MLS Newsstand - July 10, 2011
MLS Newsstand – July 10, 2011
Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
1. Seattle vs. Portland: Two rivals shooting at the same goal (Seattle Times)
2. Timbers' Spencer, Sounders' Schmid make nice after war of words (The Oregonian)
3. Sounders FC ready for unwelcome reception in Portland (Seattle Times)
4. Spencer's job against Sounders easy: Wishing 'good luck guys' (Portland Tribune)
5. Roger Levesque loves to be hated by the Portland Timbers fans (The Oregonian)
6. Sounders, Timbers rivalry resumes Sunday (Kistap Sun)
7. Local ties still strong for Sounders (The Columbian)
8. Not just another game for rivals (Tacoma News Tribune)
9. Seattle, Portland renew rivalry at JELD-WEN (The Sports Network)
10. Seattle put strong road record on the line at JELD-WEN (MLSsoccer.com)
New York Red Bulls 0, D.C. United 1
11. New D.C. midfielder Dwayne De Rosario scores the winning goal against his former team (Washington Post)
12. Dwayne De Rosario carries D.C. United over Red Bulls, 1-0, beating former team with late goal (The Star-Ledger)
13. De Rosario gets last laugh as Red Bulls fall to D.C. United (Bergen Record)
14. De Rosario's goal lifts DC United past Red Bulls (The Associated Press)
15. De Rosario burns former team (CSNWashington.com)
16. Dwayne De Rosario's strut-celebration signals a loss for New York (Goal.com)
Sporting Kansas City 1, Chivas USA 1
17. Sporting KC preserves unbeaten streak with 1-1 draw vs. Chivas USA (Kansas City Star)
18. Chivas USA gives up late goal in 1-1 draw at Kansas City (The Associated Press)
19. Late Bravo goal rescues Sporting against Chivas (The Sports Network)
20. Goats can't hold on in K.C. (ESPNLosAngeles.com)
21. Bravo answers SKC's Hail Mary in dramatic draw (MLSsoccer.com)
Houston Dynamo 2, Toronto FC 0
22. Dynamo knock off Toronto FC (Houston Chronicle)
23. TFC's defence improves, but not enough in loss (Toronto Sun)
24. Toronto FC have no shots on net in 2-0 loss to Houston Dynamo (The Canadian Press)
25. Houston extends Toronto's road woes (The Sports Network)
26. Dynamo snag "momentum" for midseason stretch (MLSsoccer.com)
Colorado Rapids 2, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1
27. Whitecaps dunked by Rapids in Colorado as MLS road woes continue (Vancouver Sun)
28. Rapids win first home game since April with 2-1 defeat of Whitecaps (Denver Post)
29. Future is bright (The Province)
30. Rapids top Whitecaps to end slide (The Associated Press)
31. Colorado tops Vancouver as 'Caps woes continue (The Sports Network)
32. Soehn pleased with young Whitecaps' performance (MLSsoccer.com)
Real Salt Lake 2, FC Dallas 0
33. Goalkeeper’s goof helps Real Salt Lake beat FC Dallas (Salt Lake Tribune)
34. FC Dallas' win streak snapped in 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake (Dallas Morning News)
35. Real Salt Lake continues to be a team you can't ignore (Deseret News)
36. Questions abound after Saborio snubs RSL on way out of game (Salt Lake Tribune)
37. Dallas goalkeeper’s gaffe out of character (Salt Lake Tribune)
38. Williams, Espindola lead Salt Lake past FC Dallas (The Associated Press)
39. RSL defense steps up in "big" win over red-hot FC Dallas (MLSsoccer.com)
LA Galaxy 2, Chicago Fire 1
40. David Beckham leads L.A. Galaxy to 2-1 win over Chicago Fire (Los Angeles Times)
41. David Beckham bends it, and Galaxy win 2-1 over Chicago (Long Beach Press-Telegram)
42. Beckham scores from corner to give Galaxy victory (The Associated Press)
43. Beckham fires Galaxy to success (ESPN.com)
44. Set pieces hurt Fire in loss to Galaxy (ESPNChicago.com)
San Jose Earthquakes 0, Philadelphia Union 0
45. Union, Earthquakes play to scoreless draw (Philadelphia Inquirer)
46. San Jose Earthquakes' goal drought goes on in scoreless draw (San Jose Mercury News)
47. Union, Earthquakes play to 0-0 draw (The Associated Press)
48. San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 Philadelphia Union: Unimaginative draw (Goal.com)
49. Shorthanded Union show depth in draw at San Jose (MLSsoccer.com)
Other MLS News
50. Union CEO Sakiewicz making the most of second chances (Philadelphia Inquirer)
51. Defender is ready to provide puzzle piece for Whitecaps (The Province)
(Additional articles for consideration can be submitted directly to Lauren Brophy of MLS Communications at Lauren.Brophy@MLSsoccer.com.)
1. Seattle vs. Portland: Two rivals shooting at the same goal
Sounders FC-Timbers could quickly become best rivalry in Major League Soccer
By Jerry Brewer
Seattle Times—July 9, 2011
To understand the intensity of the Seattle-Portland sports rivalry, jump in a time machine. It's telling that the venom began as the spinoff of a greater mission: to bring professional baseball to this region. It wasn't exactly about supremacy back then. It was more like belonging.
Real cities had pro athletes entertaining them. So, in 1890, the Pacific Northwest League formed, starting this region's long, awkward dance with the so-called big time. It had four teams: the Seattle Hustlers, the Portland Webfeet, the Tacoma Daisies and the Spokane Bunchgrassers. Fortunately, those wacky nicknames deferred to people's tendency to put an "s" on their cities' names (for instance, the Seattles) and refer to them that way.
The Pacific Northwest League folded in 1892, returned as the New Pacific League in 1896, folded and rose again as the Pacific Northwest League in 1901 and 1902. But it wasn't sustainable in its provincial form.
If pro sports in this area were to succeed, people needed to dream bigger, and over time, Seattle and Portland grew to be the cities capable of completing the mission. But they've always been able to irritate each other.
It's the classic arc of a rivalry: born of the same motivation, raised in a competitive cocoon, separated, left to evolve and become different, reunited and told to fight for the highest stakes.
Now, 121 years later, they're grown rivals that know each other way too well, that can't avoid each other, that need each other, even if they're too stubborn to admit it. And though the sentiment is often described as hate, history shows they respect each other.
"It hasn't always been a rivalry, but during times when it is, it's been quite intense," local sports historian Russ Dille says. "There's hatred, but there are so many connections, too. I guess that's what happens when you're so competitive, but so close."
The Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers play for the second time this season Sunday, a passionate soccer rivalry renewed because the Timbers joined Major League Soccer this season. These matches represent the biggest stage the Seattle/Portland tussle has had since the NBA moved the Sonics to Oklahoma City, renaming them the Thunder and ending the Blazers/Sonics showdowns.
The beauty of a regional rivalry lies as much in its similarities as its differences. From afar, Seattle and Portland are comparable cities, which fuels a tension reminiscent of two women who wear the same dress to an event, but when you observe them up close, their unique qualities and eccentricities become apparent. And the cities play their roles to perfection — Seattle, the larger city with an arrogantly dismissive attitude toward its southern neighbor; Portland, the feisty city that loves its quirks unconditionally and masks its inferiority complex with haughty declarations of its underappreciated brilliance.
"We used to think Portland's fans were the rowdiest, and they used to think the same about us," Dille says. "Seattle has always thought it's a little above Portland. We figure, 'Hey, we're going to be in the big leagues. You don't belong with the caliber of us.' "
Says John Canzano, Oregonian sports columnist: "People here in Portland are crazy proud. People here look at Seattle and smirk and say, 'We have better restaurants, a better downtown, better music, better beer, better weed.' Portland is very provincial. It doesn't want another city in the Pacific Northwest to steal its thunder."
Really, they're after the same thing: appreciation. Respect. To get it, though, they often need each other.
The fascinating part of the Sounders-Timbers rivalry is that it could become the greatest thing in American soccer. The sport is a hit in the Northwest, Vancouver included. If those clubs turn into the class of the league, the region could be known for its soccer dominance and its passion, not its isolation.
It'll never be as intense as the Seattle Totems and Portland Buckaroos hockey games in the 1960s, but this is a higher stage. It'll never be as captivating to a mainstream audience as Sonics-Blazers, but it might be more influential.
"People watch the Sounders and Timbers and say, 'People in the Northwest are rabid about sports,' " Canzano says. "I've never heard that before. We have a shot at something special."
Another shot, actually. Seattle and Portland have grown up a lot since 1890. They've grown together, too, even if they don't recognize it.
Lucky for us, though, they still fight like kids.
2. Timbers' Spencer, Sounders' Schmid make nice after war of words
By Geoffrey C. Arnold
The Oregonian—July 9, 2011
Anyone expecting a continuation of the war of words between John Spencer and Sigi Schmid will likely be disappointed.
The coaches of the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders had nothing but amicable words to say about each other leading up to Sunday's rematch between the two fierce and longtime rivals at Jeld-Wen Field.
"I've never had a problem with Sigi," Spencer said. "Opinions differ, as you do in every walk of life."
The words from each coach were very different during the days following the team's 1-1 draw at Seattle May 14.
Schmid claimed that the Timbers were a team that relied on set pieces and physical play. And Schmid added that his team was negatively affected by the downpour of rain during the game.
"I think it was physical because that’s the nature of their game," Schmid said after the game. "You have guys on their team sometimes jumping and not even seeing where the ball is, just jumping in the air against our guys. So that was the physical side of the game tonight. …I don’t think that was because of the rivalry, it was because of the way they play."
The fiery Spencer issued a blistering response. Spencer was incredulous at Schmid's comments, particularly the words about the rain affecting a fellow Northwest team.
“The next time we go up there we’ll take plenty of towels for them so we can dry off the field before the game," Spencer said. "Maybe take plenty of tissue paper so they can dry their eyes after the game.”
When reminded of his comments, Spencer said his words were not directed at Schmid personally and that he was talking from a professional perspective.
"That was not one percent personal. I have the greatest respect for Sigi and his staff. They've done a great job (in Seattle)," Spencer said. "That's water under the bridge."
For his part Schmid, said the Timbers shouldn't be ashamed of their ability to score goals off set pieces.
"The difference is if we get a free kick 50 yards out from the goal, are we going to try to put the ball in play or are we going to knock it into the 18-yard box? We might tend to put it into play a little bit more rather than knock it forward," Schmid said. "But each team plays to its strengths. Nobody should ever be embarrassed to play to its strengths."
While the coaches try to downplay their post-game comments in May, the players aren't so quick to place the stinging words in the past and move on.
"Stuff like that adds fuel to the fire," Portland midfielder Jack Jewsbury said. "It keeps things lively and keeps things fun."
Seattle forward Roger Levesque said trash talk is typical between two rivals.
"That kind of stuff is always out there," Levesque said. "You hear about it, laugh and use it as a little bit of extra motivation but at the same time, hopefully we'll let our play do the talking on the field."
The Timbers (5-8-3, 18 points) need all the motivation they can muster for the game.
Portland is winless in its last six games and have lost five of its last six games. The Timbers have won just one of the last seven games since playing at Seattle in May. Meanwhile, Seattle (8-4-8, 32 points) is rolling and undefeated in its last seven games.
Even though the Timbers are taking on one of the league's hottest teams while playing their worst stretch of soccer since the beginning of the season, they view the game as an opportunity.
"You get that win against your big rivals, it can turn your season around," Spencer said. "The guys are looking forward to the game to get back on track."
The team that wins the game will capture the Cascadia Cup and more important, the right to talk and be unconcerned about hurt feelings.
"Nobody wants to lose these rivalry games," Spencer said. "(And) the bragging rights that comes along with it."
3. Sounders FC ready for unwelcome reception in Portland
The Seattle-Portland rivalry resumes for the 76th time Sunday at 1 p.m. in a sold-out Jeld-Wen Field — a rowdy Portland venue that rivals CenturyLink Field as the most intimidating in MLS.
By Joshua Mayers
Seattle Times—July 9, 2011
TUKWILA — Newcomers don't need long to understand the heated nature of the storied Sounders-Timbers rivalry.
After a game two months ago in Seattle, the coaches exchanged pointed words through the media. Fans from each side continue to be convinced that they each offer the best support in MLS. Roger Levesque, the scruffy-haired, happy-go-lucky Sounders veteran, goes from cult hero in one city to reviled villain in the other.
Spirited. Hostile. Passionate.
Such is the character of the 36-year-old feud that dates to the North American Soccer League. The action resumes for the 76th time Sunday at 1 p.m. in a sold-out Jeld-Wen Field — a rowdy Portland venue that rivals CenturyLink Field as the most intimidating in MLS.
Seattle's first-year players, while somewhat new to the animus, already have an idea of what to expect.
"Playing this kind of game is very important, not just for the players, but it's important for our fans, our club and our city." said midfielder Mauro Rosales, who has experienced some of the world's best rivalries. "We have to be very focused when we play. Like with Boca-River (in Argentina) or Ajax-Feyenoord (in Holland), we know it's a derby and we can't go to the game and fight 50 or 60 percent. You have to give 110 percent."
Erik Friberg, a soft-spoken midfielder from Sweden, put it simply and effectively: "It's probably going to be a little bit crazy."
Crazy might be the best word to describe the anticipated atmosphere in Portland, the self-proclaimed "Soccer City USA." Sounders players and coaches, however, expect to be motivated by the unreceptive environment.
"It's like when teams come into Seattle to play," said Levesque. "We have this awesome crowd and this great environment and you can see it in teams that come in — they're energized as well. I think it's something that we can feed off of down there. It's going to be a hectic game is how (coach Sigi Schmid) described it. ... We have to be prepared to go in and battle."
And while Sounders FC hasn't lost in seven games and Portland is winless in its last six, neither side expects that to matter.
Schmid said the cliché of throwing out the records holds true "when it comes to a rivalry game because the emotions run so high."
Added Timbers coach John Spencer in a teleconference: "Form goes out the window."
Last trip to Portland
Despite an impressive history in the city, Kasey Keller knows to expect boos in his final return to Portland as a player. The Sounders FC goalkeeper, who has announced he'll retire after the season, played collegiately with the Portland Pilots, leading them to the NCAA semifinals in 1988 and earning first-team All-America honors in 1990. He also starred for a semipro incarnation of the Timbers in 1989, earning Western Soccer Alliance MVP honors.
"I enjoyed every minute of my time in Portland and now I'm just enjoying every minute of this rivalry," said Keller.
• Sunday's match will count toward the 2011 Cascadia Cup, a fan-based competition between Pacific Northwest teams that dates to 2004. Seattle is 0-0-2 this year; Portland and Vancouver are 0-0-1.
• The Sounders hold a 39-27-9 advantage against the Timbers.
• Midfielder Brad Evans is "more doubtful than probable" according to Schmid because of a hamstring strain. Forward O'Brian White, who has been out since late April after having leg surgery to remove a blood clot, could return as a substitute next week.
4. Spencer's job against Sounders easy: Wishing 'good luck guys'
Timbers should be plenty motivated for 1 p.m. Sunday match, without coaching advice
By Stephen Alexander
The Portland Tribune--July 9, 2011
As an international footballer, Portland Timbers coach John Spencer knows a thing or two about derby matches.
A day before the Timbers play the Seattle Sounders in one of the biggest derby matches in Major League Soccer (1 p.m. Sunday, Jeld-Wen Field), Spencer reflected on the Rangers versus Celtic rivalry in Europe, which he calls the biggest he has ever been a part of.
“It’s not just a game,” says Spencer, who was a striker for the Rangers. “It’s a religion. It’s a Catholic-vs.-Protestant mentality, which is not what we’re proud of in Scotland, but, it is what it is. You can’t deny that that’s the history behind the game. That’s what makes it so unique, that’s why it’s probably the biggest derby in the world. Not fan-wise, but, hatred-wise.”
While Timbers vs. Sounders is not Rangers vs. Celtic, Spencer does have a lot of respect for the Northwest rivalry.
“The Sounders and the Timbers (rivalry) has been around for a long time before we got here in MLS and it will be (around) when we’re all gone and buried,” Spencer says.
Even though he has a wealth of knowledge about rivalries, Spencer has not been talking to the Timbers about how he approached those matches as a player.
“I’m not one for preaching,” Spencer says. “I don’t think it’s a good thing for a coach to say, ‘Oh, when I played.’ It’s almost like talking down to them. That’s not my approach.”
In fact, Spencer says his job tomorrow in the match will be among the easiest of the season for him.
“This is one of those easy games to coach,” Spencer says. “I should be able to get into the locker room 10 minutes before the game tomorrow and go, ‘Good luck guys’ and walk out. You shouldn’t need to inspire anybody for a game like this.”
The Timbers last match against the Sounders in Seattle ended in a 1-1 draw. Following the match, Spencer and Sounders coach Sigi Schmid got into a back-and-forth over how each coach viewed the outcome of the match.
Spencer does not believe that when the sides step onto the pitch Sunday that the Timbers will need to put their money where their coach’s mouth was.
“No I don’t think so,” Spencer says. “Those comments were made for that game. They weren’t made for future games. It’s been well documented, both myself and Sigi had our own opinions. They were different, so just move on now. It’s done with.”
In a kill-them-with-kindness move, Spencer praised Schmid as a coach.
“I like Sigi,” Spencer says. “In fact when I was (playing) in Colorado (for the Rapids) they were looking for a coach and I thought Sigi would have been a great addition to the club. He would’ve been a great head coach for us.
“He’s one of those guys that I would’ve loved to play for. He was one of those coaches that got the best out of players and he was the type of no-nonsense coach that I felt I needed to be a better player at that time. I never got a chance to work for him, but, I really admired him as a coach.”
The Sounders and the Timbers are far apart in the Western Conference, points-wise. Seattle, (8-4-8, 32 points) sits in third place in the conference behind the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas. Portland (5-8-3, 18 points) are in the middle of a six-match winless streak. The Timbers are in eighth place in the Western Conference, ahead of only the Vancouver Whitecaps.
