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)

Read More

Galaxy ties 0-0 with a great defensive showing

Jun 19, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Second straight loss for Mexico in the Confederations Cup

Jun 19, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Perfect in three, USA wins 1-0

Jun 18, 2013

(Photo: Samuel Coronado)

The United States Men’s National Soccer team had finally found their step. After starting the hexagonal qualifiers with a loss to Honduras, an unconvincing win versus Costa Rica and a tie with Mexico; they had two games in a row. Their last game versus Panama was the United States best game in the Jurgen Klinsmann era.
The game started with Honduras being the aggressor. They had three early crosses but Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler were there to hit the crosses away. The United States responded right away earning a corner kick. Graham Zusi centered the ball and the first to head the ball was Clint Dempsey. He jumped and headed the ball towards goal but the ball sailed a bit left. The game did not let up after these early chances. Both teams knew what was at stake with a win. For Honduras, it would be second place in the qualifiers. For the US, it would add to their lead and almost securing them a trip to Brazil. In the 17th minute the US had a clear shot at goal. Michael Bradley started the counter attack with a long pass to Zusi. He quickly passed to Dempsey. Dempsey saw Fabian Johnson running freely on the left side. Dempsey passed it to Johnson who quickly centered it to Eddie Johnson. He kicked on goal but Noel Valladares was there to block the ball.

As the game went on, the rhythm of the game went down. Both teams seemed to be affected by the weather. It was a hot day with low humidity. The US was trying to use long balls to break Honduras’ defense. From midfield back, Honduras had 11 players defending themselves when the US had the ball. In the 41st minute of the game Honduras finally had another shot on goal. They had earned a free kick after Jozy Altidore committed a foul. They passed it to one of their players and he shot on goal. The shot flew towards goal but it went wide right. In the 45th minute, Honduras had their clearest scoring opportunity. Besler tried to clear the ball out but he hit it straight to Andy Najar. Najar controlled the ball and ran straight towards Tim Howard. Najar shot hard and low but Howard was in the perfect position to save the shot.

The second half didn’t start like the first half. Both teams came out more cautious in the second half than they did in the first half. In the 55th minute, Zusi crossed the ball after earning a free kick. Besler was able to evade his mark and head the ball on goal. Valladares was able to follow the play and save the ball before it went it. With this play, it seemed to give the United States National team new life. In the 59th minute the US had another scoring chance coming out of a counter attack. Howard stopped a cross from coming in. He threw the ball to E. Johnson who passed the ball to Dempsey. He quickly passed the ball to Altidore and Altidore scored. The only problem was that he was offside.

After that play, the game picked up in intensity. Both teams began to play back in forth looking for the first goal. Honduras had a shot on goal from a free kick but the ball never dropped and went over the cross bar. Dempsey had a shot almost immediately after Honduras’ shot but his shot went wide right. Then the US had a shot after Zusi center the ball towards Dempsey who headed the ball on goal, but Valladares was there to block the shot again.

Jozy was finally able to get a good look at goal and was able to score the first goal of the game. Dempsey passed the ball to Zusi. Zusi had the ball and saw a cutting F. Johnson on the left side. He quickly passed it to F. Johnson with the back of his show. F. Johnson received the ball and ran towards the touch line. Altidore saw what F. Johnson and he backed off and his mark left him. F. Johnson passed it back to Altidore who shot it low and to the right and beat a diving Villadares. This gave the US the partial lead in the 73rd minute.
After the goal, the US began to become more defensive. They knew there was little time left in the game and they had to defend their lead. Honduras couldn’t find any more spaces even after subbing in more offensive minded players. The US defended themselves perfectly in the final minutes and was able to hold off Honduras and win their third straight qualifying game.

Jozy Altidore didn’t have the same type of game he had against Panama. Altidore wasn’t the only player who didn’t play like they played against Panama. The US team wasn’t as precise in their passing or as clinical in their finishing. Even with all this, Altidore was able to come through and give the US the win. It was his third goal in three games. The next game for the United States National team is until September.

