Archive | September, 2013

Wondolowski rescues short-handed Quakes against Chivas USA

Posted on 30 September 2013 by iyeo

It was looking dire for the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.

Having been played to a standstill against Chivas USA for 80 minutes, things got worse in the 81st minute when striker Steven Lenhart picked up his second yellow card of the match, ending his night abruptly and forcing the Quakes to go with 10 men the rest of the match.

However, San Jose got one chance, and they made the most of it, as Chris Wondowlski’s goal with just minutes to go in the match enabled the Quakes to leave the StubHub Center with a 1-0 win over the Goats.

“We had the mindset going into the game that we needed to win,” Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson said. “We had to be smart about it, and once we went down a player, we had to be a little more calculated.”

The three points earned in the match was huge for the Quakes (12-11-8, 44 points), who are now just one point back of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids for a playoff spot, a place unimagined by many back in the summer when San Jose management replaced then head coach Frank Yallop with Watson after a slow start.

“It was an all-out mentality for our guys,” Watson said. “They kept fighting and even down a player where you think the game is lost, they just kept pushing and trying to get the ball forward as much as possible.”

San Jose had found itself in a bad position starting in the 81st minute when Lenhart, while attempting to beat Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy to an open ball, ended up colliding with Kennedy and in the process, elbowed him in the chest. The end result was Lenhart, already riding a yellow card for an elbow to Steve Purdy back in the 39th minute, picking up his second yellow card, forcing the Quakes to play a man down the rest of the match.

However, it was the Quakes that got the big break. Alan Gordon shot a long-range volley that took a bounce before it was stopped by Kennedy. The bounce it took however forced Kennedy to spill it back into play and Wondolowski was in the right place at the right time, as he came in and shot a ball into an open net for a lead that the Quakes made stood up the rest of the match.

“It just deflected,” Kennedy said of the play. “It’s one of those where when it deflects, you first reaction is to deal with the first ball and if it deflects, you have to adjust.”

After an uneventful first half, both teams started to string together some chances in the second half. San Jose had actually get the ball into the back net in the 47th minute when Steven Lenhart headed a Shea Salinas corner past keeper Dan Kennedy, but the goal was waived off, as midfielder Cordell Cato was whistled for holding defender Carlos Borja. San Jose had another chance in the 50th minute, as Cato dribbled his way towards the Chivas box and fired a shot on goal, but it missed the far post.

Chivas then got its chances, the first chance coming when it earned a corner kick in the 53rd minute. Alvarez sent the corner into the box and striker Erick “Cubo” Torres headed a ball that took a deflection towards goal, but was scooped up by keeper Jon Busch. The Goats got another chance three minutes later when striker Matthew Fondy led a Chivas break from the right side. Fondy juked out a Quakes defender, then crossed a ball to Bryan De La Fuente, but the midfielder’s shot missed the back post.

“We’re still assimilating this loss,” Chivas USA head coach Jose Luis Real said. “We played a match like we planned against a strong team. We were orderly and wanted to pick the right moments to counter attack. That was our game plan, but unfortunately at the end of the game we made mistakes.”

Soon, it was San Jose’s turn again to create the chances. Salinas brought down a ball inside the 18—yard box in the 64th minute, then played it to Cato, but his shot was parried by Kennedy. The keeper came up big again just a minute later when a Chivas turnover enabled Chris Wondolowski to have a chance from just outside the box, but his shot was denied by Kennedy.

“It’s where we’re at; we’re trying to play the spoiler,” Kennedy said. “We knew this was a big game for [San Jose]. Unfortunately, I’m still trying to figure out how we let it get away from us.”

Chivas USA will look once again to play spoiler again next Sunday against the Los Angeles Galaxy while the Quakes will have a lengthy break before hosting Colorado on October 9.

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Galaxy, Sounders battle to Draw

Posted on 22 September 2013 by iyeo

A whole lot was riding on Saturday night’s matchup between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders at the StubHub Center.

The Galaxy, sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference and five points back of the league-leading Sounders heading into the match, needed the three points to keep pace in the Supporters Shield race while Seattle looked to put some distance between them and the Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, who were upset at home by the San Jose Earthquakes earlier in the evening.

