Archive | July, 2011

RSL looks to regroup after loss to Columbus

Posted on 31 July 2011 by kali

Real Salt Lake could not overcome a poor start, falling 2-0 to the Columbus Crew at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

The Crew jumped out to a quick lead, largely due to the play of Robbie Rogers against an RSL defense that seemed out-of-sorts without Jamison Olave and Tony Beltran.  In the 5th minute, Rogers broke free down the Columbus left flank, finding Eddie Gaven open in front of goal.  Gaven beat Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando to give the Crew a 1-o lead.

Just five minutes later, the Crew would get their second goal, again through Rogers finding space on the flank.  This time, however, it was Tommy Heinemann finding the back of the net for the visitors and setting RSL on its heels for the remainder of the match.

Crew head coach Robert Warzycha was obviously pleased with his team’s start, noting, “I think that was the best 10 minutes we have had all season.”

Real did manage to settle down a bit, finding several opportunities in the first half through Jean Alexandre, playing in place of  Alvaro Saborio, who was suspended on Friday by the league for diving in last week’s win over the San Jose Earthquakes.  Those chances kept coming in the second half, led by the lively Fabian Espindola, but RSL was unable to find a way to score.

Despite the scoreline and what he termed “mental lapses”, Real coach Jason Kreis was not disappointed with his players’ effort.  “In the second half I was pleased with the effort, I was pleased with the fight.  I don’t think any of [the guys] out there quit, I think that they tried to put everything they could into that game to get back into it.”

“I think that we just came up a bit short in the quality department today,” he said.

RSL must now regroup ahead of two difficult games against Eastern Conference opponents — one on Wednesday night at Kansas City (6:30 pm MT, KMYU 2.2) and one at home against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. Olave is unlikely to return this week after his injury in the MLS All-Star Game, but Kreis will be hoping to use Beltran after his late injury to bolster Luis Gil’s return from the Milk Cup and the signing of forward Chris Agorsor to add depth to a roster facing a backloaded schedule in the final few months of the MLS season.

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New England looking for points in Kansas City

Posted on 30 July 2011 by Hank Alexandre

Former Revs and now KC Defender Seth Sinovic last year did well against Kamara. This year they are on the same side

The New England Revolution face Eastern Conference rivals tonight in Kansas City, in what could surely be a called a six point game as both teams are looking to gain ground in the points column.

Sitting in 7th place in the east and 15th overall with just 20 points, New England managed to get 4 points out of 6 on the road last week; but if they are looking to gain ground in the east they need to get all three points tonight.  Meanwhile, Kansas City, who has a six point lead on the Revs and a game in hand, is barely holding onto the final wild card spot, with Houston, San Jose and DC United all within three points of contesting for 10th place.

New England beat Kansas City 3-2 at home back in April, when the team was healthy and had a fully functional Marko Perovic on the team; but it has been Kansas City who have had the decent run of form recently.  The team formerly known as the Wizards have not lost in their last 12 league matches, going 5-0-7 since May.  During that time they also played the Revs in a US Open Cup qualifier, which the Revs lost 5-0.  Kansas City also has not yet lost in their new stadium, which will surely give them added incentive to deny the Revolution any chance of a victory.

The good news for the Revolution is Kansas City will be without their primary center-back Aurelien Collin, who is out with a back injury.  This  will force KC to  make some changes in their back line and perhaps give the Revs a little advantage.  However, the Revolution will also be forced to make some changes, with their stalwart utility midfielder Chris Tierney not available due to a red card suspension.  The Revolution also may be without Kevin Alston, who picked up a toe injury in training, and Ryan Cochrane who is also recovering from a foot injury, but is listed as probable.  This leaves the Revolution a little thin on the back line.  Look for Darrius Barnes to play left fullback, with Cochrane or Franco Coria partnering in the middle with Soares.  If Alston can’t play, Nicol may start with a 3-5-2 formation with Coria, Soares, and Barnes on the backline.

Barring injuries, it is more than likely the Revs will employ the same 4-3-3 formation that they used in Colorado. The three man midfield of Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan and Stephen McCarthy will have their hands full trying to slow down the likes of Graham Zusi and new Brazilian designated player Jeferson, not to mention Kei Kamara and Omar Bravo. However if the Revs can maintain possession in the attacking end of the field, they could come out of Kansas City with a draw, which is probably the most the Revolution could hope for.

