Archive | August, 2011

TMR Episode 44 – The Midnight Ride vs Sergio Garcia

Posted on 31 August 2011 by Hank Alexandre

 

In this episode, Hank and Sean are joined by Boston Globe Soccer Reporter, Frank Dell’Apa, and they discuss the New England Revolution and the issues they face as they are looking at their worst season in years.

 

Click here to listen

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Sounders FC vs Columbus Crew: August 27, 2011

Posted on 28 August 2011 by dlindsay

Seattle Sounders FC set or tied several records en route to destroying Columbus Crew 6-2 at CenturyLink Field.

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Big Day For Sounders

Posted on 27 August 2011 by Britt Ruby

What a day for being a Sounders fan. I’m honestly not sure what the bigger story of the day is.

The team won a match against the best team in the eastern conference 6-2. They are now 6-0-1 in the month of August. They are now just 3 points behind LA Galaxy in the race for the Supporters Shield.

Truly, no one could have asked for a better run of form for a month that starts a pretty crazy run of fixture congestion. A run that includes qualifying for group play on the CCL, a win in Dallas, and a win in Monterrey. And up next, a game at Starfire to move to the third straight USOC final.

Its a great time to be a Sounders fan. Let’s all sit back and enjoy.

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RSL faces critical test at Chivas USA

Posted on 27 August 2011 by kali

When Real Salt Lake visits the Home Depot Center to take on Chivas USA on Saturday night (8:30 pm MT, Fox Soccer Channel), much more than three points will be on the line.

Faced with a sudden losing skid, including a last-minute heartbreaker last weekend at Houston, RSL needs a result against the Goats in order not only to get the team back on track, but also to remain in contention for an automatic playoff berth.  To that end, coach Jason Kreis issued a public challenge to his players after the loss at Houston.

“There have been a lot of players that have gotten a whole ton of opportunities, and a lot of them quite frankly aren’t getting the job done,” Kreis said.  “Unless we get this turned around here and start heading in a positive direction for the playoffs, there’s going to be a lot of difficult decisions to make this offseason.”

Injuries certainly haven’t helped Real as of late, with twelve players currently listed on the official injury report.  However, Jamison Olave could make a return to the lineup Saturday after recovering from the knee injury he sustained in the MLS All-Star Game earlier this summer, giving the team a significant boost on defense.

In addition, Will Johnson will be available after serving a suspension for yellow-card accumulation last week.  Johnson’s return should give the RSL midfield some of the toughness and discipline it lacked against Houston.

Meanwhile, Chivas will have nearly a full complement of players available to coach Robin Fraser — Zarek Valentin is the team’s only injury loss, and Fraser will be able to recall newly-acquired striker Juan Pablo Angel after resting him in the Goats’ midweek game at Portland.  In addition, the Goats’ midfield has improved since the start of the season; notably, Chivas midfielder Nick LaBrocca has been having a breakout year and could cause problems for RSL.

Regardless of the lineups, however, Real will be looking to halt its worst stretch of results since 2007.  RSL has lost four out of its last five matches, negating the impact of the games it has in hand on its fellow Western Conference foes, and Kreis has expressed his belief that his players have the character to turn things around.

“Anybody that’s part of our club that feels like it’s a helpless situation should leave, because we’re not helpless at all,” he said.  “We have the ability. We know what to do. We have the right mentality. We have the right experience. We have everything we need to bring ourselves out of this hole. And if we continue to believe and to fight, we will.”

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Galaxy defeat Alajuelense, Tops in CCL Group Play

Posted on 26 August 2011 by iyeo

Playing its first two matches in CONCACAF Champions League group play at home, the Los Angeles Galaxy looked for the three points in both matches.

Mission Accomplished.

Playing in what is considered to be the toughest of the four groups of the tournament, the Galaxy look to be in a very good position to advance out of Group A after its latest 2-0 win, this one over Costa Rican superpower LD Alajuelense 2-0 at the Home Depot Center on Thursday night.

“Not an easy game,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “A good opponent, a different kind of game. Overall, we’re real pleased with the win.”

The Galaxy’s two goals were scored by center back Omar Gonzalez in the first half and substitute forward Chad Barrett in the second half. The win puts the Galaxy solely atop Group A with six points as the group’s lone unbeaten team while Alajuelense now shares second place with Monarcas Morelia, who routed CD Motagua 4-0.

“We came into the Galaxy’s side of the field with a lot of energy,” Alajuelense head coach Oscar Ramirez said. “We had a lot of ball positioning and we took it to them.”

