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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 9: A Braun-y win for Chivas USA

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

It was a Western Conference dominated week in Major League Soccer. Chivas USA registered the upset of the week and possibly the season over Theirry Henry and the Red Bulls, thanks to their hero of 2010 (as well as this week’s Player of the Week). FC Dallas took six points, showing worrywarts that they’ll be good no matter what. Los Angeles was just a shade behind, grabbing four points but more importantly, the play of Beckham, Donovan, and Angel continues to gel, a welcomed sign for Galaxy fans. Last but not least, Frank Yallop and San Jose unleashed a statement performance against Columbus with 2010’s Golden Boot winner Wondolowski at the center of the action. Will the Eastern Conference bounce back?

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 9

GK: Matt Reis, New England

Shalrie Joseph converted the games only goal and Vancouver’s woes continued but that’s not to say they didn’t put up one hell of a fight. Reis made a clutch save on Omar Salgado late in the game to preserve the three points. His performance, in concert with the play of a younger Revs backline featuring Alston, Soares, and Barnes, extended the Whitecaps winless streak to 10 games.

DEF: Mamadou Danso, Portland

It was deja vu for Timbers fans. Danso, the hero against Philadelphia, reprised his role – this time to equalize – in the first Cascadia derby. Portland continues to show a knack for putting away set pieces but more importantly, their defense has shored things up after a shoddy start to the season. Danso is a big part of that, keeping – for the most part – tabs on Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero and ensuring that the Timbers come just a little bit closer to shedding that “expansion” tag once and for all. This is Danso’s 2nd consecutive selection in the Best XI.

DEF: George John, FC Dallas

After a little hiatus, John is back and he certainly deserves to be. John was a key man in the Hoops double dose of shutouts in Week 9. First, a midweek 1-0 shutout over Toronto FC in which John and the last line of defense, Kevin Hartman, kept Plata and company at bay. The Union then came to town and the 2nd year central defender neutralized the threat of last year’s biggest surprise Sebastien Le Toux.  John has been selected to the Best XI three out of the last four weeks.

DEF: Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake

Played a big role in the defensive deadlock, helping to shut down Houston’s rookie on fire Will Bruin. Salt Lake is having a bit of a offensive crisis right now but the defense is still incredibly solid. Borchers and Olave are arguably the best central defense pairing in the league and their good play will help Salt Lake weather the shock of losing Javi Morales and the CONCACAF Champions League.

MID: Corben Bone, Chicago

Probably his best game in a Fire shirt, it’s clear that more playing time has done Corben some good. The second year midfielder finds himself selected for the first time after a spirited showing against Toronto FC, pulling the strings in the attack. He had a hand in both goals and if the Fire defense can tighten things up, Chicago should bound out of the Eastern Conference basement.

MID: Ryan Johnson, San Jose

There are very few in the league that can match Johnson’s work ethic and determination, two skills that worked wonders against a previously staunch Crew backline. The Jamaican ruled the left flank and served in several killer crosses, one finding Wondolowski for the first goal of the game. The Quakes then rattled off two more goals making it 3-0 in just over 12 minutes, a scene Frank Yallop would welcome more often.

MID: Chris Wondolowski, San Jose

We’re well past the stage where Wondolowski can be treated as a Major League Soccer reserve player but, to many, people wonder how he continues to score. He brought his total up to five for the season with the gamewinner in a resounding 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew. He’s a true poacher now and as the Quakes hit their stride, it’ll be hard to keep him away from double digits in the scoring department for a second straight season. It’s his second appearance in the Best XI this season.

MID: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles

Once Donovan catches fire, it’s hard to cool him off. The veteran, now linked with a move to AS Roma, hit for two more in a 4-1 romp of Sporting Kansas City. He was everywhere, picking apart a tough working Kansas City midfield and blowing open a game that was 1-1 at the half. Midweek, Donovan scored the opener in a 1-1 tie at PPL Park, a game that Bruce Arena and Donovan’s Galaxy teammates felt hard done not to win. Surprisingly, this is only his second time in ASN’s Best XI in 2011. So far, that is.

Courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

FWD: Justin Braun, Chivas USA *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Braun made the statement of his young career. After suffering a long scoring drought to start the season, Braun exploded for a hat-trick against the New York Red Bulls to help Chivas USA win 3-2 away from home. Last year’s revelation for the Goats, Braun opened things up early on before answering two equalizers and securing the upset. If Braun is to make this a long-term thing, Chivas USA may make their way up the table.