Prediction: 2-1 Kansas City. The Revs will be hard pressed to keep KC off the scoresheet, and New England hasn’t scored a goal from the run of play in months.

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Game #20 Preview: Defending champs come to town

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Colorado Rapids (7-6-10) vs. Philadelphia Union (8-4-7)
Friday, July 29, 2011, 7:30PM, Fox Soccer Channel
Chester, PA, PPL Park

Last year's match-up produced frustrations galore

Less than 24 hours after Bob Bradley was fired as US Men’s National Team coach and Union gaffer Piotr Nowak is already being thrown into the ring as one of the long-shot, MLS contenders for the top job. Let’s put that aside (especially considering there’s almost no chance it’ll happen) as the defending champions, Colorado, are coming to town tonight and the Union are looking to pick up where they left off before the “international friendly” break. After two spirited showings against Everton and Real Madrid – and more importantly no injuries – the Union will return to MLS competitive play with a strong and healthy squad. Compare that to the Rapids, who visit PPL Park without big man Conor Casey (ACL tear) and the possibility of several others.

Game Notes:

The Rapids have still put the ball in the net the last couple games, even without their best striker. Winger turned striker Sanna Nyassi flew through a flat-footed Red Bulls defense not once but three times to help Colorado to a decisive 4-1 win. Their last game, however, was a back and forth affair against New England, a 2-2 tie. Along with a surprise in Nyassi, the Rapids have two proven goalscorers in MLS All-Star Omar Cummings and former Hull City target striker Caleb Folan. You can expect them to start up front with Nyassi back at his original position on the flank.

The Union will be looking to extend a five game unbeaten streak and their last MLS regular season match was a 3-0 win up in New England that saw two new first-time scorers take centerstage. Carlos Valdes and Sheanon Williams scored their first and earned themselves an active but relatively relaxed week of international friendlies. Valdes and Williams didn’t look their sharpest against Real Madrid but we’re pretty certain that shouldn’t carry over into tonight. Valdes is also one more yellow card away from a one-game suspension but don’t expect that to make him any more cautious.

Believe it or not, Carlos Ruiz has scored in three of the last four regular season games. The Rapids have conceded 30 goals this season so one should expect that he’ll at least get his chances tonight as well. Ruiz has his haters and certainly has his flaws but if – at a little over the halfway point of the season – you were told Ruiz would produce at this rate, you’d take it no questions asked.

Both Carlos Ruiz and Danny Mwanga have an impressive history against the defending champs. Ruiz, the vet, has eight goals in 18 games against Colorado while Mwanga is batting 1.000, scoring 2 in 2 appearances. Le Toux has supplied the magic with 3 assists in five games. FC Delco product Jeff Larentowicz is having a huge season for the Rapids, netting four goals from the holding midfield position. A handful on the restarts and in possession of an impressive long shot, Larentowicz should play a role in whether or not the Rapids can get one by Faryd Mondragon.

INJURY REPORT: PHILADELPHIA UNION—QUESTIONABLE: FW Levi Houapeu (L ankle strain); PROBABLE: FW Veljko Paunovic (L hip strain) … COLORADO RAPIDS—OUT: FW Conor Casey (L achilles tear); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); MF Brian Mullan (lower back spasms); DF Anthony Wallace (R quad strain); FW Omar Cummings (R ankle sprain); MF Jamie Smith (R hamstring strain); FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear)

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DC depth will be tested in San Jose

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Chris Snear

During the blazing summer months, roster and lineup decisions become paramount in Major League Soccer. DC United got some good news as preparations started this week coupled with the obligatory bad news of course in advance of their match at San Jose on Saturday.

Dejan Jakovic returned to full training and is likely to start against the Earthquakes. Four other players have returned to training coming off concussions. Santino Quaranta, Devin McTavish, Brandon Barklage, and Blake Brettschneider all participated in some capacity or another during the week.

The former two are still out for this weekend, but Brettschneider and Barklage have been upgraded to probable.