The Galaxy had a flurry of chances, but it wasn’t until the 38th minute that LA finally found the back netting. It occurred in the 38th minute when the Galaxy won a corner on the left side, David Beckham’s corner ball found Omar Gonzalez’s head, and his attempt beat keeper Ivan Garcia far post to put Los Angeles in front early.

Not that that was LA’s only opportunity to break the scoring ice. The Galaxy were active two minutes in when Robbie Keane laid a ball for Landon Donovan, who quickly touched it to AJ DeLaGarza in the penalty area. DeLaGarza however chose to lay it back for Juninho, but he could not connect on the long range attempt. The Galaxy had another chance nine minutes later when Keane crossed a ball near the end line to Adam Cristman, but his header glanced off the crossbar and was collected by Garcia.

Despite not having their best player Jonathan McDonald for the match, LA Alajuelense was pretty active inside LA’s half of the field, but had trouble staying onside throughout the match. Alajuelense was caught ahead of LA’s back four too soon four times in the first half and the trend continued with four more offside calls in the second half. No offside call hurt Alajuelense more than in the 64th minute when Allen Guevara crossed a ball into the penalty area and Kevin Sancho’s volley beat Josh Saunders back post for what looked to be the equalizer, only to see the flag go up once more.

“We were lacking a little bit in definition, especially in the final third of the field,” Ramirez said.

The Galaxy eventually made Alajuelense pay for its lack of patience in its final third the 78th minute. The play began when Beckham quickly sent a free kick forward to Sean Franklin inside the 18. Franklin then whipped a quick cross to Chad Barrett, who had entered as a substitute six minutes earlier, and with Keane also running into the 18, Garcia was drawn out, leaving the left post area open and Barrett easily buried the open chance near post. Despite the win, LA came out the mach somewhat scarred, as Juninho was red-carded in the 88th minute for what looked to be a typical 50-50 challenge inside the penalty area, meaning Juninho will miss the Galaxy’s next CONCACAF Champions League match against Morelia on September 13.

“I think the referee missed that,” Arena said regarding the red card.

The Galaxy got some good news prior to the match, as Sunday’s matchup with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena was postponed until October 4 due to the onset of Hurricane Irene onto the east coast. The postponement meant that Bruce Arena went all out for Thursday’s match, starting most of the regulars save right back Sean Franklin. Even then, LA could not avoid the injury bug, as center back Gregg Berhalter pulled up lame on his left ankle and was subbed out in the 27th minute in favor of Franklin.

“I just felt a pop in my foot,” Berhalter said. “We’ll get it checked.”

The re-scheduling of the Red Bulls match apparently meant some extended time for forward Robbie Keane. Keane played 90 minutes on Thursday night before exiting before stoppage time. Keane will also have some unexpected extra time to head to Ireland to prepare for Ireland’s two European Championship qualifiers next weekend.

“It was nice to get 90 minutes tonight,” Keane said. “It’s been a long week for me. It was nice to get two games in, but the most important thing to do was win.”

The sudden time off means the Galaxy sans Keane and Landon Donovan, both of whom will be on national team duty for Ireland and the United States respectively, will have 10 days off between now and its mext match, which will be a Labor Day showdown between them and Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park on September 5.

LA Galaxy 2, LD Alajuelense 0
CONCACAF Champions League; Group A
August 25, 2011; Home Depot Center

Scoring Summary
LA – Omar Gonzalez (David Beckham) 38
LA – Chad Barrett (Sean Franklin, David Beckham) 78
Misconduct Summary
LA – David Beckham; 31
LDA – Jhonny Acosta; 62
LA – Landon Donovan; 68
LA – Mike Magee; 77
LA – Juninho (Red Card Ejection); 88

LD Alajuelense – Ivan Garcia, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Jose Salvatierra, Marcelo Fazzio, Alejandro Alpizar (Carlos Clark 75), Pablo Antonio, Christopher Meneses, Allen Guevara, Kevin Sancho (Cristian Oviedo 84), Jhonny Acosta, Juan Guzman (Cristian Lagos 82).

Substitutes not used: Esteban Carrillo, Elias Palma, Minor Diaz, Jorge Davis.

Los Angeles Galaxy – Josh Saunders, AJ DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter (Sean Franklin 27), Todd Dunivant, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee, Adam Cristman (Chad Barrett 71), Robbie Keane (Chris Birchall 90).

Substitutes not used: Brian Perk, Frankie Hejduk, Miguel Lopez, Michael Stephens.

