Tag Archives: Chris Pontius

LA Galaxy Opening Day 2-1 Smash

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Diego Polenta, Jorgen Skjelvik; Jonathan dos Santos, Servando Carrasco; Romain Alessandrini (Emmanuel Boateng 20’), Emil Cuello (Efrain Alvarez 60’), Uriel Antuna (Chris Pontius 78’); Zlatan Ibrahimovic ©.

A sold-out crowd of 25,866 LA Galaxy fans came alive at Dignity Health Sports Park on March 2, 2019, even in the rain.

Fans traveled far and wide to view Beckham’s Statue. Fellow MLS Female reporter, Araceli Villanueva, visited from Kansas City, MO, pictured with LA Galaxy reporter Michelle Huitink
(Photo by Michelle Huitink)

Opening day hype began with the reveal of David Beckham’s Statue, a project two years in the making. The event was open to the public and hosted by Fox commentator Rob Stone. Other Galaxy legends in attendance were Robbie Keane, Todd Dunivant, Mike Magee, Cobi Jones, and Mauricio Cienfuegos. Former Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, club president Chris Klein, AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman and Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean were also present. Beckham was also honored at halftime by being only the fourth player to be inducted into the Ring of Honor, joining Doug Hamilton, Cobi Jones and Cienfuegos.

Rob Stone, Fox commentator, hosts Beckham Statue unveiling
(Photo by Michelle Huitink)


Beckham Inducted into Ring of Honor at half time
(Photo by Michelle Huitink)

Seven-year-old singing sensation Malea Emma returned to give her inspiring rendition of the national anthem, which definitely got the stadium pumped.

Saturday night was head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s debut  for the LA Galaxy and the MLS. Other debuts included Diego Polenta, Uriel Antuna and Emil Cuello. They were key to getting the ball moving forward.

The first half showed much-improved squads for both teams. The Galaxy made good crosses and passes, but most were intercepted by the Chicago Fire. Anyone who could score was being serviced, not just Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which was a strong change for the Galaxy’s strategy.

Emmanuel Boateng had to be subbed in early for Romain Alessandrini, who pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring strain.

Bingham’s performance all night showed he’s in top form. The only time he was scored on was when he was left hanging against CJ Sapong, who took advantage of a wide open net to put Chicago up 1-0 in stoppage time.

Four minutes into the second half, the Galaxy found themselves down and fans feeling the ghost of seasons past haunting them. Still, fans roared on, encouraging the players as they made their runs and created chances.

The much needed offensive spark came from 16-year-old Efrain Alvarez. By subbing on for Emil Cuello, he became the youngest player to play an MLS match for the LA Galaxy. Eight minutes later, Daniel Steres was able to score a header on a cross from the teen’s left foot.

Confetti on the field after LA Galaxy celebrate goal
(Photo by Michelle Huitink)

Chris Pontius was also a game-changer. Alvarez flicked the ball to the midfielder whose shot hit off the crossbar, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic was there for the rebound and scored what would be the winning goal in the 80th minute. The final score of the eventful night was 2-1. The Galaxy pulled off a victory that brought back the feeling that their home could be a fortress yet again.

Scoreboard at full time
(Photo by Michelle Huitink)

Angel City Brigade, Galaxians, and Riot Squad supporters groups could be heard across the stadium. I was sitting in GA near the away supporters and G’s fans began playfully taunting, standing up and getting loud. All around, the winning atmosphere was amped by fans.

LAG are already looking to be in better shape despite a few poor deliveries and literal slip-ups.  Quite a few injuries (Perry Kitchen-ankle, Juninho-knee, Sebastion Lletget-hamstring) and the departures of Giovani Dos Santos and Ola Kamara changed the line-up, which meant the G’s had to adjust. Still, this allowed for Alvarez, Polenta, Cuello, and Antuna to get their chances. The players connected slowly, but surely. Ibrahimovic’s leadership as captain really showed through, especially for Alvarez.

In their next match, the Galaxy will travel to Texas to face FC Dallas on Saturday, March 9.

Featured image: Michelle Huitink

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale


LA Galaxy 3-2 Comeback Win against NE Revolution

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Saturday, July 14: 2-3 Win

Starting XI

David Bingham; David Romney, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik; Chris Pontius, Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos; Ashley Cole; Giovani dos Santos; Ola Kamara, Romain Alessandrini

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Daniel Steres, Sheanon Williams, Baggio Husidic, Emmanuel Boateng, Ariel Lassiter.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Image: @LAGalaxy

My fellow LA Galaxy friend, Leslie Chavez, invited me to her 31st birthday party where I met several other fans and Twitter people. Some I’d met before, but they were mostly new. She chose Common Space Brewery for the setting so we could watch the match. It definitely turned into a viewing party where we could all share opinions and talk soccer, including the World Cup, other MLS teams, players, and other leagues.

New England Revolution vs the LA Galaxy at Gillette Stadium on July 14, 2018, was bad soccer except for the last few minutes. But, first things first:

The Galaxy wore black armbands in honor of Sports Psychologist, Dr. Ken Ravizza, who passed away the week before.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic didn’t make the trip. There wasn’t a point when the team would have to fly back to LA and train, get a day of rest, and then fly back to the East Coast to Philadelphia where they will play the Union on July 21st. Plus, it wouldn’t be good to wear out Ibrahimovic by having him play on that artificial turf and risk injury.

So, I thought it looked like a good starting XI with Ola Kamara and Romain Alessandrini up top. The blaring concern turned out to be the back three when it should’ve been four in the back for better defense since that’s the Galaxy’s major problem. The G’s Keeper, David Bingham, had to work extra hard with saves and his frustration was showing as a result.