On the flip side, Josh Wolff (left hamstring strain) and Charlie Davies (left knee inflammation) are both questionable while Joseph Ngwenya is probable after taking a knock in the 3-1 exhibition loss to Everton last Saturday. This makes the potential return of Brettschneider, who trained the most of three concussion returnees, even more imperative.

“It’s not ideal but the good thing is that Blake got through training today but we’ll be able to put something together. We need bodies right now and everyone who is training today is in the mix,” said United coach Ben Olsen about his roster options after Tuesday’s training session.

Injuries or not, Olsen has not been too happy with the effort and mentality of some of his regulars in recent matches, though he who he would not disclose any specific names.

“It’s summer so you are always going to need fresh bodies and it does push guys that maybe lately have been too comfortable in their role,” said Olsen. “I think you saw that a little bit in New England and I think you definitely saw it against Everton. I spoke my peace with them and let them know how I feel about that and hopefully I won’t have to address that again.”

Jakovic and Brandon McDonald played alongside each other in the first half during the loss to Everton and are the likely long term combination for United in the center of defense.

“He’s a smart player. He’s very technical, he’s good on the ball,” said McDonald about Jakovic. “Whoever the coaches decide to put back there we have to come along quickly because half the season is already gone. We have to come together and mesh well and get some results.”

Rookie Ethan White has been steady as Jakovic’s fill-in but is likely to step back in favor of the Canadian international. “I can’t really do anything but play my game and make it hard on the coaches so it’s really on them at the end of the day,” said White.

United were punched in the mouth by the Earthquakes on June 11, conceding a hat trick to Steven Lenhart in a 4-2 loss at RFK Stadium.

United have won only twice in San Jose and whether at Spartan Stadium or the current Buck Shaw Stadium, the field is small and not conducive to possession and quick ball movement, which is how United have historically built their teams.

“It’s on a smaller field and just like every other away game we have to be sharp defensively and ready for a real battle and that mentality has seemed to be good for us in our away games and hopefully that will continue,” Olsen said.

“We never really build our teams to be a Route 1, smash mouth team that can always go into those places and always succeed but saying that, we’ve been able to adapt a little bit better this year,” Olsen continued. “They are very opportunistic at home, their energy level is always high and it’s just a grind and they do it better than most of the league and it’s tough to go against.”

The burly Lenhart proved too much for the intelligent but slighter and naïve United defenders to handle in the earlier loss. McDonald, who came from San Jose shortly thereafter, has shared a few secrets with his new teammates on how to handle Lenhart and the Earthquakes in general.

We got stretched offensively and defensively where they were just knocking it in between us and playing long balls into Lenhart. We have to make sure we keep closed lines and go out and get a goal early.

“He’s given us some insight but I am not going to share them with you guys,” White said with a smile.

“He does his job very well. I think he’s a bruiser,” McDonald said about Lenhart. “His job is to get on defender’s nerves and he does a good job at it. You’ve got to keep your head. He’s one of those guys that can get under your skin a little bit but that is part of soccer and you have to be mentally strong for 90-minutes.”

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TMR Episode 39 – The Midnight Ride vs The False Dawn

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Hank Alexandre

Hank is joined by Bob Madaio from Soccer Soap Box to discuss the New England Revolution and their triumphant (?) road trip where they picked up 4 out of 6 points. But the question remains, does this team have the horses to make a run to the playoffs?

Click here to listen

Soccer Soap Box – http://www.soccersoapbox.com
http://twitter.com/soccersoapbox

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RAPIDS 2 – REVOLUTION 2

Posted on 25 July 2011 by Matty Jollie

Photo Courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

Commerce City, CO – Playing their second game in four nights, the New England Revolution (4-9-8, 20pts) fought to a wildly entertaining 2-2 draw with defending champion Colorado Rapids (7-6-10, 31pts) on Saturday night.  Coupled with their victory over D.C. United on Wednesday, the Revolution put together their best road trip of the season, and vaulted themselves out of the basement of the Eastern Conference and into seventh place, and only six points back of fourth place Sporting Kansas City.

