6.30.2007

Chivas Drops Revs

Preston Burpo recorded a clean sheet in his first start since September 3rd, 2006, and Chivas USA survived a late send-off of their captain Claudio Suarez as they defeated the New England Revolution 2-0 at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.

Chivas was forced to compete without three key players in Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein, all away at Copa America, and New England was once again missing the services of striker and Golden Boot candidate Taylor Twellman.

In the early stages of the match, it was all Chivas USA. Five minutes in, veteran Jesse Marsch would take the first crack at goal, but his half-volley would be far too high to trouble Revs’ keeper Matt Reis.

Two minutes later, Cuban sensation Maykel Galindo would nearly put the Goats ahead early. Galindo ran down the left side of the field and cut back into the box, leaving Revs defender James Riley in his dust. As Riley recovered, Galindo saw his window closing and launched a shot goalward, just missing to the near side.

The first half-hour went by without a shot from the Revolution, but a defensive miscue by Suarez in the 33rd minute nearly led to a New England goal. Andy Dorman stepped in front of a lax pass from El Emperador and quickly unleashed a shot at Burpo, but Dorman’s shot spun just wide of the goal.

As play advanced to the other side of the field, Chivas USA pushed back. Galindo again ran past several Revolution defenders, his hard shot from the right side forcing Reis into making his first save of the match in the 34th minute.

Despite controlling the tempo in the first half, Chivas went into the break tied with New England.

In the 51st minute, Ante Razov was left unmarked in the box and Maykel Galindo found him with a perfect cross. All by himself, Razov’s header was disappointing, going high and wide and not even troubling Reis.

Two minutes later, it was Adam Cristman’s chance to blow an open header. The rookie for New England created separation in the box as Pat Noonan crossed the ball to him, but Cristman headed the ball straight into the ground and wide of the near post, going out harmlessly for a goal kick.

In the 60th minute, Chivas would finally break through. Razov pushed the ball up the right side of the field and into the box, where he was surrounded by three New England defenders. Seeing Jesse Marsch out of the corner of his eye, Razov laid the ball back and Marsch took full advantage of the situation, firing a shot past Matt Reis, off the far post and into the goal, giving Chivas a 1-0 lead just past an hour.

Things turned ugly in the 81st minute when Suarez landed an elbow to the side of Adam Cristman’s head, resulting in a red card. Chivas USA would now have to defend their one-goal lead with ten men for the final ten minutes of the game.

Despite the one-man advantage, New England had a hard time even getting a shot on frame and Galindo made them pay, putting the game away for Chivas in the 89th minute. ‘El Angelito,’ as he is known, ran onto a long ball in space, put on the brakes to lose defender Jay Heaps, and fired a perfectly placed shot from the corner of the box into the back of the net, sailing over Reis but under the crossbar to seal the victory for Chivas by a score of 2-0.

By losing, the Revolution wasted a chance to move four points clear of the New York Red Bulls in the East, who lost earlier in the day in Columbus.

Chivas USA closed the gap in the West between themselves and the two Texas teams, moving to within six points of leaders FC Dallas with the win.

Scoring
CHVJesse Marsch 1 (Ante Razov 3, Maykel Galindo 4) 60’
CHV Maykel Galindo 7 (Orlando Perez 1) 89’

Lineups
NEMatt Reis, Avery John, Jay Heaps, Adam Cristman, Pat Noonan, Steve Ralston, Michael Parkhurst, James Riley, Gary Flood (Khano Smith 67’), Andy Dorman, Wells Thompson

CHVPreston Burpo, Claudio Suarez (red card 81’) Francisco Mendoza, Ante Razov (John Cunliffe 84’), Maykel Galindo (Erasmo Solorzano 92’+) Jesse Marsch, Jason Hernandez, Alex Zotinca, Lawson Vaughn (Laurent Merlin 71’), Paulo Nagamura, Orlando Perez

Texas Teams Tie in Showdown

With first place in the West on the line, Houston’s five-game winning streak was brought to a halt by intrastate rivals FC Dallas on Saturday evening. The showdown of MLS’ two Texas teams at Pizza Hut Park finished without a goal, 0-0.

Neither teams’ attack looking especially potent in the first half, but FC Dallas did get a few chances early. In the 10th minute, Dallas went on the attack. Off a Pablo Ricchetti free kick, Carlos Ruiz sent a glancing header goalward but the Guatemalan’s effort went wide of the near post and out of play.

Five minutes later, FC Dallas’ Dominic Oduro showed his speed as he broke down the right side of the field, beating a defender to the ball. The native of Ghana pulled up and tried to chip the ball over Zach Wells, but Houston’s back-up keeper was anticipating the shot and easily made the save.

In the 38th minute, Houston’s Richard Mulrooney sprung Brian Ching with an incisive pass that forced Aaron Pitchkolan to take the Hawaiian striker down, drawing a yellow card in the process. On the ensuing free kick, defender Brad Davis hit a dipping shot over the wall, but Dario Sala had it covered, making the simple two-handed save.

As halftime approached, Dallas would get one more chance to take the lead. Off a corner kick, the ball would squirt out to Arturo Alvarez, whose shot from outside the box was easily handled by Wells, keeping the game scoreless at the break.

In the 60th minute, Juan Carlos Toja tried a shot with the outside of his left foot after the ball came to him on a corner kick, but his effort spun wide of the near post and out of play.

Ten minutes later, Carlos Ruiz would again have another chance to put FC Dallas ahead. After a throw in, Dallas passed the ball along the top of the box and Ruiz tried to put the ball in the top corner, but the shot missed its target wide right and the game remained scoreless.

Just one minute later, substitute Abe Thompson tried to catch Wells off his line from 30 yards out, but the Houston’s keeper raced back to catch the ball with ease in front of the goal.

Six minutes from full-time, FCD’s Alvarez would lose defender Eddie Robinson with a stutter-step move and aimed for the far corner. But he couldn’t bend the left-footed attempt inside the post and ball went out of play harmlessly.

At the other end of the field, Dario Sala made a game-saving stop as time dwindled. Dwayne De Rosario ran onto a loose ball at the edge of the box, but the Canadian international’s shot was turned away by a sliding Sala, preserving his clean sheet and the tie for his club.

With the two teams picking up a point each, Houston failed to capitalize on an opportunity to move into a tie for first-place with Dallas. The tie meant Steve Morrow’s team would maintain their three-point advantage over the Men in Orange for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Lineups
HOU – Zach Wells, Eddie Robinson, Ryan Cochrane, Brian Mullan (Chris Wondolowski 89’), Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 74’), Dwayne De Rosario, Craig Waibel, Wade Barrett, Brian Ching, Richard Mulrooney, Joseph Ngwenya (Stuart Holden 74’)

FCD – Dario Sala, Marcelo Saragosa, Pablo Ricchetti, Juan Toja, Clarence Goodson, Arturo Alvarez, David Wagenfuhr, Aaron Pitchkolan, Bobby Rhine, Carlos Ruiz, Dominic Oduro (Abe Thompson 71’)

U.S. Battles To Tie In U-20 WC

In Montreal, the United States would score first and hold on late despite being utterly outplayed to manage a 1-1 tie against the Republic of Korea to open their journey in the 2007 U-20 World Cup.The Koreans would pressure early and often at Olympic Stadium, starting in the 7th minute when Shin Young-Rok received a long pass on a counter-attack and drew U.S. keeper Chris Seitz off his line. Unable to make up his mind about coming out to challenge or retreating back to goal, Seitz had to rely on his defender to make the play. Fortunately for the Americans, Nathan Sturgis was able to get back and defend the volley, which didn’t have much on it by the time it got to Seitz, who easily made the save.

In the 15th minute, Sturgis nearly gifted a goal to the opposition. In a battle against Lee Chung-Yong near the endline, the former Galaxy standout had the ball taken off his feet, creating a three-on-two chance for Korea. Instead of taking a shot, Chung-Yong slid a pass through the box to the on-rushing Young-Rok, whose shot was blocked at the last second by a sliding Tony Beltran, denying what would have been almost surely a goal for the Koreans.

Just one minute later, the U.S. would jump ahead. Sal Zizzo’s cross from the right side skipped in front of Jozy Altidore in the box and found Danny Szetela streaking through. The Columbus Crew midfielder’s header found the back of the net to give the Americans an early advantage.

Korea would not let up and threatened again in the 25th minute. Lee Chung-Yong looked for Shin Young-Rok once more as he cut into the right side of the box and centered the ball. Young-Rok didn’t strike the ball cleanly on this shot either, but Seitz was still forced to make a diving save to his right to keep the Koreans off the board.

Having unyielding control of the match throughout much of the first half, the Republic of Korea finally found their equalizer in the 38th minute as Shim Young-Sung slipped a pass through the defense, a perfect ball for Shin Young-Rok to run onto. Alone with only the keeper to beat, Young-Rok kept the ball low and pulled the Koreans level just before halftime.

The United States would have to find a way to slow down Korea in the second half, as the first 45 minutes saw them get thoroughly out-played, out-shot and out-hustled.

At the start of the second half, Korea would continue to dominate. Playmaker Shim Young-Sung used a brilliant toe-poke to get around Tony Beltran in the 50th minute and lined up a shot from just inside the box. His effort beat Seitz but firmly clanged off the crossbar as it curled around the U.S. keeper, allowing the U.S. to clear away the danger.

Perhaps the United States’ best chance of the second half came in the 69th minute. Captain Freddy Adu used some fancy footwork to get by two defenders and rolled a pass into the box where Sal Zizzo was stationed. Zizzo’s first touch was poor and brought the ball back into the middle, allowing the defense time to recover and block his shot, ending a rare quality chance for the Americans.

