Tag Archive | "Blanco"

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Everton edge MLS All-Stars on penalties

Posted on 30 July 2009 by Patrick McShane

It took a monstrous performance from American keeper Tim Howard as Everton FC outlasted the MLS All-Stars Wednesday to win 4-3 on penalty kicks after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Howard deservedly received MVP honors for his performance, where he made stunning save after save both during the match as well as during the penalty shootout. This is the first time the MLS All-Stars have lost to a foreign opponent and their first loss since 2005.

What turned out to be a surprisingly even affair didn’t appear to be closely aligned in the early minutes of the match, with Everton dominating the run of play. Striker Louis Saha was particularly dangerous in attack with towering midfielder Marouane Fellaini casually working the ball through a lethargic MLS backline. Despite their prowess on attack, it was actually a sloppy back pass by MLS starlet Stuart Holden that led to Everton’s goal in the 12th minute. It was an easy strike for Saha who, despite a range of injury concerns over his career, is still considered an elite striker.

Fortunately for the 20,124 fans in attendance the MLS seemed to come to life and began to create a number of chances. This build up finally led to a breakthrough in the 26th minute when Holden made up for his earlier error and cradled a Conor Casey pass to an onrushing Brad Davis for an easy shot on the left side of goal. The MLS continued to create more opportunities for the remainder of the half, but Howard was up to the task on a number of close range shots.

Though the second half produced the typical mass substitutions one expects from an All-Star game, the qualify of play didn’t drop off and almost appeared to elevate. Landon Donovan looked particularly impressive on attack, nearly delivering the breakthrough goal when he carelessly slammed a wide open opportunity 5 yards in front of goal off of the side bar. After three minutes of added time, the match moved to a penalty kick scenario.

While Everton’s first two kick-takers, James Vaughan and Jo, delivered two horrific misses, the MLS couldn’t take advantage and had their own problems with the spot kicks Only host Real Salt Lake’s own Will Johnson and Donovan delivered clean shots on goal, with Howard contesting nearly every shot headed his direction. The deadlock on penalties was finally broken when Seattle midfielder and former English Premier League regular, Freddie Ljungberg, tried to chip the ball past Howard only for the Everton keeper to casually knock the ball down after initially diving to the right.

Despite the defeat, the overall match was entertaining and the fans seemed to enjoy the atmosphere that Rio Tinto Stadium delivered. With news arriving earlier this week that Houston will be hosting the 2010 All-Star game, one can only anticipate another compelling affair next year.

Notable Performances:

Keller – Probably played longer than he anticipated due to Thornton’s injury. Overall played a great match and didn’t make a lot of mistakes while stepping up his play during the penalty kicks.

Holden – Would have been in contention for MVP if one of his assists wasn’t for the other team. That taken into consideration, he played admirably considering this match was less than a week after his stellar Gold Cup performance.

Beckerman – Was far more withdrawn in Kinnear’s formation than one typically finds Kyle in an RSL kit. While he was outmuscled by Fellaini, he was tenacious and aggressive.

Ljungberg – He was going to be my vote for MVP until the 80th minute came along and he ran out of gas. (His attempt at Zidane status with the chipped penalty kick was also a horrible idea). That said, he was the motor on attack the majority of the night and was one of the better passers on the team.

Casey – I just wasn’t as impressed with Casey’s performance as some people on Twitter were last night. He was consistently offside on breaks and seemed dodgy on attack. His only close call was the snap header off of Holden’s cross that challenged Howard late in the first half. He was decent if someone (like Donovan) set up the attack, but was lost on his own.

Blanco – I expected more from Blanco and he just didn’t deliver. Maybe it was the late-night partying at the MLS W.O.R.K.S. All-Star event on Tuesday, or maybe he just didn’t want to get hurt. He seemed indecisive at the top of the box, which isn’t what I typically consider a Blanco trait.

Johnson – Prior to Wednesday I was shocked by Johnson’s selection to the squad. After watching his second-half performance, I feel like I need to recant my sentiment of doubt. Johnson appeared very comfortable in his central midfield role and was quick with his decision making. Hopefully this leads to a strong second half of the season for him in MLS play.

Morales – The best thing Morales did all night was honor teammate Andy Williams by wearing his traditional jersey number, 77. Outside of that, he seemed lost throughout the match and appeared to pick up a late injury that could hurt his chances of playing for Real Salt Lake this weekend.

Donovan – If Donovan was fit to play the entire match, I think we would have seen a different result and potentially a different MVP. I thought Donovan was pure class throughout the second half despite his late folly in front of goal. He was one step ahead of Everton’s defense and brilliant at getting his teammates involved.

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Beckhamania hits Toronto

Posted on 25 July 2008 by Scott Ferguson

David Beckham and the MLS All-Stars beat West Ham United 3-2 last night at BMO Field, marking the midfielder’s first game in Toronto and improving the league’s All-Star record against foreign opposition to 5 and 0. Chivas, Fulham, Chelsea and Celtic have all fallen to the All-Stars in recent years.

West Ham came out strong in the early minutes, with Carlton Cole showing the preseason form that saw him start the last Premier League campaign on fire.

FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper had the first real chance of the game, however, turning and firing in the 19th minute. The attentions of Hammers defender Joe Widdowson kept him from getting the shot on target towards Robert Green’s goal.