Revolution head coach Steve Nicol once again opted for the 4-3-3 formation, playing Benny Feilhaber and Zack Schilawski up top with Rajko Lekic for an added offensive spark.  The three man midfield mirrored the one seen earlier in the year, with veterans Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan joined by rookie Stephen McCarthy. The only change seen in the back line was Darrius Barnes, replacing the injured Ryan Cochrane, who returned to Boston to have his injured foot examined by the team medical staff.

It was Colorado who began the game on the front foot early, creating good possession and pace throughout the first ten minutes.  Kosuke Kimura almost found the scoresheet in the just the second minute, creating his own opportunity by exploding down the right flank and cutting inside to the top of the box before firing on net, but it was once again Matt Reis to the rescue, as his athletic save kept the Revs level.

Despite having the edge in possession early on, Colorado found themselves trailing in the 25th after Benny Feilhaber scored his first goal for New England on a great hustle play.  Right-back Kevin Alston employed the long throw-in deep in Colorado territory, which found the head of McCarthy who used his height to flick the ball on to Feilhaber, who buried the chance  into the back of the net past Matt Pickens.

The 1-0 scoreline almost instantly inspired Colorado, as the Rapids increased the pace of play through their speedy flank midfielders.  Once again it was Matt Reis keeping the Revolution ahead, stopping Sanna Nyassi after the Gambian used his speed to get to the Revolution penalty area.  Colorado could only muster one other opportunity through Brian Mullan late in the half, but his full-fledged volley whistled just by the goal-frame, and Colorado went into half time trailing.

After absorbing most of the pressure late in the first half, it was New England who came out the aggressor when the match restarted.  After dominating possession through the first few minutes, an occurrence not too familiar, Shalrie Joseph unleashed an audacious, curling attempt on net that just barely missed the net in the 51st minute.

After a fairly timid ten minutes following the Joseph effort, the direction of the match took an unexpected twist, when Chris Tierney was judged to have taken down Sanna Nyassi from behind in the box. Nyassi received the ball in the box after a clever one-two pass, and got in behind the Revolution defense before Tierney left his feet and took down the Rapids’ striker. It was a straight red-card for the left-back, and not only was Matt Reis faced with a penalty kick, but now the visitors were a man down.

Caleb Folan stepped to the spot for the subsequent penalty kick, and as calm as you’d like, beat Matt Reis, leveling the match, and instantly gaining all of the momentum for the hosts.

Much to his credit, Steve Nicol didn’t fall back into too much of a defensive shell, making good substitutions late on in the match, most noticeably bringing on Kenny Mansally for Rajko Lekic, a move that would come into the spotlight later on.  The match also saw the inclusion of Franco Coria to shore up some defensive holes, and finally Sainey Nyassi, which, in turn, marked the first time the Nyassi twins has ever shared a pitch in MLS.

New England kept control of the match for most of the remainder of the match, staying organized defensively and moving forward when presented the opportunity, but unfortunately it would be the strangest goal seen in some time that would be their undoing.  It was Kimura again who controlled down the right flank, and when the Japanese midfielder played the ball into space in the Revolution box, ‘keeper Matt Reis came out to cut off the pass, only the ball took the biggest of bounces, and hopped directly over Reis and into the net.  Certainly the play can be described as a howler from the goalkeeper, but it deserves to be said the bounce the ball took was incredibly awkward, however each goal counts the same, and it was New England down not only a man, but now a goal as well.

Despite being down, New England continued to push and probe the Colorado defense late in the match, and in the dying moments, the Revolution struck gold.  Second half substitute Kenny Mansally found space at the top of the box and wriggled free, and was then judged to have been taken down by Scott Palguta inside the box.  New England was awarded a penalty kick in the 90th minute, and it was captain Shalrie Joseph who stepped to the spot and buried the late equalizer, giving the Revs their fourth point on the road trip.

With a bit of momentum on their side, New England now travels to Sporting Kansas City for what can be easily described as a huge six-point match on Saturday night. New England, fresh off their four point week, trail SKC by six points in the standings, and a victory over the Midwest club would pull them even closer to fourth place.

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New England Revolution at Colorado Rapids

July 23, 2011 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colo.)