In a rivalry match, though, Spencer says records mean little.
“These games are totally different from other games, just with the intense rivalry,” Spencer says. “You could be on a 10-game losing streak and you just know that you don’t want to lose at home so you can get that extra out of yourself.”
A win against their archrival could spring board the Timbers into returning to winning ways.
“It’s a great game to rebound,” Spencer says. “You get to play your fiercest rivals and it brings out the best in people. Sometimes it brings out the worst in people.”
On top of not providing the Sounders with additional bulletin board material, Spencer was keeping his cards close to the chest about what Portland will need to do to be successful.
“I ain’t going to stand here and tell you what we need to do because I don’t want to give them an insight into what we’re thinking,” Spencer says. “If we play well, the way we’ve played here (at home) at times this year, we won’t be far off of winning the game.”
Timbers defender Mamadou “Futty” Danso was a little more open. He says a quick start will be imperative.
“It’s going to be important in this game,” Danso says. “You want to start off the first 15 minutes trying to control the game. Make the game on your own tempo.”
For Spencer, the match will not be decided by the skills each side brings to the pitch. He says the final result will be about what is inside the 11 players on each club.
“The team that turns up tomorrow and has more players with a winning mentality and a winning attitude to succeed will win the game,” Spencer says. “I’ve been involved in a lot of derby games and I know what it takes to win these games. I know ability alone won’t win the game. It’s going to come down to courage and desire tomorrow. Who wants it most?”
NOTES: Although he returned to the pitch in Thursday’s friendly against Club America, Timbers striker Bright Dike – who missed nearly six months after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in preseason – is unlikely to see the pitch Sunday. “This game has come just a little bit too early for him,” Spencer says. “We got him some minutes against Club America because we knew it wouldn’t be an overly aggressive game. The last thing we want to do is throw him in too early and then something happens to him and then we miss him for the whole season.” ...
Defender Rodney Wallace, who suffered a left knee injury in last weekend’s match against Sporting Kansas City, participated in training Saturday and very well may play against Seattle. “He is becoming Lazarus,” Spencer says. “I get told after the game last week that he could be out for the season. And then he could be out four to six weeks. And Rodney was like, ‘No chance.’ Then it’s a matter of days and then a matter of hours. Lazarus. It’s remarkable.”
5. Roger Levesque loves to be hated by the Portland Timbers fans
By Geoffrey C. Arnold
The Oregonian—July 8, 2011
Roger Levesque enjoys being hated by the Timbers Army, the hardcore edition of Portland Timbers fans.
"That's a good way to look at it," Levesque said. "I think it would be hatred."
And Levesque thinks he knows why the Army has elevated him to Public Enemy No. 1. Levesque has been a thorn in the side of Rose City soccer fans for many years.
Levesque's diving header to score the Sounders' first goal 35 seconds into the game helped the Sounders defeat Portland 2-1 in front of a sold out crowd at then PGE Park during a U.S. Open Cup game in 2009. He has scored big goals against Portland when the two teams played in Division 1.
"Being part of that fortunate end - whether it was a couple of goals or a couple of winning seasons," Levesque said. "Just being a part of it puts a target on my back."
Levesque, 30, thinks it’s the familiarity through longevity that has contributed to the Timbers' dislike of him. Levesque has been with the USL and MLS Sounders for nine seasons.
"I attribute it to being around a long time," Levesque said. "I played a lot of games as a Seattle Sounder against the Timbers. Whether it's Open Cup, USL or MLS or preseason. We used to play each other five or six times a year."
Some Timbers fans claim Levesque is a dirty player who once stepped on the head of Portland goalkeeper during a game. Levesque has consistently denied that accusation, but he doesn't deny that he plays hard on the field.
"I want to win, just like any other player," Levesque said.
It's likely Levesque will start for the Sounders when the two teams face each other Sunday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field. Levesque started for the Sounders in their game against Los Angeles Monday and Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said Levesque has been playing very well as of late.
"If you would have talked to me in March and asked me reading into a crystal ball would Roger Levesque be starting for you in the July game against Portland, I would have probably said no," Schmid said. "Roger sort of has seen that (Portland) game on the horizon and his performances and training were good. He wants to be on the field on Sunday and everything he's done on the field has been really sharp."
And Schmid knows that Levesque has come up big in past games against the Timbers.
"For some reason, a lot of times, he saves his best games for Portland," Schmid said. "It's a good time to put him on the field."
Levesque appreciates the passion of the Timbers fans and looks forward to playing against the Timbers now that the two teams are competing in MLS. What kind of reception will the Timbers fans give Levesque when his name is announced either in pre-game introductions or when he comes on as a substitute?
"I don't know. I'm looking forward to it either way. Regardless of how it goes, you'll probably see a big smile on my face," Levesque said. "I can only imagine what it's going to be like with 18-19,000 people screaming. Whether that's supporting the Timbers or shouting obscenities at us, either way it should make for a great game."
6. Sounders, Timbers rivalry resumes Sunday
By John Boyle
Kitsap Sun—July 9, 2011
Two months ago in Seattle, the Portland Timbers spoiled the party for Sounders FC and the more than 36,000 in attendance at CenturyLink Field.
Today in Portland, Sounders FC players would love nothing more than to return the favor, and then some. While Portland didn't go so far as to beat Sounders FC, what the Timbers did do is score a second-half equalizer that forced Seattle to settle for a very disappointing tie.
Now, against its biggest rivals, Seattle wants some payback in the form of a victory at JELD-WEN field.
"They came up here and stole points from us, so that means it's extra important for us to go down there and do the same," said forward Roger Levesque.
Then again, Sounders FC players would be out for nothing less than a win even if they had held onto that lead two months ago.
"I think we would have owed them one regardless," said goalkeeper Kasey Keller. "If we would have won 10-0, I think we still want to go down there and owe them one. That's just the way rivalries are."
And as much as Seattle and Portland are fighting for a leg-up in the soccer rivalry, which dates back to playing in the North American Soccer League in the 1970s, the Portland fans will also no doubt feel like a lot is at stake.
Portland, which has long claimed to be "Soccer City, USA" has seen Seattle become the hotbed of American soccer since Sounders FC joined Major League Soccer in 2009, drawing record crowds while also enjoying success on the field.
Prior to the kickoff of the last game between the two teams, Seattle's fans unveiled an impressive display of banners that garnered national media attention. It's safe to say that Portland's fans will be looking to one-up their rivals this weekend. And for as long as this rivalry goes on, both sides will claim to have the better fans.
"You're right, I probably do (think that)," Portland coach John Spencer said in a conference call. "Obviously I'm biased, I'm in this environment all the time. I have no doubt that Sigi and his coaching staff up there will say the complete opposite, but I think it's just a tremendous experience."
Regardless of which city produces the best game-day atmosphere, one thing Sounders FC players can count on is a chance to experience a taste of what their opponents get at CentryLink Field. As much as Seattle enjoys a unique home-field advantage, the huge crowds also serve to motivate opponents. Today Seattle will be the team feeding off of a fired-up, sellout crowd.
"It's like when teams come into Seattle to play," said Levesque, who for years as been public enemy No. 1 in Portland. "We have this awesome crowd and this great environment, and you can see it in teams that come in; they're energized as well. So I think that's something we can feed off of down there."
One thing players won't be able to feed off of is bulletin-board material provided by their outspoken coaches. In the days following the previous game, Spencer and Sigi Schmid went through a couple of rounds of verbal sparring through the media, prompting hope that the two would ignite the flame again this week. Instead, this week has turned into a near love-fest between the two.
"I have a lot of respect for John as a coach," Schmid said. "I know we said a lot of things back and forth, but I think he is a really good coach, I thought he was a really good player and I've always liked him, and I enjoy the banter as well."
Spencer was equally non-inflammatory when asked about the war of words.
"It wasn't a personal dig at Sigi, because I think he's been tremendous as a coach and he's had a fantastic coaching career," Spencer said. "I have a lot of respect for Sigi and the job they've done up there at Seattle. They've been absolutely tremendous for this league with that they've done and you've got to take your hat off to them and give credit where credit is due."
Today, however, the polite words will end, and the best rivalry in U.S. soccer will resume with Act II.
"It'll be a tremendous atmosphere," Schmid said. "They're our rivals, it's a derby game. I think it's the one real derby game in this league, and it's something I know I'm looking forward to, and I could tell in the mood of some of the guys that they're already getting geared up for it."
7. Local ties still strong for Sounders
Many Clark County standouts play for Sounders academy
By Paul Danzer
The Columbian--July 9, 2011
Though his loyalty leans toward the rave green, Keenan Townsend isn’t caught up in the rivalry between the Seattle Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers.
When the Major League Soccer rivals clash Sunday afternoon in Portland, Townsend’s focus will be on a match in Wisconsin.
Townsend and fellow Skyview student James Nosack play for the Sounders FC under-16 team. Townsend, entering his senior year, plays goalkeeper. Nosack, a junior-to-be, plays all three left-side positions.
Beginning Sunday, Nosack and Townsend will be competing with seven other teams for the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) national championship in Milwaukee.
Townsend, who has been on the team for a full year, has played every playoff minute. He posted two shutouts as the Sounders FC won three matches in a playoff tournament at Frisco, Texas, to earn a spot in the national finals.
“I had a gut feeling we were going to win,” he said.
A stop on a breakaway early in the first playoff match against the Columbius Crew Soccer Academy set the stage for a successful playoff run. The Sounders beat the Crew 3-0, and followed with a 1-0 win over Empire United and a 4-1 win over the DC United 15-16 team.
Nosack, who is among the younger players on the team, was invited to join the Sounders team in February after helping his Washington Olympic Development Program team finish second in the nation.
He has been with the full-time Sounders for about two months. As one of the newcomers to the squad, he has played mostly in a reserve role.
The Sounders under-18 academy team, including recent Camas graduate Drew White and Columbia River’s Justin Solomon, narrowly missed qualifying for the finals.
The teams qualified for the playoffs in Texas based upon their standing in USSDA league play.
Darren Sawatzky, director of youth development for Sounders FC, said the playoff success is a promising first step for the Sounders Academy.
“Our expectation here is to be the No. 1 youth academy, not only in the United States, but worldwide,” Sawatzky said. “We understand that it’s going to take some time.”
Clark County players have been a part of the Sounders Academy program since it was formed in 2009. For a year, the Sounders had a regional training center in Vancouver to identify and develop potential players.
In partnership with Washington Youth Soccer’s Elite Development Program, the Sounders FC Academy switched from the regional training center model to a system of regional tryouts for boys and girls, with selected players then training once each month together in a central location.
Players selected to the Sounders FC Academy rosters make a greater commitment, practicing several days each week at Tukwila and traveling to weekend games.
Sawatzky said the Sounders still consider the entire state their territory, and that players from Clark County will be welcome to try out for Sounders Academy teams.
The Sounders will hold open tryouts July 18 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila for its 2011-12 under-16 and under-18 teams. This year’s Washington Youth Soccer EDP tryouts in Vancouver are scheduled for Aug. 15.
In his first full year with the Sounders FC Academy, Townsend said it is the highest level of soccer he has experienced — including playing on state Olympic Development Program teams.
“The speed of play is a lot faster,” Townsend said. “It’s a lot better than high school (soccer). It’s as high as I can go right now without turning pro.”
Playing at high-level tournaments is also a chance to be seen by college coaches. Townsend said he hasn’t yet made a college choice.
Townsend said the demands of playing with the Sounders Academy — including traveling from Vancouver to Tukwila as many as four days a week for practices — helped make him a more responsible, more focused person.
Over the next week, Townsend, Nosack and their Sounders FC Academy teammates will be focused on a special opportunity — competing for a national championship.
8. Not just another game for rivals
By Don Ruiz
The News Tribune July 10, 2011
PORTLAND – Just another game?
Nope. Not even close.
Not even coach Sigi Schmid is bothering to deny that there is something special about the Seattle Sounders’ first trip to face their new MLS rivals in Portland.
“You try and prepare all the same all the time, but you know it’s Portland,” Schmid said Saturday, after his team trained at Jeld-Wen Field. “There’s going to be a lot more concentration and emotion in the game, which makes the game more difficult to play. But I think this is great. This is not something that we have as an everyday occurrence in MLS, and I think this is great for the league.”
A sellout crowd of around 19,000 is expected to squeeze into the renovated stadium – including a special section of 500 seats made available for Sounders supporters.
The Sounders have played in front of larger crowds on the road before, but probably none as passionate.
The Sounders players said they hope to turn that in their favor.
“It’s going to be a lot of energy in the stadium,” said Seattle’s Nate Jaqua, a native of Eugene, Ore. “It’s a pretty compact stadium where they’re kind of right on top of you. I think we’re going to have quite a few fans down there as well. But any time that you play in front of that many people, it gives you energy. We’re looking to feed off that energy and look forward to the game.”
There was similar passion and even more fans May 14 when the clubs renewed their rivalry in Seattle. However, what played out was a sloppy 1-1 draw in equally sloppy weather.
Weather isn’t expected to be a problem today. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-70s for the 1 p.m. kickoff.
However, that is no guarantee of a better game.
For one thing, the Timbers aren’t playing as well as they did when they showed up in Seattle with a 4-3-1 record. Since then they have gone 1-5-1.
“What happened was we got on a good run, then with having young players and players who aren’t used to the league, you think that the run’s never going to end,” Portland coach John Spencer said. “… Then you face a couple of bad results or results that go against you, and all of a sudden it tests your character. This is what the learning curve in professional sports is all about: You can’t always be on good runs, and in the face of adversity you see the true strength of character and the true sense of individuals. We’re going to see this weekend a real true test of character for our guys.”
Beyond that, the added emotion of rivalry games sometimes end up subtracting from the quality of play.
“You think of the fans and what it means to them,” said Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who attended the University of Portland. “So, do I take that extra touch and risk getting stripped, or do I just smash it up the field because I’m not going to be the one that makes the mistake in the big rivalry? … Yeah, it happens, and we’ve all made mistakes in big games if you play long enough. But at the same time, maybe you’re just trying to minimize that a little bit.”
Schmid said he hopes for a good show because the game is getting prime exposure on a Sunday of soccer on ESPN, following the U.S. women’s national team World Cup match against Brazil.
“I’m just happy for soccer in the U.S. and for the league,” he said. “If the rivalry means more people are going to turn on the TV and watch a game, that’s the key. I wish the U.S. women’s team a lot of luck in the game that’s on before ours. And I hope people stay with it and watch this game and get a feel for what an MLS experience is like.”
SOUNDERS FC (8-4-8, 32 POINTS) AT PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-8-3, 18 POINTS)
NOTES: Portland is 5-3-1 at home, but 0-3-1 over its past four home games. However, the Timbers are second in MLS with 16 goals in nine home games. … Seattle is 3-2-5 on the road and hasn’t allowed a goal on the road in 273 minutes. … Portland has scored eight goals on free kicks, Seattle only two. … The Timbers have committed the fewest fouls in MLS. Seattle has committed the third most. … Cooper hasn’t scored a goal since April. He was out of the starting 11 for the first time in the club’s last match against Kansas City. … Coaches Sigi Schmid and John Spencer exchanged barbs through the media after the first meeting in May, however, they have been complimentary of each other this week. … The Timbers lost a 1-0 friendly to Mexico’s Club America on Thursday, but Spencer said his club is fresh and that match should be irrelevant today. … The Sounders will wear their alternate yellow kits to avoid conflict with the Timbers’ home green. … This is Seattle’s third match in the round-robin Cascadia Cup competition with Portland and Vancouver. The Sounders are 0-0-2 so far. … The referee is Jorge Gonzalez.
QUOTABLE: “We’re not going to sit back and only look to counter. We’re going to play our game. It’s served us well. I think the team is confident when they step on the field on the road, and I think they are excited for this road game, just because of the crowd and the atmosphere that’s going to be there.” – Schmid
9. Seattle, Portland renew rivalry at JELD-WEN
The Sports Network—July 9, 2011
An intense atmosphere is expected at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday when Seattle Sounders FC meets the Portland Timbers in another installment of the Cascadia Cup.
The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in Seattle the first time around, but the two sides are headed in opposite directions ahead of this showdown.
Seattle has put together a seven-game unbeaten streak, including a 2-0-3 mark away from home, while Portland has claimed only one point from its last six games and has seen its once formidable form at home disappear.
The latest result for the Sounders was a 0-0 draw against the Galaxy in Los Angeles on Monday, but Sigi Schmid's team claimed wins in its previous three games, and Schmid believes that success on the road is down to a certain mentality.
"It's been a good run and our mentality has always been the same," Schmid said. "The way I've always approached the road with this team and with every other team I've coached in MLS is that we are going to try and play the same way we play at home. It's served us well. I think the team's confident when they step on the field on the road and I think they're excited for this road game."
This road game will be unlike any other Seattle has experienced this season with a passionate crowd expected to fill Jeld-Wen in an effort to help their struggling side.
After starting the season with wins in its first five home games, Portland is 0-3-1 in its last four matches in front of the home crowd, and coach John Spencer thinks his team needs to rediscover its confidence to turn things around.
"We're lacking a lot of confidence right now," Spencer said. "When you get out of the gates like we did at home, going five (games) unbeaten, I think guys get the feeling that we could go unbeaten at home all season and they're young. Experience-wise we've got a lot to learn. We've got tremendous young players, if you look at the top young players in the league right now, it took them a while to get where they're at right now."
Based on form, Seattle should have no trouble extending its unbeaten streak against a struggling Portland side.
But this is no ordinary game. It is one that Timbers fans have no doubt had circled for a while and they will be sure to make their presence felt on Sunday.
10. Seattle put strong road record on the line at JELD-WEN
Sounders hope to capitalize at home ground of struggling Portland
By Andrew Winner
MLSsoccer.com—July 8, 2011
TUKWILA, Wash. — After losing to a struggling D.C. United at RFK Stadium on May 4, the Seattle Sounders pledged to themselves that they would not take a team for granted on the road again.
Since that 2-1 loss in Washington, the Sounders are unbeaten on the road. They’ll hope to keep that momentum going Sunday at Portland’s JELD-WEN Field (4 pm ET, ESPN), which is expecting a noisy crowd of almost 19,000 fans.