Seitz came up big in the 76th minute, making the initial save on Ha Tae-Goon after he broke through the U.S. defense. As Tae-Goon got back to his feet, Seitz scrambled to block the second-chance shot, but the Korean’s left-footed effort rattled the side netting instead and the U.S. dodged another bullet.

Just three minutes from full-time, Lee Chung-Yong beat the U.S. back-line again and looked set to give Korea three points. He tried to poke the ball around the keeper, but Seitz got a piece of the ball. As Chung-Yong recovered near the end-line, he perfectly played the ball into the middle for Ha Tae-Goon with three American defenders surrounding him. Tae-Goon never made it to the ball, however, as it got caught underneath a sliding Julian Valentin, allowing Seitz to come out and grab the ball.

Korea pressured until the final whistle, but was unable to come up with the go-ahead goal, instead forced to settle with a tie to open their campaign in Group D.

Scoring
USA – Danny Szetela 16’
KOR – Shin Young-Rok 38’

Lineups
USA – Chris Seitz, Tim Ward, Nathan Sturgis, Michael Bradley, Danny Szetela (Dax McCarty 52’), Robbie Rogers, Freddy Adu, Josmer Altidore, Sal Zizzo, Julian Valentin, Tony Beltran

KOR – Kim Jin-Hyeon, Choi Chul-Soon, Shin Kwang-Hoon, Ki Sung-Yueng, Kim Dong-Suk (Song Jin-Hyung 70’), Lee Sang-Ho, Shim Young-Sung (Lee Hyun-Seung 84’), Park Joo-Ho, Lee Chung-Yong, Shin Young-Rok (Ha Tae-Goon 59’), Bae Seung-Jin

U.S. Ready For U-20 WC

In just a couple of hours, the United States U-20 Men's National Team will begin their journey in the U-20 World Cup against South Korea. The game will be held in Montreal, and will air live on ESPN U at 4:45 p.m. ET.

Here's another look at the squad:

Goalkeepers:
Brian Perk (UCLA), Steve Sandbo (SMU), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders:
Tony Beltran (UCLA), Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)

Midfielders:
Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake), Bryan Arguez (D.C. United), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas)

Forwards:
Andre Akpan (Harvard), Josmer Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)

Fire Signs Brazilian

Looking to boost their struggling offense, the Chicago Fire have signed 23-year-old Brazilian Bruno Marques Menezes to a contract.

The outside right-midfielder was acquired fro Sao Carlos FC of the Compeonato Paulista Serie A3 in Brazil and will be classified as a youth international. "We are happy to add Bruno to our roster. He has been training with us for awhile now and during that process we've been able to see he's a player that can help us for the rest of the season." said interim head coach Denis Hamlett.

Menezes will be available to join the team starting with the Fire's home game against Colorado tomorrow evening. The Fire are only one point ahead of Toronto FC for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and could find themselves in the conference cellar with a loss on Sunday and a Toronto FC win or tie in Kansas City.

6.29.2007

Quaranta Out (Corrected)

Earlier, the MLS Zone reported that Santino Quaranta had been traded to the Kansas City Wizards for a draft pick. Apparently, that deal fell apart late and he was instead traded today to the New York Red Bulls, in exchange for a conditional 4th-round draft pick in 2008.

Trading the midfielder was strictly a budgetary move, according to general manager Alexi Lalas. But the decision was made easier by Quaranta's decision to let his fitness go. He has been overweight since the pre-season and has been held goal-less in six appearances on the year.

Another Trade (Colorado - D.C.)

Steven Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that D.C. United has agreed to trade Argentine defender Facundo Erpen to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for Greg Vanney. Vanney makes more than twice as much as Erpen ($236,000 to $115,000) and part of the deal states that Colorado will be responsible for Vanney's salary this year while D.C. United will be responsible for the rest of Erpen's 2007 salary. Vanney, 33, is an established defender in the league and has earned 37 caps for the U.S. during his career. Along with playing for the Galaxy, FC Dallas and Colorado in his career, Vanney also suited up for French Ligue 1 side SC Bastia from 2002 - 2005.

Erpen, 24, was part of the Boca Juniors youth system and has been with United since 2005. He is known for being a very physical defender and has had several altercations with teammates.

Trivia: Landon Donovan once proclaimed on a radio show that Erpen is the ugliest player in the league.

Galaxy Set Date With Beckham

The Los Angeles Galaxy have confirmed that David Beckham will be introduced as the newest member of the team during a press conference to be held on Friday, July 13th, at 11 a.m. Also scheduled to appear at the Home Depot center for the introduction are MLS Commission Don Garber, Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas, head coach Frank Yallop and Tim Leiweke, the president of AEG, which owns the team.

It will be the culmination of six months of build-up and will come just two days before the Galaxy are set to unveil their new Beckham-inspired kits.

Just two more league games stand in between now and the arrival of Becks, and with the Galaxy struggling at 2-5-3 and tied for last place in the league standings, the stage is set for Beckham to be a hero once more by rescuing the Galaxy from the cellar and turning them into winners.

6.27.2007

Beasley To Rangers

U.S. left-winger DaMarcus Beasley has been transferred from PSV Eindhoven to Rangers of the Scottish Premier League, according to reports.Terms of the three-year contract were not disclosed, but Rangers did pay 700,000 pounds for the rights to ink the 25-year-old to a deal. He will become the second American to play at the Ibrox, following in the footsteps of ex-national team captain Claudio Reyna. "Claudio said that being at Rangers is like being part of a massive family, everyone is nice, everything is first class," noted Beasley.

Beasley spent time at Manchester City last season, scoring three goals in 18 appearances. He has appeared for the U.S. 68 times, scoring 15 goals in that span.

6.26.2007

Power Rankings - Week 13

Here are my power rankings for Week 13 (06/25 - 07/02). Last week's position is in parenthesis.

1. (1) Kansas City Wizards

2. (2) New York Red Bulls

3. (3) New England Revolution

4. (6) Houston Dynamo

5. (4) D.C. United

6. (5) Chivas USA

7. (8) Colorado Rapids

8. (7) Toronto FC

9. (11) Columbus Crew

10. (9) FC Dallas

11. (10) Los Angeles Galaxy

12. (13) Real Salt Lake

13. (12) Chicago Fire

MLS ESPY Nominations

Nominations for the ESPY Awards have been announced and four league veterans are vying for the Best MLS Player Award. Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. MNT forward Landon Donovan joins Jeff Cunningham (Toronto FC), Matt Reis (New England Revolution), and Christian Gomez (D.C. United) as nominees for the award. The 15th Annual Espy Awards will be held at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater on Wednesday, July 11th, and will air on ESPN on Sunday, July 15th, at 9 p.m. EST.

Robin Fraser New RSL Asst Coach

According to AYL Soccer, Real Salt Lake is expected to announce the appointment of Robin Fraser to the position of Assistant Coach as early as this week. Fraser was the fourth overall draft pick in the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft, playing in the league from 1996-2005 and is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in league history.

Gold Cup Ratings Beat Stanley Cup

Television ratings for the Gold Cup final are in and they provide evidence that soccer has moved in front of ice hockey in terms of popularity in the United States, at least among Hispanics. The game received a 2.5 fast national rating on Univision, translating into 2.83 million households. That doesn’t take into account viewers of the English telecast on Fox Soccer Channel, which isn’t rated but is available in 30 million households.
To compare, when Anaheim defeated Ottawa to win the Stanley Cup on June 6th, the game only received a 1.8 rating, or 2,005,000 households – 41% less than were turned in to the Gold Cup.

Futbol Meets Football

Prior to joining the Los Angeles Galaxy later this summer, David Beckham will throw on a helmet and shoulder-pads as part of an Adidas marketing campaign titled “Futbol Meets Football.” The ad features Becks and New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush switching places and trying their hand at each other’s respective sports.

Adidas, a main sponsor of Major League Soccer, is planning three ads in total featuring Beckham as the company celebrates its long-time association with the iconic footballer and his landmark move to the United States. The ad can be viewed at www.futbolmeetsfootball.com beginning this week.

Brad Davis Named Player of the Week

Houston Dynamo defender Brad Davis has been named MLS Player of the Week after recording a hat trick against Chivas USA in a 4-0 dismantling last Thursday night. Davis had been losing playing time to rookie Corey Ashe on the right side of the Houston defense, but exploded offensively to lead Houston to a fourth-straight victory.

This marks the second time in Davis’ career that the honor has been bestowed on him – the first coming in Week 17 of the 2004 season, when he was a member of the then-Dallas Burn.

Defectors On Trial

After striking gold by signing Cuban defector Maykel Galindo, Chivas USA is hoping to find similar success by offering a trial to midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and striker Lester More, two members of the Cuba national team who defected while inside the U.S. for the 2007 Gold Cup.

Alonso and More went missing prior to Cuba’s first game of the tournament, while the rest of the team went on to be eliminated after compiling a disappointing 0-2-1 record in the group stage, placing them last in Group C.

According to Andrea Canales at L.A. Soccer News, Chivas USA CEO Javier Leon was persuaded to give the players a trial as a result of Galindo’s favorable description of the duo. Galindo, signed prior to the 2007 season, has registered six goals and three assists this season, leading the club in both categories.