New England Revolution 2, Colorado Rapids 2

 

Scoring Summary:

NE – Benny Feilhaber (Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston) 25

COL – Caleb Folan (penalty kick) 65

COL – Kosuke Kimura (unassisted) 82

NE – Shalrie Joseph (penalty kick) 90

 

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, Stephen McCarthy (Sainey Nyassi 68), Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Benny Feilhaber, Rajko Lekic (Kenny Mansally 75), Zack Schilawski (Franco Coria 66)

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Ryan Guy, Diego Fagundez, Zak Boggs

STATS*: Shots: 6; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 1; Offside: 6; Fouls Committed: 9

 

Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta (Andre Akpan 91+), Marvell Wynne, Kosuke Kimura, Wells Thompson (Omar Cummings 46), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Brian Mullan (Ross LaBauex 86), Sanna Nyassi, Caleb Folan

Substitutes Not Used: Steward Ceus, Joseph Nane, Mike Holody, Tyrone Marshall

STATS*: Shots: 7; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 5; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 12

 

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

 

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Chris Tierney (ejection) 64

NE – Sainey Nyassi (caution) 82

 

Team Records:

New England Revolution – 4-9-8, 20 pts.

Colorado Rapids – 7-6-10, 31 pts.

 

Referee: Geoff Gamble

Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Brian Poeschel

Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 95 degrees

Attendance:  12,273

 

NOTES

-With the draw, the Revs moved to 11-18-9 all-time against Colorado, including a 3-12-4 mark in games played in Colorado

-The draw was the second of the season between the two teams after the clubs played to a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium on May 7

-The Revolution is now winless against Colorado in its last eight games (0-3-5) since the team’s last win against the Rapids, which was a 1-0 victory at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 29, 2007

-The draw allowed the teams to split the season series for the seventh time in league history (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009)

-The tie extended the Revs’ winless streak in games played in Mountain or Pacific time zones to 15 games, dating back to September 2009 … during that span, the Revs went 0-10-5, with their last win coming on Sept. 20, 2009 – a 1-0 victory at Seattle

-The Revs’ two goals are the team’s most scored in Colorado since the 2006 season when they fell, 3-2, at Invesco Field on July 4 behind goals from Clint Dempsey and Taylor Twellman

-Darrius Barnes returned to the starting lineup after spending two games on the bench to start the game … however, tonight he made his start at central defense – his preferred position – for the first time in 2011 … he has previously started games at left back and right back this season, but not his natural position

-Benny Feilhaber returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s win in D.C. while serving his mandatory one-game red-card suspension

-With his start tonight after drawing the starting assignment in D.C. on Wednesday, Zack Schilawski has started back-to-back games for the first time since April 9 vs. Real Salt Lake and April 17 at Houston

-Benny Feilhaber scored his first goal of his MLS career in the 25th minute … he entered the game with a team-high three assists … it took Feilhaber 10 games to score his first goal

-Stephen McCarthy recorded his first-career MLS assist with his headed flick to Benny Feilhaber for the Revs’ first goal … he came into the game with two goals, including the game-winning goal on Wednesday in D.C.

-Kevin Alston recorded his first assist of the 2011 season and his first assist since Sept. 4, 2010 in a 3-1 win against Seattle at Gillette Stadium … Alston how has three career assists, one in each of his three professional seasons so far (2009-present)

-Benny Feilhaber’s goal snapped a 175-minute scoreless streak for the Revolution at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park … the last goal the team scored came in the 29th minute on Oct. 3, 2009 from Kheli Dube off a Kenny Mansally free kick

-Tonight’s game marked just the third time this season – in 21 games – the Revs have led at the half, and just the second time on the road

-Chris Tierney’s red card ejection in the 64th minute was the first of his career and just the third card of any kind – yellow or red – in his four-year career spanning 63 games

-Tierney’s red card was the team’s sixth of the season (in just 21 games), and tied the club’s single-season record for red cards … in 1998, the Revolution were shown six red cards in the 32-game season

-The Revs surrendered a penalty kick for the second consecutive game and for the sixth overall time this season … New England’s opponents are five-for-six from the spot this season with the only miss coming on Wednesday night when Charlie Davies sent his attempt high

