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Revs 0 – Galaxy 1

Posted on 29 May 2011 by Hank Alexandre

In front of a home crowd of over 21,ooo people, the New England Revolution fell 0-1 to the league leading LA Galaxy.

The Galaxy scored on MiguelLopez’s flick on of a free kick from David Beckham in the 69th minute. It was Beckham’s 7th assist of the season, and the Argentinian’s first goal in MLS.

The Revolution, still without the services of Marko Perovic and Ousmane Dabo, started the match in the exact same formation they fielded in the 2-1 loss to San Jose a week ago. Benny Feilhaber and Shalrie Joseph featured in the middle of the field, supported once again by rookie Stephen McCarthy, and flanked by Zak Boggs and Chris Tierney. On the backline, Ryan Cochrane and AJ Soares resumed their partnership in the center, and Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes took their places on the right and left. Rajko Lekic was the sole striker, with Matt Reis rounding out the roster in goal.

The Galaxy were coming off a midweek game against Houston, and were without the services of Juan Pablo Angel, who did not travel with the team. However, Bruce Arena was able to field the majority of the same team with out much impact to the line-up. Miguel Lopez and Chad Barrett got the start at top, with Landon Donovan, Juninho, Mike Magee and David Beckham in the midfield. Donovan Ricketts, who is heading off to the Gold Cup with the Jamaican National Team, was in his usual place between the goalposts, with his regular starting defensive team of Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez and Dunivant.

The Revs got off to a good start with an early break away from Feilhaber up the left flank, and did well to play a looping ball into Zak Boggs, but his effort was wasted as the ball sailed high over the ball. Minutes later Boggs did well to evade the defenders in the box and played an almost perfect through pass to Rajko Lekic, but the Danish striker could not catch up to the ball. Feilhaber too, found space in the middle of the field in the 11th minute, but his shot went wide.

In the 16th minute, Lekic collided with Ricketts at the top of the box, and it looked for a moment that the goalkeeper may have been seriously injured as he fell to the ground. However, after a short break, Ricketts was back on his feet, with a slight limp, and was fortunate that Lekic’s next attempt was high over the bar.

The Revs defense also played very well, with Darrius Barnes thwarting David Beckham’s early set piece by heading the ball out of play, and then clearing away the ensuing corner. Ryan Cochrane however took an elbow to the head and was down for several minutes before play resumed. He returned to the field but was not quite himself as the Galaxy began to pressure a bit more in the final fifteen minutes of the half.

In the 24th minute, Chad Barrett managed to get around Cochrane to strike the Galaxy’s first shot on goal, but it was well saved by Reis, who managed to parry the ball over the line. On the ensuing corner kick, Omar Gonzales headed the ball off the cross bar and it bounced straight down, and eventually out of play. With the Galaxy claiming the ball went over the line for a goal, Assistant Referee Jeff Hosking was quick to deny the visitors on their plea, and rightly so.

The rest of the first half finished with the Galaxy having a flurry of set piece attempts, 4 of them corner kicks. Landon Donovan did well to get his head on the end of a cross in the 42nd minute, but his attempt went wide and the half came to an end all square at 0 – 0.

The second half saw Ryan Cochrane substituted off in favor of Franco Coria, and the Revs came out quickly on the attack. Chris Tierney had a free kick that almost found Coria on the far post in the 47th minute, but the service was long and wide. Minutes later, Zak Boggs and Rajko Lekic combined for a little combination that threatened inside the box, but Lekic’s return pass was a bit too much for Boggs and could not connect for what would have been an uncontested shot on goal.

Lekic would eventually register the Revs first shot on goal, when he got on to the end of a free kick from Tierney in the 53rd minute. Lekic did well to direct the ball on frame, but Ricketts was positioned perfectly to catch the ball.

Despite some strong possession from the Revolution, the Galaxy managed to muster number of attempts to test the Revolution defense. Efforts from Juninho and Donovan in the 54th and 58th minutes were both too high, and another attempt from Juninho was deflected over the line for another Galaxy corner. The Galaxy would finally break through the dead lock in the 69th minute, with a brilliant flick on header from Miguel Lopez, who did well to turn Beckham’s long range service into the box just inside the far post.

The Revolution, having already subbed off Zak Boggs in favor of Sainey Nyassi in the 67th minute, looked to add a spark to the offense by taking off defensive midifelder Stephen McCarthy and bring on forward Zack Schilawski in the 74th minute with their final substitution. It wasn’t until stoppage time however when the Revs that the Revs attack finally woke up.

The Revolution had to finish the game with 10 men as Benny Feilhaber left the game in the 89th minute with a severe ankle injury. But that didn’t stop the Revs from trying to equalize. In the final five minutes of extra time, the most exciting part of the match, the Revolution had a flurry of attempts that just could not find their way over the net.

