas USA. The Hoops next game is a home tilt this Thursday night against San Jose. DC United hosts Chivas USA next Saturday at RFK Stadium in league play, but that follows a Wednesday home date with Mexico’s Cruz Azul in CONCACAF Champions League action

FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman who employed the same starting 11 in consecutive games for just the second time all year was clearly pleased, “We played so well in Chicago and challenged the boys to produce here at home for their fans. It would be difficult with the heat and again, playing against a really good strike force. I thought in the first half, we played very well. They sure did come at us for a while. I think that really showed the strength of our defense. Dario (Sala) had an exceptional game today. Again, it’s a great victory for FC Dallas. I thought it was another great team performance.”

Kenny Cooper was also pleased with the result, “We’re very hungry right now. I can feel it within the team and I think we’ve showed it in the last two games. Everyone is working really hard in training and games. It’s nice to have the results to show for it. We want to make it into the playoffs. We’ve showed it in the last two games and hopefully, we can show it again against San Jose.”

{democracy:22}

Match Facts

D.C. United (10-13-3) vs. FC Dallas (8-9-9)
September 28, 2008 — Pizza Hut Park

Scoring Summary:
DAL — Andre Rocha 3 (unassisted) 9
DAL — Jeff Cunningham 8 (Marcelo Saragosa 2) 56
DAL — Kenny Cooper 15 (unassisted) 93+

Lineups:

D.C. United — Louis Crayton, Devon McTavish, Gonzalo Peralta, Bryan Namoff, Ivan Guerrero, Thabiso Khumalo (Ryan Cordeiro 72), Fred, Clyde Simms, Santino Quaranta (Gonzalo Martinez 41), Luciano Emilio (Rod Dyachenko 55), Jaime Moreno,

Substitutes Not Used: Craig Thompson, Joe Vide, Zach Wells, Mike Zaher

FC Dallas — Dario Sala, Adrian Serioux (Dax McCarty 79), Drew Moor, Aaron Pitchkolan (Duilio Davino 68), Blake Wagner, Andre Rocha, Bruno Guarda, Pablo Ricchetti, Marcelo Saragosa, Kenny Cooper, Jeff Cunningham (Dominic Oduro 69),

Substitutes Not Used: Eric Avila, Ray Burse, Michael Dello-Russo, Bobby Rhine

Statistical Summary:

FC Dallas D.C. United
total shots: 9 (Kenny Cooper 4) 9 (3 tied with 2)
shots on goal: 4 (Kenny Cooper 2) 3 (3 tied with 1)
fouls: 10 (Andre Rocha 4) 12 (Fred 3)
offsides: 2 (Kenny Cooper 2) 1 (Fred 1)
corner kicks: 1 (Andre Rocha 1) 4 (Jaime Moreno 2)
saves: 3 (Dario Sala 3) 1 (Louis Crayton 1)

Misconduct Summary:
DAL — Bruno Guarda (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 8
DC — Ivan Guerrero (caution; Reckless Tackle) 22
DC — Gonzalo Peralta (caution; Reckless Foul) 71
DC — Louis Crayton (caution; Dissent) 75
DC — Jaime Moreno (ejection; Violent Conduct) 84

referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Chris Strickland; Michael Salyers
4th official: Edvin Jurisevic
time of game: 1:50
attendance: 12,138
weather: Sunny -and- 85 degrees

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Dallas resuscitates playoff hopes. As for DC…

Posted on 29 September 2008 by pwoodruff

rojapost.jpg

At the start of the game there were two teams fighting for their MLS playoff hopes but only the home side, FC Dallas, was able to net any goals in front of 12,138 faithful at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Tex., on a hot Sunday afternoon. Goals from Andre Rocha, Jeff Cunningham and Kenny Cooper gave FCD a 3-0 win against D.C. United. The Hoops have now won consecutive matches for only the third time this season, while United lost for the third time in their last four league matches. It was a disappointing game for the visitors, the most decorated team in MLS history with 10 domestic trophies. It really appears that all the extra games they have played this year (CONCACAF Champions Cup, SuperLiga, CONCACAF Champions League, various friendlies and winning the 2008 U.S. Open Cup) have really taken a toll on this team.

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Columbus gets closer to Supporters Shield

Posted on 28 September 2008 by ASN Staff

The Columbus Crew’s 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution Saturday night gives Sigi Schmidt’s team a lead with an eight-point lead with four regular season games remaining. The Crew managed to dominate the match without star player Guillermo Barros Schelotto and playing a man down after defender Frankie Hejduk was ejected in the 65th minute. Chad Marshall secured the win with a header off a corner kick by Robbie Rogers for his fourth goal of the season.