Well, after 90 minutes were up on Saturday night, not much had changed standings wide, though both teams did earn themselves a little bit of a cushion in the playoff chase. Seattle’s Eddie Johnson opened the scoring, but Juninho equalized right before the half and the goals eventually stood up in the 1-1 draw.

“Our mentality was good,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said of his team’s effort. “I thought our mentality and our defending and our attitude was good.”

The Sounders (15-8-5, 50 points) gained in that the result combined with RSL’s loss to San Jose got them a two-point lead over RSL for first in the Western Conference. LA (13-10-6, 45 points) gained on several fronts in that they still have a shot at the Supporters Shield, they pull into a fourth-place tie with e Portland Timbers and are four points clear of San Jose and FC Dallas for the last playoff spots.

“It was a fair game,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “A hard fought game between two good teams.”

The Sounders jumped ahead in the 25th minute off a corner. Midfielder Mauro Rosales sent in the corner and Johnson used a pick from Center Back Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to get free of Galaxy Center Back Omar Gonzalez and Johnson’s header beat Keeper Jaime Penedo for the game’s first goal.

“I Just got picked, and Eddie ran to the near post free,” Gonzalez said.

The Galaxy eventually got a response right before halftime. Jose Villarreal won a free kick with just seconds to go before the halftime whistle, as he was taken down from behind by defender Zach Scott just outside the penalty area. Midfielder Juninho, who had not scored a goal all season, stepped in and curled the set piece over the Sounders wall and past keeper Michael Gspurning for the equalizer.

The Galaxy had the two best chances at goal in the second half. The first chance actually resulted in the ball going into the back net, but was waived off due to a rather dubious foul call. Juninho sent a free kick into the 18-yard box, Center Back Omar Gonzalez headed the ball into the six and Midfielder Gyasi Zardes tapped a ball into the back net. However the goal was called back, as a foul was called on Left Back Todd Dunivant, apparently the same type of pick that enabled Johnson to score his goal back in the first half.

“If that was a foul, then maybe Eddie doesn’t get his goal in the first half,” Arena said.

Another chance for LA came in the 77th minute. Midfielder Laurent Courtois played a ball forward for Sean Franklin and the Right Back made the overlapping run into the Sounders penalty area, then played a ball back to midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, who trailed the play. Sarvas floated a ball for the crossbar area, but it sailed over the framework. Seattle had a good scoring chance seven minutes later, as Johnson played a ball forward to midfielder Brad Evans, Evans cut in between Galaxy defenders Leonardo and Dunivant on his way into the penalty area and crossed a ball to Lamar Neagle, but his header just missed the back post.

“On the night, we had some good looks at goal, (but) we didn’t force their keeper to make a whole lot of saves,” Arena said. “The final product on the nit for us was poor.”

The Galaxy have another busy week ahead of them. First a trip to Costa Rica for a CONCACAF Champions League match against Cartagines, where a draw ensures them advancement into the next round. Then comes another big match against a Cascadia team, as they head to Portland for a Sunday afternoon showdown with the Timbers. Seattle also has a big match on September 29, as they prepare to host the Eastern Conference co-leading New York Red Bulls in the evening.

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RSL stunned by Quakes at home

Posted on 22 September 2013 by Aowabin Rahman

San Jose Earthquakes (11-11-8) shocked Real Salt Lake (14-10-6) with a 2-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. All three goals came in a frantic three-minute period in the first half with Steven Lenhart scoring a brace and Javier Morales on the score-sheet for the home side.

The night started promisingly for RSL as they looked to get back on track after a disappointing loss against Sounders last week.  Kyle Beckerman and Joao plata both tried from long range early on following good home possession that RSL enjoy.

However, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute after the Quakes’ midfield moved the ball quickly in a wide position to winger Cordell Cato. The winger’s cross was met by Steven Lenhart’s header in the box after his well-timed run escaped defender Nat Borchers.