Read More

The “new” new era begins with a loss… again

Jun 1, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, June 1, 2013, (Photos: Victor Posadas)

This week started off very good for Chivas USA. They had beaten the L.A. Blues two to one in their first game of the U.S. Open Cup. It seemed that Chivas USA had taken a positive step forward in getting a good result even though it was against a non-MLS team, but almost immediately, they took many steps back. Chivas USA fired their head coach, Jose Luis “Chelis” Sanchez Sola after 12 games. According to Chivas USA, Chelis was not getting positive results even though he had a good enough team to do so. Sacha van der Most was going to be the interim head coach for the game against Seattle Sounders. Chivas USA announced that Jose Luis Real “El Guero Real” was going to be the new head coach but he was going to arrive in Los Angeles later on this upcoming week.
The game started off flat. Both teams lacked sharpness in their passing which impeded them from generating any real attack. Chivas USA created the first opportunity at goal when Jose Correa received a through ball and won the ball between two defenders. When he turned to shot on goal, he didn’t get any real power and the ball rolled safely towards Michael Gspurning, the Seattle goalkeeper.

Seattle Sounders drew first blood in the 22nd minute of the match. Seattle had the ball on the left flank. They passed it to Lamar Neagle who quickly passed it to Obafemi Martins. Martins received the ball and outran Bobby Burling towards goal. Dan Kennedy came out of his line to try to cut off Martins’ run and try to take away any shooting angle, but Martins was too smart for that and he chipped the ball of Kennedy’s head and scored the first goal of the game.

Chivas USA was not playing well at all. It seemed like there was no real clarity in what they were trying to do. They were not creating any space to attack even though they had more possession of the ball. To make matters worse, they helped Seattle increase their lead. In the 33rd minute, Mauro Rosales had the ball and ran down the right flank. He was about to reach the end line but he crossed the ball hoping to find someone in the middle of the box. There was no one there for Seattle. The only two people close to the ball was Kennedy and Chivas USA defender Mario de Luna. Kennedy didn’t go for the ball but de Luna did. It seemed like was wanted to header the ball outside but instead he hit it into his own net. All Kennedy could do was dive to try to block the ball but he was too far. Chivas USA scored Seattle’s second goal giving them a two-nil lead. Chivas USA couldn’t do anything in the first half.

The second half wasn’t any different for Chivas USA. They could create anything. Even after adding more offensive players through their substitutions, they couldn’t find spaces to create open opportunities. If they did get behind Seattle’s defensive line and send crosses into the box, Gspurning was there to catch any crosses. In the 71st minute of the match, Seattle’s Martins received a red card but even after being one man up, Chivas couldn’t do anything. Towards the end of the second half, Chivas started to finally get in some dangerous crosses but none resulted with the ball being in the back of the net. Seattle won the game two-nil.

Chivas USA travels to Canada to face Vancouver Whitecaps F.C. on June 19.

Read More

Galaxy routes Seattle 4-0, Keane scores hat trick, Rodgers debuts

May 27, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, May 26, 2013, (Photos: Samuel Coronado)

The game between LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders was setting up to be a good one. LA had been struggling as of late, losing 3 of their last 4 games. Seattle was beginning to get into form winning their previous games by a hefty margin. This was going to be a good test to see how LA was playing. This game was also going to be special for a different reason. Earlier that week, LA Galaxy had traded Mike Magee to the Chicago Fire for the rights to sign Robbie Rodgers. Rodgers was going to be the first openly gay player to play in a professional team in the United States.

The game began with LA Galaxy coming out very aggressive looking to score early in the game. They were attacking from the wing with Greg Cochrane sending crossing into the box. Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane had scoring chances but none of them were a clear chance. Galaxy’s first goal came in the 12th minute of the game. Galaxy was awarded a corner kick from the left side. Landon Donovan took the corner and centered it. It was cleared from the box but Cochrane was able to recover the ball. He passed it to Keane who took a quick step forward and passed it to Marcelo Sarvas. Sarvas passed it back to Keane who crossed the ball into the middle of the box where Sean Franklin was able to just tap the ball in and score the first goal of the match.
After the goal, Galaxy didn’t let up their aggressive play. Their aggressive play was rewarded again in the 24th minute. They were awarded a corner from the left side. Donovan passed it short to Michael Stephens. He passed it back to Donovan who swung a corner into the box. The ball bounced off the side of a jumping Omar Gonzalez and went straight to a waiting Keane who struck the ball with his right foot. The ball had a clear path towards goal and Keane scored the second goal of the game.

