Archive | March, 2013

RSL play perfect game to oust Sounders

Posted on 31 March 2013 by Aowabin Rahman

Real Salt Lake defeated Western Conference rivals Seattle Sounders with a 2-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. The home team scored through Robbie Findley and Luis Gil in the first half, whereas as the visitors pulled one back through Brad Evans.

Both teams were going into the game with poor form by their standards. Although Alvaro Saborio was out with a  knee injury, Real Salt Lake was able to welcome back Kyle Beckerman, Tony Beltran and Nick Rimando, all of whom missed the previous game due to international call-ups. Seattle Sounders started with the much-anticipated strike pairing of Eddie Johnson and  Obafemi Martins.

The home team played the near perfect first-half, starting off with an early chance for Devon Sandovall from a low cross from Abdoulie Mansally. The forward’s first touch wasn’t perfect and his shot was saved by the Seattle keeper Michael Gspurring.

The goal came in the 8th minute after a persistent Robbie Findley scored from a scrap after the Sounders defense failed to clear their lines amidst some battering physical presence from Devon Sandoval. The goal settled some early nerves for RSL, who, until that point, haven’t scored in the last 408 minutes against Seattle and haven’t had a goal-scorer other than Saborio this season.

The goal set the pace for the half as Real Salt Lake allowed the opposition very little time on the ball and kept winning challenges high up the pitch. Luis Gil’s second attempt at the ball found Joao Plata in the box in the 26th minute, whose low shot went wide of the goal. Sandoval continued to out-muscle the Sounders defense and in the 32nd minute he flicked-on to Gravaboy, who couldn’t find the net.

The home team did suffer a setback following the goal as the goal-scorer Findley hobbled off the pitch with a left abductor strain.

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As effective as Sandoval’s physical game had been up to that point, his finishing was found wanting as he couldn’t extend the lead in the 34th minute from a Mansally cross. The rebound found Gil, whose shot was saved by Gspurning.  However, the visitors’ luck ran out when a resulting short corner found Luis Gil,  whose composed header found the bottom rightft-corner in the 35th minute. RSL continued to press for a third throughout the remainder of the first-half. Joao Plata, who came in for Findley, could have killed the game when he found Gspurring in a one-on-one situation from an innocuous long ball. His effort was saved by the Seattle keeper.

Despite their lackluster first half-performance, the sheer pace of Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson was always a potential threat for the RSL defenders, who were playing a high line for most of the half. The best Seattle chance came in the 41st minute when Martins ran past the RSL defense, but his shot at the near post was saved by Rimando.

The second-half started out as a more even contest, with the visitors beginning to get a foothold in the game. Sounders created a good chance in the 54th minute when a cross from the left flank was headed towards goal by Brad Evans, but was ably saved by Rimando. The hosts had a good chance of their own when a flick-on from Sandoval released Plata for another clear-cut opportunity. Gspurring kept the Sounders in the game with another save.

The Sounders finally found a breakthrough in the 57th minute from a Yedlin cross which deflected off Tony Beltran and sat up conveniently for Evans. The midfielder’s well-placed volley beat Rimando in the bottom corner.

RSL reacted positively after conceding the goal and rather than protecting their one-goal lead, the home team and increased the tempo and kept the pressure on their opponents. Although he couldn’t finish off from any of the one-on-one chances, Plata’s movement and ability to take on defenders created half-chances throughout the second half.  The Ecuadorian forward was well-complemented by Sandoval, whose ability to hold up possession in opposition territory ensured that Plata as well as RSL midfielders could make threatening runs into the Sounders box.

The away side, however, had an opportunity to level the score in the 72nd minute against the run of play when a fortuitous ball into the RSL box caught the Sounders attackers by surprise, who had anticipated an offside call. The referee’s flag stayed down and Sounders’ poor reaction to the situation allowed RSL to get away with the defensive lapse.

As the game progressed towards the latter stages, the Sounders seemed to run out of steam and despite seeing more of the ball in the last 10 minutes with RSL defense predictively dropping deep, they created no clear-cut opportunities. In fact, it was the home side who should’ve had a deserved third goal when Sandoval set-up the returning Javier Morales into space. The midfielder was challenged by Jhon Hurtado when he seemed on-course for goal and there were loud claims from RSL camp who believed that he might have been clipped by the Seattle defender inside the box. The referee turned down the appeal and RSL were able to see through till the final whistle without letting the decision have too much bearing on the outcome.