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Revs go down to Crew, again

Posted on 28 September 2008 by L.E. Eisenmenger

Saturday night the New England Revolution probably lost their last real chance to claim the Supporters’ Shield, and were shut out 1-0 to Eastern Conference leader Columbus Crew, who now lead with an eight-point advantage and are 6-0-1 in their last seven games. The Crew managed to dominate the match without star player Guillermo Barros Schelotto and playing a man down after defender Frankie Hejduk was ejected in the 65th minute.

Chad Marshall secured the win with a header off a corner kick by Robbie Rogers for his fourth goal of the season.

“Their defenders seemed to be just sitting in there waiting for us to make the run in,” said Marshall, “so I just held out far post and Robbie hit in a great ball, and [I] got lucky with a couple of picks or screens and was there to knock it in.”

Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman’s former striking partner, started in place of Schelotto and highlighted the attacking chemistry that is unmistakably absent from the Revolution’s top third this season. Noonan threaded passes and delivered crosses to Alejandro Moreno, Rogers and Eddie Gaven, who worked together to batter the Revolution’s defense.

New England started a four-man back which had to work overtime given the lack of holding power in the top third, staffed by Taylor Twellman and 19 year-old Kenny Mansally. Although traditionally the Revolution have found success with a three-man back and a more aggressive five-man midfield, new international Gabriel Badilla was paired in the center with Michael Parkhurst, who might need a replacement as his contract expires this winter. Steve Ralston and Mauricio Castro worked the wings, and although Castro took one of the best shots of the night, a rocket into the sidebar, his forward presence was not enough.

At the hour mark, coach Steve Nicol switched to a three-man back line, pulling Badilla, adding Sainey Nyassi on the wing and pushing Ralston to a central role, and substituting Kheli Dube for Kenny Mansally on top. Nyassi’s successful runs down the line were negated by his inability to target the ball anywhere near a striker, and Dube sent wide a clear opportunity fifteen feet in front of the net.

Hejduk earned his second yellow card and was ejected in the 65th minute for interfering with Matt Reis as he attempted to punt the ball. Combined with the Columbus switch of Andy Iro for Noonan, the man advantage gifted the home team with all the opportunity they needed to turn the tables. The subsequent Wells Thompson substitution for Castro generated new momentum, switched the field, and set the Crew back on their heels. Jay Heaps, Shalrie Joseph, and Thompson crafted the most dangerous attacking plays, though Thompson’s only shot sailed wide. Thompson appears to have regained his confidence, which throughout the season was squandered on fouling attackers, and could make a difference in the playoff race. But the lack of play between the strikers remained the obstacle, with Dube and Nyassi attempting to prove themselves individually and Twellman positioning for service that never arrived.

The Crew’s tenacity and orchestration throughout the field left no doubt that they’re the likely candidates for the Supporters’ Shield and the team to beat in the MLS Cup.

“We haven’t made the playoffs the last two years, so we’re highly motivated and we know that it’s not a given,” said Sigi Schmid. “There were so many years that we were out of it, so our team is very focused and trying to take each opportunity for all its worth, wrap it with two hands and hold on to it.”

Match Facts

New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew: September 27, 2008 – Foxborough, Mass. (Gillette Stadium)

Scoring Summary: CLB – Chad Marshall (Robbie Rogers) 35

New England Revolution: Matt Reis (GK), Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Gabriel Badilla (Sainey Nyassi 59), Chris Albright, Mauricio Castro (Wells Thompson 66), Shalrie Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz, Steve Ralston ©, Kenny Mansally (Kheli Dube 60), Taylor Twellman

Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton (GK), Amaechi Igwe, Pat Phelan, Chris Tierney

STATS: Shots 9; Shots on Goal 2; Saves 2; Corner Kicks 1; Offside 2; Fouls Committed 13
Columbus: William Hesmer (GK), Gino Padula, Danny O’Rourke, Chad Marshall, Frankie Hejduk ©, Robbie Rogers, Brian Carroll, Brad Evans (Ezra Hendrickson 88), Eddie Gaven (Emmanuel Ekpo 76), Pat Noonan (Andy Iro 67), Alejandro Moreno

Substitutes Not Used: Kenny Schoeni (GK), Jason Garey, Steven Lenhart, Duncan Oughton

STATS: Shots 13; Shots on Goal 4; Saves 2; Corner Kicks 5; Offside 5; Fouls Committed 12

Misconduct Summary: CLB – Frankie Hejduk (caution) 6 CLB – Frankie Hejduk (second caution/ejection) 65 CLB – William Hesmer (caution) 92+ NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 94+

Referee: Terry Vaughn

Attendance: 15,035

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RSL ends Quakes undefeated streak

Posted on 28 September 2008 by mdiamond

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Two goals by Yura Movsisyan helped give Real Salt Lake a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, ending the Quakes nine game undefeated streak. The Quakes’ defense, the strength of the team throughout the season, got abused by the faster and more organized Real side led by Movsisyan and Javier Morales, who scored the game winner and assisted on Real’s first goal.

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