“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Goals by Villarreal and Zardas help Galaxy come back to win

Jul 20, 2013

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

The Los Angeles Galaxy knew that they game versus the Vancouver Whitecaps was a very important game. The Whitecaps were two points in front of the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference standings and LA knew that if they wanted to advance further up the standings they would have to beat teams in front of them.

The game started with both teams attacking from the get-go. Most games, the teams start a little tentative because they are studying each other’s game plan. They normally poke and prod looking for a weak spot in the opponents’ defense without committing many men to the attack. In this game, both the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps came out committing men to the attack looking for the early lead. Galaxy was about to take the lead in the tenth minute when Hector Jimenez shot from distance but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced out. Galaxy’s attack was looking promising and it looked like they were going to take the early lead any minute.

Then something happen to the Galaxy that for this season, it seems like it’s the norm. Galaxy knew that they had all the momentum but then in Vancouver’s first scoring opportunity, they capitalized and scored the first goal of the game. Vancouver had the ball on the right flank. There they tried to pass it to Russell Teibert but the pass was behind him. He lifted he foot back and was able to expertly pass it to Camilo who was running on the left flank. Camilo received the ball and he ran straight towards Carlos Cudicini. Cudicini came out of his line to try to cut any shooting angle that Camilo could have but he shot before Cudicini got there. He shot it low and to Cudicini’s left but Cudicini couldn’t react fast enough to block the shot. Vancouver stunned the Galaxy in the 19th minute with the first goal of the game.

Galaxy tried to answer Vancouver’s goal quickly but Vancouver began playing better defense. Galaxy wasn’t able to reach Vancouver’s goal as often as they did before Vancouver scored their goal. Then the Galaxy were able to earn a free kick in a dangerous area. Juninho was the one who was in charge of taking the free kicks. He crossed the ball to the far post where Omar Gonzalez headed the ball back into the box. Jose Villarreal was able to get to the ball before anyone else and just tapped the ball into the net to score Galaxy’s first goal of the game and tie the match. LA was about to start celebrating when it seemed that the referee was about to call off the goal presumable because of an offside call. The Galaxy couldn’t believe their luck. They had just tied the game but their goal was nullified because of a nonexistent offside call. The referee went to confirm the call with his second assistant and after a short conference the referee decided that there was no offside and allowed the goal. LA was able to tie the game with Villarreal’s goal.

Galaxy came out in the second half looking to take the lead. They weren’t getting as clear opportunities as they did in the first half but they were still trying. They were attacking with crosses and long shots but none found their mark in the back of the net. Then Gyasi Zardes was able to break the one-one dreadlock in the 58th minute of the game. He received a long pass from Todd Dunivant but Zardes was only able to control the ball close to the touch line. There he was able to cut back into the field, dodge the defender and shoot on goal. His shot was low and hard. Brad Knighton tried to react fast enough to block the shot but he couldn’t stop the shot. Galaxy was leading the game two-one.

After that goal, the LA Galaxy began playing less aggressive. When they attacked it was more of a methodical attack. They would use short passes to advance the ball forward and of they saw that they weren’t able to advance the ball, they would pass the ball back and start the attack all over. By playing like that, Galaxy was able to secure this much needed win at home. With the win, they are now in third place in the Western Conference standings and only four points behind first place Real Salt Lake.

Their next game will be versus the Colorado Rapids at Colorado on July 27.

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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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