In the 92nd minute Kevin Alston lobbed a ball into the box toward Lekic, bringing Ricketts off his line. Ricketts managed to stop Lekic from getting to the ball, but palmed it right to Schilaswki, whose shot was saved off the line by DeLaGarza. The ball was gathered by Nyassi on the right flank who delivered a decent cross into the box to find Schilawki again. Schilawski did well to meet the ball and deliver it on the underside of the cross bar, but not over the line. Shalrie Joseph was right there to head the ball in, but the ball appeared to be blocked and eventually cleared away by Landon Donovan. This time it was the Revs whose appeals for a goal were denied by Jeff Hosking, the Assistant Referee, as they were sure Shalrie’s header was over the line. But the replay shows that the Linesman had made the correct call.

One final attempt was all the Revs could muster, but it would not be their night as the final whistle blew, giving the visitors their third consecutive win.

“It was definitely frustrating to come away losing one-nil,” said Revolution Coach Steve Nicol. “One slip and we lose the game. Frustrating is definitely the word.”

“We have a real solid team,” Nicol said. “I don’t think there’s too much between the teams, to be honest, but they won. We’re just a little bit away. But it’s no good being a little bit away and losing games. We need to pick up points… We always think we’ll give anyone a game – home or away. We’re never going to roll over for anybody. But we just need to get that wee bit extra that’s missing and put it right.”

The Revolution will next face FC Dallas, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas on Saturday June 4th and then face the NY Red Bulls on Friday June 10th. The next home game for the Revs will be on Wednesday June 15th, when they host Toronto FC.

Scoring Summary:
LA – Miguel Lopez (David Beckham) 69

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Franco Coria 46), Kevin Alston, Chris Tierney, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Stephen McCarthy (Zack Schilawski 74), Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 67), Rajko Lekic

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Didier Domi, Alan Koger, Pat Phelan

STATS*: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 5; Corner Kicks: 0; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 16

LA Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts, Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin, Mike Magee (Chris Birchall 72), David Beckham (Michael Stephens 79), Juninho, Landon Donovan ©, Chad Barrett (Paolo Cardozo 62), Miguel Lopez

Substitutes Not Used: Josh Saunders, Gregg Berhalter, Frankie Hejduk, Bryan Jordan

STATS*: Shots: 15; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 10; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 11

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

Misconduct Summary:
LA – David Beckham (caution) 67

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistant Referees: James Conlee, Jeff Hosking
Fourth Official: John McCloskey
Weather: Clear, 75 degrees
Attendance: 21,793

New England: 3-5-4, 13 pts.
LA Galaxy: 8-2-5, 29 pts.

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Los Angeles Galaxy @ Revs: GAME PREVIEW

Posted on 27 May 2011 by Matty Jollie

Saturday night marks the return fixture between the Los Angeles Galaxy (7-2-5, 26pts) and New England Revolution (3-4-4, 13pts) as the Galaxy head east and travel to Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have found themselves in another rough patch, coming off a league loss out in San Jose last weekend, followed up by a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Sporting KC in the U.S. Open Cup at mid-week, and will look to build upon the 1-1 draw they secured in L.A. on opening night against the Galaxy. Los Angeles comes into town with the best record in MLS after a mid-week victory over Houston, and continue to perform well in spite of a few absences and injuries and will certainly prove to be a very tough test for a struggling New England side.



GOALKEEPERS: Los Angeles has one of the best goalkeepers in the league in Donovan Ricketts, whose recently play certainly has lived up to his pedigree. With Ricketts in net, the Galaxy are a very tough side to score on, and with Ricketts’ imposing size and quickness, he can be lights out on any given night.  Matt Reis has begun to show signs of decline in recent weeks, and has found it difficult to stay healthy. Reis doesn’t appear on the injury report this weekend, so expect to see the veteran in net for the Revolution on Saturday night in this important fixture, and if New England is to secure a result at home, Reis must come up big and cannot be caught cheating on set pieces. ADVANTAGE: Galaxy. Ricketts is one of, if not THE best keeper in MLS right now.


DEFENDERS: After a solid start to the season, and several solid defensive performances, New England has stumbled a bit but still remain steadfast and stingy at the back. Before giving up two goals to San Jose, the Revs posted two shutouts over Colorado and Vancouver, showing signs that not only are they getting healthy, but they’re beginning to blend together and build good chemistry. Didier Domi is expected back, so the back four should consist of Domi, Soares, Cochrane and Alston, and those four defenders have performed well when together on the field, which should encourage Revs fans going into Saturday night. Los Angeles has not conceded more than one goal in their last five matches, and boast a tough group of veteran defenders led by Todd Dunivant and Sean Franklin. All four defenders are strong at the back and will impose their will at any cost, but if they possess it’s a weakness, it’s on set-pieces, where New England took advantage on opening night. Look for New England to be aggressive and go right at this back four to try and pressure them into a mistake. ADVANTAGE: Push. New England is healthy again and playing at home, evening the score.


