Half Time: San Jose Earthquakes at Chivas USA

No goals in a rather uneventful first half that saw few clear-cut chances for either team.

Wide open Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan had the best opportunity, receiving a nice lay-off from Ante Razov, but shooting straight at goalkeeper Joe Cannon from about 12 yards with the net yawning before him.

Atiba Harris also shot wide in stoppage time, but for drama that was about it. San Jose finished the half with no shots on target

The Earthquakes’ Ramiro Corrales was replaced in midfield by Kelly Gray in the 15th minute after spraining his left knee while tackling Harris.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

San Jose Earthquakes (5-9-6) at Chivas USA (6-9-5)

Five changes for Chivas USA tonight with a CONCACAF preliminary round game looming Tuesday in Panama as Coach Preki tries to rest some starters, while defender Cary Talley is the latest to join a long injury list with a thigh strain. Six players are still out including striker Maykel Galindo

Zach Thornton is in goal, while Jim Curtin replaces Claudio Suarez as the long defensive change. The rest of the back four: Jonathan Bornstein, Shavar Thomas and Francisco Mendoza.

Kraig Chiles gets a start in midfield, while Sacha Klejstan returns from the Olympics to start along with Paulo nagamura and young Jorge “Sueno” Flores.

Up front, Ante Razov returns for his first MLS start since July 10 to partner Atiba Harris.

Defender Bobby Burling is on the bench, alongside Suarez, Lawson Vaughn, Alecko Eskandarian and Roberto Nurse.

The Earthquakes have former Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon between the posts and former Chivas USA defender Jason Hernandez in the back four.

Former Norwich City star Darren Huckerby makes his Home Depot Center debut in midfield, while the attackers are Scott Sealey and Arturo Alvarez.

No local TV for tonight’s game.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Chivas USA Saturday Gameday & College Scores

With our Chivas USA beat writer out with pneumonia (it seems sort of fitting given the team’s list of casualties) this was the preview in today’s print edition (in its entirety):

San Jose (5-9-6) at Chivas USA (6-9-5)

*WHEN – 7:30 p.m.
*WHERE – Home Depot Center
*RADIO – 690 AM
*OUTLOOK – The teams are separated by just two points at the bottom of the Western Conference. Chivas comes into the game with three losses in its last four games, while the Earthquakes have won two in a row and are unbeaten in their last five games. The teams are coming off opposite 4-0 results: the Earthquakes beat New England, 4-0, at home last weekend, while depleted Chivas USA lost to Houston on the road by the same score Wednesday.

And that’s it.

So let’s fill in the blanks.

First, here’s the injury report:

CHIVAS USA — OUT: FW Justin Braun (R ankle sprain); MF Jesse Marsch (fractured jaw); DF Lawson Vaughn (R knee sprain); MF Raphal Wicky (R ankle surgery); DF Alex Zotinca (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: FW Maykel Galindo (sports hernia surgery); PROBABLE: DF Jonathan Bornstein (R hip strain); FW Alecko Eskandarian (sports hernia surgery); MF Jorge Flores (R ankle tendonitis); FW Ante Razov (L knee sprain); DF Claudio Surez (concussion) … SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: FW Gavin Glinton (R adductor strain).

Here’s the view from San Jose.

But for me the main reason to go to today’s game is to check out the skills of former Norwich City forward Darren Huckerby (full disclosure: the Canaries are my English team).

Here’s a sampling of what Hucks is capable of (as Galaxy fans already know):

Incidentally, Chivas USA is offering a special Internet ticket deal for the game with seats starting at $10.

Women’s college scores Friday:
USD 0 USC 1.
Cal State Northridge 2 San Diego State 1.
Long Beach State 4 Gonzaga 0.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Women’s College Soccer Season Starts For USC, CSUN and Long Beach State

*The No. 1-ranked Trojans open their season with the first of three straight road games visiting No. 25 San Diego for a 7:30 p.m. Friday clash.
*Only one starter is gone from the 2007 roster that went 20-3-2 and brought home the Trojans’ first-ever NCAA women’s soccer championship.

Cal State Northridge
*The CSUN women host San Diego State at 4:30 p.m.

Cal State Long Beach
*Long Beach State, winners of the last two Big West regular season titles, opens up the 2008 campaign at 1 p.m. Friday against Gonzaga.
*The 49ers return 10 of 11 starters from a team that went 13-7-0 last season and was picked to finish second in the Big West behind UC Santa Babara this year.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Fire-Galaxy Post-Game

Bruce Arena
Photos by Scott Varley

Watched and blogging my fourth game in 24 hours or so.

Stand back and no one will get hurt.