The much-needed victory takes Real Salt Lake to seven points from three games as well as momentum carrying into their away game against Colorado Rapids on April 6.  Seattle Sounders continue their woeful start to the season with their third defeat, leaving them with a solitary point from four games and at the bottom of the Western Conference.

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Chivas USA wins Second Straight against Vancouver

Posted on 31 March 2013 by iyeo

It’s become apparent this season that this is not last year’s Chivas USA squad.

Last season, particularly towards the end, Chivas USA lost games and lost them without showing a whole lot of fight. This year however, the fight and more importantly, the results are more than present for the Goats. Led by Carlos Alvarez’s goal and assist, Chivas USA collected points for the fourth straight week courtesy of a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at the Home Depot Center.

“I thought we could’ve had four goals tonight,” Kennedy said. “The attack looks god for us, and that obviously takes the pressure off our defense.”

The win is Chivas’ third win in its last four games and factoring in its 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy back on March 17, it is now unbeaten it its last four matches since losing its season opener. More importantly, Chivas USA currently sits in second place in the Western Conference with a 3-1-1 record and 10 points.

“We’ve talked about how important team chemistry is in this league, and the only way to build it is to get positive results,” Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy said. “It’s important for us to get these results early in the season and build on it, and we’re doing it, we’re walking the walk.”

Chivas struck in the 12th minute, as Carlos Alvarez had the ball on the left side, took a few dribbles and volley a shot on goal that took a deflection off Vancouver’s Jun Marques Davidson and got past Whitecaps keeper Joe Cannon into the back net to give Chivas the early lead.

Chivas eventually took the lead into halftime, then doubled it in the 55th minute when Alvarez crossed a ball into the box towards Eric Avila and the midfielder sent a one-time volley off his right foot that beat Joe Cannon to the back post. Vancouver did pull one back in the 64th minute when Mattocks touched a ball to Daigo Kobayashi, igniting a Whitecaps counter, Kobayashi played a ball forward to Erik Hurtado on the right side, Hurtado took a few dribbles, then fired a shot on goal just outside the penalty area, Kennedy parried the ball away initially, but the ball went to striker Kenny Miller, who then headed the ball into an empty net, cutting Chivas’ lead in half.

“All the guys in the locker room are great,” Avila said. “Everyone’s on the same page, no one is doing any individual stuff, we’re all working together.”

Energized by the goal, Vancouver pressed for the equalizer, and got its first good look in the 80th minute off a free kick that went to defender Brad Rusin, who then touched a ball for an unmarked Darren Mattocks, who was inside the six. Mattocks however pulled his chance over the framework. The Whitecaps’ best chance at an equalizer came in the 90th minute, when Miller sprung Kekuta Manneh on a breakaway for goal, Kennedy came off his line to contest Manneh and his pressure combined with a bad first touch from Manneh forced him to pull his attempt off wide right.

Chivas’ next match will not be for another two weeks, when it hosts the Colorado Rapids on April 13. Chivas had been initially scheduled to face Seattle on April 6, but it was rescheduled due to the Sounders’ advancement to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal round against Mexico’s Santos Laguna, which will take place over the next two weeks. San Jose meanwhile will try to redeem themselves against the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday.

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Chivas USA stuns Galaxy with Late Equalizer

Posted on 17 March 2013 by iyeo

It wasn’t looking good for Chivas USA on Sunday afternoon.

Already playing a man down in the first match against the Los Angeles Galaxy after a questionable red card late in the first half, Chivas then fell behind a goal after Jack McBean had scored late in the second half.

Chivas though got one chance and made the most of it, as Carlos Alvarez scored a minute before stoppage time and Chivas salvaged a point against its in-stadium rival with a 1-1 draw.

“This team’s motto is to fight,” Alvarez said. “We’re just fighting each game, taking it game by game and working hard each day.”

The Galaxy look like it would get the full three points in the 83 rd minute. AJ DeLaGarza played a ball in the box to midfielder Mike Magee, who then sent it forward, but was deflected in the air, though it did remain in the box. Striker Jack McBean jumped and headed a ball towards goal, Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy scrambled to get to the ball and actually did get a touch on it, but not enough to keep the ball from crossing the goal line, giving the Galaxy the lead.