Referee: Marco Rodriguez
Assistants: Jose Luis Cmargo, Alberto Morin
Fourth Official: Mauricio Morales
Attendance: 9,855

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It’s time for DC United to grind out some wins

Posted on 25 August 2011 by Chris Snear

DC United have talked about needing to make a “move” in the standings for the last few months to make the playoffs. And while the results and performances in that same time frame have ranged from bad to brilliant, talk time is over.

Too many draws, too many squandered points, especially at home to reach their stated goal of getting into the playoffs.

George Allen, the legendary Hall of Fame former coach of the Washington Redskins, coined the phrase “the future is now” and perhaps they should heed those words because they are currently at the door of the club talking to the bouncer trying to worm their way into the party.

United is close; very close which makes their predicament both tantalizing and frustrating. It’s not how often you make a play but when you make it so it boils down to one question- who is going to make the play that wins the game?

Though they have played the fewest games (24) in the Eastern Conference along with Philadelphia, they could quickly run out of games with a couple of bad results. On the flip side, a couple of wins and a few favorable results elsewhere, they could sneak into second place if the big bouncer turns his head for even a second.

“Playing a half of soccer over the last two games is not good enough,” said United coach Ben Olsen about the results of their last two matches, both on the road, that included a come-from-behind 1-1 draw with Chicago last Thursday and 1-0 loss to Kansas City where they were badly outplayed.

“We can’t wait to be in the playoffs. We can’t let others dictate whether we are going to be in the playoffs,” he continued. “We have to go take it and that’s collectively, it’s me, the staff and the players, we have to make sure we are ready to make this push or it will be a long off season if we don’t.”

United (31 points) have 10 games remaining, split evenly between home and the road. They have had some masterful performances on the road and some equal duds at home and vice versa. Other than Seattle (45 points), no team they play currently has more than 36 points.

“We have to bring the grit, determination and fight that these other teams are bringing,” said defender Brandon McDonald.

“It certainly isn’t going to be given to us we are going to have to go get it. Teams scrap and fight here in this league and this is what this league is. You have to make a play. It’s always going to be one or two plays, teams are very equal,” added Santino Quaranta.

“You find this time of the year that teams that work hard and outwork their teams win games. It’s going to certainly take creating more chances than we have been creating and playing more urgently.”

United have been plagued with bad starts through most of the season and last week’s two losses were no different.

“It’s the time we need to get a little bit better in every area. The area that has to be better is the way we start and our mentality and that wasn’t there in the last two games and it costs us,” Olsen said.

“The message to the guys was everyone else in the league is ratcheting up and everybody is making sure that the fight and the commitment is a little bit better because the weather is changing, playoff time is coming.”

Despite the miserable starts, especially against Kansas City, they were still just one play away from yet another draw. These matches followed one of their best matches of the year, a 4-0 home win over Vancouver.

“We have to be better with success. A win doesn’t mean we can let down for a game or two; it means we have to rev it up rather than be okay with it,” Olsen said. “We got the (expletive) kicked out of us against Kansas City and we still could have tied that game. That is who we are; we can do that because we have players that can do that.”

United’s big players, like Dwayne DeRosario, for the most part have been making plays. Josh Wolff scored the equalizer against Chicago but he admittedly can play better. Charlie Davies has been hampered by a knee injury and has not scored since a 2-2 home draw with Houston on June 25.

Someone else needs to step up and make the critical play that leads to the goal that wins the game-and it doesn’t necessarily have to be scoring the goal.

“We have to bring that tenaciousness, that willingness to compete every game and that fight because we have technical players but sometimes you got to be a little bit nasty and see out a 1-0 game,” said DeRosario. “Across the league those are pretty much the games you are going to see when teams are fighting for the playoffs; teams are going to battle, scrap, do whatever it takes and we have to get that mentality sooner or later.”

These results may just be who they are – perhaps a decent, middle-of-the-table team? Or maybe they are pretty good or pretty good but just not good enough. Or maybe they are just not that good.

“This is no surprise the situation we are in. This is what we said from the start of the season that it was going to be a grind,” said Olsen. “We are a young team. We are going to have ups and we are going to have downs and it’s important for us to stay in the hunt right now and push soon, very soon. It’s true we haven’t had that stretch that we’ve wanted to have.”

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Galaxy continue CONCACAF Champions League Play

Posted on 25 August 2011 by iyeo

Fresh off its win over archrival that saw it’s newest star score its his debut, the Los Angeles Galaxy now resumes its quest to advance in CONCACAF Champions League Play when they host Costa Rican superpower LD Alajuelense at the Home Depot Center.

