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Chivas USA road trip part 3: Off to the Emerald City

 Posted by on August 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm  Uncategorized
Aug 132011

Chivas USA move on to their third of five consecutive road matches as they travel up North to CenturyLink Field formally known as Qwest Field to face Western Conference rivals Seattle Sounders. The match kicks off today at 1:00 pm PT.

The Rojiblancos are coming off their 3-2 victory against the New England Revolution this past weekend and will be trying to record their first back to back road victories of the season today. Chivas USA have 29 points this season, and are in sixth place in the Western Conference.

Last weekend saw Chivas USA end a five-game winless streak on the road. Chivas forward Alejandro Moreno returned to the starting lineup for the first time since June 11, and scored a brace making it five goals and two assists this season for the Venezuelan.

The match also saw the debut of midfielder Laurent Courtois who came on in the second half.

Chivas’ performances this season has been a vast improvement than the season prior. Justin Braun and Nick LaBrocca have been essential to this with both players scoring seven goals this season, with Braun recording two hat-tricks. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy has also played his part recording seven clean sheets this season.

Chivas have a tough task ahead as Seattle have won six of their last eight league matches, and have lost just once in MLS play since the beginning of June. The Sounders are also expecting to have Brad Evans, as well as O’Brian White and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado back in the lineup today.

Last season the Sounders won 2-1 at home after the teams played to a 0-0 draw at the Home Depot Center last August.

A Date with the Galaticos, But First That Team from Seattle(Again)

 Posted by on July 13, 2011 at 4:08 am  Uncategorized
Jul 132011

If you’ve been anywhere near LA in the past month, you’ve surely heard about “Carmageddon.” For those not in the know, I’m referring to the coming “Carpocalypse” resulting from the shutdown of a highly traveled stretch of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. And while “experts” are predicting a traffic jam to end all traffic jams, the Galaxy will meet the most popular team in the universe, Real Madrid, on Saturday at the LA Coliseum.

But first, they’ve got a date with the Sounders Wednesday.
Yes, they played the Sounders already twice this season, both home and away. And yes, they are undefeated against the team in rave green (1 win, 1 draw). However, Wednesday’s game in Seattle will be a win or go home affair.
The Galaxy will be traveling to Seattle to take part in the quarterfinal round of the US Open Cup, America’s oldest soccer competition. The Sounders, the holder’s of last years Cup, will likely meet a very different Galaxy starting XI than they saw last week in LA. Once again the Galaxy backline will likely feature changes with defender AJ De La Garza still recovering from the concussion he received in the last meeting with Seattle. De La Garza should be available to coach Bruce Arean after training yesterday, but defender Gregg Berhalter will be more likely to start after going the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 win over Chicago Saturday.
With the friendly match against los Blancos of Real Madrid and a midweek tilt with Columbus looming, it will be interesting to see what other changes Arena institutes. In many ways, the starting XI the Galaxy field will give fans a look into the team’s intentions for the Open Cup. Arena does have both Donovan and Beckham at his disposal, after both started and completed the match against Chicago, but he may look to rest Beckham, recently back from injury, with the upcoming congested fixture list.
Although they’ve captured the Open Cup and been runner’s up twice, in recent years the Galaxy have put little stock into the Cup. With the MLS Cup remaining the team’s ultimate goal, and again with the lack of rest between matches, it’s unlikely Arena will have a change of heart. Expect the Galaxy to start with a slightly weakened squad, with the stars ready to conduct a rescue mission if needed.
That being said, the match-up many are looking forward to will take place this Saturday. And although it is only a friendly, the match will feature the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso and more from the famed, and former Beckham side, Real Madrid.
The “Special One” Jose Mourinho and his squad arrived in Los Angeles yesterday, and if the packed press conference is any indication, we are in for a much hyped and well attended match at the Coliseum. The friendly will be the first of Madrid’s preseason, and for the Galaxy the second of three matches in a week. It’s likely with such a high profile team in town, every player on the Galaxy squad will hope to see big minutes in the match. However, Arena will have keep on eye on man-management with the midweek match against Columbus.
Now for a few brief Toe Pokes:

- Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Omar Gonazalez and Sean Franklin were all named to the MLS All-Star Starting XI at halftime of the Timbers and Sounders match. The quartet earned their spots via fan vote, and Franklin’s nod will be the first of his career. They’ll face Manchester United on July 27 at Red Bull Arena in New York.
-Speaking of former Beckham sides, the game against United will be his second in less than a month versus one of his former teams, and his first against United in a Galaxy jersey (he faced United before while on loan with AC Milan).
- And speaking of Manchester. The second of the Galaxy’s high profile friendlies will take place just days before on July 24 at the Home Depot Center when they take on the blue side from Manchester, the Citizens of Manchester City.

MLS Debutant Shines in Dour Draw

 Posted by on July 6, 2011 at 5:02 am  Uncategorized
Jul 062011

In the first MLS match of his career, LA Galaxy third-string goalkeeper Brian Perk saved a penalty and earned a shut out, as the both teams finished scoreless. The draw extended the Galaxy’s and Sounders’ unbeaten streaks to 11 and seven games respectively, but closed the gap at the top, as FC Dallas is hot on the Galaxy’s trail.