FWD: Joao Plata, Toronto FC

One of the better players on the field midweek vs. FC Dallas, Plata is quickly making a name for himself in Toronto and beyond. His performance against Chicago, however, continues to accelerate that trend. TFC fans can thank Jon Conway for one of the goals but Plata’s productive performance (a goal and an assist) put him on the Best XI for the second week in a row.

FWD: Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas

There is no way one can fully replace the services that a David Ferreira provides. The young Castillo, and fellow Colombian, is trying his hardest though. A goal and an assist against Philadelphia’s stingy defense is the perfect way to dull a reality that undoubtedly is still sinking in for Hoops fans. FC Dallas themselves, however, haven’t been too worried – racking up four wins in their last five games.

Bench: Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Andre Hainault (Houston), Alvaro Fernandez (Seattle), Simon Elliott (San Jose), Shalrie Joseph (New England), Cory Gibbs (Chicago), Chris Pontius (DC United), Perry Kitchen (DC United), Steven Lenhart (San Jose), Chad Barrett (Los Angeles)

ARCHIVES:

MLS Best XI, Week 8

MLS Best XI, Week 7

MLS Best XI, Week 6

MLS Best XI, Week 5

MLS Best XI, Week 4

MLS Best XI, Week 3

MLS Best XI, Week 2

MLS Best XI, Week 1

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Mwanga grabs important first goal in scrappy Union tie

Posted on 12 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Like in 2010, will his equalizer be the first of many in 2011?

Two years ago from yesterday, the Union formally came in to being. Full house, beautiful night, an absence of any David Beckham hubbub. What better way to celebrate your naming “anniversary” than with a last-gasp equalizer to grab a point against one of the best teams in Major League Soccer?

Head coach for day John Hackworth can think of many. He wanted the win.

The Union were unhappy not to get the full three points, especially amidst a packed house spurring them on as McInerney, Mwanga, Ruiz, and Le Toux grabbed the equalizer and had 10 minutes to find more.

Regardless, it’s a new team attitude in 2011 as they showed resolve after going down early. It was undoubtedly a shaky start for the Union, tested early by the fast paced and fluid Los Angeles attack led by Landon Donovan. It was hard to tell who was the home squad as the Galaxy committed men forward, took chances, and forced the Union defense to scramble. It paid off. In the 24th minute, Juan Pablo Angel’s run into the box was halted as he overstepped the ball. Califf bit and an open opportunity, shielded by Angel, allowed Donovan to step right up to squeeze a shot right past Mondragon’s left. Apparently, a defecit was all the Union needed to step things up. From the 24th minute on, it’s fair to say the Union were the better team.

Bruce Arena would disagree but for Philadelphia, the passes started to string together, Carlos Ruiz and Le Toux started to find the ball more, and chances began to materialize. Sheanon Williams’ forays into the attack were productive, one leading to a near post opportunity for Ruiz in the 34th minute. Both backs, for that matter, were competent in juggling their offensive and defensive duties – a key to the Union staying relevant on attack.

The insertion of Danny Mwanga into the match at the outset of the second half made clear to all of Hackworth’s intentions for the final 45 minutes. Mwanga was instructed to sit in between the Galaxy’s midfield and defensive line and exploit that space. Early on, however, that space wasn’t there. As the half wore on, it was evident he was getting more and more time on the ball. The Galaxy defense held strong, however, with Omar Gonzalez limiting Le Toux’s inclusion and stifling any sort of meaningful involvement of Carlos Ruiz. Once the element of urgency entered into the equation, Mwanga started to find space and allowed him to pressure more, a key to the Galaxy’s costly mistake. It was a scrappy goal but the continued pressure of the Union attack led Sean Franklin to drop an errant backpass that was easily intercepted by Mwanga in the 84th minute. He rounded a sprawling Ricketts and slotted a tight angle shot past AJ DeLaGarza to tie the game up. After that, the young striker played like a man possessed, almost registering a game-winning assist in injury time. Once again beating Franklin, this time on a 30 yard touchline run, he delivered a dangerous cross in to Jack McInerney at the back post. McInerney leapt but couldn’t nod it home.  

The Union were unlucky to get another in the last ten minutes but it should be noted, during that same time, the Union defense thwarted any meaningful Galaxy counter. Faryd Mondragon expertly played his part when he was called upon. A commitment to attack meant Donovan and company had space to manuever if possession was lost. Mondragon’s biggest save came on a 64th minute one-on-one stop of midfielder Chris Birchall after he was put through on net. Unfortunately, on a goal kick later in the half, Mondragon seemed to strain something painful enough for him to ask for a substitution. It is still uncertain how that will affect his availability for Saturday’s game in Frisco.

