Tag Archives: Featured

Sounders Score Three as Dallas wins 2-1

Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Abigail Kistner// @abruhcadabruhh

After taking a break from heavily analyzing FC Dallas, I must say that I picked a very interesting game to come back and write about. Although I couldn’t attend the FC Dallas home game against Seattle, I had the opportunity to review the game online to see if Dallas could revive their winning streak at home.

Needless to say, Dallas gained another three points, all thanks to the Seattle Sounders.

After a previous loss to Vancouver, Dallas fans were looking for a home win to move the team up in the rankings. Thankfully, after several weather delays throughout the night, that’s exactly what happened.

When the game started, you could see the energy within FC Dallas despite the long delay. However, the excitement of the team was (as always) calmed by defender Matt Hedges who had just returned from his suspension. Having Hedges on the field gave Dallas a reliable point of reference, which allowed the team to be a little more creative offensively.

The creativity struck by minute 33 as Michael Barrios crossed the ball to Ryan Hollingshead to head into goal. Seattle’s Xavier Arreaga scored an own goal, bringing FC Dallas ahead 1-0.

In the 39th minute, FC Dallas was given ANOTHER own goal as Bryan Acosta passed to Michael Barrios, who assisted the own goal, scored by Brad Smith from Seattle. FC Dallas ended the half with a 2-0 lead.

Coming back from halftime, Luchi Gonzalez replaced some players in the midfield with a more defensive middle to protect the two goals obtained in the first half. However, in the 65th minute, the Sounders scored with a goal by Raul Ruidiaz just outside the box.

Seattle Sounders tweet

Despite the backlash some fans gave for the subs in the second half, FC Dallas proceeded to protect their victory and end the game with three more points.

With FC Dallas’ Bryan Acosta receiving man of the match, the title was well given as he introduced the kick that led to the game winning own goal. However, I deemed Michael Barrios as my personal man of the match, as Barrios assisted both goals in FC Dallas’ favor.

Dallas’ creative offense and sturdy defense is no doubt what won them this game. Despite the own goals from Seattle, you could see the eagerness in FC Dallas in this game, which is something that has been missing (especially at home) for quite a few games now.

Overall, Dallas is sitting comfortably at 6th in the MLS Western Conference Standings, and the team is undoubtedly going to work hard this week as they approach another away game in San Jose next Saturday.

Featured image: @FCDallas

Follow and chat with me on twitter! // @abruhcadabruhh

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NYCFC Leads the League in Draws

Official NYCFC Reporter

By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith

New York City Football Club concluded its long road trip with another draw versus Columbus Crew SC on Saturday.  This result comes a week after another midwestern road tie versus the Chicago Fire.  This particular match was a celebration and farewell party to Crew keeper Zack Steffen, who is heading off to Manchester City, (but not before New York City put two goals past him.)

The match started a bit flat for NYCFC with most early momentum carried by the Crew’s Gyasi Zardes.  A foul in the box called on City’s Alex Callens resulted in a successful Zardes  penalty kick, putting the Crew up 1-0 in the 28th minute.  Héber made it level for New York at 57′ when he scooped up an errant touch by Maxi Moralez off a centering pass by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.  Héber has been doing a bang up job of anticipating the rebound and putting himself in a position to capitalize on these balls.

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Taty Castellanos – photo credit NYCFC

Columbus jumped ahead again a few minutes later when David Accam found a wide open Pedro Santos who buried the ball past Sean Johnson.  There seemed to be some failure amongst defenders Callens, James Sands and Maxime Chanot in marking Santos, leaving Johnson a bit defenseless.  

Moment of the match for New York City happened in the 75th minute when Alex Ring’s steady defensive pressure allowed him to collect the ball and find a wide open Taty Castellanos who scored a stunner from about 30 yards out. If the team can continue to scoop up scrappy goals in the box and score from way outside the box, the season is looking up. Despite the lack of a win, walking away from that game with a point doesn’t feel bad.

