Weekend College Roundup

The college season has started:
UCLA 2 Bakersfield 0 – Palos Verdes Estates’ Kyle Nakazawa got the first goal Sunday in the 24th minute, and freshman forward Dakota Collins scored in the 61st minute.

Pepperdine 2 Marquette 1 – Los Alamitos High product Dakota Collins Sophia Medina (oops) scored the winner Sunday in a come from behind victory.

Long Beach State 2 Fresno State 0 – Sophomore Shawna Gordon led the 49ers with a goal and an assist Sunday, while junior Lindsay Bullock also scored.

Cal State Northridge 3 San Diego State 1 – Heidi Farran, Niki Connolly and Sonia Espitia collected goals Sunday while Kelley Ross and Marie Hirsch added assists and Leah Elliott had eight saves for Northridge.

Texas A&M 3 USC 0 – No. 7 beats No. 8.

UNLV 0 LMU 2 – Freshman Cori McGovern and junior Julie Gallaudet scored Friday.

Northridge 0 San Diego 3 - No. 13-ranked San Diego defeats the Northridge women.

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Chivas USA Postgame

Game story.

MLS standings. Note that Chivas USA have three games in hand over the Galaxy and could vault over them Wednesday with a win in Salt Lake City before Saturday’s SuperClasico.

Bonus quotes;

Here’s Preki on getting a second straight win after not winning for two months before that:

“Obviously, we had a couple of new guys and it’s not always easy to gel right away with your teammates, but I thought both of those guys the longer the game went (on) they settled in and they both played better, especially in the second half. This is a period of a little bit of a readjustment for us, a few new faces and hopefully we can survive this period. … I thought the defensive effort of our team tonight was very good – it reminded me of the old days. We can build on it. The group is now getting bigger, we’re getting healthier. “

Preki on new striker Maicon Santos, a Brazilian who has played in Israel, Tunisia and Libya:

“He’s a target guy, he can hold the ball. He’s good with his feet even (though) tonight I thought in the first half he lost it quite a few times. But he has a really soft touch. You can see on the second goal when he plays Sasha (in). He plays him a ball that not too many players can (make). He has a lot of talent. The thing for him is how fast can he settle in this league, how fast can he learn about the physicality of this league and if he can do that I think he’ll be an important player here.”

On whether Sacha Kljestan is returning to form:

“I think so. He’s been working really hard in training, we’ve been talking. We’ve looked at a couple of different videos trying to get him back to where he was because we all know Sacha has a lot of talent and when Sacha comes to play, when he really wants to play, Sacha is one of the better players in the league, so I think it’s a good sign. I thought he had a really good game. I thought he worked hard defensively, too. We just hope he keeps going because if he plays like that – obviously his goal is to go to the national team, World Cup, things like that – if he plays like this the door is open for him.”

On the debut of midfielder Jesus Padilla:

“I thought he was nervous first half – new building, new locker room, new teammates. He’s been here three-four days. (He’s been) trying to settle down. He’s a young player who hasn’t played a lot of minutes. I thought the first half was iffy for him. In the second half he was a little more aggressive and he played a better second half, although he could have made a couple of better decisions in the final third. But he at least has offensive instincts and we can hope he can only gets better.”

Goalkeeper Lance Parker, who endured that horrendous debut against Colorado Aug. 8 where he let in two goals in four minutes, was considerably more psyched with his shutout:

“I’m pretty excited about it – a lot better than the Colorado game a few weeks back. The guys made it real easy for me. (I) Didn’t have too much to deal with though.”

(I’ll say – Toronto couldn’t conjure a shot on goal; bet Danny Dichio who was left back in Canada could have done better than that).

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Galaxy at D.C. United

D.C. United 0 Galaxy 0

i-cf6b51cac1c69de63b236216fe1fc3cb-last dance.jpgSave the last dance for the Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant and DC United’s Luciano Emilio. (AP Photos)

You can always rely on Washington Post reporter Steven Goff for an elegant and thorough game story.