“It’s something we’re familiar with,” said left back Tyson Wahl of the environment at JELD-WEN. “Obviously we play in front of a loud crowd ourselves and play in an enthusiastic environment. We’re looking forward to it.”
Since 2009, when he took over at the helm, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid has stressed a keep-it-simple approach to playing on the road. He said Thursday that he always instructs his team to play the same style home or away, resisting the temptation to change formations or bunker in on the road.
While he conceded that the team’s record in his first year wasn’t great, they have certainly made progress. In their past five away matches, the Sounders’ 2-0-3 record includes draws at Columbus and the LA Galaxy and a win at Real Salt Lake. On the season, Seattle boast a laudable 3-2-5 record away from home — equal to Vancouver’s points total of 14.
In Portland, Seattle face a team that’s seen a formidable home advantage slip away in recent weeks. After starting the season with five consecutive wins at home, the Timbers have only managed to grab one point from the past four matches (0-3-1) at JELD-WEN.
Asked for an explanation on Portland’s struggles, Schmid drew a parallel to Seattle’s first season.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm [and] a lot of adrenaline going through everyone's veins so [they got] off to a really ambitious start,” Schmid said. “Then reality sets in and the day-to-day grind sets in and things change a little bit. That happened to us as well.”
John Spencer’s Portland side hasn’t won since May 21, but defender Jeff Parke says that won’t matter come Sunday.
“They’re going to say it’s the most important game of the season,” Parke said. “As of right now, it’s the most important game of the season for us because of the standings. We need the three points.”
11. New D.C. midfielder Dwayne De Rosario scores the winning goal against his former team
By Steven Goff
The Washington Post—July 9, 2011
HARRISON, N.J. – Dwayne De Rosario performed his signature goal-scoring strut Saturday, jerking forward and back as teammates converged in celebration. D.C. United had witnessed this dance untold times the past 10 years, victimized by the Canadian midfielder’s genius.
On this perfect summer evening, however, United joined the fun. Twelve days after being shipped to Washington, De Rosario victimized his former club with a 61st-minute goal to lift United to a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls.
“You just want to do what you can to show what they gave up, but in the same sense, that is the business and I’m moving forward now,” said De Rosario, who had an assist in his D.C. debut last week.
United (5-5-7) ended a five-game winless streak and improved to 2-0-2 in its past four away matches. It became the first team in three months to hold the Red Bulls (6-4-10) without a goal and the first to blank New York this season at Red Bull Arena.
Three days after New York slammed Toronto, 5-0, United conceded few quality scoring opportunities and, in a reversal of recent form, showed its nerve in the chaotic final minutes. In its two previous matches, D.C. allowed late goals and settled for unsatisfying draws at home.
“Winning a 1-0 game for us right now is important because we’ve had some leads that we squandered,” Coach Ben Olsen said. “We worked all week on how we play when we are up a goal. It doesn’t mean we just sit back and defend. We need to play. We need to keep the ball. We need to still dictate the game and go for the next goal.”
The meeting — in front of 22,200 spectators, including 300 United supporters — carried additional significance for De Rosario and New York’s Dax McCarty, who swapped teams in the blockbuster trade.
“The way [De Rosario] dictated that game was pretty impressive,” Olsen said, “and that’s the reason why he’s one of the best this league has ever seen.”
Through the first half, United was on even terms, and as the match unfolded, gained the advantage in quality possession. It maintained firm defensive composure against MLS’s highest-scoring attack (34 goals, 20 in the first half) but let promising chances go to waste because of a heavy touch, wayward final pass and New York heroics.
United’s best chance of the half came in the closing moments. Chris Pontius’s through ball linked with Charlie Davies in stride. The swift forward gained a step on Tim Ream and touched the ball past charging goalkeeper Greg Sutton before snapping an angled bid on target. Ream, however, raced back in time for a sliding clearance at the near post.
The Red Bulls crackled after the break, quickening their play and applying higher pressure. D.C. keeper Bill Hamid made a diving save on Thierry Henry’s effort, and knocked away a deflection an instant before Luke Rodgers’s arrived.
United was under siege, but in an instant, the match turned. A step from the sideline, Andy Najar aimed to link with De Rosario, who let the ball slide to Josh Wolff. De Rosario shed McCarty’s mark and continued his run into the penalty area. Wolff supplied him.
De Rosario exploited a channel between two defenders, brought the ball down with his right foot and snapped a 12-yard, left-footed drive that struck the inside of the far post before crossing the goal line.
“I tend to think I am a fairly aggressive player, but DeRo is probably about as aggressive of a player as I’ve seen out there,” Wolff said. “He goes flying forward with good ideas and good reasons.”
Late stages of recent matches had been United’s undoing, but on this night, the club’s patience with the ball forced the Red Bulls to chase the game. And in the waning moments, United survived a dangerous free kick and a corner kick.
“This is a huge win for us,” center back Brandon McDonald said. “It was a big test for us and we overcame it.”
United notes: Rookie forward Blake Brettschneider has a concussion after being kicked in the head shortly after entering in the 87th minute. He remained in the game but needed assistance when it ended.
Despite the loss, the Red Bulls claimed the annual Atlantic Cup (head-to-head results with United) on goal difference (4-1).
12. Dwayne De Rosario carries D.C. United over Red Bulls, 1-0, beating former team with late goal
By Frank Giase
The Star-Ledger—July 9, 2011
One of the reasons the Red Bulls traded for All-Star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario this season was his ability to take over a game, to turn a nothing play into a goal and to turn a loss or a tie into a victory.
Tonight, that’s just what he did.
The problem was it came three games too late.
Traded by the Red Bulls to D.C. United on June 27 for midfielder Dax McCarty, De Rosario had little impact on the game until he conjured up a goal in the 61st minute to hand his former club a 1-0 defeat before 22,200 at Red Bull Arena.
“It’s never easy when you come back too quick to a team you played for,” De Rosario said. “Scoring against them felt great. It’s not easy when you transition, but everything worked out. Getting (traded) last week and playing them the week after. Everything works out the way it does for a reason.
“You just want to do what you can to show what they gave up, but that is the business and that is how things are done in this league. I’m moving forward now.”
On the goal, D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar had the ball on the right and delivered a short pass to De Rosario, who slipped a pass to Josh Wolff toward the center of the field. De Rosario kept his run going, pushing past McCarty and cutting inside defender Roy Miller, and Wolff led him perfectly with a pass in the right side of the box.
Facing a tough angle, De Rosario pinged a shot off the left post that caromed toward the opposite post and landed just inside the right-side netting for his fourth goal of the season as D.C. United (5-5-7) won for the first time since May 29.
The victory by D.C. United also avenged a 4-0 loss to the Red Bulls on April 21 in Washington.
The Red Bulls (6-4-10) did not come out with the same energy that overwhelmed Toronto FC on Wednesday night.
D.C. United coach Ben Olsen has only coached De Rosario two games, but already sees the difference in his team.
“The way he dictated that game was pretty impressive, and it’s the reason why he’s one of the best this league has ever seen,” Olsen said.
Red Bulls defender Tim Ream only played with De Rosario for three months, but he knew his team had to keep track of De Rosario the entire game. They just didn’t.
“Whenever guys get traded away from certain teams they always come out with something to prove, a little revenge factor,” Ream said.
“He’s De Ro. He shows up, he’s a player and he put a good goal in.”
Thierry Henry, who traded shirts with De Rosario after the match, was not happy the Red Bulls went from winning 5-0 Wednesday to getting shut out three days later.
“You can be a man and turn and get your own ball and run, like I was doing,” Henry said. “Some people should have been more involved in that.”
13. De Rosario gets last laugh as Red Bulls fall to D.C. United
By Andy Vasquez
Bergen Record—July 10, 2011
HARRISON — Less than two weeks after being traded from the Red Bulls to D.C. United, Dwayne De Rosario was back at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night. And he was looking to make a point against his former team.
“It’s never easy when you come back to a team you used to play for,” De Rosario said. “You just want to do what you can to show them what they gave up.”
De Rosario certainly showed the Red Bulls, scoring the only goal as D.C. United beat New York, 1-0, in front of 22,200.
After the game, De Rosario said that he and the Red Bulls “never got around” to negotiating a new salary before he was traded to D.C. for midfielder Dax McCarty on June 27.
“To score against them felt great,” De Rosario said. “But to win, that’s the most important thing. … The three points is the most important thing.”
Despite the loss, the Red Bulls clinched the Atlantic Cup, the teams’ rivalry prize, on goal differential.
But, once again, the Red Bulls (6-4-10) were unable to build momentum in their season after a convincing win over Toronto on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t bother me that much that [De Rosario] scored,” Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. “It’s the way we defend. It’s not good enough.”
The Red Bulls controlled the run of play in the first half and kept it going through the first 15 minutes of the second half. But United struck first.
In the 61st minute, D.C. United captain Josh Wolff threaded a pass to De Rosario at the top of the box. From there, De Rosario got into the middle and scored off the far post.
With that, he became the first player in MLS history to score for three teams in one season – D.C. United, the Red Bulls and Toronto FC.
After the goal, which stunned the vocal crowd, the Red Bulls struggled to gain any real momentum until after the 75th minute.
In the 77th minute, McCarty sent a free kick of about 45 yards toward Juan Agudelo near the far post, but the ball sailed high.
In the 81st minute, McCarty forced a D.C. United giveaway and charged down the middle of the field, but his shot from about 25 yards missed the mark badly.
In the final moments of stoppage time, the Red Bulls got two consecutive scoring chances on a free kick and a corner kick, but couldn’t direct a shot on net.
“You shouldn’t lose games like this,” Backe said. “We had three, four, five chances to score. … I’m very disappointed.”
14. De Rosario's goal lifts DC United past Red Bulls
The Associated Press—July 9, 2011
HARRISON, N.J.-- Dwayne De Rosario had a memorable return to Red Bull Arena.
De Rosario, playing against his former team for the first time since beaing traded on June 27, scored in the 61st minute to lift D.C. United to a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night.
De Rosario juked past Roy Miller before slamming a left-footed shot from the box past goalkeeper Greg Sutton. It was De Rosario's fourth goal of the season and his first in two games since the trade.
"It's never easy to come back to a team you played for. Scoring against them felt great," De Rosario said before admitting he was looking forward to the match. "For sure. 100 percent. You just want to do what you can to show what they gave up."
De Rosario went on to say he had spoken with Red Bulls management regarding a new contract before he left to play for Canada in the Gold Cup last month. He returned to New York after Canada was eliminated from the tournament on June 14. When asked if he had spoken to United about a deal, he professed that he just wanted "to play."
Bill Hamid had four saves for United (5-5-7), which was 1-1-6 in its previous eight games.
"What we've been striving to do is stay compact. We did a good job today," Hamid said. "The chemistry is there. You can see it. We came today to play."
Sutton finished with two saves for the Red Bulls (6-4-10), who had won four of their last five.
The Red Bulls had a clear ball possession advantage in the opening minutes, but were unable to create high-quality scoring chances. Despite having outshot United 9-5 in the first half, it was D.C. that had the best scoring chance. Charlie Davies sprinted past a sliding Sutton in the 44th minute but had his scoring chance nullified by a spectacular diving deflection by Tim Ream.
"We looked a little fatigued," Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. "No excuses. We shouldn't have any problem to play Wednesday-Saturday as a professional."
United players noted that they had observed New York's mounting frustration as the match progressed.
"We kept the ball today. We played really well. They really weren't dangerous," Davies said. "Of course they were going to be frustrated."
Davies and New York's Roy Miller each were assessed yellow cards for an incident the 85th minute. Davies shoved Miller towards the bench after the ball went out of play. Miller turned around and shoved Davies before being restrained by an official and United midfielder Fred.
"Just soccer. It's the game," Davies said.
15. De Rosario burns former team
By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.com—July 9, 2011
Dwayne De Rosario returned and DC United conquered. In his first game against his old team, De Rosario provided the moment of class, while United’s defense showed its resolve in a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls.
In the 61st minute Andy Najar, despite slipping on the right flank, was able to find De Rosario in space. De Rosario stepped over the ball in a “dummy” move and allowed Josh Wolff to slot a pass into the penalty area. De Rosario ran on to Wolff’s pass and slammed it home with his left foot.
De Rosario’s finish from 16-yards out was his first goal for the Black and Red and also made history. Before being acquired by United from the Red Bulls in exchange for Dax MCarty, De Rosario started the season with Toronto FC. De Rosario is now the first player in MLS history to score for three different teams in one season.
“I don't bother that much that he scored the goal, that's pretty normal every time you play one of your former players,” Red Bulls’ head coach Hans Backe said of De Rosario’s goal.
“That's not that surprising, it’s more the way we defended when they scored the goal was, as I said, it's not good enough.”
Despite the loss, the Red Bulls were able to claim the Atlantic Cup, the regular season competition between the teams, on the strength of their 4-0 win over United in April at R.F. K. Stadium. Still for United it was their most impressive win of the season given the circumstances and quality of the competition.
Before De Rosario broke through, the Red Bulls threatened at the start of the second-half. In the 49th minute Thierry Henry intercepted a Daniel Woolard back pass and forced United’ goalkeeper Bill Hamid to make save on a shot from distance.
Four minutes later Hamid was challenged again. A shot by the Red Bulls Mehdi Ballouchy was deflected and ricocheted near the six-yard box. Hamid was quick off his line and prevented Luke Rodgers from pouncing on the loose ball.
United’s other new acquisition Brandon McDonald proved his value on several occasions. The central defender obtained in a deal with the San Jose Earthquakes, blocked consecutive shots by Henry and Joel Lindpere in the 57th minute to keep the game scoreless.
McDonald, a wise sage at 25 years old on this young United’ backline, was a vocal presence in helping to keep United organized. 20-year old Ethan White was not shy about challenging Henry, while Perry Kitchen and Woolard were stabilizing forces.
United came close to opening the scoring in the 43rd minute when Charlie Davis slipped behind the Red Bulls’ defense and on to perfectly placed through ball from Chris Pontius. Davies was able to get around Red Bulls’ goalkeeper Greg Sutton, but defender Tim Ream prevented Davies’ shot from going into the open net.
To help close the game United’ head Coach Ben Olsen made three second-half substitutions, but did not change the team’s shape. Joseph Ngwnenya and Blake Brettschneider replaced Wolff and Davies. Pontius was replaced by Fred.
“We worked all week on how we play when we're up a goal,” Olsen said. “That doesn't mean we just sit back and defend. We need to play, we need to keep the ball, we need to still dictate the game and go for the next goal and I think that was a big difference in our mentality once we got the goal.”
16. Dwayne De Rosario's strut-celebration signals a loss for New York
Dwayne De Rosario quickly bit the hand that used to feed with his winning strike giving heated rival D.C. United an impressive road win.
By Avery Raimondo
Goal.com—July 10, 2011
HARRISON, N.J. – Red Bull fans only once, in a shock defeat to Chivas USA, saw Dwayne De Rosario’s trademark celebration at home – the slow creep away from goal, the jolting knees, and shimmying shoulders – during the Canadian’s brief tenure with New York. Apparently, the dance is a harbinger of a loss when New York hosts, as an outstanding strike from its former playmaker was the lone tally in an otherwise mundane match when D.C. United won 1-0 Saturday.
The rivalry between D.C. United and the Red Bulls has traditionally been one of the most ferocious in MLS. The tremendous attendance of the Pacific Northwest doesn't apply to these East Coast bouts, but goals, rough challenges, and currents of drama and animosity have been the Atlantic Cup’s usual fare, even when the tilts took place in the cavernous Giants Stadium, a soccer black hole. Saturday, a resilient D.C met a lethargic New York. The result: a tiresome 90 minutes with one phenomenal sequence spearheaded by De Rosario.
In a fleeting moment, De Rosario spun the match on its head. Andy Najar collected a pass on the right flank and played a ball to D.C.’s newest recruit, who dummied Dax McCarthy, the player sent north in the De Rosario trade. The ball landed at the feet of Josh Wolff who one-timed a return to De Rosario. The Candian controlled the pass before unleashing a powerful left-footed volley that pinged off the far post and back across into the side netting. The instance was so quick that neither Tim Ream and Greg Sutton could really detail what happened.
De Rosario had no problem going at his former team as he looked more dominant and controlling in D.C.’s attack. The audacious attacker who had starred in San Jose, Houston, and Toronto illustrated the player whom Hans Backe was expecting when the Red Bulls acquired De Rosario at the start of the season.
“It’s never easy when you come back so quick to a team you played for,” said De Rosario about his return, clearly enjoying the occasion. “Scoring against them felt great. It helped my team to win, that’s the most important thing.”
Backe, when asked about the performance of De Rosario, responded, “I don’t bother that much that he scored the goal, that’s pretty normal every time you play your own former players. That’s not that surprising.”
De Rosario conjured his goal when the Red Bulls had finally started to gain some traction in the previously murky evening. The team that demolished Toronto FC 5-0 midweek entered Saturday appearing fatigued. But when New York started to gain some rhythm, coming out stronger for start of the second half, De Rosario halted any momentum, scoring in the 60th minute.
Backe rebuffed tiredness as a reason behind the defeat, stating that there were “no excuses” for the Red Bulls’ performances.
“Normally we shouldn’t have any problem to play Wednesday-Saturday as a professional,” said the Swede. “These types of games should end nil-nil. When you don’t have your best day, you should be so good that you defend well enough and get the tie. But you shouldn’t lose the game.”
New York, tempered by the resolute defending of D.C., couldn’t muster an equalizer. Thierry Henry was immediately swarmed whenever he found some space in the middle of the park and the introduction of Juan Agudelo couldn’t ignite the Red Bull attack. Bill Hamid impressively controlled his penalty area, collecting set pieces, and properly positioning his back-line.
Despite his heroics, De Rosario pinned the victory on the men behind him.
“To stop them defensively was huge for us and I think when we look at these guys and say, listen, we stopped some world class players tonight,” said the goal-scorer. “To come in here and come out with a clean sheet, like I said, hats off to the guys, that’s hard.”
