Monterrey surprises Galaxy with a 2-1 win

Apr 3, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, April 3, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals began at the Home Depot Center where the Los Angeles Galaxy hosted Los Rayados de Monterrey. There was excitement both on the pitch and in the stands. The energy the supporters of both teams was palpable and everyone had a feeling that they were going to watch a great game between to superpowers from their respective league. The game began and Galaxy began to try to assert their dominance and take advantage of their home field. They were playing aggressively looking for any opportunity to open the score in their favor. Their first chance came in the 17th minute of the game. A.J. DeLaGarza passed the ball Robbie Keane. Keane then passed the ball to Mike Magee who shot the ball to the far post but Juan De Dios Ibarra, Monterrey’s goalkeeper, was there in time to dive and save the ball from going in.

L.A. Galaxy continued to be aggressive and attack to try to score. This paid off in the 33rd minute of play when they were able to open up the scoreboard. Keane had the ball and he crossed the ball. Magee received it and passed the ball to where DeLaGarza was able to hit the ball with the outside of his foot and score. This goal gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead.

Monterrey didn’t seem affected by the goal because they created their first opportunity to score in the 30th minute when after a failed corner kick, a Monterrey player received the ball at the corner of the box and shot across goal but missed wide. Minutes ticked on and Galaxy still had dominance of the game. Their second goal of the game almost came in the 42nd minute when Keane received a pass from Magee. Keane then floated the ball towards Sean Franklin where he tried kicking it but hit the ball over the crossbar.

The second half began just like the first half ended, with Galaxy dominating the game. In the 48th minute, Galaxy had a corner but it went straight toward the goalie. He tries hitting it out but the ball went straight towards a waiting Jose Villarreal. He shot towards goal but it went straight towards the goalie. After this play, Monterrey began to assert themselves. Their first substitution, Cesar “Chelito” Delgado, began to connect with his teammates and this only made Monterrey dangerous. They began to put pressure on Galaxy’s defense and forced L.A. to back their lines. In the 52nd minute, Monterrey had on of their more dangerous shot on goal. Delgado had the ball and passed it to Humberto “Chupete” Suazo. He had an open shot on goal but Carlos Cudicini was there to make the save with his legs.

Landon Donovan was subbed in, in the 60th minute of the game and this seemed to energize the Galaxy. Both teams began creating dangerous plays but none could score. Then in the 82nd minute Monterrey was able to tie the match. “Chelito” Delgado whom was being covered by Michel Stephens. “Chelito” cut Stephens twice and was able to cross the ball towards Aldo de Nigris. De Nigirs headed the ball but Cudicini was able to block the ball. The ball went around the small box and L.A. couldn’t kick the ball away from danger and allowed “Chupete” to kick the ball on goal. Cudicini blocked the ball again but “Chupete” followed his shot and was able to kick in the blocked shot giving Monterrey their first goal. “Chupete” Suazo’s goal tied the game 1-1.

Right before the game finished, Monterrey was able to score another goal. Jose Basanta passed the ball towards De Nigris. De Nigris covered the ball from Omar Gonzalez, controlled the ball with his thigh, and shot towards goal. Cudicini wasn’t able to block the shot and the ball ended in the back of the net giving Monterrey a 2-1 win over the Galaxy. This goal was the culmination of Monterrey’s pure domination of the last ten minutes of the game.

Galaxy had multiple chances to put the game away but were unable to do so and allowed Monterrey to win the game. The last 15 minutes of the game, Galaxy’s defence seemed tired and were out of position which allowed Monterrey to score their two goals. They will face Monterrey for the second leg of the semi-finals. The game will be played in Monterrey April 10th.

Read More

Chivas USA holds off Vancouver for their 3rd win

Mar 31, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, March 30, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

Chivas USA started playing the game fans have become accustomed to. They pressed the opposing team often and quickly. As soon as Vancouver had the ball, there was a Chivas USA player on him. Chivas USA did not allow any shots on goal until the 22nd minute of play. Just like they were playing defence, Chivas USA was playing aggressively on the offensive side of the ball. They were probing the Vancouver Whitecaps’ defence looking for a weak spot to exploit and score a goal. They were shooting towards goal whenever they had the open shot.

This aggressive play by Chivas USA paid off in the 12th minute of play. After some tussling for the ball, Chivas USA’s Carlos Alvarez, ended up with the ball on the left corner of the box. He turned to shoot what could be called a probing shot but it hit Jun Marques Davidson on the arm and redirected the ball towards goal. The ball passed by the outstretched arm of Vancouver Whitecaps’ goalkeeper, Joe Cannon and went into the net giving Chivas USA a 1 to nil lead. The goal was later ruled as an own goal.