This was one of those nights when the press conference was more interesting than the actual game.

We had a local lad having a great night, a new famous coach at his first game and Brian McBride back in MLS.

Here’s Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena on his first game in charge against the Fire:

“I think they’re one of the better teams in the league and I thought they came out well and put us under a lot of pressure early. It took us about 20 minutes to get settled.”

On the Galaxy and what the team needs:

“The effort for 90 minutes was good. The organization of the team was improved, but certainly not good enough. We’re missing a few players at the attacking end of the field to help make us a little bit better and that was pretty obvious.”


On the goal:

“We lost the ball in a bad spot on the field and did not react well as a group. Give Thorrington credit, It was a very good finish.”

Arena on the Carlos Ruiz transfer:

“My preference would be to have Carlos here as well as Eddie Lewis. … Some moves had to be made. We talked to a number of teams not only on Carlos, but some other players. But in order to to be able to sign Eddie Lewis – who is a player I think this teams needs and will help us make better – we had to make a roster move. And there were certain financial implications involved with it. The other part of that equation is you need to look at that as not only a short term move, but a move that allows you more flexibility in the off-season as you try to improve this roster.”

On Eddie Lewis, who Arena had observed earlier was out indefinitely after the World Cup qualifying lunge he suffered in Guatemala until he had some tests:

“He’ll need some tests to make sure there aren’t any issues so we need to wait and see,” he said. “We want to take the right precautions to make sure they’re aren’t any issues you can’t tell by touching, feeling. I think he’s got to have a scan.”

Brian McBride on Bruce Arena: “He’s a great coach. If you look at his record everywhere he’s went he’s made a team better. When given time he’s done some amazing things. So I expect him to succeed greatly. I have the utmost respect for him as a coach, as a person and I wish him the best.”

Goalkeeper Steve Cronin on the goal:

“Some goals are saveable, (Yes, he said that) some aren’t. I felt I did everything I could on that one. I saw it fine and everything. It’s disappointing to give up a goal that started with a bad pass in midfield and a guy comes 30 yards down the field and finishes it and nobody steps to him.”

The Palos Verdes Peninsula’s John Thorrington played a starring role in the game before South Bay family and friends.

Here’s Thorrington on how his career has turned around after getting waived by the Fire and having tryouts with the Galaxy and Chivas USA:

“I had some time away from the game last year when I wanted to come back and play at home and it didn’t work out,” he said, adding Coach Dennis Hamlett gave him another chance toward the end of last season. “As soon as Dennis got the job he was very clear with me with what he expected and put some faith in me and I think we’ve got a team where I can play a role that suits me. … It’s a nice phase in my career right now.”

On how the Fire play without Blanco: “We’re obviously a bit younger when he’s not on the field (laughter all around the press conference). We do miss his playmaking ability and his ability to make passes out of nowhere. We become so reliant on him because he is so good so I think it’s a good exercise for us.”

Game story.


Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Final Result: Chicago Fire at Galaxy


What’s that noise? Ah, the final whistle thankfully is here. This was one of those nights to stay home and watch synchronized diving or dressage rather than endure a game of over hit crosses, flubbed back passes and inaccurate shots.

John Thorrington of the Palos Verdes Peninsula saved the game from complete non-event status with a swerving shot from 19 yards served to him on a platter by Brian McBride to give the Fire a 1-0 win.

It was his fifth goal of the season and some will recall it was the former Manchester United youth player who ensured the Galaxy didn’t make the playoffs last year, scoring the winning goal for the Fire in the last game of the season.

Thorrington tried out for the Galaxy (and Chivas USA) after the Fire initially waived him before picking him up again so maybe he’s motivated or it’s all those friends and family in the crowd.

Take a bow, John (actually he did – two of them – in his goal celebration).

Apart from that there was little to recommend this game. It was one of those you want to keep Eurosnobs away from so they don’t rail against MLS.

It was as if, said a press box joker dryly, both teams had a player of two missing.

Yes, quite.

If Bruce Arena had any illusions about the enormity of the task facing him he surely didn’t after an ill-advised Sean Franklin back pass was missed by Greg Vanney in the 78th minute right in front of goal. Chris Rolfe pounced upon it, but didn’t make the Galaxy pay. Goalkeeper Steve Cronin appeared so amazed as Vanney shuffled off I don’t think he knew which defender to yell at.

For those keeping count at home, the Galaxy winless streak is now up to nine games.

Back with more later.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Half Time: Chicago Fire at Galaxy

This is a game stunning in its mediocrity and as one press box wit pointed out if you change the names this could be Scunthorpe verses Grimsby. And that’s probably being unkind to Grimsby.

