Tag Archives: Christian Ramirez

LAFC Weekly Roundup: Carlos Vela’s Home Run, Loans, National Team Call-Ups, Gold Links

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Vela leads LAFC to 2-2 Draw in New York

Last weekend, the luck of the Irish was on LAFC’s side as they earned a hard-fought point on the road in a 2-2 draw against New York City FC on Sunday.

Carlos Vela continues to be the most influential player by keeping the ball moving, bagging a pair of goals to extend LAFC’s undefeated streak for a remarkable start of their 2019 campaign.

Missing Lee Nyguen and Steven Beitashour due to injuries, LAFC pushed through. An uneven playing surface proved to be problematic for the first half but LAFC adjusted to regain more control in the midfield; it was less effective. But the strategy wreaked havoc for NYCFC.

Click here for the full recap

But the main story is the supporters who traveled to the match. Around 200 to 300 supporters’ chants were loud and clear on FS1’s broadcast for the full 90 minutes. It felt like I was back at the Banc.

Loans. Loans. Loans.

Last week, LAFC announced they have loaned four players to USL side, Phoenix Rising FC – defenders Tristian Blackmon and Shaft Brewer Jr., midfielder Javier Perez, and forward Josh Perez.

According to the club statement: “Per the Right of Recall incorporated in the loan agreements, LAFC retains the right to call the players at any point during the MLS regular season, subject to MLS roster compliance guidelines.”

Blackmon, Brewer Jr., and Perez have spent time with Phoenix last season. This will be Javier Perez’s first loan in the USL Championship.

International Duty

It’s a player’s dream to receive a call-up for national duty. And for LAFC, several players’ dreams became a reality as Christian Ramirez, Peter-Lee Vassell, Mark Anthony Kaye, and Mohamed El-Munir have been called in to serve their national teams, respectively.

All five players will miss this weekend’s home match against Real Salt Lake.

Here’s the breakdown:

Christian Ramirez – United States of America

The Santa Ana native is no stranger to the United States Men’s National Team after spending time in the January camp with fellow teammates, Tyler Miller and Walker Zimmerman.

His past performances, which were highlighted by scoring a goal in the 3-0 win over Panama, earned him another call-up when USMNT’s head coach Gregg Berhalter released the roster for upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Chile.

Ramirez did not appear in the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday night in Orlando, Florida. But he could have a chance to appear as the USMNT takes on Chile on Tuesday, March 26 in Houston, Texas.

Peter-Lee Vassell – Jamaica

The 21-year-old has made two substitute appearances for the black-and-gold this season. Jamaica faces El Salvador on March 23 in Concacaf Nations League play.

The Reggae Boyz currently have three wins in the competition.

Mark-Anthony Kaye – Canada

After missing the remainder of 2018 due to an ankle injury, Kaye started in the first two LAFC matches.

Kaye will join the likes of Alphonso Davies, Jonathan Osorio, and Cyle Larin the 23-man squad. Canada faces French Guiana on March 24, needing a win to secure its place in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Mohamad El-Munir – Libya

El-Munir has appeared on the roster for the first three matches but has yet to make his club debut. Libya is set to take on South Africa on March 24 in Group E of Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

Josh Perez – US U-23 squad

The United States’ Under-23 Men’s National Team will play its first matches of the 2020 U-23 cycle with a pair of friendlies in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain; the first under newly named manager Jason Kreis.

Included on the twenty-three man roster is LAFC forward Josh Perez, who joined LAFC in August before going on loan to Phoenix Rising FC where he remains so far this season.

The Olympic hopefuls will face Egypt on Friday, March 22 and the Netherlands on Sunday, March 24. Both matches are set to kick off at 12 p.m. ET at the Pinatar Arena in San Pedro del Pinatar.

Gold Links

Photo credit: @LAFC

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LAFC Preseason Finale: Kit Launch and 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

While sporting new threads, the Los Angeles Football Club wrapped up their 2019 preseason with a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at Banc of California Stadium. Carlos Vela scored the lone goal of the evening.

Prior to kickoff, LAFC officially launched the new 2019 secondary kit. The clean white-and-grey kit made its debut on the field, and fans seemed pleased with this year’s design.

Inspired by the “materials and textures that make up the city of Los Angeles,” the new kit gives those urban vibes by featuring thin white stripes in gray hoops. But the pattern is inconsistent, with darker spots and sharp cuts in the pattern. Additionally, the new jock tag has the stylized wing featuring the slogan “Street X Street, Block X Block, One X One,” a nod to the mantra the club has used to build its fanbase.

With new kits in hand, season ticket holders were ready to watch their team finish preseason in a favorable fashion.

The match started off as expected as head coach Bob Bradley fielded a full-strength lineup. Including the trio of Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta and Lee Nguyen, who collectively found ways to help each other move the ball up the pitch.

Carlos Vela scored the opener in the 13th minute, as Christian Ramirez – who was a constant source of pressure for the defense – sent a pass to Vela, who then dribbled upfield and finished calmly with his right foot to beat Zac MacMath.

