Tag Archives: Sigi Schmid

Crew’s Woes Continue

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

After an exceptional run by the USWNT in the World Cup and an improvement in the USMNT during the Gold Cup , it was hard to watch the Crew, in comparison, lose their last three games in seven days. The losses continue to mount and while the Columbus Crew fans are definitely grateful to have a team, that team has been difficult to watch.

On Saturday, June 29, Columbus Crew took on Orlando City. In a game where the Crew dominated possession and limited Orlando to three shots, they still managed to lose the game 2-0. The best part of the game was honoring former club coach and legend Sigi Schmid into the Crew’s Circle of Honor at halftime. The Crew welcomed the Schmid family, watched tributes to Sigi, and presented the family with a beautiful collage of Sigi’s time in Columbus.

Then on Wednesday, July 3, the Crew traveled to Salt Lake City to take on RSL. Due to the three games in seven days, Caleb Porter made some line up changes. He gave JJ Williams the start at forward and Eduardo Sosa an elusive start in midfield; Niko Hansen returned from wherever Porter has been hiding him to play in the midfield, where he was joined by Ricardo Clark; Aboubacar Keita made his MLS debut at center back; and Joe Bendik made a grab for the starting goalkeeper position again.

While Caleb had limited player selection due to injury and call-ups when rotating his squad, it was nice to see some players who have gotten very little to no playing time a chance to prove if they were hungry enough to unseat the struggling starters.

Unfortunately, the Crew were unable to finish any shots, and Sam Johnson finished a beautiful opportunity by beating both Crognale and Keita to a long ball that they both let bounce over their heads.

Returning home this past Saturday, the Crew played the Seattle Sounders. In a game that honestly felt do or die, the Crew couldn’t hold on to an early lead and lost to Seattle 2-1.

With a slight tweak in the line up we have been seeing recently, Josh Williams stepped in at centerback, but JJ Williams and Joe Bendik kept their starting spots from the RSL game, playing forward and keeper respectively.

The Crew had hope for a possible victory after a PK by Pedro Santos in the 13′. However, Nicolas Lodeiro, who spent a lot of time rolling on the grass with dire injuries at MAPFRE Stadium, seemed to be the difference maker for Seattle. He sank a PK in the 56′ and scored a final goal for the Sounders in extra time. At the end of the game, multiple Crew players collapsed to the ground–exhausted from giving it their all, their all not being enough.

After the 1-2 loss to Seattle, multiple Crew players collapsed to the ground — exhausted from giving it their all, their all not being enough. Photo by Hilary.

Thoughts about the Team:

This is hard. Watching this team is hard. Because I feel for these guys. I believe they are putting everything they can out on the field. If we the fans feel frustrated, then I can’t even imagine how they feel. Do I think part of this is an emotional hangover from the past season and half of off-field drama? Yes, I do.

Did we have a time under Berhalter where we struggled to score goals? Yes, we absolutely did. But in those cases, we typically had a solid defense who minimized the damage the opposition did to us. This is not happening this year. And while I know we are missing Milton Valenzuela to injury, his replacement Waylon Francis is a very good left back. This can not be blamed on injuries.

Is Caleb Porter getting everything out of these guys that he can? I don’t know. I understand we have injuries and call ups, and while I don’t believe every player is elite caliber, I believe they can play a solid game of soccer. However, the adjustment between playing styles has not been as seamless as many thought, including Caleb himself.

However, this isn’t Caleb’s chosen roster. He inherited a roster in January that he had limited time to evaluate and tweak. Do I think a roster blow up is coming? Yes, I do. It’s already started. There will be many players that I will be heartbroken to lose. But to give Caleb a real chance to develop this club into what he thought it could be, it probably has to happen.

With recent additions coming in the transfer window of Eloy Room, keeper of the Curacao National team, Luis Diaz from Club Sport Herediano (Costa Rica) and Romario Williams from Atlanta United, it is hopeful that these players can make an immediate and positive impact for the struggling Crew when they take the field July 13 in a rematch against Orlando.

Featured image: Hilary

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Who is this Team? Crew versus SKC

Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Well, I have been absent from writing due to some work and travel obligations, and it’s hard to recognize the team now that I am back.  Between trades, injuries, and loans, this team is a dramatically different one than the one I left six weeks ago. 

