U.S. Soccer Monitors Honduran Unrest Ahead of Oct. 10 WCQ; Galaxy’s Donovan Says U.S. Still Shows Inexperience

Here’s the latest on whether the U.S. qualifier will be moved, which could well help the American cause if it’s played in another country:

NEW YORK (AP) — Soccer officials are watching the security situation in Honduras, hoping they won’t have to move next month’s World Cup qualifier against the United States.

Airports have been closed since Monday, when violence began after ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned to Tegucigalpa.

The United States is to play Honduras in San Pedro Sula Oct. 10 and would clinch its sixth straight World Cup berth with a win.

“It’s too early to stay where it stands, but certainly we’ll watch what’s going on,” FIFA
executive committee member Chuck Blazer said Wednesday. “The preference is to obviously keep it on site.”

Blazer, the secretary general of the Confederation of North and Central American Football, said a decision will be made by FIFA in consultation with CONCACAF.

He said he hopes for a determination next week and said it will be depend on security and airport access.

“We’re continuing to monitor the situation and in contact with CONCACAF and FIFA,” U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said.

And here’s Donovan on the U.S. team:

NEW YORK (AP) — Landon Donovan occasionally forgets just how young and inexperienced the U.S. national team is.

“Sometimes you get frustrated and you want us to handle things more maturely, but then you realize what we’re dealing with,” the midfielder said Wednesday. “The hope is that we’re learning a lot, we can still get through qualifying, and when the World Cup comes we’re better for it.”

The next test: a road match at Honduras on Oct. 10, when the Americans can clinch their sixth straight World Cup berth with a win.

Donovan was in New York on Wednesday with former U.S. teammate Brian McBride and retired Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos to play a new educational video game with high school kids. The game, from Visa, uses soccer to teach financial literacy.

The U.S. failed to win its first three road qualifiers this year before finally earning a
victory at Trinidad and Tobago on Sept. 9. And that was only a 1-0 decision after a listless first half.

As Donovan was quick to point out, the United States can still secure a spot even if it fails to win at Honduras. The Americans would just need a tie against Costa Rica in Washington, D.C., four days later. They’re 17-0-1 at home in qualifying since 2001.

The 27-year-old Donovan knows what’s in store at San Pedro Sula: heat, humidity, a hostile crowd and a harsh field.

“It probably won’t look much like a typical soccer game,” he said. “It will probably be pretty scrappy.”

While Donovan is well aware that the U.S. can still advance without a victory at Honduras, he doesn’t need to be reminded of what can happen in soccer when a team’s fortunes rest on just one game.

“I don’t want to leave that to chance,” he said. “We’ve all been in games where you just pummel a team for 90 minutes and they sneak a goal somehow and they end up winning,” Donovan added. “It’s not easy. We’re going to go with the mentality that that is the game we need to win. If not, it’s going to be a little hectic, a little pressure-packed.”

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Wednesday ChivaClasico Gameday & More

For those of you not heading to tonight’s Chivas-Chivas USA game at 8 o’clock in Pasadena, know that Galavision will carry the friendly live.

Read what players think of the game here.

Incidentally, this game is being billed as the first between the teams in American soil because the two met in a charity game in Guadalajara two years ago. However, that game featured guest players on both squads so technically today’s game is the first proper game between the two clubs – period.

I’m guessing Chivas USA’s Marcelo Saragosa will get quite a few minutes after MLS suspended him Monday for an additional game and fined him an extra $500 for his unnecessarily spiteful little flick of his foot on Fredy Montero’s throat/neck in the 72nd minute of Saturday’s game in Seattle. Total damage for the moment of stupidity: $1,000 fine and missing crucial games against the New York Red Bulls this weekend and D.C. United Oct. 3.

BTW, MLS Cup is off the ABC schedule and on the ESPN one – in prime time up against Sunday Night Football. Read the rationale behind the move here.