The first half highlights consisted of a wide open Alan Gordon missing a header from all of five yards out (never seen that before have we?) and a great Steve Cronin fingertips save (how many times have I written that this season?) that pushed a Chris Rolfe shot onto the outside of the far post.

I’m off to get a coffee so I can stay awake.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Chicago Fire (9-6-5) at Galaxy (6-8-6)

Turns out Bruce Arena’s first Galaxy team looks a lot like Ruud Gullit’s last team – not that he’s got many options of course.

David Beckham is on his way to China for the Olympics closing ceremonies, Landon Donovan is recovering from last night’s Guatemalan hackfest, um, game, Carlos Ruiz is now a Toronto player, eh, and new signing Eddie Lewis has the evening off too, recovering from the nasty blow to the head he took, no doubt.

Arena’s big change – moving Chris Klein off the back four and into midfield.

The Galaxy lineup: Cronin, Franklin, Roberts, Vanney, jazic, Klein, Pires, vagenas, Allen, Buddle and Gordon.

Chicago is without Blanco, too, Rolling Hills Estates John Thorrington (Chadwick School) starts in midfield and Brian McBride leads the attack.

Back later with more.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Toronto Completes Trade For Ruiz and the Galaxy Sign Former Bruin Eddie Lewis

i-bdef3e898a0fd6c2de2b33fe0ebe1691-TS08-Galaxy.SV-641.jpgRuiz is on the run; we won’t be seeing him in a Galaxy jersey again.

The short second stint of striker Carlos Ruiz with the Galaxy is officially over, paving the way for the team to sign U.S. international Eddie Lewis.

Presumably Lewis could play tonight against the Fire.

Ruiz had just one goal in 10 appearances for the Galaxy this season and missed almost two months of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

The two official press releases are below, but for me the most interesting thing about the Ruiz move is that it’s an essentially an admission by the Galaxy that their “risky” move of signing a handful of expensive, big-name players this season was a failure. Did they make a similar mistake to Real Madrid in signing their version of the Galacticos?”

I asked David Beckham about that on Monday and he stiffened, looked peeved, folded his arms and said:

“I don’t see the mistake, personally – We’re good players. … It’s up to other people to make their comments about whether it’s a mistake or not.”

Here’s the Toronto press release on Ruiz’ signing:

Toronto FC announced Thursday that they have acquired forward Carlos Ruiz from the L.A. Galaxy in exchange for a first-round pick and a second-round pick in the 2009 MLS Supplemental Draft and salary budget considerations. As per team regulations contract details were not disclosed.

“We’re looking forward to bringing in another quality striker,” said manager, director of soccer Mo Johnston. “We’ve now got Barrett and Dichio who is on the road to getting healthier and this will also help bring young Ibee (Ibrahim) along properly. We’re very excited to get Ruiz in here – he holds the ball up well and is a clinical finisher.”

Ruiz, 28, is known as the best pure goalscorer in MLS history. He leaves L.A. as the second leading scorer in Galaxy history with 50 regular season goals for the club, and helped the team to victory in the MLS Cup in 2002. The forward is the all-time leader in postseason goals in MLS, and is currently 8th on the All-time goals list with 82.

Ruiz began his professional career with his local club CSD Municipal in Guatemala City in 1995. In 2000 he went to Europe and signed with PAS Giannina of Greece on loan but returned to Guatemala the following year. In 2002 he joined Major League Soccer signing with the Galaxy, and in his first season he scored 24 goals and adding one assist in 26 games. That year he was named to the MLS Best XI and named league MVP. Ruiz set a new MLS record that season for game winning goals with nine. He registered seven multi-goal games that year.

In 2005 Ruiz was traded to FC Dallas for a 2nd round draft pick and an undisclosed amount of money. After spending three seasons in Texas, Ruiz returned to the Galaxy, and in exchange, FC Dallas received allocation money and L.A.’s natural second round draft pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. The forward injured his knee in the season opener in 2008 keeping him out of the lineup for the better part of a month. His first goal of the season came July 19 in a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls.

Internationally, Ruiz has been a member of the Guatemalan National Team since 1998 and is their current leading goal scorer. He has over 70 caps for his country and was a member of the squad during World Cup qualification campaigns in 2002, 2006, and is presently involved in 2010 qualification. In 2002 he scored eight goals in nine matches during qualification and again led the team in scoring in 2006, helping Guatemala reach the final phase of qualification but narrowly missing out on a chance to travel to Germany for the 2006 World Cup. However, Ruiz did make history in 2008 when on June 14; he broke Juan Carlos Plata’s all-time individual goalscoring record for Guatemala, by scoring four goals against Saint Lucia in their 2010 World Cup qualifying opening match. That feat made him the first Guatemalan player to score four times in a match as he surpassed the old mark of 39 goals set by Plata.