MIDFIELDERS: Los Angeles’ midfield contains three of the most recognizable names and faces in MLS: Beckham, Donovan, and Juninho. Easily the best pedigree of any midfield in MLS, chock full of talent and creativity, and the ability to score at will on set pieces make this a very tough group to overcome. New England will have to counter with their stronger, more physical midfield led by Shalrie Joseph, and impose a much more physical style of play to win the midfield battle. Joseph and newcomer Benny Feilhaber have shown signs of chemistry being built, and if there ever were a night to get it all right it would be Saturday. The best way to defeat the Galaxy midfield is to slow the match down and impose a physical style of play to knock them off their strides, and that is exactly what to expect from Steve Nicol’s men in this match. ADVANTAGE: Los Angeles. It’s the best midfield in MLS, and they’ve played together for several seasons.


FORWARDS: New England continues to struggle to create chances of quality in the final third, and it’s beginning to take a toll on striker Rajko Lekic. The Danish forward has shown several outbursts of frustration of late, and if this offensive drought is to come to an end, it’s going to come from him. The Revs need to provide better service to their men up front, and until that happens it is going to be quite difficult to see results from this club. Los Angeles will counter with Chad Barret and Juan Pablo Angel, who have created a good rapport together and pose a big threat to defenses all over the league. Barrett is the more physical of the two, with JPA the more finesse styled striker. If New England are going to get a result, they’ve got to shut down this duo on set pieces. With the likes of Beckham and Donovan providing service, it’s going to take a very stout effort from the Revs’ defense to keep them out of the net. ADVANTAGE: Los Angeles.


PREDICTION: It sounds like a broken record, but until New England can provide better service to their target strikers and create better quality chances, it’s tough to see them taking points from matches against higher quality opponents. Los Angeles is coming off a mid-week fixture, and flying cross country, but there’s too much quality in their lineup to overlook. SCORE: LOS ANGELES 2 – NEW ENGLAND 0


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Galaxy 1 – Revs 1

Posted on 21 March 2011 by Matty Jollie

On a pitch that resembled the hills of Woodstock ’69 more than a professional soccer stadium, the New England Revolution produced a blue-collar effort in earning a draw with west-coast rival L.A. Galaxy 1-1 at the Home Depot Center Sunday night. The point was the Revs’ first earned on the West Coast since 2009, and kicks off the ’11 campaign with several positives to build upon, heading into Saturday’s home opener with D.C. United.

Revolution head coach Steve Nicol was faced with several lineup decisions, having to go without several key components (Kevin Alston, Ousmane Dabo and Didier Domi all were unable to go for the Revs) forcing some rather young and highly untested players into duty. Nicol opted for second year forward Zack Schilawski up top, backed up by a three man midfield consisting of Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan and first year player Stephen McCarthy who were flanked by Zak Boggs and Marko Perovic on the wings. The backline was also a bit of a piece-work effort, seeing Chris Tierney slide to left-back, center back Darrius Barnes move to right back, and then the debut for both Franco Coria and first round draft pick A.J. Soares in the center of the Revolution defense. One of the few familiar faces in their normal spot, was that of Matt Reis between the sticks, starting his 188th match in goal.

The match kicked off in front of a sparsely populated, spirited and poncho-heavy HDC, and from the opening whistle the quality of the pitch was the biggest question mark. Several spots of standing water and mud plagued the normally well-manicured playing surface, which resulted in several boot changes, and, unfortunately, a few minor injuries on both sides.

The playing surface didn’t seem to hinder the Revolution in the early stages of the match, as they found the scoresheet early when captain Shalrie Joseph nodded home a beautifully crafted left-footed cross from Serbian midfielder Marko Perovic in the third minute. The cross came after the initial corner kick (won by a solid effort from sophomore striker Schilawski) was blocked and played back to Perovic, who then bent a vicious cross back into the box that found the head of Joseph who had created just enough separation from his marker. The goal from Joseph goes down as the second fastest to open a season in New England Revolution team history, and gave the Revs a huge boost in confidence, as well as a dream start to the season.

The early go-ahead goal seemed to have the opposite effect of what one would expect, as it was the Galaxy who then picked up the pace of play and began dominating proceedings for large amounts of time over the next half hour. Team captain Landon Donovan began finding vast amounts of space all over the field as the home side exploited both Revolution flanks, leading to several scoring chances that could only be stopped by goalkeeper Matt Reis.

Not long after the Revs opened their 2011 account, the side was dealt with a significant injury blow, seeing Serbian talisman Marko Perovic replaced by Gambian midfielder Kenny Mansally, after Perovic came up slightly lame after a run. The injury didn’t seem significant, and his departure looked more of the precautionary variety, given the early stages of the season, as well as the dreadful state of the pitch.

After a controversial call that saw what seemed to be a goal from Juninho disallowed in the 16th minute, the Galaxy continued to pressure the Revolution and finally broke through on an absolute wonder-strike from the previously wronged Juninho in the 39th minute. The goal came off of what most would call a disjointed sequence of play, as the ball was initially sent in and played by rookie A.J. Soares, whose off balance clearance could only go as far as Juninho, who picked off the center back’s effort and rifled a knuckling Jabulani special past Reis.

