Sol 0 Sky Blue FC 1
The improbable story of Sky Blue FC continues.
A 16th minute cross by Sky Blue midfielder Keeley Dowling that was nodded on by Natasha Kai and met by Heather O’Reilly from eight yards out provided the opening goal.
The Women’s Professional Soccer championship is on at 1 p.m. on Prime. Alternatively, wander over to Carson and catch the game for $20.
Saturday rerun: My column from earlier in the week.
I’ll blog from the game.
Sol XI: Karina LeBlanc, Stephanie Cox, Brittany Bock, Allison Falk, Manya Makoski, Aya Miyama, Aly Wagner, Shannon Boxx, McCall Zerboni, Marta, Han Duan.
Sky Blue FC: Jenni Branam, Keely Dowling, Jen Buczkowski, Christie Rampone, Meghan Schnur, Yael Averbuch, Francielle, Heather O’Reilly, Natasha Kai, Rosana.
Expect the Sol to come out fast.
He’s 25-year-old Brazilian forward Maicon Santos, who has trained with the club since Aug. 3.
Santos comes on loan from Brazilian club Bonsucesso and is eligible to play Saturday against Toronto.
“Maicon is a strong forward who can give us a spark in the attacking third,” said Chivas USA Coach Preki, who desperately needs to bolster an anemic attack (last week he signed young striker Jesus Padilla from CD Guadalajara).
Santos has also played for clubs in Tunisia, Libya, and Israel.
Also Friday, Chivas USA placed midfielder Kevin Harmse on the disabled list with right knee tendonitis. Acquired in June from Toronto, the former Galaxy midfielder has yet to play a minute for his latest club.
The U.S. Women’s National Team plays Germany Oct. 29 in Augsburg, one of the venues for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. A top-class match-up between nations that haven’t met in nine years – and naturally there’s no TV coverage in the U.S.
Ah well, that’s not the case for many games this weekend. As always, click the link to the right for full details, but here’s the games I’ll be paying attention to this weekend:
*6:55 a.m. ESPN2HD Wigan Athletic-Manchester United (this is pretty much a derby for those who don’t know their English geography. Can Wigan pull a Burnley?)
*7 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel Manchester City-Wolverhampton Wanderers (a match-up between the EPL’s newest moneybags and the newly promoted)
*11:30 a.m. FSC AC Milan-Siena (Serie A opener)
*1 p.m. Prime WPS final between the Sol and FC Sky Blue (Tickets start at $20 for this game at the HDC for those who prefer to be there live)
*2 p.m. FSC Hull City-Bolton Wanderers (Will Jozy Altidore play in his first game for Hull?)
*4:30 p.m. FSC D.C. United-Galaxy (David Beckham and Eddie Lewis return from one-game suspensions)
*7:30 p.m. Prime Chivas USA-Toronto (The flailing Goats’ first game in a month at home and with every adult ticket purchased starting at $15 a kid – um, child that is – gets in free)
*8 a.m. FSC Fulham-Chelsea (with Clint Dempsey, who signed a new deal with Fulham this week, presumably leading the charge)
BTW, the college season is getting under way and locally the No. 17 boy Bruins get things started against Bakersfield at 3 p.m. Saturday at North Athletic Field. Admission is free. (The No. 3-ranked women visit top-ranked North Carolina Saturday, BTW).
In Long Beach, it’s the 49ers against Fresno State at 3 p.m. Sunday at George Allen Field.
(At this point I plan to blog from both games at the HDC Saturday, so check in for the latest as the weekend progresses).
First-choice goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts needed 10 stitches to close a gash on his eye brow suffered in a 85th-minute clash in the comfortable win Wednesday against the Chicago Fire. Ricketts was removed and replaced by Josh Saunders.
Club officials said they’ll know more about Ricketts’ status after a scheduled training session in D.C. later today, but he’ll likely be listed as “probable” for Saturday’s game against United.
Dema Kovalenko, meanwhile, removed at the half of Wednesday’s game, did not suffer a new injury, but felt a twinge in the calf issue he’s continuing to recover from. Galaxy officials are simply wary of pushing him to do too much too soon.
And, since readers keep asking, neither Alecko Eskandarian or Edson Buddle are available this weekend; neither made the road trip and they are officially listed as day to day (or if you prefer, week to week).