If it seems like it’s been a while since NYCFC played at home, well that’s because the last home appearance was on April 27th.  This past four-game away streak brought the team 8 points via 2 wins and 2 draws.  City now has the title of the team with the most draws in the league with 8.  Nope, there is no crown for this “honor” but next in line to the throne would be both Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver Whitecaps which have drawn 6 times thus far this season.  

Another statistic to keep in mind is that the Eastern conference standings are relatively meaningless when there are huge discrepancies in number of games played.  NYCFC (currently sitting in 6th place) has only played 13 matches, while Montreal Impact (ahead in the standings by one position) have played 17.  Obviously, City can potentially gain more points and move ahead in the standings, however the matches in early July could be challenging in the form of Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and our friends from across the river, the Red Bulls.

Featured image:  @NYCFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith

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Frustration as D.C. United Draw with San Jose

Sarah Kallassy - DC United/mlsfemale
Official DC United Reporter

By Sarah Kallassy // @SarahKallassy

D.C. United Substitutions: Russell Canouse (Leonardo Jara, 25’), Steven Birnbaum (Chris Odoi-Atsem, 62’)

D.C. United’s Captain, Wayne Rooney, was noticeably frustrated post-match tonight. After two consecutive draws against the NE Revolution and Chicago Fire (which should have been a win for D.C.), D.C. United drew again against the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1. 

The level-headed Englishman described his irritation with the constant mistakes made by match officials and their inability to get even the simple calls right. Unfortunately, such officiating mistakes had cost D.C. United three points just a few days earlier, when an offsides call was botched. PRO Referees issued a statement, however the points were still lost.

Audi Field was packed with just over 18,000 supporters, ready to see the Black-and-Red emerge victorious before they head toward a break until the end of June. The team has played more games during the first half of the season than any other team, and fatigue is starting to creep in. After a trying stretch, a win at home would have set D.C. up nicely before they continued on into the second half of the season.

With Paul Arriola back on the pitch after a two-match suspension, things seemed to be in D.C.’s favor. Beginning the match with a tenacity and energy reflective of high spirits, D.C. United was well in control of the pitch, containing San Jose. The Earthquakes began to pick apart D.C.’s defense, making their way dangerously close to the Black-and-Red goal. Then, defender Russell Canouse rolled his ankle early on, removing him from the match.

As D.C.’s control of the first half disintegrated, San Jose pelted D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid with attempt after attempt. Hamid saved five shots on target in the first half alone. However, he was unable to stop a well-placed header by Chris ‘Wondo’ Wondolowski that sailed into the back of the net in the 36’. Wondolowski, the top scoring player in MLS history, netted his 151st goal.

D.C. United’s failure to sufficiently mark Wondolowski was clearly a mistake, as he was able to sneak in behind defender Jalen Robinson to open San Jose’s account. As a result, the Black-and-Red were sent to halftime down 0-1. Perhaps most unsettling was that San Jose totaled seventeen shots (6 on target), from 9 players while D.C. totaled only 3 shots (0 on target) from two players during the first half.

The second half was punctuated with knock after knock for D.C. United. Defender Steven Birnbaum took a nasty crack to the head that saw him escorted off the field by medical staff. Minutes later Luciano Acosta was also down on the field, holding his face. Defender Fred Brillant was thrown into San Jose’s goal, and struggled to get to his feet, noticeably limping away.

D.C.’s Acosta was able to find the equalizer in the 67’ bringing the score to 1-1. Bolstered by Acosta’s goal, D.C. United began to put San Jose under more pressure, but remained unable to find another opportunity, even in seven minutes of stoppage time

Tensions flared between D.C. and San Jose, the match becoming increasingly physical as both teams struggled to find just one more goal. Spats could be seen between players both on the field and on the sideline, with heated words being exchanged at close range.

D.C. United hangs on to the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but a rising Atlanta United is only one point behind. Hopefully the next month will provide the Black-and-Red with a chance to rest and regroup before embarking on their 2019 push for a playoff berth.

D.C. will play the Philadelphia Union on June 12 in the US Open Cup and will resume the regular MLS season when they face Orlando city SC on June 26that Audi Field.

Note: Steven Birnbaum received stitches and passed concussion protocol. He was available for interview and doing well after his injury.