There was a concerning sight shortly after the restart, as Vela picked up a knock and was forced to exit the match in the 52nd minute.

“It’s the knee; he was protecting the ball,and he sort of got hit a bit from the side,” Bradley told reporters. “He’s sore, and we just need to see how he looks tomorrow and get it looked at tomorrow.”

LAFC saw plenty of chances to double the score during the second half but failed to convert. Fortunately, the black and gold successfully kept their former assistant coach’s team from equalizing—ending in a 1-0 win.

Although scores don’t matter much during the preseason, Saturday’s performance provided a glimpse of what to expect ahead of the season opener against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, March 3.

Photo credit: @LAFC

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Weekly Roundup: Christian Ramirez, Loan updates, Mark-Anthony Kaye Is Back (Kinda)

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Welcome Home, Christian Ramirez!

Christian Ramirez may have just joined the black-and-gold last week but didn’t take long for the Garden Grove native, to fit right in – earning his first start and scoring two goals in the midweek game against Real Salt Lake.

The 27-year-old forward made his official club debut in a 2-0 loss against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, August 11. Ramirez most notably came close to opening his scoring account with an attempted flying header but saw his chance trickle past the goal. Though, it seemed he learned from it as he would go on to quickly add two goals to his account days later.

Can he repeat the same success as the black-and-gold host the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, August 19?

Shaft Brewer Jr. joins Tristan Blackmon at Phoenix Rising FC

The Los Angeles Football Club announced on Thursday that attacker Shaft Brewer Jr. has been loaned to the USL side, Phoenix Rising FC.

Similar to the loan of Tristan Blackmon earlier this week, the club retains the right to recall Brewer Jr. at any point during the remainder of the MLS regular season per Right of Recall incorporated in the loan agreement.

Blackmon and Brewer Jr. are the latest players LAFC has loaned out, with James Murphy on loan to the Las Vegas Lights FC and Nico Czornamaz is currently on loan to USL affiliate, Orange County Soccer Club.

Old Friends, New Rivalries

Last weekend, the Los Angeles Football Club hosted Sporting Kansas City for the first time and reunited some familiar faces. Benny Feilhaber and Latif Blessing played against their former team in a dramatic 2-0 loss.

LAFC had a chance in the 78th minute to shorten the deficit as Horta ran up the ball and it fell in place to newly signed, Christian Ramirez who attempted to head it in but ultimately the ball went wide.

With several starters appearing on the bench, the black-and-gold fought to keep the visitors subdued but Tim Melia was quick to deny them. In back-to-back attempts, Feilhaber and Blessing tried to up one on their former teammate but Melia blocked every chance in an emotional end.

Mark-Anthony Kaye Update

Mark-Anthony underwent surgery for his ankle on August 6 and it seems the surgery was successful. Kaye even took to Twitter that evening to welcome Ramirez to the club:

Kaye was selected to be “Honorary Falconer” for the match against Sporting KC. A tradition LAFC started at the beginning of the season. At the beginning of every match a celebrity or a fan is selected to release Olly. Entering the pitch to loud applause, Kaye released Olly the falcon.

Kaye is expected to make a full recovery and will take three to four months before seeing the pitch again.

Featured image: Araceli Villanueva

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Latest goings on with MNUFC

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Weekly Update

Saturday, August 4: MN United FC faced the Seattle Sounders for the third time in their short MLS history on a hot and humid night in Minneapolis. This time, the Loons came out on top in a low-scoring and messy, yet effective, match on home turf…

That is how I remember opening my gamer, which was half complete as stoppage time was announced. Unfortunately, my computer froze sometime after the 90-minute mark, then crashed, my words lost forever. But those words were rendered moot anyway when, early in the six minutes of announced added time, Minnesota gave up a penalty in an attempt to score a second goal, allowing Seattle to equalize on the other end of the pitch. Then, in the seventh minute of the added time, with Minnesota fans willing the ref to blow the final whistle, Seattle dealt the fatal blow, ending the match 2-1 in the last gasp.

The only part of my gamer worth salvaging was the first sentence: It was the third meeting, and was indeed a tad warm. I may also have noted that Darwin Quintero scored the beauty that put the Loons up 1-0 in the first half. And I may have mentioned the tifo display which turned the words of Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix against them.

But the shade MNUFC Supporters threw at Seattle was overshadowed by another dark cloud (no pun intended). The benching of fan-favorite forward, Chris Ramirez, in favor of new DP Angelo Rodriguez, drew immediate criticism on Twitter and bolstered the transfer rumors bandied about during the week prior. No way we trade the face of the team, the soul of the club, half of the Dynamic Duo, our very own Superman!

