Erick “El Cubo” Torres debuts with a game winning goal

Jul 17, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, July 17, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The game between Toronto FC and Chivas USA was a much expected game for Chivas USA fans. It wasn’t because Toronto was a big name in the MLS. It was because the two big signings for Chivas USA were finally going to play. Carlos Bocanegra and Erick “El Cubo” Torres were going to make their much anticipated debut against Toronto FC.

The game began with both teams coming out very tentatively. Toronto FC was passing the ball around looking for spaces to slowly make their way towards goal. Chivas USA was trying to do the same but they weren’t precise in their passing turning the ball over left and right. Neither team was able to break each other’s defense for the first 20 minutes of the half. Then it seemed like it would get easier for Toronto FC because the referee gave Chivas USA’s midfielder, Eric Avila, a red card for a supposed studs up tackle but it was a dubious call.

Toronto FC began to take advantage of their one man advantage and began to push more men forward sensing the momentum swing in their favor. Toronto had the first scoring opportunity of the game coming from the left flank. The play began with Toronto having the ball in the middle of the pitch. As the player got closer to the box, he saw his teammate, Jonathan Osorio, making a run on the left flank. The player passed him the ball. Osorio received the ball and made his way towards the touch line. He crossed the ball low towards the middle of the box to where Jeremy Brockie was trying to make contact with the ball, but Bocanegra was following close behind Brockie and didn’t allow him to hit the ball.

Surprisingly, Chivas USA came out attacking in the second half. Most people would think they would come out defending and try to get at least a point from this match but they did the opposite. They had two opportunities in the beginning of the half to try to score but they came out short on both of them. Then in the 60th minute, they had their best chance to score. Tristan Bowen had the ball on the right flank. He was able to out run his defender to give himself some space to cross the ball towards the middle of the box. It seemed like Toronto’s defense was going to clear the ball out but they missed the ball and the ball landed on “El Cubo’s” feet. It seemed to surprise him because he took too long to shoot which gave Toronto’s goalkeeper, Joe Bendik, time to position himself to block the shot.

Chivas USA scored in the 79th minute of the game. Bowen had the ball in the middle of the field. He saw “El Cubo” running on the right flank by himself and he passed him the ball. “El Cubo” received the ball and cut towards the middle of the field. He created himself some room and shot towards goal. The ball seemed to hit the knee of Steven Caldwell and redirect the trajectory of the ball. The goalkeeper couldn’t do anything but watch the ball switch direction and go into the net giving Chivas USA a 1-nil lead.

Chivas USA won the game 1-nil. It was their first victory in 14 games. Ever since Jose Luis “El Guero” Real has become Chivas USA’s coach, they have been playing a lot better. They have played much better defensively but what was missing was the offense. They two new players that Chivas USA acquired this transfer season came up big in the game. Bocanegra seemed very comfortable with the defensive group. He lead the defensive unit perfectly especially when they went a man down. He was putting men in the right place to defend anything Toronto threw at them. “El Cubo” played very well despite being the lone man up top. He held the ball when he had to and most importantly scored the game winning goal.

Chivas USA is going to try to keep this momentum when they visit the Seattle Sounders on July 28.

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Galaxy beats FC Dallas and moves to third place in the Western Conference Standings

Jul 7, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, July 7, 2013 (Photo: Samuel Coronado, Archive)

The Los Angeles Galaxy had a good result in their game on Thursday beating the Columbus Crew 2-1. They had a quick turn around and faced FC Dallas Sunday. Even though they won the game against the Crew, they weren’t able to score a goal during gameplay. Their two goals came in the form of penalties. It wasn’t because they weren’t creating any scoring chances; they just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. They knew that they had to be a lot sharper and be able to score goals against a much better FC Dallas team.

The game started with Galaxy being the more aggressive team. They were looking to score a goal early in the match. They were getting quality shots, but none went into the back of the net. Raul Fernandez, the FC Dallas goalkeeper, had a big reason why LA couldn’t score a goal. Robbie Rodgers had a good shot on goal, but Fernandez was able to look around his defender, track the trajectory of the ball, and save the shot.

Galaxy began changing the way they were attacking FC Dallas. In the first part of the half, they were shooting from outside looking for a rebound. In the second half of the half, they began crossing the ball much more. The problem with their crosses was that they weren’t sent into dangerous area. An FC Dallas defender would always get to the ball before an LA Galaxy attacker would. FC Dallas on the other hand, couldn’t find any offensive rhythm. When they had possession of the ball, they couldn’t go any further than three-fourths of the pitch. Their most dangerous build-ups came in the counter attack. They would use their speed to try to get behind the Galaxy defense but Galaxy was able to stop the attack before FC Dallas was able to create anything dangerous around Carlos Cudicini. The half ended with both teams unable to really assert any dominance over the other and it showed in the scoreboard. At the end of the first half both teams were tied at zero.

