Archive | August, 2012

It’s time for DC United to control possession

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Steve Long

When you take the hands out of a game, you remove man’s special tool for refined play and frustration becomes the order of the day. The low scoring rate in soccer reflects that reality.

There are two ways to address the problem, run up your opponent’s frustration by forcing him to make more passes to get to the goal or minimize your own frustration by accepting the delay and beating it with cunning and skill.

The MLS style, adopted by DC United Coach Ben Olsen, is based on athleticism and obstruction and a focus on forcing a way through the opponent rather than around him. Witness the bench time for DC United’s more subtle players like Branko Boskovic and Hamdi Salihi.

The direct approach is not without merit as can be seen with the success of Chris Pontius and Andy Najar. Still, an obstructive defense will most often stifle their efforts. Against Red Bulls New York, Olsen chose to clog the middle with a two man defensive midfield and frequent inside play by the wide midfielders.

Thus, Nick DeLeon’s comment, “I was just trying to tuck inside. The coaches wanted the outside mids to come inside and help because Henri and some of the forwards would drop back into that space and would crowd the midfield.” The tactic succeeded in closing down the Re Bulls’ primary attacker.

Henri showed his frustration with frequent gestures, but neither he nor his teammates took the appropriate action to exploit the newly freed up space on their left wing in which Joel Lindpere took up residence. As Najar responsibly rotated into central defense to maintain team shape, DeLeon often left Lindpere unmarked.

His rationale was that, “Andy’s a quick defender, he’s not an easy kid to beat. You touch it past him and he’ll catch up to you real quick, so I’m not too worried about that. He can handle himself.”

Asked about Najar’s having to take on both Henri and Lindpere, DeLeon simply replied, “He’s a beast.” While the young Honduran has been very active and effective since his return from duty at the Olympics, he is not inexhaustible and the thin air in Utah may slow his work rate.

Real Salt Lake’s Coach, Jason Kreis, will surely note Olsen’s approach. With a strong Kyle Beckerman in central midfield to encourage the same crowding, he will exploit the wings more effectively than New York, hoping to either outflank or wear down Najar.

Olsen has made it too easy for opposing coaches by persisting in the athletic MLS style despite having solid alternatives on the bench. He and the coaching staff believe that the more patient style of Boskovic and Salihi can only be effective against tired and slower legs in the second half.

I disagree. Saturday’s game will be at altitude and dominance of early possession will be essential. Instead of repelling RSL’s attacks with a bunkering empty bucket, DC needs to take control. That means positional discipline with the wide defenders rarely overlapping and less team rotation.

In such a scheme, triangles will be a bit more predictable since they will be based on less position switching, but the scheme will require much less running and will have the added benefit of having wing attacks made by primary attackers, Pontius and Deleon, rather than an overlapping Chris Korb or a tired Najar.

This more measured approach will require good possession skills and accurate passing. That points to Boskovic’s starting in an attempt to impose United’s style on RSL. Variety on attack should come from educated runs by Salihi and the unpredictable Dwayne De Rosario.

To further emphasize controlled play, Olsen should play Emiliano Dudar in place of Brandon McDonald whose long balls out of the back are too often the first step in opponents’ buildups.

As the early season progressed, DC United grew more sophisticated in its play and Pontius in particular showed greater understanding of the usefulness of width and delayed movement into space. Then, the style suddenly went away. Olsen went with the “work harder” mentality and forgot the “work smarter” approach.

It’s time for a return to simple, intelligent play.

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Vergara purchases full stake in Chivas USA

Posted on 30 August 2012 by iyeo

Chivas USA has undergone a major shakeup at the top, and where that leads the franchise from here on out remains to be seen.

Jorge Vergara, owner of Chivas Guadalajara and part owner of the Los Angeles-based MLS club since its inception, annoucend on Wednesday that he along with his wife, Omnilife CEO Angelica Fuentes, had bought out the stake owned by Antonio and Lorenzo Cue and are now fully in control of the club.

“It has been an exciting time for Major League Soccer and we are proud of the role that we played in the growth of the League,” Antonio Cué said in a statement.  “We have enjoyed our time with Chivas USA, and we would like to thank our fellow MLS owners and the League office.”