Having equalized, the Galaxy put the foot on the accelerator even heavier and continued to create scoring opportunities (several of which were spoiled by Chad Barrett) and really were only stopped by the halftime whistle, which mercifully sounded and gave the punch-drunk Revolution a chance to regroup and recover.

The second half began with a more poised demeanor, and the run of play was pretty even for the opening ten minutes, and the match didn’t see much in the way of a scoring opportunity until a 55th minute David Beckham free kick found Mike Magee at the top of the box, who unleashed a darting, swerving effort that whistled just past the post.

As the match wore on, it was clear that it wasn’t either of the clubs that were playing center stage, it was the worsening conditions and field quality. Massive amounts of standing water and puddles began forming all over the pitch, especially in the Revolution defensive third (more specifically inside the box itself), making even the simplest of clearances an adventure. This was perfectly evident when the Revolution nearly went ahead in the 66th minute, when an initial effort from Zach Schilawski was blocked, which then saw the ball somehow skip across the wet surface to an open Shalrie Joseph, whose effort found the right post and bounced back out to a Galaxy defender.

The two sides made a few changes to their lineup in the second half as the match wore on (New England brought on Nyassi for Schilawski in the 74th and L.A. included Cardozo and Angel in the 63rd) to try and change things up, but it was the weather that played the starring role on this night. The final attempt at goal came from the Galaxy, when a beautifully weighted chip from David Beckham found Juan Pablo Angel behind the Revolution back line, however the resulting goal was called back due to a very close, but correct offside call.

The match ended with the score knotted up at one, giving the Galaxy a total of four points from their first two matches (Los Angeles defeated Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Tuesday night) and kicked off the Revolution’s campaign with a hard earned, well fought point.

New England now takes the long flight home back to the East Coast in preparations for their home opener on Saturday against Charlie Davies and newly-reinvigorated D.C. United, as Los Angeles heads to Salt Lake City and Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Wester Conference rival Real Salt Lake.

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Thunderstruck: RSL hand Galaxy first defeat of the season

Posted on 10 June 2010 by Patrick McShane

Lightening struck twice for Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night as they overcame a 37-minute lightening storm delay to later claim a controversial goal and a hard-fought 1-0 victory over league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy. With the victory RSL not only handed the Galaxy their first loss of the season, but they also continue their hot form as they are undefeated in their past seven matches and unbeaten at home in over 16 league matches. While the validity of the game-winning goal can be questioned, RSL were easily the better side all night long and continually put themselves into position to earn the victory.

Comparable to a grudge match between two gladiators rather than a beautiful display, the match carried a physical and urgent tone from the opening whistle and never let up. The Galaxy demonstrated why they’re running away with the Supporters’ Shield this season, remaining organized and tactically smart throughout the match despite missing many of their stars due to World Cup duty or injury. Comparatively, RSL did a valiant job breaking down the Galaxy defensive front throughout the match, earning 6 corner kicks in the first half alone, and created the majority of the dangerous chances throughout the match.

After the match, RSL coach Jason Kreis acknowledged the difficulties they face while trying to overcome a tough Galaxy side. “I just think they’re a really mature, composed, compact, and organized team defensively. They make things extremely difficult to break down. As I saw tonight, it was extremely difficult to get that goal. Interesting that it comes off a bit of a misplay.”

Much of the match was played in the middle of the pitch with both squads trying to make something magical happen in hopes of surprising their opponents. This resulted in a great deal of sloppy play by both sides and most of the attempts on goal coming from either long-range blasts or haphazard chaos in the box after a miscue. RSL finally found the much-desired breakthrough in the 80th minute after a nice bit of combination play between Alvaro Saborío, Javier Morales, and substitute Pablo Campos coupled with a questionable decision by referee Edvin Jurisevic.

Despite the nifty passing and interplay, Campos found himself deep in the Galaxy’s defensive third with nowhere to go. While Campos cut back to try and find an open space to pass or shoot, Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens was able to catch up and knock the ball away. Unfortunately for Galaxy fans, and particularly keeper Donovan Ricketts, the deflected ball fell to Morales who had little work to do to casually slot the ball home thanks to being in what appeared to be a painfully offside position. While the Galaxy squad reacted in anger to the allowed goal, RSL players and the 19,513 fans in attendance celebrated a hard-fought and meaningful result.

The remainder of the match was an intense and heated affair, with both sides exchanging words and almost coming to blows on multiple occasions. Galaxy midfielder Juninho highlighted the anxiety of the final minutes with a goal-bound blast from 25 yards out that required a frantic diving save from RSL keeper Nick Rimando. Despite the pressure and final flurry it was RSL’s night as stoppage time wound down. RSL enter the much needed World Cup break on a high and now have the ability to heal and hope to get back many of the injured players they have lost over the past two weeks. Noted Kreis: “We end up on a really positive note. I am really pleased with where we are right now. We can take a little bit of a breather now and relax and enjoy some time off.”

REAL SALT LAKE (7-3-2, 23 pts.) v. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (10-1-2, 32 pts.)