In the second half, Galaxy couldn’t get to FC Dallas’ net as cleanly as they did in the first half. Galaxy did create dangerous plays off the counter attack but none resulted in goals. In the 59th minute Galaxy almost scored a goal off a header by Gyasi Zardes. Hector Jimenez had the ball on the right flank. He crossed the ball to Zardes who headed it on goal. The ball looked like it was going to go in but Fernandez came up big blocking the shot by Zardes.
Galaxy was finally able to break the nil-nil deadlock in the 65th minute. Omar Gonzalez had the ball on the defensive side of the field. He saw Robbie Keane making a run towards the opponent’s box. Gonzalez sent a long pass to Keane who controlled it but was immediately defended by FC Dallas defender, Stephen Keel. He tried juking him but Keel wasn’t biting, so Keane cut in towards the touchline. Right before the ball crossed outside, he crossed the ball towards the middle of the box where Marcelo Sarvas headed the ball and scored.

Galaxy was able to score another goal in the 81st minute of the game. Keane had the ball on the left flank. He crossed the ball to were Jimenez was waiting for the ball. He controlled the ball cleanly and shot towards goal. Fernandez couldn’t react fast enough to save the shot and Jimenez scored the second goal of the game. With that goal, Jimenez was able to redeem himself for some mistakes he had during the game. A couple of times, if he would have made a better decision, Galaxy would have had a scoring opportunity.

Galaxy won the game 2-nil. They were finally able to score a goal during gameplay. They not only scored two goals, they were able to secure a shut-out. They were able to win both games in the short week. After this win, Galaxy was able to move to third place in the Western Conference Standings and only four points from the Supporters Shield. That is impressive because Galaxy started off the season badly and to be only four points away from the Supporters Shield speaks volume to how much better they have been playing lately.

The Galaxy travel to Portland to play the Portland Timbers on July 13.

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Galaxy wins a well deserved but difficult game

Jul 5, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, July 4, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado)

The Los Angeles Galaxy had just had a disastrous weekend. They had not only lost in the California Classico against their hated rivals, the San Jose Earthquakes, but they allowed two late goals in the game. Luckily for them, they had to forget about that game quickly because they had a short week. They were going to play against the Columbus Crew the following Thursday.

The game started off slow for both teams. They both couldn’t find the precision in their passing and were turning the ball over with errant passing. Both teams were trying different ways of going forward, using both long and short passes to move the ball forward, but their imprecision didn’t let them get any real attack started. The Galaxy had the opportunity to score the goal when Robbie Keane gave Juninho a perfect through ball pass but Juninho’s shot went wide right. The Galaxy began to look more dangerous as the time ticked on. They kept shooting at goal but the ball was blocked by either the Crew’s backline or by their goalkeeper, Andy Gruenebaum. The Crew’s first shot came at the feet of their forward, Dominic Oduro, but his shot flew over the crossbar.

The game also began to get more physical as the game ticked on. Both teams were sliding hard and kicking even harder. It seemed they were playing on the edge of the rule book. They also started to commit more fouls which slowed down the rhythm of the game.

In the second half, Galaxy was more aggressive. They began committing more men to the attack and it showed in how many more dangerous opportunities they were able to create. The only problem is that Galaxy couldn’t find that finishing touch to finally put one in the net. This final lack of precision was best seen in a play where Omar Gonzalez gave a perfect pass to Robbie Keane, who was alone in the box. He received it cleanly, got away from his defender, and instead of burying the ball in the back of the net like most fans are accustomed to seeing, his shot went too high over the cross bar. Even though they lacked that final touch, Galaxy didn’t seem lose motivation or confidence in their attack. They kept attacking and looking for the first goal of the game. They even began to create dangerous plays in set pieces. They had a free kick in the 66th minute of the match. Juninho crossed the ball to the far post where Gonzalez and Gyasi Zardes were waiting for the cross. As the ball approached, Gonzalez went for the ball first and pulled two defenders leaving Zardes open to head the ball cleanly. Zardes headed the ball down, but his shot hit the side of the net.

Sadly for Galaxy, soccer isn’t always the fairest sport. It looked like the LA Galaxy were going to score any minute, the Columbus Crew opened up the scoreboard with a goal of their own in the 78th minute. They earned a free kick in a very dangerous area. Federico Higuain crossed the ball to the middle of the box. Bernardo Anor made his run to where the ball was going to. He jumped up and headed the ball towards goal before anyone could get to Anor. Carlos Cudicini jumped to try to block the ball but the header was hit to a perfect location, the top right corner of the net. Cudicini couldn’t have done anything to save that shot. The Galaxy stood their stunned as the Crew celebrated their goal.