Featured image: @dcunited

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @SarahKallassy

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Sporting KC drops midweek fixture to LA Galaxy 2-0

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Despite coming off a hot win over the Seattle Sounders this past weekend, Sporting Kansas City fell to the LA Galaxy in a dismal 2-0 loss at Children’s Mercy Park.

The midweek fixture was a chance to regain a rhythm and some points. But as the script goes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal and assist and missed chances for the home side would help lead the Galaxy to victory – the first time they have won at CMP since 2007.

Navigating a stressful three-game week, Peter Vermes was able to fill a bench to capacity for the first time as the injury list continues to shrink. And Jimmy Medranda was removed from the list completely.

A rested center back Andreu Fontas, a former teammate of Zlatan, stepped in for the captain – who started on the bench. Johnny Russell was back after his heroic hat-trick and Fontas returned to the starting XI.

Their only real challenge was missing Krisztian Nemeth again since the league added an extra suspension for the Hungarian on Monday.

So what went wrong?

“I think we missed too many really good chances in the game,” Peter Vermes told the press.

Both sides kicked off the match with sloppy plays, incomplete passes, and misdirection of the ball. Fortunately, the home side soon regained solid possession around the 10th minute.

Tim Melia was called into action in the 24th minute, when the keeper made a diving save after Dave Romney connected powerfully with Sebastian Lletget’s header and smothered the ball amidst a crowded box to keep the game scoreless.

Gutierrez and Rowe nearly combined for the breakthrough just before the half, but David Bingham raced off his line and swiped the ball away for a corner kick that he later defended successfully.

Sporting were then prompted to make a halftime substitution as Besler replaced Botond Barath, who exited with tightness in his leg. No updates on his condition are known yet.

Ten minutes after the restart, Perry Kitchen sent a long pass to Zlatan at the far post, who directed the ball to Favio Alvarez – with the nice finish as he found a pocket of space and tucked away the goal.

Melia came up huge to deny Zlatan in a 1v1 situation in the 69th minute.

Zlatan, who just returned from a two-game suspension, got his revenge from the 1v1 standoff in the 86th minute and scored the game-winner for the visitors late into the second half.

The remainder of the match saw Sporting KC desperately trying to score a goal. Including a chance from the pair of Graham Zusi and Daniel Salloi. But Bingham kept punching them away to preserve the Galaxy’s 2-0 win.

Sporting KC will start a pivotal four-game road streak as they travel to Houston to face the Houston Dynamos on Saturday, June 1.

Featured image: Jimmy Medranda on Instagram @jimao7

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

LA Galaxy 2-0 Win Over SKC First Since 2007

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Dave Romney, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik; Sebastian Lletget (Chris Pontius 88’), Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos; Favio Alvarez (Joe Corona 72’); Zlatan Ibrahimović ©, Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 90’+1’).

A day after a major tornado skirted the stadium, Sporting Kansas City hosted your Los Angeles Galaxy.

LAG was diverted to St. Louis en route to Kansas City due to thunderstorms and a major tornado that had dropped debris at the international airport. The players didn’t use the unusual travel conditions as an excuse. They ended up with a 2-0 win, breaking a 12 year streak of not winning when away at SKC.  The game didn’t initially look to be going that way though.

Last look at the scoreboard . Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Both teams came out wearing Pride shirts, then LA Galaxy kicked off in night navy. Back in the line-up were Perry Kitchen, Dave Romney, and Jorgen Skjelvik. Zlatan Ibrahimovic also returned after serving a 2- game suspension. Corona took the bench, but offensive sparks included Pontius, Emil Cuello, and Ema Boateng.

Sunset at halftime at Children’s Mercy Park. It was a personal goal to check visiting this stadium off my list. It was a treat to be able to travel here. The fans really create a passionate atmosphere all their own. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

The first half started slow; both teams looked evenly matched. The Galaxy seemed to lack confidence and were unable to connect to finish goals. Sporting gave their opponents a run for their money.

In the 25th minute, Romney nearly headed in a goal off a 4th corner kick from Lletget, but it was stopped by Melia and cleared by SKC’s defense.

