While Kevin Hartman’s fictitious cat wasn’t called upon it was striking how many players with Southern California roots played influential roles Saturday in the MLS playoff openers.
Exhibit 1: Pasadena’s amazing Yura “Boots” Movsisyan who scored a 90th minute winner for the second consecutive week for Real Salt Lake against Chivas USA.
“In my career, I never thought that would ever happen to me,” the former Pasadena City College standout said to The Salt Lake City Tribune of his cheeky back-heel. “I always thought I was going to earn every goal I scored. But I guess you have to have some luck, too, once in a while, and I think it’s the right time to get lucky.”
It was his seventh goal in nine games. I’d say he earned his luck Saturday.
Exhibit 2: Lawndale’s Kei Kamara, who couldn’t score in San Jose, but has had much more success with the Houston Dynamo where he contributed an opportunistic 85th minute equalizer against the Red Bulls Saturday to salvage a 1-1 draw.
Said Dynamo Coach Dominic Kinnear to the Houston Chronicle:
“It was a great play by Kei to be able to get a toe on it. “We always say that when you’re in the box, just hit low and hit on target, and good things can happen.”
And remember, the former Leuzinger High star was suspended for the last two games of the regular season.
Check out the highlights and don’t miss Juan Pablo Angel’s excellent goal either.
Exhibit 3: In Kansas City former Galaxy, Cal State Dominguez Hills and UCLA goalkeeper Kevin Hartman relinquished a goal two minutes into second half stoppage time to send the Wizards back to Columbus for the second game tied 1-1.
The equalizer came after former Galaxy forward Herculez Gomez got himself sent off for a two-footed on a Crew defender. Until then the Wizards had largely limited Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers and the rest of the Sigi Schmid-led Crew to a relatively quiet day, although Columbus did hit the bar twice in three minutes in the second half.
The Wizards must now beat the MLS regular season winner in their own stadium to advance:
“Now we’re not going there to try and protect a lead, we’re going there to try and win, which gives us a little bit more incentive, makes it so we’re not playing tentatively,” Hartman said. “We look forward to it. It’s going to be difficult, but to be the best, you have to beat the best team. We’re ready.”