17. Sporting KC preserves unbeaten streak with 1-1 draw vs. Chivas USA
By Terez A. Paylor
The Kansas City Star—July 9, 2011
For most of its 1-1 draw against Chivas USA on Saturday, it appeared there would be no hero for Sporting Kansas City, no one to save it from a disappointing loss that would end its nine-game unbeaten streak.
Peter Vermes’ team had started out flat for the second time in four days, once again falling behind at home in the first half due to tired legs, tired minds or perhaps both. The second half was equally frustrating, thanks to the otherworldly play of goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, a man Sporting simply could not seem to solve.
But if there’s one thing that has become increasingly clear during Sporting’s recent transformation from also-ran to playoff contender, it’s this: there’s not much quit in this team. They didn’t after a 1-6-1 start to the season, and they certainly didn’t on Saturday, when it took an extra time goal — one strangely reminiscent of a Hail Mary in football — to keep Major League Soccer’s second-longest unbeaten streak alive.
Not that Vermes is complaining, of course.
“You never want to give up the first goal,” said Vermes, whose team has done exactly that in its last two games. “But we’re alive and well.
Indeed. Sporting improved to 5-6-7 with the draw after entering the game in sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference, which meant that if the playoffs started yesterday, Sporting — one of the hottest teams in MLS — would be in.
“I feel like we’re starting to come into our own as a team,” Vermes said.
And while it was forward Omar Bravo who notched the thrilling-yet-improbable equalizer in the 93rd minute against Chivas, you could argue that three other players — defender Matt Besler, midfielder Kei Kamara and forward C.J. Sapong — played the role of your favorite superhero on Saturday.
Start with Besler, who began it all by gaining possession of the ball on Sporting’s half of the field and deciding to launch a longball down the middle after spotting three of his tallest teammates — Kamara (6-foot-3), Birahim Diop (6-foot-3) and C.J. Sapong (6-foot-2) posting up downfield.
“Those guys aren’t bad targets,” Besler said with a laugh. “I felt like a quarterback out there a little bit.”
It continued with the springy Sapong, who leaped high in the air to flick it toward the right side of the goal, were Kamara — who said the moment was like a blur — headed it toward the far post and right at Bravo, who finally sent the announced crowd of 18,467 into a frenzy by heading the ball from six yards out.
“We like to suffer,” Bravo joked later. “But in the end, the goal went in.”
Bravo followed by saying how important it was to continue the unbeaten streak, though there’s a lot of things they can get better at — like these slow starts of late. Sporting also had to rally back from a first-half deficit in its 1-1 home draw against Colorado on Wednesday.
“There’s no excuse for that, really, at home,” Besler said. “We were just a step too late to pretty much everything in the first half.”
That includes Chivas’ lone goal Saturday, which came in the 30th minute when forward Justin Braun sent a perfect through ball to midfielder Nick LaBrocca, who chipped it past Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to give Chivas a 1-0 lead.
“I thought the goal was pretty soft on our part,” said Vermes, who added that his team simply gave the Chivas’ players too much room to work with early on.
The second half was a different story, however, as Sporting outshot Chivas 10-3 only to be turned away on a number of occasions by Kennedy, who made several sprawling stops and racked up five saves in the half. But even a red-hot goalkeeper couldn’t save a red-hot team’s last shot, a perfect header by Bravo that redeemed a rather miserable first half of soccer by the home team.
“Out of the last 11 games we’ve played…it was probably the worst half of soccer I’ve seen them play,” Vermes said. “Unfortunately, sometimes that’s going to happen…but the question is how do you react in the second half? And I thought just like (the game game), our reaction was excellent.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY NOTEBOOK
Former University of Michigan forward Soony Saad finally got a chance to see his new home stadium on Saturday.
And like many, the 18-year old striker came away impressed with the $200 million Livestrong Sporting Park.
“This whole place, it’s amazing,” said Saad, who was awarded to Sporting Kansas City in a special lottery held earlier this week. “I went into the locker room, and that in itself is mind-boggling.”
Saad, who arrived in Kansas City early Friday, led the nation in scoring at Michigan and set a school-record with 19 goals during the 2009-2010 season. He left school to train in Europe and decided to sign with MLS last week, after which he was placed in the lottery — the mechanism by which the league assigns players signed under special circumstances after its annual SuperDraft in January.
Saad reiterated Saturday that as a Midwesterner — he grew up in Michigan — he was particularly happy to be taken by Kansas City.
“This is definitely the best environment for me,” Saad said. “I want to be pushed everyday, and I know I will be here. As long as I’m playing and training everyday, I’m fine.”
Sporting KC captain Davy Arnaud was also in attendance for Saturday’s game. Arnaud, the club’s longest-tenured player, underwent hernia surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles and is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks, but seemed to be in good spirits.
“I feel good, I’m glad I got (the surgery) done,” Arnaud said. “Now I’m starting the recovery process. I’m still sore, but I’m feeling better every day since the surgery.”
Kei Kamara, the team’s leading scorer in 2010, came in as a substitute for midfielder Milos Stojcev in the 38th minute. Kamara has seen his playing time diminish this season with the emergence of Graham Zusi and the offseason addition of designated player Omar Bravo.
“From the way were playing, I felt like from an athletic perspective, Kei could give us a major mismatch over there. And I think he was. From the time he came in there, he gave us a spark. He changed the game a little bit.”
Zusi was replaced in the 80th minute by Birahim Diop after tweaking his ankle. Vermes said its unlikely Zusi will play in the team’s U.S. Open Cup game on Tuesday.
18. Chivas USA gives up late goal in 1-1 draw at Kansas City
Omar Bravo connects on a header in stoppage time to deny Chivas the victory and keep Sporting Kansas City's unbeaten streak intact at 10 games.
The Associated Press--July 10, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Omar Bravo scored on a header in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, lifting Sporting Kansas City to a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on Saturday night.
Kansas City (5-6-7) extended its unbeaten streak to 4-0-6 since a loss at Seattle on May 21.
Nick LaBrocca gave Chivas (5-7-7) the lead in the 30th minute when he split the defense, took a through ball from Justin Braun and slotted a low shot past Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen into the lower left corner. It was LaBrocca's third goal in three games.
Bravo's equalizer, off a deflection by teammate Kei Kamara, capped a furious second half of offensive pressure for Kansas City, which improved to 2-0-3 at Sporting Livestrong Park.
Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made six saves, including a diving deflection of Bravo's header in the 87th minute, and appeared headed for his second straight shutout. However, Bravo, who has scored three of his four goals this season against Chivas, forced the draw with a leaping header from just outside the 6-yard box.
19. Late Bravo goal rescues Sporting against Chivas
The Sports Network—July 9, 2011
Kansas City, KS - Sporting Kansas City stole a point from Chivas USA Saturday night, as a late goal from Omar Bravo earned a 1-1 draw for his side and preserved an impressive unbeaten streak that has now extended to ten games.
Chivas looked like the team most likely to draw first blood in the first half. A shot from Nick LaBrocca hit the crossbar in the 12th minute, and Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen tipped the rebound away to safety. Nielsen would not be so lucky later in the first half, and it was LaBrocca who would provide the opening goal.
In the 30th minute, LaBrocca ran onto a Justin Braun through ball and showed poise to slide his shot under Nielsen into the bottom left corner for his sixth goal of the season.
Chivas looked certain to take all three points, but Omar Bravo's injury time heroics salvaged a point for Sporting as the match ended with both teams tied at one goal apiece.
After a scramble in the box, Bravo headed home the game-tying goal from close range. It was the Mexican international's fourth goal of the season.
Sporting will aim to continue its good run of form when they travel to Robertson Stadium to face the Houston Dynamo on July 16th, while Chivas will host Red Bull New York at the Home Depot Center.
20. Goats can't hold on in K.C.
By Scott French
ESPNLosAngeles.com—July 9, 2011
Nick LaBrocca scored a momentous goal and Dan Kennedy made save after save as Chivas USA staved off repeated forays as it took aim Saturday on back-to-back victories for just the second time this season.
It fell apart in stoppage time, when a flicked-on long ball was volleyed onto Mexican star Omar Bravo's path, and his forceful header at the left post delivered to Sporting Kansas City a 1-1 draw with the visiting Goats at sold-out Livestrong Sporting Park.
It was a crushing finish for Chivas (5-7-7), which was overrun much of the second half but held on as Kennedy made several big second-half stops and commanded his area on dangerous crosses.
LaBrocca's goal, from a Justin Braun feed to finish a fine four-pass sequence in the 30th minute, was the 10,000th in MLS's 15½-year history -- and his team-best sixth of the season. The veteran midfielder has scored in each of the last three games as Chivas has followed a three-game losing streak with a three-game unbeaten streak.
Sporting (5-6-7), which held possession 63 percent of the match -- considerably more in the second half -- extended its unbeaten streak to 10 games by rallying from a deficit to win points for the third successive home game. With Bravo running riot on the left flank and So Cal boys Kei Kamara and Chance Myers teaming up on the right, K.C. created at least nine solid chances in the second half and were unfortunate not to put one away before Bravo's strike exactly two minutes into stoppage.
It came from a long ball by Matt Besler, deep in Sporting territory, that Birahim Diop headed from just above the box toward Kamara, who was lined up almost even with the right post.
Rookie defender Zarek Valentin was inside Kamara and got to the ball first, volleying it -- but it arced over toward the left post, and Bravo was in position to nod it sharply into the goal's ceiling.
A quick look at Chivas' draw:
BEST PLAYER: If you want to give this to Bravo, it's warranted. He was constantly a threat, with Graham Zusi provided the foundation for Sporting's second-half dominance, then netted a fine stoppage-time equalizer. He had the biggest impact on the match.
But let's offer praise to LaBrocca, whose performance especially the last month is worthy of All-Star Game history. (You listening, Hans Backe?) And Heath Pearce, who worked tirelessly and efficiently to keep K.C. from making much out of its possession. (We think he should be at the All-Star Game, too.)
But best of all was Kennedy, who made a series of diving saves (on Myers and Besler in the 64th minute, Kamara in the 85th and Bravo in the 87th) and outbattled Aurelien Collin, and Diop for dangerous crosses into the goalmouth down the stretch.
BEST GOAL: LaBrocca scored another nice one, almost a duplicate of his win-clinching strike Wednesday against San Jose. Almost.
This one was the product of a quick four-pass sequence that began behind the midfield stripe, with Pearce playing forward to Blair Gavin, who quickly played ahead to Braun, whose diagonal ball toward the top of the box split four defenders and left LaBrocca one-on-one with Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
Braun's feed wasn't as deep as Francisco Mendoza's into the box Wednesday, and this time LaBrocca rolled the ball past the keeper and inside the left post. He went the other way against the Quakes.
BIGGEST STRUGGLE: The Goats couldn't keep up after halftime with the ex-Wizards, whose speed, athleticism and wing play repeatedly provided opportunities for direct play into Chivas' box. If not for Kennedy, K.C. might have scored three or four and won going away.
WORTH NOTING: Marcos Mondaini and Ben Zemanski returned to Chivas' starting lineup. ... Jorge Flores went to the bench after starting the past six and 15 of the past 16 games at the left midfield slot. He came on for Gavin midway through the second half. ... The draw pushed Chivas into fifth place in the Western Conference, even on points (but ahead on head-to-head results) with San Jose -- but the Earthquakes were playing Eastern Conference leader Philadelphia in a late game and would vault past the Goats with a tie or win. ... Chivas is 1-0-2 in its last three games in K.C. This was their first match at Livestrong Sporting Park, which opened last month.
FINAL JUDGMENT: “It was a hard fought game,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser said. “I thought that Kansas City gave us some problems in the first half, but we were able to adjust and create some chances. In the second half, I thought they came out with a lot of energy and really took it to us.
“I think it’s the first time all year we’ve had to change our formation because a team was giving us trouble, so hats off to them for playing so well. To be 60 seconds from getting out of here with three points, it’s extremely disappointing.”
21. Bravo answers SKC's Hail Mary in dramatic draw
Pesky Sporting striker equalizes late, extends team's unbeaten run to nine
By Andrew Wiebe
MLSsoccer.com—July 10, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — With the clock stuck on 90 minutes and Sporting Kansas City down a goal and moments away from seeing their nine-game unbeaten streak go up in smoke, Matt Besler took a glance up field and unleashed what amounted to a Hail Mary.
What happened next was the soccer equivalent of the tip drill.
Besler’s chip was sent on by C.J. Sapong, Kamara pressured Zarek Valentin into a scuffed clearance and Omar Bravo met the ball at the back post, sending a header past Dan Kennedy to give Sporting a last-second, 1-1 draw against Chivas USA.
“I looked up and I saw [Birahim] Diop, Kei [Kamara] and C.J. [Sapong],” Besler said. “Those aren’t too bad of targets. I felt like a quarterback out there a little bit.”
After spending most of the second half watching Kennedy stand on his head to keep Chivas in line for all three points, Bravo’s goal was exactly what Kansas City needed to keep the positive vibes flowing.
They didn’t earn three points and the first half was quite possibly the worst 45 minutes Sporting have played in two months, but the draw amounted to a psychological victory. For 92 minutes, it looked like they would suffer their first-ever defeat at Livestrong Sporting Park, but Sporting’s belief never wavered.
“The thing I think is most positive about this team is that we insist on scoring the goal and getting back in the game,” Bravo said. “We have a never-die attitude.”
That attitude was personified by Bravo’s dogged, and eventually successful, pursuit of the equalizer.
He had a penalty appeal waved off and couldn’t quite put together the final touch or run for most of the night, but he never stopped working. And when it mattered most, Bravo finally found himself in the right place at the right time and made no mistake with the finish.
“The one thing Omar does so much more special than any other player is he finishes runs off,” manager Peter Vermes said. “He may not get the first ball, he may not get the second one but he keeps going and somehow gets the third one because of his commitment to making those runs. His goal was extremely opportunistic.”
Bravo celebrated by making a beeline for the corner flag to deliver a flying karate kick before being mobbed by his teammates. And while the sellout crowd celebrated along with him, Vermes, who wears his emotions on his sleeve on the touchline, let out a little frustration of his own.
“It’s exciting when you see your team fight through adversity over 90 minutes and somehow get themselves back into the game,” he said. “It’s not just the point, but you win a lot of other things within that. It’s a psychological game that you win. And that’s an important thing.”
Most importantly, Sporting fought back from another early deficit, earned an important point and pushed their unbeaten streak in league play to 10 games, putting an exclamation point on a night that was minutes from ending in disappointment.
“It appears we like to suffer,” Bravo said. "But, in the end, the goal went in.”
22. Dynamo knock off Toronto FC
Cruz, Cameron find net as club gets right at home
By Jose de Jesus Ortiz
Houston Chronicle--July 10, 2011
Facing a Toronto FC club that finished the match without one shot on goal, the Dynamo were admittedly annoyed as they entered halftime scoreless.
Noticing his club’s frustrations, Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear encouraged his players to pick up the pace and stick with the game plan in the second half.
That’s exactly what Brian Ching, Danny Cruz, Geoff Cameron and the rest of the Dynamo did Saturday night, and it paid off with a 2-0 victory before a crowd of 19,085 at Robertson Stadium.
“At halftime I think we were a little frustrated because we did have some good looks in front of goal,” Kinnear said. “I just talked about, ‘Hey just keep doing the things we’re doing, just a little bit quicker because they were trying to sit in.’ ”
Off a give-and-go with Ching, Cruz scored his first goal of the season to give the Dynamo the lead five minutes into the second half. Cameron added his third goal of the season, helping the Dynamo win for the first time since June 11.
Protecting their house
Adamant about improving their play at home as they began a span of three of four regular-season games at Robertson Stadium, the Dynamo took the lead for good on Cruz’s goal in the 50th minute.
With Toronto’s Ty Harden closely marking Ching, Cruz fed the veteran forward a pass a few feet into the attacking half. Ching received the ball and held it long enough for Cruz to sprint past him.
Then with Harden on his back, Ching poked the ball back perfectly to catch Cruz in stride for a breakaway. Cruz took care of the rest to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead.
“Just a sigh of relief,” Cruz said. “It was huge to finally get a goal, and (the win) was a big three points for the club.”
Ching, who’s missed most of the season because of multiple injuries, has started three consecutive games. Not coincidentally, the Dynamo were unbeaten in those three, going 1-0-2.
“We’ve missed him,” Kinnear said of Ching. “He’s an important player for us, not just the goals but the way he leads the line and holds the ball up.”
Toronto, which lost 5-0 to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night, finally collapsed in the final 10 minutes. The Dynamo had a pair of scoring threats in the 80th minute, but Stefan Frei made a pair of saves.
Insurance comes late
Frei’s first save denied rookie Will Bruin a breakaway goal. A trailing Colin Clark got the rebound and tested Frei with a rocket that Frei parried over the crossbar.
Frei’s good fortune ran out in the 81st minute. After Frei blocked his shot, Clark sent the subsequent corner kick to Andre Hainault, who flicked the ball back across the 18-yard box. Bruin then attempted a shot that hit off Harden’s arm. Cameron got the rebound and powered a shot past Frei to give the Dynamo a 2-0 lead.
With the victory, the Dynamo (5-6-8, 23 points) moved ahead of Sporting Kansas City, which they’ll play Saturday at Robertson, for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They also jumped over Chivas USA for ninth place in the overall league table, which would put them in playoff contention with 15 games to go. The top three teams in each conference and the four remaining with the top records will form the 10-team playoff field this season.
“We’ve had a few ties that we thought we should have won,” Cameron said. “Then obviously taking care of the games at home, getting three points here is what you need to do. We got a few more games here. We got to take care of business here, and then hopefully try to find some results on the road.”
23. TFC's defence improves, but not enough in loss
By Ryan Wolstat
Toronto Sun—July 9, 2011
TORONTO - The effort was better, but the result the same for Toronto FC.
Another road loss, this time 2-0 at the hands of the Houston Dynamo.
