Archive | August, 2013

RSL stretch lead with vital win

Posted on 31 August 2013 by Aowabin Rahman

Real Salt Lake secured a crucial 4-2 win over Conference rivals Portland Timbers at Rio Tinto Stadium on Friday night. Luis Gil, Joao Plata, Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio scored for the home side, while Darlington Nagbe and Sal Zizzo registered for the visitors.

RSL were coming into the game after a resounding 4-0 thumping of Columbus Crew at home last Saturday. The hosts would also have the psychological edge, having secured a 3-3 draw against Timbers in injury time with 10 men the last time the teams played each other at Jan-Weld Stadium.

 

The hosts were welcoming back forward Alvaro Saborio into the starting lineup. Timbers midfielder, Will Johnson, however, couldn’t take on his former teammates, following an injury against the same opponents in the US Open Cup semi.

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RSL picked up where they left off against Crew when Luis Gil scored early in the 9th minute. Joao Plata flicked on from a Kyle Beckerman pass to set up an umarked Gil. The midfielder finished neatly past keeper Donovan Ricketts.

The hosts soon scored a decisive second in the 15th minute when  the lively Plata picked up the ball from Gravaboy and dribbled past defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste. The shot on goal was still from an acute angle, but Plata’s well placed left-footer beat Ricketts at the far post.

The Portland sides pulled one back in the 32nd minute, after defender Michael Harrington pick-pocketed an RSL ball in his own half and drove into the heart of Real defense. Forward Darlington Nagbe picked up the ball and the forward’s well-struck shot from outside the box beat Rimando.

Immediately following the goal, Timbers’ coach Caleb Porter brought on Alvas Powell for injured playmaker Diego Valeri to switch from 3-4-3 to a more pragmatic  4-3-3.

The temperature picked up in the 43rd minute when a physical confrontation followed after Ned Gravaboy was fouled outside the Timbers’ box. The melee resulted in a yellow each for Joao Plata and Timbers’ defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste.

The bitter nature of the game hadn’t died down as Timbers’ midfielder Ben Zemanski was sent off just at the stroke of half-time. Zemanski plunged in with a two-footed challenge on Gravaboy and received his marching orders.

Zemanski’s challenge wasn’t clean by any means, but whether if it was deserving of a straight red is up for debate.

 

With a man advantage, RSL restored the two-goal cushion with a brilliant overhead kick in the 56th minute following a Beckerman corner. The midfielder surprisingly found himself with plenty of space in the box in a set-piece, but still had to show skill and composure to find the net.

The goal-frenzy continued when forward Alvaro Savorio continued on his prolific record against Portland Timbers with a header from a Morales free-kick. The 10 men Portland side had been ragged in defense in the second half and would be disappointed to concede a second goal from a set-piece situation.

Portland Timbers did see a glimmer of hope when Sal Zizzo pounced on a rebound in the 77th minute after Jose Valencia saw his long-range effort saved from Real keeper Nick Rimando. However, it was too little too late for the Caleb Porters’men.

RSL stretch their lead to a sizeable eight points over nearest Conference rivals LA Galaxy, although the Los Angeles outfit has three games in hand. Despite the loss, Portland Timbers are still in a playoff position, but would want to turn the corner soon at this crunch stage following back-to-back losses against RSL and Sounders.

 

 

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Donovan signs Extension with LA Galaxy

Posted on 28 August 2013 by iyeo

One of the most prolific players in the history of Major League Soccer will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Galaxy announced that they had reacehd agreement with Landon Donovan on a multi-year extension that will keep the striker/midfielder with the club for the forseeable future.

“I’m thrilled to continue my career here with the LA Galaxy,” Donovan said in a statement. “This organization has always treated me with the utmost respect and I feel truly blessed that I am able to continue playing here. The opportunity to play with the team I love and work to win championships, in front of wonderful fans while also being close to my family is literally a dream come true.”