Scoring Summary:
RSL – Javier Morales 4 (unassisted) 80

Misconduct Summary:
LA — Juninho (caution; Tactical Foul) 20
RSL — Andy Williams (caution; Tactical Foul) 63
?RSL — Javier Morales (caution; Shirt Removal) 81
?LA — Omar Gonzalez (caution; Tactical Foul) 85 ?
Los Angeles Galaxy (4-4-2) — Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall, Juninho, Alex Cazumba (Eddie Lewis 78), Jovan Kirovski (Clint Mathis 63), Tristan Bowen (Alan Gordon 72).

Statistics: SHOTS: 7 (Juninho 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players with 1); SAVES: 2 (Ricketts 2); FOULS: 12 (3 players with 2); CORNERS: 4 (Mathis 2); OFFSIDES: 2 (Dunivant, Kirovski 1)
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2) — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran (Chris Wingert 60), Andy Williams (Collen Warner 78), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborío, Fabian Espíndola (Pablo Campos 64).

Statistics: SHOTS: 9 (3 players with 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players with 1); SAVES: 3 (Rimando 3); FOULS: 11 (Saborío 4); CORNERS: 10 (Morales 9); OFFSIDES: 1 (Saborío 1)

Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee’s Assistants: Frank Anderson; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Weather: Cloudy-and-78-degrees / Attendance: 19,513

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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Podcast: The Midnight Ride Revoultion Recap

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Hank Alexandre

Hank Alexandre, Sean Donahue and Brian O’Connell return to the airwaves despite annoying technical difficulties and audio issues. This week’s discussion includes a recap of last week’s game vs LA, and a quick look at this week’s game against DC. Also, who will be the left back and more importantly, why do the Revs now have 5 left sided midfielders?

Click here for the podcast

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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).


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


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.

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.

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Quakes Win Final California Clasico

Posted on 04 August 2008 by Evan White

A goal by Ryan Cochrane in the 90th minute broke a 2-2 tie and gave the San Jose Earthquakes a 3-2 victory–their first win in nearly two months.

With so many new faces on the front line for San Jose, players might not have even noticed the difference between McAfee Coliseum and last week’s host Buck Shaw Stadium. Four of the six midfielders and forwards had less McAfee Coliseum experience than the entire Los Angeles squad, including Arturo Alvarez who was making his Earthquake premier. Alvarez did not disappoint as his goal in the 8th minute gave the Quakes a quick lead. Goals by Darren Huckerby and Cochrane followed, giving San Jose their highest offense output of the season. Scores by the Galaxy’s Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan kept the game close, but the day belonged to the Earthquakes.

“It feels good to win in front of our fans,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop said after the game. “We had some good chances to score some more goals. All in all, it was a terrific game for us. We were obviously not happy for the two goals that LA scored, but sometimes you’re a little bit vulnerable. We had a terrific comeback in the last couple of minutes of the game, and it showed character in the team.”

The Quakes came out aggressively and made the most of their opportunities. Forward Scott Sealy, in his third game with San Jose, provided a high energy style reminiscent of Ryan Johnson who was sitting on the bench. After a Galaxy turnover near midfield, Sealy received a lofted pass with space on the left side. Penetrating towards the heart of the LA defense, he was able to slot the ball to an open Arturo Alvarez. Alvarez maneuvered around one defender, and slid the ball just past the diving keeper Steve Cronin. He did not waste time in providing an impact, becoming the second Earthquake in as many weeks to score a goal in his SJ debut.

“It felt really good to get the goal,” Alvarez said. “Obviously it’s my first game in three years with the Earthquakes. It’s not a bad way to start. Hopefully I can bring in more goals.”

Moments later the Galaxy mounted a counter attack, pouncing on the Earthquake’s and the crowd’s celebration. A cross provided Edson Buddle, the hero of the last Clasico meeting, with an open touch shot at the goal. The ball was sent high off the forward’s right foot, lofting into the small group of “Galaxians” behind the goal.

The Earthquakes kept up their pressure. In the 16th minute Ronnie O’Brien found a bit of separation on the right flank that gave him a clear path down the sideline, but his cross couldn’t find a recipient and was knocked away from danger.

A minute later a SJ turnover gave David Beckham acres of land on the right side. As Beckham charged towards the goal, no defender was near enough to challenge a potential shot on goal. Luckily for the Earthquakes, Beckham tried to slide the ball to a trailing teammate, but the Earthquake defenders diffused the effort.

When asked after the game if he chooses to pass too quickly because he’s so good at it, Beckham said, “I do what I see. I saw Alan Gordon in the middle with a better opportunity than me to score. I tried to find him, and it just wasn’t a good pass.”

In the 29th minute Alvarez had the opportunity to score his second goal of the game, a header off of an O’Brien cross. Even with good placement, the header was snagged by Cronin to keep the game close.

LA almost equalized on an Ante Jazic cross from the left, but the header was sent past a diving Joe Cannon and just wide of the post.