Toronto FC Trade/Signing

Toronto FC’s wheeling and dealing continues with a pair of moves this week. On Monday, TFC announced a trade with the New York Red Bulls, sending Kevin Goldthwaite to the Big Apple in exchange for Todd Dunivant. Both left backs, the move could help the Red Bulls’ attempt to clear space under the salary cap to sign a central defender.
Toronto has also reached an agreement with Collin Samuel, a left-sided player from Trinidad & Tobago. Samuel reportedly inked a three-year deal with Mo Johnston’s club, making the move after his contract with Scottish club Dundee United expired. The 25-year-old striker was a starter in T&T’s upset draw with Sweden in the 2006 World Cup and has scored five goals in 22 appearances for the Soca Warriors.

Steve Nicol To Coach All-Stars

New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol will be at the helm of the MLS All-Star team when they go up against Scottish powerhouse Celtic on July 19th. The Scotsman earned the honor because his team has the highest points-per-game total (1.83) in the league through games of June 25th.

Nicol, who has guided his team to back-to-back appearances in the MLS Cup Final, narrowly beat out former national team coach Bruce Arena (New York Red Bulls) and first-year head coach Curt Onalfo (Kansas City Wizards) for the distinction.

The MLS All-Star First XI will be unveiled on July 5th, with Nicol’s staff to select five more players on July 10 to go with two Commissioner’s picks to make up the 18-man roster. The game will be held at brand-new Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, home of the Rapids.

6.25.2007

Quaranta Out

The Los Angeles Galaxy's roster overhaul continues. After going scoreless in six appearances for Frank Yallop's club in 2007, Santino Quaranta is now on his way to join former Galaxy goalie Kevin Hartman with the Kansas City Wizards, in exchange for a pick in next year's MLS SuperDraft.

Quaranta, acquired less than a year ago from D.C., joined the club with great promise. He notched a game-winning goal in his first appearance as a member of the G's and looked set to regain his old form. Unfortunately, he started the season on the wrong foot, showing up out of shape and hampered by injuries.

Along with ditching the dead weight (pun intended), the Galaxy will be making up some room underneath the salary cap, something the team badly need to do with the additions of Carlos Pavon, Abel Xavier and a certain Englishman all stretching the budget.

6.24.2007

U.S. Are Gold Cup Champs

The United States has defeated Mexico in come-from-behind fashion by a score of 2-1 to win the 2007 Gold Cup, the latest chapter in the rivalry between the two CONCACAF superpowers. For a full recap of the game, I defer to Steven Goff's column in the Washington Post.

The winning goal was scored by Benny Feilhaber and what a goal it was.

MLS Results - Week 12

Here are the results from Week 12 action in MLS. Game recaps are either from MLSNet or myself (*'s are mine). Power rankings will be updated by mid-week.

Wednesday:
Kansas City 1 - Columbus 2

Thursday:
Chivas USA 0 - Houston 4 *

Saturday:
Toronto FC 0 - New England 3
FC Dallas 1 - Colorado 0
D.C. United 1 - Real Salt Lake 2
Columbus 3 - L.A. Galaxy 2 *

Sunday:
Houston 1 - Kansas City 0 *

Houston 1 - Kansas City 0

In a game that saw the return of Canadian internationals Dwayne De Rosario and Pat Onstad, the Houston Dynamo got a goal from an unlikely source to defeat the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 on Sunday afternoon. Defender Patrick Ianni’s strike in the 81st minute, his first-ever MLS goal, powered Houston to their fifth victory in as many games in the month of June.

It was the Wizards who went on the offensive early at Arrowhead Stadium. Seven minutes into the game, Scott Sealy took the first crack at Onstad when he ran onto a leading pass in the penalty area. Houston’s veteran goalkeeper barely had to move as the shot was right at him.

Seven minutes later, Wizards’ rookie-of-the-year candidate Michael Harrington had a similar chance, this time from the left. Onstad was again perfectly positioned and caught Harrington’s blast with no trouble.

Continuing to push forward, Kansas City’s Jose Burciaga had the next chance, firing a shot from the top of the box. Onstad was again on top of things, diving to his right to deny the Wizards for a third time in the first half.

The Wizards would get one more opportunity to take a lead into halftime when Jack Jewsbury raced into the box and blasted a rising liner in the 44th minute. Onstad was forced to use both hands to deflect the ball over the crossbar and keep the game scoreless at the break.

Despite having an abundance of chances in the first half, the Wizards could not find the back of the net. That trend would continue in the second half.

The only goal of the game would come off a corner kick with ten minutes to play. Houston’s Stuart Holden sent the ball in and defender Patrick Ianni rose above his defender to head the ball just inside the near post, beating Wizards keeper Kevin Hartman and keeping Houston perfect for the month of June. It also moved them back within three points of conference leaders FC Dallas.

Kansas City has now gone winless in their last three games, keeping them running behind New York and New England in the Eastern Conference.

Scoring
HOU – Patrick Ianni 1 (Stuart Holden) 81’

Line-ups
HOU – Pat Onstad, Patrick Ianni, Ryan Cochrane, Kelly Gray, Brian Mullan (Chris Wondolowski 86’), Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 67’), Craig Waibel, Stuart Holden, Wade Barrett, Richard Mulrooney, Joseph Ngwenya (Dwayne De Rosario 76’)

KC – Kevin Hartman, Michael Harrington, Nick Garcia, Kerry Zavagnin, Jose Burciaga Jr., Sasha Victorine, Carlos Marinelli (Ryan Pore 80’), Jimmy Conrad, Jack Jewsbury, Scott Sealy (Yura Movsisyan 51’), Davy Arnaud (Kurt Morsink 67’)

Thoughts On Galaxy Game

It's a rough time to be a Galaxy fan right now. It seemed as if the team didn't show up to play for 90% of Saturday night's match against Columbus, couldn't take advantage of being a man up for over an hour, and only started to play up to their potential during the last five minutes of the match.

Frank Yallop should have the squad do nothing except practice defending set pieces during training sessions. Time and again, poor marking on set pieces is shooting this team in the foot.


Here are my player ratings for the game (scale of 1-10):

Cannon -- 6
Kirk -- 2
Xavier -- 5
Veris -- 4
Harden -- 3
Harmes -- 3
Martino -- 3
Klein -- 5
C. Jones -- 5
Jaqua -- 4
Buddle -- 5

Vagenas (46') -- 6
Roberts (52') -- 4
Glinton (55') -- 6

Columbus 3 - Galaxy 2

Despite being a man down for over an hour, the Columbus Crew walked out of the Home Depot Center with three points after outlasting Los Angeles by a score of 3-2. Two former Galaxy players figured prominently in the victory for Columbus, leaving Galaxy fans disappointed once again.

The visitors would get the first chance seven minutes in when Eddie Gaven found himself with the ball on his feet in the box. Galaxy keeper Joe Cannon, however, was perfectly positioned to make the save.

In the 15th minute, Guillermo Barros Schelotto had to be grabbed from behind after splitting two Galaxy defenders on the right side. On the ensuing free kick, Chad Marshall rose above the crowd and headed the ball down and into the corner of the net to give Columbus a 1-0 lead. Schelotto has now registered an assist in five straight games, the longest such streak in MLS this season.

The Galaxy tried to answer only one minute later when new acquisition Chris Klein tried to bend a shot into the top corner. Crew stopper Will Hesmer, surprised by the shot, could only manage to get his fingers on the ball to parry it over the crossbar.

Los Angeles had another prime opportunity to pull even in the 24th minute. Off a Kyle Martino corner kick, the ball got knocked around in the box by several players, ultimately finding its way to Cobi Jones. The MLS icon turned and fired, but his shot was blocked in front of the goal and rolled away from danger.

Seconds later, referee Michael Kennedy whistled Crew defender Marcos Gonzalez for shoving down the Galaxy’s Abel Xavier during a corner kick and signaled to the penalty spot. With usual PK-taker Landon Donovan still away on national team duty, Kyle Martino was chosen to take the kick but Hesmer guessed correctly by diving to his left to smother the shot.

Just before the half-hour mark, Columbus’ Ezra Hendrickson made a violent challenge on Kevin Harmes in midfield. He was shown a straight red-card for the tackle, giving the Galaxy a man-advantage for the remainder of the game.

In the 38th minute, Columbus would get their own chance from the penalty spot after Kyle Veris cut down Eddie Gaven inside the Galaxy box. Ned Grabavoy, another one-time member of the Galaxy, stepped up, aiming to give the Crew a two-goal edge, but two-time Goalkeeper of the Year Joe Cannon made the save, keeping Los Angeles in the game, down by only one at halftime.

After the break, Grabavoy would get his revenge. Eddie Gaven slipped a pass around substitute defender Troy Roberts, finding Grabavoy wide open in a one-on-one situation with Cannon. This time, Cannon could not come up with the save, allowing the Crew to stretch the lead to two.

Needing to answer quickly, the Galaxy pushed forward. Six minutes past an hour, their efforts would pay off as Cobi Jones found substitute Gavin Glinton racing into the box. Former USL standout Glinton got airborne to meet Cobi’s cross and slammed the ball home, cutting the deficit to one with plenty of time remaining.

With time winding down, Pete Vagenas’ free kick in the 82nd minute was inches from knotting the game, scraping the top of the net as it traveled past a frozen Will Hesmer.

But Columbus would put the game away just two minutes later, scoring off a corner kick for the second time in the match. Putting the final touches on the Crew win was Alejandro Moreno, who made 61 appearances with the Galaxy from 2002-2004. Moreno’s header put the final nail in the coffin, giving Columbus their second win in a week.

The Galaxy’s Edson Buddle would add a goal in stoppage time to make the Crew sweat out the final minutes. It was his second goal in as many games since joining the club, but couldn’t rescue the club from the jaws of defeat.

