Courtois gives the Galaxy the win in a sloppy game

Sep 18, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, September 18, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado)

The Galaxy began an important four game stretch Wednesday against the Salvadorian team, Isidro Metapan. The Galaxy was then going to play the Seattle Sounders at home on Saturday, travel to San Jose to play midweek against Cartagines and finally travel to play the Portland Timbers. They were going be playing not only for their CONCACAF Champions League berth into the next stage of the competition but also for a playoff berth in the MLS. They knew they had to win these next four games if they wanted to keep their hopes alive of winning the MLS cup for a third time in a row and to win the COCACAF Champions League.

Since the Galaxy was going to have to play four games in the span of two weeks, they decided to field a “B” team against Metapan. The only player that had started plenty of the MLS regular season games was Jose Villarreal. The inexperience and the lack of minutes showed up early and often for the Galaxy. They had many errant passes and turnovers in dangerous spots. The backline would also lose track of their man and let them get behind their backs. Luckily for the Galaxy, Metapan was very imprecise when it came to the final touch. They had a few scoring opportunities but they were either off the mark or Brian Rowe, the Galaxy goalkeeper, made the save.

The Galaxy was able to capitalize in their first shot on goal. The shot came in the sixth minute of the game. Jose Villarreal had the ball inside the box. He passed the ball to Laurent Courtois. Courtois received the ball and shot towards goal. The ball just made it inside the far post and went into the net. Courtois’ goal gave the LA Galaxy a one-nil lead. In the first half, both teams had scoring opportunities but only the Galaxy was able to make one count.

The second half was sloppier than the first half. Both teams would lose the ball because of errant passes and both teams couldn’t convert any scoring opportunities they were able to create. The game ended in a one-nil victory for the LA Galaxy. According to the Galaxy’s game day captain, Pablo Mastroeni, even though it was a sloppy win, it was still a win. That is a very true statement that Mastroeni gave because the Galaxy needed to win this game to keep their fate in their hands. All they have to do is go to San Jose, Costa Rica and so they can qualify for the next step of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The LA Galaxy will stay home and play the Seattle Sounders on September 21.

Read More

Chivas USA plays with better quality but end up with a tie

Sep 14, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, September 14, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado)

Chivas USA started this week with a slim chance of making the MLS playoffs. They knew they needed help from other teams but they also knew that they had to do their part also. They had to win all the games left in their schedule. Luckily for Chivas USA, many of their games left were against teams in the Western Conference. If they didn’t make the playoffs, they also could play another role many teams cherish when they know they won’t make the playoffs, the role of the spoilers. They could cause serious damage in the West because they were still playing many teams fighting for a better table position. One of those teams was the Portland Timbers. At the start of this week, Portland was tie for fourth with Colorado and FC Dallas was only two points behind Portland. They needed to come to the StubHub! Center and win this game.

The game started off well for Chivas USA. They had more of the possession and were looking to try to build up their attack. Chivas USA knew that if they tried playing this game up and down; they would be playing into Portland’s strength. Portland almost gave Chivas USA a goal in the form of a mental error. One of the Chivas USA players had the ball and tried to pass it to Erick “El Cubo” Torres but the pass was too far. Donovan Ricketts, the Portland Timber goalkeeper, went to try to kick it out but it went through his legs. If the pass had more power, it would have been a goal. Then a couple minutes later, Portland gave up a costly turnover to Carlos Alvarez. He shot towards goal but Ricketts came up big and made the save.

Then in the 23rd minute, Chivas USA was able to open up the scoreboard. Edgar “El Chore” Mejia had the ball close to the middle of the field. He saw a running Carlos Borja on the left flank and passed it to him. Borja received the ball and took a couple of steps towards the outside of the box. He then crossed it to the top of the box where Bryan de la Fuente was able to jump and beat three Portland defenders to the ball. He headed the ball towards the top right corner and the ball sneaked in. Ricketts tried making the save but the ball was perfectly located that he couldn’t do anything. Chivas USA took the lead and held the one-nil lead into the half.

The second half didn’t start the way Chivas USA had envisioned. Just five minutes into the half, Portland Timbers were able to equalize the game. Diego Valeri was able to score after Jose Valencia gave him a perfect pass inside the box. Valeri had just been substituted in to the game at the beginning of the second half and he made his presence felt immediately. The game was now tied, one-one.