RSL responded within a minute, after a Joao Plata corner found an unmarked Morales in the box. The Argentine had plenty of time to calmly slot the ball in the back of the net.

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San Jose only took a minute to expose RSL’s own defensive fragility from set-piece, after a  Shea Salinas free-kick was  headed in again by Steven Lenhart. The forward found sufficient space within the RSL defense and  coach Jason Kreis would be disappointed that the Quakes’ target-man was so frequently left unchallenged aerially.

RSL’s woes could have been compounded in the 41st minute when San Jose skipper Chris Wondolowski tried to poach from a long throw. Luckily for the home team, his effort went over.

Wondolowski had another opportunity at the other side of the half, after a deep cross from full-back Jordan Steward found the Quakes’ forward in the box. The header was tipped over by keeper Nick Rimando.

RSL enjoyed about 70% possession in the game, but were a bit disjointed in the final third. The best chances in the second half came to Ned Gravaboy, whose 72nd minute shot on goal was blocked by the San Jose defense and to substitute Robbie Findley, whose left footer following a perfectly weighted Morales pass could only find the side-netting.

The Earthquakes had several threatening counter-attacks in the second half and could have been ahead in the 68th minute through midfielder Baca. His effort, however, was weak and never troubled Rimando.

Nonetheless, San Jose coach Mark Watson would be happy with a win, watching his side have the best of the chances and greater decisiveness in front of goal. The Earthquakes keep their playoff hopes alive as they welcome Chivas at home on September 29. The loss was a blow for Real Salt Lake as they would sense a missed opportunity to go top of the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield, particularly after Sounders dropped points in LA.




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Galaxy get past Metapan in CCL Play

Posted on 19 September 2013 by iyeo

Once again, Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena decided to play the reserves for a CONCACAF Champions League match.

Once again, the move paid off. An early first half goal from midfielder Laurent Courtois combined with alert defending enabled the Galaxy to wrap up the home portion of its CCL schedule unscathed, as the Galaxy defeated Isidro Metapan 1-0 Wednesday night at the StubHub Center.

“Three points,” Arena said. “That was all I was concerned with tonight, getting the three points.”

The Galaxy jumped ahead in the seventh minute. Striker Jose Villarreal played a ball out wide to midfielder Laurent Courtois, who then launched a volley that beat keeper Henry Hernandez far post for his first goal as a Galaxy player.

“We got the goal we were looking for,” Courtois said. “We were really happy to step in tonight and respond positively and collectively.”

Metapan immediately pressed for the equalizer. Striker Randall Brenes got behind the Galaxy backline while chasing down a long ball. Brenes found himself with only Galaxy keeper Adrian Rowe to beat. Brenes shot a ball past Rowe for the far post, but missed. Midfielder Jose Peraza also had a shot on goal for Metapan in the 17th minute, but his attempt outside the penalty area was saved by Rowe.

Metapan had perhaps its best chance at a goal in the 28th minute. A Galaxy foul set up Metapan for a free kick from about 20 yards out. Midfielder Christian Sanchez sent a set piece ball for the upper right corner, but Rowe managed to parry the ball over the crossbar. The remainder of the match was more of the same for Metapan, as they continued to create chances, but had trouble in the final third. Metapan thought it should’ve went to the penalty spot, or least have been awarded a free kick in the 83rd minute, as Brenes chased downs another forward ball, Galaxy Center Back Kofi Opare also chased down and nudged Brenes from behind, forcing Brenes to go to ground. Referee Hugo Cruz however didn’t think the contact was serious enough to warrant a call and play continued.

“Our players gave everything they could on the field,” Metapan head coach Jorge Rodriguez said. “Not everyone can create opportunities against the Galaxy, so we’re leaving here satisfied with today’s result.”

The Galaxy now brace for perhaps its biggest match of the season, ad they welcome the league-leading Seattle Sounders to the StubHub Center on Saturday night.

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Chivas USA holds Timbers to Draw

Posted on 15 September 2013 by iyeo

Chivas USA is doing its best to play spoiler with just over a month to go in the regular season.