Scoring
CLB – Chad Marshall (Guillermo Barros Schelotto) 15’
CLB – Ned Grabavoy (Eddie Gaven, Duncan Oughton) 58’
LAG – Gavin Glinton (Cobi Jones, Chris Klein) 66’
CLB – Alejandro Moreno (Eddie Gaven) 84’
LAG – Edson Buddle 91’+

Line-ups
LAG – Joe Cannon, Ty Harden, Kevin Harmse, Chris Klein, Nate Jaqua (Gavin Glinton 55), Cobi Jones, Edson Buddle, Quavas Kirk (Peter Vagenas 46), Kyle Veris (Troy Roberts 52), Abel Xavier, Kyle Martino

CLB – Will Hesmer, Danny O’Rourke, Marcos Gonzalez, Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Rusty Pierce 56), Duncan Oughton, Alejandro Moreno (Kei Kamara 93+), Ned Grabavoy (Jason Garey 78), Eddie Gaven, Chad Marshall, Stefani Miglioranzi, Ezra Hendrickson (red card – 29)

6.23.2007

Gold Cup Best XI Announced

Ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly anticipated finale between the United States and Mexico, CONCACAF has announced the 2007 Gold Cup All-Tournament Team. Representing the United States are defender Frankie Hejduk and midfielder Pablo Mastroeni.
Hejduk, 32, scored the opening goal in the Nats’ 2-1 victory over Canada on Thursday. It was the southern California native’s first goal since 2000 and helped punch the U.S. ticket into the finals. Unfortunately, they will be without the Columbus Crew star’s services for Sunday’s final after Hejduk received his second yellow card in a two-game span, forcing him to sit out.Mastroeni, 30, was an intimidating force in the U.S. midfield, breaking up opponents’ attacks at will. The Colorado Rapids captain made the Best XI list despite missing the first two games of the tournament while he served the remainder of a suspension stemming from his red card against Italy in the 2006 World Cup.

Receiving honorable mentions from the U.S. squad were midfielder DaMarcus Beasley and forward Landon Donovan.


Here’s the full squad:

Goalkeeper:
Franck Grandel (GLP)

Defenders:
Felipe Baloy (PAN), Richard Hastings (CAN), Frankie Hejduk (USA), Carlos Salcido (MEX)

Midfielders:
Walter Centeno (CRC), Julian DeGuzman (CAN), Pablo Mastroeni (USA), Pavel Pardo (MEX)

Attackers:
Carlos Pavon (HON), Blas Perez (PAN)

Poll Results - L.A. Galaxy

Our last poll question asked, "Where Will the L.A. Galaxy Finish the Season in the West?"

Here are the results:


1st place - 13%
2nd place - 9%
3rd place - 23%
4th place - 25%
5th place - 18%
6th place - 13%

The general consensus is a mid-conference finish for the Galaxy. The same number of people thought the G's would come back to win the division as thought they would finish in last place.

Other Gig

To fill any spare time I may have had coming between working my day job to pay bills and updating The MLS Zone as much as possible, I've begun contributing to American Soccer Daily.

It's sort-of a spin-off from Yanks Abroad, covering the American-based American players as well as the European-based ones. You may see some of the same content appearing on both sites from time to time. Rest assured, I'm only plagiarizing myself. Someday, sites like American Soccer Daily will be the big fish in the pond, while The MLS Zone will be reduced to a minnow. In a way, I'm working to make myself obsolete.

In the meantime, I'd encourage all of you to check out American Soccer Daily while it's going through some growing pains. I have no doubt it will be a most excellent site when fully operational. I will continue to update The MLS Zone so long as the feedback warrants it. Every month, people from over 70 different countries check in with The MLS Zone to see what's going on.

So spread the word!

Galaxy On Cruise Control?

Tom Cruise is reportedly interested in buying the Los Angeles Galaxy. Depending on which source you believe, the 'takeover bid' price-tag ranges from $40 million - $100 million for Cruise to invest in his friend David Beckham's future club.One of the quotes being attached to the story goes as follows: "A club source said: 'To have Tom's backing would be amazing - there's no way Galaxy bosses would turn down that opportunity.'"

Power Rankings - Week 12

A little late, but here they are: the world-famous MLS Zone power rankings for Week 12 (06/18 - 06/24). Last week's position is in parenthesis.

1. (1) Kansas City Wizards

2. (2) New York Red Bulls

3. (3) New England Revolution

4. (5) D.C. United

5. (4) Chivas USA

6. (7) Houston Dynamo

7. (8) Toronto FC

8. (6) Colorado Rapids

9. (10) FC Dallas

10. (11) Los Angeles Galaxy

11. (12) Columbus Crew

12. (9) Chicago Fire

13. (13) Real Salt Lake

Copa Roster Announced, LD Absent

The United States' roster for Copa America has been announced, and it is heavy with youth and MLS players - 15 of the 22 selected currently suit up for Major League Soccer teams.

The average age of the entire roster is 24.27 years old or 23.66 if you exclude grandpa Kasey Keller.

Ten of the 13 Major League Soccer teams have at least one player on the roster - only L.A., RSL, and NYRB aren't sending a representative.

After weeks of back-and-forth debate over whether Landon Donovan would be included on the roster, Bob Bradley decided to leave him off.

Here's the roster.

Goalkeepers:
Brad Guzan (Chivas USA)
Kasey Keller

Defenders:
Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA)
Bobby Boswell (D.C. United)
Danny Califf
Jimmy Conrad (KC Wizards)
Jay DeMerit
Drew Moor (FC Dallas)
Heath Pearce
Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

Midfielders:
Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids)
Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo)
Benny Feilhaber
Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew)
Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA)
Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire)
Lee Nguyen
Ben Olsen (D.C. United)

Forwards:
Charlie Davies
Herculez Gomez (Colorado Rapids)
Eddie Johnson (KC Wizards)
Taylor Twellman (NE Revolution)


It's a very young squad, but it is not impossible for this team to advance in the tournament. Still, the first game against Argentina on June 28th may get ugly. The U.S. other first round opponents are Paraguay (July 2nd), and Colombia (July 5th).

6.22.2007

Davis Nets Hat Trick

Chivas USA proved to be no match for the surging Houston Dynamo, as the Men in Orange rode three goals from Brad Davis to a victory at Robertson Stadium televised nationally on ESPN2’s MLS Primetime Thursday.

Houston came out firing early in the match, with Stuart Holden taking a crack at Brad Guzan just three minutes in. Holden’s blast was right at the keeper, though, and Guzan easily turned it away.

Just two minutes later, the Dynamo would jump in front. Brad Davis’ free kick was sent into the Chivas wall but deflected right to the feet of Brian Mullen, who calmly slotted it into the right corner to give the home team an early advantage.

In the 17th minute, Francisco Mendoza snuck around his defender in the box and got on the end of a cross. His effort had back-up keeper Zach Wells beat, but just missed to the wrong side of the post.

Five minutes later, Kelly Gray crashed the box on a Brad Davis free kick and got his head to the ball after beating his defender, but the resulting shot rocketed just over the crossbar, keeping the lead at one.

Three minutes before the break, Joseph Ngwenya decided to have a go at it, firing with his left foot. Guzan easily smothered the shot, keeping Ngwenya from extending his scoring streak to a fourth-straight match.

The teams headed into halftime with all the momentum on the side of the Dynamo, and it paid dividends in the second half.
In the 54th minute, Brad Davis was on the receiving end of a sweet give-and-go with Wade Barrett. Finding himself unmarked in the box, he launched a shot into the far upper corner, giving Brad Guzan absolutely no chance to stop it. Davis’ first goal in 69 games, it will almost certainly be a candidate for Goal of the Week.

Not to go unmentioned, Zach Wells was called upon to make a point-blank save on Alex Zotinca’s close-range shot, preserving Houston’s two-goal lead.

Five minutes past the hour mark, Chivas nearly pulled one back. Second-half substitute Matt Taylor got off a cross that found fellow substitute Laurent Merlin alone in the middle of the Houston box. The one-time Galaxy trialist’s half-volley beat Wells, but struck the crossbar before being cleared away.

At the other end of the field, Chivas USA defender Shavar Thomas was sent off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity. He saw red after pulling down Joseph Ngwenya from behind as the Zimbabwean was streaking toward the goal.

Houston seized the opportunity of being a man up in the 70th minute when Brian Mullen stripped Francisco Mendoza on the right side and fed the ball to Ngwenya in the middle, who left it off for Brad Davis. Already with one goal to his name on the night, Davis stepped up and buried a second goal in the right corner, staking the Dynamo to an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

Three minutes later, Houston earned a penalty kick when Maykel Galindo tripped up Brian Mullen just inside the box. Brad Davis was chosen to take the PK and converted easily, earning him a well-deserved hat trick.

Chivas USA’s five-game undefeated streak in historic fashion as the 4-0 loss was the worst in franchise history. They fall to third-place in the conference, two points behind Houston and two points clear of Colorado.

With the victory, Houston jumps over Chivas for second-place in the West, just three points behind FC Dallas, despite playing two less games than the Hoops. They will also be regaining the services of Dwayne De Rosario and Pat Onstad for Sunday’s road game in Kansas City after Canada’s loss in the Gold Cup.

Scoring
HOU – Brian Mullan 1 (unassisted) 6’
HOU – Brad Davis 1 (Wade Barrett) 55’
HOU – Brad Davis 2 (Joseph Ngwenya, Stuart Holden) 70’
HOU – Brad Davis 3 (penalty kick) 75’

Line-Ups
CHV – Brad Guzan, Claudio Suarez, Shavar Thomas, Francisco Mendoza, Ante Razov (Laurent Merlin 60), Maykel Galindo, Jesse Marsch (Jason Hernandez 69), Sacha Kljestan (Matt Taylor 60), Alex Zotinca, Paulo Nagamura, Orlando Perez

HOU – Zach Wells, Eddie Robinson (Corey Ashe 76), Ryan Cochrane, Kelly Gray, Brian Mullan (Chris Wondolowski 84), Brad Davis (Patrick Ianni 76), Craig Waibel, Stuart Holden, Wade Barrett, Richard Mulrooney, Joseph Ngwenya

Crew, Galaxy Like Winning Feeling

The Los Angeles Galaxy and Columbus Crew are set to do battle on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center, both teams coming off much-needed wins in their last match.