-When Sainey Nyassi came into the game in the 68th minute, it marked the first time that the Nyassi identical twins (Sanna plays for Colorado) faced each other … in five previous meetings (two each in 2009 and 2010 while Sanna was with Seattle, and earlier this year on May 7 when Sanna did not travel with the Rapids to Foxborough), they never were on the field at the same time … they came the closest in 2009 in Seattle when Sainey came off the field and Sanna went on two minutes later

-Shalrie Joseph scored his team-leading sixth goal in the 90th minute … three of his six goals have come from the penalty spot … with his successful penalty attempt, he extended his club record penalty-kick mark to 11

-Tonight’s game is the second of two straight road games … the Revs traveled to Colorado directly from Washington, D.C., and spent an extra day in Colorado … the D.C.-Colorado trip is the team’s only multiple-game road trip of the 2011 season

-After kicking off on Wednesday being 91 degrees with a dew point in the mid-70s, tonight the teams kicked off at 95 degrees, despite being much less humid … this marks the first time in Revs club history that they’ve kicked off back-to-back games in 90+ degree temperatures

-Ryan Cochrane, who started the trip in D.C. with the Revs, did not travel to Colorado after returning home on Thursday to have his left foot further examined … Cochrane left the game in the 22nd minute on Wednesday against United with persistent pain in the foot.

-The Revolution wore white tops with blue shorts and white socks for just the second time this season in a uniform that paired items from their standard primary and back-up unis … the last time the team work the white/blue uniform was on April 2 in a home game against Portland … in that game, the referees determined the Revs’ primary home blue uniforms were too close a match to Portland’s primary green uniforms and the Revs needed to switch tops less than one-hour before kickoff… tonight, Colorado’s primary uniform includes white shorts, so the Revs needed to switch to their dark shorts, however those uniform assignments were noted well before game night

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Galaxy fall to Manchester City on PK’s

Posted on 24 July 2011 by iyeo

Entering the final match of its participation in the World Football Challenge, the Los Angeles Galaxy looked to deliver a better performance that what it showed a week ago against Real Madrid at the LA Coliseum.

In that aspect, Los Angeles passed with flying colors, but it still wasn’t enough in the end to get a win, as Manchester City stood their ground and won the match in the penalty shootout 7-6 on Sunday afternoon at the Home Depot Center.

“It was a good afternoon, constructive for both teams,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “I Liked our second half, first half we weren’t any good, and the penalty kicks were fabulous.”

Down a goal at the start of the second half, Mike Magee was inserted in as part of a mass substitution by the Galaxy, and the move paid off in the 54th minute when Mike Magee collected a ball at the right side of the field and let loose a volley from 25 yards out that sailed over the right hand of keeper Joe Hart and into the back netting for the equalizer.

Energized by the goal, the Galaxy immediately turned up the pressure on Man City. Attempts in the 56th minute by Todd Dunivant and Dan Keat were denied by Hart and a 25 yard volley by Omar Gonzalez in the 63rd minute was also parried away by Hart. Manchester City slowly turned the tide towards their favor in the waning moments. A ball was fed inside the box to the feet of Edin Dzeko in the 80th minute, but Dzeko’s touch was too heavy for him and Galaxy keeper Brian Perk collected the open box.

Man City’s best chance to steal the match came in the final minute when John Guidetti fought off AJ DeLaGarza in the box for a loose ball. Guidetti immediately put the ball on frame, but was denied by Perk. Guidetti had a chance to put in his own rebound, but instead sent the shot way over goal, thus ensuring the match would have to be decided in a penalty shootout.

LA and Man City converted their first two penalties, but Man City gained the advantage when Juninho sent his penalty off the left post. Dennis Suarez then converted his penalty that put City ahead. The Galaxy took it to the final regulation penalty, then Saunders kept Los Angeles alive when he guessed right by going left to deny Guidetti. The shootout continued all the way to the ninth penalty, where Joe Hart denied AJ DeLaGarza, then finished off the match himself, as he slotted his penalty to the upper right corner for the winner.

“Things were going good today for the whole team,” Galaxy defender Sean Franklin said. “Everyone played well today. It was a nice confidence booster to put on a good performance against a high quality opponent.”

