Archive | April, 2013

Honors Even for Chivas USA and San Jose Earthquakes

Posted on 28 April 2013 by iyeo

It wasn’t officially the California Clasico (Galaxy vs. Earthquakes) or the Honda Superclasico (Galaxy vs. Chivas USA) for that matter.

Yet the drama displayed by Chivas and the Quakes at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night was just as intense and entertaining. Chivas answered Chris Wondolowski’s late first half strike with goals from Marco De Luna and Tristan Bowen early in the second half, only to see San Jose’s Cordell Cato snatch the win away from their grasp late in the second half and the two teams settled for a 2-2 draw on Saturday night.

“A little disappointed, but at the same time, we’re happy with the draw,” Chivas midfielder Jorge Vllafana, who had a hand in both goals, though he was credited with an official assist on just the second goal. “Nothing’s easy, three points would’ve been better, but we’ll take the point and just keep working.”

The Earthquakes opened the match scoring in the 40th minute. Striker Steven Lenhart won a free kick deep on the left side of Chivas USA’s side of the field. Midfielder Shea Salinas delivered the set piece into the Chivas penalty area and Wondolowski leaped to head the ball past keeper Dan Kennedy into the back net.

Chivas USA came out firing to start the second half, tying the match two minutes in as Villafana’s cross into the San Jose penalty area was shot at goal by De Luna, keeper Jon Busch denied the defender’s shot but the ball went back to De Luna and he fired the rebound chance past Busch into the back post area for the equalizer.

The Goats weren’t done yet, as they pulled ahead in the 51st minute. Villafana sent in another cross from the left into the penalty area and stayed there until Bowen charged in and volleyed a chance past Busch into the back net to give Chivas the lead.

“We pushed it,” Bowen said of Chivas’ start to the second half. “The guys responded to what Chelis asked for and we were lucky to get the first goal and from there, the second goal just came.”

Chivas USA maintained the lead into the 76th minute, but the Earthquakes eventually came back with an equalizer of their own, as Salinas crossed a ball from the left into the Chivas penalty area and Cato came in and one-timed a ball past Kennedy far post to level the match one last time.

“I thought we could’ve had five to six goals tonight,” Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. We had some really good looks and some really good chances. It was a frustrating night for us.”

Chivas will be on the road the next two weeks, starting next Sunday afternoon against Sporting Kansas City. San Jose will return home next Saturday night for host the Montreal Impact.

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Galaxy put in a complete performance against Sporting Kansas City

Posted on 21 April 2013 by iyeo

Facing one of the top teams in Major League Soccer in Sporting Kansas City, the Los Angeles Galaxy knew they needed to be on top of their game to get a favorable result.

The Galaxy did just that on Saturday night, and their top performer was a familiar face, as Landon Donovan set up LA’s first goal in the first half, then found the back net himself in the second half as the Galaxy brought red-hot Kansas City back down to Earth woth a 2-0 win at the Home Depot Center.

“A more complete match for us,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “We were pretty solid for 90 minutes, obviously not perfect, we haven’t closed games the right way this year, haven’t played well the last 15 minutes of games and tonight, we changed that.”

The LA win maintais an early-season tie with Real Salt Lake for second place in the Western Conference after the latter had defeated Chivas USA 1-0 in a hotly contested affair at Rio Tinto Stadium. Sporting Kansas City meanwhile saw its six-match unbeaten streak come to and end and also its shutout streak, which had lasted 545 minutes, the fifth longest shutout streak in league history.

“They were good tonight,” Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes said of the Galaxy’s effort. “They were good from front to back and I thought their energy was good.”

The Galaxy relied on the counteratack for most of the night and its first goal came on a counter, as Donovan forced a Sporting giveaway and broke for the Sporting penalty area. Sarvas sent a ball to the left side for a sprinting Donovan, who then raced into the penalty area, withstood defender Aurélien Collin’s attempt to defend him and played a ball into the six-yard box and Sarvas swooped in and tapped in the point-blank shot attempt. The Galaxy though were fortunate to avoid a handball call against them prior to the goal that was apparently missed by referee Jair Marrufo when Oriol Rosell tried to win a loose ball, Rosell’s sliding tackle saw the ball go off Sarvas’ hand, but play continued, much to the dismay of Sporting Kansas City.