The Columbus Crew have traded Justin Meram to Atlanta and loaned out Lalas Abubakar to Colorado Rapids for the year.  We have picked up David Guzman from Portland Timbers, and David Accam has joined the team from Philadelphia Union for the rest of the year.  In addition, Waylon Francis and Harrison Afful are just returning from injury, Josh Williams is hurt, and our major playmaker, Federico Higuain is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

If that doesn’t make your head spin, then keep in mind that during this game against Sporting Kansas City, we were also missing Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes to the USMNT, and Zack Steffen who was also with the USMNT has played his final game in a Crew jersey as he goes to Europe in July.  

With a Kansas City team who has also been struggling with injury and can only put six players on the bench, the Crew had an opportunity to win their second game in the last eleven.  Jon Kempin has been the starting keeper since Steffen’s exit, and the back four included Waylon Francis, Alex Crognale, and Gaston Sauro.  The midfield wings were Hector Jimenez and David Accam with David Guzman and Artur holding down the center of the midfield with Patrick Mullins on top.

The Crew had several opportunities to put the ball in the goal, but they just couldn’t seem to do so.  In the 19’, Patrick Mullins had difficulty finishing off a Pedro Santos corner kick that had been sent in to him by Gaston Suaro.  The Crew should have had several goals throughout the game as the SKC keeper Tim Melia blocked but did not hold to several shots the Crew made on goal.

In the 48’, SKC’s Felipe Gutierrez headed in a goal without any one between him and the goal off an assist from Gerso.  In the 74’, Afful received a red card for a tackle on Gerso that denied an obvious scoring opportunity.

The game ended in a 1-0 loss for the Crew who can’t seem to put a complete game together. 

Thoughts on the match:

This has been an incredibly frustrating period of time for Crew fans as the team cannot seem to pull together a win.  We have had injuries and call ups, but I do think the majority of the team that was out on the field on Saturday are capable of pulling out a win.  Watching the highlights after being at the match, the Crew had a lot of opportunities, but continue to be unable to find the back of the net.  

I am not sure about David Guzman.  He has replaced Artur as the starter when Wil Trapp is not on national team duty.  It doesn’t seem to work.  However, I think part of the reason the team has struggled is due to head coach Caleb Porter’s change in how he has Wil Trapp and his midfield partner (Guzman or Artur) play.  I think Wil’s and Artur’s play has also declined with the system tweaks that Porter is making and actually weakening what I consider the spine of the team. 

However, I am not ready to write Porter off.  While I never hide that he wasn’t my first choice for this job and I don’t consider the injuries an excuse, there are going to be growing pains with a new coach.  I’m willing to give him more time, but that doesn’t make the growing pains any less painful as a fan.  So I definitely do not fault anyone who is looking for a replacement for Porter already. 

Let’s hope the team can find some footing this upcoming Saturday against Orlando City.  The team is honoring former Crew coach and legend Sigi Schmid with a place in the team’s Circle of Honor at halftime of the game.  An additional way to honor Schmid would be for the Crew to get 3 points.

Featured image: @ColumbusCrewSC

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LA Galaxy Scoreless in Seattle

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI

David Bingham; Dave Romney, Jorgen Skjelvik, Daniel Steres; Rolf Feltscher, Perry Kitchen, Servando Carrasco, Ashley Cole ©; Sebastian Lletget; Emmanuel Boateng, Ola Kamara.

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Sheanon Williams, Baggio Husidic, Chris Pontius, Bradford Jamieson IV, Ariel Lassiter.

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s lineup against the Seattle Sounders on August 18, 2018 seemed solid considering the Galaxy didn’t have any designated players and were also missing Michael Ciani, who was sorely missed. Zlatan Ibrahimovic wouldn’t play on turf or make the trip up to protect his knee. It’s always better to rest players, but the Blue and Gold are dealing with other injured players such as Romain Alessandrini and both Dos Santos brothers.

So, who stepped up and showed up in Seattle? The Starting XI were balanced considering Rolf Feltscher was back with his first start since late April. Emmanuel Boateng hadn’t started since June. But, just when we thought the defense couldn’t get worse, there was an own goal by Servando Carrasco in the 50th minute, which was one of three goals scored in the second half. After the first half, the Galaxy were down 2 goals, but this has been a common occurrence this season. I kept hope that the G’s would come back despite not having anyone on the field who could save them.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Train stub to the event. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

I had followed the Galaxy up to Seattle, and I’m still glad I made the trip. I even got the full supporters’ section up in the hawk’s nest at CenturyLink cheering, rallying for our boys to at least score one goal even if we couldn’t make a comeback. They need the most support when they are down.