LA Galaxy never let up in the first half. They continued their aggressive play throughout the half always looking for a chance to score more goals. Given their resent struggles to hold leads late in the game and Seattle’s scoring power, LA knew that they couldn’t stop attacking. LA Galaxy scored their third goal of the game in the 32nd minute of the game and this time it came in the form of a penalty. Seattle dropped Zardes inside the box and the referee awarded Galaxy a penalty. Keane was giving the responsibility of taking the penalty shot. Before Keane, Donovan was the man to shot the penalties but after some resent struggles; Coach Bruce Arena decided to give Keane that job. Keane lined up and right before he shot, he hesitated, then shot low and to the left. Seattle Sounders goalkeeper, Michael Gspurning, guessed correctly and blocked the penalty shot. This seemed like the perfect play to get Seattle going but the referee awarded Galaxy a re-kick. Gspurning moved early and a Seattle player crossed the box before Keane shot the ball, and FIFA rules state that the referee must make the team retake the penalty. The second time around, Keane didn’t miss. He shot low and to the right and scored the third goal of the game.

Galaxy had complete control of the first half. They did whatever they wanted to. They were carving Seattle’s defense and creating opportunities left and right. In the 43rd minute of the game, Galaxy scored their fourth goal of the game. Zardes had the ball on the left flank and ran towards goal. As he crossed the box, he centered the ball to Juninho. He was about to shot but Seattle defender, Brad Evans, slide and dropped Juninho inside the box. The referee awarded Galaxy their second penalty of the half. Keane had the honors again, and scored. This time, he shot low and to the left. At the end of the half, LA Galaxy had a comfortable 4-0 lead over Seattle Sounders

Galaxy didn’t come out as aggressive in the second half. LA didn’t come out defending, but they weren’t playing aggressive. They were taking their time looking for openings in Seattles formation, probing left and then probing right. Donovan had a scoring opportunity but Gspurning blocked the shot. Later on in the half, Franklin almost scored his second goal of the match, but he headed the ball just above the cross bar.

In the 77th minute of the game, LA Galaxy made history. It is rare that a team can make history with a substitution, but LA Galaxy did that. They took out Juninho but more importantly, they substituted Robbie Rodgers in. Rodgers became the first openly gay player to play in a professional sport league. As he jogged into the field, the crowd stood up and cheered him on. He almost scored a goal, but his shot hit the post and dinged out.

Galaxy not only won the game 4-0, but played one of their best games of the year. They dominated Seattle throughout the game. They only allowed Seattle to shot twice and none of them were on goal. Galaxy shot 15 times and most of the shots were on goal. Coach Arena said that they finally got a result they deserved. Galaxy needed this win. Especially after losing three of their last four matches.

They travel east and face the Carolina Railhawks in their first U.S. Open Cup game. Last year, LA Galaxy lost to the Railhawks and were eliminated from the U.S Open Cup. They will face them Wednesday and then travel to face New England Revolution in Boston on Sunday.

Read More

Chivas USA thoroughly gets outplayed, losing 4-1 to Real Salt Lake

May 20, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, May 19, 2013, (Photos: Victor Posadas)

Chivas USA finally had a home match after two straight away matches. They wanted to take advantage of being on their home field because they had lost their last two matches. The game didn’t start the way they had planned it because they allowed Real Salt Lake to score an early goal. In the fourth minute of play, Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales had the ball at the top of the box. He tried shooting towards goal but the ball hit the side of his leg. The ball rolled towards Ned Grabavoy. Bobby Burling tried reaching out his leg far enough to stop the ball but couldn’t and Grabavoy had a one v. one against Dan Kennedy. He ran straight at Kennedy and shot the ball low and to the left. Kennedy couldn’t do anything to block it and the goal gave Real Salt Lake a one-nil led.

It took Chivas USA 15 minutes to finally get things going after the goal. They had a corner kick in the 19th minute of the game. They ran a set piece in which the player taking the corner kick passed the ball to the outside of the box instead of crossing it towards the box. A Chivas USA player got the pass and kicked towards goal. The ball was hit a tad bit high and hit the crossbar. After that shot, both teams couldn’t really find any open space to try to create anything. The half ended 1-nil.