Perk, making his debut due to an injury to staring keeper Donovan Ricketts and backup Josh Saunders being shown a red card last match, was sharp early as the Sounders sent a number of crosses into the keeper’s area in an effort to test the newbie. The early balls would do little to rattle the rookie, as Perk’s first career MLS save that would be his biggest on the night.
In the 17th minute, Sounder’s forward Freddy Montero’s cheeky flick straight into a bicycle kick from the center of the area was met by Galaxy centerback Omar Gonzalez’s left arm. Match referee Ricardo Salazar immediately pointed to the spot, and Montero would step up in an attempt to finish the move he started.
Unfortunately for him, Perk was up to the challenge.
Montero struck his spot kick low and to the right, but much too close to the Galaxy keeper. Guessing correctly, Perk easily parried the attempt with is right hand, allowing the Galaxy to clear. The save would prove to be the biggest on the night by either side, earning the Galaxy goalkeeper a shutout in his debut.
Sadly, the Galaxy could not capitalize on their keeper’s stellar penalty save, or even the return of their leading scorer, Landon Donovan. Star midfielder David Beckham would also return in this match, making an appearance as a substitute after sitting out the past three games with a stress fracture in his back. But all was for naught, as the team once again struggled to find the net, and Seattle appeared content with a nil-nil draw.
The draw extends the Galaxy’s unbeaten streak to a season high 11 games, but with teams like the Sounders and FC Dallas, the league’s hottest team, making up serious ground on the Galaxy, the unbeaten streak may not be as beneficial as it seems on the surface.
With 36 points this campaign, the Galaxy continue to occupy the MLS’ top spot, and remain front runners for the Supporters’ Shield. However, teams are queuing quickly behind the Galaxy, and FC Dallas’ recent 9-1-3 run, including a comprehensive victory this past weekend, has seen them close to within two points of the Galaxy with two games in hand.
While the unbeaten run has been unprecedented in the MLS this season, and a showcase of the Galaxy’s stellar back four, it has been their inability to find consistent scoring that has allowed the rest of the league to keep pace. Of the 11 games unbeaten, the team has drawn six, with three of those draws being 0-0 affairs.
In the last match, disappointing forward Juan Pablo Angel was the most dangerous player on the pitch for the Galaxy, but still displayed the lack of sharpness in front of goal that has held him to just three goals on the season. Making matters worse, his predominant striking partner, Chad Barrett, still has not seemed to find a way to mesh with the Colombian, and their combined seven goals on season is less than Donovan’s season total on his own (8 goals, even after missing time for the Gold Cup). It would be in the Galaxy’s best interest in the open transfer window to consider their options in attack, and look for a consistent scorer able to turn their run of one point games into three-pointers as quickly as possible.
Next up for the Galaxy is another home match this coming Saturday against the Chicago Fire. With the 11 game unbeaten streak on the line, the Galaxy will need to seize a seemingly easy opportunity to snag all three points and get out of their doldrums.

New Kit, Familiar Opponent

 Posted by on July 2, 2011 at 6:31 pm  Uncategorized
Jul 022011

On Friday, the LA Galaxy unveiled their new third jersey in downtown LA. At the event, fans got a chance to mingle with their favorite Galaxy players, and be the first to witness the new dark blue and gold kit.

The team’s new colors, referred to by the Galaxy officials as “Punjab and Light Oil Gold” (who are we kidding it’s dark blue and gold), will be worn when the Galaxy take on the Seattle Sounders this 4th of July at the Home Depot Center. The regular season match will be the Galaxy’s second tilt with the Sounders this year, and the start of a run that will see them playing three games in 8 days.
After dropping the Sounders from the MLS playoffs last season, the Galaxy opened the 2011 season with a road win in Seattle, 1- 0. On Monday, the Galaxy will look to continue their dominance of a Sounder team they have beaten in five consecutive matches (including playoffs).
However, the Galaxy will be without two key players, Donovan Ricketts and David Beckham, for the match, as each player is out injured (Ricketts is out long term with a fractured ulna, Beckham is still having issues with his back). With backup keeper Josh Saunders earning a straight red card in the last match, in the nets will be MLS debutant Brian Perk.
Perk, the Galaxy’s third-string keeper and a standout goalie at UCLA, had a dry run in the team’s USOC match against the LA Blues last Tuesday. Perk did well, and the Galaxy pulled out a 2 – 1 win to advance to the USOC quarterfinals. Coincidentally, their upcoming quarterfinals opponent on July 12 will be the same Sounders’ team Perk will get his debut against.
On the upside for the Galaxy, Landon Donovan, the team’s leading scorer, has returned from Gold Cup duty with the US Men’s National Team. The USMNT lost in heartbreaking final to Mexico last Saturday, and Donovan will be anxious to erase memories of an up-and-down tournament. Look for him to slot back into his free role in midfield, supporting the likely forward choice of Chad Barrett and Juan Pablo Angel.
For their part, the Sounders have been one of the hotter teams in MLS as of late. Their recent 6-game unbeaten run has seen them pick up three straight victories and close the gap between themselves and the first place Galaxy to just four points. If the Galaxy are to keep their own 10-game unbeaten streak moving forward, they’ll need to exhibit much more urgency and energy than they did against San Jose last week.
Monday’s game will be on ESPN2 at 7:30pm. Expect the HDC to be rockin’ as the Galaxy don their new third jerseys in what has become a growing rivalry between Seattle and LA in the past couple of seasons.