In the 37th minute, Zlatan took on three defenders to get the ball to Antuna, who just couldn’t get on it to score.

The stats read in favor of Sporting KC.

The second half started with Russell threatening the Galaxy. There were corner kicks aplenty, but by the 53rd minute the match was still level.

Finally, Favio Alvarez broke through in the 56th minute with a header, making his first goal with the LA Galaxy.  

The G’s were not satisfied with only being up one goal. The strategy was to wear out SKC and it worked. In the 69th minute,  Ibrahimovic went one on one against Melia who denied him and kept the lion hungry.

Zlatan finally got his goal in the 86th minute.

Besides #9, Kitchen was essential to getting the numbers on the scoreboard. With Rolf Feltscher and Diego Polenta out on injuries and Araujo called up to the US U-20’s World Cup in Poland, Kitchen was back playing defensive midfield and seemed to be everywhere, actually creating chances and defending. 

Bingham came up with big saves again to keep the clean sheet. He had help from Steres In the 16th minute, who made a last-second block on a shot from Rowe.

Overall, the Galaxy looked good and got their second away win in a row.

I had the opportunity to interview a few of the players and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto post-match.

Zlatan, on his chemistry with Alvarez and Antuna: “It was good. We played with two strikers in the first half and we created good chances. I think we should have scored one or two goals. In the second half we changed the system again and it helped because we could close the spaces more because Kansas plays good football. They have a good system. You need to have patience against them and then punish them when you steal the ball or they make a mistake.”

It seems the Galaxy are really getting ahold of the formation and utilizing individual talents to connect as a team.

They just had four losses a couple of games ago and while no one really wants to look back, the Galaxy are seen as champions and leaders of the league, so when they’re not performing as such and still have the shadow of the 2017-2018 seasons hanging over them, I really wanted to know how the Galaxy dealt with criticism to make it proactive for them as a team and individually.

Skjelvik on how he handles criticism: “There’s always going to be people criticizing you and criticizing the team, as well. We had a bad stretch where we lost a lot of games. Of course, people have opinions. That’s good – it shows that people care about the team. We just use that as motivation for the next games. Now we’ve turned things around so that’s good.”

Lletget on criticism from fans: “I think we have some guys, including myself, that have really sort of experienced it. You get criticized as a team, especially with the four losses in a row. A club of this stature is obviously not used to that and the fans are not used to that. It’s something that I think we managed well. We got together. We didn’t crumble. More than anything, we should be proud of ourselves from that standpoint. We move on now and I think we’ve turned the table.”

Zlatan gave a classic response on how he deals with criticism: “Criticism is everywhere. I like it. I eat it for breakfast… and then for lunch.”

This game is psychological and I want to see the team in top form all around. It’s good to see their passion for the game fueled. This win moves the Galaxy up to second place in the Western Conference for now. It definitely helped boost their confidence for the next match, which is at home and will be the Galaxy’s turn to host Pride Night against the New England Revolution.

Schelotto: “We will keep working and trying to get better every day and to get another three points on Sunday in LA.”

Featured image: Perry Kitchen on Instagram @perrykitchen23

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

A Last Dance with Chad Marshall

Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

Chad Marshall retires as the most decorated MLS defender of all time.

MLS rookies at draft day. From left to right: Clint Dempsey, Ned Grabavoy and Chad Marshall.

By the numbers, Chad Marshall was an incredibly dominant defender with 409 games played, 26 goals scored, 16 assists, and 35,843 minutes played. The only player in MLS history to win Defender of the Year 3 times (2008, 2009 and 2014), 4 times MLS All-Star, 4 times MLS Best XI, 4 times Supporters Shield Winner and 2 times MLS Cup Champion.

Marshall walks away from MLS with the 2nd most games and minutes played by a field player in history. He is decorated, accomplished and undeniably an amazing player. But there was so much more to what made and continues to make, Chad Marshall a great human being.

In July 2014, my husband and I got married the night before the Portland Timbers were traveling to Seattle for the one and only time that season. As an inaugural Sounders season ticket holder and boisterous Rave Green fan, my husband wanted to tie this in to our big day. We decided that we would wear our wedding attire to the game and bring as many friends and family as possible.