The two teams head into its matchup tied for first in Group A. The Galaxy got off to a good start in the tournament last Tuesday when it defeated Honduran club CD Motagua 2-0. Adam Cristman started things off with a strike in the 13th minute and Landon Donovan’s goal early in the second half was all LA needed to assert themselves in a very tough Group A, as evidenced by Alajuelense upsetting Mexico’s Monarcas Morelia on its home turf last week.

More recently, the Galaxy defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 on a memorable Saturday night at the Home Depot Center. The Galaxy unveiled the latest splashy namel, Ireland striker Robbie Keane, to Los Angeles and he did not dissapoint, scoring his first ever MLS goal in the 20th minute, and a second half stoppage time strike from Mike Magee sealed the three points for Los Angeles. The Galaxy lead the Western Conference standings with 51 points, which is also the highest point total in MLS.

Alajuelense is one of the most storied clubs in Central America. The La Liga, as they’re also known by, have won 26 Costa Rican titles, and are the reigning league champions. Alajuelense has also had success on the international level, winning the inagural CONCACAF tournament in 1986 when it was known as the CONCACAF Champions Cup. It won another Champions Cup in 2004 and has made it to the final three other times. Alajuelense has also won three UNCAF titles and participated in the Copa Sudamericana in 2006 and also the Copa Merconorte in 2000.

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TMR Episode 43 – The Midnight Ride vs The 2 Point Home Stand

Posted on 24 August 2011 by Hank Alexandre

In this episode of The Midnight Ride Podcast, Hank is joined by a PLETHORA of guests and a mysterious echo. First, Brian O’Connell and Matty Jollie join Hank in welcoming New England Revolution Marketing Director Cathal Conlon to discuss the two games that transpired last week. Then Hank, Brian and Matty are joined by Earl Reed of MLS Talk to discuss the upcoming match against Philadelphia Union. Finally Julian Cardillo joins the team to help wrap up the show.

Click here to listen

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Keller serves up beers and stories at the Atlantic Crossing Aug 17

Posted on 22 August 2011 by crouchinho

Keller Serves Up Beers and Stories to Seattle Fans at the Atlantic Crossing

It was a beautiful night in Seattle last Wednesday and the beers were flowing at Atlantic Crossing for the Kasey Keller-Arlo White meet and greet.  Arlo and Kasey make a great pair on the microphone with a lot of interesting banter covering the Sounders games, EPL and Kaseys’ stories from his successful career overseas and of course the topic all of Seattle is interested in his retirement and what will happen next for Keller.

Kasey will be hanging up his boots after this season with the Sounders and is optimistic about finishing with some hardware in the case as the team is playing really well. When asked about retiring when he is clearly still able to perform as a top goalkeeper in the MLS, Kasey simply said he didn’t want to “fade away”. He wanted to end his career playing well and not by pushing it until the fire has burnt out. He feels good about where he is at right now and rumor has it he’s just ready to relax with his family off the pitch.

There is a clear void coming to the Sounders in the leadership dept after Keller leaves. Keller is definitely the most qualified and best captain for the Sounders and when asked about who might fill his role after his departure, Kasey seemed unsure.  “I believe it is going to be central position on the field, a player that sees the game from the middle of the field and can lead from that position.” But who that would be he could not predict, Osvaldo Alonso was one person that he mentioned that shows potential but the Sounders will be missing out on a key leader and player for next year. He did not seem to be showing any signs of “favre-esc” wavering, he will retire.

The Atlantic Crossing bar and Budweiser presented this night through Rezin Marketing with giveaways and promos. Kasey is a true talent on the microphone and from the looks of things he should be doing more work with Arlo broadcasting we hope.

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Keane scores, Galaxy top San Jose

Posted on 21 August 2011 by iyeo

Not a bad way to start things off for Robbie Keane in Los Angeles.

A new chapter was written into the storied and intense California Clasico rivalry. A first half strike from the latest big-name acquisition into MLS that was set up by the man that started the whole conecpt of big-name stars coming to America. Cap it off with a second half strike from the man that had kept its archrival off the score sheet between the pipes back two months ago, and the Los Angeles Galaxy are further atop the Western Conference and overall MLS standings following a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at the Home Depot Center.

“It couldn’t have gone obviously better for me,” Keane said. “It’s always nice to score a goal, but the most important thing is the team and three points. Overall, we have to be pleased with the performance.”

The Galaxy’s win, combined with losses sustained by Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas allows LA to further maintain its standing atop the Western Conference with a 14-3-9 record and its 51 points are six better than the newest occupier of second place, the Seattle Sounders. San Jose meanwhile falls to 5-10-10, its playoff hopes getting dimmer and dimmer as the season goes along.