The Cue brothers and Vergara founded the franchise in August of 2004 and the team began play in 2005 at the Home Depot Center, home of the Los Angeles Galaxy. After a subpar first season, the team was a perenial playoff team, making the playoffs from 2006-2009 and its highest honor came in 2007 when it won the regular season Western Conference title as well as that year’s Honda Spuerclasico against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the only year it has won the in-stadium series from its most prominent neighbor. The team however has never advanced past the first round of the playoffs in the four years it was there and has recently fallen on hard times, failing to make the playoffs the last two season and is in danger of missing out on the postseason for a third straight time. Despite rallying from a three-goal deficit to tie the New England Revolution on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, Chivas USA still sits two spots out of the fifth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference and nine points back of the Vancouver Whitecaps, who currently occupy that fifth spot, though that hasn’t tempered Vergara’s enthusiasm about the future potential of the club.

“We are very excited about the future of Chivas USA,” stated Vergara.

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Reserves show their Value for Galaxy in CCL match

Posted on 30 August 2012 by iyeo

Having won a hard fought match on Sunday against FC Dallas and with another big match against the Vancouver Whitecaps looming on Saturday, Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena sent out the reserves for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League matchup against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

The move paid off, as goals from four different players enabled the Galaxy to collect three points in its final home match of the competition and thus sit in first place in the group courtesy of a 4-0 win over the Islanders at the Home Depot Center.

We chose a lineup we thought could win the game,” Arena said. “I thought they played really well, I was real pleased with our young players who got the opportunity to play.”

The Galaxy struck seven minutes in, as Jack McBean earned LA a corner, Kenney Walker sent the corner into the box and Tommy Meyer headed the ball past Islanders keeper Richard Martin at the far post area to open the Galaxy’s scoring account. LA blew the game open in the second half, starting just a minute into the half, as Jose Villareal chased down a ball headed forward by McBean, drawing out Martin as well as defenders Richard Martinez and Anthony Vasquez. Villareal beat all three of them to the ball and shot a soft left-footer that made its way across the goal line. Villareal paid a price for the goal however, as he was kneed in the head by Martinez and laid on the ground for a few minutes. Villareal eventually collected himself, though he was subbed out for Sean Franklin in the 52nd minute.

“I thought Jose and myself played very well tonight,” McBean said. “We worked really hard in the first half and held our own.”

The Galaxy put the game away in the 80th and 82nd minutes. Goal number three came when Michael Stephens crossed a ball into the box, McBean volley a shot first touch, but was blocked by Martinez, but the ball went back to McBean and his rebound attempt beat Martin to the upper netting. Stephens finished off the scoring for LA two minutes later when he pounced on a poor clearance in the box and his point-blank attempt beat Martin left post to finish off the night for the Galaxy.

“We’ve been playing together the whole year throughout the reserve league and we’ve done well,” Stephens said. “That’s the reason we got the opportunity tonight and we did well.”

The Galaxy jump back into MLS play on Saturday, starting with its match against Vancouver, who are currently just three points back of LA for fourth place in the Western Conference standings

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Defense, Timely Scoring carries Galaxy past FC Dallas

Posted on 26 August 2012 by iyeo

It was a vintage 2011 performance by the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday against FC Dallas.

The Galaxy backline was the catalyst Sunday in its important MLS matchup against Dallas, making life tough for the visiting side while waiting for scoring chances that eventually came in the second half courtesy of Juninho and Todd Dunivant, which paved the way for a 2-0 win over FC Dallas at the Home Depot Center.

“They had a couple of chances, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle,” Galaxy Center Back Omar Gonzalez said. “We were able to read what they were trying to do.”

The Galaxy’s win on Sunday was clearly needed, as FC Dallas stood just five points behind the Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps for the fifth spot in the Western Conference. Instead now, the Galaxy are just three points behind Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders for second place in the conference and ten points back of the San Jose Earthquakes for the top spot.

“That was a solid team we just beat,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “We had a good game against a good team.