The Galaxy were short-handed going into Sunday’s match with Landon Donovan out due to a right calf strain, an injury that will force him to miss Wednesday’s all-star game between MLS and Manchester United at Red Bull Arena. The other Manchester side got its moment in the 23rd minute when Micah Richards was brought down by Bryan Jordan in the penalty area thus awarding Man City the free opportunity. Balotelli hesitated before firing the penalty, forcing starting Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders to commit left and Balotelli slottted the attempt to the right netting to put Manchester City ahead.

Balotelli tried to make it a brace in the 30th minute when he recieved a ball inthe box, turned his back to the goal and tried with his back heel, but missed wide right. That moved apparently drew the ire of Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, who subbed him out in the 32nd minute, much to Balotelli’s dismay.

“We need to always be professional, always serious, and in that case, Mario wasn’t professional,” Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said about the incident.

The Galaxy themselves didn’t seem to be too upset with the display.

“I just thought that maybe he (Balotelli) thought he was offside,” Franklin said.

While Manchester City created the majority of chances in the match, the Galaxy did have some good looks themselves. The first LA opportunity came in the 29th minute when Beckham sprung Adam Cristman into the penalty box with a long ball, but Cristman’s one-timer was easily saved by Hart. A volley in the 32nd minute by Bryan Jordan was parried away by Hart, leading to a Galaxy corner, and Manchester City’s supporters serenaded Beckham with the usual boos and insults and Beckham’s corner was collected by Hart.

David Beckham and Sean Franklin will represent the Galaxy and MLS in the MLS all-star matchup against Manchester United on Wednesday night, then its back into MLS action, starting with a road matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 30.

Manchester City 1, Los Angeles Galaxy 1 (Manchester City wins on Penalty Kicks 7-6)
World Football Challenge
Home Depot Center; July 24, 2011

Scoring Summary
Man City – Balotelli (Penalty) 23
LA – Magee (unassisted) 54

Manchester City – Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany (Stefan Savic 61), Joleon Lescott, Gael Clichy (Alexsandar Kolarov 45), Micah Richards, David Silva (Shaun Wright-Phillips 45), Gareth Barry (Vladimir Weiss 77), Adam Johnson (John Guidetti 82), Nigel De Jong, Mario Balotelli (James Milner 32), Edin Dzeko.

Los Angeles Galaxy – Josh Saunders (Brian Perk 45), Sean Franklin (Frankie Hejduk 61), Gregg Berhalter (AJ DeLaGarza 45), Kyle Davies (Omar Gonzalez 45), Bryan Jordan (Todd Dunivant 45), Michael Stephens, Jovan Kirovski (Juninho 45), Hector Jimenez (Mike Magee 45) (Dustin McCarty 79), David Beckham (Chris Birchall 45), Miguel Lopez (Jack McBean 66), Adam Cristman (Dan Keat 45).

Referee: Mike Magee
Assistants: Apolinar Mariscal, Eduardo Mariscal
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman
Attendance: 24, 897
Time of match: 1:50

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Photos from the Philadelphia Union/Real Madrid clash at Lincoln Financial Field

Posted on 24 July 2011 by Breton Bonnette

ASN Philly’s photographer LEE PEASE was on hand to document the sights at Lincoln Financial Field on July 23, 2011. The Union played impressively well against a star-studded Real Madrid C.F. but ultimately fell 2-1 with Michael Farfan scoring the prettiest goal of the game.

You can see more pictures if you friend us on Facebook – search ASN Philly or follow us on Twitter at @UnionASN.

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RSL routs San Jose amid controversy

Posted on 24 July 2011 by kali

Another fireworks night at Rio Tinto Stadium, another controversial red card.  This time, however, Real Salt Lake was the beneficiary of the controversy as RSL went on to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-0 on Saturday night.

After a slow start that might have been attributed to the extra time off in the wake of last week’s canceled match in Vancouver, RSL began to exploit a Quakes side that was both match-weary and missing several key players.  Although Real had most of the possession in the first half, no one could find a way to beat San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch before halftime.  Kyle Beckerman and Fabian Espíndola each had excellent chances on goal but could not convert, while offside calls continued to frustrate RSL.

Beckerman said of the first half, “We should have been up. I should have scored and Fabian [Espíndola] should have scored. It would have looked different if we were up 2-0 instead of 0-0. We knew we could pick it up a little bit.”