The game was quickly developing into a back-and-forth tug-of-war. The visitors opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Dean Ashton found himself free of the last defender and fired low into the far post.

The lead wouldn’t last, however, and with entertainment value the number one priority at BMO Field this week, Christian Gomez gave the fan’s their money’s worth with a quickfire equalizer. Beckham and Cuauhtemoc Blanco set up the Colorado Rapids midfielder, and Gomez coolly slotted home with West Ham having barely finished their goal celebrations.

The All-Stars kept up the attack and struck again just before half-time. Blanco collected a pass inside the area, cut inside onto his right foot and sent a curling effort past Green into the top corner.

Canadians and Houston Dynamo players Dwayne DeRosario and Pat Onstad entered the game in the second half to the delight of the Toronto crowd, but the fans were only truly placated when Toronto FC Captain Jim Brennan made his entrance close to the hour-mark.

Having played 90 minutes against Montreal on Tuesday, the full All-Star game would have been asking a lot from the Canadian international, but an extended run-out in front of his hometown fans was always on the cards.

The All-Stars looked capable of scoring again, but it was Ashton once again who quieted the crowd at BMO in the 67th minute. The former Norwich striker found space outside the area and struck a powerful shot that deflected off of Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad and into the net.

Just as in the aftermath of Ashton’s first goal, the All-Stars responded quickly. Red Bull New York forward Juan Pablo Angel sprung DeRosario with a perfectly-weighted through ball, and with the Canadian bearing down on goal, West Ham captain Lucas Neill had little choice but to hall down DeRo.

Referee Mauricio Navarro awarded the penalty for the All-Stars but was perhaps reluctant to hand out a red card in what is ultimately an exhibition match. Having drawn the foul, DeRosario was given the chance to score a penalty in front of his hometown crowd ahead of Beckham and game MVP Blanco.

The Canadian ace blasted his penalty off the crossbar and in to make it 3-2 amid the roars of the crowd, who had to wait for the ball to rebound into the netting before they were sure it was a goal. Angel “scored” a goal of his own just a minute later with a curling right-footed shot, but the linesman’s flag was up. Replays showed that Calum Davenport may have played the Colombian onside.

The game marked the first major showpiece at BMO Field, a ground that has been slated to host the MLS Cup final in 2009 and CONCACAF Gold Cup games the same year. Black t-shirts were in abundance but a proposed sit-down fan protest was largely muted.

“MLS showed that they can compete,” West Ham manager Alan Curbishley told reporters after the game. “It was a great game for MLS. It showed off their talents and when we go home it will be a big memory.”

Beckham was, as usual, the center of attention in Toronto, but the Englishman was full of praise for his teammates.

“Everybody knows the quality of player [Blanco] is,” Beckham said of the Chicago Fire forward and game MVP. “He is a great player, winning the award shows that.”

Earlier this week, Toronto FC lost out on the chance to represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League by drawing Montreal Impact 1-1 at home on Tuesday. Montreal needed only a draw to win the Canadian Championship and their seventh straight Voyageurs Cup and will play Nicaraguan side Real Estelí in a two-legged qualifier to determine entry into the potentially lucrative Champions League group stages.

The Impact will have taken heart from MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s media address during All-Star week, in which the Don stated that the league was looking to expand to two more teams by 2011. Montreal and Vancouver were mentioned on a shortlist of expansion candidates.

Match Facts

West Ham United vs. MLS All-Stars
July 24, 2008 — BMO Field

Scoring Summary:

WHU — Dean Ashton 1 (Carlton Cole 1) 26
MLS — Christian Gomez 1 (Cuauhtemoc Blanco 1, David Beckham 1) 27
MLS — Cuauhtemoc Blanco 1 (Juan Toja ) 43
WHU — Dean Ashton 2 (Luis Boa Morte ) 67
MLS — Dwayne De Rosario 1 (penalty kick) 69

Lineups:
West Ham United — Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Calum Davenport, Anton Ferdinand, Joe Widdowson, Julien Faubert (Junior Stanislas 75), Hayden Mullins (Jack Collison 65), Scott Parker, Matthew Etherington (Luis Boa Morte 46), Dean Ashton (Kyel Reid 80), Carlton Cole (Tony Stokes 91+),

Substitutes Not Used: Jordan Spence, James Walker

MLS All-Stars — Matt Reis (Pat Onstad 70), Jonathan Bornstein (Edson Buddle 88), Frankie Hejduk (Steve Ralston 88), Jimmy Conrad, Pablo Mastroeni, David Beckham, Christian Gomez (Jim Brennan 59), Shalrie Joseph, Juan Toja (Dwayne De Rosario 59), Kenny Cooper (Juan Pablo Angel 46), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Landon Donovan 46).

Substitutes Not Used:

Misconduct Summary:
WHU — Scott Parker (caution; Delaying a Restart) 46+
MLS — Jonathan Bornstein (caution; Pushing, Holding) 52
MLS — Frankie Hejduk (caution; Reckless Foul) 56
MLS — Jimmy Conrad (caution; Reckless Foul) 82

Referee: Mauricio Navarro
Referee’s Assistants: Hector Vergara; Greg Barkey
4th official: Mark Geiger
time of game: 1:53
attendance: 20,844
weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 72 degrees

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