The Earthquakes responded quickly in the 40th minute as Eric Denton advanced the ball up the left side. A pass to Huckerby left him with just one defender to beat–Chris Klein who slipped. Huckerby continued into the LA penalty box near the end line. Even with the tricky angle, Huckerby was able to fire the shot past the diving keeper and clip the inside of the far post. With his second goal in as many games with San Jose, Huckerby pulled to within one of Ryan Johnson for the team lead.

“It was a good ball from Eric (Denton),” Huckerby said. “and I knew it was one-on-one, and I just got by them. I was looking to pass it to Scott (Sealy), but he got blocked off so I took the ball to the corner, and it worked.”

A 2-0 deficit may have been the proverbial shot in the arm for the LA attack. Two minutes after Huckerby’s goal, Beckham found himself with an indirect kick from the right channel. His chip was headed high by a member of the LA goal-mouth mob, which was punched away by Cannon. Beckham again found himself with separation on the side. His cross was perfectly placed to the head of co-star Donovan, who re-positioned the cross past a diving Cannon for the goal.

Donovan was followed by a constant stream of boos every time he touched the ball, but his 42nd minute goal momentarily silenced the crowd.

San Jose two goals going into halftime were the first they had scored against their SoCal rivals all season.

The second half would begin much like the first, with the Earthquakes relentlessly attacking and setting the tempo. Sealy had possession deep in the box, but was unable to get off a clean kick as he was hounded by the Galaxy defense. His shot was directly at the keeper, but Cronin bobbled the ball. With Alvarez in the vicinity, the Galaxy defense had no option but to clear the ball quickly.

Galaxy defender Chris Klein had trouble all afternoon with the Earthquake’s attackers, almost getting beat for a goal again by Sealy. After a few moments of possession with his back to the goal, Sealy spun left evading Kline, but rifled his shot off of the cross bar and out of play.

The Galaxy continued to struggle against the stringent SJ back line, but almost found another goal off a Beckham indirect kick. In almost the same position as his first, Beckham bent a pass that was barely deflected by a leaping Cannon. With the ball squirting out towards the center of play, and Cannon still sprawled on the field from his effort, the Earthquakes were fortunate to come out with possession.

After a prolonged period of unsuccessful advances on the SJ defense, the Galaxy was able to break through with Mike Randolph handling the ball just outside the penalty box. Weaving in and out of defenders, Randolph was just in front of the goal hounded by defenders. He flung a shot at the goal, which was again stopped by a diving Joe Cannon.

The same sort of blasé passing at midfield earned Ronnie O’Brien an open shot on goal, as a cross-field pass coupled with an O’Brien ball fake game him an open lane at the goal. His shot in the 72nd minute trickled just wide of the post and past a diving Cronin.

The highest scoring team in the MLS would not be held to one goal for long. Earthquake nemesis Edson Buddle dribbled through three SJ defenders and slipped a low shot just under Cannon’s outstretched arm for an unassisted score in the 76th minute.

In the 89th minute Ryan Cochrane broke through. Cronin knocked away a Corrales cross right to Huckerby who drove it right back to Cronin. This time, Cochrane recovered the rebound eight yards out and drilled the shot into the back of the net for the game winning goal.

Cochrane was as stunned by his goal as the Galaxy. “I really don’t know what happened,” he said. “The ball was just loose, and I was hanging around the area. I almost gave up on it, but thought I would stay down there and hopefully something would come up.”

A few last-minute Galaxy attempts drew the crowd to their edge of their seats, but the last moments of the clock melted away quickly.

Alvarez discussed returning the Quakes after a three year hiatus with FC Dallas. “It feels good to be back. I forgot how nice the weather was here. I’ve been in Dallas for three years, and I’m also from Houston, and it’s pretty hot there. But I’m happy to be back in the beautiful California weather.”


Match Facts

Los Angeles Galaxy (6-8-5) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (4-9-6)
August 03, 2008 — McAfee Coliseum

Scoring Summary:
SJ — Arturo Alvarez 4 (Scott Sealy 1, Darren Huckerby 1) 8
SJ — Darren Huckerby 2 (Eric Denton 1) 40
LA — Landon Donovan 13 (David Beckham 8) 42
LA — Edson Buddle 12 (unassisted) 76
SJ — Ryan Cochrane 1 (unassisted) 90


Los Angeles Galaxy — Steve Cronin, Chris Klein (Carlos Ruiz 76), Sean Franklin, Greg Vanney, Ante Jazic, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Peter Vagenas, Ely Allen (Mike Randolph 46), Edson Buddle, Alan Gordon,

Substitutes Not Used: Alvaro Pires, Eduardo Dominguez, Mike Munoz, Josh Wicks

San Jose Earthquakes — Joe Cannon, Jason Hernandez, Ryan Cochrane, Nick Garcia, Eric Denton, Arturo Alvarez, Ronnie O’Brien (Ryan Johnson 82), Ramiro Corrales, Francisco Lima, Darren Huckerby, Scott Sealy (Jovan Kirovski 92+),

Substitutes Not Used: John Cunliffe, Kelly Gray, Michael Gustavson, James Riley, Shea Salinas

Misconduct Summary:
SJ — Ryan Cochrane (caution; Reckless Foul) 46
LA — Landon Donovan (caution; Tackle from Behind) 73

Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee’s Assistants: Paul Scott; Greg Boles
4th official: Yader Reyes
time of game: 1:55
attendance: 26,071
weather: Clear -and- 70 degrees

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Can the rest of MLS survive the Beckham effect?