The Portland Timbers were the latest team to get bogged down against the last-place Goats. Portland fell behind a goal in the first half though the Timbers eventually got the equalizer, they didn’t get any further and eventually had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Stubhub Center on Saturday Night.

“This game had a lot of quality and a lot of effort,” Chivas USA Head coach Jose Luis Real said. “We didn’t get the win, but we were facing a very strong rival and I’m not satisfied, it it was a very good game by both teams.”

The result is somewhat costly for Portland (10-5-13, 44 points), as a win could have vaulted them into a tie for third place in the Western Conference with the Colorado Rapids, who defeated FC Dallas earlier in the day. Instead, Portland dropped to fifth in the conference, just three points ahead of Dallas.

“Mathematically, even though we didn’t win the game we’re still right there, but we do feel like we let two points slip away,” Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “We let it slip away by not starting the game as aggressive, focused and urgent like we needed to.”

Chivas USA (6-15-8, 27 points) jupmed out to the lead in the 23rd minute. Left Back Carlos Borja crossed a ball into the Timbers penalty area and Midfielder Bryan De La Puente headed a ball that beat keeper Donovan Ricketts to the upper right corner.

Portland however managed the equalizer just five minutes into the Second Half. Midfielder Diego Chara crosses a ball into the penalty area, Rodney Wallaced touched a ball to Jose Valencia, who then shielded it against a group of Chivas players. Valencia then left a ball for Diego Valeri and the midfielder blasted a ball that beat keeper Dan Kennedy far post. Portland just missed grabbing the lead in the 60th minute, as Valeri played a ball forward for Wallace, who had a point-blank look at goal but his touch on the ball instead missed the near post.

“Really liked our response in the second half,” Porter said “We came out in the second half like I wanted us to come out to start the game.”

A controversial moment unfolded when Chivas striker Erick “Cubo” Torres chased down a long ball sent towards the box. Ricketts came off his line to contest, Torres flicked a ball over the keeper, but not before he got his foot on Torres, causing him to fall to the pitch. No call was made by the referee, and Timbers defender Pa Modouh Kah cleared e ball over the endline.

“I just went for the ball,” Rcketts said of the play.

Chivas USA will next face Portland will have almost two weeks to get things together befor they welcome the LA Galaxy to Jeld Wen Field on Spetember 29.

Chivas USA 1, Portland Timbers 1
Stubhub Center, Carson CA
September 14, 2013

Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 1 1
Chivas USA 1 0 1

Scoring Summary
CHV: de la Fuente (Borja), 23
POR: Valeri (Valencia), 50

Misconduct Summary
CHV: Minda (Caution), 25
CHV: Borja (Caution), 84

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Zizzo, D Jean-Baptiste, D Kah, D Harrington, M Chara, M Nagbe, M Johnson, W. ©, F Alhassan (Valeri, 45), F Valencia (Johnson, R., 81), F Wallace (Urruti, 72)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Kocic, D McKenzie, M Ring, M Zemanski

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Wallace, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Kah, Valeri, 1); FOULS: 11 (Urruti, Valencia, 2); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2

CHV: GK Kennedy, D Borja, D Bocanegra, D Burling, D de Luna (Chueca, 77), M Avila (Bowen, 88), M Minda, M Mejía, F de la Fuente, F Alvarez (Fondy, 56), F Torres

Substitutes Not Used: GK McLain, D Purdy, F Morales, F Rivera

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Fondy, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Alvarez, de la Fuente, Fondy, 1); FOULS: 13 (Borja, Minda, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 1

Referee: Matthew Foerster
Assistant Referees: Chris Strickland, Kevin Duliba
4th Official: Daniel Radford
Attendance: 5,123
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Clear, 76 degrees

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Sounders overtake RSL with comfortable win

Posted on 14 September 2013 by Aowabin Rahman

Seattle Sounders continued their good form to cruise past Real Salt Lake at Centurylink Stadium in a crucial top-of-the-table clash on Saturday, overthrowing their rivals to secure top spot of Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield. The goals both came in the first half from forwards Obafemi Martins and Lamar Neagle.