But we did. On Monday evening, the news broke that Ramirez had been traded to first-year expansion club, LAFC, in exchange for at least $550,000, with potential bonuses, for a total of nearly $1 million. Hearts broke and tempers flared. With #HeathOut exploding, once again, across social media, some fans had a little fun in reaction to the Supporters versus Front Office battle lines. Inspired by the (manufactured) rivalry tees released by MLS, one supporter designed this:

Though Superman’s departure is emotional for many fans, myself included, the trade makes perfect sense for both the club and for Ramirez’s career. Ramirez was one of four forwards, suddenly a position of depth after the addition of Rodriguez. Two of those forwards, Abu Danladi and Mason Toye, are still young and in development, desperate for minutes.

The trade frees up space for United to have a starter be backed up by one developing sub while the other goes on loan. That loanee was announced on Wednesday. Toye will go to USL side Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, while remaining available for recall to Minnesota if needed.

The trade also gives Minnesota the resources (both TAM and GAM) to make other moves to shore up its roster. Many fingers and toes are being crossed in the hopes of a defensive acquisition.

And, it would be selfish of us to refuse to let Ramirez develop his career. He deserves more playing time and a manager who will help him develop his game rather than squandering his talent. He needs to find his confidence again and to earn the confidence of USMNT staff (he has earned a call-up to camp, but not a roster spot, which he deserves). LAFC checks both boxes. Plus, he returns, with his own young family, to his family home. 

And, so, a new chapter begins. For Ramirez, for MNUFC, for the Supporters. The Loons turn the page Saturday when they face the Galaxy in L.A.

Featured image: Minnesota United FC Facebook

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MNUFC Caught Sleeping In Seattle

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Sunday, April 22: 3-1 Loss

Every team hits a rough patch at some point in the season and then faces a squad that shows them they can be winners again. For the Portland Timbers last weekend, that team was Minnesota United FC. For the Seattle Sounders this Sunday, that team was MN United FC.

The Loons’ losing streak stretched to four with their trip to Seattle on Sunday afternoon. Despite a gritty second half showing that saw striker Christian “Superman” Ramirez come in to snap a six-month-long goal scoring drought, on an assist from Darwin “The Scientist” Quintero

… The Loons fell to the Sounders 3-1.

Because this happened in the first half:

And then this:

Giving up two goals and losing the game were tough pills for fans to swallow. But it was the fact that it was the fourth-straight loss due to such selfsame errors that was most painful.

 And since the Loons face the Houston Dynamo next rather than another MN United FC, something’s got to give. If Minnesota finds itself posting this halftime message for a fifth time on Saturday night, it will be Minnesota, not Houston, that has a problem.


A problem that cannot be fixed by scoring goals.

Featured image courtesy: @MNUFC

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Water dance of Loons snuff out Chicago Fire in opener

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Saturday, March 17: 2-1 Win

On Saturday night, Minnesota United FC put on a show for the sold-out black and blue and green clad crowd at TCF Bank Stadium, their temporary home on the campus of the U of M. Many feared a repeat of the 2017 home opener, when the Loons made their MLS debut in white-out conditions and gave up six goals, much too easily, to expansion rival Atlanta United. This home opener could not have been more different.

With speedy left winger Miguel Ibarra playing the central-mid role in place of Molino, flanked by Nicholson on his left and Finlay on his right, and communicating telepathically with withdrawn striker Christian Ramirez, the Loons were constantly pressing forward. Behind them, Schuller and Ibson were picking pockets left and right, choosing carefully their opportunities to send the ball forward. It was frustrating to watch that effort come to nothing the first half, especially with Chicago Fire’s attack, led by Nemanja Nikolic, outshooting Minnesota with five shots to two.

A last-second miscue or dispossession would dissolve the Loons’ momentum time after time. But still. They dominated. The shuffled lineup was cause for celebration by fans who were confused up to this point by Heath’s use of the bench. The midfield, in particular, a problem spot all last season and in the season opener in San Jose, earned the glory.

Without Ibson’s ridiculous footwork and dribbling, without Nicholson’s driving shoulder on the wing, without Ibarra’s speed and distribution, without Ramirez’s selfless hold-up plays, without Finlay’s crossing ability…

Ibson notched the first goal when he (for some bizarre reason) found himself on the receiving end of a Finlay cross in the 55th minute. Chicago keeper Sanchez got a glove on Ibson’s first shot but tipped it back his direction. Ibson made good on the second chance.

Chicago drew level at the 59th minute when the Loons’ defense seemed to lose their marks allowing Elliot Collier to rebound on a Nikolic shot and score in his league debut. The draw lit a fire under Minnesota, who all poured forward. Just seven minutes later, Finlay took off down the right wing and crossed the ball into the box meeting Nicholson, who snuck past a Fire line focused on the right wing. The midfielder pounced and launched a header past Sanchez who barely turned his head as the ball whistled past him.

Both sides had chances over the final minutes, but Minnesota’s defense held true and the squad continued pressing forward, refusing to ‘park the bus’, as they say. Instead, they said maybe.

The entire stadium seemed to hold a collective breath through stoppage time. Finally, the whistle sounded and 23,138 people (less the 200 Section 8 fans who traveled from Chicago) belted out Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ with their scarves held high.

Featured image courtesy: Bridget McDowell

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

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