“He (Sarvas) should’ve just palmed it,” Joked Vermes regarding the missed handball call. “He should’ve gotten an immediate foul  for palming.”

The Galaxy made it a two-goal lead in the 74th minute and it also came via the counter. After clearing out a dangerous ball in their own penalty area, Sarvas fed a ball towards striker Robbie Keane, and the striker made a crafty spin move that forced his marker, midfielder Paulo Nagamura, to slip, thus freeing himself to chase down Sarvas’ ball. Keane’s long sprint into the SKC penalty area drew out keeper Jimmy Nielsen, Donovan had joined Keane on the counter and Keane chose to play the ball to Donovan, and with Nielsen scrambling to get back to his position, Donovan finished the open net chance.,

“I was debating whether to actually make the run,” Donovan said. “I just decided to go, I don’t know if Robbie saw me, I didn’t think he saw me to be honest, and the pass he made was more difficult than people think. The pace was perfect and he made it real easy for me.”

Despite being outplayed for a good portion of the match, which could be attributed to fatigue as a result of having to play the Red Bulls 3,000 miles away in New York back on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City did have some good looks in the first half, the first coming when CJ Sapong, with help from a teammate, pressured Donovan into a giveaway, took the ball and broke for goal, but shot was saved by keeper Carlo Cudicini. SKC’s best chance however came in the 20th minute off a set piece. Graham Zusi touched a ball to Nagamura, who then touched it back to Zusi. The midfielder then launched a dangerous volley towards the upper part of the goal, but the ball instead bounced off the crossbar.

“We turned them over quite a few times before their goal,” Vermes said. “All of a sudden, we start chasing, then it sits in your mind, you start to get fatigued and we get opened up.”

The Galaxy will next get their shot at Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto next Saturday evening while Sporting Kansas City will return home to face the Portland Timbers, also on Saturday evening.

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Chivas USA unlucky against Colorado Rapids

Posted on 14 April 2013 by iyeo

Riding an undefeated streak for the first time in a long time, Chivas USA looked for more good times against a Colorado Rapids squad that was 1-3-2 heading into Saturday night’s match.

Unfortunately for Chivas, the bad luck that had plauged the squad the previous three seasons came back to rear its ugly head on Saturday night. Whether it was squandering chances in the penalty box, or conceding a penalty, then missing a penalty themselves later in the match, Chivas’ good fortune turned out to be just brief, at least for the moment. Deshorn Brown’s penalty in the seventh minute was all the Rapids need to take home the three points as the Rapids ended the Goats’ unbeaten streak at four matches with a 1-0 win over Chivas at the Home Depot Center.

“I lick my wounds; we were crap,” Chivas USA head coach Jose Luis “El Chelis” Sanchez Sola said.“This is not about having opportunities or being worthy or merited. That’s how it is. Today wasn’t for us.”

Colorado drew the first chance of the match beginning in the 6th minute when Dillon Powers played a ball forward to an unmarked Brown, who collected the ball and made his way into the penalty area. Chivas midfielder Eric Avila came from behind to challenge Brown, but ended up taking Brown’s legs out from under him and referee Kevin Stott immediately whistled for the penalty spot. Brown converted the penalty in the 7th minute, as he went left while keeper Dan Kennedy went to his right.

“Deshorn did a good job drawing the PK,” Rapids striker Edson Buddle said of Brown’s effort. “As a young player and a rookie, he stepped up and and felt like he could conver the PK.”

Chivas immediately pushed for the equalizer, and thought it should have gone to the penally spot themselves int he 33rd minute when Jorge Villafana tried to fight off Atiba Harris’ challenge in the Rapids’ penalty area. Villafana looked to have been taken down by Harris and Stott did blow his whistle, but instead of a foul on Harris and a trip to the penalty spot, Stott called Villafana for diving and gave him a yellow card for it.

Stott did send Chivas to the penalty spot around the 35th minute when Shane O’Neill wrestled down Jose Correa in the six-yard box as the two tried to get to a ball sent in by Laurent Courtois. Correa stepped up to the penalty spot, but the striker instead sent his penalty off the crossbar and a long rebound attempt by Carlos Alvarez outside the box was parried away by keeper Clint Irwin.