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The RSL were coming into the game after a two-week layoff, although they had starters Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman out on international duty. Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson were coming off the bench for Sounders after their midweek exploits for USMNT against Mexico.

Seattle Sounders started the game with a high-tempo and caught RSL off-guard as early as the 3rd minute. A neat flick by Obafemi Martins released Andy Rose down the byline. Rose’s cross was capped with a fine finish by Martins in the box.

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Sounders could have been two up from a set-piece within 7 minutes after kick-off, but RSL keeper Nick Rimando made the save to keep RSL in the game.

RSL appeared to respond positively after the initial jolt and had a legit claim for a PK in the 18th minute when playmaker Javier Morales was tripped by Oswaldo Alonso in the box. The referee, however, waved play on.

The game continued to be open – RSL making quick passes and getting Plata and Findley in advanced, wide positions and Sounders countering with pace down the flanks.

Soon it was the Seattle side who grabbed the second goal of the game. DeAndre Yedlin found himself in acres of space down the right hand side and the full-back took full advantage to drive deep into the RSL half. The low-cross was finished by Lamar Naegle in the 38th minute.

The half-time ended 2-0 to the home team, leaving Kreis men with a mountain to climb in front of a raucous home crowd. Jason Kreis brought on Olmes Garcia to start the second half, switching to a more adventurous 4-3-3.

It was home team, however, who had the greater forward momentum and could have put the game beyond RSL’s reach within a few minutes of the restart. Lamar Naegle beat the offside trap to find himself in a one-on-one with Rimando in the 54th minute, but the RSL keeper’s reflexes again prevented further damage for the visitors. Martins’ pace was always a threat for RSL’s high backline and the Nigerian twice found himself at the end of a long pass. On either occasion, he failed to pull the trigger before the RSL defense could clear their lines.

Clint Dempsey, coming on as a substitute and still looking for his first goal in a Sounders’ shirt, had a good opportunity to add to the tally. His goal-bound strike following a set-piece in the 83rd minute was blocked by Kyle Beckerman.

RSL never posed a serious threat in the second half and their only effort of note was a glancing header by Nat Borchers from a Morales set-piece. The away team claimed the ball had crossed the goal-line before being grasped by Seattle keeper Gspurring, but the replays seemed inconclusive.

With a strong home form and a five-game winning streak, Sounders look in pole position to clinch the Supporters’ Shield as they take on LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on September 21. RSL are still in the chase with only a point behind as they welcome San Jose Earthquakes at home on the same day.


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Changes pay off for Chivas USA against DC United

Posted on 09 September 2013 by iyeo

A tactical maneuver followed by a second half goal from its prominent striker was just enough for Chivas USA.

The decision to go with a five-man midfield ultimately paid off for Chivas USA head coach Jose Luis Real, as that decision clamped down the attack of DC United and Erick “Cubo” Torres’ seventh goal of the season early in the second half was all they needed to cap off a busy week for the Goats with a 1-0 win over DC United at the Stubhub Center.

“In my opinion, Chivas are getting better game-by-game,” Real said. ““I liked the second half very much; Cubo scored again. Our team played very well on many occasions in the second half.”

Chivas USA (6-15-7, 25 points) withstood a solid first half by DC United, then pulled ahead in the 51st minute. Carlos Alvarez sent in a corner into the 18-yard box, Eric Avila eventually gained possession, then crossed a ball across the six-yard box to Center Back Carlos Bocanegra, but his cross into the six went through two Chivas teammates before it was eventually cleared out of the penalty area. Edgar Mejia regained possession for Chivas, sent a ball into the box that deflected off two DC United players, Torres chased the ball down and slotted a shot past keeper Bill Hamid into the back net to give the Goats the lead.

“Cubo is another one of the most important players for Chivas USA,” Real said of Torres’ performance. “He scores goals but he always works for the team. His personality and mentality are strong. He’s a very important player for Chivas.”

In the first half, it was DC United (3-19-5, 14 points) that were the aggressors. DCU got its first scoring chance in the 15th minute, as Midfielder Luis Silva sent a ball forward, Nick DeLeon chased it down and sent a cross into the penalty area and Conor Doyle one-time a shot on goal, but the shot was parried rather easily by keeper Dan Kennedy.