In the 68th minute of the game, Chivas USA was about to regain the lead. “El Cubo” went on a breakaway and had a one on one with Ricketts. It seemed like he wanted to chip the ball over Ricketts and he did. The only problem was the Ricketts dived to try to stop “El Cubo” from chipping the ball but instead of blocking the ball, he blocked “El Cubo’s” run. Rickets kicked “El Cubo” on his leg and that caused him to fall inside the box but the referee awarded the corner kick instead of the penalty kick. The game remained one-one.

According to the Chivas USA manager, Jose Luis “El Guerro” Real, Chivas USA showed effort and quality. He said that Chivas USA has always shown effort. They never give up in any game and play hard throughout the 90 minutes but in this game, Chivas USA showed they can also play with quality. They could play better teams and show that they weren’t outclassed.

Chivas USA travel to Houston to play the Houston Dynamo on September 21.

Read More

“El Cubo” strikes again

Sep 8, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, September 8, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

Chivas USA was going to play a very important game against D.C. United this weekend at the StubHub! Center. There wasn’t any playoff implication or Supporters Shield importance. This game was for pride. These two teams are the worst teams in their respected conference: the Western Conference for Chivas USA and the Eastern Conference for D.C. United. D.C. United is the worst team in the league and Chivas USA is the third worst team in the league and no team wants to end up being the worst in the league. That’s why this game was so important. This game could end up being the difference between being last or just finishing towards the last spots in the league standings.

The game began like someone would expect a game between two of the worst teams in the league to start, with many miscommunications. Neither team could create any real offense because they were so imprecise in their passing. The clearest opportunity in the entire first half was created because of an error caused by Bocanegra. Nick DeLeon had the ball on the right flank. He then crossed the ball to the middle of the box where Bocanegra and Conor Doyle were at. Bocanegra tried clearing it but missed the ball entirely and that mistake allowed Doyle to get a foot to the ball. The shot went straight towards the net but Dan Kennedy was able to make a great reaction save and block the shot. The first half ended with a nil-nil draw.

Chivas USA played a lot better in the second half. They were able to create more opportunities in their attack because their precision in their passing increased. They were almost going to score at the beginning of the second half but the D.C. defenders were able to get in front of the shots. Chivas USA was finally able to break through the nil-nil deadlock in the 51st minute of the game. Edgar “El Chore” Mejia had the ball on the right flank. He cut in towards the middle of the field and crossed the ball towards the top of the box towards Bobby Burling. Burling jumped to head it but missed it and it hit a D.C. defender and rebounded back in towards the box. “El Cubo” was able to react before anyone and shot on goal. Bill Hamid wasn’t able to block the shot and “El Cubo” scored the first goal of the game.
Chivas USA was able to hold on to the lead and win the game one-nil. Even though they started the game very flat, they were able to come back after halftime and play well enough to win a very close game. After the game, Jose “El Guerro” Real, Chivas USA’s D.T., accredited Chivas USA’s better play to the formation change he did after the 20th minute of the game. He subbed in Erick Avila for Julio Morales which gave the midfield more help. By bringing in Avila, Chivas USA was not only able to stop D.C. United’s attack but were also able to control the ball more.

Chivas USA stays home to play the Portland Timbers on September 14.

Read More

Galaxy loses an important game, can’t gain ground in the Western Conference

Sep 7, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, September 7, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado)

The season was winding down to its last two months of regular season play. The LA Galaxy had shaken off early and even mid-season woes to be right in the thick of things on top of the Western Conference standings. Not only were they close to being the number one seed in the West; the Galaxy was also close of being the number one seed overall and win the Supporter’s Shield. The game against the Colorado Rapids this week was vital to keep these two dreams alive. Colorado was close behind Galaxy in the standings and they were ready to make a surge forward. The Galaxy on the other hand was in the midst of making the surge winning their last couple of games. This game against Colorado was going to be a lot more difficult because the Galaxy didn’t have four of their starting players due to international call-ups. Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, Kofi Opare, and Brian Rowe were given the task to start in the place of their absent players.

The lack of their four players was noticeable in the first half. They didn’t make any glaring errors that cost the Galaxy any goals but there was a lack of rhythm to their game. Colorado seemed to dominate position of the ball but Galaxy’s backline wasn’t letting anything get to Rowe. On the offensive end, Galaxy couldn’t create anything dangerous. Their closest attempt on goal came from a free kick that Juninho took. The shoot was too high to really cause any real danger. Even with the lack of offensive creativity, the Galaxy was able to gain more possession of the ball as the game wore on. The first half ended with a nil-nil draw.

