A Few Words With Chivas USA Midfielder Sasha Victorine

Former Galaxy midfielder Sasha Victorine scored two goals in five games after arriving from Kansas in mid-season last year and then suffered the worst injury of his career. I caught up with him the other day after training to get an update on his progress.

Question: How are you doing with rehab?
Answer: I’m not full practicing yet – hopefully in the next couple of weeks. The first four months or so has been good recovery-wise. … The full use of my knee and my body has been a little difficult these last three weeks. We’re still in the process of trying to get my full range of motion – the feeling I can do anything I want on the field without feeling any pain.

Q: So when do they project you should return?
A: Projections for these things are incredible. One guy recovers in nine months, one guy recovers in five months – it just depends. The projection (for me) has always been six to eight (months). But my feeling has always been close to five, so five would put me in the middle of April. I think I’m still on track for it. … I still get occasional pain on certain moves – my turns and acceleration.

Q: It must have been frustrating sustaining an injury of this magnitude so soon after your arrival back in the South Bay?
Q: It was frustrating to me because after I had my injury I felt like I had a chance to make it on the playoff roster and I was two days away from getting back in the lineup … and we found a couple of pieces floating around in my knee and the doctors shut me down and said you’re done for the year. So at that point it was tough because obviously I’m sitting there watching the team play and I knew I felt I could help them if I could just get out there, but I wasn’t allowed to. That was the tough part.

Q: What do you think is causing all these injuries at the club?
A: It’s something we have to look at and see what’s causing it- training-wise, staff-wise, players-wise and see what we can all do to make it better.

Q: Is Preki too tough on you guys?
A: The benefit for playing at a coach at this level, who has played even at a higher level than you, is that he obviously knows what he has done on the field, how to get teams prepared – he’s kind of gone through the same thing. … He does an amazing job preparing guys and getting in hard trainings.

Q: Do you like yoga? (Preki is famous for his adherence to yoga)
A: I like yoga. It’s one of the things I do in the off-season myself just to stay flexible and limber and stuff. I think it is useful. I was talking to Chis Henderson when I was back in Kansas City talking about it is that what he used to do it in New York. And one of the things they had found was if you do yoga, do it on a consistent basis, otherwise you’re more likely to create injuries. You’ve got to do it (at least) weekly, if not then probably not do it at all.

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Let the Saul Shine

The week is young, but this is one of the funnier soccer-related press releases I’ve seen lately (and one of the briefest) from the PR staff of WPS team L.A. Sol in the wake of its inaugural game Sunday in Carson –

Attention media:

Please note that the team name Los Angeles Sol should be pronounced like “Soul” or “Sole” not “Saul.”


Leave it to a bunch of gringos to mispronounce a three-letter word and replace it with the name of someone’s Jewish grandfather, (as one Jewish media colleague of mine observed). “Sol” means “sun” in Spanish, BTW.

The culprits were apparently several media outlets including the play by play team on national television.

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Tuesday’s Column: U.S. World Cup Qualifying

AP Photo


Joy for El Salvador and Eliseo Quintanilla, left, bemusement for the U.S. and defender Heath Pearce, who unwittingly seemed to sum up his Saturday night in this shot as the Americans go a goal down after just 15 minutes.

The U.S. plays Trinidad & Tobago at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday live on ESPN2 and Galavision, just four days after narrowly averting defeat in El Salvador.

I attempted to put the draw that Galaxy defender Tony Sanneh described as a “wake up call” in perspective in today’s column.

Meanwhile, there are no prizes for guessing who the world’s highest-paid footballer is.

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Chivas USA Defender Jonathan Bornstein Added to U.S. Squad & More

Photo by Juan Miranda/Chivas USA


I just returned from Galaxy training this morning where I chatted with Coach Bruce Arena and several players about the atrocious U.S. performance against El Salvador Saturday to discover Chivas USA left back/left half Jonny Bornstein has not surprisingly been added to the roster for Wednesday’s game in Nashville against Trinidad & Tobago.

Bornstein’s versatility should give the left side of the U.S. team added stability given the stuttering performances of the likes of left back Heath Pearce on the weekend.

The Los Alamitos resident hasn’t yet recaptured the form that saw him win the 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year award, but seems likely to add to his 14 U.S. caps in midweek.

I’ll have more on the U.S. Men’s National Team in Tuesday’s column.

*The Galaxy announced today they have sold more than 20,000 tickets for the July 19 friendly against AC Milan at Home Depot Center. All the most inexpensive seats have gone; prices range from $60-$100 for the seats that are left.

*Four players from this weekend’s 2009 Sueno MLS tryouts in San Bernadino have qualified for the final event in L.A. April 9-12. They are: midfielder Mikon Orellana, 15, a native of El Salvador who drove from his Provo, Utah home for the tryout; left back Hector Ramos, a native of Mexican-border town Mexicali; central defender Javier Rodriguez, who commuted (!) between his North Las Vegas home and Southern California Saturday and Sunday to participate; and forward Cesar Silva of Anaheim, a former youth player with Mexican team Atlas.

*Finally, your faithful blogger will be on “Which Way, L.A.?” with Warren Olney tonight on 89.9 KCRW between 7 and 8 o’clock talking about the inaugural WPS game Sunday at Home Depot Center.

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Sol-Freedom Post-Game

Photos by Steve McCrank


It was a different audience from the average Galaxy game.