“They’ve just had some things not go their way,” said Mike Magee regarding the Quakes, who in addition to scoring late in the match on Saturday night also has a clean sheet against the Quakes as a keeper back on June 24. “I don’t want add insult to injury.”

Just 24 hours after arriving in Los Angeles from London, Keane was immediately inserted into the starting lineup, and it took Keane 20 minutes to officially announce his arrival to the Galaxy faithful. David Beckham’s quick free kick found a sprinting Keane. The Irishman’s first touch caught Quakes keeper Jon Busch off guard, leaving him with an open netter, and when Keane buried the open netter far post, the 27,000 at the Home Depot Center erupted into cheers.

“I knew he was going to be running and I knew where to put it,” Beckham said of the play that led to Keane’s goal. “He’s a player that obviously knows where to run.”

Not that was Keane’s only opportunity to get on the score sheet. Keane had two previous attempts, but the fist one was brought back due to a foul, and second chance, in which he was denied point blank inside the six by Busch, was called back due to Keane being offside. Keane’s best shot at goal came just a minute before his goal when Frankie Hejduk crosses a ball into the 18. The ball was originally intended for Adam Cristman, but a timely challenge by Jason Hernandez allowed the ball to get through and Keane’s last minute sliding shot just missed the left post. Keane had a chance in the second half to make it a brace when defender Omar Gonzalez played a long ball perfectly for a sprinting Keane inside the 18, but his volley went wide right. Keane was subbed out in the 72nd minute to a standing ovation from the Galaxy fans.

“We’re elated with Robbie,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “He had a great 70 minutes for us tonight and there’s a lot of great games ahead for Robbie and four our team.

Despite the attention brought on by Keane’s debut, San Jose showed they were not simply going to lay down against its star-studded cross state rivals. The Earthquakes outshot the Galaxy 8-6 in the first half and 15-10 for the match. Five of the Quakes’ first half attempts were right on goal, but all five of those chances were denied by Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders.

“This was a hard game for us,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “San Jose played well did a good job of turning us over in the last 10 minutes of the first half.”

Things didn’t get any easier for the Quakes when defender Steven Beitashuor was red-carded in the 81st minute when his left cleat caught the left knee of Landon Donovan. San Jose’s missed chances eventually came back to haunt them in second half stoppage time. It started when Galaxy substitute Miguel Lopez’s shot was deflected, Lopez headed a ball to Donovan, who then sprung Sean Franklin inside the 18, Franklin crossed a shot ball inside the six to Mike Magee, and his one-timer beat Busch near post to seal the three points for the Galaxy.

Keane wasn’t the only newest edition to the Galaxy lineup. Long time right back Frankie Hejduk saw his first significant action in almost a month, as he was slotted into the right back positon as part of Arena’s plan to conserve players’ energies in the face of MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play. Hejduk played all 90 minutes on Saturday night.

“It felt great just to be back out there, to feel part of it and feel healty and fit and feel good,” Hejduk said.

The Galaxy jump back into CONCACAF Champions League play on Thursday when they host Costa Rican squad LD Alajuelense. LA then hops on a long flight to New York for a showdown with the Red Bulls a week from Sunday. The Quakes next face Toronto FC next Saturday.

 Los Angeles Galaxy 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0

August 20, 2011; Home Depot Center

 

Scoring Summary

LA – Robbie Keane (David Beckham) 20

LA – Mike Magee (Sean Franklin) 90+

 

Discipline Summary

SJ – Rafael Baca (Simulation) 54

LA – Frankie Hejduk (Reckless Challenge) 68

SJ – Steven Beitashour (Red Card Ejection; Serious Foul Play) 81

 

San Jose Earthquakes – Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Justin Morrow, Joey Gjertsen (Ellis McLoughlin 86), Rafael Baca, Ramiro Corrales, Khari Stephenson (Edmundo Zura 71), Bobby Convey, Chris Wondolowski (Simon Dawkins 71).

Substitutes not used: David Bingham, Chris Leitch, Jacob Peterson, Matt Luzunaris.

Los Angeles Galaxy – Josh Saunders, Frankie Hejduk, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, David Beckham, Juninho, Landon Donovan, Adam Cristman (Miguel Lopez 79), Robbie Keane (Mike Magee 72).

Referee: Andrew Chapin

Assistants: Colin Arblaster, Greg Barkey

Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal

Weather: Clear and 69 degrees

Attendance: 27,000

Time of match: 1:51

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