It was an improved defensive performance for the Reds compared to Wednesday’s error-filled 5-0 loss to New York, but the team’s offence was missing in action once more, failing to score for the sixth time in the past 10 league games.
Unfortunately for TFC, when the team’s defence most resembled its New York version, the ball ended up behind Stefan Frei.
After Alan Gordon appeared to be fouled just outside of the box in the 50th minute, Gordon’s teammates fell asleep when the official said play on, allowing the Dynamo to march the other way before an unchallenged Danny Cruz fired in a shot that Frei got a piece of.
Later, pressing for an equalizer, TFC’s defence rested again, forcing Frei to make a pair of spectacular saves before Jeff Cameron — wide open of course — fired in the dagger.
Toronto, with just one win and five ties to show for its past 12 matches, dropped to 3-8-9.
The starting lineup was a major surprise as head coach Aron Winter declined to change his back four despite Wednesday’s disaster. A stronger and smarter commitment to defence made things work this time for the group, though Houston had some quality chances it failed to capitalize on.
Chief among them was the best chance of the first half, one that saw a wide open Brad Davis fire the ball over Frei and the goal.
Toronto made some good runs, but failed to get balls in to challenge Dynamo keeper Tally Hall. Houston was the better side, but certainly not by as much as the 65%-35% first-half possession stats indicated.
Houston’s dominance was more apparent in the second half, when only Frei prevented the match from turning into a blowout.
How frustrating it must be for the squad’s top player to be hung out to dry almost every evening.
Substitute Nick Soolsma was the only dangerous offensive player for the Reds.
The only good news for Toronto, still winless away from BMO Field this season, were the returns of Gordon and Jacob Peterson.
Gordon missed four games due to his latest injury and the club has been far more competitive with the big target man in its lineup than without.
The rugged Gordon was not given any leeway by the officials, especially when battling Canadian international Andre Hainault.
Julian de Guzman and Nana Attakora could not play due to injury and were missed.
The Reds now get 11 days to familiarize themselves with newcomers Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans, who will be eligible to make their MLS debuts on July 20th against Dallas.
The team will not have Richard Eckersley, who will be suspended for yellow card accumulation.
24. Toronto FC have no shots on net in 2-0 loss to Houston Dynamo
By Jeremy Rakes
The Canadian Press—July 9, 2011
HOUSTON - Toronto FC should have known it was going to be a long game when the singer for "O Canada" forgot some of the words to the anthem.
For a second straight game, Toronto was shut out and looked overmatched in a 2-0 loss to Houston Saturday night.
After giving up three second half goals to New York in a 5-0 loss Wednesday, Toronto gave up two second-half goals to the Dynamo (5-6-8, 23 points) in dropping their second straight and fourth in five games.
"We didn't play well," Toronto head coach Aron Winter said. "We went through the motions. We couldn't pass for five or ten minutes, and then we could. We tried and failed to get at least some points. … When the score was 1-0, you can try and force it. I don't think we could get it deep enough."
Winter said his team could have gotten four points or more against Houston and New York, but instead, head back to Toronto with no points and more reason to look forward to designated players Torsten Frings and Danny Kowevermans arrivals.
"We know we are rebuilding," Winter said. "We have two good players to lead us and take us to a higher level. Also, for the younger players. Still, you have to do it with the whole team, and they have to make a difference."
Houston, which is now in fourth in the Eastern Conference, didn't allow Toronto (3-9-9, 18 points) a shot on goal, while launching six shots on goal.
Toronto never created much of a threat against Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, who earned his second straight shutout.
"I would have liked to see more chances," Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei said. "I think we were building up decent at times, but it never resulted in a full on chance where we got a shot off and tested their goalkeeper. Then, we gave up two silly goals."
Houston's Danny Cruz took a give-and-go pass from Brian Ching near midfield on the right side, and Ching beat Ty Harden with the pass, while Cruz beat Danleigh Borman with his run. Cruz took the pass and raced into the box, nailing a shot from eight yards out on the right off Frei's right leg and inside the far post to make it 1-0 in the 50th minute.
Geoff Cameron upped the lead to 2-0 in the 81st minute off a corner kick as Will Bruin's pass was deflected by Harden to Cameron, who hit a line drive from the centre box past Frei.
Harden said Ching slipped the ball past him on the first goal, and the second on hit his right arm.
"There's not much to say," Harden said. "We're frustrated. There's not much else to say. You have to give some credit to them, but I think what we didn't do is more a part of (the loss)."
Toronto remains in the playoff hunt with 13 games remaining, but they are tied for seventh in the East and six points out of the final playoff spot with a goal differential of minus-19, the worst in the league.
"It's a team sport," Frei said. "We attack together, we defend together, we lose together, we win together. It's unfair to say our defence gives up seven goals (the last two games) because if we play defence for the whole game, we aren't going to crack.
"We need to play more up tempo and more in the opponent's half. What can we take positive from these two games? I guess you could say they're over. There is not much positive to take from these two games."
25. Houston extends Toronto's road woes
The Sports Network—July 9, 2011
Houston, TX - Danny Cruz and Geoff Cameron scored and Tally Hall posted a shutout without making a save, as the Houston Dynamo snapped a three-game winless run with a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday night.
Cruz opened the scoring five minutes after halftime at Robertson Stadium, and Cameron sealed the win - just the second for Houston in its last 12 matches in Major League Soccer - in the 81st minute.
Houston (5-6-8) has all five of its wins at home this season as it improved to 5-3-2 at Robertson. Toronto (3-9-9) remained winless on the road in 10 matches this season, and has just one win in its last 12 games overall.
Toronto and Houston combined for just one shot on goal, by Houston's Je-Vaughn Watson, in the first half as the match remained scoreless after 45 minutes.
The Dynamo opened up after half, and Will Bruin forced a save from TFC goalie Stefan Frei three minutes after the break.
Houston's first goal followed in the 50th minute, as Brian Ching put Cruz into the box and Cruz slipped a low shot past Frei to the lower-left corner for his first goal of the season.
Frei made two huge saves on back-to-back shots from Houston in the 80th, as he denied Bruin and Colin Clark, but the second chance produced a corner kick and the Dynamo added their second goal off the set piece.
Cameron latched onto a loose ball in the box after Toronto failed to clear and he scored to the bottom-left corner for his third goal of the season.
Toronto finished without a shot on goal, giving Hall the shutout, as it failed to score for the 10th time this season.
Houston will try to build on the victory July 16 when it hosts Sporting Kansas City. Toronto is off until July 20, when it hosts FC Dallas.
26. Dynamo snag "momentum" for midseason stretch
Home win over defensive Toronto gives Kinnear's improving side vital confidence
By Darrell Lovell
MLSsoccer.com—July 10, 2011
HOUSTON — The Houston Dynamo came into Saturday’s match against Toronto FC in search of momentum heading into the second half of the season.
After a 2-0 victory: Mission accomplished.
The Dynamo controlled the match from the first kick. They dominated possession and were up to the challenge defensively on those rare occasions that Toronto actually ventured out of their own half. It was the type of performance the Dynamo have spent two months searching out.
“[The win] gives us a lot of momentum,” said Danny Cruz, who struck his first goal of the season. “I think it’s a big swing. Anytime you get three points and have that confidence going into the next week it’s good.”
Next week, the Dynamo welcome streaking Sporting KC.
While the end result against Toronto was exactly what the Dynamo wanted, the team looked to be in for a tough night in the first half. Despite generating numerous chances, they could not find the solution in front of goal.
“At halftime I think we were frustrated because we had some good looks in front of goal,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We talked about doing the same thing but being a little quicker because they’re trying to sit in.”
Cruz’s goal unlocked the game, and an 81st-minute strike from Geoff Cameron sealed the three points.
“It’s always good to win at home,” Kinnear said. “We’ve won five out of 10 which is good and the goal is to always get three points. We leapfrogged a team and it puts us in a better spot. You can get some momentum and pass some teams if you put some wins together.”
The Dynamo entered Saturday’s match following two draws on the road. Getting the win at home was important, but as Kinnear said, the venue isn’t as important as the points.
“We could win this game in my backyard, and I’d be happy,” he said. “Everywhere we go, even on the road, we don’t try and sit in and soak up for a point.”
Added Corey Ashe: “[The win’s] huge but with that being said we still have a long way to go. We need to climb the ladder. We have some home games and we need to start capitalizing.”
27. Whitecaps dunked by Rapids in Colorado as MLS road woes continue
By Bruce Constantineau,
Vancouver Sun—July 9, 2011
The Vancouver Whitecaps fought back gamely but couldn't overcome a two-goal deficit and lost 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer play Saturday in Denver.
It was the Caps' fifth straight defeat -- including four MLS games and the Nutrilite Canadian Championship match against Toronto FC last week -- and the team's chances for post-season play have entered extreme-longshot territory.
Rapids striker Conor Casey scored in the 25th minute when he controlled a long cross from midfielder Jamie Smith and beat Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon with a right-footed strike from six yards out. The cross just got over the head of Caps defender Michael Boxall.
Rapids defender Scott Palguta made it 2-0 midway through the second half after he buried a rebound that came from a great Cannon reaction save off a Casey header. Palguta beat Caps defender Greg Janicki to the ball on the play.
But Camilo got the Caps within a goal in the 77th minute when midfielder Nizar Khalfan sprung him loose with a great through ball and the diminutive Brazilian striker dribbled around Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens and slid it home with his left foot.
The goal finished off a nifty play that saw the ball go from new Caps defender Jordan Harvey to striker Long Tan to Khalfan and then Camilo. It was Camilo's sixth MLS goal this year, tying him for the club lead with Eric Hassli, who sat out the game with a foot injury.
Vancouver striker Omar Salgado nearly connected in the first half when he turned and fired a 25-yard shot that went just wide of the Colorado goal.
Whitecaps midfielder Michael Nanchoff -- making his first start this season -- set up Camilo with a dangerous early chance in the Colorado box but Pickens blocked his sharp-angle shot.
Casey missed a glorious opportunity to score a second goal in the 54th minute when he got the ball in the Vancouver box, went around Cannon and then shot wide with his left foot.
The loss drops Vancouver's MLS record to two wins, 10 losses and eight draws, good for 14 points and last place in the entire league. The Caps still haven't won a road game this season.
It was the Rapids' first win at home since early April, as they had posted two losses and five draws at Dick's Sporting Goods Park before the Caps came calling.
Whitecaps head coach Tom Soehn felt his young side played well enough to get a result. Key players such as Davide Chiumiento, Jay DeMerit and Hassli sat out with injuries.
“The commitment to working hard and playing hard, especially in altitude, was there,” he said in a telephone interview after the game. “The guys did a decent job.”
Soehn said losing is weighing on everybody in his squad.
“The last two performances were close,” he said. “It's really apparent how many guys were missing and those are all senior guys. Games are won when you put on those veteran guys who know how to manage a game.”
Caps midfielder Peter Vagenas feels the team deserves better.
“I would give anything for us to be able to enjoy a victory at this point because we deserve it,” he said in an interview. “I thought the performance that we put in was fine. Honest to God, I thought we were the better team. It's a cruel game and we continue to suffer from not being precise in the final third.”
Harvey started the match for Vancouver just two days after he was acquired from the Philadelphia Union for allocation money and without a team training session under his belt.
The 27-year-old Californian looked effective with his new team, defending well and pushing forward whenever possible. But he received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle and will miss Vancouver's next game against Real Salt Lake because he has accumulated five yellows this season.
Nanchoff, the Akron University product who was the eighth overall pick for Vancouver in the MLS SuperDraft, started his first game after being out for much of the season with a groin injury.
28. Rapids win first home game since April with 2-1 defeat of Whitecaps
By John Meyer
The Denver Post—July 9, 2011
COMMERCE CITY — It was hard to tell which team was more desperate Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The Rapids hadn't won at home since April 3, racking up five ties in seven home games since then. The expansion Vancouver Whitecaps have won only twice, and lost their last game in the 90th minute at home.
But the Rapids prevailed 2-1, thanks to Conor Casey's sixth goal in his last seven games and a goal by Scott Palguta on an opportunity created by a Casey header. The Whitecaps trimmed the lead on a late goal by Brazilian forward Camilo to keep Rapids fans on edge until the final whistle blew 13 minutes later.
It was Colorado's first win since a 1-0 result at Portland on June 11, with two ties and two losses in the interim.
"It just feels good to win," Casey said. "We haven't gotten a win in a while, and it's just a big relief."
Rapids coach Gary Smith tweaked his lineup, playing three forwards — Casey, Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan. Cummings was listed on the lineup as a midfielder, but he played his usual attacking role and had a couple of hard shots that were just off-target.
Casey's goal came off a precision cross by Jamie Smith in the 25th minute. Smith fought through a traffic jam on the right side of midfield and crossed a ball just over the head of Vancouver defender Michael Boxall. A wide-open Casey buried a right-footer at the edge of the 6-yard box.
"His ratio of goals to games is quite phenomenal," Gary Smith said. "I would think mostly it boils down to confidence. For forwards, when they're hitting the back of the net, it breeds confidence. They feel and play with more freedom."
Casey said that freedom comes from not having to think as much.
"You just go out and play, knowing you've been scoring," Casey said. "I've been in positions where I haven't scored for a long time too. You try not to overthink, but you do."
A Casey header was saved by former Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon in the 68th minute, but Palguta, a defender, put away the rebound for his second game-winning goal of the year.
With midfielder Pablo Mastroeni sitting out a one-game suspension because of yellow-card accumulation, Casey wore the captain's armband.
"He played like a captain," Smith said. "There were times where we needed him to drop in a bit, we needed those lines to be a bit tighter — especially late on, when there was a bit of anxiety and frustration."
Pablo OK. Mastroeni hyperextended a knee on the play at Kansas City on Wednesday that resulted in his yellow-card suspension, but he said the knee is fine.
29. Future is bright
Present is the problem; Young, talented Whitecaps lose again
By Marc Weber
The Province—July 10, 2011
Glimmers of hope are not exactly what Whitecaps fans are looking for these days.
Camilo's consolation goal Saturday, then, as well-constructed as it was, won't do much to stem the tide of frustration built up during a season-worst slide.
The bare details are grim:
Vancouver lost for the fifth straight time overall, this one 2-1 to the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The Whitecaps are last in MLS at 2-10-8.
They still are without a road victory.
They are 1-6-2 since club brass fired coach Teitur Thordarson and replaced him with Tommy Soehn.
Yet, if there was something to build on from Saturday, it was the movement in attack during a second half that saw Long Tan come on for Omar Salgado and work well with Camilo and Nizar Khalfan.
And the fact a young lineup, missing three of its best players to injury -defender Jay DeMerit, playmaker Davide Chiumiento and, perhaps most importantly, designated player Eric Hassli up front -made things interesting.
Tan, Camilo and Khalfan are 23 or younger. Vancouver also finished the game with Gershon Koffie (19), Michael Nanchoff (22) and Jeb Brovsky (22) on the field.
"We had a really young team out there and to their credit they lived up to the things we talked about as far as how we want to play," said Soehn. "They did a good job of competing. We fought back and the experience they're gaining is invaluable.
"I feel like we're getting close but, again, it's an unfortunate result and there's more anger and we have to fight through it."
Trailing 2-0 in the 77th minute, newcomer Jordan Harvey, Tan and Khalfan combined with quick passing to set up Camilo, who calmly dribbled around Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens for his sixth goal of the season.
It wasn't enough to overcome a Rapids team that snapped a seven game home winless skid, but it was encouraging.
Tan, especially, stood out in the second half -his first minutes since starting in New England on May 14.
He came on at the break because Salgado felt his hamstring tighten up.
"He was a handful," Soehn said. "He held the ball for us and was active and caused them some havoc. That's the best he's looked."
Rapids forward Conor Casey continued his torrid form since returning from a hamstring injury that kept him out six games.
In the 25th minute, the hulking U.S. international cooly chested down a floated pass from Jamie Smith and slotted the ball past Joe Cannon.
It was Casey's sixth goal in eight games.
Defending set pieces continues to plague the Whitecaps.
In the 68th, Smith sent in a free kick that forced Cannon into a strong save off a Casey header. Cannon pushed the rebound wide but Rapids defender Scott Palguta beat Greg Janicki to the ball and tapped in at the far post.
Janicki, on his 27th birthday, had come on for Michael Boxall, who left with fatigue early in the second half.
"We didn't manage the key moments," said Alain Rochat, who again wore the arm band in DeMerit's absence. "There are many positive things and we have to keep these [in mind] but it wasn't enough and we have to do better.
"We start to make this movement when we are 2-0 behind and it's too late. That's frustrating."
Salgado came closest for Vancouver in a plodding first half when he zipped a 22-yard strike just wide after a great turn. Camilo also had his appeal for a first-half free kick at the top of the box denied, though the Caps caught a break in the second half when Casey uncharacteristically missed an open net.
Soehn made two changes from Wednesday home loss to Columbus. With winger Shea Salinas serving a one-game suspension, rookie Michael Nanchoff, the Caps' eighthoverall pick in January's draft, started his first game of the season. And Jordan Harvey, acquired Thursday for cash from the Philadelphia Union, started at left-back, which pushed Wes Knight back to the bench.
"It felt amazing," said Nanchoff. "I just tried to get on the ball, be as busy as possible and play some guys over the top. I think with more hard work the results will come."
30. Defender is ready to provide puzzle piece for Whitecaps
Colorado notches rare home win
The Associated Press—July 9, 2011
COMMERCE CITY -- Conor Casey scored in the 25th minute as the Colorado Rapids ended a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
"It`s not the scoring as much as us getting a win," Casey said. "We haven`t been playing well and it has been a bit of a scoring drought for us."
Casey got his sixth goal in his last seven games, and Colorado (6-5-9) also had a score from Scott Palguta for the Rapids` first multi-goal game since May 25 at New York.
The Rapids, 1-2-2 over their last five games, are 3-2-5 at home.
"I think the guys can breath a sigh of relief with this win," Colorado coach Gary Smith. "That`s what happens when you aren`t winning regularly at home."
Camilo scored the sixth of the year for Vancouver (2-10-8), losers of four consecutive games. The Whitecaps remained winless (0-8-3) on the road.