The Galaxy finally broke through in the 66th minute with some help from FC Dallas. It started when Kevin Hartman cleared a ball to Center Back Matt Hedges, but Jose Villareal pressured him into a giveaway, then raced past Hartman, who was off his line, into the penalty area. Villareal then crossed a ball into the middle for a charging Juninho, who easily shot the ball into the empty net to put the Galaxy on the board. Los Angeles put the match away in the 84th minute, as Robbie Keane played a ball to Michael Stephens, Stephens then quickly touched it forward to an overlapping Todd Dunivant and the left back slotted his shot past Hartman into the far post netting to give the Galaxy a two-goal lead.

“The defender was caught sleeping and I pressured him pretty good,” Villareal said.

The Galaxy came into the game a little banged up, as Landon Donovan missed his second straight game due to a hamstring injury and third straight overall while David Beckham was sick with the bug, though he did play 78 minutes before giving way to Stephens.

The Galaxy’s long march continues, as they play its last home match of CONCACAF Champions League group play against the Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday, followed by a home match Saturday against Vancouver.

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Montero Hat Trick carries Sounders past Chivas

Posted on 26 August 2012 by iyeo

Heading into a busy stretch of games that will see them travel to Trinidad and Tobago for a CONCACAF Champions League match against Caledonia on Thursday, followed by a road match at FC Dallas, the Seattle Sounders looked to make the most of Saturday’s matchup against Chivas USA.

Mission Accomplished.

Led by Fredy Montero’s three goals, all assisted by Mauro Rosales, Seattle started out strong, withstood a comeback attempt by the home side before finding the back net yet again en route to a 6-2 win over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.

“It was an open game,” Montero said. “We got an opportunity to be in the right spots where the ball was coming.”

Of course Montero was the only Sounder to score on Saturday night, as two Southern California natives, Brad Evans and Sammy Ochoa, also found the back net en route to a win that now forges a tie for second place in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake. Chivas USA meanwhile sees its playoff hopes take another hit, as they remain ten points behind the Los Angeles Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps for the final playoff spot in the conference.

“It was a tale of two stories,” Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser said. “The attacking side was really good, we created a ton of opportunities and could’ve scored a number of goals, but our defending group didn’t play very well.”

After nine free-flowing minutes of soccer, Seattle (12-6-7, 43 points) struck in the 10th minute when a forward ball by Montero got past Chivas right back James Riley and to the feet of midfielder Brad Evans on the left flank. A sprint inside the box and Evans fired the ball past Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy, beating him far post to open the scoring. The Sounders were just warming up, as Evans again had the ball inside the box in the 27th minute, but this time, opted to pass to Mauro Rosales, who them spilt the Chivas defense with a perfectly timed ball to Montero and the striker’s shot beat Kennedy to the same spot as Evans’ goal. Montero capped off the first half scoring for Seattle in the 34th minute when he had the ball outside the box and even stumbled, but still got a pass off to Eddie Johnson, Johnson gave it up to Rosales, who again split the Chivas backline with another great ball to Montero, and he chipped Kennedy into the back net.

“He’s playing well,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said of Montero. “He’s just very sharp and very confident right now and obviously, that’s a good thing for our team.”

Despite the large deficit, Chivas was keen on simply being toyed with. Chivas (7-10-6, 27 points) got an opportunity in the 37th minute when Seattle’s Adam Johansson handled Juan Agudelo’s short cross in the penalty area and Chivas was awarded the penalty. Agudelo stepped into the penalty spot and went right while keeper Michael Gspurning went left, resulting in Chivas getting on the board. Chivas made it even more interesting in the 64th minute when Miller Bolanos sprinted for the box from the left side, took on two Sounders defenders and volley a shot on goal past Gspurning far post to make it a one goal game. Three minutes later however, the Sounders were back on the offensive, as Rosales sprung Montero with another great ball, Montero raced between two Chivas defenders to win the ball, juked out one of those defenders, John Valencia, then fired the ball past Kennedy far post to restore the Sounders’ cushy lead. The Sounders finished off the math in the last ten minutes, as Sammy Ochoa headed in Christian Tiffert’s cross in the 80th minute and Seattle tallied number six on an own goal in the 91st minute when Chivas left back Ante Jazic cut off a cross, but sent the ball into the back net.