But, alas, the absolution never came. The Seattle Sounders are a force to be reckoned with at home. The Rave Green were 8th place and had five straight wins and are eight matches unbeaten prior to facing LAG, so we fans were well aware what a difficult match this would be. But, honestly, it was hard to tell if they were playing well or the Galaxy just made them look it.

Regardless, the poor performance really does fall on head coach Sigi Schmid; it was questionable before, but after seeing the subs he went with and who he didn’t put in, I’m convinced at this point. He subbed out Boateng and Sebastian Lletget, who were the few actually doing anything in the match. Ariel Lassiter and Bradford Jamieson IV hardly played any minutes and the midfield doesn’t have room for them. Bringing in Chris Pontius was good, but he should’ve started. Schmid didn’t put in Tomas Hilliard-Arce and I just don’t understand why.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
I was in the front row of the supporters. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Coach Schmid made every wrong move when there were many good moves he could have made. Since the Galaxy are a second-half team, he shouldn’t have started Feltscher or Lletget. He should’ve saved their fitness for the second half and subbed them in. He should’ve taken out Dave Romney, Jorgen Skjelvik, or Daniel Steres, and Carrasco should’ve been subbed even in the 75th minute. He only gets three subs, of course, but with as expensive a backline as we have, a fresh-out-of-college player isn’t going to sub any of these guys.

They were basically playing with their B-team, but that’s not even an excuse, as most teams can make that and most formations work.

For starters, what didn’t work for the Galaxy was putting Boateng, a midfielder, in the striker position up top with Ola Kamara. He’s got speed but is too short in height to get on the passes in that position (and he really tried).

The passing from the Galaxy also was horrendous like they had no strategy, and they didn’t put any pressure on the Sounders. I mean, being down as many goals as they were, just move the ball forward and shoot! Sebastian Lletget took a shot in the 45th minute as he took on Seattle goalkeeper, Stefan Frei, one on one without anyone on him, but it was too high and went right over the net.

At one point, a close shot came from Kamara as he ran right up to the net, but Frei made that save as well, and he kept denying the Galaxy through the 82nd minute. The Galaxy had a few corners and chances, but they just couldn’t connect.

We were hoping it would be less than five goals conceded. But, that was the final score: 5-0. One of the worst beatings in a while. I just hope this serves as a real wake up call for the Galaxy’s front office. Otherwise, my advice to fans is, if they’re on the fence about renewing their season tickets: then send corporate a message by holding off. For us diehard fans, it’s going to be ride til we die. Take it one game at a time. Never give up hope. Please, don’t turn to LAFC.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Galaxy Supporters’ section. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

The Western Conference table has shifted with the Sounders moving into 7th place. The West is all only a point or two apart. The Galaxy are in 5th place and scraping to keep their spot. LAFC sits in 3rd.

The Galaxy should have most of their starters back (including Ibrahimovic) for the last installment of this season’s El Tráfico against LAFC this Friday, August 24th. It’s sold out and kickoff is set for 7:30 pm PST.

Featured image of CenturyLink: George Heskett

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LA Galaxy Snap Back to Reality

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Sunday, April 8: 0-2 Loss

LA Galaxy Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole ©; Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos; Chris Pontius, Romain Alessandrini, Emmanuel Boateng; Ola Kamara

No game is going to ever live up to the LA Galaxy vs Los Angeles FC again in the MLS. So, it’s no surprise to me that reality would hit us in the face on this night.

If you’re a fan of the Galaxy and you’re reading this, you’ve known our defense needed work since preseason.

Our starting XI and our bench, with a couple of exceptions, are totally good players.

I hope this 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City reminds us of the work that needs to be done.  Let’s not overreact due to the past trauma that was the 2017 season; instead, let’s work on our finishing (because we had three shots that hit off the post, so now we are fighting the net at this point), and that we can’t rely on any single player. We are a better than decent team. We just need to follow through.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
LA Galaxy with a chance off a corner in the first half. Image courtesy: Michelle Huitink

The first half, we played well, much better than versus LAFC. Let’s also not forget that Sporting was missing their main man, Felipe Gutiérrez.  Still, this game was consistent and steady. We attacked and we created chances, putting pressure and often forcing them to get the ball back to their keeper. In the second half, we got sixteen shots on goal, five of which came from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sebastian Lletget and Ibrahimovic are still getting back into fitness. It is ultimately up to head coach Sigi Schmid who he starts, but I, as a fan, have to trust in his decisions right now.