Sadly for Chivas USA, the second half did not start any better than the first. It actually started worse because they allowed a goal just three minutes into the second half. Martin Ponce tried kicking the ball away from danger but the ball hit Kyle Beckerman on the face. The ball deflected off his face and headed towards the direction of three players, two being from Chivas USA and one from Real Salt Lake. Joao Plata from Real Salt Lake outraced and beat both Chivas USA defenders to the ball. He ran towards goal, shot, and scored the second goal of the game.

This time Chivas USA responded with a goal of their own in the 55th minute. Gabriel Farfan received a pass from Eric Avila. Farfan then passed it to Edgar Mejia who was on the right flank. He faked the defender covering him. By doing this, Mejia opened up enough space to send a cross towards the far post where Jorge Villafaña headed it and scored Chivas USA’s first goal of the game. The score was 2-1 in favor of Real Salt Lake.

In the 78th minute Real Salt Lake scored their third goal of the game. This goal came off a corner kick. The player taking the corner kick passed it to a Real Salt Lake player who crossed the ball to where Robbie Findley was at. He shot the ball and scored giving Real Salt Lake a two goal advantage again.

Then Real Salt Lake added insult to injury scoring their fourth goal in the 90th minute of the game. Khari Stephenson passed the ball to Grabavoy. He recived the pass and ran towards Kennedy. Grabavoy shot the ball between Kennedy’s legs and scored the fourth goal for Real Salt Lake and his second goal of the match.

Chivas USA lost for the third straight game. In this three game losing streak they have allowed 11 goals while only scoring once. After the game, Chivas USA coach Chelis was asked how can the team fix all the problems that they have showed in this losing streak. He said, “We can’t fix this. This is all we have. The players are giving everything they have and I am very proud of what they have done.” He was then asked why Chivas USA looks completely different than they looked at the beginning of the season when they had success. He answered the question by saying, “The players that we had at the beginning of the season are not the same players we have now.”

Chivas USA will face Colorado Rapids in Colorado on May 25.

Read More

Houston Dynamo enacts their revenge, beat Galaxy 1-0

May 5, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, May 5, 2013, (Photos: Victor Posadas)

When the soccer schedule came out for this year’s MLS fixtures, many people circled the game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. That game would be a much anticipated matchup between last year’s MLS Cup final participants and they were going to play on the same field they battled for the cup, The Home Depot Center.

The game started like many thought it would, with both teams looking to attack and try to take an early lead. Houston Dynamo almost took that early lead when they connected on a corner kick, but Carlos Cudicini was there to block the ball that was headed at point blank range. Cudicini reacted fast enough and even though the ball was headed to where he was standing, it could have still squirted through. Galaxy had some chances with crosses toward Charlie Rugg but they were either too high or Tally Hall was there to block it. In the 23rd minute, Huston committed a foul inside the penalty box that resulted in a penalty kick for Galaxy. Jose Villarreal received a through ball and ran towards goal, but Hall slide feet first and dropped Villarreal resulting in a penalty kick. Everyone in the stadium knew Landon Donovan was going to take the penalty kick and everyone thought he was going to make it. The only problem was that last time Donovan took one, he missed. Donovan set up and shot low and to the right but Hall guessed correctly and was able to block the ball. The score stayed 0-0.

As the first half wore on, Dynamo seemed to move their lines forward and became more aggressive. They would bring in more players on their attacks and seemed into dangerous spaces but Cudicini and the Galaxy defense was there to block and stop each Dynamo attack.

The second half was different than the first half of the game. Galaxy dominated the first half but the second half belonged to Houston Dynamo. Galaxy came out flat, and Houston took advantage of that. They were aggressive and started to control the midfield. They were getting second chance opportunities because Galaxy couldn’t clear the ball out of their zone. Houston was able to get the game winning goal in the 56th minute of play. Bobby Boswell gave a long pass to Giles Barnes who ran up the left flank. He spun around and crossed the ball towards the middle of the box. The ball went towards Andrew Driver who kicked it on goal and scored. Cudicini dove to block the ball but the ball went under his glove. This gave Houston Dynamo and 1-0 lead. They held that lead till the end of the game and was able to walk away from the Home Depot Center with a victory.