Donovan joined the Galaxy prior to the 2005 season following a brief stint with German club Bayer Leverkusen. In 210 appearences with the club, Donovan has scored 99 goals and asissted 86 goals and led the Galaxy to championships in 2005, 2011 and 2012, with Donovan scoring thw winning goals in the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup Final games. This season, Donovan has seven goals and 10 assists in 22 games for LA after returning from a brief sabbatical.

“We are pleased that Landon has re-signed with the Galaxy,” Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena stated. “He is the best player in the history of the game in our country. This signing is instrumental toward our commitment to build a team that can compete for championships year-in and year-out. We look forward to Landon’s continued leadership and excellent play as a member of the LA Galaxy.”

Donovan had actually signed his first professional contract with Bayer Leverkusen in 1999, but had trouble adapting to the lifestyle in Germany and was loaned out to the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. Donovan played with the Quakes from 2001 until 2004, where he had 32 goals and 29 assists and led the team to titles in 2001 and 2003. Donovan went back to Bayer Leverkusen, where he made seven appearences, but eventuall fell out of favor with the club and shortly thereafter, made his return to MLS. By then, the Galaxy had acuired his rights and traded Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas for the top allocation spot used to acquire his services. Overall, Donovan has 115 assists and has scored 131 goals in MLS. Donovan is four goals away from becoming MLS’ all-time leading scorer.

“Few players have meant more to this league and this club than Landon Donovan,” Galaxy President Chris Klein stated. “Landon has been a major factor in the growth and sustainability of Major League Soccer and we’re thrilled that he will continue to wear a Galaxy shirt for years to come. Keeping Landon was a major focus for our club and reinforces our desire to acquire and retain the best players from the United States and abroad as we strive to be the premier club in North America.”

In addition to his standout MLS career, Donovan had also been a stalwart on the United States national team. Donovan made his USMNT debut in 2000 and has never looked back, earning 151 caps while scoring 56 goals and assisting 56 goals. Donovan has helped the United States to Gold Cup titles in 2002, 2005 and 2007 as well as this past Summer as well as World Cup appearences in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and hopes to be a factor in the US bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer.

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Timbers Fall Short in Seattle

Posted on 26 August 2013 by Kyle Alm

Sounders were able to inch up the table Sunday night in front of a(nother) record setting crowd in Seattle. The fact that it came at the expense of their I-5 rivals, Portland Timbers made it all that much sweeter.

Portland fans, recently made aware of the finer points of MLS player acquisition, had high hopes of coming up and spoiling Clint Dempsey’s home debut in front of 67,000+ fans. Motivation was increased but Timbers were dealing with a short-handed roster, midfield stalwart Diego Chara was suspended with yellow card accumulation and Will Johnson still not fit to play. Seattle alternatively are adding key players back to their lineup with the exception of Obafemi Martins who’s ankle injury suffered in Toronto precluded his involvement in the Cascadia derby.

Although the first half went without a save being recorded for either Donovan Ricketts or Michael Gspurning, there were more than a few good scoring chances for both sides. Gspurning shut down a 1v1 with Ryan Johnson that wasn’t counted as a save and Diego Valeri hit the post on a dead ball that didn’t count as a shot on goal.

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Gspurning could have easily seen his MOTM status disappear had those two opportunities turned out differently. Despite the alternate history version of those two plays Gspurning was solid all night. His Portland counterpart, Donovan ‘Rebound’ Ricketts, was not nearly as dependable.

The match stayed level until after Mauro Rosales came on for Shalrie Joseph in the 56th minute. Rosales, the Sounders captain, hasn’t turned in the season that anyone has expected and failed to put an excellent opportunity in Houston on frame. He found himself on the bench to start the derby.

Portland defender Po Amadou Kah, victimized by a poor clearance on Wednesday that cost his team two points once again provided his opponent a winning opportunity after a foul on Eddie Johnson that earned a caution in the 59th minute. Kah went in airborn with both feet and missed the ball and brought down Johnson halfway between the left touch line and edge of the penalty box. Mauro Rosales demonstrated his skill and worth with the winning assist to Eddie Johnson who redirected the cross with his head to the far post for a goal in front of the Brougham end.

When Timbers were able to create chances they were unable to beat Gspurning, who always seemed to anticpate the proper positioning to make effortless saves in the second half.