Vancouver was without midfielder Shea Salinas, who was serving a red card suspension.
"I can`t fault our group because we have so many young guys playing with so many veterans out," said Vancouver coach Tom Soehn said. "We got punished for their goals, but I think we are getting close and just need to keep plugging away."
Each team had a shot on goal in the opening minutes. Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens swatted away a shot by Vancouver`s Gershon Koffie and Whitecaps goalie Joe Cannon came out high to catch a shot from the slot by Colorado`s Jeff Larentowicz.
Cannon couldn`t catch up with Casey`s shot from in front of the crease. Casey put Vancouver defenders Alan Rochat and Jonathan Leathers to the ground with a crossover step, transferred the ball to his left foot and sent the ball into the back of the net before Cannon could get it.
"I always ask more of myself on a play like that," Cannon said. "But he is a handful and he is one of the best forwards in the league."
Pickens blocked Omar Salgado`s shot back to him 25 yards out and Salgado`s second chance sailed well over the crossbar in the 31st minute.
The start of the second half was delayed 25 minutes by rain.
31. Colorado tops Vancouver as'Caps woes continue
The Sports Network—July 9, 2011
Vancouver Whitecaps FC continued to struggle in its inaugural Major League Soccer season, falling to the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park Saturday night.
Conor Casey grabbed the opening goal of the match in the 25th minute. Casey timed his run into the box and controlled a Jamie Smith delivery before slipping a shot under a diving Joe Cannon.
Despite the poor Commerce City weather delaying the start of the second half, the Rapids continued to roll once play resumed.
Vancouver defender Jordan Harvey, making his first appearance for the club since being traded from the Philadelphia Union, earned a yellow card for a reckless challenge in the 68th minute. The ensuing free kick was headed towards goal by Casey and parried by Cannon, but substitute Scott Palguta arrived at the back post double Colorado's lead.
Camilo pulled one back for Vancouver in the 77th minute, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal.
Vancouver will endure a tough match in its next appearance, hosting Real Salt Lake at Empire Field on July 16th. Colorado's next encounter is at CenturyLink Field to face the in-form Seattle Sounders.
32. Soehn pleased with young Whitecaps' performance
Despite loss to Colorado, Vancouver gather strength in style of play
By Martin MacMahon
MLSsoccer.com—July 10, 2011
Camilo Sanvezzo’s 77th-minute goal wasn’t enough. The return from injury of Michael Nanchoff wasn’t enough. The insertion of newcomer Jordan Harvey into the starting lineup wasn’t enough.
But the last-place Vancouver Whitecaps, who fell 2-1 away to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, did not leave Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with their heads down. Quite the contrary: They felt buoyed by their performance.
“We gave a lot of young guys some time,” coach Tom Soehn said after the match. “They’re starting to understand the way we want to play. We created enough opportunities that you feel disappointed not getting the result. I feel we’re getting close, and I commend [the players] on their effort today — they never stopped battling.”
The youthfulness of the starting XI, which was without veterans Eric Hassli, Jay DeMerit and Davide Chiumiento, was rather startling. Six of Vancouver’s starters were 23 or younger, including two teenagers, and two of the three subs were, as well.
But the kids were alright. They attacked when they had possession and didn’t back down against the defending MLS Cup champions.
“I was pretty proud of our young team,” goalkeeper Joe Cannon said. “I thought the product we had out there was something that hopefully our fans can get behind in the future and we can try to build off it.”
Nanchoff, in particular, enjoyed an inspiring first career start. Having missed action due to injury this season, he had a strong performance.
“It’s pretty simple, I feel fantastic,” Nanchoff told the TEAM 1410 radio station in Vancouver following the match. “The result is unfortunate, but for me to get out there, especially coming back from injury, and playing a full 90, it felt great.”
Soehn had originally hoped not to use Nanchoff for the full 90, but he was forced to keep the eighth overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft on the field longer than planned.
“I think he got tired at the end,” Soehn said. “We were forced to make a couple of subs early, which kept him on the field. But I think it was a great experience for him.”
It was also a great experience for Soehn himself to see his new acquisition, Harvey, slot into the starting lineup and settled into the side’s style of play, despite his not having practiced with the team even once.
“For Jordan, coming in and adapting as fast as he did shows the experience he has,” Soehn said. “Defensively, he was sound, and he got in the attack like we asked him. I thought he had a good, solid performance, especially as he’s only been with us for a day.”
All in all, in spite of the loss, the Whitecaps are leaving the Rockies with a sense of renewed energy as they head into what will be a very difficult next match.
“We’ve got Salt Lake coming in next week,” Cannon said, “and hopefully we can use this as a platform.”
33. Goalkeeper’s goof helps Real Salt Lake beat FC Dallas
By Michael C. Lewis
Salt Lake Tribune—July 10, 2011
Sandy • Just like everybody else, Andy Williams figured goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was easily handling the long-range shot that Williams had just lofted toward goal, so he could not figure out why teammate Kyle Beckerman was celebrating all of a sudden.
“I was like, ‘What are you jumping for?’ ” Williams recalled.
Turns out, Hartman — one of the best goalkeepers in Major League Soccer — mishandled the shot. He couldn’t corral the dipping ball as he went to his knees, and could only watch helplessly as it bounded off his arms, over his left shoulder and into the net for a goal that propelled Real Salt Lake to a crucial 2-0 victory over FC Dallas in front of 17,734 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.
“There’s not a goalkeeper in the world who goes their whole career without making a mistake,” RSL’s Will Johnson said. “And luckily for us, he made a mistake tonight.”
It could turn out to be a big one, too.
The victory extended RSL’s unbeaten streak to six games — it improved to 8-3-6 overall — and earned it three points in the standings against the hottest team in the league.
The Hoops had lost only once in their previous 13 games, and had allowed only one goal in their last three — all wins.
It also could help inspire RSL as it prepares to meet FC Dallas again on Tuesday in a quarterfinal of the U.S. Open Cup tournament at Pizza Hut Park in Texas. The team has never won there, yet needs to change that in order to keep alive its hope of winning the whole tournament and claiming a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“It’s going to be difficult,” Williams said.
RSL managed to make it look reasonably easy at home, by controlling the midfield and keeping scoring machine Brek Shea under control.
Defender Tony Beltran frustrated the rangy midfielder all night, and forward Fabian Espindola added an insurance goal on a counterattack just moments before the final whistle to drop the Hoops to 10-5-4 for 34 points. Both teams played without key men; defender Nat Borchers was suspended for RSL, while midfield captain Daniel Hernandez rested after playing every minute of the season for FC Dallas.
“We stated before the game that this was a huge, huge match for us,” RSL coach Jason Kreis said. “Probably the biggest one we’ve had this season. … To get all three points at home against them was big for us.”
Not only did Williams score the goal that made the difference for RSL — he tapped a free kick just a couple of feet to Beckerman, who tapped it back for Williams to shoot in the 47th minute — but defender Chris Wingert made a game-saving defensive play by clearing a shot off the line in the 85th minute.
And that left Alvaro Saborio to create a curious spectacle.
The forward stalked off the field and directly to the locker room when Kreis subbed him off in the 87th minute, with Kreis waving his arm dismissively before sending a trainer in pursuit. Saborio left the stadium without speaking to reporters, and Kreis declined to comment except to say he thought Saborio “looked really tired” and needed to come off.
34. FC Dallas' win streak snapped in 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake
By Jon Clifford
Dallas Morning News—July 9, 2011
SANDY, Utah — It should have been the easiest save Kevin Hartman made all night.
But Andy Williams’ rocket from 30 yards glanced off Hartman’s left hand as he dropped to a knee, and the goalkeeper watched helplessly as the ball bounced into the net.
The goal in the 47th minute Saturday night was the deciding play in FC Dallas’ 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, a loss that ended FCD’s three-game winning streak.
“I think it was so easy that he took his eye off the ball, to be honest,” FCD coach Schellas Hyndman said.
“That was very uncharacteristic of Kevin.”
Hartman, who entered the game with a league-high nine shutouts, stared at his left hand as the home team and crowd of 17,734 celebrated. The goal ended his scoreless streak at 236 minutes.
“It seemed like the ball moved late,” Hartman said. ”They … had guys in the box anticipating me losing it, and I maybe thought about it too much and it maybe knuckled and got behind me. It changed the game. … I’m frustrated with it.”
Real Salt Lake’s Fabian Espindola added a goal in stoppage time.
FCD was patient in a chippy and physical first half, but Real Salt Lake dominated possession as FC
Dallas failed to capitalize on Jackson’s clear speed advantage up front, sending passes long or out of
Hartman finished with five saves and made several diving stops to keep FCD in the game, including two stellar stops in the five minutes after Williams’ goal.
FC Dallas missed its best opportunity to draw even in the 85th minute, when RSL defender Chris Wingert made a goalmouth save on a shot from Jackson near the left post.
The teams will meet again Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals in Frisco.
35. Real Salt Lake continues to be a team you can't ignore
By Brad Rock
Deseret News—July 9, 2011
SANDY —Despite never ending stories about conference alignments, the NBA lockout and Jimmer Fredette, Real Salt Lake continues to make news of its own, regardless.
There was the sensationally sad long-term injury to Javier Morales, the ridiculously long home win streak, the dizzying attempt to win the CONCACAF Champions League and, of course, the retirement of coach Jason Kreis's number.
Interesting stories, one and all, this year.
No matter how much commotion the other teams in Utah create, Real just keeps coming.
RSL wrapped up the first half of the regular season Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium with a 2-0 win over FC Dallas, the league's hottest team. It was a story impossible to ignore: Two growing rivals, both still in the race for the league's best record. The win capped a high profile week in which RSL made news amid the almost obsessive coverage of all things Jazz/Jimmer/Utes/Cougar-related. That's not easy. With the Jazz making two lottery picks this year, college teams ramping up their marketing efforts and Fredette being so doggone Jimmerpromotable, what's a pro soccer team to do?
Just what RSL has done, probably.
At the halfway point, it's obvious RSL is a dangerous team. How dangerous? Very, if you ask Dallas. The Texas team came into Saturday's match having won nine of its last 13 games. Meanwhile, RSL was struggling to score goals. It registered an OK-but-not-great four ties and one win in the last five outings.
How good is Real? Stay tuned. It certainly knows about adversity, having lost a top player early in the season and others along the way, for various reasons. Yet RSL still seems to have hit upon a couple of usable tenets. Rule No. 1 for staying in the news: Don't lose. Rule No. 2: Do something strange.
You'll have people begging for more.
Real fulfilled the first rule right up until April 27, when a 37-game home undefeated streak finally ended at the hands of Monterrey. Its MLS home unbeaten streak ended at 29 with a loss to Seattle on May 28. While the undefeated streak is over, Salt Lake has remained competitive, holding down the fourth-most points in the Western Conference.
As for Rule No. 2 — doing strange things — that's working out nicely, too. First, RSL overcame an early two-goal, one-player deficit to tie New England on Monday. That's not only strange, it's harrowing. The same night, Real retired the Kreis's number. Yes, we know. That's sooooo un-international. Trust the Americans to ignore tradition. Teams just don't do that kind of showy stuff overseas.
Numbers represent positions, not people.
But a ceremony was held nonetheless on Independence Day to retire Kreis' number and declare RSL's independence from Old Soccer's eccentricities. As G.M. Garth Lagerway noted, "It drives me crazy these people who say we've got to do everything like Europe. Why? Why don't we try to beat Europe?"
That remark made plenty of headlines, too.
In truth, Kreis seemed visibly relieved when ceremony week was over on Saturday. Previously, he got a contract extension which will take him through 2013. That was fine by him. The number retirement? That was fine, too, in an uncomfortable sort of way.
"The ceremony, I think, wore on me a little bit. I think you saw an emotional coach, probably overly emotional," he said of Monday's game with New England.
On Saturday he had the challenge of trying to beat the league's hottest team and perhaps Real's biggest obstacle. Time to refocus. A Dallas win in Texas last season ended a then-best record of 10 undefeated games for RSL. Later in the year, RSL ended a 19-match unbeaten run by Dallas. They met in the playoffs, with Dallas prevailing.
So it was on Saturday that RSL only heightened the rivalry, thanks to a goal in the 47th minute on a Bill Bucknerish flub by Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman.
Fabian Espindola added another goal in stoppage.
The win ended a particularly eventful week in an increasingly eventful year. It's a week Kreis can now truly enjoy. Asked if he would rather win games or accept awards, Kreis gave a predictable but forceful answer.
"Win games," he said, then added, "Win games. Win games ... 1,000, 100 percent."
Meanwhile, up in the rafters and down on the field, the news just keeps coming.
36. Questions abound after Saborio snubs RSL on way out of game
By Michael C. Lewis
Salt Lake Tribune—July 9, 2011
Hard to imagine how you could overshadow a monster victory over the hottest team in the league that included a goalkeeping howler, but RSL's Alvaro Saborio might have managed it.
The Costa Rican striker stalked off the field and directly up the tunnel to the locker room after being subbed off in the 87th minute of his team's 2-0 victory over FC Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium tonight, sparking a flurry of questions about his attitude and any potential fallout.
Not that any of them were answered.
Coach Jason Kreis declined to comment after the game, except to say he thought Saborio “looked really tired” and needed to come out, especially with the upcoming U.S. Open Cup game at FC Dallas on Tuesday. The coach waved dismissively as Saborio walked past the bench, and later sent a team trainer into the locker room to check on him.
Meanwhile, Saborio left the stadium without speaking to reporters, departing before Kreis even began his post-game press conference and long before the locker room was open to the media.
It's fair to say Saborio hasn't had the easiest time lately, having missed crucial penalty kicks for Costa Rica that kept it from advancing in the Gold Cup, not long after a teammate on the national team was killed in a car crash.
But he also has shown enough of a hint of moody or petulant behavior — it's not the first time he acted similarly coming out of games — to make you wonder.
General manager Garth Lagerwey said only that the incident was an “internal thing” that will be handled privately, and it's not hard to imagine the fine line that management must walk in dealing with the situation.
On one hand, the team surely wants to discipline Saborio in some fashion, especially knowing that allowing such behavior — effectively disrespecting not only your coach, but also your teammates — could breed problems in the locker room. But it also knows that Saborio is one of its best players, and probably can't afford to be too harsh without risking a toxic attitude going forward.
37. Dallas goalkeeper’s gaffe out of character
By Kyle Goon
Salt Lake Tribune—July 10, 2011
Sandy • Kevin Hartman looked at his left hand, where he almost expected the ball to be. Then he looked behind him, where the ball had ended up cradled against the net.
Andy Williams’ kick into the box in the 47th minute was almost right at the FC Dallas goalkeeper and should have been a routine save. But as the ball hit Hartman’s hands, it rolled off to the left and into the goal.
It was a devastating blow to FC Dallas, which ended up losing to Real Salt Lake 2-0. And Hartman took it as hard as anyone.
“We took one mishandled shot, and that comes on to my shoulders,” he said. “Obviously I’m frustrated with the goal, but you do your best to move on and prepare and push through it.”
The FC Dallas goalkeeper is one of the league’s best, allowing less than a goal per game and presiding over one of the top MLS defenses. He has the most saves of any keeper in MLS history, as well as the most wins.
His hands, often so sure, are a part of what has made FC Dallas so hot in recent weeks. He’s claimed eight shutouts in his last 11 league games, and only one goal in his three matches leading into Saturday’s date with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
But everyone falters, and Hartman’s letdown came at the most inopportune time.
“I had guys who were in the box kind of anticipating me losing it,” Hartman said. “I just thought about it too much and it made me knuckle and it got behind me.”
The play put FC Dallas in a hole and forced them to play desperate in the final minutes. They missed their best opportunity when Chris Wingert swept in to knock away a shot by Jackson in the 85th minute. And at the end of the game, the Hoops were caught on the counter attack by Fabián Espíndola, who coolly faked out a pair of Dallas defenders before nailing a last-second shot past Hartman.
But it was easy for FC to brush off that score. Hartman’s botched save that put Dallas in that position was almost a head-scratcher, coach Schellas Hyndman said.
“It was so easy I think he took his eyes off it, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s like in football when you see a receiver get the ball right to him, and he drops it because he’s looking somewhere else.”
When Dallas hosts RSL Tuesday at Pizza Hut Park, Hartman will have a chance at redemption. FC Dallas has stymied Salt Lake there, accruing a 9-0-1 record against them.
Hartman hopes his team will continue its dominance — and that he’ll find his hands again.
“You can just try and do your best to persevere, and I think that’s all you can really do,” he said.
38. Williams, Espindola lead Salt Lake past FC Dallas
The Associated Press—July 10, 2011
SANDY, Utah — Andy Williams scored on a free kick early in the 47th minute and Fabian Espindola added a goal in the final minute of stoppage time to lift Real Salt Lake to a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday night.
Salt Lake (8-3-6) extended its unbeaten streak to 2-0-4. Dallas (10-5-4) had won three straight. The two teams will meet again on Tuesday night in Dallas in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
Williams scored just his second goal of the season when he lobbed a shot over a defensive wall on a free kick restart. The ball slipped out of the left glove of Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and trickled across the end line to give Salt Lake a 1-0 lead.
"It's always important to get that first goal - especially at home," Williams said. "They were sitting back all game and looking for a counterattack. I thought we did a good job the first half in eliminating their chances going forward."
The goal brought Dallas to life on offense and it started to press the attack as the second half wore on. Salt Lake made some fine defensive plays to hold onto the lead. Chris Wingert came up with a spectacular save in the 85th minute as he blocked a shot off the line from Jackson just as it looked like the Dallas midfielder could tap one in with goalkeeper Nick Rimando out of position.
Salt Lake's Tony Beltran pointed to the fact that his team had possession of the ball the majority of the time as a big reason for its ability to step up on defense.
"They were defending for a large portion of the game, so I'm not sure how they're feeling," Beltran said. "I know personally if I'm defending for long periods of time, it's very tiring. It's more tiring than possessing the ball."
Espindola sealed the win when he sent a shot past Hartman in the final minute of stoppage time and buried it in the right corner of the net.