With the tie, the Union registered their first point against the Galaxy and move to 4-2-2, good for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.  The Union will have a tough turnaround and a big test against FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park this Saturday.

Philadelphia Starting XI

———————-Mondragon————————-

Williams——-Califf———-Valdes———-Harvey

————————-Carroll—————————-

Mapp—————Nakazawa——————–Daniel

——————Ruiz———Le Toux——————–

Los Angeles Starting XI

————————–Ricketts—————————

Franklin——Gonzalez——-DeLaGarza—-Dunivant

Birchall——Juninho——-Donovan———Stephens

——————Angel———-Lopez———————

Scoring Summary:
LA — Landon Donovan 5 (unassisted) 24
PHI — Danny Mwanga 1 (unassisted) 83

Misconduct Summary:
LA — Chris Birchall (caution; Reckless Foul) 30
PHI — Brian Carroll (caution; Shirt Removal) 58
PHI — Roger Torres (caution; Reckless Tackle) 76
LA — Omar Gonzalez (caution; Delaying a Restart) 78
PHI — Danny Mwanga (caution; Shirt Removal) 83
LA — A.J. DeLaGarza (caution; Reckless Foul) 87
PHI — Sheanon Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 92+

Lineups:
LA Galaxy —
Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Michael Stephens (Hector Jimenez 89), Juan Pablo Angel (Chad Barrett 89), Miguel Lopez (Jovan Kirovski 82).
Substitutes Not Used: Gregg Berhalter, Paolo Cardozo, Frankie Hejduk, Josh Saunders.

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey (Jack McInerney 80), Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa (Roger Torres 66), Keon Daniel (Danny Mwanga 46), Justin Mapp, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.

Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee’s Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer
4th Official: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees
Attendance: 19,178

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Game #8 Preview: Los Angeles at Philadelphia

Posted on 10 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union return to PPL Park after a loss at JELD-WEN Field this past Friday night. A Futty Danso goal on yet another set piece sunk the Union but in essence, the Philadelphia defense – even with the absence of Harvey and Califf – did their job. The Union offense, however, did not. It was Philly’s sixth 1-0 scoreline in seven games this season. Could a possible changes spur the Union attack or will Ruiz, Le Toux and company finally gel? Or will it be all defense in Philadelphia’s rematch with Landon Donovan and the Galaxy?

Los Angeles Galaxy (4-2-4) at Philadelphia Union (4-2-1)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 7:30PM EST, TCN
PPL Park, Philadelphia, PA

Los Angeles Galaxy Probable Starting XI

——————————–Ricketts——————————

Franklin———–Gonzalez———–DeLaGarza—–Dunivant

Donovan———–Beckham———-Juninho———–Magee

———————–Angel————-Barrett——————–

OUT: DF Leonardo (R knee ACL/LCL tear); DF Sean Alvarado (R knee ACL strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain); FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery); MF Miguel Lopez (L knee contusion)

Philadelphia Union Probable Starting XI

——————————Mondragon—————————–

Williams————Califf—————-Valdes————Harvey

———————-Carroll————–Okugo———————-

Le Toux———————————————————Daniel

———————-Mwanga————-C. Ruiz———————

OUT: GK Thorne Holder (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain)

Game Notes:

If you feel like it hasn’t been too long since we’ve seen the Galaxy, you would be right. The Union were dealt their first loss of the season, 1-0, at the Home Depot Center a little more than 5 weeks ago (April 2). Aside from the Leonardo gamewinner off of a Galaxy set piece (sounds familiar right? Danso anybody?), the Union defense looked solid even away from home. The inability for the Union offense to find net – even with a man advantage – and one real let down on the set piece sent the Union back to Philadelphia with nothing. If we’re still comparing seasons, however, a 1-0 loss is palatable when compared to that 3-1 drubbing in 2010?

Unfortunately, the only thing rosy about the Union’s all-time performance against the Galaxy is their last two meetings – both 1-0 losses. Los Angeles leads the all-time series 3-0-0. The first goal will be vital for each team. Both are 4-0-1 when scoring first.  

The Galaxy are coming off of a 1-1 tie with Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls in a match that proved to be one of the most entertaining of the new season. Henry struck first before Donovan equalized. Several near misses and great play from both teams kept things interesting until the very end. That game, however, played late Saturday night and the cross country travel for a mid-week fixture could have an effect on the Galaxy players.