And here’s the (edited) Galaxy press release on Lewis:

The LA Galaxy today signed U.S. National Team midfielder Eddie Lewis. The Galaxy held the top spot in the MLS Allocation Table and have used that position to acquire Lewis, a Cerritos, Calif. native who played for the U.S. National Team in their 1-0 road win over Guatemala last night in a World Cup Qualifier. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“I strongly believe that Eddie Lewis will be an outstanding addition to the Galaxy,” Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena said. “He brings great experience to the club and will be a wonderful addition to our locker room and is a player that the fans are sure to support. I have known Eddie for a number of years, I rate him as a first class player and person and I’m honored to welcome him to the Galaxy family.”

“Unfortunately, the sport of soccer is also a business and in order to bring Eddie to the Galaxy we were required to make salary budget space available and our only available option was to move Carlos,” Arena added. “Carlos is proven to be one of the great goalscorers in the history of this league and I have the highest regard for him. We wish him the very best in the future.”

A veteran left-sided player with both MLS and European playing experience, Lewis comes to the Galaxy following a one-year stay with Derby County of the English Premier League. Prior to joining Derby, the 34-year old had stints with fellow English sides, Fulham, Preston North End and Leeds United, as well as a four-year stay with San Jose of Major League Soccer, with who he began his professional career in 1996.

After playing four years at UCLA and helping the Bruins to a 67-14-4 record during his time in Westwood, Lewis was selected by the San Jose Clash (now Earthquakes) in the Third Round of the 1996 MLS College Draft. In four years with San Jose, Lewis became an integral member of that club, appearing in 115 of the club’s 128 games, scoring nine goals and adding 35 assists. He set a career-high with 14 assists in 1997 and matched that figure in 1999 when his four goals and 14 assists in 29 games earned him a spot on the MLS Best XI.

Following the 1999 MLS season, Lewis signed with Fulham of the English First Division (now English Championship). He appeared in a handful of games in his two and a half seasons at Craven Cottage before signing with fellow First Division side Preston North End in the summer of 2002. He appeared in more than 100 games for Preston, during his three seasons with the club and narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League in 2004-05, when his side were knocked off by West Ham United in the Championship Playoff Final. After that season, Lewis joined Leeds United of the League Championship and helped that club reach the Playoff Final, only to fall one step short of qualifying for the Premier League.

After two seasons at Leeds, Lewis signed with Derby County, who had just been promoted to the Premier League. He played 27 games in all competitions for Derby last season, and left the club by mutual consent earlier this month in order to sign with the Galaxy. He will join up with the rest of his new teammates in Los Angeles today after retuning from National Team duty.

A true left-sided player who is capable of playing both in midfield and at left back, Lewis has also made his mark with the U.S. National Team, with who he appeared in both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. In 81 career appearances with the Red, White and Blue, Lewis has 10 goals and 16 assists, including an assist on Landon Donovan’s goal in the 2-0 win over Mexico in the Round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup. He scored his 10th National Team goal in July when he captained the U.S. to a 1-0 win in Barbados.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

U.S. Women Withstand Withering Brazilian Attacks To Grab Olympic Gold

Brazilian attacks constantly threatened the U.S. goal. Below, Marta bedevils Kate Markgraf.
i-50f2fdfd8bd4982e20a29d0e0b8e8ddd-Beijing Olympics Socc_benn-2.JPG
AP Photo

Redemption for goalkeeper Hope Solo, revenge for the Americans and a delay in declaring a Brazilian women’s soccer dynasty as the U.S. tenaciously hung on to win 1-0 today in China over Brazil to win the gold medal.

Game story.

The box score tells the story – including 14 corner kicks for Brazil – of the Brazilian dominance.

Notable: Amy Rodriguez, who got the assist on the U.S. goal, became the first non-swimmer at USC to win an Olympic gold medal.

U.S. defender Kate Markgraf on whether she ever doubted the team would win the gold medal in light of all the adversity:

“I don’t think we ever doubted but we just didn’t think about it. Also, after the first game we had our backs against the wall and we had no choice but to fight. All 18 of us. There isn’t a star on this team, there are 18 great team players. That’s how we won tonight.”

Below, Natasha Kai, left, and Heather O’Reilly exult in the U.S. victory.
i-41e641933033d5cc13e6a8e63b0cc82a-Beijing Olympics Socc_benn-1.JPG
AP Photo

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email