Saturday Soccer Gameday: Blanco, Chivas USA, World Cup Final Preview & More

Blanco en Fuego

It will be fascinating to see the reaction of Chivas USA’s Legion 1908 to Blanco tonight when he walks out on the field at Home Depot Center with the rest of the Chicago Fire. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m., although if you’re watching on TV FSN has delayed airing the game until 8 p.m.

It will be no where near as friendly as at LAX Thursday when Blanco was greeted by Club America fans.


I’ll blog from the press box as usual.

Chivas USA beat writer Ivan Orozco filed this Blanco profile and game preview.

World Cup Final Preview

While the fallout from the U.S. loss continues before the 1:55 a.m. Sunday third place game on ESPN2, U.S. Coach Greg Ryan has confirmed goalkeeper Hope Solo has been

Torrance’s Shannon Boxx is suspended for the game after her red card that really wasn’t in the loss to Brazil.

Meanwhile, Ajax America Coach Brian Boswell provides the pregame analysis of the enticing Brazil-Germany matchup in the final set for 4:55 a.m. Sunday on ESPN that’s mandatory viewing for any soccer fan:
Current champions Germany, with four wins, a tie and most importantly, no goals conceded, are extremely well organized.

They play a 4-4-2 system with overlapping outside midfield players. Look out especially for the lightning quick surges from Kersten Garefrekes (two goals) on the right.

Their 19 goals have come from a variety of players with their world class forward Birgit Printz and playmaker Renate Linger getting four apiece

Veteran Kirsten Stegeman anchors the defense and is the calming influence on a young back line that includes 22-year-old Annike Krahn.

The Germans have struggled at times, especially in the first half of each game; they need to start better against a free scoring Brazil side that starts fast. They must play the ball quickly to avoid the Brazilian offensive pressure.

The defense must remain compact and keep its shape and not be pulled apart by the Brazils creativity.

Germany must make the most of its free kicks in the Brazilian half. Brazil does not defend well from dead ball situations and goalkeeper Andreia has not really been tested.

Brazil, fresh from a resounding 4-0 victory over the U.S., are a joy to watch. In team possession, individual creativity, solid defense and confidence, theyve got it all. If you watched the game with the U.S., its hard to believe anyone can beat them.

Marta was superb, the fourth goal possibly the best you will see in womens soccer. They boast attacking threats all over the field with Marta, Cristiane, Daniella and Formiga all capable of working their way inside the box or shooting from distance.

Defensively I was surprised how quick Brazil was to pressure the ball and how strong they were.

The Brazilians, as is their heritage, have great technical ability. Add that to a Brazil that is playing well as a team, and Germany have their work cut out for them.

Look for Brazil to get into their rhythm early and try to pull the organized Germans all over the field. Brazil will then attack quickly through a combination of passing, individual skill and shots from anywhere. If they get Germany on their heels as they did the U.S. they will score and score. Germany must start playing right from the whistle, keep compact and play down the outside. If they can stifle the Brazilian offense and possess the ball, the experience and goal scoring ability of Prinz and Linger will put goals on the board for Germany.

Expect goals.

Prediction: Brazil will win 2-1 or 3-2.

Friday’s College Roundup

After missing all of last year with a knee injury, including the first seven matches of this season while at the Womens World Cup in China, Canadian international striker Kara Lang returned to the college game in a big way Friday evening, scoring both UCLA goals in a 2-1 overtime upset of No. 2 Portland at Drake Stadium.

Lang, whose last game college game happened to be against Portland (7-2) in the 2005 NCAA Final, opened the scoring after just eight minutes with a 30-yard strike. Portland equalized eight minutes from time, but Lang scored her second seven minutes into overtime.

UCLA (5-1-2) extended their home winning streak to 31 matches.

Next: San Diego State Friday in San Diego.

Senior Jamie Bell continued her goal-scoring binge for the Lady Lions, finding the net for the third consecutive game as Loyola Marymount defeated 3-1 Friday afternoon at Sullivan Field. The Lions have won five straight to post the program’s longest winning streak since 1998 and tie the school record.

The 5-3-1 Lions can break that record 1 p.m. Sunday against UC Riverside at Sullivan Field.

No. 14-ranked USC (7-1-1) beat Long Beach State (6-4-0) 3-0 Friday before a record crowd of 954 for a women’s soccer match at LBSU.

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