Jordan Harvey will be back from suspension which should see the back four back in action – Williams, Califf, Valdes, and Harvey. Michael Farfan, in his two appearances, showed big promise for future playing time and may have even worked his way into future lineups. Harvey is considered an iron man when it comes to minutes so unfortunately, something would have to happen to the veteran for Farfan to take over that left flank.

David Beckham has looked impressive in his central role, orchestrating the Galaxy’s offense with pinpoint through balls and switches. Landon Donovan has disappeared in games but always seems to come to life when the Galaxy most need him. Angel has looked increasingly more dangerous as the games go on and he gels with the Galaxy offensive set-up. Still, over 500 minutes and only one goal for the Red Bulls’ all-time leading scorer.

Assistant Coach John Hackworth will be the one barking orders from the touchline vs. Los Angeles. Piotr Nowak is in Poland for a “Match of Stars” Charity Event with the likes of Lothar Mattheus, Davor Suker, and Hristo Stoichkov held in Poznan. He will return in time for the Union’s trip this Saturday, May 12th, to Pizza Hut Park.

The Union fell to #6 in MLSSoccer.com’s Power Rankings. The Galaxy remained at #3.

Birnis Adames, a Camden, NJ native, won this year’s installment of Sueno MLS and a spot in the Union’s youth academy. The 18 year old scored four goals in the final round held in Dallas, Texas making him a clear favorite to win. It wasn’t confirmed until announced on Republica Deportiva this past Sunday. Check out Birnis’ profile here from the tryouts in Philadelphia. Another Jorge Flores in the making?

By the way, the Philadelphia Union/Broad Street Run Photo Contest has a winner! And it is Crissie Prescott! Quick post to come! Faced by the good problem of having a team to run with, Crissie had to get creative. We’re talking college party, Sharpie-fun creative! $25 gift card heading to her and congrats on the PR. As we weren’t able to get as many participants as we had hoped, only a first prize will be given out this time around. We will be sure to give more time before next year’s Broad Street Run. Thanks to all that participated!

Predict the Scoreline

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 6: Henry and Donovan awake from slumber

Posted on 27 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The season rolls on even after a weekend marred by the loss of two of Major League Soccer’s most exciting attacking talents in Steve Zakuani and David Ferreira. Zakuani suffered a broken fibula and tibia after a rash challenge from Colorado’s Brian Mullan while reigning MLS MVP Ferreira fell victim to a broken ankle after a Jonathan Leathers tackle. The news dampened the announcement of New York and Los Angeles respectively as rejuvenated and dangerous attacking squads. Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry were the catalysts as both sides put up dominant performances over Portland and DC United.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Six

GK: Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles

The scoreline might have been heavily tilted in the Galaxy’s direction but that does not mean that Ricketts had nothing to do. Quite the opposite actually. Ricketts was tested on several occasions by the Timbers offense and fortunately for the Galaxy’s defense, he was up to the task. Late in the game, especially, it was Ricketts who kept Portland star Kenny Cooper from generating any momentum.

DEF: Heath Pearce, Chivas USA

Pearce won’t be leaving the center of defense anytime soon after his performance in the Goats 2-1 win in San Jose. It was the American international’s dangerous 35 yard free kick that was ever so slightly touched by Alejandro Moreno that equalized after San Jose pressured early. He was the key to neutralizing last year’s Golden Boot winner Wondolowski after he tasted goal in the 16th minute.

DEF: Alain Rochat, Vancouver

We’re not too far into the season and Rochat has already established himself as one of the best defenders in all of Major League Soccer. Both Rochat and Chiumiento have provided a consistency to the Whitecaps, something much coveted for an expansion club. The Swiss defender’s composure and keen positioning will be something the Whitecaps can build around and expand on as the season progresses. It’s Rochat’s second selection in the ASN Best XI.

DEF: Jan Gunnar Solli, New York

Probably the easiest selection on here and along with teammate Thierry Henry, deserves Player of the Week honors. Working from right back, Solli’s forays into the attack yielded a trio of assists, two to Henry and one to wunderkid Juan Agudelo. United’s left flank had absolutely no answer for the Norwegian veteran. It’s Solli’s second selection in the ASN Best XI.

DEF: George John, FC Dallas

Things are coming together for George John in a big way. He has solidified his spot in Schellas Hyndman’s starting XI and made quite the name for himself on the field even as Dallas struggled to start the season. The Hoops, dealt a blow recently with the loss of David Ferreira to injury, are still starting to hit their stride and on defense, it has a lot to do with the second year former Washington Husky. Against Vancouver, John dabbled in the offense as well – powering home the equalizer before a late Avila gamewinner sealed a three point deal.