Chivas pressed late for the equalizer, and got its chance in the 89th minute. Edgar Mejia held the ball just outside the Galaxy penalty area, sent a pass into the penalty area to Carlos Borja, who whipped a quick cross and Carlos Alvarez buried the point-blank shot near post to send his teammates and the Chivas fans into a frenzy.

“I just saw Borja and Agudelo playing one-two, then Borja crosses the ball to the back post, I was there and I pushed it in,” Alvarez said.

The rivalry match between the two Home Depot Center tenants featured its usual feistiness, as 30 fouls were called in the match, though Chivas USA had to be feeling sour about the 22 fouls that were called against them. Things looked even more dire for the Goats in the 40th minute when Joaquim Velasquez collided with Galaxy midfielder Colin Clark as the two players looked to win a 50-50 ball. Velasquez was called for the foul and was shown yellow, but then Salazar pulled out the red card, prematurely ending Velasquez’s afternoon. It was believed that Velasquez may have been given a second yellow for dissent, but it was later confirmed that Velasquez was given a straight red for the tackle on Clark.

“He’s already under the spotlight because he’s not a league player, he’s not a player from New York, he’s not a player that came from the league offices,” Chivas USA head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola said regarding Velasquez’s ejection. “Tomorrow, they can fine me, they can tear up my passport, but I’m not joking. I’m not a subordinate, I’m not here for this. I came here to coach a serious team, because they give a tremendous effort, what they do is tremendous, I don’t want them to be affected by these type of decisions.”

Even before the man advantage, the Galaxy were the aggressors in the match. Juninho sent a free kick into the Chivas penalty area, Center Back Omar Gonzalez’s header went towards striker Jose Villareal, but Villareal’s header went off the crossbar. LA had another chance in the 50th minute when a header by Magee hit off the left post and the rebound attempt by Marcelo Sarvas sailed over the framework.

“It was a poor performance on our part,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “Bad game, lots of fouls, lot of time wasting, not well played on our part.”

The Galaxy will look to right the ship on Saturday when they host the Colorado Rapids while Chivas USA travels to Chicago to face the Fire.

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Galaxy overcome Irwin, Rapids

Posted on 17 March 2013 by iyeo

Even with striker Robbie Keane and center back Omar Gonzalez away on international duty this week, the Los Angeles Galaxy figured to have a pretty easy night against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

 

The Galaxy certainly created chances, but what they didn’t expect was for Rapids keeper Clint Irwin, currently filling in for the injured Matt Pickens, to make himself a nuisance between the pipes on Saturday night, yet when all was said and done, the Galaxy found a way to get the three points, as Mike Magee’s penalty in the 50th minute was all the Galaxy needed in its 1-0 win at the Home Depot Center.

 

“If we’re at fault for anything tonight, certainly keeping them around for 90 minutes was a flaw in our performance,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.

 

After 48 minutes in which it created numerous scoring chances, but had nothing to show for it, the Galaxy caught a break when Rapids defender Drew Moor delivered and elbow to the head of LA’s Marcelo Sarvas in the penalty area. Moor was issued a straight red card and the Galaxy was awarded a penalty, which Magee converted in the 50th minute.

 

“I see Marcelo on the floor, I didn’t know what was wrong with him, but it was a dirty play by Moor,” striker Jose Villarreal said of the incident.

 

The Galaxy were the aggressors throughout the first half, getting its first chance three minutes into the match when Villarreal headed a Juninho corner on target, but was parried away by Irwin. The first year keeper continued to make himself big between the pipes, beating LA’s Jack McBean to a cross in the box from Todd Dunivant in the eighth minute, then turning back shots by Colin Clark and McBean in the ninth and tenth minutes respectively.

 

“He’s a young guy, he’s been working real hard like many others that came in the game,”Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “Even though we’re disappointed in the loss, I’m encouraged by the play of our young players.

 

The Galaxy thought they had pushed one across in the 32nd minute. It started when after successfully defending a corner, Juninho sent a perfect long ball for a sprinting Villarreal, Irwin came off his line to contest Irwin, but Villarreal lobbed a ball over Irwin and the ball seemed certain to go into an empty net, but two Rapids had trailed Villarreal and one of them, Diego Calderon, managed to clear the ball right at the goal line.