The Galaxy started the second much more aggressive than they did the first half. They were almost able to score a goal but the Rapids’ goalkeeper, Clinton Irwin, was able to react fast enough to stop McBean’s shot. Then in the 60th minute of the game, Todd Dunivant, had a good look at goal but his shot went high. Galaxy’s attack seemed to wane a little so Galaxy subbed in Charlie Rugg and Colin Clark. That instantly put helped Galaxy’s attack but they couldn’t convert any of their opportunities. They almost had a chance on a run Rugg did but the referee called a foul that was non-existent. Immediately after that play the Rapids were able to score the first goal of the game. Irwin took the free kick. He kicked the ball to the middle of the field were Leonardo and Edson Buddle jumped up to head the ball. Before the ball got there, Buddle elbowed Leonardo in the face and because of this, Buddle was able to win the header and the ball bounced to Dunivant. He tried controlling the ball instead of clearing it. This allowed Vicente Sanchez enough time to get to Dunivant and disposes him of the ball. He ran towards goal but Kofi was able to get in his way and stop his run. He turned around and almost lost the ball as Juninho tried poking it away but he kept position of the ball and passed it to Buddle. Buddle quickly shot towards goal and the ball went straight into the top left corner. All Rowe could do was watch the ball go into the net. Colorado was winning the game one-nil.

LA tried scoring in the remaining 15 minutes but Irwin made some easy saves to preserve Colorado’s win. The young players played well, they just couldn’t find the back of the net. Rowe commanded his box well and even though he allowed one goal, it was’t his fault. Villarreal and McBean played well up top but they just couldn’t find the back of the net. Kofi also played well in the backline and helped stop many Colorado attacks. With this win, Colorado has 42 points and is now in fourth place in the Western Conference Standings. Galaxy stays in third with 43 points but their hopes of winning the Supporters Shield grew a lot fainter with this lose.

The Galaxy travels to Washington, D.C to face D.C. United on September 14.

Read More

Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan combine for three goals in Galaxy win

Sep 1, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, August 31, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The second edition of this year’s California Classico as finally played at the StubHub! Center. In the last edition the San Jose Earthquake were able to come from behind and beat the Los Angeles Galaxy four-three at San Jose. This time up, Galaxy knew that they needed the three points to further advance their position in the Western Conference Standings.

The game began like most rivalry games begin, with both teams testing and studying each other. Neither of the teams seemed to want to send to many men into the attack. The first real scoring opportunity came early in the first half. San Jose earned a corner kick. Marvin Chavez crossed it to the far post were Chris Wondolowski tried kicking it in but Galaxy’s new star goalkeeper, Jaime Penedo, was there ready to make the save. Galaxy responded with a shot from Robbie Keane but the shot was pushed wide left. As the minutes passed on, both teams seemed to gain confidence and bring up more men into the attack.

Then in the 26th minute of play, Galaxy was able to open up the scoreboard with a goal. San Jose was able to warn a free kick a couple of yards outside the box. They crossed it into the middle of the box but Omar Gonzalez was able to rise up higher than anyone and head the ball away to Marcelo Sarvas. Sarvas ran up with the ball and then passed it Keane. Keane touched the ball and he saw Landon Donovan make his run down the middle of the field. Keane flicked the ball over a San Jose defender towards Donovan. Donovan caught up to the ball took a few steps towards the edge of the box and shot on goal. Jon Busch, the Earthquake goalkeeper, dove to try to save the shot but he couldn’t do anything. The Los Angeles Galaxy was winning the California Classico one-nil.

Los Angeles kept attacking from all sides. They would look to cross the ball into the box from the flanks and if that didn’t work, they would try going down the middle and look for a shot. This aggressive nature from LA allowed them to earn a penalty kick in the 42nd minute of play. Keane had the ball on the right flank. He then passed the ball to Donovan who was on top of the box. Donovan quickly passed it to Gyasi Zardes who was on the left flank. He received the ball inside the box. Zardes tried cutting towards the middle of the box but Earthquake defender, Steven Beitashour, slid to try to get the ball. He missed Zardes’ lead leg but clipped his trail leg and Zardes fell inside the box. The referee awarded Galaxy a penalty kick without any hesitation. Keane stepped up to take the penalty. He shot it low and to his left but it wasn’t a good shot. Luckily for him, the ball seemed to bounce in front of Busch and he couldn’t make the save even though he guessed the direction correctly. The Galaxy was leading two-nil at the end of the first half.

The second half began just as the first one had ended, with LA being the better of the two teams. They were getting close of scoring their third goal but couldn’t find that final touch to put the ball in the net. Then in the 67th minute of the game, Galaxy was able to add another goal to their lead. Zardes had the ball on the left flank right outside the top corner of the box. He then crossed it to Sean Franklin who was on the other side of the box. Franklin simply headed to ball towards Keane who shot with his right foot on goal. Busch dove to try to save the shot but it was just outside his reach. Keane scored his second goal of the match and gave LA a three-nil lead.