After the goal, Vancouver seemed to wake up offensively and started to create more opportunities at goal. They began to shot more at goal but they lacked the precision to make the ball go into the back of the net. One opportunity they had was when Alain Rochat shot on goal but Dan Kennedy was able to block it. He wasn’t able to corral the ball and Daigo Kobayashi was able to shoot but he shot it towards the stands. Even though they were creating more opportunities, they were not very dangerous. As the half began to finish, both teams stopped creating any real opportunities. Most of the game was being played in the middle of the field.

Chivas USA again looked more dangerous at the start of the second half. They almost had a goal when a player sent a low cross towards the middle of the box but the shot was just outside the goalpost. In the 55th minute of the game, Jorge Villafaña crossed the ball to the far post where Eric Avila was waiting for the cross. He hit a volley shoot towards goal and beat the goalie for the second goal of the game. He gave Chivas USA a 2 to nil lead.

In the 64th minute of the game Vancouver Whitecaps was finally able to get on the board. Darren Mattocks was able to shot towards goal but Kennedy was there to block the ball. The only problem was that he didn’t hold on to the ball and pushed the ball to where Kenny Miller was waiting for a deflection. Miller headed the ball towards an empty net and scored the first goal of the game for Vancouver cutting the lead in half. The score was 2-1 in favor of Chivas USA.

As the time continued to tick away, Vancouver began to attack more knowing they were closer to get a tie. They had some decent opportunities but the Chivas USA defense would not break. Another opportunity came in the 80th minute when Mattocks was able to get behind the defense and chip a shot over Kennedy but the ball had too much air and went over the crossbar. In the 90th minute of the game, Kekuta Menneh of the Vancouver Whitecaps was able to outrun the entire Chivas USA defense and have a 1 v.1 against Kennedy. Kennedy came out and met him just outside the box and we able to disrupt Menneh run and Menneh kicked the ball out of bounds.

The referee blew the final whistle and Chivas USA was able to win their third game of the season. They have continued to play the way their head coach likes, hard. Now they have a record of 3-1-1 and are second in the Western Conference Standings. With these two goals, Chivas USA is still leading the league in total goals with 10.Last season, through the first 5 games, Chivas USA had only scored two goals and they came in the fifth game of the season. This season, Chivas USA seem to score at will. That is something that Chivas USA didn’t have last year, goals. Their next opponent will be the Colorado Rapids on April 13th at home.

Read More

Galaxy Wins After “Dirty” Play

Mar 24, 2013

March 24,2013 Home Depot Center

The Los Angeles Galaxy faced the Colorado Rapids in their third game kid the MLS season 2013. For the first part of the firs half neither teams could create any decent opportunities at goal. The clearest goal opportunity came in the 10th minute of play. Marcelo Sarvas stole the ball from an unsuspecting Colorado defender and gave Jack McBean a pass. McBean received it, turned around, and shot towards goal but Clinton Irwin, the Colorado Rapids goalkeeper, was able to stick out his hand and block the shot. Galaxy had more possession of the ball but they couldn’t create any real danger in the final third of the pitch.

In the 32st minute of the game, Galaxy created another dangerous opportunity. They had given up a corner kick to Colorado but they were able to defend it. A.J. DeLaGarza was then able to give Jose Villarreal a long pass to start the counter-attack. Villarreal chased the ball down but was only able to chip it over the goalkeeper. The ball went over him and towards goal. It was about to cross the goal line but Diego Calderon was able to catch up and kick the ball away, crashing into the pole and injuring himself in the process.

As the minutes ticked on in the first half, LA was able to assert themselves more and more into the attacking third. They began to gain more confidence and began pushing forward with Todd Dunivant and Franklin. They would both send dangerous crosses towards the box but the players receiving the cross couldn’t finish the play with a goal.

Red on 48th minute. Hit Sarvas. Captain. This red card send off occurred in the box and the referee awarded LA Galaxy a penalty. Mike Magee didn’t hesitate to be the one responsible to take the penalty kick. He shot and and scored his fourth goal of the season giving LA a one – nil lead.