For the Galaxy, it’s a chance to build on their 3-2 victory over Real Salt Lake last Sunday, a game that saw two players (Nate Jaqua, Edson Buddle) tally their first scores for the team. Buddle scored in his first appearance for the club, while Jaqua hadn’t scored since the semifinal round of the 2006 playoffs, an eight-game drought.

Columbus broke a seven-game winless streak on Wednesday with a 2-1 win over the Kansas City Wizards at Crew Stadium. Guillermo Barros Schelotto assisted on Stefani Miglioranzi’s eventual game-winner, extending the former Boca Juniors star’s streak to four-straight games with an assist.

Columbus continues to be short-handed, having to cope with the loss of Frankie Hejduk to Gold Cup and Tim Ward, Robbie Rogers and Danny Szetela, all to the U-20 World Cup. Striker Andy Herron, maybe the Crew’s most potent offensive threat, is out for this match, suffering from a left hip flexor strain.

The Galaxy will have reinforcements on the way. After missing three games with the Canadian national team for Gold Cup 2007, Ante Jazic and Kevin Harmse are set to make their return to L.A.’s starting XI against Columbus. The pair’s services became available after the U.S. eliminated Canada by a score of 2-1 in Thursday’s evening semifinal match.

Though the Galaxy will be without Landon Donovan once more, the team added two players in mid-week, officially signing Honduran forward Carlos Pavon and trading for Real Salt Lake’s Chris Klein. Pavon is not eligible to play in this match as he is awaiting his work visa. Klein, who has earned 21 caps and scored three goals with the national team, should be in the lineup.

6.21.2007

USA Advances to Gold Cup Final

USA vs. Canada Gold Cup Semifinal June 21, 2007

The United States and Canada squared off on Thursday night to earn the right to play in the 2007 Gold Cup final. Despite being the overwhelming favorite, Bob Bradley insisted that the team was not looking past them and a potential match-up with Mexico in the final.

The U.S. offense forced Canada keeper Pat Onstad into action early as the Canada stopper was called upon to make a save in the first 30 seconds of the game when Landon Donovan let one fly from just outside the box.

In the sixth minute, defender Frankie Hejduk pushed a lazy pass back to the goalkeeper, forcing Kasey Keller to come outside the box to beat an onrushing Ali Gerba to the ball. Keller, who received his 100th cap in the game, was able to get to the ball and clear it away from danger, getting knocked to the ground in the process.

Six minutes later, the American defense nearly did themselves in with lax passing once more, this time when captain Carlos Bocanegra played the ball to Keller. The keeper’s first touch was a bit erratic, allowing Dwayne De Rosario to close on the ball and forcing Keller to play it out once more, again having to pick himself up off the dirt following the play.

The United States threatened again in the 16th minute. Defender Jonathan Bornstein brought the ball down the left side and crossed it into the middle at the top of the box. Striker Eddie Johnson acted as a decoy as the ball passed through his legs and found Landon Donovan. Drawing three defenders, Donovan dropped the ball off to Michael Bradley at the top of the box - but the shot from the coach’s son was less than perfect, a soft, bouncing shot smothered easily by Onstad.

Right around the half-hour mark, Canada got their best offensive chance yet. Ali Gerba tracked down Onstad’s goal kick and got around Oguchi Onyewu, who appeared to have miscommunicated with Keller, leaving Gerba an open chip over Keller. But the veteran keeper came off his line in just enough time to disrupt the Canadian and the ball rolled harmlessly out of play just feet from the goal.

In solid control of possession throughout the half, the United States finally cashed in six minutes before the break. After DaMarcus Beasley’s free kick from the right side went over everyone, Landon Donovan found the ball at his feet. He again chose to pass, this time to Frankie Hejduk, whose low bullet hit the near post and ricocheted into the net for the right-back’s seventh international goal.

The U.S. wasted no time in pushing forward after the goal and were rewarded for the efforts when Clint Dempsey sent a perfect ball through the Canadian defense from the center of the field, finding a streaking Beasley in step. Onstad committed to the ball but missed, with Beasley dragging his right foot to make contact with the keeper, drawing the PK. Landon Donovan stepped up and slotted the ball past Onstad for his third goal of the 2007 Gold Cup and 33rd goal all-time, only one behind the record set by Eric Wynalda.

Five minutes into the second half, Donovan had a prime chance to tie Wynalda’s record, but whiffed with a left-footed attempt on an open goal after Beasley had drawn the keeper off his line. The ball was cleared away, leaving Donovan shaking his head at what could have been.

But Canada wasted no time in answering at the other end of the field as a nice sequence between Gerba and Atiba Hutchinson forced Keller to come off his line once more to punch the ball away. Canada was not going to lay down to their southern neighbors in this one.

In the 73rd minute, De Rosario received the ball in the box and rounded his defender, once again testing the U.S. goalkeeper with a low, line-drive shot, but Kasey Keller was up to the task, making the save look easy.

But Keller would not celebrate his 100th cap with a clean sheet, as Canada pulled one back in the 76th minute. Substitute Iain Hume faked out Bocanegra with his right foot and beat Keller with a shot from his left, cutting the deficit in half.

Two minutes from time, Michael Bradley was sent off for a harsh tackle from behind, meaning he will miss Sunday’s final against either Mexico or Guadaloupe. Reduced to ten men late, the United States hung on over the final fifteen minutes, punching their ticket into the final.

In the last throes of the game, Atiba Hutchinson found the ball on his feet behind the U.S. defense after Onyewu misplayed a header. As Hutchinson’s shot hit the back of the net, the flag came up and the play was whistled as off-sides, preserving the U.S. victory after five minutes of stoppage time.

Player ratings:
Keller --- 4
Hejduk --- 7
Onyewu --- 4
Bocanegra --- 4
Bornstein --- 6
Bradley --- 5
Mastroeni --- 5
Dempsey --- 4
Beasley --- 6
Donovan --- 5
E. Johnson --- 4

80’ – Feilhaber – no rating
88’ – Twellman – no rating
89’ – R. Clark – no rating

Galaxy/RSL Trade

Breaking: Ives Galarcep is reporting that the Los Angeles Galaxy have traded Nathan Sturgis and Robbie Findley to Real Salt Lake in exchange for veteran Chris Klein.

I'll have more details as they come available.

6.20.2007

Chivas USA/Houston Dynamo Preview

Two teams riding winning streaks will do battle on MLS Primetime Thursday as Chivas USA travels to the Lone Star State for a Western Conference clash against the Houston Dynamo.

The Men in Orange picked up maximum points from their three games last week, defeating FC Dallas, Colorado and Columbus in a seven-day span to move into third-place in the conference. With a win in Thursday’s game, Houston would leapfrog over Chivas and into second place - but they’ll have to do it without Brian Ching, Dwayne De Rosario, Ricardo Clark and Pat Onstad, who are all still away with their respective national teams in the Gold Cup.

Chivas has also been riding high lately, winners of three straight and unbeaten in their last five contests, stretching back to the first week of May. If Preki’s club can come out of Houston with a victory, Chivas USA would set a club record for the longest winning streak in their brief history. They would also move within striking distance of FC Dallas for the West lead, even though FCD has several more games in hand.

In the first meeting between these clubs in 2007, Houston came away with a 1-0 victory on April 14th, with Brian Ching’s header in the 65th minute being the difference. The Dynamo have compiled an all-time record of 2-0-1 against Chivas in Robertson Stadium and eliminated Chivas from the playoffs last season with a 2-0 victory in the second-leg of the semifinals.

Leading Houston’s offensive resurgence has been Joseph Ngwenya. A native of Plumtree Zimbabwe, Ngwenya has notched goals in three straight games since arriving from Columbus, including the game-winner against FC Dallas. With three goals, he is tied with De Rosario for the team lead in that category.

Chivas USA’s climb up the ladder has been led by Maykel Galindo. The Cuban defector has tallied six goals and three assists in 10 games, placing him near the front in the race for the 2007 Golden Boot. On the other end of the field, Brad Guzan continues to show why he is getting calls from Bob Bradley to play on the national team. His 0.80 GAA and five shutouts make him the league-leader in both statistics.

Interesting stat: Ante Razov has taken 40 shots on the season, behind only New England’s Taylor Twellman (41).


Chivas USA (5-3-2) @ Houston Dynamo (5-5-1)
ESPN 2 - 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT

MLS News Briefs - From Net to Net

Week 12
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Not content with adding just one striker this week, the Los Angeles Galaxy have reached a deal with veteran Honduran forward Carlos Pavon, according to Ives Galarcep's blog, Soccer By Ives. Pavon may have caught the eye of Galaxy brass when he scored four goals while leading Honduras to a 5-0 dismantling of Cuba earlier this month in the group stages of the Gold Cup.

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X-rays on Danny Dichio's injured ankle came back negative, but the Toronto FC forward may still miss some playing time. Dichio hurt his left ankle in last Sunday's 4-0 victory over FC Dallas - a game in which he scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season. Dichio feared the worst when interviewed after the game, saying "There might be a crack in the bottom of my foot or ligament damage." Instead, the diagnosis was a sprain, leaving Dichio questionable for Saturday's clash against the New England Revolution.