MID: Julian De Guzman, Toronto FC

An extended glimpse of Designated Player-like play from De Guzman, something Toronto FC fans have been looking for over the past couple seasons. Showed poise in the midfield and creativity that had rarely been seen before as a Red. It was De Guzman that supplied the through ball that found Tony Tchani as Toronto settled for a tie. Aron Winter’s XI, however, looked more like a team this week and De Guzman was the glue that held them together against the Crew.

MID: Eric Avila, FC Dallas

The young Avila replaced 2010’s MVP David Ferreira and supplied the gamewinner. He plays the role of super sub as well as any in Major League Soccer but with Ferreira out recovering from a broken ankle, can Avila develop into the consistent attacking threat that the Hoops need in replacement? He will get his chance to show that he can and Hoops fans are certainly hoping he takes that chance and runs with it.

MID: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles

Two giants awoke this past weekend. Donovan, coming back from a knee injury, looked his old self and brought an expansion team to its knees in the spoiling of Portland’s good run of form. More importantly for the Galaxy, Donovan was consistent in his effect on the game at hand. He asserted himself early – assisting Chad Barrett’s first goal before drawing the penalty (which he then converted) – all in the first 8 minutes. Juan Pablo Angel then delivered an amazing 67th minute cross across the danger area right onto a streaking Donovan’s head. A combination that Galaxy fans would surely pay to see more often.

FWD: Diego Chaves, Chicago

At times, he almost doesn’t fit in with the Fire offense – a step too fast or ahead of the rest of the Fire attack. That hasn’t hindered him in production, however, grabbing four goals already in 2011 including the opener against a revitalized Houston Dynamo squad. His goal vs. Houston wasn’t the product of impressive flair or creativity but instead sheer determination. Chaves is the kind of opportunistic goalscorer the Fire need – if only three points came with it when all was said and done.

FWD: Thierry Henry, New York *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Henry is starting to put away the chances – one against San Jose, two against DC United away from home. The key is that he has the supporting cast to keep the chances coming for the French striker and it’s pretty apparent – at least in the last couple games – that he does. The Solli/Henry combination is definitely not one that will fizzle out anytime soon. This is Henry’s second selection of the season – two in a row to be exact.

FWD: Kei Kamara, Kansas City

A brace from Kei should normally win it for a team but defensive questions linger for Sporting Kansas City as New England bested them 3-2. Kamara did his part, taking his chances well and putting up what should have been the game winner for Kansas City before New England battled back for the win. Replacing Omar Bravo is tough but Kamara is doing what he can, scoring the last three goals for Sporting.

Bench: Teemu Tainio (New York), Joel Lindpere (New York), Nick LaBrocca (Colorado), Patrick Ianni (Seattle), Benny Feilhaber (New England), Bobby Boswell (Houston), Marco Pappa (Chicago), Fredy Montero (Seattle), Chad Barrett (Los Angeles)

ARCHIVES:

MLS Best XI, Week 5

MLS Best XI, Week 4

MLS Best XI, Week 3

MLS Best XI, Week 2

MLS Best XI, Week 1

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Edson Buddle's early goal gives Galaxy 1-0 win over Red Bulls

Posted on 15 August 2010 by dkarell

After a win mid-week win over Toronto F.C, the Red Bulls were unable to keep the momentum going against Los Angeles on Saturday night, where they lost 1-0.

Sometimes, one silly mistake can hurt you in a big way. Rafa Marquez, making his home debut for the Red Bulls, lost possession of the ball in the middle of the field to LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho. He expertly put Edson Buddle through on goal, and he easily finished for his league leading 13th goal of the season.

Overall, the Red Bulls didnt play so poorly as you would think by the scoreline.

Early on, Red Bull midfielder Dane Richards used his speed to get past Galaxy defender Ivan DeLaGarza on the right wing on numerous occations, only to see his crosses defended well by the Galaxy defense.

Other times, the Red Bulls tried playing through the middle, or sending balls over top. But both captain Juan Pablo Angel and his strike partner Thierry Henry were not sharp during the match. The Red Bulls were whistled for offsides eight times, many of them on Angel. And while some of them were disputed, eight offsides in a match is not good. Angel leads Major League Soccer with 36 times being whistled for offsides in 20 games played.

In the second half, the Red Bulls seemed to slow down their pace, most likely due to the tired legs they are playing with. Saturday’s game was their third in seven days.