“We were unfortunate,” said Alvarez. “The effort wasn’t there, so I’m sure that’s what coach is referring to. He’s a talented coach, so he knows what he’s saying.”

Chivas had another shot just before halftime, as Eric Avila crossed a ball into the six, Villafana’s header went in the air, but stayed in the six, Tristan Bowen tried to head the ball himself towards goal to no avail, though he did get to the ball befoer it crossed the endline. Bowen laid a ball back to a charging Courtois, but the midfielder instead sent his volley over the framework.

“We weren’t very decisive, we weren’t very convincing compared to our last games,” Chelis said.  “Sometimes we hit the jackpot, today we didn’t. We know the road ahead of us is a tough road, but it’s the only road we have.”

Chivas will try to boucne back next next Saturday, though it won’t be easy, as they travel to Utah to face Real Salt Lake. Colorado meanwhile returns home to face the Seattle Sounders, also on Saturday April 20.


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Galaxy let Lead slip away late vs. Monterrey

Posted on 04 April 2013 by iyeo

It was all in hand for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night,

Hosting Mexico’s C.F. Monterrey in the first leg of its semifinal matchup of the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament, LA got a first half strike from AJ DeLaGarza and took the lead well into the second half. A one-goal lead going into next week’s second leg in Monterrey seemed to be well in hand for the Galaxy.

Monterrey however displayed the fortitude that had enabled them to win this tournament the last two years inside the final 10 minutes, as goals from Humberto Suazo and Aldo De Nigris propelled them to a comeback 2-1 win at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday night and thus makes LA’s situation a whole lot tougher going into the second leg.

“We actually played a very good game tonight,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “A little more experience and a little more quality and we win this game by a couple of goals. Credit to Monterrey for their quality and playing the full 90 minutes.

LA grabbed the lead in the 28th minute when striker Jose Villarreal sprinted into the 18-yard box, then played a ball to fellow striker Robbie Keane. Keane then floated a ball into the six-yard box towards midfielder Mike Magee, whose header then went to AJ DeLaGarza and the Right Back flicked a ball off his back-heel past keeper Juan de Dios Ibarra into the back net.

LA took the lead deep into the second half, but just when it looked like Los Angeles would take an all-important one-goal lead into Monterrey next week, the visitors erupted. Monterrey pushed across the equalizer in the 82nd minute, as De Nigris headed a ball towards goal, it was denied by keeper Carlo Cudicini, but the ball went to the feet of Suzao, who immediately shot for goat. Suazo shanked a first attempt, but the ball stayed at his feet and the striker did not miss a second time, sending the ball past Cudicini to even the score.

“We were tired and they (Monterrey) were pushing numbers forward,” DeLaGarza said. “They were getting after it, they knew they had to get a goal back, and all that wore us out.”

Monterrey wasn’t done yet, and pushed ahead just as stoppage time loomed, as Luis Guillermo Madrigal sent a ball into the penalty area, De Nigris brought the ball down, then sent a shot past Cudicini into the back net for the go-ahead goal.

“You just have to be able to find the right time to turn it around on the field,” Monterrey head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich said of Monterrey’s comeback. “It’s not like you concentrate all your efforts on one part of the actual match, you have to play the full 90 minutes to win the match.”

The Galaxy played well in the first half, getting its first chance in the 18th minute, as Magee bended a ball towards goal, but was parried away by Ibarra. LA had chances to add to its lead, the first coming in the second half as Keane laid a ball just outside the six for midfielder Sean Franklin, but could not convert the point-blank chance. LA had another chance to make it a two-goal game in the 67th minute when Magee took a Michael Stephens thrown-in, sprinted for the penalty area and laid a ball for an unmarked Keane, but Ibarra just managed to parry away Keane’s shot.

The momentum though began to swing towards Monterrey, starting in the 61st minute when midfielder Juninho had to leave the match after a hard collision resulted in an injured ankle, not that Monterrey wasn’t already pressing before then. Monterrey was almost gifted a goal in the 52nd minute, as Suazo pounced on a giveaway and broke for goal. Suazo fired away, but was turned back by Cudicini. De Nigris also had a chance at goal, his coming in the 75th minute, but his header just missed the back post.

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