That changed quickly in the 62nd minute, when Real striker Alvaro Saborio went down in the San Jose penalty area, drawing a penalty kick as well as a red card for Quakes defender Bobby Burling.  Referee David Gantar initially showed the card to Brad Ring, but issued it to Burling after consulting with the assistant referee, believing it was a last-defender infraction.  However, replays showed that Burling had minimal contact with Saborio, bringing to mind the controversy at Rio Tinto on July 4 in which RSL’s Nat Borchers was sent off under similar circumstances.

Busch’s frustration with the red card decision aappeared to boil over after the match, as he exchanged words with RSL coach Jason Kreis as he walked into the tunnel.  Neither Busch nor Kreis would discuss what was said, but Kreis was sufficiently enraged to try to chase Busch into the tunnel after his comment.

Busch said of Gantar’s call on Burling, “He absolutely did not touch him, I was standing right there. The guy could have shot before he went down if he wanted to. He cut back against two defenders, neither Bobby (Burling) or Brad (Ring) touched him at all, whatsoever. We honestly thought when the referee came running, we were getting ready to play a free kick cause we thought it would be a yellow card for diving. It was unbelievable.”

Regardless, Gantar’s call stood and the Quakes would be forced to play down a man for the remainder of the game.  After Saborio converted the penalty kick, San Jose’s night went from bad to worse.  Saborio scored another goal in the 75th minute, while Beckerman and Jamison Olave also contributed goals in the 78th and 83rd minutes, respectively, to give RSL a convincing win at home and a chance to move up in the Western Conference standings.

Kreis was pleased with the result, but noted that his team has room for improvement ahead of next week’s match against the Columbus Crew.  “I feel that we’ve been improving every single match for five or six matches,” he said.   “I think this was number seven in league play … we had an Open Cup match that was a bit of a step backwards, but I think tonight we moved forward again.  But we’re still looking for 90 minutes of good play. Tonight it was 45, maybe 55; maybe there was 10 minutes of good play in the first half.”

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Real Madrid C.F. set for showdown with the Union at the Linc, stars in tow

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union will face world soccer giants Real Madrid tomorrow night without their leading goalscorer in international friendlies for 2011, academy player Christian Hernandez.

Sarcasm folks  but it’s the truth!

Hernandez and any players not under contract with the Union will have to sit this one out as Real Madrid visits for World Football Challenge play. Los Merengues arrive in Philadelphia welcomed by incredible heat but satisfied with their earlier performances, a 4-1 win over Los Angeles and a 3-0 shutout, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hattrick, of Chivas de Guadalajara. You can expect a strong, starting lineup consisting of eleven of the players below. Anyway you really look at it, it’s world class. What are you prediciting as a Union fan? Will the three goal deficit trend continue for Real Madrid opponents or will the Union give them a run for their money?

Take a look at the names the Union will be hosting tomorrow night:

1 Iker Casillas GK (420 appearances for Real Madrid and over 120 caps for the Spanish national team including a World Cup championship)

2 Ricardo Carvalho DF

3 Pepe DF

4 Sergio Ramos DF

6 Sami Khedira MF

7 Cristiano Ronaldo FW  (53 goals in 54 appearances in all competitions last season)

8 Kaka MF

9 Karim Benzema FW (26 goals in 48 apps. in all competitions last season)

10 Mesut Özil MF

11 Esteban Granero MF

12 Marcelo DF

13 Antonio Adán GK

14 Xabi Alonso MF

15 Fabio Coentrão DF

17 Alvaro Arbeola DF

18 Raul Albiol DF

19 Raphael Varane DF

21 Jose Maria Callejon MF

25 Tomas Mejias GK

26 Jorge Casado DF

27 Jose Fernández “Nacho” DF

28 Jese Rodriguez FW

29 Jose Luis Mato FW

35 Jesus Fernandez GK

The fun will start at 9:00PM at Lincoln Financial Field. For those driving, please be aware that you’ll be competing with a 4:00PM Phillies game as well as a Rihanna concert that starts at 8:00PM. Traffic hell to say the least with over 60,000 plus expected at the Linc.

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