Read More

Chivas USA stuns the New York Red Bulls scoring three goals

Aug 25, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, August 20, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado)

Chivas USA had just lost a heart breaker of a game on Wednesday and after the game the only thing they were saying was that they were happy that they had a short week. All the players said that when you lose a game like they did against FC Dallas. The Red Bulls were also looking forward to play Chivas USA. They hadn’t played well on the road but they knew that Chivas USA weren’t playing well and they could get three valuable points on the road.

The game started with the Red Bulls attacking a lot more than Chivas USA. When Chivas USA had the ball, it seemed like their attack was stagnate. Red Bulls on the other hand were using both flanks to attack. They had the best chance in beginning of the game when Thierry Henry crossed the ball to the far post to where Fabian Espindola was there to kick the ball on goal. It seemed like it was going to be an easy goal but Dan Kennedy came out of nowhere to reject Espindola’s shot. This save seemed to motivate Chivas USA because they were able to score just minutes after that enormous block. The play started with a bad clearance by Red Bulls. The ball landed close to where Edgar “El Chore” Mejia was at. He took control of the ball and passed it to Carlos Alvarez. Alvarez then passed it to Julio Morales. He received the pass and shot towards goal. Luis Robles couldn’t do anything to stop the shot and Chivas USA was leading the game one-nil.

Then Chivas USA did what Chivas USA has been doing throughout the season, they surrendered their lead. This time though, it happened a lot faster than usual. Just one minute after Chivas USA got the lead, the New York Red Bulls tied it back up. They earned a corner kick on the right side. Henry took it and crossed it towards the back post to where Tim Cahill was at. He jumped and headed it towards goal. A Chivas USA defender seemed to make an excellent goal line clearance but the referee’s assistant ruled that the ball had crossed the goal line. The score was now one-one.
Chivas USA retook the lead in the final minutes of the first half. Carlos Bocanegra had the ball in the middle of the field. He then gave Erick “El Cubo” a long pass towards the top of the box. “El Cubo” let it bounce then finally controlled it. New York Red Bulls’ defender, Ibrahim Sekagya, went up to defend “El Cubo.” He then tried cutting Sekagya to create some space but Sekagya put his body in the way and dropped “El Cubo” in the box. The referee pointed to the penalty spot without any hesitation and rewarded Chivas USA a penalty kick in the 45th minute of the game. “El Cubo” was given the responsibility of taking the penalty kick. He shot low and to the left and scored Chivas USA’s second goal of the game. He gave Chivas USA a two-one lead as they headed into the half.

Chivas USA came out in the second half with all the momentum. They forced Robles into making a few saves and keep the Red Bulls in striking range. Chivas USA was able to strike again in the 81st minute. Bryan de la Fuente had the ball on the left flank. He went running towards the top corner of the box and saw that Carlos Alvarez was wide open on the right side of the box. He crossed the ball to a wide open Alvarez who wasn’t able to control the ball perfectly but was able to control it. He turned and shot but a Red Bull defender was there to block the shot. The rebound didn’t clear the box and “El Cubo” was able to turn around and shot on goal. Robles again couldn’t do anything to save the shot and the ball went into the net giving Chivas USA a three-one lead.

The way Chivas USA was playing gave the impression that they were going to win easily but the New York Red Bulls were able to score another goal to make it interesting. Henry took a free kick and crossed it into the far post where Dax McCarthy elevated over everyone and headed the ball on goal. He scored New York’s second goal to cut Chivas USA’s lead to one only. For the remaining nine minutes, the Red Bulls had all the momentum and forced Kennedy to make even more impressive saves. The game finally ended with Chivas USA winning the game three-two.

Chivas USA will travel to Canada to face the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on September 1.

Read More

Chivas USA couldn’t hold on to another lead

Aug 23, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, August 20, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado)

Chivas USA hadn’t won a game since July 17 against Toronto FC. They were looking to turn around their luck by trying to beat FC Dallas. FC Dallas was also in a bad streak not winning since May 25 when they beat the San Jose Earthquakes. Dallas seemed to have the upper hand early in the game. Their best opportunity came in the 14th minute of the game. Blas Perez took the shot and he tried placing it in the far top corner but Dan Kennedy timed the ball perfectly and was able to leap and save the shot. As the first half progressed Chivas USA began to gain momentum and they were even able to force Raul Fernandez, FC Dallas goalkeeper, to make two spectacular saves of his own in the span of three minutes.