Through our season ticket holder benefits, we were able to watch the last 20 minutes of the game from field level and allowed to linger after the final whistle to high-five players and watch the post-game events. As we were relishing in the Sounders 2-0 victory and taking in all the sights, Chad Marshall spotted me wearing my big, dirty and previously-beautiful dress. He made eye contact and pointed at me. I waved, thinking it was so cool he even had noticed, and he began to walk over to us.

“You’re wearing a wedding dress! Did you guys just get married?” he asked with a huge grin.

“Yesterday.” My husband and I said in unison, like two star-struck fans.

“That’s awesome! Let’s take a picture!” Chad said. So we did!

Photo Credit: Ashley Hart Savage

In that moment, after a massive win against a major rival, Chad Marshall was so down to earth and kind. He made our day (and my husband’s screen saver for several years) and made a lasting impact on us that transcended what we saw of him as a soccer player.

Four years later, my husband and I were attending the Sounders Season Ticket Member Celebration with our 2-year-old son in tow. He was too young to understand how cool it was to attend this event. He loved sitting on the team bench, running around the field at CenturyLink and people watching all the big kids, but he had no idea who any of the players were. He just ran around saying “play soccer!” and that was enough for us.

During the event, we were given the opportunity to meet team players, which was such a special opportunity for my husband and myself. As we were waiting in line, we realized that Chad Marshall was one of the players posing for pictures and signing autographs. When we came face to face with him, I awkwardly asked, “Can you take a picture with our son?” to which he swiftly responded “Absolutely!”

Photo Credit: Ashley Hart Savage

We knew our son, Sawyer, wouldn’t understand how cool this moment was. But we did. It was a full circle moment having stood with Marshall on that same field 4 years earlier in our wedding attire and now with our son, who had attended every Sounders match that fell outside of nap and bedtime since he was 3 months old, taking a picture with Chad Marshall.

My husband and I don’t know Marshall. These two encounters are all we have to base our opinion of who he is off the field and outside of all the record-breaking stats. But those two moments highlighted to us what so many of his peers have said about him publicly in the wake of his retirement: that the man off the field was just as much a GOAT as the player.

Thank you, Chad. For everything.

Featured image: @SoundersFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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MN United follow Road Loss with Six Points and New Identity at Home

Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By: Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell 

May 11 at Chicago Fire: 2-0 loss, May 18 v Columbus Crew: 1-0 win, May 22 v Hertha Berlin (friendly): 0-1 loss, May 25 v Houston Dynamo: 1-0 win

Minnesota United FC put up a pathetic showing in Bridgeview on Saturday, May 11, just days after offloading their left back and perennial captain on the Fire. If they had hoped to prove that night that they could live without Francisco Calvo, they failed to do so.

One moment encapsulates those dismal 95 minutes – and the two seasons of road woes the Loons thought were in the past – and it involves two big names in the United story: Darwin Quintero, the Loons’ best hope for goal opportunities, and the ousted captain, Calvo.

Quintero, making a lonely run toward goal, dribbled the ball right into Calvo who hardly had to move his feet to dispossess his former teammate and direct the ball out of Fire’s third. That was about as close as the Loons got to a goal. Even Callum Williams, whose optimism lightens most matches, had nothing to say about this one:

Thankfully, the next three matches, including a poorly timed friendly against Hertha Berlin, would be played in front of the Wonderwall. Admittedly, I haven’t watched the Crew match in its entirety: I caught the condensed version after following the live scores from Minnesota’s North Shore.

The fact that the Loons’ scored first after trading shots with the Crew for 70 minutes was not a surprise – with 19 shots to Crew’s 4, it was bound to happen for the home side. However, the play which created it was.

Jan Gregus‘ short corner found Quintero who passed it to Romain Metanire at the top of the third. The right back appeared to be looking for a lurking striker. Instead, his ball to the far post was met by centerback Brent Kallman whose diving header found Ethan Finlay. The former Crew midfielder buried the ball and remained subdued while Loons jumped on top of him in celebration. His strike and a clean sheet from the Loons’ defense secured three points at home.