“I was there at the right moment at the right time,” Ochoa said of his goal. “It was a perfect cross by Christian and I just tapped it in.”

Chivas will try to bounce back on Wednesday when they face the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

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Return to basics yields 4-2 victory for United

Posted on 24 August 2012 by Steve Long

Throughout the season DC United has pursued a team identity with limited success. Through some extraordinary individual efforts and occasional combination play by a few players at a time, United won a good share of points, but never quite seemed as solid as they could be. A certain confidence was lacking.

The players had heart and commitment to one another, so much so that they may have tried too hard. Coach Ben Olsen was blessed with a deep pool of talent, but couldn’t find the right combination of personnel and the right style of play to get comfortable. For Wednesday night’s game vs the Chicago Fire, he returned to basics and may have found the key.

After Sunday’s tie with Philadelphia, assistant coach Josh Wolff acknowledged that midfield transition had been poor as too many players were flat across the front, “At the end of the day you’ve got to have some kind of movement that makes them adjust and move and when we’re on the ball we have to be cleaner.”

With the insertion of a second defensive/holding midfielder, Marcelo Saragosa, Olsen provided the first requirement of midfield control, enough central players to retain flexibility. To that baseline, he added an emphasis on triangles, as the wide midfielders varied their positioning to keep triangles and abandoned the tendency to flood the front line.

When the wide mids did slide into the center, the wide defenders could overlap into the space created. It’s all about reading your teammates and playing as a unit. The simplest of principles, keeping shape on attack as well as defense, works. It provides the base from which attacks may be launched.

However, there is a paradox in maintaining shape, you become predictable and easy to defend. Success will only come from violations of a strict application of discipline. In short, fortune favors the bold player, but only if he has good judgment.

A game has a certain rhythm, but the winner knows how to change that rhythm to surprise and defeat his opponent. When Chris Pontius took a shot at the far post, he followed an ancient principle. Three results are sought, beat the keeper near or far post or find a teammate with an accidental cross.

Sean Johnson, the Fire’s keeper, read the ball as a far post miss and let it slide by, but Dwayne De Rosario saw it as a pass and tapped it home for his 99th MLS goal. With the insertion of Saragosa, DeRo had been freed from central midfield control duties and allowed to play to his strength, creating and finishing chances.

The success from this particular pairing in central midfield does not mean that it should be continued. As Branko Boskovic comes off suspension, he should replace Saragosa. He tends to hang back more than most creative midfielders, and should provide sufficient deterrence against oppponents’ central attack.

He also adds a certain sophistication to the team which will require opponents to track him rather than think of their own creative efforts. Add to this a De Rosario relieved of midfield control responsibilities and you have the proper degree of unpredictability to succeed on attack.

It was noteworthy that United had four different goal scorers and a variety of strong assists. This speaks directly to excellent team play as the Fire had too many variables to shut down.

Nick Deleon noted that the two days of practice after the Philadelphia game had focused on triangles, “Big time. We emphasize not being flat up top, having our outside mids come in and having our forwards check back. When we all do that as a team and we’re together like that, that’s the kind of result we can get.”

Olsen will take his act to Montreal on Saturday and then back to DC on Wednesday. As the toll on players of a compressed schedule takes effect, the stability and durability of the new-found understanding and discipline will be tested.

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Galaxy open up CCL play with a win

Posted on 24 August 2012 by iyeo

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s opening match of the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League tournament had just about everything one could ask for.

The Galaxy got goals from its star players, but had to weather some questionable officiating late in the second half which featured a red card to Robbie Keane and a yellow card right in the midst of a substitution. Yet despite all that, as well as the absence of Landon Donovan, the Galaxy tallied five goals, two of them by Juninho, and rode it to a 5-2 win over Isidro Metapan at the Home Depot Center.

“A lot of emotions, but we’re just happy to get the win,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said. “No injuries and it was an extremely frustrating game to play in under obvious circumstances, but we’re just happy we won.”