And despite bringing in Mac Kandji and Sinisa Ubiparipovic in the second half, the Red Bulls were unable to equalize, and even just get through a strong Los Angeles defense.

Current U.S. international Omar Gonzalez and former U.S. international Gregg Berhalter combined to shut down two of the best strikers in the world, in Henry and Angel.

And U.S. star Landon Donovan had a good game too, especially in the second half, springing plenty of counter attacks once the Red Bulls had pushed numbers forward.

For the Red Bulls, it was not the greatest performance and debut from Marquez, who most likely was a bit tired from playing with Mexico against Spain in a friendly on Wednesday.

His delivery on free kicks was top notch, but he was pretty quiet throughout the rest of his time in the match.

With the loss, New York still sits in second place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points, still five ahead of Toronto, and six back from Columbus.

The Red Bulls now must regroup, and practice their passing in the final third of the field, before they head to Toronto for a match with the Reds next Saturday night, August 21.

Match Facts:

Scoring Summary:

LA — Edson Buddle 13 (Juninho 2) 10

Misconduct Summary:

NY — Juan Pablo Angel (caution; Dissent) 59

NY — Roy Miller (caution; Reckless Foul) 76

Los Angeles Galaxy — Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, A.J. DeLaGarza, Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall (Chris Klein 83), Juninho (Jovan Kirovski 90), Landon Donovan, Tristan Bowen (Mike Magee 61), Edson Buddle.

Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Jordan, Eddie Lewis, Leonardo, Josh Saunders.

New York Red Bulls — Bouna Coundoul, Chris Albright, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Rafael Marquez (Macoumba Kandji 71), Tony Tchani, Joel Lindpere, Thierry Henry, Juan Pablo Angel (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 85).

Substitutes Not Used: Danleigh Borman, Mike Petke, Carl Robinson, Seth Stammler, Greg Sutton.

Referee: Mark Geiger

Referee’s Assistants: Steven Taylor, Peter Manikowski

4th Official: Mark Kadlecik

Weather: Partly cloudy and 76 degrees

Attendance: 25,000

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USMNT v Turkey: A tale of two halves

Posted on 29 May 2010 by Breton Bonnette

It was the last of the 2010 FIFA World Cup USMNT Send-Off Series and American fans displayed their allegiance with a huge turnout  of 55,407 in Philadelphia. With the Union away in Houston, Union fans and USMNT fans from the area were able to see their 23 in action.

Check out the photo gallery!

A small wave of trepidation swept through the press box pre-game when the starting lineups were released. Defender Oguchi Onyewu, fresh off of 65 minutes in a 4-2 friendly loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday night, was left out of Bradley’s starting lineup. Considering Onyewu was a mainstay in the USMNT defensive set-up pre-injury, it prompted inquiries from all. Bradley opted, instead, for a Clarence Goodson-Jay DeMerit central tandem.

It wasn’t long into the match that an organized Turkish attack tested the backline. Questions about the health and competency of the backline proved warranted. With Arda Turan leading the way, the Turks caught Jonathan Spector out of position with space for Turan to exploit. The playmaker moved in towards the goal before pushing a square pass into Sanli Tuncay who shot wide. Spector again was caught on a counter – in just the 15th minute – by Turan. This time the Turkish midfielder wrong-footed Spector and shot wide to Howard’s right. The terror of Turan continued as a midfield turnover led to a perfectly weighted through ball and one on one with Tim Howard. With Spector – yet again – and Jay DeMerit in pursuit,  Turan fired past Howard to break the deadlock in the 27th minute. The defensive breakdowns weren’t limited to Jonathan Spector as Turkey was able to find space in behind Bradley and Clark, draw the centerbacks in and pass in behind the fullbacks. Spector was simply assaulted on more than one occasion. To head into the locker room only a goal down was a little lucky.

The U.S. attack pepped up right after halftime with lineup concerns addressed and that first half behind them. Solid passing found Landon Donovan who played a pass right into the path of Michael Bradley. Bradley wound up and fired only to be stoned by a sliding Turkish defender. The offense continued to gel – creating space, passing effectively, and playing with aggression with Turkey with a real lack of response. Defensive issues subsided and the offense were able to take the reins. In 58th minute, Jay DeMerit fired a long pass forward. Robbie Findley took it down, waited patiently for Donovan to run into space and chipped the back line leaving Landon with a open run on goal. Donovan rounded the goalkeeper and passed square to an onrushing Jozy Altidore who converted to make it 1-1. A complete change of momentum. With the score tied, the U.S. continued to press forward with Robbie Findley continuing to show his worth and Landon Donovan putting his trademark stamp on the game – taking defenders on and really frustrating the Turkish backline. His work paid off yet again in the 75th minute. Taking a Cherundolo throw-in, Donovan found Clint Dempsey with a straight pass right outside the box. Dempsey used his body to corral it and pushed a shot under the outstretched Volkan Demirel to make it 2-1. Donovan the architect was back showing that whether on the left or the right, he could make things happen if the team around him makes competent plays. With Dempsey’s goal, the tale of two halves was complete and the Philadelphia crowd left satisfied. With a couple questions answered (which we will discuss in a later post), the USMNT will leave Philadelphia with a view to build upon their progress in South Africa.