The result was exactly what Salt Lake needed to keep pace with teams like Dallas and the Los Angeles Galaxy in the chase for the Supporters' Shield awarded to the MLS team with the best regular season record.
"We stated before the game that this was a huge match for us," Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. "Probably the biggest we have had this season against what I think is arguably the team that's in the best form right now. A positive result. It doesn't matter to me the score. To get all three points against them was big for us."
Neither offense could break through in the first half. Salt Lake attacked frequently, but only created intermittent scoring chances.
The best opportunity to get on the scoreboard came in the 18th minute when Alvaro Saborio tracked down a bouncing pass from Kyle Beckerman. Saborio caught a piece of the ball with his head on the bounce at the far post. His touch was good, but the ball just barely hooked wide of the post.
FC Dallas had a chance in the 40th minute when Jackson blasted a shot from 40 yards away that Rimando was forced to parry over the crossbar.
39. RSL defense steps up in "big" win over red-hot FC Dallas
Beltran, Schuller key defensive effort against dynamic FCD attack
By Randy Davis
MLSsoccer.com—July 10, 2011
SANDY, Utah — Brek Shea is one of the stars of the future both in MLS and possibly on the international stage. Not that any of that mattered to Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran on Saturday night, as the right back stifled the FC Dallas attacker again and again in RSL’s 2-0 win over FCD.
“Brek’s a fantastic player,” Beltran said after the match. “He’s part of our youth movement for our national team. He’s done some very impressive things this year. He’s got a very bright career ahead of him, so I knew I had to be extra focused coming into this game and just be on my toes defensively.
“It was a tough matchup, but I thought I handled him well.”
Beltran’s performance earned the praise of his entire team, most importantly, his goalkeeper, Nick Rimando.
“Tony played great, especially against one of the up-and-coming players in this league,” Rimando said.
The veteran netminder, who enjoyed a relatively quiet night thanks to Beltran’s efforts, heaped praise on the entire backline, particularly, young centerback Chris Schuler, who made just his 8th career start. Schuler was in the squad in place of the suspended Nat Borchers.
“Schuler stepped in again and played well with his confidence, and Olave stepped up again today,” Rimando said. “But I think the play of the day was Chris [Wingert] coming back and getting that ball before it went over the line.”
That “play of the day” was a goal-saving effort from Wingert. After seeing Jackson sneak in alone, Wingert rushed back to clear the Dallas attacker’s slow, rolling shot just before it could break the goal line.
“To be honest it was a little bit fortunate,” Wingert admitted. “It was my man that got in behind. What a ball by Eric Avila — perfect chip — and Brek took a great first touch, and second touch really. I was just fortunate that Jackson had to reach for it, and I was able to get back to the line. I was lucky, because if he had smashed it I would have had no chance.”
But he didn’t smash it, and a few minutes later Fabian Espindola confirmed the result with RSL’s second goal. The win extends the side’s unbeaten streak to six games, and is their most impressive league result since the 4-1 thrashing of the LA Galaxy back in March.
“We stated before the game that this was a huge, huge match for us,” head coach Jason Kreis said. “Probably the biggest one we’ve had this season against what I think is arguably the team that’s in the best form right now. To get all three points at home was big for us.”
40. David Beckham leads L.A. Galaxy to 2-1 win over Chicago Fire
Galaxy's star power is on display as Beckham scores a goal and gets an assist on a Landon Donovan header.
By Douglas Farmer
Los Angeles Times—July 9, 2011
Nearly a month after his last start, Galaxy midfielder David Beckham made the most of his return from a back injury Saturday night. Beckham assisted on the Galaxy's first goal and scored the second in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire at the Home Depot Center.
Beckham sent in the game-winner off a corner kick in the 65th minute. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson strayed too far upfield, following the initial trajectory of the kick. When Beckham's trademark spin brought the ball back toward the net, Johnson could not recover in time.
"That second goal, did that touch anyone or did that go in directly?" Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena asked. "I don't know how that went in. That's why we pay him the big money."
The Galaxy's first goal came from a pseudo-corner kick which Beckham sent to the forehead of Galaxy forward Landon Donovan in the 58th minute. Galaxy midfielder Paolo Cardozo had drawn a penalty on Fire midfielder Logan Pause, giving Beckham a free kick on the right sideline about 10 yards from the end of the field. With the beneficial angle, he sent the ball to Donovan who had leapt above Fire defender Gonzalo Segares.
"Once [Donovan] scored, he really lifted his game," Arena said. "We need the leadership out of Landon and David to be successful, and I think we got it tonight."
A mere four minutes after Donovan had given the Galaxy (10-2-9) the initial lead, forward Cristian Nazarit evened the match for the Fire (2-5-12). Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko found Nazarit cutting between Galaxy defenders Gregg Berhalter and Todd Dunivant, and Nazarit sent the ball cleanly past Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Tempers flared in the four minutes of additional time in the second half after Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchell tackled Nyarko in reckless fashion. As Nyarko writhed in pain and Birchell limped away, Josip Mikulic and Diego Chaves raced toward Birchell. Beckham jumped in to defend his teammate as both benches closed in on the ruckus. Birchell received a yellow card for his tackle, and Arena immediately replaced him with Michael Stephens.
"I bet [a red card was considered] only on the aspect that it caused a bit of a riot," Birchell said. "I think the ref saw it was a mistimed tackle. It was not meant to be vicious."
41. David Beckham bends it, and Galaxy win 2-1 over Chicago
By Phil Collin
Long Beach Press-Telegram—July 9, 2011
CARSON - As unique as it might be to score a goal on a corner kick, bending it like few can, David Beckham was applauded for another sometimes unseen attribute Saturday night.
"From what I hear," said Landon Donovan, who once called Beckham's commitment to task, "playing with an injury he's paying with is really painful. He's a warrior, man.
"Since he's been here, he's played through a lot of tough injuries and he's spent a lot of time off the field so I think he wants to do everything he can this year to play as much as possible and he's playing through a lot of pain. I'm impressed."
Donovan was also impressed with another corner kick that he headed in for a goal as the Galaxy pushed their unbeaten streak to 12 games with a 2-1 victory over Chicago at Home Depot Center.
Beckham, playing with a stress fracture in his back, went the entire game, something he didn't even expect. In fact, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena at one point told him he had five minutes left on the night.
A minute later, he curled in the winning goal, and the Galaxy held on for the final 24 minutes.
"He's really determined," Arena said. "He's really a tough athlete, he wants to win. There was a point around 65 minutes into the game I thought we might have to take him out. He looked a little fatigued. He hung in there, he wanted to play and he wanted to win. He was a tremendous presence tonight."
Beckham's corner kick in the 58 the minute found Donovan at the far post, and Donovan's ninth goal of the season gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead.
The Fire (2-5-12) did make the Galaxy (10-2-9) hold their breath at times, particularly when Cristian Nazarit answered Donovan's goal four minutes later and they kept the pressure on until the waning moments.
The Fire had their unbeaten streak snapped at eight games and it was the first loss since Coach Frank Klopas was hired on May 30. Chicago had been 1-0-6 under Klopas.
Four minutes after Nazarit's tying goal, Beckham lined up for a corner kick and bent it toward the near post. The ball needled its way through the crowd and went into the net untouched.
Yes, as a matter of fact he has done it before.
"I did when I was on loan at Preston, I scored a corner (in February 1995)," Beckham said. "I'm not sure I've scored another one since I was playing Sunday league football as a kid.
"I saw the goalkeeper (Sean Johnson) cheating a little bit, going out of the goal, and I saw a little bit of a gap. I knew if I put it in an area so you can get a touch off somebody, or it's going to go straight in, so lucky it went straight in."
It was a passing clinic for the Galaxy on occasion in the first half, including one eight-pass sequence that nearly sprung Paolo Cardozo in alone, but was ultimately ruled to be offside.
Moments later, Chris Birchall dribbled a left-footed shot wide after a nifty six-pass combination, then Cardozo's nifty move set up Birchall, but his pass forward to Juan Pablo Angel was out of reach.
The Galaxy nearly took the lead in the second minute, when Gregg Berhalter's header off a corner kick from Beckham grazed the side of the net, fooling the sound-system operator, who started the Galaxy's celebration music before stopping it as the teams resumed play.
Chicago had two chances in the 13th minute. Goalkeeper Josh Saunders dived to his left to stop a shot from Marco Pappa, then Berhalter came to the rescue to thwart Patrick Nyarko's run around two defenders.
And the Fire had another chance to tie in the 72 nd minute, when Nyarko sped around Jordan and centered to Pappa, whose shot went just over the crossbar.
Things nearly got out of hand in injury time, when Birchall's late challenge spilled Nyarko and several members of the Fire chased after Birchall, who was issued a yellow card. Chicago's Josip Mikulic received a red-card ejection in the scuffle.
With defender A.J. De La Garza sidelined after sufferening a facial contusion last week, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena pulled a bit of a surprise by placing Bryan Jordan at right back with Omar Gonzalez and Gregg Berhalter at central defense, meaning Sean Franklin (Highland High/CSUN) got a night off.
In fact, the only defender listed as a reserve was 22-year-old Kyle Davies, who made his roster debut for the Galaxy. So did another 22-year-old, midfielder Hector Jimenez.
The more impacting changes were up front, where Cardozo got his second start of the season in the midfield, which pushed Donovan up to forward with Angel.
And the Galaxy picked up two more injuries, with midfielder Mike Magee (tight right hamstring) and forward Chad Barrett (right knee sprain) being left off the roster.
42. Beckham scores from corner to give Galaxy victory
The Associated Press—July 10, 2011
CARSON, California— Ignoring the pain from a slight stress fracture in his spine, David Beckham spotted the opposing goalkeeper creeping off his line to steal a march on the expected cross into the box from the corner.
The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder swung in a low-flying, bending delivery that eluded the Chicago Fire 'keeper, the ball bouncing once before nestling inside the net to give the hosts a 2-1 win and extend their Major League Soccer unbeaten streak to 12 matches.
"I saw the goalie cheating a little out of goal and saw a gap," Beckham said Saturday. "I knew if I put it in area, it was going to get a touch off somebody or go straight in. Luckily, it went straight in."
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was astounded.
"I don't know how that went in," he said. "That's what we pay him the big money for."
Interim Fire coach Frank Klopas criticized his players for a lack of awareness of Beckham's specific prowess.
"We hurt ourselves with the set pieces," Klopas said. "When you give opportunities to set pieces to the player that is the best in the world at that, we put ourselves at risk. We should have done better with the marking."
Beckham had earlier crossed for Landon Donovan to score, the seventh goal he's set up this season, the second-most in the MLS.
The dominant performance was all the more remarkable because Beckham has missed the past two
matches due to the stress fracture. The former England captain said he was in pain the last few days, but woke up on game day feeling better than he had in a while.
"Personally, it was great. I didn't expect to play 90 minutes. With 25 minutes to go, I seemed to get a second wind," said Beckham, adding that it's the second goal that he's scored from a corner in his career.
43. Beckham fires Galaxy to success
ESPN.com—July 10, 2011
David Beckham scored direct from a corner as Los Angeles moved five points clear at the head of the Western Conference with a 2-1 win over Chicago.
David Beckham's corner finds its way past a host of defenders and into the net (GettyImages)
Beckham laid on a 58th-minute opener for Landon Donovan and then, after Cristian Nazarith had equalised, won the game when his delivery evaded everyone and went in.
Los Angeles are five points clear of FC Dallas, who lost 2-0 at Real Salt Lake, with Andy Williams and Edgar Espindola getting the goals.
Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls were stunned at home, with DC United taking a 1-0 win thanks to Dwayne De Rosario's goal just after the hour.
San Jose and Philadelphia Union played out a 0-0 draw while Kansas City and Chivas USA drew 1-1, with Omar Bravo's injury-time goal cancelling out Nick LaBrocca's opener for Chivas.
Danny Cruz and Geoff Cameron were on target as Houston beat Toronto FC 2-0, while Colorado saw off Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1. Conor Casey and Scott Palguta netted for the Rapids, with Camilo responding.
44. Set pieces hurt Fire in loss to Galaxy
By Charlie Corr
ESPNChicago.com—July 10, 2011
Since taking over the Chicago Fire's coaching duties, interim head coach Frank Klopas has preached about strengthening the defense on set pieces.
The Fire had not allowed a set-piece goal during Klopas' first seven games at the helm. But David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy put an end to that trend, scoring twice on set pieces en route to a 2-1 victory over Chicago on Saturday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Beckham scored directly off of a corner kick for the game-winner, and he provided a corner kick assist on a Landon Donovan header. Cristian Nazarit scored the Fire's lone goal in between Beckham's corners, with all three goals coming in an eight-minute span.
"We got too comfortable against the wrong team," Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. "We lost concentration on a couple of goals, and that's unacceptable. A lapse of concentration against a team like this, they'll take advantage of it."
The Fire (2-5-12) suffered their first loss under Klopas (1-1-6). It also marks Chicago's first defeat since a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on May 21. The Western Conference-leading Galaxy (10-2-9) extended its unbeaten run to 12 games.
On Saturday, the Galaxy offense came to life in the second half, highlighted by Beckham's 66th-minute corner kick goal. Beckham took a low, driving corner from the left side and found the net. The ball eluded several players, including Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and Nyarko who was trying to cover the back right post.
"It went through Jalil [Anibaba], Sean, and I couldn't see the ball until it was in the net," Nyarko said. "It was bad defending on our part."
In the 58th, Beckham sent the corner kick in from the right side and found Donovan on the back left post for a 1-0 lead. Donovan rose above Fire defender Gonzalo Segares and headed the ball into the right side of the net.
The Fire quickly recovered from Donovan's goal. In the 62nd minute, Nyarko sent a right-footed cross from the left side of the pitch and connected with Nazarit. Nazarit drove his header underneath Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders and into the net to tie the score at 1-1.
The match ended on an ugly note when Nyarko was taken out by the Galaxy's Chris Birchall in second-half stoppage time. Birchall was shown a yellow card, and the Fire took exception to a harsh challenge that could have been ruled a red. Fire forward Diego Chaves immediately rushed in, and multiple players left their respective benches. Fire defender Josip Mikulic, who was a reserve, was shown a red card.
Analysis: The end result certainly did not paint the picture of how the match went in the early going.
The Fire's game plan was effective throughout the first half and the early stages of the second half. Donovan's 58th-minute goal was the first attempt the Galaxy had on net, so the Fire had a positive impact during this difficult road match. Once Chicago allowed some Galaxy set pieces on a regular basis, that played into the host team's hands.
Chicago had some good chances to put some momentum in its corner. Fire defender Anibaba had a scoring chance in the 45th minute. Anibaba appeared to be squared up to put his header on frame, but he pushed it wide right of the net. Early in the first half, Nyarko worked his way into the box from the left side, but the Galaxy's Gregg Berhalter slid in to deflect Nyarko's 14th-minute chance away from the goal.
Fire midfielder Marco Pappa could have had a stronger performance. He missed a glaring chance to level the match in the 72nd minute. Nyarko made a quick move to get around the Galaxy's Bryan Jordan on the left side. He provided a perfect setup for Pappa, but he sent his shot over the crossbar.
The Fire have had plenty of draws -- as well as a win -- that were poorer performances than Saturday's loss. But there is no question that Klopas will reiterate his set piece emphasis moving past this game.
45. Union, Earthquakes play to scoreless draw
By Jonathan Tannenwald
Philadelphia Inquirer—July 10, 2011
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite playing without two of their defensive stalwarts, the Union registered only their second shutout since the beginning of May in a scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday.
Although there weren't any goals scored in the game, there was plenty of drama off the field, as Peter Nowak made a number of changes to what had been a fairly consistent starting lineup in recent weeks.
One move was expected: Gabriel Farfan started at left back after Jordan Harvey was traded to Vancouver for allocation money on Thursday.
The other changes were more surprising. Three regular starters - center back Carlos Valdes, central midfielder Veljko Paunovic, and forward Carlos Ruiz - did not travel west.
Paunovic was nursing a strained left hip. A spokeswoman for the Union (7-4-7) said that Valdes was sick and Ruiz was given the weekend off to rest.
Valdes - who had played every minute of the season prior to Saturday - was replaced by defensive midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi. Sebastien Le Toux took Ruiz's place on the forward line, and Kyle Nakazawa and Keon Daniel took the midfield places vacated by Paunovic and Le Toux.
San Jose (5-6-7) was also without two of its most important players. Defender and Philadelphia native Bobby Convey sat out due to a left knee bruise, and forward Steven Lenhart was suspended due to accumulated yellow cards.
The Union struggled to keep possession of the ball early in game, but did a better job of it as the first half progressed.
In the 31st minute, Keon Daniel sprung Danny Mwanga with a through ball, leaving Mwanga one-on-one with Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch. Mwanga managed to keep the ball away from Busch, but Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling raced back and was in position to block the shot.
San Jose came close to scoring in the 48th minute. Chris Wondolowski drew Faryd Mondragon away from goal and played a pass to Ryan Johnson, but Johnson's chipped shot bounced off the crossbar.
The Union's best chance to score in the second half came in the 85th minute. A free kick by Kyle Nakazawa from just outside the 18-yard box took a deflection and spun around Busch, but the ball hit the far post and stayed out of the net.
46. San Jose Earthquakes' goal drought goes on in scoreless draw
By Elliott Almond
San Jose Mercury News—July 10, 2011
Scoreless in San Jose.
The Earthquakes' offense has hit a lull midway through the Major League Soccer season as the club endured its fourth shutout in five matches Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
This time the Quakes ended with a 0-0 draw against the stubborn Philadelphia Union in front of an announced crowd of 9,794 that saw the usually composed Frank Yallop get ejected after arguing with referee Elias Bazakos.
The San Jose coach said he will apologize to Bazakos for his flare-up that included pounding a sideboard. Yallop was equally frustrated with his team's scoring drought as he was with two yellow cards issued in the 64th and 66th minutes.
"Sometimes it all comes out in one outburst," he said.