 

“We had a great game (and) we were unlucky to not get goals on the run of play,” Magee said.

 

The Galaxy will have a brief stopover in Washington D.C. on Tuesday as they will be honored by President Obama along with the Los Angeles Kings for the championships won by both teams last year. Then it’s off to Canada to face Toronto FC on Saturday

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Rivals Share Spoils In Rocky Mountain Cup Tie

Posted on 17 March 2013 by Aowabin Rahman

Real Salt Lake started their home campaign at Rio Tinto Stadium with a tightly contested 1-1 draw with their bitter rivals Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The visitors scored in the 37th minute through Deshorn Brown, which was equalized late in the 81th minute by Alvaro Saborio.

Both teams suffered losses to Eastern Conference teams heading into the Rocky Mountain Cup tie, a derby which generates strong emotion from both sets of supporters.

The home side came off the blocks early in the first half and created early pressure on the Colorado goal. The Rapids suffered a huge blow in the 7th minute, when Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens broke his forearm. The injury is thought to be serious and could keep the keeper out of action for several weeks.

Clint Irwin came in as replacement but was barely called into making a save during the opening exchanges, despite the hosts dominating with more than 65% of the possession. The only real chance came to Robbie Findley  in the 18th minute from an innocuous long ball thumped by Nick Rimando,  but the forward’s touch let him down. Alvaro Saborio also saw a difficult header from a set-piece go over the bar.

On separate occasions, Brown and Harris looked to pounce on lapses in RSL defense before the visitors  finally capitalized after the hosts conceded possession cheaply in their own half and Deshorn Brown took advantage to net his right-footer past Rimando.

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The goal spurred RSL to attack with more urgency. Luis Gil had a shot from the edge of the box saved by Irwins and Velasquez, who looked lively throughout the first half, just missed the goal from the right side of the box.

Stephenson went off at the half time break with a mild knee sprain and was replaced by Ned Gravaboy. The substitution appeared to bring some new energy into the RSL midfield, when a surging run from Gravaboy in the 46th minute straight into the Rapids half resulted in a free-kick and a yellow for Atiba Harris.

As the second-half progressed, the away side started to drop deeper into their own half, allowing RSL more possession and looking for opportunities through long balls into the channels for their forwards to chase.   However, Kreis’ team enjoyed space down their left flank where Lovel Palmer created a couple of opportunities. The first was an attempted cross which was tipped over by Irwin, whereas the second was a more clear-cut opportunity when the ball dropped kindly to Beltran, whose shot was again saved by the Rapids keeper.  The Rapids themselves were keen on the counter-attack and Nick LaBrocca had his effort saved by the RSL keeper in the 68th minute.

Coach Jason Kreis introduced Plata and Sandoval, which seemed to have an immediate effect. Plata in particular, looked a threat once again with his movement and his ability to link up with Saborio. The equalizer came in the 80th minute, when RSL build-up around the Rapids box allowed Plata to slide in Saborio, who finished neatly from a tight angle.

Buoyed by a sell-out crowd, RSL looked to take the momentum and pressed for a winner with late half-chances, including a volley and a header from Saborio going close on two separate occasions. However, it was the visitors who had the more decisive opportunity to score in the latter stages as Harris went through on goal after Schuler failed to deal with a long ball. His effort was comfortably saved by Rimando.

The result is probably a fair reflection of how the teams fared and despite a flurry of yellow cards early on, either side managed to keep eleven players on pitch till the final whistle.  The draw gives the Colorado Rapids their solitary point from three games, as they look to overturn their poor start to the season against LA Galaxy on the road on March 23. RSL, with four points from three,  travel to FC Dallas Stadium on the same day.

 

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Seattle Sounders Score Early, Portland Timbers Score Late

Posted on 16 March 2013 by Kyle Alm

As Seattle Sounders and Portland timbers rekindle their decades old rivalry for 2013 there was much anticipation in CenturyLink for Obafemi Martins arrival. As much vitriol and familiarity between Seattle and Portland, both clubs are without key contributors from their past and are somewhat unknown to each other. Portland has undergone the most dramatic changes with a new coach and new style of play that Caleb Porter brought with him from University of Akron.