Even after scoring the goal, LA Galaxy didn’t relieve the pressure on Colorado’s midfield and defense. Galaxy still had more possession of the ball and better scoring opportunities but just as in the first half, they couldn’t finish the play with a goal. Their best scoring opportunity came in the 85th minute of play. Magee had the ball and passed it to Hector Jimenez who cut in towards the box. He made some defenders missed and passed a through ball to McBean whom tried to kick on goal but Irwin was there to record another save.

The Los Angles Galaxy were able to win the game despite missing two key players: Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane. Their defense played solidly, giving up only 5 attempts on goal with only 3 on target. Leonardo was able to not only step in but play very well. Bruce Arena commentated on how well Leonardo has been playing very well. He said, “He’s playing very well. His comeback from serious injuries have been remarkable and he’s jumping very well. His speed is coming back. We’re very a pleased with Leo. ” Even with the absence of Keane, the Los Angeles Galaxy attempted 21 shots on goal. Galaxy two young forwards, Villarreal and McBean, were able together shots on target and create scoring opportunities. Arena said, “They played well. Each could have had a goal.”

Galaxy plays Toronto F.C. In Toronto on March 30.

Read More

Chivas USA ties SuperClasico

Mar 17, 2013

Home Depot Center, Carson California, March 17, 2013 (Foto: Victor Posadas)

Chivas USA started “El Super Clasico” much better than they did against FC Dallas. They were not letting the LA Galaxy have their way with them like they did in the previous two installments of the Classico. Both teams were playing hard, gritty soccer like you would expect two teams to play in a heated rivalry. Players were getting hit, pushed, and knockout around but the referee was letting them play. Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, D.T. for Chivas USA, was forced to substitute Oswaldo Minda very early into the game because of a knock he received. Marvin Iraheta received a yellow for elbowing A.J. DeLaGarza. Seam Franklin later relieved a yellow for kicking Josue Soto on the chest.

Even with all this gritty play from both teams, neither could find a way to create on open look at goal in the first part of the first half. Not until the 31st minute was LA Galaxy able to take a shot on goal. This opportunity began as a set play. The ball was centered to the far post were Omar Gonzalez heading the ball back into Chivas USA’s box. Jose Villarreal ran towards the all and headed over Dan Kennedy. Luckily for Chivas USA, the header was a bit too high and it hit the crossbar.

In the 40th minute of play, Colin Clark and Joaquin Velázquez were both running for the ball. Clark slide for the ball but Velázquez tried to block the ball from him. Clark began to raise his legs, and Velázquez tried to draw a foul by dragging his legs to make it seem like Clark tripped him. The referee believed that Velázquez was the one who caused the foul and gave him a yellow. Velázquez then started complaining and the referee gave him another yellow plus a red for dissent. After these series of events, Chivas USA was down a man for the remainder of the game.

Chivas USA didn’t start the second half the way they wished. In the 50th minute, they allowed DeLaGarza to run up to the touch line and cross the ball to Mike Magee who headed the ball towards goal. The ball hit the goal post and bounced away from goal. Chivas USA tried to clear it but their clearance attempt went straight to Marcelo Sarvas who kicked a volley on goal but Kennedy was ready and saved the attempt on goal.

As the game progressed, LA Galaxy began to take control of “El Super Clasico. It seemed like the game was just being lol played on Chivas USA’s side of the pitch. Los Angeles had a couple of close calls at goal but they just couldn’t find the finishing touch. There was a sense in the stadium that it was just a matter of time till the flood gates would open on Chivas USA and LA Galaxy would be victorious.

In the 83rd minute of the game, DeLaGarza passed it Magee who shot at goal. A Chivas USA defender deflected the ball upwards. Jack McBean located the ball and headed it towards goal. Kennedy jumped and stretched his arm as far as he could to try to deflect the ball away from goal, but the ball was too far for his outstretched arm. He was only able to get his fingertips on the ball but it was not enough to stop the ball from crossing the goal line. The goal gave LA Galaxy a 1-0 lead and more than likely the win.

Chivas USA weren’t going to let LA Galaxy win their third “Super Clasico” in a row. Chivas USA took advantage of a defensive breakdown in the LA Galaxy backline. Erick Avila passed the ball to Carlos Borja whom centered a low cross the far post where a crossing Carlos Alvarez who just had to tap the ball into the net. With this goal, Chivas USA tied the game 1-1. The game ended in a draw and both teams split a point.
After the game Chelis seemed to be happy with how his team fought throughout the game. He said, “We won a point in this game. But what matters most is that we won a lot more respect.” He was happy because his team didn’t give up. They played a hard and gritty game. When someone mentioned that people were saying Chivas USA played “dirty” he responded by saying, “My team plays within the rule book. Buy my players play with great will and urgency so they will commit some fouls.”