Although Dempsey didn’t make his impact felt on the stat sheet, failed to put a shot on goal, suffered four fouls (and at least two more), he did show some quick feet and clever passing. Overall, it seems like he’s still adjusting to his teammates and gaining fitness.

 

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Chivas USA upsets New York Red Bulls

Posted on 26 August 2013 by iyeo

For once, it was Chivas USA’s turn to get the breaks.

The Goats have always had the great equalizer in keeper Dan Kennedy. However on a shining Sunday afternoon at the Stubhub Center against the strong New York Red Bulls. Chivas made sure it did not have to rely entirely on him to get a result. Kennedy made his share of big saves, but a brace by striker Erick “Cubo” Torres plus goal line clearances by defenders Marco Delgado and Bobby Burling ensured Chivas a 3-1 upset win over the Red Bulls.

“You know when you’re playing a team with the quality that New York has, you’re going to have to come up with something,” Kennedy said. “We came up with big defensive stops and big goals. It feels great.”

The win is the first by the Goats since a 1-0 win over Toronto FC back on July 17 and is the second win under head coach Jose Luis Real. The result however is more damaging to the Red Bulls, as they missed an opportunity to potentially leap into first place in the Eastern Conference.

“We had many opportunities, especially in the first half, could’ve been up 3-, 4-nothing in the first half,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. “No disrespect to Chivas, they’re definitely in a rebuilding year, so just no disrespect, but we’re a much better team than them.”

New York started off with two great chances early in the match courtesy of its two strikers Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola. The first Red Bulls chance came eight minutes in, as Henry chased down a long ball sent by midfielder Dax McCarty down the right side. Henry then whipped a quick cross into the penalty area for Espindola, who apparently tried to chip Kennedy, but he stood his ground and sent the ball away. Henry again looked for Espindola, this time off his left foot and Espindola looked to slot the ball past Kennedy far post. Kennedy however made a save similar to the one Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo made against the Vancouver Whitecaps 24 hours earlier, as he dove to his left and managed to parry the ball over the endline.

“Without a doubt, Kennedy saved us in the first half,” Real said. “I’m sure much of our victory we owe to him. But it wasn’t only what he did [Sunday]; he’s always in top quality.”

Despite the flurry of chances by New York, it was Chivas USA that opened the scoring in the 30th minute, as midfielder Carlos Alvarez played a ball forward to striker,Julio Morales, who then fired a shot near post that beat keeper Luis Robles into the back net. New York however got the equalizer just a minute later, as midfileder Tim Cahill, who had an earlier chance cleared at the goal line by defender Macro Delgado, again headed a Henry corner towards goal and Delgado again cleared it out. Delgado however was inside the goal line at the time of his clearance, thus New York was awarded the goal.

A halftime draw seemed imminent, but Chivas got an opportunity just before the half, as Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya shoved down Cubo Torres with his left hand and referee Kevin Stott whistled for the penalty spot. Torres then went left on the penalty shot while Robles guessed right, and Chivas took a one-goal lead into the locker room.

Unlike past situations where Chivas took a lead only to see its opponent come from behind to either equalize or steal the three points, the Goats actually doubled up on its lead. It happened in the 81st minute, as midfielder Bryan de la Fuente crossed a ball into the penalty area to an unmarked Alvarez. The midfielder took a shot on goal, but was deflected off Red Bulls defender Kosuke Kimura, but it went to Torres and his shot beat Robles right post to give Chivas something it has rarely had this season; a two-goal lead.

“This is MLS, and again the parity issue is proven — that any team could win on any day,” Petke said. “They come in today and they got the goals, and we didn’t. Credit to them.”

New York however didn’t go quietly, pulling a goal back when McCarty headed in a Henry free kick in the 86th minute. The Red Bulls however were just denied the equalizer in stoppage time. Kimura crossed a ball into the box, Kennedy grabbed the ball initially, but spilled it out though Center Back Carlos Bocanegra did clear it away. The ball however went to Red Bulls midfielder Eric Alexander, who sent it forward to Cahill and the midfielder sent a header towards an open net. Chivas Center Back Bobby Burling however came up with the save of the game, as he cleared Cahill’s header right at the goal line.