Sounders were coming off of their historic win on Tuesday over Tigres in the CCL and were looking for their first points after dropping their home opener in MLS to Montreal Impact. Seattle would be the first road match for Portland, who has also lost to Montreal but also managed to get a point against New York Red Bulls in a dramatic 3-3 comeback.

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Both sides were looking for their first win against their biggest rival. The stage was set once again for these old adversaries to take center stage during rivalry weekend.

Sounders were able to score first in the 13th minute after Steve Zakuani was able to capitalize on a Timbers turnover when he took the ball to the left edge of the penalty area and found Eddie Johnson who finished the cross with his right foot on the first touch. Donovan Ricketts was unable to alter the path of the ball and Johnson didn’t have to do much to finish and went and pointed up to the Timbers Army section in the upper bowl of CenturyLink Field.

There were no changes for either side at halftime. The first half was dominated by Sounders in terms of possession, Portland took more shots, but none of were anything that would make Sounders GK Michael Gspurning nervous, he only had one save to make during the entire match. Timbers did hit the crossbar on a Diego Valeri set-piece from distance in the 49th minute, but that was as close as they had come all match.

Obafemi Martins made his debut for Sounders in the 70th minute coming on for Sammy Ochoa, who had not impacted the match positively for Sounders. Martins received a large cheer, got a couple of touches, suffered a couple of fouls, and looked like a player who had never played with his new teammates before. With Martins international duty coming up it will be difficult for Sounders to assimilate their newest player with his teammates, but you can tell that he has the ability to be an impact player on Sounders.

In the 90th minute Rodney Wallace let all of the air out of the building with a free header on a second ball into the box after a corner. Wallace lost Hurtado on his run and was able to keep his header close to the post and away from Gspurning who collected the ball out of his net, slammed it into the turf and continued to express his displeasure at conceding a late goal. Hurtado also was demonstrably upset at Alex Caskey and Osvaldo Alonso, presumably for not getting any pressure on Andrew Baptiste before he crossed the ball in.

Coach Sigi Schmid was disappointed in conceding a late goal, but offered very little in way of explanation other than Wallace did make a long run from the wing which confused the back-line marking. Sounders were lucky that they were able to hold on to a point looking back at the match, Timbers had a good argument for a penalty kick award against Hurtado when he scissor tackled Ryan Johnson in the box. Timbers also had the previously mentioned set piece off the crossbar that would have turned Rodney Wallace’s header into a winner.

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Galaxy Advance to CCL Semifinal Round

Posted on 14 March 2013 by iyeo

Six days after holding their own in the first leg in Costa Rica, the Los Angeles Galaxy dictated the pace of the game on their home turf in the return leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament against C.S. Herediano.

One first half strike was followed by three more in the second half while the defense contained the Herediano attack for the most part and Los Angeles became just the third MLS team to reach the semifinals of the CCL tournament with a 4-1 win.

Omar Gonzalez, Jose Villareal, Robbie Keane and Jack McBean were the goal scorers for the Galaxy, whose win sets up a semifinal date against Mexico’s C.F. Monterrey, who defeated Guatemalan Club Club Xelaju 4-2 on aggregate. The two-leg series will be played the first two weeks of April. The Galaxy and Seattle Sounders will be the two teams carrying the MLS Flag in the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament.

“It was a hard game,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “Good concentration and focus, the second half, we got a little bit better, Jose scored a great goal, Robbie scored a great goal (and) we were just a little bit sharper around the penalty area.”

The Galaxy dodged a bullet early in the first half when Herediano won a free kick at the right side of the Galaxy penalty area in the eighth minute. Ismael Gomez ‘s set piece was on target, but Galaxy keeper Carlo Cudicini parried the ball over the endline and the Galaxy successfully defended the ensuing corner. Los Angeles eventually got on the board first in the 18th, as Gonzalez header off a Juninho corner deflected off Herediano’s Marvin Obando and made its way across the goal line.

“The first goal was huge and coming into halftime, we knew we needed to get a second and we did that and gave ourselves a bit of a cushion,” Galaxy Left Back Todd Dunivant said.