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Thursday's Gold Cup semifinal match between the United States and Canada will feature three players normally in the starting eleven for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Landon Donovan will be looking to guide the Nats to the final (and a much anticipated showdown with Mexico), but Landycakes will have to get past a Canadian squad featuring Galaxy teammates Kevin Harmse and Ante Jazic. Though Harmse has seen limited time in the tournament, Jazic has played every minute in defense for the Canucks.

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For the second straight time, MLS Player of the Week honors went to a member of a resurrected D.C. United side. Luciano Emilio grabbed the award for scoring goals on either side of halftime to extend his club's unbeaten streak to seven games. Emilio now has three goals in his last two games and five total, tied for fifth-most in Major League Soccer.

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An unsubstantiated rumor has surfaced linking Los Angeles Galaxy and U-20 midfielder Nathan Sturgis with a move to Ibrox. Though unconfirmed, Rangers manager Walter Smith was keen on the defensive midfielder's form in last month's international friendly at the Home Depot Center, calling him the best player on the pitch.

Sturgis will get another chance to impress when he takes the field for the U.S. in the Under-20 World Cup, which runs from June 30th to July 22nd. The U.S. has been drawn into Group D along with Poland, Korea and Brazil.

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How does going zero-for-250 corner kicks sound? Well, that's exactly what Real Salt Lake did over a period of two years, according to the Deseret Morning News. When Chris Brown's header found the back of the net against the Galaxy on Sunday, it marked the first time since May 14, 2005, that RSL scored a legitimate goal off a corner kick - some 250-plus attempts since their last success.

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In the Marcelo Salas watch, the Chicago Fire insist they have not received an answer to the offer they extended the Chilean forward. This comes on the heels of international media reports that Salas has already turned down the Fire's invitation - opting instead to return home and play for another year with Universidad de Chile.

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Real Salt Lake could be in some hot water after apparently telling a little white lie to the Liberian Football Association. See, the tiny national on the western coast of Africa needed a result against Equatorial Guinea to propel their hopes of qualifying for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. On June 10th, they kindly asked RSL to release Willis Forko for the upcoming game, but Real Salt Lake informed them that Forko would not be able to make the trip because of an injury.

End of story, right?

On June 14th, Forko not only suited up, he played all 90 minutes in RSL's 1-0 loss to FC Dallas. Think anyone noticed? The Liberian Football Association did - and, after only salvaging a tie against Equatorial Guinea on June 17th, they plan to formally file a complaint with FIFA about the situation.

For violating FIFA's rules, RSL may have their lowest-in-the-league point total docked. The club may also have to break out their checkbook to make nice with the governing body of their sport, with a fine being the most likely choice of discipline for FIFA to take.

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Chivas USA's Paulo Nagamura was born in Brazil, a country that knows a thing or two about soccer. With greats like Pele, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho all hailing from that same country, LA Soccer News' Luis Bueno decided to ask something that's clearly been on his mind for too long: Where's the nickname?

Nagamura, also of Japanese ancestry, explained that he does, in fact, have a nickname: 'Paulinho'. Everybody back home knows him by that name, but the league wanted him to use the standard 'first name, last name' format when he came to America and he obliged.

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Landon Donovan is just two goals away from tying Eric Wynalda's goals scored record with the national team. In 92 appearances, Donovan has recorded 32 goals - Eric Wynalda ended his U.S. career with 34 goals in 107 appearances.

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Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad and Colorado Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni will be featured on an episode of 'Emeril Live,' the hit Food Network show hosted by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. The U.S. internationals' appearance reportedly includes an abundance of gourmet food and wine and will air on Monday, July 2nd, at 8 p.m. (ET).

6.18.2007

RSL Could Be Disciplined Over Forko

Real Salt Lake may be facing discipline from FIFA if the Liberian Football Association (LFA) goes forward with formally making a complaint to the world governing body.

At the center of the dispute is Liberian defender Willis Forko. On June 10th, his country called him up to play on against Equatorial Guinea on June 17th, a qualifying game for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, but Real Salt Lake claimed that Forko was injured. Oddly enough, Forko not only suited up for his club four days after his club claimed Forko was injured, but he played the entire 90 minutes in RSL's 1-0 home loss against FC Dallas.
Real Salt Lake could now be punished for violating FIFA rules by claiming Forko was injured to withhold him from joining his national team. LFA chief scribe George Williams said Friday that his office was aware of the sitution and was preparing to inform FIFA. "We will certainly let FIFA know about this matter. We think this is unfortunate and should not be encouraged by clubs round the world.

Over at RSLFM, the author speculates that the club could face a fine and could be docked points for violating FIFA rules. Had the club earned any points with Forko in the lineup during the period in dispute, those could have been taken away also.

Whatever comes out of this, one thing is for sure: It's a Real mess in Salt Lake these days.

Lalas Calls Premiership 'Inferior'

Well, it's been about six hours since Alexi Lalas has said something completely ridiculous, so kudos to him for showing restraint I never thought he had.
In his latest attempt to grab headlines, the Los Angeles Galaxy general manager hit back against British critics of Major League Soccer's quality of play. His counter-argument: The Premiership is actually the weaker league.

"There's no accounting for bad taste," Lalas said in an interview with the Guardian. "That a segment of the world worships an inferior product in the Premiership is their business. The Premiership has become so skilled in presentation. This is high-caliber marketing - taking an inferior product and improving it through packaging."

Lalas continued by saying David Beckham moved to America, not to fade into retirement as many European nay-sayers claim, but instead, because he wanted the challenge.

"It's insulting to say Beckham is on his way to Hollywood when he's coming to play in one of the most competitive leagues in the world. There are a lot of stars who would struggle here."

Beckham Triumphant, On To Galaxy

David Beckham has ended his time with Real Madrid in a fine way by helping his side to the Primera Liga title on Sunday. But it wasn't without a little drama.

With a home win over Real Mallorca, Madrid would maintain their razor-thin margin over Barcelona and be crowned champions for the first time in four years. But early on, any celebration seemed premature as Mallorca staked themselves to the lead after 17 minutes and held on to it through an hour of play.

Injuries had forced early departures for leading scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy and also Beckham, who was battling an ankle injury. Making things worse, Barcelona jumped all over Gimnastic Tarragona on their way to a 5-1 victory. It seemed as if Madrid's title hopes would be dashed once more.

While Beckham was forced to come off in the 66th minute, his substitute wasted no time in making an impact on the game. Jose Antonio Reyes, a forward on-loan from Arsenal, scored in the 68th minute to tie the game, 1-1, and later added an insurance goal after a Miguel Moya own-goal gave Madrid the lead for good. "My dreams have come true," Reyes said. "My goals today have been better than any other goals I've scored before."

The game seemed to mirror Madrid's season in that they were forced to come from behind once more to claim the title. After the final whistle, the celebration began. David Beckham made one more victory lap in front of the faithful at the Bernabeu, including wife Victoria and three children, and new best friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. "I couldn't have dreamt it any better. It's been about winning the title for the last six months - and we've deserved it tonight," Beckham declared.After the celebrations die down, Beckham will be given some time to recuperate his ankle before being asked to save another team's season - this time halfway around the world in Los Angeles. Unofficially, his first game will be an exhibition against Chelsea on July 21st, a day that will live in infamy for soccer in America.

As a side note, the Galaxy put up a message on the scoreboard during Sunday's game against Real Salt Lake that congratulated Beckham for becoming champion, drawing a huge cheer from those in attendance - and perhaps motivating the team as they went on to pick up the victory for the first time in six matches.

Chivas USA 2 - Colorado Rapids 0

Two teams heading in different directions squared off on Saturday as the Colorado Rapids traveled to the Home Depot Center to take on Chivas USA.

The Rapids came to town for the final leg of an unsuccessful three-game road trip, having dropped previous decisions at Toronto and Houston, both by a 2-1 score.

At the other end of the spectrum, Chivas USA was riding a two-game winning streak, dispatching Chicago and FC Dallas without allowing a goal as they have climbed up the Western Conference table.

Both clubs had missed opportunities in the first half. Chivas USA looked like the better club, but couldn’t get anything past Rapids ‘keeper Bouna Coundoul. The Goats’ defense was also working hard, holding Colorado without a shot on goal through the first half-hour.

In the 32nd minute, a mental breakdown by Chivas allowed Herculez Gomez to break in behind the defense. Alex Zotinca’s failed clearance gave Herculez enough space to break in on Brad Guzan. But El Guzano was up to the task, tipping the Gomez volley over the net.

Calling it the most difficult save he made on the night, Guzan said: “We kind of got unlucky in a couple of bounces and Herculez is free and takes a shot like 10 yards away from me. You have to be ready through 90 minutes, you have to be mentally focused and that’s an area that I have definitely improved in the last three years.”

Just after halftime, Chivas would finally break through – with a little help from the Colorado defense. In the 49th minute, Sacha Kljestan’s cross from the right side skipped past Maykel Galindo and Panchita Mendoza in the box, but ricocheted off Terry Cooke and past Coundoul, giving Chivas USA an unlikely goal and the lead.

From then on, Chivas USA used the speed of Galindo and Mendoza to run at a tired Colorado defense. In the 52nd minute, Paulo Nagamura sprung Galindo into open space. As Brandon Prideaux and Ugo Ihemelu gave chase, Galindo unleashed a low, hard shot. Coundoul had to sprawl out to make a save on the Cuban’s effort, keeping Colorado in the game.