We will be back with much more – including observations, quotes, pictures, and much, much more.

U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report

United States vs. Turkey international friendly, May 29, 2010
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa.
Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET
Attendance: 55,407
Weather: Hot, humid – 77 degrees

Scoring Summary:

TUR – Arda Turan (Colin Kazim-Richards) 27th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Landon Donovan) 58
USA – Clint Dempsey (Landon Donovan) 75

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jonathan Spector (6-Steve Cherundolo, 46), 15-Jay Demerit, 21-Clarence Goodson (5-Oguchi Onyewu, 46), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.) (12-Jonathan Bornstein, 75); 10-Landon Donovan, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Ricardo Clark (26-José Torres, 46), 16-Benny Feilhaber (27-Robbie Findley, 46); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (22-Stuart Holden, 81)
Subs not used: 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 18-Brad Guzan, 19-Maurice Edu, 23-Marcus Hahnemann, 29-Edson Buddle, 30-Herculez Gomez
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

TUR: 1-Volkan Demirel; 2-Servet Cetin, 4-Gokhan Zan, 13-Caglar Birinci, 5-Emre Belozoglu (Capt.), 6-Hamit Altintop (9-Semih Senturk, 73), 14-Arda Turan (28-Ozan Ipek, 90), 17-Selcuk Inan (15-Mehmet Topal, 52) 25-Sabri Sarioglu, 10-Tuncay Sanli (8-Nihat Kahvechi, 77), 18-Colin Kazim-Richards (16-Sercan Yildirim, 59)
Subs not used: 12-Onur Recep Kivrak, 19-Ibrahim Toraman, 20-Nuri Sahin, 21-Halil Altintop, 24-Emre Gungor, 31-Ismail Koybasi
Head Coach: Guus Hiddink

Stats Summary:
USA / TUR
Shots: 10 / 10
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 3 / 0
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 5 / 13
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Ricardo Clark (caution) 42nd minute
TUR – Mehmet Topal (caution) 56
TUR – Gokhan Zan (caution) 92

Officials:

Referee: Silviu Petrescu (Canada)
Assistant Referee 1: Joe Fletcher (Canada)
Assistant Referee 2: David Belleau (Canada)
Fourth Official: Mark Geiger (USA)

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Seven

Posted on 10 May 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Landon Donovan took ASN’s Week Seven Player of the Week honors though his competition did well to keep pace. San Jose’s Bobby Convey did his best impression of Donovan, grabbing a trio of assists in the Quakes 4-0 romp of visiting New York. Toronto FC’s Chad Barrett and DC United’s Danny Allsopp earned their first spot on the Best XI with a brace each in respective wins. Amidst a week of blowouts and scoring, however, most impressively FC Dallas’  and former Kansas City castoff Kevin Hartman pulled off two shutouts for a FC Dallas squad hungry for wins.

ASN’s Best XI, Week Seven

GK: Kevin Hartman, FC Dallas, 8

DC United’s 19-year old Bill Hamid might have deserved this more if it wasn’t for Hartman’s stellar showing vs. the Black and Red this past weekend. The savvy veteran might have cleared up discussions about whether or not it should be him or longtime Hoop Dario Sala between the sticks.

DF: Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake, 7.5

DF: Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles, 8.5

It’s amazing the difference between Rookie Omar and Sophomore Omar. At times, he looks like the veteran presence out there next to Gregg Berhalter. The Galaxy’s defense never faltered and much of that was because of the central tandem of Berhalter and his protege Gonzalez. The former Terp grabbed himself a fantastic goal, however, after making a nice run and pounding home a Donovan cross.

DF: Adrian Serioux, Houston, 7.5

Serioux had the second goal in Houston’s 2-0 win over Chivas USA. Earning his first start for the Dynamo since his return from Toronto FC, Serioux formed a nice partnership with Bobby Boswell in the middle, keeping a relatively potent Goats offense from really threatening.