Few could blame Yallop for his uncharacteristic exhibition after he watched his team get one measly shot on goal -- by midfielder Ryan Johnson.
Except for two beautiful goals last weekend against New York, the offense has stumbled.
"At times we play well," leading scorer Chris Wondolowski said. "But we lack the final pass, the final touch."
The Quakes (5-6-7) also didn't have second-leading scorer Steven Lenhart, who was suspended for getting five yellow cards this season.
But the scoring malaise can't be attributed to one particular player. It has been a team-wide problem without a quick fix.
"All you can do is keep trying," English striker Simon Dawkins said.
At least goalkeeper Jon Busch and the back line are making that possible. Busch had another superb performance with six saves that allowed San Jose to salvage one point against Philadelphia (7-4-7).
Right fullback Chris Leitch said the Quakes are too hesitant, too impatient at times.
"We can't just run and fight," he said. "We need to show our quality a little bit. We've got to have a little confidence out there."
But it's not easy to instill confidence when the strikers are getting so few chances -- San Jose had seven shots to Philadelphia's 16.
Leitch said the Quakes need to know when to play direct and when to possess the ball.
"Sometimes we force the issue," he added. "We take two passes and then go straight at the goal."
And that strategy isn't working, considering San Jose has scored two goals in its past five matches.
Not even the MLS debut of midfielder Rafael Baca in the 80th minute could inspire a goal. After dealing
with visa issues since the winter, the Quakes announced the signing of Baca on Friday.
He made a few speedy runs down the left sideline in the final minutes to inspire hope if not a fairy-tale ending.
After Wednesday's feeble 2-0 defeat to Chivas USA, the Earthquakes came out energized at Buck Shaw. But as has been their wont, they couldn't sustain some decent play that included Johnson's blistering shot from the left in the 15th minute that Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon ably handled.
Johnson also chipped a shot that hit the top of the crossbar in the opening minutes of the second half.
Perhaps the most unsettling statistic came from Wondolowski, last year's MLS Golden Boot winner with a league-leading 18 goals. The surefire goal scorer didn't have a shot against the Union.
"I need to do a better job of finding space," he said.
Johnson, for one, wasn't panicking about any of it.
"We'll be fine," he said. "At the end of the day all these points will add up. I'm just happy we didn't lose."
47. Union, Earthquakes play to 0-0
The Associated Press—July 9, 2011
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon recorded his sixth shutout of the season, while San Jose's Jon Busch had his fifth as the Union and Earthquakes played to a 0-0 draw Saturday night.
Philadelphia (7-4-7) moved into a tie with New York atop the Eastern Conference with 28 points.
The Earthquakes (5-6-7) were shut out for the fourth time in five matches, going 0-2-3 during that span.
Philadelphia nearly broke through in the 85th minute as midfielder Kyle Nakazawa's free kick made it through the defense but hit the right post.
The Earthquakes nearly scored early in the second half but midfielder Ryan Johnson's shot from left of the goal hit the crossbar.
Philadelphia peppered Busch with two dangerous shots early in the second half, one by Danny Mwanga and the other by Sebastien Le Toux, but he saved them both.
San Jose coach Frank Yallop was ejected in the 66th minute after protesting a yellow card that was issued against defender Ramiro Corrales.
When the two teams met in April at Philadelphia, they combined for just one goal as the Union won on Le Toux's penalty kick in the 76th minute.
Each team was without one of its top offensive players.
Philadelphia forward Carlos Ruiz, tied for the team lead with five goals, was not in uniform. Union coach Peter Nowak gave him the night off to rest after his heavy recent workload, playing four games for Guatemala's national team in the Gold Cup then three straight games in 11 days for Philadelphia.
The Earthquakes were without forward Steven Lenhart, who ranks second on the team with five goals. He missed the match because of a suspension for accumulating five yellow cards.
San Jose rookie midfielder Rafael Baca, who signed with the team this week, made his MLS debut late in the second half.
48. San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 Philadelphia Union: Unimaginative draw
A drab draw extended San Jose's winless streak to five matches, with only goalkeeper Jon Busch excelling in the match with Philadelphia.
By Nick Rosano
Goal.com—July 9, 2011
The Earthquakes and Union played to an unimaginative scoreless draw in front of 9,794 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium. Though Philadelphia had the better chances, it could not find a way past Jon Busch, who put in a sterling performance to earn his side a point.
Philadelphia saw three points for the taking and pressed hard up the field in the early minutes, forcing a few miscues from the Earthquakes, but failing to write any clear chances. Simon Dawkins fired wide from 20 yards out in the clearest chance for San Jose in the half. Danny Mwanga, whose pace troubled San Jose all night long, nearly had the opener after he collected a ball at the edge of the area and got a shot off as Jon Busch forced him wide, but Bobby Burling was there to clear off the line.
The second half kicked off at an electric pace, as Ryan Johnson hit the corner of the crossbar less than three minutes off the restart. Chris Wondolowski forced two stops off Faryd Mondragon and Ryan Johnson tried a placed shot on the bounce, only to be denied by a matter of inches. On the other end, Philadelphia forced two great saves out of Busch, as he denied Mwanga one-on-one before saving a volley from LeToux at the near post.
Philadelphia continued to pressure the San Jose defense, drawing a number of fouls, much to the ire of Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop, who was ejected for arguing with the officials just after the hour mark. The pressure nearly paid off in the late stages of the game as Sebastien LeToux drew a free kick on the edge of the area and Kyle Nakazawa bent it of off the Earthquakes wall and onto the far post with Busch motionless.
However, the chances wouldn't fall for either side and both teams had to settle for a goalless draw - an OK result for the Union, but one that sees the Earthquakes' winless streak extended to five games.
49. Shorthanded Union show depth in draw at San Jose
Despite missing Valdés, Ruiz, Paunović, Philly grind out a point
By Judah Levine
MLSsoccer.com—July 10, 2011
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Down four starters from their previous match, the Philadelphia Union managed to steal a point on the road on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes.
When Friday's injury report listed center back Carlos Valdés as out with an illness, the absence of Jordan Harvey — who was sent to Vancouver on Thursday in exchange for allocation money — became all the more glaring.
Manager Peter Nowak inserted veteran holding midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi into Valdés' spot and Gabriel Farfan into the left back position previously occupied by Harvey, and the defense didn't skip a beat, recording their sixth shutout of the season and limiting the Earthquakes to just two shots on goal.
“From the defensive perspective, we played a pretty good game," Nowak said after the match. "We didn’t allow San Jose to counter. … We were pretty sure that Stefani can do the job with his confidence and experience. It’s another option for us defensively."
In a match controlled by the visitors, Philadelphia put their quality depth on display, perhaps one of the reasons Nowak felt comfortable trading away Harvey for financial flexibility heading into the July 15 international transfer window.
"I think Gabriel Farfan as a left back did pretty well to replace Jordan," said Nowak. "In the long run, we’re going to look to do better, but as of now, we do have options — and they are good options. [Farfan] is still young and he’s still getting experience. For his first time at this position, for 90 minutes, he did alright.”
Veteran striker Carlos Ruiz was rested after playing three matches in 11 days following the CONCACAF Gold Cup, while recent acquisition Veljko Paunović missed the match with a strained left hip.
The Union created a handful of goal scoring opportunities, but a lack of finishing prevented the East frontrunners from securing three points.
“With the chances, we need to do better, much better," Nowak lamented. "We got lucky when we played DC, but this game we were supposed to win by a couple of goals. Those games last year we lost. This is progress and we are still getting the points on the road, which is important as well.”
“Yeah, absolutely it’s frustrating," added Danny Mwanga, who had multiple opportunities to break the deadlock. "I think we had more chances than they had in the first half, and then in the second half, we dominated until the end of it. It’s obviously frustrating to not come away with a goal, but at the same time, we didn’t lose.”
The draw — Philadelphia's fourth positive result in their last five road matches — gives the Union a share of first place in the Eastern Conference with two matches in hand on the rival New York Red Bulls.
“Everyone worked hard," midfielder Brian Carroll said of Philadelphia's performance in San Jose. "We deserved the clean sheet, I thought, and maybe more out of the game than a tie. But we’ll certainly take one on the road.”
50. Union CEO Sakiewicz making the most of second chances
By Mike Jensen
Philadelphia Inquirer—July 10, 2011
In his office on the top floor of the old Delaware County Electric power plant along the river in Chester, Philadelphia Union chief executive officer and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz points to a photo of the December 2008 groundbreaking at PPL Park just down the block.
"I was in such pain right there," Sakiewicz said as he glanced at the photo of himself with another Union partner. "I hugged him and whispered in his ear, 'I've got to get out of here.' "
Sakiewicz assumed his acute lower-back pain was familiar, from his days as a goalkeeper. Blood tests taken a few days later proved otherwise.
He had leukemia.
Within the week, Sakiewicz received his first dose of chemotherapy.
"We're under construction," Sakiewicz said. "We're trying to close bank loans. Wall Street was burning in 2009, if you remember, so the bond market was freezing up. Delaware County couldn't sell the bonds. I'll never forget, it was Jan. 14th, I was in my hospital bed, getting a dose of chemo. I'm on the phone with our CFO and the bank, negotiating a loan deal. The nurse is looking at me like, 'You're out of your mind, dude.' "
The experiences of Sakiewicz's life might better be understood as hurdles. The 50-year-old former goalie has a self-belief that is hard-earned and helps explain how he was the one who brought professional soccer back to the area and got PPL Park built.
Before coming to Philly, Sakiewicz had dealt with a stream of New Jersey politicians of all stripes, been vilified by the home fans when he ran the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, had felt hamstrung by his own ownership, and learned lessons on how the locker room should be run.
He believes the Union represent his best shot at fulfilling his big soccer dreams.
Now that he is cancer-free.
Soccer ball at his feet
Why didn't his father get on the boat to Buenos Aires? Growing up in Passaic, N.J., Sakiewicz used to joke about that. If the family had caught the other ship, he'd have grown up in one of the great soccer countries.
A missed boat was only part of his family's lore. Nick heard the stories growing up about how his father, of Ukrainian ancestry, was a teenager living in Poland when the Germans invaded.
"They were actually kind of on the way to the labor camps," Sakiewicz said. "The Germans had come into the towns, they were gathering up people to put on the trains. . . . My grandmother, my father, and my uncle were rounded up because they didn't have their papers. My grandfather was a schoolteacher. He got word of this. He had the papers. He came running across town, showed the SS they were not Jewish. They got pulled out of the line. My father was 14 years old at the time."
The family fled to Austria, Sakiewicz said, then moved on to Italy.
"They decided to try to catch the next boat to Buenos Aires," Sakiewicz said. "They missed the boat. They decided they didn't want to wait a couple of weeks till the next boat to Buenos Aires, so they caught the next boat to Ellis Island."
His mother also was from Poland, Sakiewicz said. His maternal grandfather, a sailor, had gotten the family out before the Germans invaded, he said. His parents met in New Jersey. Nick grew up with a soccer ball at his feet. His father had played semi-pro. Nick was an all-American goalie at the University of New Haven, and eventually had short stints in France and Portugal, a season with the New York Arrows of the Major Indoor Soccer League, and a year with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the American Professional Soccer League.
He was in the banking business in San Francisco before signing on to be one of the first employees of Major League Soccer, working on sponsorships. Then the league sent him to Tampa as general manager of the league-owned franchise.
"The first day on the job, I had to deal with a CFO who made off with about $200,000 in ticket receipts. Welcome to the new job, boss," Sakiewicz said. "Morale was really bad. My first week on the job, Thomas Rongen, who was coach of the year, told me he was resigning to go to New England."
After three years, he moved back to his home state as general manager of the MetroStars (now the Red Bulls). "It made Tampa seem like kindergarten," Sakiewicz said.
His primary mission was to get the MetroStars into a soccer-specific stadium. The league had enough proof that sharing football stadiums with NFL teams wasn't the way to go. Sakiewicz's first meeting was with the former mayor of Newark.
"He said, 'So you want to build a stadium in my city. You know, it would be great to have the MetroStars, but you know in this town we take care of people who take care of us.'
"Now I'm a Jersey boy, born and bred, didn't fall off the pineapple wagon yesterday. I knew exactly what that meant, and what I was dealing with. So I said, 'Thank you for the meeting. I don't think this is the place for us.' And I walked out."
His next call that same day, he said, was to the mayor of Harrison, N.J., another potential site."He says, 'I want nothing to do with the MetroStars. You can take your stadium and shove it.' He hung up on me."
It took six years to get that stadium built, but it happened, in Harrison. Sakiewicz made some missteps along the way, like misleading fans about how close the franchise was to a deal. That hurt his image with the fans, a move he seems determined not to repeat. (He also suggests he had little choice at times in choosing some of his words, because he was trying to keep the deal together).
"I took a beating up there by the fans. But you know what? I got it done," Sakiewicz said. "They will never take that away from me."
'We've done a lot right'
Asked what the difference has been in Philly, Sakiewicz immediately said, "Control. I didn't have control of my environment there. . . . Here, I was lucky enough to meet partners who had faith in me to allow me to do that. I met a guy who believed in me, Jay Sugarman. I'm not saying we've done everything right here, but we've done a lot right, and that's because I really have never had anyone in my soup here, so to speak. In New York, I had owners, I had the league, I had fans, I had politicians, fighting the whole thing."
Walking around PPL Park, Sakiewicz pointed to the Delaware River end, explaining how some staffers decided over a bottle of wine one night that the Sons of Ben fan club should have their own section, with their own entrance. He was able to slightly redesign the stadium, getting a little more room in that section where everyone would be standing anyway, an example of the complete freedom in the design.
The Union haven't brought in any huge international stars just to sell tickets. They were relieved early on when they realized they didn't have to, that they could start young and build from there because ticket sales would be robust.
Sakiewicz hired coach Peter Nowak, who is confident in his own technical expertise. He also believes Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson has it right, that no player can be bigger than the club. Even if that seems to be a positive, it ultimately hurts the team, Sakiewicz said.
He knows this is a business.
"Nick loves to get business done," said Randy Bernstein, who first hired Sakiewicz at MLS and now is president of Premier Partnerships, which brought PPL to the Union. "He's the kind of guy, in doing deals, he's not out to beat anybody, he's out to create relationships. If one side wins over the other, it's a short-term relationship."
Sakiewicz said his health problems changed him, no question.
"It's weird to say, but I'm glad I went through that, because I'm a better businessman, I'm a better father, I'm a better husband," Sakiewicz said. "I'm better at a lot of things than I was."
He was lucky, he said, that the leukemia was detected short of the first stage. He was shocked to find he was pain-free after the first chemo, and felt luckier that his own brother was a perfect match for a stem-cell transplant, which greatly reduced the odds of recurrence. The first nine months of 2009 were brutal. He often conducted business from bed as other Union employees filled in, he said.
"He sets his mind to something and is very forceful in getting there," said Mark Abbott, president of Major League Soccer. "But I also find him to be a very optimistic guy. He doesn't get down. Even in the face of obstacles, he doesn't get down."
51. Defender is ready to provide puzzle piece for Whitecaps
By Marc Weber
The Province—July 10, 2011
Jordan Harvey went to sleep Wednesday a starter for the Philadelphia Union, who are battling for first in the Eastern Conference and own the thirdbest defensive mark in MLS.
Thursday, he was traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are battling for respect, and their jobs, and have leaked more goals than all but three MLS teams.
You could excuse some bitterness, but the 27-year-old leftback from Mission Viejo, Calif., said he's already moved on.
"I was a little shocked, just because of where in the standings the Union are and our defence I thought was doing great, but these things happen," he said before the Caps fell 2-1 Saturday to the Colorado Rapids.
"I moving on now and I'm excited about it."
Looking to shore up his defence, Whitecaps coach and director of soccer operations Tommy Soehn sent allocation money to the Union in exchange for the six-year MLS veteran.
Allocation money, distributed by the league and tradable between teams, can be used to buy down salaries against the cap.
Harvey started Saturday and the versatile Alain Rochat played centre back, which is likely where he'll remain for the most part.
While the sudden switch in the standings might have been a shock to Harvey, looking up at the rest of the league is familiar.
Philadelphia was an expansion team in 2010 and finished 8-15-7, third-worst in MLS. And only New England (50) allowed more goals than the Union (49) last season.
Harvey hopes to draw on that experience to help Vancouver (2-9-8) out of its first-year funk.
"I think the Whitecaps are in a position now that I was in last year," he said. "It's a talented team. It takes time and some of the pieces need to be brought in. Hopefully I can be a positive piece of that puzzle and help move this organization forward.
"I've been in this league a while now and I definitely want to influence the guys in the right way."
Saturday, he played a role in Camilo's goal, pushing up the wing and starting a slick passing series.
He also played a role in Colorado's 2-0 goal. It was Harvey's tackle on Brian Mullan that earned him a yellow card and gave the Rapids a free kick that resulted in a rebound goal.
Soehn didn't think much of the call.
"I actually don't think it was a foul," he said. "It was a great tackle. He won the ball. Considering the circumstance, I thought he did a fantastic job for us."
Caps fans are going to have to wait until the Man City game to see Harvey play at home.
The yellow was his fifth of the season, which comes with an automatic one-game suspension, meaning he'll miss their home game against Real Salt Lake next Saturday.
For a first look, Harvey said he was pleased with what he saw Saturday. He's played against the Whitecaps twice this season -a 1-0 win in Philadelphia and a 1-0 loss at Empire Field -so he knows how tough it is to defend Eric Hassli and Davide Chiumiento, two guys the Caps are currently missing to injury.
His focus now is on getting settled as quickly as possible with his new teammates and in a new city. He knows winger Shea Salinas from their time with the Union in 2010. He's also trained with John Thorrington a bit in the summers -both are from the Los Angeles area -and Harvey spent 2006 with Caps' goalkeeper Joe Cannon in Colorado.
"It's about getting comfortable with your surroundings, and the quicker you do that the better it will be," said Harvey, the ninth overall pick by Colorado in 2006.
"Vancouver is beautiful. I think MLS hit a home run. The fans were awesome and I'm really looking forward to the new stadium." on Saturday.