For comparison, check out the AP version. Yikes!

i-87ea82aadb5b67ccbd02a50ed3c19c81-beefcake.jpgObligatory, gratuitous Becks beefcake shot.

With two games at Home Depot Center today, I managed to see only the final 45 minutes of the game between bites of a sandwich at a pub. I saw little of note from the Galaxy.

What did you think? One reader of this blog described the Galaxy performance as a “debacle.” Harsh? Accurate? Are we back to blandness? Chime in.

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Final: Toronto at Chivas USA

Chivas USA 2 Toronto 0

A scrappy little shutout win that at times wasn’t necessarily pretty, but did the trick going into next weekend’s SuperClasico against the Galaxy (Chivas USA also travels to Real Salt Lake Wednesday).

Sacha Kljestan had his first two goals of the season and it should have been more for Chivas USA – substitute Paulo Nagamura should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat about four minutes from time.

Chivas USA were helped by Toronto repeatedly squandering scoring opportunities – most notably Adrian Serioux whiffing on the ball in the second half with the goalmouth yawning before him, for instance.

Striker Maicon Santos was impressive on his debut, although he left the game in the 65th minute suffering from cramps.

Attendance: 15,165

More later.

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Update: Toronto at Chivas USA

Chivas USA 2 Toronto 0

Brazilian Maicon Santos is turning into quite a find for the club.

Santos, who had several bright moments in the first half on his debut had his brightest of the game when he ran at Toronto’s defense in the 51st minute, held the ball up perfectly for just a moment to freeze defenders and then efficiently slipped the ball to Sacha Kljestan who scored his second of the game (and season).

This is the best Chivas USA has looked in months, frankly.

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Update: Toronto at Chivas USA

Chivas USA 1 Toronto 0

Sacha Kljestan has just scored his first goal of the season for Chivas USA.

The move started from a Cary Talley corner in the 32nd minute.

The ball came to Jesse Marsch on the other side of the penalty area who lobbed in back in. Maykel Galindo nodded it toward goal where a lurking Kljestan had the simple task of tapping it in.

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Toronto (8-7-6) at Chivas USA (9-7-3)

It’s the second game of the day here at Home Depot Center and I’m running late because I snuck out to catch the 0-0 Galaxy-D.C. United game. Not a great decision.

Chivas USA have both their recent signings – midfielder Jesus Padilla (in place of Bojan Stephanovic) and striker Maicon Santos (in for “Chucky” Chijindu) – on display this evening after winning for the first time in more than two months against the hapless Red Bulls last time out. Goalkeeper Lance Parker deputizes for the injured Zach Thornton (who suffered a quad strain in training Thursday), while Sacha Kljestan slides from left to right in midfield.

Chivas USA XI: Parker, Trujillo, Bornstein, Talley, Jazic, Padilla, Marsch, Saragosa, Kljestan, Galindo, Santos.

Toronto features the midfield pairing of Dwayne De Rosario and Amado Guevara.

The game has just started – it’s on Prime.

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WPS Championship Final

Sol 0 Sky Blue FC 1

A team that barely got into the playoffs has just beaten the dominant team of the regular season.

i-0beaa49b4a6f3e3430d45d5844788bc6-marta.jpgIt was that sort of day for the Sol and Marta (AP Photo).

The Sol never got their attack in sync today; frankly there was more urgency in the line outside the women’s restroom at half time.

FC Sky Blue outplayed them in virtually every facet of the game, especially with a defense marshaled by central defender Jen Buczkowski alongside player-coach Christie Rampone.

Torrance’s Shannon Boxx perhaps had the best Sol chance of the second half with a rasping 72nd minute shot that required a diving save from Sky Blue goalkeeper Jenni Branham.

Marta couldn’t even hit the target from a stoppage time free kick and the league’s highest-paid player surely should have done better than that.

Questions:
Does this make Christie Rampone Coach of the Year, despite her short tenure? (Yes)
Was the straight red the deciding factor or the generally lethargic air around the Sol? (No and yes)

The Sol will literally leave this game with nothing; there are no medals for the losing team.