MF: David Ferreira, FC Dallas, 7

Though only rated a 7 for his most recent. It was Ferreira’s vision and passing ability that led FC Dallas to a big two-win week. Considering how long it has taken for the diminutive Ferreira to gain traction in Major League Soccer, Dallas fans will be glad he looks poised to contribute on a regular and consistent basis.

MF: Brad Davis, Houston, 8

Davis showed the resilience of the Dynamo even without Cameron, Holden, and Clark. A goal and assist early on vs. Chivas USA helped Houston get back to their winning aways after a mid-week stumble vs. FC Dallas.

MF: Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake, 8.5

I’m not sure what Kyle had for breakfast, but he was fired up from the opening whistle and was a man possessed all match long. Every bit of positive offensive play involved Beckerman and it was nice to see his hard work rewarded with the opening goal.

MF: Bobby Convey, San Jose, 9

Cue the Bobby Convey to South Africa talks. The Philadelphia native has slowly become a force this season after spending 2009 doing very little for San Jose. Earthquakes fans couldn’t be happier after a three assist performance that saw him dismantle a 10-man Red Bull defense.

FW: Chad Barrett, Toronto FC, 7.5

Barrett might get a bad wrap on occassions (Jeff Cunningham, for example, has been doing his best Chad Barrett impression over the first few games of the season) but his play vs. Chicago was promising. Two goals from Barrett iced the Fire in a 4-1 Toronto FC win. His determination on the field yields chances. Normally, it’s just a matter of whether or not he puts those chances away.

FW: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles, 9, ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Two humongous road wins for the Galaxy as the extend their Western Conference lead and remain unbeaten. Donovan was the catalyst, grabbing a goal and four assists. His total for the year through seven games sits at 9 assists. Wait until he starts scoring some goals.

FW: Danny Allsopp, D.C. United, 7.5

United won their first game of the season this past week. Something we might forget after FC Dallas scored a late victory more recently. DC’s first win, however, was a product of Allsopp taking chances, well-struck shots that found their target.

Who missed out on this week’s Best XI? Are there any inclusions you don’t agree with?

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Landon Donovan scores first Premiership goal

Posted on 28 January 2010 by ASN Staff

Everton’s on-loan attacking midfielder Landon Donovan scored his first goal for the English Premiership side in its 2-0 defeat of Sunderland yesterday, Jan. 27. The U.S. Men’s National Team stalwart has been on loan with the Merseyside club since January. His rights are still held by Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy. Here is a video of the goal, taken from YouTube:

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Landon Donovan appears set for Everton loan move

Posted on 09 December 2009 by ASN Staff

Will Donovan kiss California goodbye for a fourth time?

LA Galaxy and U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan is all but set to join Everton FC on a three month loan spell, according to reports out of the U.K.

“Sources at Everton have confirmed that negotiations are at an advanced stage with the 27-year-old, the USA’s all-time leading scorer with 42 goals from 120 games and a countryman of the Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard,” the Guardian reported Dec. 9.

“Everton are closing in on the three-month loan signing of USA striker Landon Donovan, BBC Sport understands,” says a BBC.

“The Los Angeles Galaxy star is believed to be in advanced discussions with the Premier League side about a three-month loan switch as he bids to maintain his fitness before the World Cup in June,” added Sky Sports.

The reports come 13 months after Donovan joined German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich on a similar deal. He previously spent two brief periods at Bayer Leverkusen.

Updates


Dec. 10: Soccer By Ives reports the deal has been finalized.

Now that the move is all but official, what do you, the U.S. soccer fan think of it? Do you expect Donovan to win a permanent contract from Toffees? If so, will he take it? Vote in the poll below and support your view in the comment area below it.

[polldaddy poll=2362256]

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Donovan to return to Galaxy

Posted on 17 February 2009 by ASN Staff

Bayern Munich are not interested in acquiring Landon Donovan’s rights on a permanent basis, the team’s executive director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told German press Tuesday. This paves the way for Donovan to return to the L.A. Galaxy when his loan deal with Bayern ends March 15.

“Donovan is an interesting player,” Rummmenigge was quoted as saying. “But with the likes of Miroslav Klose, Luca Toni or Ivica Olic under contract, we believe the fourth [attacking] player should be a young player with perspective.” Nineteen-year old Thomas Mueller is believed to be this fourth player, making Donovan expendable.

The 26-year old U.S. national team forward scored four times in practice games held over the winter break, but has been unable to find the net as a substitute since the Bundesliga regular season resumed last month.

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