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The Spirit of AYSO

Still friends, even after the game

i-4739e48bd7bc5252f8f2781d9b0973d7-kids0002.jpg Lakers player Jett Hays, 7, left, and buddy Timmy Kacius, 7, of the Green Angels leave the Hull at Levy Field in Torrance Saturday on the second weekend of American Youth Soccer Organization play in AYSO Region 15. The Lakers won 3-2 with Jett scoring two goals. (Photo by Tim Kacius).

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Tuesday’s ChivaClasico Column & More

I previewed Wednesday’s Chivas USA-CD Guadalajara game Wednesday at the Rose Bowl. Read the column here.

BTW, two Chivas USA players – Gerson Mayen and Jorge Flores – won’t play because they, along with UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk and midfielder Michael Stevens, are in Egypt preparing for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup that starts Thursday.

ESPN will show all 52 games from the tournament, most on ESPN 360.com.

All three of the U.S. group games will be on TV, however:

*6:55 a.m. Saturday ESPN Classic U.S.-Germany
*9:40 a.m. Tuesday ESPN2 U.S.-Cameroon
*9:40 a.m. Oct. 2 ESPN2 U.S.-Korea

ESPN will also show the final Oct. 16.

A tournament preview is here.

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College Roundup

Sunday’s games:

SMU 1 Cal State Northridge 2
The Matadors won the Prego Italian Express Invitational in Dallas by finishing as the only undefeated team; seniors Cameron Sims and Dylan Riley got the goals while
sophomore Rafael Garcia provided two assists in the win over the hosts.

Pepperdine 1 Sacramento State 0
Freshman Callie Payetta’s second goal in two games gave the 5-2 Waves the win.

UCLA 5 Missouri 0
The Bruins won their sixth straight with sophomore Sydney Leroux getting things started with a goal after just 77 seconds; she was later red-carded, as was UCLA Coach Jill Ellis in separate incidents.

San Diego State 2 Cal State Long Beach 1
The 49ers fall to 4-4 despite a goal from sophomore Nicole Hubbard.

Oklahoma 0 USC 1
Courtney Garcia’s ninth-minute goal gave the Trojans (5-3) their fourth straight win.

Loyola Marymount 3 Dartmouth 2
Two goals from junior Rafael Baca at the San Diego Nike Classic gave the 18th-ranked Lions (4-2-0) the win over No. 5 Dartmouth.

Loyola Marymount 2 Utah 2
LMU twice came back from a goal down to earn a 2-2 double-overtime draw to go undefeated at the UCLA Women’s Cup.

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Galaxy-Toronto Postgame

Galaxy 2 Toronto FC 0

Game story

i-e4f2f83c8fd063acb8969db43c2a584f-buddle.jpgToronto’s Nick Garcia paid close attention to Edson Buddle. (AP Photo).

Best line of the night goes to Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena explaining why last weekend’s debacle and this Saturday’s game were so dissimilar:

“In all honesty Dave Sarachen coached the team last week and this week I was fully in charge.”

Arena on the differences between last week and this week:

“Last week’s game against Dallas was a lesson for us and hopefully it got our attention. It appears like it did and if that makes us a better team down the stretch, great. I’m not sure I did anything different this week than I did last week. It is was it it is. There’s an expression: shit happens. And it certainly happened last week. I can’t explain it. I’m happy it passed though.”

Arena on Sean Franklin’s progress:

“Sean probably learned a lot through observing over the last three to four months. … He played a very intelligent game tonight. I would have thought that after some of the runs he made tonight in the first half his runs were certainly going to be limited. … Sean worked his tail off the past four months and got himself into the sort of physical condition you saw tonight. It was remarkable. … I’m still shocked we got 90 minutes out of him. He looked like a much more mature player than I saw last year.”

David Beckham on the rebound win:

“This week we worked well in training. The manager shouted at us every day and sometimes you need a kick up the backsides to get going and we deserved it – we deserved a kick up the backside after last week.

On whether this was his best performance in a Galaxy jersey:

“I don’t know I’ve had a couple of good ones and a couple of bad ones, but tonight I was happy with my goal. I’m always happy when I score. I was happy with the assist I gave to Landon, then to Eddy, but it was the overall performance of the team that was the exceptional thing tonight.