The second goal Dunivant was referring to came from Villareal courtesy of a spectacular volley in the 69th minute. Villareal received a ball from Sean Franklin, spun around Center Back Esteban Granados, then fired a volley off his left foot from about 30 yards out that sailed past keeper Daniel Cambronero into the back net.

“I was going to try to go through him, but I didn’t have much in my legs, so I cut it back, set up with my left foot and I had to shoot,” Villareal said of his goal.

Keane made it a three-goal lead when he chased down a perfectly weighted ball from Michael Stephens into the penalty area, tight-roped the endline and fired low past Cambronero and beat him back post. Herediano did prevent the shutout in the 85th minute with a goal from Elias Aguilar, but the Galaxy got the goal back in stoppage time as substitute Jack McBean fired a volley in the box that beat Cambronero far post.

The Galaxy jump back into MLS play on Sunday afternoon with a home match against in-stadium rival Chivas USA.

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Chivas USA gets first win under Chelis

Posted on 10 March 2013 by iyeo

It threatened to be more of the same for Chivas USA on Sunday afternoon.

FC Dallas looked to become the latest team to celebrate at the expense of the Goats at the Home Depot Center, spotting the Goats a goal early in the second half, but this time however, Chivas answered back in a huge way, as three unanswered goals enabled Chivas USA to finally celebrate an MLS regular season win courtesy of. 3-1 result against FC Dallas.

“A little bit of relief without a doubt,” Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy said. “I didn’t doubt this group and the greatest thing was that we went down a goal, but we fought back. Defintely some character there.”

Juan Agudelo, Oswaldo Minda and Giovani Casillas found the back net for Chivas to cancel out David Ferreira’s goal in the 57th minute as Chivas got its first win under head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola and its MLS regular season win since July 28th.

“We we’re battling, we were committed, and we felt olbigated to give it our all,” Chelis said.

FCD staked themselves to the lead early in the second half as David Ferreira sprinted from the left side, withstood 19’s challenge, made his way into the penalty and fired low and beat Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy far post to put FCD in front.

This time however, Chivas had an answer, the first coming in the 68th, minute Walter Vilchez played a long ball to Agudelo and the striker juked past defender Matt Hedges to get free into the penalty area, then fired a shot past FCD keeper Raul Fernandez into the back net for the equalizer.

Chivas grabbed the lead in the 76th minute. It started when Oswaldo Minda pressured George John into a bad giveaway deep inside Dallas’ part of the field. Minda sprinted free for the penalty area and blasted his shot past Fernandez into the back net to put Chivas in front. Chivas sealed the three points in stoppage time when after defending a Dallas counter, Chivas found themselves on a 3 on 1 counter, Eric Avila sent a ball to Edgar Mejia, Mejia found Giovani Casillas in the box and Casillas sent his shot past Fernandez near post.

“This team doesn’t get out of character, doesn’t get scared, and as a result, we got two goals with a lot of quality,” Chelis said.

Chivas will certainly look to carry the momentum into next Sunday’s Superclasico against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

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Magee Hat Trick carries Galaxy past Fire

Posted on 03 March 2013 by iyeo

No David Beckham, no Landon Donovan, no problem for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Opening an MLS season as reigning MLS champions once again, the Galaxy showed no signs of a potential title hangover that plagued the club last season. Instead, the Galaxy got out in front against the Chicago Fire in its 2013 season opener, then exploded for three goals in the second half and came out on top 4-0 over Chicago at the Home Depot Center.

“A good performance by everybody today,” Galaxy captain Robbie Keane said. “Just a real good team performance.”

Even without Beckham, now at Paris Saint Germain, and Donovan, whose return date to the Galaxy squad is slated for towards the end of the month, the Galaxy looked every bit like the back-to-back MLS Cup Champions, and Mike Magee supplied the offense for LA with his first career hat trick, and Keane opened his scoring account to cap a near flawless performance for LA on Sunday afternoon in which the Galaxy players and staff received their championship rings and unveiled their 2012 championship banner.

“It was cool,” Magee said. “The hat trick was cool, getting a win was cool, and then the best part of the day was getting the rings. It was a hell of a day.”