MVP was Sky Blue’s Heather O’Reilly

Attendance: 7,218.

More later

i-059fa5d1e36a8dcbf04daddc2ac3dad1-bluesskies.jpgIt was blue skies for Sky Blue FC after beating the Sol at Home Depot Center.

Updated:

Here’s Sol Coach Abner Rogers on his team’s performance:

“They started it off very well, they got the upper hand, we gave them too much space. … Had we got a goal I think we would have gone on and won the game.”

Here’s Rogers on the straight red card in the first half:

“I didn’t feel it was a red card, it was a poor decision. … Stephanie Cox was a covering player, it wasn’t a last defender (call) and there wasn’t a blatant tackle. It was a clumsy tackle and it was a questionable yellow.”

Key stat: The shots were 9-1 in favor of Sky Blue FC in the first half and 7-3 in favor of the Sol in the second.

BTW, referee Kari Seitz said in a written response to questions after the game that Allison Falk’s red card had nothing to do with whether she intended to foul Natasha Kai or not. Instead she took into consideration the distance between the foul and the goal, the likelihood of Kai keeping the ball had she not been challenged, “the location and number of defenders” and the fact Kai was “denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.”

I’m not sure that clears much up.

Here’s Sky Blue player-coach Christie Rampone (sporting a 4-1 record at the helm after taking over July 29) on whether she wants to keep the job next season:

“I still want to play the game. I’m retiring as coach for now until I’m done playing.”

Here’s MVP Heather O’Reilly on the end to the season and the unexpected success of the team:

“It’s very surreal. I don’t think its sunk in. … The irony of the entire story was just incredible.”

Here’s Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc on the absence of Camille Abily:

“Camille is a fantastic player, she creates a lot. Obviously we miss her and I’d be lying if I told you we didn’t … It could have been the same result. it could have been better.”

Finally, here’s Rogers’ illuminating response on why the Sol lost:

“We lost the game because we didn’t score any goals – that’s the bottom line.”

Remember, you read it here first.

Psst: Wanna party with the WPS champions? Well, don’t tell anyone you read this here, but I’m told they will be celebrating at Hennessey’s on Pier Plaza in Hermosa Beach.

Updated: BTW, a Home Depot Center staff member I know really well showed me a pic he took from the camera on his cell phone of the blackboard in the Sky Blue locker room after the team had left (I should have had him e-mail it to me). It read: “Shit outta luck.”

Which pretty much summed up the the Sol’s day.

Updated: here’s a complete game story from the victor’s perspective.

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Half Time: WPS Championship

Sol 0 Sky Blue FC 1

It’s a well-deserved lead for the underdogs against a flat Sol. Coach Abner Rogers removed midfielder McCall Zerboni for defender Sharolta Nonen after the straight red, but the Sol will need to do more than that to come from behind. Which team had the most rest coming into this game anyway?

To call the Sol one-dimensional at this point would be an understatement. Sky Blue FC has had the better of the attacks and that seems strange to say against a team that was so dominant going forward in the regular season.

The consensus up here: the Sol badly miss midfielder and second leading goalscorer Camille Abily, who is back in Europe playing for France.

And remember, the team that scores first in WPS invariably wins.

BTW, I’ve been designated the pool reporter up here and will ask referee Kari Seitz what that extremely questionable red card was all about. I’ll try to phrase it tactfully. (Supposedly it was because Kai was denied a “goal scoring chance,” BTW).

Key stat: Sky Blue has nine shots on goal, the Sol just one.

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WPS Championship Update: Sol-Sky Blue FC

A straight red for Sol defender Allison Falk in the 27th minute after she clipped an on-rushing Natasha Kai from behind.

A poor decision by referee Kari Seitz in a championship game this early that changes the complexion of the match; no way did that look deliberate. It was just a clumsy, almost accidental touch. And I don’t believe Falk was even the last defender back anyway.

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