NE Keeper Matt Turner stopped to save a ball, but when Antonio Delamea Mlinar slid to defend, he almost scored an own goal.

The Galaxy conceded a goal in the 28th minute after the Revs were already down a man when, due to violent conduct, Cristian Penilla, got sent off on a red card. Still, New England was able to attack.

Chris Pontius scored in the 38th minute on an assist from Ashley Cole, leveling the match, but that lasted less than 10 minutes when L.A. Caicedo scored a header in the 45th minute to make it 2-1 Revs.

Throughout the match, it seemed anytime the ball got near Kamara, it bounced off his back heel and he didn’t seem to be having a good game. We kept losing possession.

In the second half, Ashley Cole double yellowed and once he was ejected, we really thought the match was over. We were all negative, resolving that we would lose. My hope had been snuffed out like the flame of a candle, only smoke where there was once a spark.

Suddenly, Dave Romney scored a header in stoppage time, assisted by Alessandrini. It was a consolation goal and us fans would’ve been satisfied with a draw. I told everyone at the table to wait, that we still had two minutes of stoppage time to lose.

A minute later, Pontius scored again also from an assist from Alessandrini!

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Group photo of the LA Galaxy fans Image: Leslie Chavez

We erupted with celebration and the bartender even said it was a crazy match. Our level of excitement made her think it was a playoff match. The whistle blew and the Galaxy had stolen three points, the final score was 3-2.

Pontius’ positive impact the last several matches is a fantastic streak in itself: he has now seven games with a goal or an assist. In my opinion, he was the man of the match.

Hopefully, the Galaxy can continue their unbeaten streak. Next match is another away game this time against the Philadelphia Union. Kickoff is at 4pm PST.

Featured image: Chris Pontius and Romain Alessandrini celebrate the winning goal (Alessandrini’s Official Instagram)

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Farewell to RFK

Mercy - Philadelphia
Official Philadelphia Union Reporter

By Mercy Payba // @mercpay

Saturday, May 13: 0-4 Win

The possible last voyage to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium ended in a nice win for the Philadelphia Union. If you weren’t already aware, DC United will be leaving RFK behind for a new stadium at the end of this season. The last time the Philadelphia Union met DC, the scoreline told a different story. Union fell 2-1 with a Jose Ortiz goal and a converted penalty by Luciano Acosta early in the first half.

If someone had predicted the next game going Philadelphia’s way by four goals, it probably would’ve been a good April fool’s joke considering the Union’s record at that time.  The strange thing is, beyond some lineup changes, the Union had around the same amount of shots in both games. They had less possession than in the April matchup yet managed to capitalize in the final third much better. That combined with the defense being aware of the spaces created on their end before Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins could strike inside the box gave Union the advantage.

Even with early yellow cards issued to Fabinho and Alejandro Bedoya, the Union had a good first half with three set pieces and a sharp midfield that wasn’t afraid of helping the defense clear some balls. A midfield role that is usually minded by Derrick Jones who was called up for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s’ National Team camp this week. Haris Medunjanin got his chance to wow the crowd with his first MLS goal in the 39th minute with a stunner.  

The second half started with a saved header by Fafa Picault courtesy of Chris Pontius who was largely invisible against his former team. DC could have been awarded a penalty from a Fabinho foul on Sam that was in the box, but curiously the ref let it slide. Five minutes after that challenge, Luciano Acosta was shown a straight red card for a heated lunge against Ilsinho after getting knocked out of the way by Oguchi Onyewu.

Speaking of Onyewu, he headed in Union’s second goal of the night from a corner kick taken by Medunjanin. Oguchi, more fondly known as “Gooch”, celebrated his 35th birthday in front of his hometown with his first goal in MLS. He ended a goal drought that stretched back to January 2014.

Haris Medunjanin kept the assists coming as Fafa Picault finally got the goal he sought after the entire game in the 78th minute. Picault was shortly after subbed out for Jay Simpson. The only shot on goal for DC United came late in the 82nd minute from a direct hit into the center by Lamar Neagle which was easily saved by Andre Blake. Then, the game was sealed by a Fabian Herbers goal into the upper corner of Bill Hamid’s net, giving him his first of the season and Bedoya his first MLS assist. Herbers came on as a sub for Ilsinho who was filling in the Roland Alberg’s usual no. 10 spot at the 63rd minute marker.

With plenty of career-firsts put on the map for Union players, the spirits are high for the mid-week battle against Houston. Some niggling doubts on my mind: when will we see Chris Pontius’ comeback to his form from last year, or rather be more of an impact than he is right now? Don’t get me wrong, he’s had some crucial passes and looks in these last three games.

CJ Sapong is two away from his career-high goal tally for the season and Picault is well on his way to applying his speed into good spaces, but I’ve been waiting for some real Pontius magic to happen. Ilsinho in the no. 10 didn’t feel like it worked all that well in creativity. There is yet to be a definitive playmaker for the Union and that will rear its head sooner rather than later as we fight for the playoffs.

This game was great. It was the best shut out I’ve seen out of the Union, but there will always be caution in the wind if the team doesn’t take these opportunities to build. Our set pieces haven’t been much to talk about, often missing a target, and three out of the four goals the Union scored against DC were long-ranged strikes. There’s no guarantee that will work against other opponents, especially ones who aren’t in a slump. I’ll definitely be looking forward to these next two home games as an indication of what’s to come out of the Union.

Next week: We face the top team in the west, Houston Dynamo. My prediction: a conservative tie, the challenge we’ve been waiting to see against this refreshed Union team.

Featured image courtesy: @PhilaUnion

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @mercpay

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017