Hosting a Wednesday night friendly between two Saturday matches was not an ideal situation, but it was an opportunity for Minnesota to let some rookies shine in a match with no conference table consequences. Hertha Berlin of the Bundesliga opened their first US tour with a win at the newest member of their Allianz stadium family.

Though it was his error which led to Hertha’s lone goal, when he knocked an attempted ball right into the path of Peter Pekarik for the rebound, keeper Dayne St Claire, MNUFC’s 2019 Super Draft pick, made some huge saves and proved that he is worthy of some MLS minutes.

St Clair’s fellow loanee, forward Mason Toye, showed growth and composure Wednesday night despite failing to find the back of the net. (If the Dark Clouds had a Charity Over-the-Crossbar Club in addition to the Charity Card Club, I would have gone broke this week.) The 2018 draftee showed he’s capable of finding open space and taking up positions that are most likely to move the ball forward.

The best rookie performance came from midfielder Hassani Dotson. He so impressed the coaching staff that they selected him to make his MLS debut in the Starting XI on Saturday’s match against Houston Dynamo, out of position no less.

With winger Kevin Molino forced to rest ahead of international duty after taking a knock in the friendly, Miguel Ibarra was moved up from the left back role he’d taken after Calvo’s departure. Dotson filled that spot with a confidence that reassured even the most cynical Loons fans.

After some opening-minutes jitters, Dotson made some ice-cold stops against a stout Houston side, partnering well with Brent Kallman, who himself displayed an almost indifferent composure for the full 90 minutes. With those two on the left and Metanire and Michael Boxall on the right, the United defense controlled this game. Previously the Achilles’ heel of a club struggling to find an identity, the defense was stalwart in its own third while also leading the attack.

Metanire, whose 5 assists include 2 game winners, got the lone goal of the night on what was intended to be another assist. Cal Williams may be the only person more surprised than Metanire himself. Listen here:

For a team whose midfield and defensive troubles have dominated headlines since entering MLS, this shift to midfield and defensive dominance is refreshing. Constant communication, accountability, and teamwork has created much-needed chemistry both on and off the pitch. When the veterans are dialed in and happy, the rookies thrive. If Minnesota’s forwards can just start sending the ball into the net instead of over the crossbar, United could be a fearsome foe both home and away.

The Loons face a huge challenge on Wednesday in Atlanta without assist-leader/defender Metanire (yellow card accumulation). Who gets the next chance to shine?

COYL

Featured image: @MNUFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

The Dynamo Can’t Find Points at Minnesota’s Allianz Field

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

Houston Dynamo v Minnesota United: 0-1

I spent most of Saturday at a kids’ 5v5 soccer tournament watching my stepson referee. 5v5 is an interesting and fun setup to watch, especially when you’re not invested in either team. One of the tournament rules identifies a line delineating the offensive third on each side of the pitch.

The offside rule states that a single player must control the ball over the line; the ball cannot be passed forward from one player to another over the line. Teams can pass outside of their offensive third and can pass or cross while players are inside, but no pass can cross the offensive third line. Like any offside offense, the opposing team is awarded a free kick from the point where the ball was passed over the line.

It’s a recreational tournament, so while most teams are formed out of competitive leagues, no professional coaches are allowed. It’s amazing that teams show up at this tournament without reading or understanding this important rule.

One early match included a boys’ pre-academy U10 team that had missed the memo about the offside rule. The first half was frustrating for everyone as my stepson blew his whistle almost constantly, and both the coaches and the parents were questioning his calls.

He tried to quickly explain the rules to the kids, coaches, and parents without affecting the play. During the half, he was able to take a little more time to explain so that everyone understood and the second half went more smoothly.

I had the chance to watch the same team play again later in the afternoon and was amazed at the difference. In a matter of hours and with only one more game in the meantime, the boys had completely revamped their tactics and had mastered the new formation, going on to dominate their bracket and come in second overall for their age group.