Posted on 14 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Watching TFC’s future Canada Cup opponent Vancouver Whitecaps taking on David Beckham and his LA Galaxy side on Tuesday night, we were once again treated to a packed stadium of pre-teen girls cheering on Beckham and generally paying little attention to the game at hand.

This situation was common in the midfielder’s first MLS campaign last year and has been seen across North American stadia so far in 2008. Red Bull New York saw 66 000 fill Giants Stadium last year for the visit of the Galaxy, while their average attendance for the year was just 16 530.

Naturally, with such a powerful marketing tool in Beckham, the league has seen an increase in gate receipts and advertising revenue. By the next collective bargaining agreement, the players are sure to see a wage increase to account for this increased profitability, with the league’s hope being that the Major League Soccer brand will have grown enough to sustain itself after Beckham’s ultimate departure from the league.

However, the signs seem to indicate that f the league doesn’t make significant contingency plans to cover itself in the post-Beckham period, MLS could be facing bigger problems than finding time to schedule enough money-spinning friendlies involving the Galaxy.


media darling

For their part, Toronto FC seem better-equipped than most to handle the eventual transition. Even before the league announced his signing on the first day of 2007, Toronto’s season-ticket sales were going well; and you get the feeling that BMO Field would face sell-outs regardless of the English midfielder’s participating in this league. In fact, Beckham isn’t likely to make his Toronto debut until the All-Star game this summer.

The truth is, for all their investment in youth programs and big-name foreign stars, David Beckham is irreplaceable. As a marketing tool, he has proved a valuable commodity at whatever club he’s been at — the Galaxy reported a massive 700% increase in annual jersey sales at the end of 2007.

Ahead of Beckham’s arrival stateside, Jonathan Bronitsky of the American looked ahead to the future:

“Although profits will be made, they will be short-lived, reflecting the star rather than his sport. And David Beckham, just like his predecessors, will fail at luring Americans to ‘the beautiful game.'”

With the impending drop-off not just in merchandising but ultimately fan interest and corporate sponsorships, MLS teams without a solid fanbase may be forced to adjust to drastically different financial circumstances in the coming seasons.

With a well-grounded infrastructure built on a developed marketing plan and involvement in the community, the league’s “have” clubs look set to revel in a new era of profitability even after Beckham’s departure from the league. From their perspective, the Englishman will act as a valuable stimulant to the league, leaving it stronger than when he arrived.

Perhaps this is where MLS’ parity will finally face its greatest test — playing squads may be kept in competitive check by the salary cap, but how will the front offices cope with the absence of the Beckham effect? Small-market MLS franchises may find their very futures in doubt.

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New era at TFC?

Posted on 13 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC fan sites were flooded with words of praise for the club on Sunday night, as those who weren’t part of the few that travelled to Los Angeles this weekend jumped online to celebrate their club’s first win of 2008. Read the full match report here.

The win gives TFC their first points of 2008, tightening things up in the Eastern conference early on and showing a vast improvement on the side’s 0 and 4 start to last year’s campaign. Three points from as many away matches is a decent return for the Reds, but having lost to two of their Eastern Conference rivals in the past two weeks meant that John Carver had to find a way to motivate his side to earn a result in Los Angeles.

The Galaxy had the best of the early exchanges but Greg Sutton was on hand to deny Landon Donovan on more than one occasion. Danny Dichio scored late in the first half after the Galaxy defence failed to clear a long ball from Guevara, but a lack of composure from the away side seemed to be at fault for Donovan’s quick equalizer. In the second, Jarrod Smith regained the lead for Toronto but a Donovan penalty pegged it back. In the late stages under the California sun, Jeff Cunningham’s late finish made it 3-2, and finally the Reds were able to hold on.


Toronto’s recent signings didn’t gel right away, getting overrun at times in the first half, but Greg Sutton’s goalkeeping kept the match in reach for his teammates. A lack of teamwork may have been at fault with Donovan’s instant reply to Dichio’s strike, but new boys Smith and Guevara shone in the second half.

Not only was it Toronto’s second away win in their short history, but this match may have marked a turning point for the young franchise in being the first time they had won largely against the run of play. The smash-and-grab raid reflected the Toronto forwards’ willingness to take their chances, which came with increasing frequency as Laurent Robert and Guevara asserted themselves in the midfield.

The one-touch passing in the side’s build-up to the third goal, after 80 minutes under intense heat, was a joy to watch — for arguably the first time since Toronto’s 4-0 win over FC Dallas last season, they were playing the beautiful game, well, beautifully. Guevara and Maurice Edu in particular were impressive in the center of the park.