That goal took away all the momentum Galaxy had created since the beginning of the second half. They were down at home once again. They were losing at a place they use to be unbeatable. It seemed like they couldn’t come to grips that they were losing again. They finally got their head together and were able to earn a penalty in the 85th minute. Marcelo Sarvas had the ball in the middle of the field. He passed the ball to Keane who was on outside the box. He acted as if he was going to run to the middle of the box, but quickly passed it to Sarvas. He received the ball and passed it to Jose Villarreal who was crossing the box. Marcelo got run over by a Crew player right when he passed it to Villarreal. Gruenebaum ran out to try to get to the ball before Villarreal, but Villarreal beat Gruenebaum to the ball. Villarreal smartly moved the ball out of the way and was taken down by Gruenebaum. The referee signaled for the penalty without any hesitation. Gruenebaum stood up immediately and tried pleading his case but the referee didn’t change his mind. Keane grabbed the ball and set it up to take the penalty. He made his run and stuttered right before he reached the ball. He kicked the ball low and to the right fooling Gruenebaum who dived left. Robbie scored but he knew that it wasn’t time to celebrate. He grabbed the ball and took it to the middle of the pitch start the game quickly.

The goal gave the Galaxy new life. They didn’t want to lose or even tie at home. They wanted to win the game because they really needed that win. There wasn’t a lot of time left in the game so they began committing more men on their attack but that left their defense vulnerable. The Columbus Crew almost made them pay just three minutes after the Galaxy scored the ball. Chad Barson took the throw in and he threw it to the middle of the box where Oduro jumped and headed the ball over Cudicini. It seemed like the ball was going to roll pass the goal line but Todd Dunivant reacted quickly enough to clear the ball right before the ball crossed the goal line. This didn’t stop the Galaxy from staying aggressive in their attack. They almost scored a goal but Keane’s shot hit the crossbar.

Galaxy were able to get another penalty in the 91st minute. Jack McBean had the ball close to the outside of the box. He passed the ball to Colin Clark who was out wide. He saw Keane standing in the middle of the box alone. Clark crossed the ball to Keane but Anor ran him over right before the ball got there. The referee signaled for a penalty without any hesitation. Anor ran to the referee to try to plead his case but that didn’t change the referee’s mind. Keane stepped up to shot the penalty shot and did the same thing he did in the first penalty. He shot low and to the right. Gruenebaum guessed correctly but Keane placed the shot perfectly that Gruenebaum couldn’t block it.

The game ended with Galaxy winning the game 2-1. Even though they scored the two goals at the end of the game, Galaxy did deserve to win. They won in every statistical category and were the more aggressive team. Even though they won, there were still many questions that needed to be answered. The most important one was why couldn’t they score. They had created many opportunities to score, but they couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. What they did learn in the game was that the partnership between Robbie Rodgers and Keane was developing very well. They had created many dangerous plays that resulted in either a good shot or a dangerous cross.

The Galaxy have a short week and will play FC Dallas on Sunday July 7 at the StubHub! Center.

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Mayweather vs Canelo” en los Angeles

Jul 4, 2013

THE ONE: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO” PRESS TOUR STOP

IN LOS ANGELES ATTRACTS 10,000 FANS

It’s a Pro-Canelo Crowd On Final Stop of Nine-Day, 10-City Press Journey

Boxers Prepare to Get to Work For Their Record-Breaking

Saturday, Sept. 14 Fight, Live on SHOWTIME PPV® From The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

LOS ANGELES (July 3, 2013) – “THE ONE: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO” press tour came to a spectacular conclusion Tuesday night before 10,000 energetic and enthusiastic fans at Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE.

Tempers didn’t exactly flare between Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez and their camps during the lively festivities that included loud music, a mariachi band and colorful streamers shot into the air, but, for the first time during the enormously successful nine-day, 10-city tour, the respective teams were less than completely complimentary of each other on stage.

Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya, who was seated next to Canelo at the dais, told the pro-Canelo crowd that he was “convinced Canelo will win.” Fans, who had chanted “Ca-nel-o” throughout, often drowning out the speakers, erupted in cheers. Moments earlier, De La Hoya said he “believed this event will break all the (pay-per-view) records” and that “this will be the best fight in the history of the sport.”

When it was his turn to speak, Canelo reiterated what he had said throughout the tour, that he fully appreciated the fans’ support, that this was “his time and we’re going to win this together.”

Mayweather, who took a verbal shot at De La Hoya at the podium while comparing his (Mayweather’s) resume to Canelo’s, told reporters afterward that “this was the only time on the press tour that there was trash talk.”

“They never said a word in the first nine cities,” Mayweather said. “They were totally quiet. Now, all of a sudden we’re in L.A. and they’re talking big like, Canelo is the king. Well, as you saw, if you shoot shots at me, I’ll shoot shots back. How you react to me is how I’ll react to you. You show me respect, I show you respect.

“Every time they give a fighter a huge buildup, I bring them down. It’s so crazy. Canelo is a great, young, strong champion, but he’s never fought on pay-per-view unless he’s been on one of my undercards. I’ve been here before, done it all for 17 years. Does he belong in the ring with me? We’ll just have to see, but I haven’t seen it yet.

“I’m young, strong and rich. He may be number one in his division, but I’m number one in boxing. You’ll see on September 14.

Mayweather was joined on stage by his mother and three of his young children. “Tonight was great,” he said. “The atmosphere here in Los Angeles was amazing, but this was also a special night for me because it was the first time my mother and children were up here with me.