“It was the least we could do after what he (Kennedy) did in the first half,” Burling said. “He’s done it all year for us. He keeps us in games and makes big saves.”

Chivas USA will look to build off the win, as they head to Vancouver to face the Whitecaps on Sunday while the Red Bulls will try to bounce back at home against DC United on Saturday.

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RSL punish woeful Crew

Posted on 25 August 2013 by Aowabin Rahman

 

Real Salt Lake (13-8-6) crushed Columbus Crew (8-12-5 ) 4-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Skipper Kyle Beckerman scored a brace, while Devon Sandoval and Luis Gil scored a goal each.

RSL were coming into the game with an indifferent form with only a solitary win in the last six league games, despite their top position in the Western Conference. The hosts, however, would take heart from their midweek performance, trailing with 10 men and coming back with a late Cole Grossman leveler.  RSL were also boosted by the return of Nick Rimando and skipper Kyle Beckerman, who had missed the last game due to illness and suspension respectively.

Columbus Crew was coming on the back of two wins, having defeated Toronto FC 2-0 with a brace from  captain Federico Higuain. Crew also have a historically good record against RSL – 10-4-1 in the regular season prior to the match.

The first chance came to the Claret and Cobalt, as an RSL break-away found Chris Wingert  in space. The left-back cut back for forward Olmes Garcia, whose shot was crucially cleared by the Crew defense, with their goalkeeper Matt Lampson off-position.

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This set the pace for the first quarter, with RSL looking to win the ball high up the pitch and releasing the forwards quickly.  Crew, on the other hand, countered from deep within their own half and tested the RSL full-backs down the channels.  As the half wore on, the home team saw much lengthier spells on possession without much to show for in the scoresheet. Between 32nd to 35th minute, the home team notched up two free-kicks and three back-to-back corners. The closest they came to scoring from these set-pieces was a glancing header from Garcia from a Morales FK, which went wide after a Crew touch.

 

The only Crew chance of the half came in the 37th minute after Ned Gravaboy gave the ball away in midfield and Dominic Odura found Federico Higuain in the box. The forward’s shot from a very tight angle tested keeper Rimando but the rebound was cleared away by RSL defense.

The home team finally broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time as a Javier Morales free-kick got a fortuitous touch from Kyle Beckerman in the box.  The deflection defeated a wrong-footed Matt Lampson.

RSL maintained the tempo and extended their lead in the 51st minute after winning the ball in midfield and releasing Garcia in the right-hand side. The forward’s low-cross found his strike partner Devon Sandoval, who made no mistake from close range.

The floodgates soon opened following the goal, as Devon Sandoval and Kyle Beckerman found themselves on promising positions on two separate occasions. Sandoval’s header went over the bar, whereas the captain’s chipped cross fell tamely to keeper Lampson. The Crew, on the other hand, gave the ball away cheaply on numerous occasions, as their build-up play lacked any conviction or momentum.

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The hosts soon piled on the misery for the visitors in the 83rd minute with a brilliantly crafted goal from Luis Gil. Midfielder Ned Gravaboy managed to thread a ball through a narrow and crowded attacking third and Gil made space for himself to neatly finish past Lampson.

The final blow came in the 89th minute when a Velasquez cross from the left wing dropped nicely for skipper Kyle Beckerman. The midfielder netted in the team’s fourth with a well-timed strike, capping off a very convincing performance from Kreis’ men.

The disastrous night for the team in black and gold continued as Columbus Crew skipper Higuain was sent off following his second yellow just before the final whistle.

Real Salt Lake notches up 45 points with the win, as they lead the Western Conference and the overall standings heading into an important hme tie against Portland Timbers. Columbus Crew languishes with 29 points as they host at Columbus Crew stadium on August 31.

RSL XI: Rimando, Beltran, Salcedo, Borchers, Wingert; Beckerman, Grabavoy (Grossman 87’), Gil, Morales; Sandoval (Velasquez 81’), Garcia (Findley 62’).