Romain Alessandrini and Jonathan Dos Santos, both designated players, starting and playing a good amount of minutes, and coming out hungry and strong, especially after returning from hamstring injuries is awesome but we can’t expect them to push past their limits.

I want everyone fit! We have a long season ahead still.

Overall, I didn’t understand the decisions made by the Galaxy when passing; they always play it on the sides, especially on the right. Then, they bunched up too much, which forced Ibrahimovic to go back with the ball, which doesn’t result in any chances.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Zlatan Ibrahimovic taking a free kick in the 82’. Image courtesy: Michelle Huitink

I didn’t expect to lose. I’m still not convinced Sporting should be in the number one spot in the western conference.

We had better control of the game and it was a physical match.  SKC just took more advantage of their opportunities when we let two balls slip past us. That’s all I have to say about that (Forrest Gump voice).

Our next match is Saturday, April 14, an away game vs Chicago Fire. It is available to stream via Twitter and watch on Univision Deportes at 12:30PT/2pmCT.

Romain Alessandrini takes on Zusi Graham image courtesy: Michelle Huitink

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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LA Galaxy backup players show up

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @AdorableEars

Saturday, March 24: 0-0 Draw

LA Galaxy Starting XI

David Bingham; Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik, Tomas Hilliard-Arce; Rolf Feltscher, Perry Kitchen, Sebastian Lletget, Servando Carrasco, David Romney; Emmanuel Boateng, Ariel Lassiter.

#michelle

Substitutions

Brian Sylvestre, Justin Vom Steeg, Hugo Arellano, Baggio Husidic, Joao Pedro, Chris Pontius.

Look at this starting lineup and the bench. Remember these names, because this is pre-Zlatan Ibrahimovic and we were missing so many key players, yet these guys stepped it up. Not only are we obviously better than last season, but a draw in Vancouver earns us a point. We were on the road and I tell you this is a good result in 39F weather that we are too LA for.  They really worked with the 3-5-2 formation.

I don’t care about big names. The performance speaks for itself and I hope coach Sigi Schmid is taking notes, taking names, and listening. The Vancouver Whitecaps could not cut through our back line and couldn’t score on counter attacks, which is what they’re known for.  Sure, they took bad shots and made poor decisions, but so did we.

David Bingham saved us in that first half. Our usual problems surfaced in the first 45 minutes and the match was dominated by Vancouver. Still, the defense held strong throughout the match.

Considering this was Tomas Hillard-Arce’s MLS debut, Sebastian Lletget’s first time captaining (and well deserved), and Ema Boateng needs to work on finishing, we held down the defense and created some of the best chances of the match. Ari Lassiter had a really good chance in the 52nd minute with a header off Servando Carrasco, he just couldn’t get there in time.  LA needs to put more pressure on the ball.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Lletget post-match interview image courtesy: @lagalaxy instagram story

Daniel Steres and Rolf Feltscher were very active. Jorgen Skjelvik and Dave Romney also did well to hold it down during Vancouver’s challenges. Perry Kitchen is looking better. The guys seemed steady. By the 59th minute, we got shaky and shadows of the first half could be seen as we tried to keep it together just a few minutes after Boateng failed to score when facing Vancouver’s goalkeeper, Stefan Marinovic, one on one.

Chris Pontius was subbed in for Lassiter, who hadn’t given much service, but his performance was decent. He’s got potential and just needs to find consistency.

Lletget got subbed out for Baggio Husidic, who took over the captain’s position in the 81st minute. It really is good to see Lletget playing for so long when at this time last year he suffered a foot injury.  He’s really come a long way in recovery and fitness.

Last change of the match was Joao Pedro subbed in for Carrasco, who really shined tonight and performed at a very high level.