Despite a flurry of chances by the Galaxy in the opening frame, it was Metapan struck first in the 17th minute when Nicolas Munoz buried a rebound shot past Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders for the game’s first goal. It didn’t take the Galaxy long to respond, getting the equalizer in the 20th minute when David Beckham’s cross deflected off a Metapan defender, went high in the air and crossed the goal line. Beckham then supplied the go-ahead goal in the 22nd minute when his cross found Robbie Keane in the penalty box and Keane slid the shot past Metapan keeper Fidel Mondragon. Beckham found the net himself right before halftime, as his corner was cut off by Mondragon, but crossed the goal line to give LA a two-goal cushion going into halftime.

“Its hard, we definitely have to get a lot of points in this tournament,” Juninho said. “We got off to a slow start, but we were able to turn it around.”

The Galaxy maintained its lead throughout the second half even as referee Alfredo Penaloza inserted himself into the match, beginning in the 71st minute when Robbie Keane was tripped by two Metapan players while attempting to charge into the penalty area. Penaloza however whistled Keane for diving, Keane appeared to protest the call and Penaloza abruptly ended Keane’s night, sending him off with a red card.

“He started bad and he finished bad,” Juninho said in regard to the officiating.

The madness continued in the 80th minute when Michael Stephens replaced Beckham in the 80th minute, and was surprisingly greeted a yellow card. Despite all that, the Galaxy ultimately put the game away with two goals from Juninho, the first in the 82nd minute and the second coming well into stoppage time. Sandwiched in between those goals was a penalty kick goal by Nicolas Munoz in the 88th minute.

“I was in a good position on the field,” Juninho said of his goals. “Because of my position on the field, I was able to go out front and be in good spots to score the goal.”

The Galaxy will jump back into MLS play on Sunday, as they face FC Dallas in a crucial Western Conference matchup.

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Frustrated DC United still looking for answers

Posted on 21 August 2012 by Steve Long

DC United has drifted into a deep malaise over the past two months. Only sporadically does the team seem to be in sync. Play is unfocused and only moments of individual brilliance have allowed the team to salvage as many points as they have.

Frustration is the spirit of the day and Sunday’s game saw it come out. Two of the team’s more “mature” players managed to earn themselves ejections while the encroachment of another, however trifling it may have been, cost a possible winning PK.

Three teams performed badly that evening. Referee Mark Geiger’s team was inconsistent within the game, setting no clear standard of what degree of force was acceptable. Persistent infringement seemed to have left Geiger’s vocabulary, and the players noticed and sadly acted on it.

In Geiger’s defense, he has been consistent in calling encroachment when most other officials would consider it trifling. Dwayne DeRosario’s PK was going in regardless of Hamdi Salihi’s being a yard inside the arc when the ball was struck.

Blame Geiger for being inconsistent for not following the lead of other officials or, better yet, blame DC United for not observing Geiger’s tendencies and coaching the players to react accordingly.

Work smarter, not harder goes the saying. In MLS, you have to do both. Scouting and adjusting to the referee team is essential. Correcting your errors is as well.

DC United still transitions through midfield with too little thought and flexibility. On numerous occasions a snapshot of the players’ positions would show a nearly straight line of five attackers pressing the Union’s defensive line while DC’s back line swung the ball slowly from side to side wondering where the passing lanes were.

I spoke at length with assistant coach Josh Wolff about the transition game, citing the flat front line, “Not what you’re looking for. Not the ideal situation,” he replied, “It makes it tough for Perry (Kitchen) to be able to move and to get the ball off our backs as well, but he needs a second guy in there. DeRo is usually the guy we’re gonna expect to do that.

“More often, he got caught up the field attacking and never quite fulfilled that responsibility. Pontius, at times, tried to come back on the weak side. It makes it difficult for the wingers to connect the game, like you say, from back to front.”

He explained what the team was trying to do, “You want to get your outside backs forward and your wings to pinch in so you can create some different lanes and triangles and you’ve got to move the ball quickly.

“At the end of the day you’ve got to have some kind of movement that makes them adjust and move and when we’re on the ball we have to be cleaner.”

Such movement must be constant and take into account the very responses that your play induces in the opponent. That cerebral aspect has been an MLS weakness, “You’re trying to find a balance. With our league it’s an aggressive tempo league …. You have to have bite, but you also want some composure on the ball.