Crew XI: Lampson; Barson, Marshall, Williams, Viana; Oduro, O’Rourke (Tchani 62’), Trapp, Speas (Finley 73’); Higuaín, Arrieta (Warzycha 62’)

 

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Chivas USA Stunned by Shorthanded FC Dallas

Posted on 22 August 2013 by iyeo

Everything was looking up for Chivas USA on Wednesday night.

Facing an FC Dallas side that had not won in its last 11 matches, the Goats jumped out to the lead in the first half and even after allowing Dallas to tie the game, still found themselves in position to get three points when it went a man up late in the second half.

“We felt the victory was very close,” Chivas USA head coach Jose Luis Real said. “It was the opposite of what we’ve been dealing with in games, with one more player instead of being down a man. But we were too confident, as if we had already won the match.”

Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened to a team that is supposed to be a man up. Chivas got caught on two counterattacks inside the last 10 minutes of the match and paid for it both times, as FC Dallas scored two goals on those counters to cap off a second-half outburst that put an end to its winless streak via a 3-1 win over Chivas USA at the Stubhub Center.

“It’s tough. It feels a little bit like the rug got pulled back from under us,” Chivas USA Center Back Carlos Bocanegra said. “It’s a tough one to take on the chin, especially at home.”

Trailing by a goal well into the second half. FC Dallas got the equalizer in the 71st minute. David Ferreira sent a long ball down the left side of the field, Fabian Castillo ran down the ball just outside the penalty area and played a ball back towards a charging Blast Perez. The striker then shot a ball that deflected off Chivas defender Carlos Borja, keeper Dan Kennedy initially had the ball covered, but the ball instead went off his right hand and trickled across the goal line.
FC Dallas though went from high to low when Jackson, who was already sitting on a yellow card in the match, saw his night come to an early end in the 81st minute as he left his feet and collided with Chivas Center Back Carlos Bocanegra as the two were going for a 50-50 ball, resulting in Jackson’s second yellow card.

“When we went a man up, I thought we were going to put ourselves in a very good position to win that game,” Kennedy said. “Maybe we looked a little too quickly to send men forward and get on the attack, and they broke us down on a couple of quick counters.”

FC Dallas took the lead in the 86th minute when defender Jair Benitez played a ball forward for Ramon Nunez, who then sprinted forward and played a ball into the box for an overlapping David Ferreira. Kennedy left his line and Ferreira chipped a ball past the Chivas keeper that just snuck across the goal line at the far post, just before Chivas Center Back Bobby Burling could clear it out. Dallas sealed the three points in stoppage time, as Perez lobbed a ball for an unmarked Nunez on the left side, Nunez took on Chivas’ Mario de Luna, then fired a ball that beat Kennedy to the upper right corner.

Chivas USA staked themselves to the lead just a minute before halftime in the 43rd minute, as Marky Delgado floated a ball into the penalty area, Bryan de la Fuente made a well time run to the ball and the midfielder, just a day after his signing with the team was made official, blasted a shot that beat keeper Raul Fernandez far post.

“We made eye contact, I made the move, he (Delgado) chipped the ball, I received it and I shot it in,” de la Puente said of his goal.”

Chivas USA will try to get over the loss quickly, as they host the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon. FC Dallas meanwhile will look to build on its win, as they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening.

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Keane carries Galaxy past Cartagines

Posted on 21 August 2013 by iyeo

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s opening match of the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League tournament against Costa Rican side Cartagines turned to be a difficult start for the Galaxy.

LA did create numerous scoring chances throughout the match, but had to wait until the 66th minute to finally break through. Striker Robbie Keane was once again the catalyst for LA, as his two goals were more than enough for the Galaxy to begin group play with a 2-0 win over Cartagines.

“They (Cartagines) defended well, they defended with numbers for 90 minutes,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “The second goal is going to be big in this competition, so I’m real pleased with our team, they played a complete game for 90 minutes tonight.”