“My mother, she’s a brilliant person. Today, I was going to write her a one million dollar check. Then, I got to thinking, what she’s given to me, my skills, my life, well I realized what she’s done for me is priceless. A one million dollar check would be a start, but could not in any way repay her.”

Mayweather said he had been playing a lot of basketball on the tour and that he is in great physical condition, but that he’s “in basketball shape, not boxing shape. That comes soon. It’s time to get to work.”

Floyd also said that his company, Mayweather Promotions, would make a donation to the families of the firefighters who were killed by the devastating wildfires near Phoenix earlier this week.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the people who lost their lives in those fires,” he said. “This was a terribly tragedy and everyone needs to support them. Never take anything for granted.”

Canelo was thrilled to be part of the unprecedented press tour. “This is my job and I enjoyed every moment of it,” he said. “Every city was different, but the atmosphere was always the same. I was so impressed with all the fans in all the cities, especially the ones in Chicago, Mexico City, San Antonio and tonight in Los Angeles. I appreciate all the fans everywhere.”

In Los Angeles, not unlike most of the other cities on the tour, Canelo appeared to be the crowd favorite.

“Canelo-Mania,” as Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer put it, “had hit the United States. I’ve seen it across the nation, in Mexico and in the U.S.,” said Schaefer, who emceed Tuesday’s proceedings. “We had 100,000 fans come out for the press conferences. Based on what we know and the monies generated already, I’m convinced this fight on September 14 is The ONE to break the pay-per-view record (2.5 million buys, set by Mayweather-De La Hoya in 2007).”

“Was I more popular on the tour?” Canelo replied in response to a question during a roundtable session with the media before the outdoor press conference. “It’s not for me to say. It’s up to you to decide.”

As for who has more to lose on Sept. 14, Canelo said, “I don’t know who does, but I’m not going to lose. This is the fight the fans wanted to see. I’ll be ready whether and I have to box and move, or stand and slug. Mayweather is a very difficult fighter, one of the best, and he has a very difficult style.

“We plan to study a lot of tape, especially his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo, who gave him the most problems. I know I haven’t reached my peak yet and that I still have a lot to learn, but I wish it was September 14 already. It’s an honor for me to be fighting on such an important weekend like Mexican Independence Day.”

Canelo didn’t think his weight fluctuated much during the sometimes exhausting tour. “I was able to run on a treadmill at the hotel every couple days,” he said. “I think my weight today is about what it was when we started.”

The freckle-faced, red-haired Canelo, who turns 23 on July 18, was scheduled to fly to Guadalajara Wednesday morning. He will spend a few days at home with his family before returning to Los Angeles early next week where he will finalize preparations for training camp which will take place in the mountains near Big Bear, Calif.

The top priority on his immediate agenda, however, Canelo says is “sleep. That’s the first thing I’ll do.” he said.

“THE ONE: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO,” a 12-round fight for Canelo’s WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine Super Welterweight World Championships and Mayweather’s WBA Super Welterweight Super World Championship taking place Saturday, Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions and sponsored by Corona, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Valvoline. The mega-event will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The event can be heard in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP).

Less than 24 hours after going on sale on June 25, the event was sold out, but six MGM Resorts properties will host live closed circuit telecasts of “THE ONE.” Properties showcasing the event include ARIA, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo and New York-New York. General admission tickets for the closed circuit telecasts are priced at $100, not including handling fees, and are available for purchase at each individual property’s box office outlets and also are available for purchase by phone with a major credit card at 866-799-7711. Closed circuit ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. Tickets also are available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Fotografia:Ruben Pineda

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Yasiel Puig el Novato del Mes

Jul 4, 2013

YASIEL PUIG NAMED NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE MONTH AND NL ROOKIE OF THE MONTH

LOS ANGELES – Major League Baseball announced today that Dodger rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig has been voted the Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for June as well as the National League Rookie of the Month. This is just the fifth time since the Rookie of the Month Award was introduced in 2001 that a Player or Pitcher of the Month Award winner has garnered Rookie honors in the same calendar month. Puig joins Dontrelle Willis (FLA, June 2003), Ryan Braun (MIL, July 2007), Jeremy Hellickson (TB, May 2011) and Mike Trout (LAA, July 2012) as the only players to accomplish the feat. Puig is the first to win a Player of the Month Award in his first month in the big leagues since the award was instituted in 1958.

The last Dodger to win Player of the Month honors was Matt Kemp (April 2012) and the last to win Rookie of the Month was Dee Gordon (Sept. 2011).

In 26 games last month, his first in the big leagues, Puig led the Majors with a .436 (44-for-101) batting average, 44 hits and a .713 slugging percentage. The Cuba native ranked among N.L. leaders with a .467 on-base percentage (1st), 72 total bases (2nd), 19 runs scored (T-3rd) and seven home runs (T-5th). Puig led all Major League rookies in home runs, RBI (16), runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging and total bases and placed second in stolen bases with four. His 44 hits ranked as the second-most all-time for a player in their debut calendar month, behind Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio’s 48 hits in May 1936. Puig joined DiMaggio as the only players in Major League history to record at least 40 hits while hitting at least four home runs in their first month in the Majors.