Chivas USA was finally able to break through FC Dallas’ defense and score the first goal of the game in the 43rd minute of the game. Marco Delgado had the ball at the top of the box. He crossed the ball to the center of the box where Bryan de la Fuente was by himself. He controlled the ball with his chest and shot on goal. The shot was able to get past Fernandez and went into the net. De la Fuente gave Chivas USA a one-nil lead just minutes from the end of the first half.

Chivas USA couldn’t hold on the lead like they couldn’t the entire year. Fabian Castillo had the ball on the left flank as he run down it. Carlos Bocanegra came out to meet him so Castillo instead of crossing it passed it back towards the top of the box were Blas Perez was at. He received the ball and shot on goal. Kennedy was about to dive to try to block the shot but the ball was deflected in front of him. He wasn’t able to react fast enough to the deflection and the ball went into the net, tying the game at one.

FC Dallas was able to get the lead in the 86th minute of the game. Ramon Nunez had the ball in the middle of the field. He saw that David Ferreira was running down the left flank by himself. He passed the ball to Ferreira who was soon as he received the ball, he ran up towards Kennedy. Kennedy came out to meet him but he didn’t come out fast enough. Ferreira shot it and Kennedy was able to get a finger on it but the ball kept spinning towards the goal. Bobby Burling tried to clear the ball at the goal line but when he tried stopping he just rolled in with the ball. The game was now two-one in favor of FC Dallas.

FC Dallas wasn’t done with scoring goals. They got their third goal in the 90th minute of the game. Perez had the ball in the middle of the field. Nunez made a run down the left flank and Perez hit him perfectly with a long pass. Nunez received the ball and ran towards Kennedy. A defender ran up to meet him but he didn’t cover Nunez tightly. Nunez shot the ball towards the far top corner of the right post and scored a spectacular goal. Kennedy tried to save it but he couldn’t do anything to stop the ball. The game ended shortly after with the victory going to FC Dallas in a three-one win.

Read More

Two goals by Keane give the Galaxy a win over CS Cartagines

Aug 20, 2013

Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, August 20, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The Los Angeles Galaxy started the CONCACAF Champions League at home facing the Costa Rican side CS Cartagines. Last year’s addition of the Champions League saw the Galaxy lose against the future champions, Monterrey from the Mexican soccer league. This year’s objective was to be the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League.

The game started with LA being the aggressor of the two. They were using quick passes and quick movement to find the open spaces and try to take a shot on goal but they couldn’t get any clear opportunities at goal. CS Cartagines couldn’t find anything offensively and had to chase the Galaxy around the field. Their best option at goal came on the counter-attack but the shot was off the mark.

As the first half advanced, Galaxy was attacking Cartagines consistently but as it has happened for Galaxy this entire MLS season, they weren’t able to make the final shot. In other of their dangerous attacks, they were getting caught offside but they were getting closer and closer to scoring a goal. Galaxy got real close in the 41st minute when Michael Stephens crossed the ball to Robbie Keane. He received the ball with this chest, juggled the ball with his foot, turned and shot but the ball went high.

The second half began just as the first half ended, with LA Galaxy looking like the more aggressive team. In the first 10 minutes of the second half, they had created dangerous plays Cartagines’ defense didn’t fold. As the game progressed, LA was still the more dangerous team but Cartagines’ defense wasn’t letting up using any part of their body to stop the ball from going in. Galaxy finally broke the nil-nil score in the 66th minute of the match. Landon Donovan had the ball around midfield. He then gave Keane a long pass towards the top of the box. Keane controlled it and shot low towards goal. Cartagines’ goalkeeper, Wardy Alfaro, got a hand on the ball but the shot was too strong that it rolled off Alfaro’s hand into the net.

It seemed like the Galaxy were going to win the game one-nil. Then just seconds before the end of the game, Donovan had the ball and saw Keane making a move down the middle of the field. Donovan gave Keane a through ball and Keane ran down the middle of the field. As he got closer to the goalie, he slowed down faked the goalkeeper and shot towards goal. He scored his second goal of the game and Donovan got his second assist of the night.

The Galaxy were able to win this game pretty easily. Cartagines had a few opportunities but none of them were a clear look at goal. Donovan and Keane worked perfectly together notching two assists and two goals respectably. The only bad part of the night was that they couldn’t net more goals but with this two-nil win, they become the group leaders in their CONCACAF Champions League group.

The LA Galaxy will travel to Vancouver to face the Whitecaps on August 24.

Read More