What does this have to do with my Saturday night and the Houston Dynamo’s match against Minnesota United? For the second time that day, I watched a team dropped into a situation where the formation and method of play was unfamiliar. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, they weren’t able to make the tactical changes necessary to find success up North.

The Dynamo were able to manage lineup changes to win their last match, but the continued absence of Hondurans Alberth Elis and Maynor Figueroa proved unsustainable on Saturday night. Houston was still able to make an impressive show, dominating both possession and passing statistics.

But, statistics don’t win matches and a lucky cross-turned-bender from Minnesota’s Romain Metanire was the game winning difference between the squads. Houston lined up chance after chance but could not convert shots into shots on goal, and more importantly were unable to find the back of the net through the 90′.

The Dynamo coaches and players have got to take a lesson from the U10’s that I watched and find cohesion that supersedes formation. Their offensive and defensive play-makers should hopefully return soon, but the team has got to stop depending on individuals or pairs and find a consistency of play as a team.

Nothing but time will tell if this lesson is sinking in, and fans have their next chance to see them back at home on June 1 against Sporting KC.

Featured image: Web Tilton

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

LA Galaxy Still a Work In Progress a Quarter into the 2019 MLS Season

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

As an educator, we are trained to give feedback, so applying that to the Los Angeles Galaxy progress so far, I have to say it’s “difficult to assess.”

The same problems still plague the team. They concede goals after allowing teams to slip by the usual holes in the defense.

As if losing at home 2-0 to NYCFC wasn’t already a stab wound, they lost again at home 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids, the worst team in the league.

Gameday Program May 11th against NYCFC

But, the Galaxy’s problems til now had been covered up by wins.

All 4 of these losses were winnable games. The first 2 were away against New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew respectfully; teams that weren’t particularly challenging, but it was like the Galaxy struggled with itself.  The fortress is breached once again and fans are more frustrated than the players. Still, hold off on pressing that panic switch.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not the reason LA didn’t win. It’s true that he’s overly relied on and he delivers goals, but we’ve seen this team be able to pull it off without him. And they did against Orlando City SC on May 24th.

The Lion was out on suspension for 2 matches, his frustrations and poor sportsmanship getting the better of him when he grabbed NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson by the neck on May 11th. Fans really thought the team would be given a chance to step up their game. Instead, we saw the same strategy of poor crossing and ineffectiveness to finish goals against Colorado.

LA Galaxy building momentum in the first half against Colorado Rapids on May 19th

For some, it’s easier to focus on what went wrong, especially as the problems don’t get rectified and cost games. There’s lack of communication and creativity in the team’s play. They often look lost with what to do with the ball. Others are ready to leave these games in the past and move on to the next one.  

The Galaxy finally broke its losing streak with the win against Orlando FC. But, it’s hard to tell how well the team actually did since Orlando is not a very good team.

LA Galaxy’s roster looks pretty good and is packed with talent. Restructuring takes getting used to, especially with the backline which has seen the most changes. The team needs time to stabilize. It appears Guillermo Barros Schelotto is thinking long term with the depth he’s building, especially for ability to rotate the squad.  The head coach has to be held accountable when the team’s formation isn’t conducive to attacking or when offensive play is predictable and without tactical direction.

We are a quarter of the way through the 2019 MLS season so, while they are figuring it out, the team needs patience and support from fans.

There are players besides Zlatan that are key to the Galaxy finding further success.

The blue, white, and yellow was able to hang on 1-0 this last match thanks to Gonzalez, Jonathan Dos Santos, and Bingham.

When J. Dos Santos was out on precautionary injury against NYCFC, he was sorely missed on the field and it was clear that he had been the one carrying the team. Zlatan was present, but he’s not a playmaker. It seemed without Jona, no one could create chances.

Against Orlando, Jona scored with a rocket shot. It was refreshing to see the Galaxy play with urgency, but tackles were just too hard and careless. JDS gave up a penalty which, luckily, David Bingham managed to save.

Jonathan Dos Santos scores a banger against Orlando City SC

David Bingham came up big with saves that night in Orlando City and as he has for most of the 2019 season.