I predicted against the LA Galaxy when I guest spotted as an “MLS expert” for LA is Our House podcast “Balls and Beers”. I’m glad this team proved me wrong. We have a lot to prove as we face Los Angeles FC this coming weekend on March 31st. But, I feel we are really prepared, Ibrahimovic debut or not. I’m concerned about Giovani Dos Santos coming back on the field, and I know the starting XI won’t look like today’s lineup. I’m putting my trust in Sigi. My confidence in my team is locked in.

As for Ibrahimovic joining us, I’ve gotten a grip. It can’t be denied what a magnificent and proud player he is and rightfully so, regardless of the minutes he hasn’t had; his resume speaks for itself. LA has always had big names and as long as he is fit, and helps the club and MLS grow, then I welcome him with open arms.

Image courtesy: @LAGalaxy_ES

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @AdorableEars

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LA Galaxy PreSeason Wrap-Up

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @AdorableEars

Recap:

Feb 3rd-vs. Real Salt Lake we lost 3-1. The only goal was in the 33’ with a header from Ciani. Lletget played 35 minutes since his injury.

Feb 10th-vs. NYCFC we won 3-0 with goals by Kamara, Hillard-Arce, and Husidic

Feb 15th-vs. Fresno FC a 3-1 win that I was able to view on Periscope. Lletget, Pontius, and Hillard-Arce.

Feb 17th-vs. San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 loss. Ola Kamara scored twice and then the defense fell apart in the second half as we allowed three goals. Unfortunately, SJ scored twice off of Bingham’s deflected saves. A new attendance record was set at 5,015.

Feb 21st-vs. Closed door scrimmage loss vs Vancouver Whitecaps.

Feb. 24th-vs, Whitecaps 2-1 loss. This game I’ll focus on because I was actually in attendance and it’s the last game before the season starts. The only goal was a penalty scored by Giovani dos Santos, his only one in the preseason.  The Galaxy had 14 shots on goal! Ciani did the best we’ve seen him defending as a center back.

LINEUPS for the February 24th match (subs in parenthesis):

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole ©; Perry Kitchen, Joao Pedro (Servando Carrasco 38’ [Chris Pontius 86’]); Romain Alessandrini, Giovani dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng (Sebastian Lletget 68’); Ola Kamara.

Lletget still won’t be starting as a precautionary measure to make sure he’s fit coming off his Lisfranc injury last season, a condition so rare in which one or more of the bones in the foot are displaced.

Speaking of injuries, Joao Pedro started because Jonathan dos Santos is injured, but expected to be available for the home opener.

I would’ve liked the Galaxy to have crushed it. I have to admit, at times, it looked like when I play FIFA 18 lol, yet we still love the game and keep trying. Let’s keep it real, though. They just came off being in last place and while the preseason doesn’t look good, I say, this is what preseason is for: to understand where this is coming from and tweak it so we can get good results. 

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
LA Galaxy in action. Image courtesy: Michelle Huitink

This team had an overhaul. This isn’t even the finalized team either. It’s too early to lose hope. They’re just starting to connect, our offense and defense are starting to build up, which showed against Vancouver.  We kept it together and created plenty of opportunities. We’re still working on our finishing, but this is all part of the adventure. 

I’m ready to get comfortable with the team. I welcome and welcome back David Bingham, Brian Sylvestre, Rolf Feltscher, Tomas Hillard-Arce, Emrah Klimenta, Jorgen Skjelvik, Servando Carrasco, Perry Kitchen, Ola Kamara Chris Pontius, Hugo Arellano, David Romney, Daniel Steres, Emmanuel Boateng, Michael Ciani, and Baggio Husidic. 

I embrace Ashley Cole as captain and can’t wait to see Sebastian Lletget play a full 90. We need to give the 2018 team a chance, which is why I’m not a supporter of Zlatan Ibrahimović coming here yet, if at all.  We’ve always relied on bigger names like David Beckham for far too long.  Alessandrini and the boys are more than capable and have reputations of their own to live up to.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Cosmo, our mascot, causing mischief in the stands. Image courtesy: Michelle Huitink

We fans don’t want to get accustomed to losing, but the key to getting results is who we have on the team and with coach Sigi Schmid. Kamara is very promising and I really think he’s the starter we’ve been looking for.

Soccer is psychological, this is why and when they need our support most of all.

I’m bringing more foreign friends to the home opener and slowly, but surely converting them to supporters of the LA Galaxy. Hope to see you there.

Matchday is scheduled for Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 7:00pm PT.

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @AdorableEars

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