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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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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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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