In the 63rd minute, Galindo had another one-on-one opportunity against Coundoul. After receiving a pass from midfield by Jesse Marsch, Galindo raced past the Rapids defense and slotted a left-footed effort into the back of the net, giving Chivas USA all they would need.

“The own goal changed the momentum. We needed to open up and send more people forward,” declared Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo.

With the game winding down Guzan was forced to make two key saves. Roberto Brown tried to get one back for Colorado with a low shot in the 86th minute. It was enough to force a save, but Guzan was up to the task, diving to his left to knock the ball away.

Colorado had one last gasp in the 90th minute. Off a Jose Cancela free kick, Brandon Prideaux’s header to the far post looked certain to cut the deficit in half, if not for a tremendous effort from Guzan. His fourth save of the match preserved a third-straight clean sheet and earned him praise from the coach.

“Sometimes, you need a goalkeeper like him to keep you in the game and tonight he did a great job. That’s why he is an international goalkeeper,” said Preki.

MLS Results - Week 11

Here are results from around the league. Game recaps (except for LAG/RSL) are from MLSNet.

Thursday:
FC Dallas 1 - Real Salt Lake 0
- Dominic Oduro scores in stoppage time to lift Hoops.

Saturday:
Columbus 3 - New England 3
- Crew fight back to earn tie in New England; Revs' Cristman scores twice.

Chicago 1 - D.C. United 3
- Emilio rolling; United unbeaten in seven.

Kansas City 3 - New York Red Bulls 3
- J.P. Angel's PK salvages point at home for Red Bulls.

Colorado 0 - Chivas USA 2
- Guzan holds Colorado scoreless; Own-goal does-in Rapids.

Sunday:
FC Dallas 0 - Toronto FC 4
- Dormant Dallas Denied By Djekanovic; Four score for Toronto in win.

Real Salt Lake 2 - L.A. Galaxy 3
- Jaqua, Buddle get first goals; Xavier makes successful debut.

L.A. Galaxy 3 - Real Salt Lake 2

Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy met at the Home Depot Center on Sunday afternoon, both clubs aiming to halt winless streaks that have pushed them down in the Western Conference. Both clubs missed the playoffs in 2006 and it was starting to look like the same result for 2007.

The last time Los Angeles earned three points in league play was back on April 28th, beating rivals Chivas USA 3-1. Five games later, the Galaxy were still looking to find another ‘W’. Two new players – Edson Buddle and Abel Xavier - debuted in the starting lineup, hoping to change the Galaxy’s fortunes.

Real Salt Lake has also been forced to deal with changes, not the least of which was seeing their leading scorer retire to become head coach. Despite several trades aiming to bolster their chances of making the playoffs, RSL had zero wins to show for their troubles going into Sunday’s game.

The Galaxy struck first, when RSL defender Daniel Torres pushed a lazy pass back to Nick Rimando in the third minute, unaware of Nate Jaqua on his heels. Jaqua pounced and blasted a shot through Rimando that had to be cleared off the line. Torres’ clearing attempt ricocheted off the post and back to Jaqua, who buried the second shot for his first goal of the season, giving the Galaxy an early lead. “It wasn’t the prettiest goal, but it hit the back of the net and that’s all that matters,” Jaqua said after the game.

The lead would be quickly erased just two minutes later. Chris Brown split three Galaxy players and put the ball to Joe Cannon’s left, tying the game, 1-1.

In the 24th minute, both of the new additions to the Galaxy lineup combined to get a goal. Abel Xavier lobbed the ball over the Real Salt Lake defense and Edson Buddle did the rest, racing in on goal and beating Nick Rimando to give the Galaxy the lead once more.
It was Buddle’s first goal of the season in his first game with the Galaxy. He had played ten games without scoring a goal with Toronto FC before being traded for Tyrone Marshall earlier this week.

In the second half, the Galaxy almost extended their lead. In the 64th minute, Cobi Jones’ pass in the box was deflected by Chris Klein, as the ball nailed the RSL crossbar before being cleared away to safety.

Seconds later, Cobi would not be denied. Kyle Martino made a run into the box down the left flank and crossed the ball to the wide-open Jones. Cobi’s shot beat Rimando at the far post and staked the Galaxy to a 3-1 lead.

In the 73rd minute, Salt Lake would answer back. Chris Brown beat rookie defender Ty Harden on a corner kick, heading the ball just inside the post for his second goal of the match.

Despite pushing for the equalizer in the final minutes, the Los Angeles Galaxy would hold back RSL, securing a badly-needed three points to nudge them out of the Western conference cellar. Head coach Frank Yallop was optimistic following the win, but remained honest about the work ahead for the team.

Said Yallop: “Obviously it was great to get the win and that’s really the only thing that’s important for us at this point. We have a lot of work to do in certain areas. I’m happy all around but now we need to regroup and get ready for our game next Saturday. It’s nice to have a smile on my face for a change.”

Player Rankings:
Cannon 5
Harden 4
Veris 5
Xavier 6
Kirk 4
Martino 6
Sturgis 5
Vagenas 4
Cobi 6
Jaqua 5
Buddle 6

6.15.2007

Carlos Pavon To Join Galaxy

Not content with bringing in only one new forward this week, the Los Angeles Galaxy have reportedly signed Honduran forward Carlos Pavon. New Jersey's own Ives Galarcep says the deal is done.Pavon may have caught the attention of Galaxy brass when he scored four goals earlier this week in Honduras' 5-0 dismantling of Cuba in the Gold Cup. He had a first-half hat trick after goals in the 3rd, 12th and 43rd minutes and and added one more early in the second half before being taken off the pitch to rest him for Sunday's quarterfinal match against Guadalupe.

Pavon, 33, played most recently for Real Espana in his home country, scoring 15 goals in just 20 appearances. He has also earned 66 caps with the national team and is the team's all-time leading scorer with 46 goals.

TJ's take: The Galaxy have done a nice job of upgrading at the forward position over the past few days. I was content with the trade for Edson Buddle - the addition of Pavon surprised me, but should pay dividends for the club.

Where does Nate Jaqua fit in the formation now? If I were the coach, I'd stick Jaqua up top as a target forward and have Pavon and Buddle making runs to either side of him. Some have suggested now is the perfect time to trade Jaqua, but I think he could catch fire very soon. Plus, Jaqua's trade value has taken a dent from his poor performance to start 2007.

FC Dallas 1 - Real Salt Lake 0

Dominic Oduro's goal in the waning seconds of stoppage time lifted FC Dallas over Real Salt Lake on Thursday night, 1-0.

RSL keeper Nick Rimando, on the verge of being lynched by angry fans a few short weeks ago, was again peppered with shot after shot, making 10 saves on the night. But Dallas would not be denied, stealing three points on their way out of town. "I think that's the third time we've done it to them here, scored late in the game. To be honest with you, I think it was just exactly what we deserved," said FCD head coach Steve Morrow.

With the win, FC Dallas improves to 7-5-1 (22 points), still in charge of the Western Conference. They travel to Toronto on Sunday.

Real Salt Lake remains winless on the season at 0-4-6 (6 points), mired in the cellar of the West. They will next face the struggling Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Sunday in a matchup of inept offenses.

Game recap from MLSNet can be viewed here.

Eddie Pope's Last Season

Real Salt Lake and former U.S. international defender Eddie Pope announced Thursday that 2007 will be his final season.Pope, 33, began his MLS career with D.C. United as the second overall pick in the inaugural draft of 1996, scoring the golden goal in overtime to propel D.C. to the MLS Cup championship in the league's first year of existence.

On the international side, Pope was a big part of the U.S. picture, earning 82 caps in all, and appearing in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cup squads. "The 2002 World Cup, that was unbelievable for me as a player. Beating Mexico is exciting any time, and when you can do it in the World Cup in a game like that, that was one of the greatest days in my career," reflected Pope.

On his remaining days in Utah: "I love it here and I've had a good time playing here in front of the amazing fans. To be able to retire here is a great thing for me. I'm very, very happy about that, to retire in such a great place."

6.14.2007

Power Rankings - Week 11

Here are the world-famous MLS Zone power rankings for Week 11 (06/11 - 06/17). Last week's position is in parenthesis.

1. (2) Kansas City Wizards
Have been off since upsetting the New York Red Bulls 3-2 on June 2nd. New York got pounded by D.C. last weekend so, by default, the idle Wizards move back on top of the power rankings. Will face New York on Saturday, this time on the road, and could make a real statement by downing New York at home without Eddie Johnson in the lineup.

2. (1) New York Red Bulls
The Red Bull defense, or lack thereof, has clipped this team's wings, conceding eight goals in their last three games. Bruce Arena's experiment of moving 33-year-old Markus Schopp from midfield to right-back was absolutely disastrous and Ben Olsen made them pay en route to his first career hat trick. With Todd Dunivant and Hunter Freeman still sidelined with injuries, Saturday's game against the aformentioned Wizards could turn ugly.

3. (3) New England Revolution
New England is also coming off two weeks of rest. They will be without Taylor Twellman and Michael Parkhurst (Gold Cup) when Columbus comes to town on Saturday night.

4. (5) Chivas USA
The first team from the Western Conference to show up on the list, Chivas USA is keeping pace with teams that have two or three more games played to their credit. They boast the best goal differential in their conference (+5) and are coming off of their first road win of 2007 (at Chicago, 1-0). The Goats return home to take on a tired Colorado team in the middle of a stretch that sees the Rapids play five of six games away from home.

5. (6) D.C. United
After such an underwhelming start to the season, D.C. is now playing a higher caliber game - it's back to the level most people expected to see from this team. The defense is still an issue, but Luciano Emilio is scoring goals again and Fred is beginning to look very dangerous. He could be inserted into Jaime Moreno's position when #99 joins Bolivia's national team in preparation for Copa America.