After numerous scoring chances went begging, LA finally broke through in the 66th minute, as Landon Donovan sprung Keane with a through ball into the penalty area. Keane then shot a ball that was initially saved by keeper Wardy Alfaro, but not enough to prevent the ball from continuing forward and eventually crossing the goal line. Keane sealed the win in stoppage time, as Donovan again sent him forward and Keane fire a shot past Alfaro for his second of the game.

“We’re in tune with each other,” Keane said of his partnership with Donovan. “We know each other’s runs and where we’re going to be.”

The Galaxy were aggressive for most of the match, though that first goal turned out to be elusive. Keane had LA’s best chance in the first half, as Michael Stephens played a ball into the Cartagines box towards Keane. Keane chested the ball down, took a quick touched and blasted a ball only to see the ball fly over the framework. The Galaxy almost broke through in the 61st minute, as Center Back Omar Gonzalez headed a corner kick towards an open goal, but was cleared at the line by defender Esteban Sirias.

“The Galaxy had a lot of ball possession and opportunity,” Cartagines head coach Javier Delgado said. “We didn’t have enough on the field today. We started to have control in the midfield and defense, but one mistake cost us.”

Not many changes were made to the Galaxy lineup despite playing just two days after defeating Real Salt Lake back on Saturday. Midfielder Robbie Rogers made his return to the starting lineup after not featuring in the 18 the last two matches, though his evening was cut short with what Arena described as a “hamstring strain.” Center Back Kofi Opare was given the start alongside Omar Gonzalez and performed fairly well.

“He had a very good game,” Arena said of Opare’s performance. “Not an easy game for a young player. He did an excellent job and he’s looked real good for us in training and reserve games. He’s a player we think has a lot of potential.”

The Galaxy next jump back into MLS play, as they travel to the northwest to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

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Keane’s Hat Trick Carries Galaxy past RSL

Posted on 18 August 2013 by iyeo

There’s always something a little extra special whenever the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake get together.

The two teams have been the standard bearers in the Western Conference for the last five years and have faced each other twice in the playoffs, the first time for the MLS Cup in 2009 and the second time in a classic Western Conference two years ago.

“RSL has built themselves into a great franchise,” Galaxy Center Back Omar Gonzalez said. “They’re always ready to play each week, they have some great leaders on that team, (head coach) Jason Kreis is always getting them ready to play.”

Saturday night at the StubHub Center was no exception, as the Galaxy answered RSL’s opening strike with four unanswered goals, three of them from striker Robbie Keane, and LA rode it all the way to a 4-2 win over conference-leading Real Salt Lake.

“It was a good win for our team tonight,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “Keane and (Landon) Donovan were very good and overall, it was a good effort by our team.”

The three-points were much needed for Los Angeles in what it becoming another tight race in the Western Conference. Real Salt Lake are the current leaders with 41 points, but after that, only one point separates the remaining four teams sitting in playoff spots. The Galaxy moved up one spot into fourth place and currently have 37 points.

“After their goal, we were pretty sharp in the final third and 4-2 is a great score line, especially against the West leaders,” Gonzalez said.

After a scoreless first half, the goals came fast and furious in the second half. Real Salt Lake opened the scoring in the 53rd minute, as Center Back Nat Borchers sent a ball forward and a quick touch by midfielder Ned Grabavoy freed striker Joao Plata to spring into the 18-yard box and Plata slotted his shot past keeper Jaime Penedo into the back net to put RSL in the lead.

The lead however did not last long, as LA answered the call in a huge way. The Galaxy got the equalizer three minutes after Plata’s goal. Juninho sent a ball towards Keane, who fought off RSL Center Back Carlos Salcedo, then juked him out at the top of the box and fired a shot on goal that beat Rimando far post to even the match. Keane then put LA ahead in the 67th minute, as Juninho sent another long ball forward, Sean Franklin, who had entered as a substitute two minutes earlier, chased the ball down, then whipped a short cross into the six-yard box and Keane tapped a ball past Rimando near post for the go-ahead goal.

“I think it’s going to be difficult going forward for teams to play against us,” Landon Donovan said. “They clearly put some emphasis on trying to shut me down tonight, and if you do that, you’re going to get punished by Robbie.”