DC got two chances in the 24th minute, with the first chance coming when Silva again played a ball forward and Doyle made a well-timed run towards goal. Doyle fought of Chivas Center Back Bobby Burling and again found himself in the box with only Kennedy to beat, but again Kennedy won the battle by parrying his shot away. DCU though maintained possession and Lewis Neal fired a long-range volley, but it just missed the back post.

With DC United dominating possession and creating scoring chances, Real decided to make a tactical change, as he subbed out striker Julio Morales in the 28th minute in favor of midfielder Eric Avila. The move gave the Goats a five-man midfielder and made Torres the lone striker up front.

“Sometimes you start a match and things don’t go well right away,” Kennedy said. “You saw that in the first half we struggled a bit. There had to be a change. It worked out well for us.”

Chivas USA will next host the Portland Timbers on Saturday while DC United awaits the Los Angeles Galaxy at RFK Stadium, also on Saturday.

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Buddle comes back to haunt Galaxy

Posted on 08 September 2013 by iyeo

It sure was a happy homecoming for Edson Buddle.

The veteran MLS striker had spent four and a half seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy and during that time, he had appeared in 106 matches for LA and scored 45 goals and earned a championship ring with the Galaxy last season.

Buddle was at it again at the Stubhub Center, only this time, it was in a Colorado Rapids shirt. Buddle was the main difference, as his goal late in the second half was all Colorado needed to defeat the Galaxy on Saturday night.

“All the players are happy for the result, happy for the group, but mostly happy for Edson,” Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “He has been training very hard and I know what this game means for him and giving us three points with such a great goal, it was outstanding.”

The loss was costly for the Galaxy, as the loss combined with the Seattle Sounders’ 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire slipped the Galaxy down a spot in the Western Conference with the Rapids just one point behind them for third place in the conference.

Colorado got its goal in the 75th minute. Midfielder Vicente Sanchez started things off by stripping Left Back Todd Dunivant of possession of the ball and immediately broke for goal. Sanchez cut inside, waited and waited before deciding to pass the ball to Buddle, who took a quick touch and fired a volley at the very top of the penalty area that went into the back net uncontested.

“It was kind of a tough shot,” Buddle said of his goal. “I trapped it, one of their defenders stepped in and I just put it around them.”

Despite missing players such as strikers Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan and Center Back Omar Gonzalez, the Galaxy were able to create scoring chances. The Galaxy got a scoring chance just two minutes in. Dunivant threw in a ball to midfielder Juninho, who then passed it to the sprinting Left Back. Dunivant crossed a ball into the penalty area and striker Jack McBean headed a ball towards goal, but keeper Clint Irwin managed to parry the ball away. Another great scoring chance for LA came in the 34th minute, as midfielder Sean Franklin played a ball through to midfielder Marcelo Sarvas in the box. Sarvas juked out Nick LaBrocca and got a shot off in tight space, but the ball instead went off the crossbar.

“This result humbled us,” said Galaxy Center Back Kofi Opare, who made his first MLS start. “There’s still much work to be done and there’s still a lot of spots to fight for.”

LA will look to bounce back next Saturday, as they travel to the nation’s capital to face DC United, while Colorado will be home to host FC Dallas the same night.

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Quick and Payneless – 2 losses in 2 for Canadian MLS teams

Posted on 08 September 2013 by Scott Ferguson

Two of the three Canadian MLS teams were in action away from home on Saturday, but neither could take anything from their respective road trips. Vancouver’s playoff hopes are looking like a distant memory after a 3-1 collapse in Dallas, while Toronto fell 2-0 at Portland Timbers in the first game of the post-Kevin Payne era.

In Dallas, Vancouver took an early lead through Daigo Kobayashi, who was excelling in an attacking midfield role that had finally been tailored for him. Dallas came back through Jevaugh Watson’s long-range strike before half-time, and late in the game Mauro Diaz’s volley looked to have sealed it after some work from Eric Hassli in the build-up. While each of Dallas’ were highlight-reel goals, some fans might be questioning goalkeeper David Ousted on all three.