Galaxy’s next opponent is the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 11 in Vancouver.

Read More

Chivas USA gain one point in a very physical game

Apr 28, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, April 27, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The game between Chivas USA and San Jose Earthquake was Chivas USA’s second game of a very tough stretch they were on. The previous week they played against Real Salt Lake where they suffered a loss to. The next week they were going to play Sporting Kansas City. They knew they had to get good results in these next two games to show they were legitimate contenders in the MLS. Chivas USA began the game playing very sloppy. They had been playing like this the past few games. Their passing was not crisp, their movement was uncoordinated, and they weren’t communicating. San Jose on the other had came out playing very aggressive. They knew they could pressure Chivas USA and create mistakes because Chivas USA had showed that that tactic would work on them.
San Jose’s first scoring opportunity came after a mistake from Chivas USA’s defense. A Chivas USA defender had the ball and tried to pass it back to the goalie, Dan Kennedy. The pass wasn’t strong enough to reach Kennedy, so he was forced to run towards the ball. As Kennedy was running towards the ball, San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart also ran towards the ball. They reached it first and shot towards goal but Kennedy was close enough to take away any shooting angle. Then in the 12th minute of the game, San Jose created their first scoring opportunity. They had the ball on the left flank. They crossed the ball towards Wondolowski who passed the ball to Lenhart received the ball and shot on goal but Kennedy was there to save it.

For the rest of the half there was not real attacking from any team. Most of the game was being played in the midfield with both teams not only fighting for the ball but also for attacking position. Then in the 40th minute of play, San Jose was able to score a goal. The goal came after Joaquin Velazquez fouled Lenhart. Shea Salinas took the free kick and he crossed the ball towards the center of the box. Wondolowski was there to receive it and shot the ball towards the far post and was able to beat a diving Kennedy to score the first goal of the game.

The half ended in a controversial call. Chivas USA had the ball and were running towards the box. They passed the ball to Tristan Bowen. He received the ball and went by one defender. The defender seemed to push Bowen from behind and Bowen fell. The referee did not see it that way. He thought Bowen dove and gave Bowen a yellow for diving.

Chivas USA didn’t let that call affect them in the second half. They began the second half with the equalizing goal. After San Jose cleared a free kick cross, Chivas USA regained the ball. They ran towards the edge of the box and shot on goal. The ball was deflected but Mario de Luna was there to kick the ball with his right foot and score the goal in the 47th minute.

Then in the 51st minute Chivas USA scored the go-ahead-goal. Erick Avila had the ball on the left flank and centered a low cross towards the middle of the box. A Chivas USA forward slid to kick the ball on goal but missed. Right behind him, Bowen was there to kick a left footed shot on goal and scored the second goal of the game. Bowen was able to get some “revenge” after receiving a yellow for an apparent dive. He gave Chivas USA the lead in a much contested game.

After the goal, the game began heating up psychically. Both teams began hitting each other a lot more than the norm. A lot of the hits were borderline legal. Not only was it heating up psychically, both teams began finding an offensive rhythm, especially San Jose. They had many scoring opportunities and a few of them were blocked right on goal line. For many of the blocks, it seemed that Chivas USA had lady luck on their side because San Jose was missing a lot of open looks.

Their luck ran out in the 77th minute of the match. Salinas ran up the right flank and crossed the ball towards the middle of the box. As the ball was arriving, Cordell Cato cut across the box and kicked the ball with his left foot into the net. All Kennedy could do was stand there and watch as San Jose tied the game 2-2.
The game ended with a 2-2 tie. Chivas USA put up a great fight which their coach, “Chelis” was very happy about. He was happy that his team fought hard and worked throughout the 90 minutes. The players didn’t repeat the same sentiments that “Chelis” had. They were happy that they came away with one point but in reality, they wanted to win and get three points out of it.

Their next game is away against Sporting Kansas City, May 5 at Kansas City.