Meanwhile, having disposed of a out of form Fire team that was limited to precisely zero shots on target, the Galaxy will face a similarly stumbling D.C. United team that has just one win in its last seven games and has lost three straight.
Is this a team in crisis? You decide.
*Read the details about how defender Christie Rampone became the third Sky Blue FC coach this season. They face the Sol Saturday in the WPS Championship at Home Depot Center.
*Both the Rose Bowl and L.A. Memorial Coliseum (among 32 stadiums) remain in contention to host games if the U.S. wins the World Cup bid in either 2018 or 2022, the U.S. Bid Committee announced today. Among the 11 cities eliminated: Vegas and Real Salt Lake. Among the 27 cities still in: San Diego and Seattle. The formal bid must be submitted to FIFA by May.
Chicago Fire 0 Galaxy 2
The Galaxy’s Mike Magee is denied by Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch. (AP Photo).
Games like these can change the direction of a season.
The Galaxy (8-4-10) got better as the game wore on, the 9-5-8 Fire worse at a sold out Toyota Park.
The result was a Galaxy away victory; they’re now second in the Western Conference although Seattle can retake the automatic playoff spot with a win Thursday over New England.
The Galaxy were in total control of this game; Chicago – on an off night – barely got a glimpse of goal.
Even better were the inventive and measured moves offensively (since when did Mike Magee and Jovan Kirovski become a fluid attacking duo?), Landon Donovan’s return to a rapacious mood and the defensive solidarity of A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez that managed to compensate for Gregg Berhalter’s hesitance.
Some of the slickest moves on the season were on display tonight combined with a methodical take down of the opponent.
Said Alecko Eskandarian on his Facebook page: “Huuuuuuuge win for us tonight.”
And Eddie Lewis and David Beckham return from suspension for Saturday’s game against D.C. United.
“Tonight was not our best night all around,” said Fire Coach Dennis Hamlett. “For whatever reason – big game, big crowd – we weren’t sharp from the get go. There was no sense of urgency. There’s some credit to LA – they came in and were well organized. They got behind the ball and waited for us to make mistakes.”
Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts (Josh Saunders 85), Todd Dunivant, Gregg Berhalter, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Dema Kovalenko (Chris Klein 46), Landon Donovan, Chris Birchall (Tony Sanneh 68), Stefani Miglioranzi, Mike Magee, Jovan Kirovski.
Rolling Hills Estates’ John Thorrington played the full 90 for the Fire.
What deficiencies or strengths did you see in the Galaxy? Is this reality or a false dawn?
Perhaps the most unlikely of opponents. And Sky Blue have never beaten the Sol.
“We play for each other and that’s the way we play,” said Sky Blue’s Natasha Kai. “When we win for each other it’s the best feeling. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had, we’re the fourth seed and now were in the championship. Athletica is a tremendous team and we went in this game giving them everything we got and it payed off. The best team won tonight.”
Tweeted the Sol’s Aly Wagner at about 8:30 p.m.: It shall be done:)
The 7-4-10 Galaxy play the 9-4-8 Fire in Chicago live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m.
A Galaxy win would vault them over recent conquerors the Sounders for second place in the Western Conference; a Fire victory would see them pull within a point of Eastern Conference leaders Columbus (who incidentally beat the Puerto Rican Islanders 2-0 in the CONCACAF Champions League last night, winning on a goal by Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers). But the Galaxy have never won at Toyota Park (in four attempts); the Fire won both games (home and away) against the Galaxy last season.
Both David Beckham and Eddie Lewis are suspended because of their straight red cards against the Sounders (and these are two of the team’s wise veteran leaders?).
BTW, Galaxy striker Alecko Eskandarian remains out injured, but he’s been talking up this auction on his Facebook page being held by his favorite charity (hmm, would you pay at least $50 for Sacha Kljestan’s 2009 MNT Confederations Cup jersey?).
From the press release:
Cal South teams have captured 28 youth soccer national championships this decade. The high level of play throughout their leagues has produced more than 30 percent of U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team members. Cal South’s State and National Cup are the two largest and most prestigious youth soccer tournaments in Southern California featuring more than 2,000 teams. Off the field, Cal South is engaged in several urban outreach initiatives throughout Los Angeles and runs the annual Soccer Nation Expo, the largest free soccer family expo in the United States, held each year at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
*Pepperdine plays at Cal State Fullerton at 1 p.m. Wednesday.