Giancarlo Gonzalez has been phenomenal. He’s gotten three starts in a row and wins contested balls. Check out this flip save against Colorado that shows his ability to emergency-defend:

He paired with Daniel Steres, who is fighting to keep his spot in the backline, and their defending against Orlando was unwavering.

Favio Alvarez provided a boost by getting into good spots and brought some dangerous looks to the team.

Joe Corona and Uriel Antuna really hustle on the pitch. Efrain Alvarez is a game changer and makes all the difference as soon as he steps onto the pitch, creating chances and taking shots himself. Chris Pontius is a spark on the bench and has just been unlucky not to score, instead ricocheting off the post against Orlando.

Diedie Traore is promising. Julian Araujo, Rolf Feltscher, and Diego Polenta all put in the work.

Emil Cuello is still a rookie, so the only way for him to learn is to give him minutes. Ema Boateng really shouldn’t be in the starting line up or be crossed to, but he makes the effort. Sebastian Lletget just hasn’t been playing well and often passes when he should be taking shots.

LA Galaxy play away in Kansas City this Wednesday, May 29th. Sporting, despite being plagued by injuries, is coming off a win against second place Seattle Sounders. The G’s are going to have Zlatan back, but it’s going to take more than that to beat SKC.

The next match at home at Dignity Health Sports Park is before the international break on June 2nd against New England Revolution. The Revs have a new coach: Bruce Arena.

We’ve got quite the challenge ahead, including many Galaxy players who will be busy with international duty, so every available man on this roster is going to have to really step it up.

Featured image: LA Galaxy on Twitter

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Johnny Russell’s historical hat trick helps Sporting KC break winless streak

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sporting Kansas City finally snapped it’s seven-game winless streak in a thrilling 3-2 win over the Seattle Sounders at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday. Johnny Russell’s hat trick and Tim Melia’s cat-like reflexes sealed the deal.

Even though ten players remain on the injury list, with five totally out, the list is finally shrinking as Vermes nearly sat a full bench. Yohan Croizet started in Krisztian Nemeth’s place, who was out due to a red he picked up in the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend. And Jimmy Medranda made his triumphant return.

Sporting KC got off to a strong start, attacking the visitor’s side twice, but Stefan Frei was quick to deny both attempts.

Nicolas Hasler provided the spark the team needed for the opening goal by keeping the ball in play in the 29th minute. He slotted it through to Croizet who defeated the defender to find Russell. And Johnny smashed it home!

The team has clearly put a lot of trust in Kelyn Rowe as they helped place him into 1v1 situations. However, all attempts were either denied by Frei or flew over the bar.

Luckily, Russell completely dismantled the Sounders’ defense to double Sporting KC’s lead just before the half.

Shortly after the restart, Raul Ruidiaz pulled one back for the visitors putting the score up 2-1.

Croizet kept it away from the defender, passing it to Kelyn Rowe who sent a cross to Russell in the penalty area. Without hesitation, Russell flicked it into the back of the net, scoring the hat trick in the 68th minute. He is the second player in club history to score two hat tricks. And a bonus fact, his second hat trick came on the same day that Eddie Johnson scored his second hat trick for the club.

However, the celebrations were cut short. Seattle’s Kelvin Leerdam quickly answered Russell’s goal by putting in a header off of a set piece, going straight through SKC’s defense.

With the score now 3-2, Sporting KC went into full gear to protect the goal at any cost. Even seeing an injured captain, who kept grabbing his hamstring for a better part of the half, fight through the pain to help his team. Unfortunately, Besler would call it quits in the 79th minute because of fatigue. Graham Smith would take this place.

But his exit didn’t displace SKC as Melia went on to make a stunning double-save and was later called back into action to deny a Sounder from close range.

Jimmy Medranda, who entered to a standing ovation from the crowd; after spending nearly a year and a half out due to injury, wasted little time to fire a rocket shot at the goal, but it deflected off the post.

A last-minute attempt saw Frei step out to the half to assist his teammates. But it would fail as the ball flew wide of the goal – ending the match in a much needed 3-2 victory for Sporting KC.

Sporting KC will have a quick turnaround as they host the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, May 29.

Featured image: @sportingkc

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