LA wasn’t done yet. The Galaxy won a corner in the 75th minute, Donovan sent the corner in and Gonzalez, just days removed from signing a lucrative contract extension which made him the Galaxy’s third Designated Player, headed the ball past Rimando to the back post to double the LA lead. Keane then made it a hat trick for him in the 87th minute, as he chased down Franklin’s long ball, Rimando came off his line and Keane chipped a ball over Rimando into the back net. Real Salt Lake though was the one that capped off the scoring in stoppage time, as Robbie Findley scored of a set piece just moments before the final whistle.

“They were extremely dangerous,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis said of the Galaxy’s attack. “Good team on the counter, they’re extremely effective in what they do, and if they’re on their game, sometimes, you’re just going to have to say they’re the better team.”

Saturday’s game also marked the first start in goal for the Galaxy’s Penedo. Penedo, who was signed about a week back but did not appear in LA’s last two matches, acquitted himself pretty solidly, stopping a point-blank chance by Alvaro Saborio early in the second half to break the ice as far as save chances.

“Thank god that everything came out great,” Penedo said. “I just prepare the same way I always prepare physically and mentally, it was a big challenge for me, so I wanted to do good.”

The Galaxy now jump into CONCACAF Champions League play, as they host Costa Rican club on Tuesday night while Real Salt Lake will look to bounce back on Saturday, as they host the Columbus Crew.

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Galaxy make Omar Gonzalez Third Designated Player

Posted on 16 August 2013 by iyeo

The Los Angeles Galaxy took another big step not only for its franchise, but also for Major League Soccer when it announced it had signed Center Back Omar Gonzalez to a multi-year extension that will keep Gonzalez in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

The 6-5 Gonzalez’s salary makes him the Galaxy’s third designated player behind Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, occupying the third DP slot that was vacated by David Beckham when he left the Galaxy after last season. Gonzalez is also the second defensive player to receive a DP contract since Rafa Marquez signed with the New York Red Bulls back in 2010.

“To be the first Galaxy and U.S. defender to be named as a Designated Player is a great honor for me,” Gonzalez said in a press release. “The Galaxy are the premier club in MLS and I’m looking forward to growing as a professional in LA while working towards winning a third consecutive MLS Cup.”

Gonzalez was drafted third overall out of the University of Maryland by the Galaxy in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and immediately asserted himself as a presence on the Galaxy backline. Gonzalez started every game and won MLS rookie of the year that season. His presence on defense along with that of college teammate A.J. DeLaGarza was key for Los Angeles that season, as the Galaxy went from a team that had surrendered in inane amount of goals the previous season to a stingy defensive unit that made it all the way to the MLS Cup final that season.

Gonzalez continued his stellar defensive play the next two seasons and in 2011, won MLS Defensive Player of the Year honors as the Galaxy won the MLS Cup that year. Gonzalez’s 2011 season earned him a trial with German Bundesliga club FC Nuremburg, but Gonzalez injured a knee ligament during a collision with Timothy Chanlder, an injury that forced him to miss the first half of the 2012 season. Gonzalez’s absence was certainly felt during the early part of last season, as the Galaxy stumbled off to a 3-8-2 start. Gonzalez returned to the LA lineup in July and slowly but surely, the Galaxy got back on track, becoming one of the hottest teams in the second half of the season. LA then held off the Vancouver Whitecaps in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs before upsetting the Supporters Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes in the semifinals. LA then beat Seattle in the Conference finals to reach the MLS Cup final, where Gonzalez turned the game into his personal showcase, as he scored the tying goal in the match and asserted his presence on defense as the Galaxy won its second straight MLS Cup. His performance that day made him the first defensive player to win Man of the Match.

“We are pleased to that Omar will remain with the Galaxy,” LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena stated. “In the past five years, he has arguably developed in to the top defender in MLS. I believe he can continue to grow as a player and leader of our team.”

Gonzalez has also began to feature regularly on the U.S. National team. Gonzalez made his first appearance for the U.S. came in a friendly against Brazil back in August of 2010 and since then, he has started to become a regular on the U.S. backline.