On June 30, the 22-year-old capped his stellar month by notching a career-high four hits, going 4-for-5 with a double, his first career triple, a pair of stolen bases and two runs scored in a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Philles at Dodger Stadium. The multi-hit effort was his 14th of the month and marked his seventh with three-or-more hits, a category in which he already holds the Major League rookie lead. With the four-hit day, Puig eclipsed Steve Sax’s Los Angeles Dodger rookie record of 43 hits in a single calendar month (August 1982). On June 24, the rookie phenom’s clutch hitting helped the Dodgers edge the N.L. West-rival San Francisco Giants in the opening game of a three-game set at Chavez Ravine. After clubbing a first-inning solo home run, Puig broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single, leading to a 3-1 Dodger victory.

The right handed-hitting slugger, who signed with the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 2012, won his first N.L. Player of the Week Award for the week ending June 9th after a torrid first seven games in the Majors in which he led baseball with 27 total bases and tied for the Major League lead with four home runs. Puig made his Major League debut on June 3 and had an immediate impact for the Dodgers, batting leadoff and collecting his first two Major League hits. Puig capped the debut performance with a game-ending double play, nabbing San Diego’s Chris Denorfia as he attempted to tag-up at first base on a flyout to deep right field. In his second career game on June 4th, Puig went 3-for-4 with a double, two homers and five RBI, joining Pittsburgh’s Dino Restelli (1949) as just second player in Major League history to post a two-homer, five-RBI performance within the first two games of his career (Elias Sports Bureau).

Other players receiving N.L. Player of the Month votes were Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez (.309, 15 R, 30 H, 6 2B, 10 HR, 24 RBI, .680 SLG, .380 OBP); Washington’s Ian Desmond (.306, 16 R, 30 H, 5 2B, 9 HR, 28 RBI, .633 SLG, .355 OBP); Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer (.347, 17 R, 33 H, 4 2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, .579 SLG, .376 OBP); and San Francisco’s Buster Posey (.374, 11 R, 37 H, 11 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI, .636 SLG, .4265 OBP).

Other rookies receiving votes for the Rookie of the Month included Atlanta’s Julio Teheran (3-2, 1.95 ERA, 37 SO, 32.1 IP); Miami’s Jose Fernandez (2-1, 1.67 ERA, 32 SO, 32.1 IP); and Washington’s Anthony Rendon (.330, 12 R, 30 H, 10 2B, HR, 7 RBI, .358 OBP).

The Budweiser Presents National League Player of the Month for June 2013, Yasiel Puig, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, in recognition of his accomplishment.

Cortesia:Dodgers

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Chivas USA improves but still can’t win

Jun 30, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub Center, June 29, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado, Victor Posadas)

Chivas USA hadn’t had the season they envisioned when they started the season with a 3-1-1 record. They thought they were going to have a breakout season but then their season began to unravel. They had a string of injuries that contributed in them beginning to lose. Not only were they losing players to injury, many players began to get traded and there wasn’t any cohesion in their line-up since it was changing week to week. Then Chivas USA fired their head coach, Jose Sanchez “EL Chelis” Solan. They knew that they needed to turn their season around and they had to do it fast.

They began the game looking to be aggressive and take advantage that they were at home. Not even a minute had passed when Gabriel Farfan took a long range shot. The shot sailed wide right but Chivas USA was looking for anything to boost their confidence on the offensive side. Their aggressive nature helped them to score the first goal of the game in the 18th minute. The play began when Josue Soto shot from the outside. The ball sailed straight to were New England Revolutions’ goalkeeper, Bobby Shuttleworth, was standing but he couldn’t keep hold of the ball. He blocked the ball with his fists but the ball landed on the top of the box. Tristan Bowen was able to pass the ball quickly to Laurent Courtois who kicked it with his left foot to the top right corner of the net. The goalkeeper jumped to block it but he reacted too late to save the shot.

With that goal, Chivas USA began to gain a lot of momentum. They began to have more possession of the ball and were creating more dangerous opportunities to score another goal. They also got the crowd into the game, which they hadn’t done so in many games. New England wasn’t playing a bad game though. When they had the ball, they would advance the ball till they reached the final third of the pitch. There, they would seem to loose creativity and a sense of what to do next. They had open shooting lanes but instead of shooting towards goal, they would try to make an extra pass, which would give Chivas USA ample time to regroup their defense and stop the attack.

The second half began differently for Chivas USA. They weren’t coming out as aggressive like they did in the first half. They seemed to be either trying to protect their lead or they had tired legs because they weren’t running or attacking like they did in the first half. New England was the aggressor in the second half. They had an early opportunity to even out the score but Dan Kennedy was there to save the shot. New England did score a goal but it was nullified because of an offsides call. As the half went on, New England was creating more chances to score but Kennedy was always ready to save the shots.