Read More

Galaxy beats Sporting Kansas City 2-0 with an excellent performance by Landon Donovan

Apr 21, 2013

Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, April 20, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s game versus Sporting Kansas City was set up to be one of the best games this fixture. It was going to be Landon Donovan’s first game at home this MLS season. The Galaxy was going against one of the best defensive team in the MLS. It was also a game that featured what many people thought is going to be Donovan’s replacement in the national team, Graham Zusi. They were also trying to rebound after a few difficult weeks that saw them eliminated from the CONCACAF championship and a loss at FC Dallas. Then the unthinkable happened early this week. There were two bombings in Boston that caused the whole nation to stand still for a day. Former Galaxy goalkeeper Matt Reis’ father-in-law was injured in the blast and Galaxy felt the pain as if it was one of their own. Not only Galaxy but the entire league felt the pain that Reis like many others felt. But this is when sports are most important. It is not to see who the best team is or to make sure you beat your opponent. Sports are most important to unite a country and bring a time of happiness and relief after such a terrible tragedy.

 

The game began in front of a sell-out crowd and from the very beginning people knew it was going to be a great game. Both teams began the game testing each other physically. They were playing each other hard, with many hits and knocks for both teams. Galaxy was trying to get passed a rock solid Kansas City defense that had only allowed three shot on goal this entire season. For the first 15 minutes, Galaxy couldn’t find any good spacing in the attacking third of the pitch but that wasn’t the case for Sporting Kansas City. With the help of a few Galaxy errors, Sporting Kansas City had a few decent scoring opportunities but Galaxy’s goalkeeper, Carlos Cudicini came up big with a few saves to keep the game level at nil. Galaxy was finally able to create something offensively in the 17th minute of the game. Kansas City was attacking but Omar Gonzalez was not only able to stop the attack but steal the ball and pass it to Donovan. He then passed it to Robbie Keane who quickly flipped the ball towards Jack McBean. McBean ran towards goal, cut twice to open up a shooting lane and shot on goal but Jimmy Nielsen, goalkeeper from the Sporting Kansas City, was able to save the shot. Galaxy seemed to gain momentum but just three minutes later they committed a foul just outside the penalty box. Kansas City had a free kick in a very dangerous spot. K.C. player shot directly on goal, Cudicini jumped to block it, but was not able to reach it. Luckily for the Galaxy, the crossbar was there to stop the ball from going into the net and the game stayed 0-0.

Galaxy was finally able to break the tie with a goal in the 27th minute. The play started when Gonzalez cleared the ball towards the middle of the field. The closest players around the ball were Marcelo Sarvas and a Kansas City midfielder. Both sprinted towards the ball and the Kansas City midfielder was not going to beat Sarvas so he slid to try to take the ball away. The Kansas City midfielder hit the ball first but it bounced up and towards Sarvas who kept the ball and passed it towards Donovan. Donovan ran towards goal and crossed the ball towards a cutting Sarvas who just tapped the ball in giving Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. The half continued with Galaxy having all the momentum and the ball but couldn’t finish any other opportunity to score another goal. The half ended with Galaxy up one-nil.

The second half started much differently than how the first half ended. Sporting Kansas City had more possession of the ball in the first 15 minutes of the game. They slowed the game down which also seem to benefit them. The only problem was that they were not creating any scoring opportunities. Galaxy seemed more dangerous playing the counter-attack.

Galaxy showed how dangerous they were in the counter attack. Sporting Kansas City had a corner kick but couldn’t capitalize on it. Galaxy was able to clear the ball out to the open space. Keane was there to receive the ball and he sprinted towards goal with a defender hot on his heels. He started running towards one side of the goal making the goalkeeper come out of his line and try to stop Keane from advancing any more. As soon as Keane saw that, he smartly crossed the ball towards Donovan who was running behind the play. He received it, shot, and scored his first goal of this MLS season giving Galaxy a two-nil lead.

The game ended with Galaxy winning two-nil. It was a great overall game. Donovan said after the game that the team finally played a complete 90 minutes of soccer. Recently, they have had mental lapses especially defensively in the final minutes of the game that had cost them the win against Monterrey and the tie against FC Dallas. This time, L.A.’s defense played well the entire game. When Donovan was asked about how he felt physically, he said he feels great. He doesn’t have to think as much as he did the past few games. This is great news for the Galaxy especially since Donovan had one goal and one assist this game. With this win, Galaxy jumps into second place in the western conference standings.

The next game is against Real Salt Lake April 27 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Read More