The goal of the night was to come, though, when Jair Benítez scored a 50-yard wonder strike that hit the top corner. Take a look for yourself:

Jair Benítez golazo

Both Vancouver and Portland are part of seven or eight teams in the Western Conference with a realistic shot at the five playoff places, which meant Toronto could do their Canadian cousins a favour with a point or three at Jeld-Wen Field later on.

The Timbers started stronger, though, and Khalif Alhassan took advantage of a short clearance after a Timbers set-piece to make it 1-0 before half-time. Toronto skipper Steven Caldwell as all over the defensive third as usual, and not for the first time this season he was dangerously close to conceding a penalty after blocking a shot with his hand.

If Caldwell is a model of experience for the Reds, it’s much-needed, as it was miscontrol from defensive partner Gale Agbossoumonde that led to Portland’s second goal. Rodney Wallace was able to run clear and finish past ex-teammate Joe Bendik – the goalkeeper was traded for his opposing number tonight, Miloš Koci?, in the off-season.

The next scorer was born in Toronto, but it wasn’t a good thing for the Reds. It was Portland captain Will Johnson who smashed home to make it 3-0.

Diego Valeri finished it off with a tap-in in stoppage time to make it four and pad the team’s goal differential as they climb into the playoff spots.

One man who was conspicuously absent for Toronto was new signing Maximiliano Urruti – with nothing left to play for this season, there has to be a reason for not bedding in the new man for 2014, whether he’s completely match-fit or not. Head coach Ryan Nelsen has been assured that he won’t be part of the culls at BMO Field in 2013, but Urruti may be the key to closing out the season with some respectability – and impressing Nelsen’s new bosses, whoever they might end up being.

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Chicago Immolate In Seattle

Posted on 08 September 2013 by Kyle Alm

Sounders run of good form continued in Seattle against Chicago on Saturday night. Obafemi Martins returned to the starting lineup with an ankle injury sustained against Toronto nearly a month ago. Martins wasted no time in the early going, three good opportunities pressing forward in the box in the first three minutes. The Nigerian had nothing to show from his efforts and didn’t truly test Fire goal keeper Sean Johnson.

Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 over Chicago Fire

When you negate a few chances, or don’t take advantage fo their chances they come down and score.
-Sigi Schmid

It would be Mike Magee who found space at the top of the penalty box, held onside by Djimi Traore and a quick pass from Dilly Duka. Magee finished neatly past Michael Gspurning and tied Marco Di Vaio for the lead for the Golden Boot in the 25th minute.

Sounders had a chance to equalize with a penalty kick in the  29th minute. Gonzalo Segares had his hand above his head left Referee Hilario Grajeda little choice but to award the penalty due to the unnatural hand position of the Fire defender. Osvaldo Alonso tried to beat Johnson to his right but came up short as the ball was pushed wide of the net and acros the endline.

It would be Lamar Neagle who equalized for the home side in the 40th minute on a cross from Marc Burch. Neagle increased his career-high season goal scoring tally to 7. Marc Burch continues to impress from the left midfield and collected his third assist.

Mike Magee suffered an injury in the first half that didn’t precluded his participation in the second half. Juan Luis Anangogo took Magee’s place at forward.

The 1-1 deadlock continued through the entire second half. Both sides took a some speculative chances. Osvaldo Alonso and Segares had some words with each other. Johnson had to make a couple of saves for Chicago, but the valiant effort of the Fire defense would come unraveled from an unlikely source in the 89th minute.

Marc Burch had been subbed off in favor Zach Scott in the 82nd, which allowed Leo Gonzalez to get forward while Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, and Scott made up the backline. A surprising move from Sigi Schmid, who is typically more conservative with his substitutions, clearly motivated to get all three points at home. Scott made a long run with the ball down the left flank that had Chicago scrambling for cover. Scott played a simple ball right to the top of the six-yard box and Segares knocked it right into his own goal as he attempted to recover his position.

It was only the second time all season that Sounders had won after conceding the first goal and the first loss for Chicago after drawing first blood.

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