All in all, it was a good game for Chivas USA. They not only tied against the best team in the MLS but they were able to do it as the away team. The last thing “Chelis” said was, “As the players keep believe in themselves more and more you will see a better team. This team keeps advancing. They are never going back or going sideways they are advancing and you will see a better team.”

Next stop for Chivas USA is a game vs. Chicago Fire at Chicago.

Read More

Comeback Victory for Chivas USA

Mar 10, 2013

Home Depot Center, Carson Calif. March 10, 2013

The whistle blew to begin the game and almost as if on cue, Chivas USA began the game with a mental lapse. They let an FC Dallas player escape through their ranks and he had a one on one opportunity against Dan Kennedy, Chivas USA’s starting goalkeeper. Luckily for Chivas USA, Kennedy came up with an important save. That save seemed to calm down Chivas USA because they began to take control of the game. They had an opportunity to score a goal on a set play. Edgar Mejía, midfield player from Chivas USA, crossed the ball to the far post where Juan Agudelo, Chivas USA forward, was waiting for the pass. Agudelo controlled the ball, turned, and fired towards goal but an FC Dallas defender got in the way of the ball and stopped the shot from going in.

As the first half went on, FC Dallas continued to pressure the Chivas USA back line but the defense for Chivas USA would not break. At the 37th minute, Chivas USA had a great scoring opportunity. Tristan Bowen gave Laurent Courtois a long pass. The defensive player for Dallas misread the pass and let Courtois pass him. Courtois shot the ball low and the ball bounced in front of the FC Dallas goalkeeper but he was still able to save the shot.

The second half started a lot better for Chivas USA. They shook off their sluggish first half performance and seemed to be taking control of the game. They stated off with an excellent scoring opportunity by Miller Bolaños. He shot a low crossing shot to the far post but the FC Dallas goalkeeper was able to get a foot on it and made the ball miss its target. As the half continued Chivas kept pressuring FC Dallas’ defense but they lacked the finishing touch to be able to get their goal.

In the 57th minute of the game FC Dallas player David Ferreira scored after receiving a long pass from Fabian Castillo. Ferreira went by two Chivas USA defenders and shot the ball between Kennedy’s legs to score the first goal of the game.

The goal didn’t seem to affect Chivas USA who kept the pressure on FC Dallas. The pressure finally paid off in the 68th minute of play. Chivas USA stole the ball at midfield, Walter Vilchez saw a crossing Agudelo and passed the ball. Agudelo controlled the ball and faked a shot, cut the opposite way he was heading and switched the ball to his other foot causeing both the defender and goalkeeper to be out of position. Agudelo shot and scored drawing Chivas USA even with FC Dallas.

In the 76th minute of the match, Chivas USA had a goal kick. FC Dallas controlled the ball and headed the goal kick back towards their box. George John received the pass but couldn’t control it. Oswaldo Minda from Chivas USA stole the ball from a John, shot towards goal and scored. This gave Chivas USA a 2-1 lead.

To finish off the game, Chivas USA scored another goal in stoppage time. FC Dallas had a corner kick but Chivas USA defended it perfectly and they were able to go on a counter attack. Eric Avila started it with a long run down the middle of the field. As he got close to the box, the passed the ball to Edgar Mejía who passed it to Giovani Casillas. He received the ball and shot towards goal. The goal keeper slid forward but was unable to stop the ball. The ball rolled across the goal line and Chivas USA scored their third goal of the match. That ended up being the final score, Chivas USA 3- FC Dallas 1.

Chivas USA never let up. Even though they had the lead, they never stopped attacking or looking for scoring opportunities. That is what their new head coach, José Luis Sánchez Solà, is trying to implement in Chivas USA. His philosophy: always attack, never put your head down, never give up was easily seen in today’s game. After going down by 1 at home, Chivas USA did not give up. They didn’t put their heads down. What they did was continue to attack and they never let up. The result can speak for itself. Chivas Usa won.

Coach Chelis said after the match, “We cannot put our heads down. If I hate something, it is that my team put their head down and give up. I’m proud of how they never gave up even after being down by one at home again.” He is also trying to teach his team to enjoy what is happening now and worry about the future when it arrives. In his words, “We must celebrate here and now. What’s coming up will eventually be here but we must celebrate what we did today.”

Read More