Tag Archive | "LA"

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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.)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

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 ?
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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)
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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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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.

Beckham

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.

{democracy:4}

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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