One flaw in Toronto’s game was the slack defending from Marco Vélez, who may have lost concentration in the heat when he clumsily handled David Beckham’s cross to concede the penalty from which Donovan scored his second equalizer. Andy Boyens, the Kiwi centerback who made 23 appearances last season, has yet to play this year and is rumoured to be on his way out of the club to make room for the recent senior international signings.

Galaxy fans may have pointed to Cunningham’s manhandling of the last man back just ahead of his goal at the death, but in truth that goal had come just minutes after Beckham was lucky to avoid a call after making contact with a streaking Cunningham just outside the box.

Marvell Wynne covered a lot of ground on the right side and is quickly establishing himself as one of the league’s best fullbacks. Carver will be hard-pressed to adjust to his departure to the Beijing Olympics along with Maurice Edu later this year, with Kevin Harmse and youth player Nana Attakora-Gyan the immediate options to replace Wynne.

With three points in the bag, Toronto will be confident ahead of their home opener against Real Salt Lake on the 19th — but one look at the standings reveals just how competitive the league is. After TFC’s win, only four points separated first from seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Rohan Ricketts has joined up with the squad and may start against Salt Lake, while rumours of Olivier Tébily taking Vélez’s starting spot in the backline before next week persist on fan sites. If the club’s performance against the LA weather, players and arguably the official is anything to go by, they may make a serious push for a debut appearance in the league playoffs come October.

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TFC, new signings head to Hollywood circus

Posted on 11 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC’s 0 and 2 start to the 2008 Major League Soccer season has some fans looking angrily back towards last year’s inaugural campaign, where they lost their first four matches going scoreless in the process. A 2-0 loss in Chivas last year was followed by a 4-0 rout in New England, and it was deja vu this year, with the club falling by a deuce in Columbus and looking set to lose by four at DC United. There was one crucial difference, however, as Maurice Edu popped up at the death to send a looping header past United keeper Zach Wells to make it 4-1 — a minor blip on the scoresheet, perhaps, but a moment that could resonate with the confidence of Edu and his TFC teammates.

Ahead of Sunday’s visit to LA Galaxy, Edu, who was last season’s rookie of the year, will be joined in the midfield by two new arrivals. Laurent Robert joined the club in time to take part in the DC loss and looked bright, but it was a case of being the best of a bad bunch against the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup semifinalists. Another attacking player, Amado Guevara, has been signed in time for the LA trip and is likely to slot in at the head of a five-man midfield with Edu and Carl Robinson behind him.

The Honduran midfielder, 2005 league MVP with New York Red Bull, has been playing in his native country with Motagua after falling out with Chivas USA management at the start of last season. While his temperament means that the top MLS clubs weren’t lining up to re-sign the enigmatic midfielder, the BMO Field faithful are hoping that a sold out stadium with a passionate fan base will bring the best out of Guevara. Until his signing, the club were lacking options in midfield, forced to play either a flat four or a five-man line with youngster Tyler Hemming in the center.

With the midfield set, the only question marks for the Reds relates to the starting positions at the front and back. Head coach John Carver will have to choose between Jeff Cunningham’s pace and Danny Dichio’s power at the business end of the pitch, while defenders Tyrone Marshall and Marco Velez weren’t at their best in Washington, conceding two goals in the first six minutes. The alternative, New Zealand international defender Andrew Boyens, doesn’t seem to have made an impression on Carver in preseason despite a fine 2007 campaign.
More signings could be on the way to Toronto. Former Birmingham defender Olivier Tébily has been spotted on trial in the Queen City having dinner with Robert. The French defender would offer much-needed stability to the back line, and will have been hoping to impress Carver along with fellow triallist Rohan Ricketts. The ex-Barnsley winger would fill a gap on the right side of TFC’s midfield.

For Los Angeles, starting a season with a healthy David Beckham is better than any new signing, although new arrival Carlos Ruiz has provided much-needed ammunition up front. Along with Landon Donovan, Beckham struck against traditional rivals San Jose Earthquakes last week to earn the club’s first win of 2008. LA will be looking to make it two wins from two at the Home Depot Center and pass the .500 mark after starting the season with a 4-0 loss in Colorado.

Each squad has one player who might have some inside information on the opposition. Canadian Kevin Harmse was a regular in Ruud Gullit’s Galaxy squad last season, the hard-tackling foil to Beckham and Donovan’s flair. He joined up with Toronto in the offseason, and while Harmse will miss out on the LA game after his ejection in DC, his knowledge of their tactics will almost certainly have been utilized by the TFC management. Striker Edson Buddle went in the opposite direction early last season, and much has changed at both clubs since his move, but he knows first-hand what it’s like playing alongside Danny Dichio and — from this brief spell in New York — Amado Guevara.

Much is at stake for both sides, with Toronto eager to enter their home opener on April 19th with at least one point in the bag. Finding a winning momentum early on could be the difference in TFC’s playoff hunt. For manager Gullit and his Los Angeles side, every home game means pressure to succeed in front of the HDC crowd and the world media. Much will depend on how quickly the Canadian club’s new signings adjust to life in their new surroundings, with a trial by fire awaiting them in LA.

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