On his rapport with Chris Burchall:

“He’s come in, he’s worked really hard for the team and he’s done well. We understand each other with the language thing so it works well.”

Here’s Burchall on his role in the game:

“It gives a license for David to get forward and take a bit of a risk because I’ll be filling in from behind. It’s the way I like it and it’s just nice to get 90 minutes.”


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Sigi Strikes Out

Seattle Sounders 0 Chivas USA 0

i-c5473b8acdb6bacf24ba6a66c27bbc22-sigifirstpitch.jpgSeattle Coach Sigi Schmid threw out the first pitch Friday at the Mariners-Yankees game. (AP Photo)

Ghastly offense (as usual), generally excellent defense (as is customary) gave Chivas USA the road point today.

Marcelo Saragosa excepted, of course, after throwing the most blatant kung fu kick at a soccer game since Eric Cantona. How many consecutive games with a red card is that for Chivas USA now? Chivas USA were forced to play a man down for the last 20 minutes or so.

Notable: Zach Thornton was man of the match, three excellent saves keeping Chivas USA in the game.

Quotable: “We knew it was going to be a tough game here,” said Chivas USA Coach Preki. “We knew that they were desperate for points like we are. We knew defensively we had to be very strong and not allow them to get behind us. I thought we worked really hard and Zach [Thornton] made a couple saves for us and we got the point.”

Chivas USA XI: Zach Thornton, Marcelo Saragosa, Jonathan Bornstein, Yamith Cuesta (Claudio Suarez 66), Ante Jazic, Jesus Padilla (Maykel Galindo 59), Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 58), Paulo Nagamura, Sacha Kljestan, Justin Braun, Maicon Santos.

The missing: DF Jim Curtin (L ankle surgery); MF Kevin Harmse (R knee tendonitis); GK Dan Kennedy (R knee surgery); FW Ante Razov (R ankle tendonitis); MF Sasha Victorine (concussion); GK Lance Parker (R quad strain); FW Eduardo Lillingston (R knee sprain); and MF Jesse Marsch (L calf strain).

Game story.


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Final: Toronto at Galaxy

Galaxy 2 Toronto FC 0

Edson Buddle made it two in the 83rd minute, stroking home the ball from seven yards out off a one-time pass from Landon Donovan who had tapped along a low David Beckham cross. That’s Buddle’s fifth goal of the season and his second in two games.

The Galaxy should have scored more, Beckham most notably squandering an opportunity in the 80th minute after Chris Birchall had again set him up with a pass from a long Landon Donovan cross field ball.

Still, Becks was the Galaxy’s man of the match tonight, looking busier and more interested than he has for some time. He received a huge ovation when he was replaced by Jovan Kirovski in the 89th minute.

The win means the Galaxy keep pace with Houston (who beat Real Salt Lake 3-2 tonight) and remain second in the Western Conference.

BTW, 10-man Chivas USA drew 0-0 with the Seattle Sounders after Marcelo Saragosa got himself sent off 20 minutes from the end of regulation with a stupid and nasty-looking foul on Fredy Montero.

More later.

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Halftime: Toronto at Galaxy

Galaxy 1 Toronto 0

Better from the Galaxy this week (could it get any worse?) helped considerably by a brittle-looking Toronto defense.

David Beckham could have had a second goal just before the break, a Julian de Guzman headed clearance of an Eddie Lewis cross falling perfectly for Becks about 22 yards out. He sent a slashing shot pinging off the foot of the far post with the goalkeeper beaten.

Becks also saw a free kick almost sneak in at the near post in the 25th minute

The Galaxy have also looked vulnerable at the back on occasion too, notably when de Guzman sent Ali Gerba through. Gerba’s slight touch from seven yards out required a sprawling Donovan Rickets to get a foot on it to deny the goal.

Chris Klein is out warming up, BTW, so it looks like he’ll come on at the half. One press box colleague believes it’s Chris Birchall who will come off, so we’ll see. (Updated: Klein came in for Eddie Lewis, who has a left ankle sprain).

Key stat: one shot for Toronto in the first half.

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