New England tied late in the game. Diego Fagundez had the ball on the right flank. He saw Chad Barrett making a run close to the far post. Fagundez crossed the ball to that area and Barrett redirected the ball towards the net. Kennedy didn’t dive to make sure the ball didn’t go in and as if by fate, the ball went in. The game ended in a one-one tie.

Even though Chivas USA tied the game, there was a sense that this was a whole new Chivas USA; one that was using quick passing to move the ball forward instead of long balls. This Chivas USA seemed more confident than the one who hadn’t won since March. Even though they couldn’t pull of the victory, there was a clear change for the positive in the team.

Their next game is July 4th against FC Dallas at Dallas.

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Galaxy wins the second edition of El Superclassico

Jun 23, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub Center, June 23, 2013, (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The second edition of El Superclassico had a different feel that the first one. This time, Chivas USA had a different coach replacing Jose Sanchez “El Chelis” Solan with Jose “EL Guero” Real. Chivas USA’s formation also change as well as their players. Galaxy also had some changes in their personal. They traded their leading scorer Mike Magee for Robbie Rodgers. They also have Landon Donovan this time around. Both teams were in need of a win. Chivas USA hadn’t won a game since March. Galaxy was also in the middle of a bad stretch but had finally gotten a favorable result on Wednesday tying 0-0 with Portland Timbers.

In the first 15 minutes of the game, Galaxy had more possession of the ball which forced Chivas USA to drop back and defend with all their players. Even though Galaxy had more possession of the ball, they couldn’t do anything except pass the ball from left to right looking for spaces that the Chivas USA defense might have. They kept probing with short quick passes and long passes but they couldn’t find enough spacing to create and real attack. When Chivas USA had the ball, they would play on the flanks and tried to use speed to get behind Galaxy’s defense. They would also try crossing the ball looking to connect with Jose “Candi” Correa but none of their crosses had found their mark. The first shot came in the 20th minute courtesy of Jose Manuel Rivera. Chivas USA had the ball on the right flank and crossed the ball into the box. Omar Gonzalez was able to get to the ball first and tried heading it out but the ball just made it to the top of the box where Rivera was able to control it and shot a low shot towards goal. Carlos Cudicini had to dive low to block the shot. Even though Galaxy had controlled the ball more, Chivas USA was the first team to create a clear scoring opportunity.

Galaxy finally got a shot in the 25th minute of the game. Juninho had the ball in the middle of the field and gave a long pass to Robbie Keane who was running towards the box. Keane headed the ball back to Rodgers who was trailing the play on the flank. Rodgers received the pass and passed it to Zardes who was also trailing the play but he was on top of the box. He shot it towards goal but the ball sailed high over the crossbar. Galaxy seemed to gain confidence after that shot. They started pushing more men into their attack. In the 34th minute, Galaxy scored the first goal but the referee’s assistant ruled that it wa an offside. Donovan had the ball on the right flank. He cut into the box and centered the ball towards the back of the box. Rodgers was there and he shot the ball towards goal. As the ball made its way towards the net, Keane was about to get the ball and try to deflect it in but he didn’t because he was offside. This little movement by Keane was enough for Chivas USA’s goalkeeper, Dan Kennedy, to react late to the shot and he couldn’t get there in time to stop the ball. The referee’s assistance ruled that Keane’s movement was enough to warrant an offside call even though he didn’t touch the ball.

Galaxy kept pushing forward after that nullified goal and their aggressive play paid off in the 44th minute. Donovan was able to earn a free kick after Josue Soto dropped him in a very dangerous area. Donovan set up the ball and crossed it into the middle of the box where Zardes was the first one to reach the ball. He headed the ball into the far post and scored the first goal of the game. That was his second goal in his MLS career and the first goal at the StubHub Center.

Galaxy seemed to come out more aggressive in the second half but they weren’t committing the same amount of attackers like they did at the end of the first half. Just like in the first half, Chivas USA wasn’t giving up and free spacing defending with all of their players. The first dangerous play of the second half was on behalf of Chivas USA. Marcelo Sarvas had the ball on the right flank and he tried passing it back to one of his defenders. When he did that he didn’t see that Tristan Bowen was there and Bowen intercepted the pass. He turned and ran towards Galaxy’s goal. Bowen shot on goal but he shot hit the side of the net, but just like in the first half, Chivas USA was the first team to create something offensive in the second half. Chivas USA became the aggressor after Bowen had his opportunity at goal. They started pushing forward looking for the equalizer. Jorge Villafaña almost scored a goal but his shot sailed over the crossbar. Galaxy’s first shot in the second came in the 73rd minute. Zardes shot a hard shot on goal but Kennedy was able to block the ball.

Galaxy dominated the game and ended up winning 1-0. They secured their second straight shutout with another excellent defensive showing. Galaxy was able to only able to convert one goal but they were able to create multiple chances on the flanks as well as through the middle. This was the type of game Galaxy needed to get their season back on schedule. They dominated Chivas USA in a convincing manner having the majority of the possession and dangerous plays.