6. (4) Colorado Rapids
As mentioned above, Colorado is in the middle of a road stretch that has seen them travel to Toronto, Houston and now Los Angeles over the course of two weeks. The cross-country trip is taking it's toll on the players - leading to a more sloppy style of football that has seen them drop two in a row.

7. (11) Houston Dynamo
Dwayne who? Houston reeled off three wins in seven days to boost themselves into second place in the West, behind intrastate rivals FC Dallas. When DeRosario returns from the Gold Cup, this team could really do some damage. Joseph Ngwenya has three goals on only 10 shots in six games since joining the club from Columbus.

8. (8) Toronto FC
Played well against New York a week ago but couldn't get the result. Trading Edson Buddle for veteran central defender Tyrone Marshall is the latest in a string of good trades for the club. It's only a matter of time before this team goes on another run and puts pressure on the top three - not bad for an expansion club.

9. (7) Chicago Fire
Just as the Fire started getting hot, Paulo Nagamura doused the team's spirits. Chicago was lacking any offensive creative in front of their first sell-out crowd at Toyota Park - they'll improve in that department once Chris Rolfe gets healthy and Justin Mapp returns from the national team.

10. (10) FC Dallas
Who would have thought that Dallas would be in first place in the West without Carlos Ruiz or Kenny Cooper? I still predict that Dallas will sink into mediocrity as the summer heats up.

11. (9) Los Angeles Galaxy
David Beckham's future team has managed just 82 shots this season, dead-last in the MLS. Nate Jaqua has taken 18 of them without finding the back of the net. Maybe Edson Buddle will have better luck in Los Angeles. At least Abel Xavier will be ready to go this weekend in the place of Tyrone Marshall.

12. (13) Columbus Crew
Andy Herron and Alejandro Moreno could score a lot of goals on feeds from Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Will they? Probably not.

13. (12) Real Salt Lake
There's always next year... of course, there will be no Eddie Pope and no Freddy Adu. So who will RSL look to for leadership next year? Mehdi Ballouchy? Andy Williams? Donny Osmond??? Blech...

Abel Xavier Has Arrived

The Los Angeles Galaxy have formally introduced Abel Xavier, the Portuguese international who the team is banking on to solve the problems they have faced defensively so far this season.

Xavier, 34, joins the Galaxy on a free transfer after his contract with English club Middlesbrough expired. He is expected to begin training with the team as early as today and could be ready to see action as soon as this weekend - if his paperwork gets pushed through quickly. In addition to seeing action in the Premier League, Xavier has also played top-tier football in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

Internationally, Xavier has made 20 appearances for Portugal, with two goals to his credit. He made an appearance in Portugal's last game of the group stage in the 2002 World Cup.

Perhaps known more for his appearance than his footballing prowess - see picture above - Xavier received a year-long suspension in 2005 after testing positive for Methandrostenolone, an anabolic steroid. He appealed the decision and has maintained his innocense on the matter.

Xavier's salary for 2007 is listed at $156,000, according to the MLS Players Union. Like David Beckham, Xavier insists it wasn't about the money: "I'm pleased because, personally, it's a big challenge. This was the most attractive decision of my career."

With the addition of Xavier and the emergence of Ty Harden in central defense, the team considered Galaxy mainstay Tyrone Marshall expendable, leading to a swap with Toronto FC for Edson Buddle. Xavier will likely play alongside Harden in the middle of defense, a sore spot for the Galaxy all year long.

6.13.2007

U.S. To Face Panama

The United States Men's National Team, after going undefeated in the group stage, has drawn Panama in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Gold Cup. The game will take place this Saturday from New England at 4 p.m. ET.

Panama ends the group stage with a record of 1-1-1, finishing third in Group C after defeating Honduras, battling to a tie with Cuba and narrowly losing to Mexico. They were, in fact, the only team to be victorious over white-hot Honduras, downing them 3-2 in the first game of each team's Gold Cup campaign.

The United States finished first in Group B at a perfect 3-0-0, the only team to make it through the group stage without a loss or tie. The Nats were triumphant over Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and El Salvador in the group stage, scoring seven goals and conceding zero.

Panama, now ranked 52nd in the world, was on the wrong side of a 6-0 game in October 2004 when they faced the U.S. in World Cup qualifying. In that game, MLS stars shined brightly as Landon Donovan scored the first two goals of the match and Eddie Johnson later added a hat trick.

Donovan and Johnson have a goal each this time around - DaMarcus Beasley leads the team with two goals. Former New England Revolution star Clint Dempsey and current Revs star Taylor Twellman have both added a goal each, as has Brian Ching of the Houston Dynamo.

In case you are keeping count, that's MLS players 4 - Yanks abroad 3.

Italy Remains #1, USA Jumps

In the June edition of FIFA rankings released today, World Cup champion Italy has maintained the top spot overall, just ahead of France, Brazil, Germany and Argentina.

The United States Men's National Team, benefiting from a good start to their 2007 Gold Cup campaign, jumped 13 spots from 29th to 16th, while watching CONCACAF rival Mexico fall all the way out of the top 20 to land at 26th. The U.S. defeated Guatemala (81st) 1-0, and Trinidad & Tobago (73rd) 2-0, before their 4-0 thumping of El Salvador (130th). The Nats could move up even more if they continue their run through Gold Cup.

Brazil fell to third for the first time since 2002... David Beckham and the England squad remained in 8th... Canada moved up 38 positions to 56th... Iraq's national team slipped five places to 81st.

6.12.2007

U.S. Scorches El Salvador

The United States Men's National Team completed their undefeated run through the 2007 Gold Cup group stage with a 4-0 win over El Salvador on Tuesday night. The only team to win all of their games in the tournament to this point, the United States refused to concede a goal while finding the net seven times over the same period, rounding into form in their latest victory. From the very start, the United States looked dangerous, controlling the ball and pushing the attack at will. DaMarcus Beasley drew first blood for the United States in the 34th minute when Landon Donovan's corner kick squirted out of a scrum of players. Beasley stepped up and purposefully placed the ball in the far corner of the net.

Just before the half, a penalty kick was awarded to the U.S. after Benny Feilhaber's cross hit the hand of defender Alfredo Pacheco just inside the box. Landon Donovan's first attempt to convert the PK was stopped, momentarily, but officials ruled that El Salvador's keeper came off of his line before the ball was kicked, giving Donovan another chance to come through - and he did, making it 2-0 at halftime.

In the second half, El Salvador came out attacking - having nothing left to lose. Despite generating more scoring chances, the second half eventually swung back into the American's style of play. In the 72nd minute, Brian Ching laid the ball off to Taylor Twellman who blasted a shot through the keeper, with the ball trickling into the net to make it 3-0.

In the 90th minute, DaMarcus Beasley struck again after receiving a nice pass from Clint Dempsey. It was Beasley's second goal of the game and gave the United States a 4-0 win on the night.

The U.S. will next face either the 3rd seed of Group A or the 3rd seed of Group C, depending on the results of the last day of group play. The quarterfinal game will be held on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass.

Edson Buddle To L.A.?

According to Goal.com, the Los Angeles Galaxy are prepared to trade defender Tyrone Marshall to Toronto FC in exchange for forward Edson Buddle.
Marshall, 32, has been with the Galaxy since 2002, appearing in 119 games and scoring three goals. He was a part of both Galaxy championships (2002, 2005) and was also named to MLS Best XI in '05. He has also made 59 appearances for the Jamaican national team, scoring twice. In what could shape up to be his last game with the Galaxy, Marshall was sent off last Saturday against FC Dallas for a hard tackle that broke Kenny Cooper's shin.
Buddle, 26, has 48 goals to his credit since 2001. If the trade rumor is substantiated, the Galaxy would become Buddle's fourth team in a little over a year. His most productive stint was with the Columbus Crew, for whom he scored 42 goals in 106 appearances from 2001 - 2005. Buddle pleaded guilty to drunken driving in 2005, causing him to miss games for violating the MLS substance abuse and behavioral health policy.

Marshall, a key part of the porous Galaxy defense in 2007, could be replaced by Abel Xavier, the veteran defender who last played for Middlesbrough in the EPL. Xavier has been cleared to play in his first MLS game this Sunday when the G's meet fellow cellar-dwellers Real Salt Lake.

Buddle has appeared in 10 games for Toronto this year, starting five of them, and has failed to score a goal. He has seen his playing time decrease after the emergence of Danny Dichio and Jeff Cunningham.

TJ's take: The Galaxy are still searching for an international forward that can score goals, with Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Pavon and Joaozinho all coming up in discussion. Buddle has shown some flashes of greatness but has not been able to sustain that for any prolonged period in his career. Still, bringing in a 26-year-old forward with promise in exchange for a 32-year-old defender whose skills have diminished steadily over the past year has to be seen as a good deal, if the rumors are true.

6.11.2007

Marcelo Salas Offered Contract By Fire

Marcelo Salas has been offered a contract by the Chicago Fire, according to the Washington Post's Steven Goff. The 32-year-old Chilean, who was had stints with River Plate, Lazio and Juventus among others, has been training with the club for roughly two weeks.
According to Goff, the contract would pay Salas somewhere in the range of $22,000 per month for the rest of 2007. For next year, the club would cough up a $100,000 signing bonus and offer Salas a 2008 salary of $265,000, assuring that he will not be counted as a DP if the Fire get their way in negotiations.

El Matador, as he is known in Chile, made 65 appearances for his country's national team between 1994-2005, scoring 35 goals in that time. Salas has been without a club since Universidad de Chile released him as they were facing bankruptcy.