“It’s not always easy to find that right balance. We like Branko (Boskovic) in there to give us that composure on the ball, but some of our games are very physical, aggressive, and up-tempo and it’s difficult for him to find his way through those games. You can see when he comes on late in the games, he gives us that.”

Those few thoughts provide some insight into the mystery of using a designated player as a later entrant into games to effect change and control the game. Thus far, Coach Ben Olsen has fallen short of his goal of having the team play smarter while also working hard until Boskovic comes onto the field.

Olsen now has almost no time left to get the troops on the same page and will not have Boskovic for Wednesday’s critical match against the Chicago Fire. To complicate the coach’s dilemma, Emiliano Dudar will also be sitting out his red card suspension.

The game will call for DeRosario to be especially attentive to his midfield control responsibilities and for the wide midfielders to be similarly aware of their own duties in transition.

During Sunday’s press conference Olsen noted the team’s stronger second half performance, “I thought it was an inspiring second half from our guys and I was proud of them for that. We just have to understand that we have to play inspired the entire time.” From Olsen that usually means harder work, but I think he understands that the inspiration has to be mental as well. We will see how it plays out on Wednesday.

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Sounders Shut Out Whitecaps

Posted on 19 August 2012 by Kyle Alm

Both sides in today’s match have had their share of disappointment over the last week. Sounders lost the US Open Cup in Kansas City in a controversial shootout and added a 2-1 defeat in San Jose before returning home to the friendly confines of CenturyLink field to face the Vancouver Whitecaps. Whitecaps have their own minor disappointment, losing at BC Place to FC Dallas 2-0, breaking a winning streak dating back to April 18th.

Both teams have changed the look of their lineups recently, addition of Christian Tiffert and the return of Michael Gspurning from injury have made positive impacts but not enough to win the US Open Cup last week, or to earn three points against MLS leading San Jose. Whitecaps have dramatically changed their personnel, shipping Eric Hassli to Toronto for first round draft pick and international player slot for 2013, and Sebastian Le Toux to New York Red Bulls and getting Dane Richards back in return. Vancouver seem poised to rebuild their team next season, but  having added Kenny Miller and Barry Robson, they are also very much in the MLS Playoff hunt for 2012. Jay DeMerit would not be available from concussion symptoms.

Sounders center backs Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado had their hands full with supremely athletic forward Darren Mattocks and strike partner Camilo Sanvezzo. Parke and Hurtado were able to match their physicality to the athleticism of the Whitecaps strike duo and were able to limit their chances.

Carlyle Mitchell and Eddie Johnson were both the center of much speculation after some contact before a corner kick that started with a little light shoving to gain position. Johnson and Mitchell were jostling for position when Johnson struck Mitchell in the head, around the ear trying to separate himself from the Vancouver defender.

The first half was played on level, each team having an equal share of possession, but with Seattle creating more crosses, shots, and chances on frame. There were only 14 fouls called by referee Silviu Petrescu, but the first half was disjointed by stopped play for players being looked at for treatment.

Early in the second half Sounders created two excellent scoring opportunities on crosses but were unable to get a shot on frame. Osvaldo Alonso got a ball that sailed over Eddie Johnson and the defenders in the box, but put his shot directly into Carlyle Mitchell, and a minute later when Eddie Johnson found himself all alone at the top of the six yard box. Johnson put his volley wide after looking surprised that the ball reached him in such an opportune position.

61st minute Sigi Schmid made an uncharacteristic early substitution of Fredy Montero for Alex Caskey. It would only take 3 minutes for Montero to get on the score sheet on a cross from Mauro Rosales that was chested down by Jeff Parke, Montero received the ball near the 6 yard box and put it away cleanly. In a tribute to the recent perfect game by Mariners pitcher, Montero was “Felixing” after scoring.

Whitecaps had not created much offense on their own in the second half, their best opportunities coming off of miscues by Sounders. Michael Gspurning had not made a single save all match, although he was active in collecting the ball.

Vancouver were on the attack in the 81st minute and were quite unlucky to not get the equalizer when Darren Mattocks was called for a foul against Jeff Parke. Mattocks thought he had collected the ball cleanly and finished before Petrescu called him for the foul. It would have been Vancouver’s only shot on goal.