Chivas USA didn’t play the game they wanted to play. Even though they created some opportunities to score, most came because of mistakes that the Galaxy committed. They played better in the second half since they were able to hold the ball and pass it more precisely but they couldn’t create or convert a goal.

Galaxy goes up north to play against their hated rivals San Jose Earthquake in the California Classico on June 29.

Chivas USA has another home game against the New England Revolution on June 29.

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Two goals from Hernandez gives Mexico the win

Jun 22, 2013

When the Confederations Cup started, there were high hopes for the Mexican national team. Sadly for them, they didn’t have a good showing in the first two games of the tournament losing to Italy 2-1 and to Brazil 2-0. They were going to face Japan in their last game in the Confederations Cup and Mexico was not playing for pride and to get some confidence for future games.

The game started with Mexico trying to be more offensive. Their head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre decided to play with another offensive player to play alongside Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez. The first real opportunity to score in the game was for Japan in the fifth minute of the game. Kagawa received the pass and dragged the ball away from a defender. By doing this, the ball slowed down and Kagawa couldn’t shot it comfortably towards goal; he could only kick it with his toe. The ball shot out but Guillermo Ochoa was able to block the ball with his left foot. Even though Mexico was trying to be the aggressor, Japan was the team who seemed to be closer to scoring the first goal. Japan scored the first goal but was nullified by an offside. Japan shot from outside and Okazaki changed the direction of the ball into the net. Japan was about to start celebrating but the line judge had raised his flag ruling an offside.

As the minutes ticked on, Japan seemed to gain more confidence pushing forward in their attack while making Mexico defend themselves much more. When Japan had the ball, they would create spaces and look for a way to attack. When Mexico had the ball they would either turn the ball over quickly or they would just pass the ball around without finding any spaces to create any sort of attack. Mexico finally created something in the 40th minute of the game. Jorge Torres Nilo had the ball on the left flank and crossed the ball towards the box. Andres Guardado dove for the ball and hit it with his head on goal but the ball hit the left post and rattled out. Mexico had finally created something and this seemed to give Mexico some confidence because they started to move forward instead of just waiting for Japan to attack. The half came to a close with Mexico taking the last shot and finally showing some positive plays.

Mexico started a lot better in the second half. They had the ball a lot more in the beginning minutes than Japan and were threatening. They almost scored in the 52nd minute when Raul Jiminez headed the ball on goal but Japan’s goalkeeper, Kawashima, was able to block it. Mexico scored the first goal just two minutes after that play. Guardado crossed the ball towards the near post. “El Chicharito” ran towards the ball and hit the ball into the net scoring the first goal of the match. Mexico came out a lot more aggressive than Japan and justly scored the first goal of the second half.

Giovanni Dos Santos almost scored a goal in the 60th minute. He shot on goal but the ball hit the post again. Japan responded quickly with a shot on their own but the ball hit the outside of the net. Both teams began to find open spaces where they could exploit and find attacking lanes. Mexico scored their second goal in the 66th minute of the game. Dos Santos took the corner kick and crossed it to the near post where Hank Mier headed it back to the far post. “El Chicharito” was there to receive the pass and just head it into the net to score his second goal of the game.

Japan was able to score their first goal in the 86th minute of the game. Kagawa crossed the ball to Endo who was alone on the right side of the box. Endo then crossed it to Okazaki who tapped it over Ochoa and scored Japan’s first goal.

“El Chicharito” manufactured a penalty kick in the 91st minute of the game. He set up the ball and shot low and to the left but Kawashima dove and blocked the shot. He left the rebound and “El Chicharito” had the rebound but he shot it with too much force and it hit the crossbar and bounced out.

The game ended with Mexico winning the game 2-1 with a much better showing from the Mexican national team. The game was a tale of two halves. In the first half Japan dominated the game but couldn’t score. In the second half, Mexico dominated the game and scored two goals. Even though Mexico won this game, it wasn’t in a convincing manner and many questions are still asked for the Mexican national team.

Photo: (Samuel Coronado)

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Galaxy ties 0-0 with a great defensive showing

Jun 19, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub Center, June 19, 2013, (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The game between LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers didn’t seem like a special or an “important” game at the beginning of the season. Portland didn’t have a great season last year so much wasn’t expected of them this year, but as the saying goes, games aren’t played on paper. Portland Timbers have had a remarkable reason this season holding a 13 game unbeaten streak as they came into the StubHub Center. The Galaxy on the other hand was having a rough stretch in which they had lost their six out of their last seven matches. They knew they had to win at home against Portland.

The game started with both teams studying themselves. Neither team came out firing on all cylinders but came out to see how they were going to play each other. Most of the play in the first 30 minutes was held in the midfield where neither team could assert themselves and take control of that area. When Portland had the ball they’d drive till the final third were LA Galaxy defense was able to take the ball away. When the Galaxy had the ball, they’d drive to the final third were Portland’s defense would take the ball away. Neither team really had a dangerous play on goal. Galaxy had earned some corners but couldn’t capitalize on them. Portland would cross some balls into the box but Carlos Cudicini was able to get the ball before anyone.

