Tag Archive | "Donovan"

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

Comments (4)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

RSL earn disappointing draw with LA

Posted on 08 May 2009 by Patrick McShane

RSL lost their first points at home this season, drawing 2-2 with the LA Galaxy after rapid-fire goals consumed the final minutes of stoppage time.

RSL entered the match without three of their key stars, as both defender Jamison Olave and creative midfielder Javier Morales were suspended due to separate incidences against the Colorado Rapids last Saturday. Keeper Nick Rimando missed his first match of the season due to a finger injury, and was replaced by highly regarded keeper Chris Seitz.

Though the Galaxy are renowned for having an inept defense over the last couple of years, few thought that RSL could pull off a win without all three of their stars. However, it took only 34 minutes for there to be a sense of hope throughout Rio Tinto Stadium as striker Robbie Findley nodded home a diving header. Clint Mathis continued his scintillating form as he crossed the ball into Findley, giving RSL the unexpected 1-0 lead. The goal now ties Findley for the MLS lead of 5 goals for this season.

The remainder of the first half, as well as much of the second half, continued to be the same with RSL launching balls over the top to Findley and Yura Movsisyan with hopes that they could muscle the Galaxy defenders off of the ball.

Seitz makes a first half save ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Unfortunately for RSL, defenders Omar Gonzalez and Gregg Berhalter were up to the task, putting together one of their best all-around performances for the Galaxy while easily frustrating the RSL attack. With Andy Williams filling in for Morales, RSL still continued to threaten offensively with a number of close chances, but nothing to show for it.

Everything changed for both teams in the 89th minute, when RSL midfielder Will Johnson was called for what appeared to be an inadvertent handball in the box. After pleas from RSL fans and players fell on deaf ears, Landon Donovan stepped up and slammed the ball home, barely beating Seitz. The 16,155 fans fell silent, as it seemed the match was over, despite four minutes of added time still remaining. Yet, it took less than one minute to end that silence, as RSL earned a penalty of their own when substitute Fabian Espindola was knocked down in the box by Bryan Jordan.

Hoping to make amends for the penalty call minutes earlier, Johnson stepped up to take the kick. Johnson noted after the match: “I knew I needed to make up, and I wanted to put that on my shoulders…Penalties for me are all about confidence, and I don’t feel that I am short on that.” Indeed Johnson was not short on confidence when he took the penalty kick and blasted the ball into the net while Rio Tinto erupted again with celebration.

Despite the lead, it still felt like the match was still far from over. The Galaxy pressed everyone forward, pressuring the RSL backline and scrapping for every chance. That chance came right at the brink, when despite multiple attempts to clear, the ball fell fortuitously for Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee at the far left side of goal. While there were two players in the area forcing Magee to an awkward angle, he still found a way to cut the ball back and slide it into goal.

Landon Donovan was particularly proud of his team’s performance, stating: “I can’t imagine many teams would have come back and gotten something out of that after going on that roller-coaster ride, from tying the game to going down a goal and then just having the fortitude to come back and get something out of the game. We keep making this comment, but last year we would have lost that game.”

Unfortunately for RSL, there isn’t a lot of time to recover from such a disappointing display as they face another LA side – Chivas USA – on the road this coming Saturday. While they have been horrible on the road all season with three straight losses, now is the perfect opportunity to assert themselves and gain confidence for a strong run of form. Expect both Morales and Olave to be back in the lineup with Rimando still being held out for two to three more weeks due to his injury. Though it will be important for Morales to be the motor of the team on Saturday, he also needs to be particularly careful as he remains one yellow card away from serving another suspension. At the time of print there is no word as to whether defender Nat Borchers will be available after being subbed off with an apparent injury 20 minutes from time.

Expect Chivas to be fired up for their expansion rivals as they continue to run away with the Western Conference lead and look for any opportunity to remain on top. Former RSL players Atiba Harris, Carey Talley, and Alecko Eskandarian continue to produce for Chivas as they have overcome a myriad of injuries to lead the league with six victories and only one loss.

The match will kick off at 8:30 pm MT and can be seen in Utah on KUTV 2.2 (Comcast 111).

MATCH FACTS


LA Galaxy at Real Salt Lake

May 6, 2009, Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Robbie Findley 5 (Clint Mathis 4) 34
LA — Landon Donovan 5 (penalty kick) 91+
RSL — Will Johnson 1 (penalty kick) 92+
LA — Mike Magee 1 (unassisted) 94+

Los Angeles Galaxy — Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Chris Klein (Bryan Jordan 61), Dema Kovalenko, Stefani Miglioranzi (Mike Magee 76), Eddie Lewis (Alan Gordon 69), Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan.

Real Salt Lake — Chris Seitz, Tony Beltran, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers (David Horst 69), Robbie Russell, Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy 77), Kyle Beckerman, Clint Mathis, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley, Yura Movsisyan (Fabian Espindola 56).

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Clint Mathis (caution; Dissent) 7

Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee’s Assistants: Peter Balciunas; Peter Manikowski
4th official: Tyler Ploeger
Attendance: 16,155
Weather: Cloudy -and- 68 degrees

RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

Seitz – Did an admirable job filling in for Rimando. Fans have been waiting a long time to finally see if Seitz can live up to the hype, and he definitely delivered. Cut out dangerous crosses into the box and nearly stopped Donovan’s pk.

Beltran – This was Tony’s best match as an RSL player. He didn’t get caught out of position once and was in the right place at the right time when he coolly stopped Donovan on a 2v2 break. A great overall performance.

Wingert – I’m so indifferent about Wingert’s performance this season. Nothing great, but nothing horrific. He possibly could have done a better job to clear the ball on Magee’s goal.

Borchers – Nat delivers game in, game out. I have a hard time believing that the last goal would have happened had he not been injured.

Russell – I really feel like Russell is one of the unheralded stars of RSL the past couple of weeks. He brings a needed veteran savvy and his versatility is unmatched.

Williams – Bomma gave exactly what everyone expected. At this stage in his career he isn’t capable of being as creative and quick on attack as he used to, but his skill and technical ability makes up for that

Beckerman – I’m trying to think of any moment during the match when I noticed Kyle’s performance and… Yup, I’ve got nothing.

Mathis – Seemed winded later on in the match, as he’s not used to playing a full 90’ this season. Have to give him credit for the corner kick assist.

Johnson – Hard to blame Will for the handball and you have to respect his desire to take the penalty kick on the opposite end. Overall he just seemed a bit off with his passing and made some curious choices (rocketing a shot from 30 yards out over the bar while the attack is still building seems questionable).

Findley – Prior to the season I thought Findley was only viable as a “super sub” player. This season he has proven me wrong and has come out on fire, remaining our only consistent and dangerous striker.

Movsisyan – If he had looked up on his break late in the second half, he might have noticed Johnson open on the left. But that’s just not Movsisyan’s way as his head is always down on attack. He desperately needs to find the fire he possessed late last season.

SUBS
Espindola – I’m a huge Espindola fan, but I really question this substitution. Fabi had just joined the team over the weekend and was reportedly not match fit. Even if he is familiar with RSL from his first time here, why would Kreis put him out there to play a midfield role in a 4-5-1 formation with Cox and Grabavoy still on the bench? Thankfully he drew the foul for the late pk.

Horst – While he is quickly gaining an unfavorable reputation among RSL fans, I thought Horst played decent and above expectations (though my expectations are pretty low).

Grabavoy – Williams was winded and someone had to come on. Cox and Alexandre are unproven rookies and Escalada seemed redundant since RSL was bunkering back on D. Respectable outing, but nothing special.

Comments (1)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here