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Rapids rally for Draw against Shorthanded Chivas

Posted on 12 August 2013 by iyeo

It wasn’t your typical Sunday evening at the Stubhub Center, that was for sure.

Sunday night’s match between Chivas USA and the Colorado Rapids had plenty of fireworks, with three red cards being handed out and a missed penalty to boot. Yet even though the Rapids were given the man advantage twice in the match, they still had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Goats on Sunday night.

“The boys are not happy with a point anymore, which is good,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “I thought we came back from a game that was weird. With what happened in the game, [and] I’ve been in those games before, you don’t have answers. But I thought the players had answers in the second half especially, and I’m very proud of them.”

Chivas got on the board just five minutes in. Striker Erick Torres took advantage of a poor clearance attempt by Rapids defender German Mera. Mera saw his clearance deflect off another Chivas player before it went to the feet of Torres. Torres then crossed a ball towards Alvarez, who came in at the top of the Colorado penalty area. Alvarez fired a volley just outside the box and it beat keeper Clint Irwin to the far post.

Colorado immediately looked for the equalizer, and seemingly had it in the 26th minute when Chivas’ Steven Purdy handled Dillon Powers’ corner kick in the penalty area, resulting in referee Chris Penso whistling for the penalty spot and a yellow card for Purdy. Rapids striker Deshorn Brown stepped into the penalty area, but unlike last time, when Brown beat Kennedy from the penalty spot in the Rapids’ last visit to LA back in April, Kennedy got the better of the matchup this time. Brown tried to beat Kennedy to his right, but Kennedy parried the shot back into play.

“I’ve got to give a little bit of credit to Alvarez on that one,” Kennedy said of the penalty. “He came up to me and said he’s going to my right, and I know he went that way the first time we played them here. It was a little bit of cat-and-mouse and mind games and I just made sure I was set and got a good jump on it.”

Then the red cards started coming out, the first coming in the 35th minute, when Chivas’ Gabriel Farfan was sent off when his challenge got the lower leg of Colorado’s Shane O’Neill. Colorado however gave back the man advantage in the 49th minute when Tony Cascio went studs up while trying to beat Marky Delgado to a 50-50 ball. Cascio appeared to make contact with Delgado on the play and Cascio, already having received a yellow card back in the first half, received his second yellow and thus the ensuing red-card ejection and the early end to his night.

Chivas however gave the man advantage back to Colorado, albeit it under dubious circumstances, in the 63rd minute. Tristan Bowen was trying to shield Chris Klute from the ball in front of the Chivas bench. The ball went over the touchline and Bowen apparently spit his gum into Klute soon after, although it is very up much for debate as to whether Bowen deliberately spit his gum at Klute or whether it was accidental. Penso consulted with sideline official Daniel Belleau over the incident and Penso gave a straight red to Bowen.

“It was a bit of misfortune,” Kennedy said of the situation. “The referee said Tristan spit on [Klute] and Tristan said he was yelling and his gum flew out of his mouth and it hit the player. It’s just unbelievable. I’ll have to see it on tape, but of course I take Tristan’s word for it.”

Through all the madness, Colorado finally pushed a goal across in the 80th minute, as Klute crossed a ball into the penalty area and Martin Rivero, who had entered as a substitute back in the 62nd minute, headed the ball past Kennedy far post for the equalizer.

“It was one of those games,” Pareja said. “Sometimes the game is tough when you play with one man up, and the other team is just sitting and waiting. It’s not easy, but what we can say is Chivas didn’t have any options when they were one man down and we controlled them all the time.”

Indeed it was one of those games, though for Chivas USA, it is developing a bad habit of collecting red cards at inopportune moments. Sunday’s sending off of Farfan and Bowen marked the fourth time in Chivas’ last five matches that a player has been sent off, something that head coach Jose Luis Real says he will look into.

“That’s the most important problem we need to solve,” Real said. “We’ve got to analyze and talk with the team. It can’t happen when we have an opportunity to win matches.”

Both teams will be back in action on August 17. Chivas USA heads on the road to face FC Dallas while Colorado hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps.

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