Los Angeles broke through in the 38th minute. It stared when Keane sent a ball for Todd Dunivant into the penalty area that was deflected initially, but Dunivant chased down the ball and got enough of it  that it remained in the 18 and Magee’s volley beat keeper Sean Johnson near post to put Los Angeles out in the lead.

The Galaxy blew the match open in the second half. Magee’s second goal came in the 64th minute when right back AJ DeLaGarza sprinted on an overlap run, sent a ball for Keane in the box, Keane then took on a pair of Fire defenders before laying out a ball to Magee, who finished his shot far post. Magee capped off his hat trick four minutes later when he finished off a rebound attempt of Keane’s chance that had been parried back by Johnson. Keane capped off the Galaxy scoring in the 80th minute when a Michael Stephens cross was headed by Omar Gonzalez and Keane’s volley found the back net.

“He (Magee) and Robbie did a good job and got a number of chances,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.

While Chicago was overmatched for the most part, the Fire did have some dangerous chances themselves. None more so than in the 32nd minute when striker Maicon Santos pressured Galaxy keeper Carlo Cudicini into an errant goal kick, which Chris Rolfe pounced on and sprinted for the penalty area. Rolfe then fired a shot on goal that got past Cudicini, but just barely missed the back post. Chicago had another look at goal in the 71st minute when Alex drew a foul just outside the LA penalty area, but Cudicini parried Maicon Santos’ free kick over the crossbar.

“We beat a good team today,” Arena said of the Fire ‘s effort. “The goalkeeper (Johnson) played well (and ) they were tough to break down.”

Chicago will look for a better outcome next week as they host their home opener against the New England Revolution next Saturday. The Galaxy meanwhile jump into CONCACAF Champions League play with a two-leg series against Costa Rican club CS Herediano, starting on Thursday in Heredia, Costa Rica.

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Chelis era begins on down note for Chivas USA

Posted on 03 March 2013 by iyeo

The era of Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, a.k.a Chelis, officially kicked off on Saturday night as Chivas welcomed the Columbus Crew to the Home Depot Center to start the 2013 MLS season.

Unfortnately for Chivas, most of the problems that plagued The Goats, namely poor finishing and conceding goals at bad times, reared its ugly head on Saturday night, as Columbus withstood several Chivas attacks, made the most of their opportunities and came away with a 3-0 road win over the Goats.

“I did not put all the tools out there tonight for this game,” Chelis said. “It’s honorable what they did out there today, we should be able to face anybody after their performance tonight.”

Julio Morales had two golden opportunities to put Chivas on the board in the first half. Morales got behind the Crew backline for a breakaway in the 27th miunte. Morales tried to finesse a ball past Crew keeper Andy Gruenbaum, but was denied. Morales was sent behind the Columbus defense a minute later, this time from Giovani Casillas, Morales collided with Gruenbaum while trying to slip past him, but referee Chris Penso gave the call to Gruenbaum, awarding him the goal kick as opposed to the penalty.

Eventually, it was Columbus that found the back net first, and it came in the 50th minute when Federico Higuain cut inside the Chivas defense and launched a volley at the top of the penalty area that deflected off the right post and crossed the goal line to open the match scoring.

Undeterred, Chivas pressed for the equalizer,and thought they had it in the 72nd minute. Eric Avila played a ball to Miller Bolanos, who got inside the penalty area and his cross appeared to have been handled, but no call was made. The ball though stayed in the box and went to striker Juan Agudelo, but he instead sent his chance over the crossbar.

“Overall, everyone saw that we were fighting out there,” Chivas striker Tristan Bowen said. “The breakdowns we had were defensively, and we have to figure it out on the field.”

Columbus eventually put the match away in the waning moments. Josh Williams opened his scoring account in the 88th minute with a spectacular one-time volley of Eddie Gaven’s corner kick into the back net, then in stoppage time, after clearing out a Chivas corner, Dominic Oduro had a breakaway and the lightning-quick striker sprinted for the penalty area, evaded Kennedy and buried the open-netter to close the scoring.

“We became disorganized in the second half, and the best example was the second goal,” Chelis said. “We were too greatly dispersed, but eventually, you have to die of something.

Chivas USA will be back at it next Sunday at home, as they welcome FC Dallas to the Home Depot Center for an afternoon tilt while Colmubus continues its road swing next Saturday at Vancouver against the Whitecaps.

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