The first real shot on goal came from Darlington Nagbe. He received the ball and was wide open to shot on goal. Cudicini was in perfect position to block the ball from going in. Even though Portland didn’t score, they seem to get some confidence in their game knowing full well they could penetrate the Galaxy defense if they played smartly with the ball. Galaxy responded with a counterattack led by Robbie Rodgers and Landon Donovan that resulted in a corner kick but nothing came from it. Portland seemed to have the upper hand as the half dwindled down. They had more possession of the ball and kept sending in cross after cross into Galaxy’s box, but Galaxy was able to defend them all. The half ended with neither team able to break through and score.

The second half started much differently for the LA Galaxy. They came out more aggressive looking to score early in the half. They almost scored a goal in the 55th minute of the game. Galaxy earned a corner but the Timbers were able to kick it out of the box. The ball went straight to Juninho who centered the ball again. Gyasi Zardes jumped and headed the ball towards the far post but it hit the post and didn’t go in. This was the first time the Galaxy was able to get a good shot on target in the entire game.

The game slowed down after the first 15 minutes of the second half. Both teams started committing more fouls and it stopped any rhythm that the game was developing. Galaxy kept pushing looking to break through and score. They had another chance in the 77th minute of the match. Juninho gave Colin Clark and long pass which he controlled with his chest. He evaded a Timbers defender and shot on goal but Donovan Ricketts was able to block the ball. The game all of a sudden picked up pace and Galaxy was attacking from all sides sending in crosses or shooting from outside but none found their way into the back of the net. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. Galaxy had finally earned a shutout after allowing ten goals in the last three games. The only problem was that they couldn’t score or even create a lot of dangerous plays.

Galaxy’s next game will be on June 23 against Chivas USA.

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Second straight loss for Mexico in the Confederations Cup

Jun 19, 2013

The game between Mexico and Brazil started the way most people thought it was going to begin; with Brazil looking to score early. Within the first 5 minutes, Brazil started playing very close to Mexico’s goal. In the fifth minute Brazil scored a goal but was nullified because of an offside call, but Brazil was just getting confident with their early success. Neymar was offside in the play but he showed his crossing ability finding a wide open Fred who just redirected the ball into the goal. The crowd was about to erupt in celebration but the line judge raised his flag signiling an offside.

Just four minutes after that play, Brazil was able to score a beautiful goal. Dani Alves had the ball on the right flank. He went escaped two defenders and centered it towards Fred. Before Fred was able to head it, Mexico’s central defender, Francisco “El Masa” Rodriguez, was able to reach the ball before Fred. “El Masa” headed the ball out. The ball went straight to where Neymar was waiting for the ball. He kicked it with his left foot without letting the ball bounce and it shot off like a rocket towards the goal. J.J. Corona dove to try to block the ball, but the shot was too fast and Neymar scored the first goal of the game in the ninth minute.

Mexico finally reached Brazil’s goal in the 16th minute. Frank Meir was able to shot towards goal after a scramble for the ball. The ball missed the post and went a tad bit left. For a few minutes after that, Mexico was able to stay close to Brazil’s but they couldn’t create any sort of dangerous play. The only thing Mexico was able to accomplish by that is it slowed down the pace. Brazil didn’t have the same pace it did in the first 15 minutes of the match. Mexico was able to even the gameplay out and stopped being outclassed by Brazil. They began to have more possession of the ball but they still couldn’t break Brazil’s defense.

The second half started the same way the first half started, with Brazil scoring a goal but it again was nullified because of an offside. Neymar crossed the ball into the box. A Brazilian player reached the ball first and he passed it towards his teammate who just redirected the ball in. The line judge ruled that the first Brazilian player who touched the ball was outside so it negated the goal. Even with this nullified goal, Brazil didn’t seem to attack as much as the first half. Mexico started playing more defensive and there was less space for Brazil to find. When they would find space, their passing and speed would allow them to leave their marks but they weren’t precise in the final touch to score their second goal. Mexico had their first chance of the second half when Geo Dos Santos was able to evade his mark and tried centering it to Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez but David Luiz was able to deflect the ball before it reached “El Chicharito”.

The game had opened up in the second half. Both teams started to create spaces with their movement and passing. Both teams were reaching each other’s goal but neither team was able to get that final touch and score a goal. As the game came close to the end, Mexico began to play more desperate and aggressive looking for the game tying goal. They had more possession of the ball and kept sending in crossing looking for “El Chicharito” but none found their mark. Brazil defended themselves perfectly and when they would get the ball, they knew how to hide it and keep it away from Mexico. Neymar helped put the game away in the 93rd minute of the game. He had the ball on the left flank. As he moved closer to the touch line, two Mexican defenders came to defend them. Neymar went through the middle of both and crossed the ball to a wide open Jo who kicked the ball in giving Brazil a 2 goal lead.

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