Game story.

Here’s the take of columnist Jill Painter.

Photo gallery.

Here’s a sampling of the reaction to the game.

Washington Freedom Coach Jim Gabarra on the atmosphere:

“It was great; obviously a world class stadium. I was very pleased with the product on the field. From my experience, the level of play was better than that of the WUSA inaugural game.”

Sol Coach Abner Rogers’ assessment of the game:

“To open up the inaugural season and come out with a victory is very pleasing. There were times when we played very well, but fitness was a bit of an issue for both teams, as you could see. It is only going to get better. I was definitely happy. We dodged a few bullets; even though we came out with a good victory, it was very beneficial.”

Sol midfielder Shannon Boxx on the atmosphere surrounding the game:

“People are excited. They had a fun time. It was an exciting match both ways. People have to realize it’s just going to get better. This is just our first game. We’re going to get better as a team. D.C. is going to get better as a team.”


Abby Wambach on how the Freedom are coalescing:

“We’re still trying to learn about each other. It’s going to take time. We have a good coaching staff in place that is not freaking out. We have experienced players on the field that aren’t freaking out. We just have to take it one step at a time. And we might have to suffer some losses and learn some tough lessons. Obviously, one of our main objectives today was to shut Marta down and I think we did a really good job of it.”

On how the WPS compares with the WUSA:

“Apples to oranges. Different time, different players, different feel. The WUSA was great for what that was worth; it was a stepping stone to where we are now. We have our own professional league again and more than anything that is the most important thing.”

On how it feels to play competitive soccer again:

“I feel like a little kid, like I’m learning for the first time again. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t played on a consistent basis for eight and a half months I just feel so blessed to be out here – to be able to run around and get sweaty – to play with people that I care about.”

On the atmosphere:

“It exceeded my expectations; I didn’t think there would be this many people here. I think the Sol put on a great game, a great venue. Fortunately for them they came out with a win and it will probably keep some people coming back to this venue.”

i-941b3242ba40411a2adc6734ae694361-briana0002.jpgWashington Freedom goalkeeper Briana Scurry on how the team played in only its third full game together:

“We’re still getting to know each other and figure out how each other plays, tendencies and whatnot, but I thought we played pretty well considering the short notice. It was tough for both teams to play a week earlier (than other WPS teams), but it was good in the sense that now we have a game we can look at and say ‘what do we need to work at’ for the next game.”

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Final Result: Sol-Freedom

Sol 2 Freedom 0

It was more than a little disjointed at times and occasionally it seemed like the vast expanse of Home Depot Center turf was swallowing up the 22 players, but an announced 14,832 saw the Sol win the first-ever WPS game Sunday at Home Depot Center.

Camille Abily sealed the win in the 87th minute from an assist by Marta after the Freedom were caught pressing forward for the equalizer.

The closest the Freedom came to a goal was in the 64th minute when Lori Lindsey hit the post. The Freedom had just two shots on target the whole game (the Sol had eight).

Complete game stats.

More after the post-game press conference.

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Half Time: Sol-Freedom

It’s 1-0 Sol.

Nothing spectacular from either team, but a good solid start for the Sol – and league.

The Sol had the better of the attacking play, with the Freedom prompting just two saves from Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc.

Marta has looked a little isolated up front at times though.

“Clearly the level of play is extremely high and I hope the fans are having a good time, too,” Commissioner Tonya Antonucci said at half time in the press box. “This crowd is definitely something that’s exceeded my expectations.”

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Sol-Freedom at Home Depot Center

Allison Faulk scored the first-ever WPS goal from a sixth minute header off a Aya Miyama free kick.

There’s more than 10,000 here, according to Twittering Sol GM Charlie Naimo.

The Sol lineup: goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, defenders Kendall Fletcher, Allison Faulk, Bittney Bock, Stephanie Coxx; midfielders Aya Miyama, captain Shannon Boxx, Camille Abily, Manya Makoski, Han Duan, marta.

The Freedom has Briana Scurry in goal, U.S. international Cat Whitehill in defense and Abby Wambach up front.

Aly Wagner has Twittered ladies and gentlemen: “Not a bad start!”

Updated: The Twittering is coming thick and fast – Wagner’s so nervous she “can’t even eat my sandwich that I made n brought…not so much a fan of stadium food…no offense oscar meyer.”

Updated (43rd minute): “Certainly not a clinic for the final pass but nice to have a lead,” said GM Naimo.

Responded Wagner: “That’s cause I’m on the bench mr. Gm sir!!”

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Final Result: Chivas USA at FC Dallas

FC Dallas 0 Chivas USA 2

Two delightful second half goals by Mexican striker Eduardo Lillingston and Serbian midfielder Bojan Stepanovic proved enough to dispatch Dallas on their home turf and send the now 2-0 Chivas USA to the top of the MLS standings (where they are tied with expansion team Seattle).

The first goal came from a lovely setup by debutant Gerson Mayen, whose precise delivery enabled Lillingston to glide the ball home virtually without breaking stride in the 56th minute. It was almost the first thing Lillingston had done all game.

The second came all of six minutes after Stepanovic had entered the game for Lillingston. The Serbian seized upon an opportunity to pick up a loose ball deep in the Dallas half in the 75th minute, ran at a startled Steve Purdy and helped himself to a goal on his MLS debut.

Dallas falls to 0-2.


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