Sounders would put the match back out of reach in the 87th minute. die Johnson found a moment of redemption when he was delievered an absolute sitter from Brad Evans. Evans received a aerial ball from Alonso switching the field of play and played a square ball on the ground just in front of the 6-yard box. Both Evans and Alonso were credited with their second assists of the season.

Montero scored his seventh goal of the 2012 MLS season, he’s scored five of those as a substitute. Coach Schmid had this to say about using Montero as a sub, “Fredy missed practice Friday, it was an excused absence. We are not looking to turn [Montero] into a ‘super-sub.'” Schmid could not have been more plain, he wants Montero as a starter, and that any forward would respond in a similar fashion when their minutes are limited.

To Sliviu Petrescu’s credit, he kept the match from getting out of hand. There were several moments where players were being quite physical and aggressive during play, and several where it looked like players were ready to take matters into their own hands. He was quick to separate players who were having confrontations and only had to issue two cautions, both in the second half, one for Hurtado 58th minute and one for Koffie in second half stoppage time both for excessive fouls.

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Galaxy spoil Joseph’s Chivas Debut with a 4-0 Rout

Posted on 15 August 2012 by iyeo

Chivas USA had hoped the arrival of newly acquired holding midfielder Shalrie Joseph in time for Sunday’s final installment of the Superclasico with the Los Angeles Galaxy for this season would help propel them back into the playoff race.

The Galaxy however had other ideas. Bolsters by two goals from Juninho, Robbie Keane’s 10th of the season and the first by Omar Gonzalez, the Galaxy sans David Beckham, had their way with their in-stadium rivals once again, romping to a 4-0 win at the Home Depot Center.

“That’s embarrassing to have a game of this magnitude go like this,” Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser said. “We started to tentatively, and that set the tone for the rest of the night.”

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The win means a Superclasico win for the Galaxy for the fifth straight season, and more importantly, the win gives them further distance between them and Chivas USA for the fifth spot in the Western Conference. All four Galaxy goals were assisted by Landon Donovan, tying him with two other MLS players for most assists in a game and his 105 career assists puts him fourth on the all-time career leader board.

“Our team was great tonight, and when we defend that way, it makes my job really easy,” Donovan said. “I don’t have to do a lot of defending. I can focus on things that I’m good at, and when I had the ball, guys made good runs, intelligent runs. They wanted the ball. They wanted to score, so it made it really easy.”

The Galaxy came out firing from the onset, getting countless looks on goal while Chivas hardly threatened in the first half. The Galaxy finally broke through in the 27th minute, when a Chivas turnover enabled Robbie Keane to start a Galaxy break on goal. Keane sprung Donovan into the penalty box, Donovan then laid a ball to Keane, who after a touch, blasted a shot past keeper Dan Kennedy into the back net.

Los Angeles continued to be the aggressor towards the end of the first half and well into the second half. Goal number two for the Galaxy came in the 64th minute, as Mike Magee pounced on another Chivas turnover and fed a ball to Donovan on the left side outside the penalty box. Donovan then fed a ball to Juninho at the top of the box and the midfielder’s trademark volley beat Kennedy into the right corner netting to give the Galaxy a two-goal lead. Juninho finished off his brace ten minutes later, as he received a cross from Donovan and sent a soft shot past Kennedy into the back netting. The Galaxy finished off its scoring spree in the 83rd minute, as Omar Gonzalez headed in a Donovan corner.

“We moved well, we passed well, and we were making good runs,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.

Of course it wasn’t all offense for the Galaxy, as they played Sunday’s match with its backline of Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin and AJ DeLaGarza for the first time this season, and hardly skipped a beat, neutralizing Chivas’ attack for most of the night.

“It definitely felt like last year,” Gonzalez said. “We all played with confidence and everybody was on tonight.”

The Galaxy (11-11-3, 36 points) have little time to savor its victory, as they head to Columbus to face the Crew on Wednesday while Chivas (7-9-5, 26 points) will try to regroup on Saturday, as they head to Colorado to face the Rapids.

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