Landon Donovan’s 88th minute equalizer allowed LA to split the spoils with Toronto (2-2) and thanks to the away goals rule it also gave his squad the slightest advantage in this CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals match up.
It was a tremendous evening as over 47,000 fans created an overwhelming atmosphere at the Rogers Centre, but it was a similar story in Toronto. Incredible support from the TFC fans who walk away yet again with little to smile about.
It all seemed so different early on as after just 11 minutes in Ryan Johnson’s well measured volley punished the Galaxy defense for making a complete mess of a Torsten Frings corner kick.
An upset looked to be in the making just seven minutes later when rookie Luis Silva brilliantly measured his header from the top of the 18, as the Galaxy failed to deal with another high ball sent into the box.
One could only wonder how different the first 20 minutes might have been if Omar Gonzalez was marshaling the Galaxy back-line, but Joao Plata was running the Galaxy ragged down the left while Frings was carrying the ball out of the back to keep possession for the home side.
Despite going down two goals, the Galaxy always looked positive going forward. Edson Buddle and Robbie Keane looked dangerous in their movement up top. Buddle in particular had some deft touches in combination which led to chances for his strike partner.no comments
In addition to bringing in an increasing number of proven players, MLS teams are becoming better at developing young stars on their own. Between the addition of Homegrown signings, the “Young-DP” salary cap relief, and improved scouting operations, more young players are making an impact around the league than ever before. Though a long list of youngsters could be highlighted for their bright futures, a few players stand out as they will be particularly intriguing to follow this season.
With First Kick drawing closer, this continuation of the "Five-to-Watch" series will profile five young players who will be looking to break through to stardom in 2012.
5. Luis Gil (18-years-old), Attacking Midfielder, Real Salt Lake
Though this past off-season may not be remembered for big name "celebrity" player signings, a number of proven players have joined the league, and are likely to make big contributions to their new clubs in 2012. Though dozens of quality players signed MLS contracts since last December, several stand out as especially significant additions.
Below is a guide to the top five newcomers I believe will make the biggest impact in 2012.
It was an eventful weekend for Americans Abroad as multiple Yanks found the back of net. Check out all the highlights below...
Clint Dempsey scored twice in Fulham's 5-0 thrashing of Wolves at Craven Cottage. Dempsey's brace ups his goal-scoring tally to 18 goalasos across all competitions.
Check out Clint's 2nd goal vs. Wolves and more highlights after the break....
The US U-23 Men’s National Team capped off their final training camp before Olympic qualifying with a 2-0 win against Mexico’s U-23 squad Wednesday night at FC Dallas Stadium. With goals from Juan Agudelo and Mix Diskerud the Olympic hopefuls put together a complete 90-minute performance to claim supremacy over their well established CONCACAF rival.
US coach Caleb Porter selected a squad consistent with the lineup he has used in previous friendlies with the core of the team remaining in tact. Opara, Sarkodie, Kitchen and Valentin made up the back four while Adu, Diskerud, Joe Corona, Juan Agudelo, Joe Gyau and Alfredo Morales rounded out the starting eleven.
A 4-3-3 formation was deployed by the US, which troubled the young Mexicans who looked a step slow throughout the match. The Yanks dominated possession and play, especially in the first half where the US scored two goals 1 minute apart. There were strong performances throughout the park from the US U-23s, as Wednesday was a night were the players seemed to enjoy the beautiful game and could do no wrong.
Impressive showings from Joe Corona and Mix Diskerud in the middle of the pitch helped set things up for the dynamic front-man Juan Agudelo and wingers Freddy Adu and Joe Gyau. Adu and Agudelo both played with distinction and used a combination of youth and experience to impose their force on the match. Recent experiences playing for the senior side has helped both these players grow tremendously.
On the opposite end of the pitch the US back four continue to look strong no matter who’s playing in goal. However, this is not an indication of the Americans weakness in goal, as the goalie position is probably the Yanks strongest spot on the pitch. Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson continue to give Caleb Porter a selection headache. Both young guns played a near perfect half of football Wednesday night to add to Porter's upcoming nightmare selection of who to start in qualifying. Their play during these qualifying matches should give Porter a final idea on who the US number one will be if the squad makes it to London.
In an Ironic twist, the US beat Italy at their own game. The lazy title to this story would be “The Italian Job” but that’s pretty much what transpired in Italy on Wednesday. The Americans soaked up the pressure, fought like lions at the back, and took their one chance thanks to Clint Dempsey.
The US continued to try and implement Jurgen Kilnsmann’s vision of playing high pressure and moving forward in numbers with the ball on the ground. While it was refreshing to see the USA look to attack against a side that two years ago would have had 10-men behind the ball from the off, the USA struggled with balls over the top to Sebastian Giovinco or out wide to Christian Maggio down the right. Throughout the 90 minutes, the spectacular Andrea Pirlo was given way too much space to sit in his usual deep midfield position and ping the ball over the top to the aforementioned players.
Jozy Altidore had a terrible first half, but he really picked it up in the second. On Clint Dempsey’s goal, he showed exactly why he belongs in Klinsi’s 23-man roster. At his best he holds up the ball and distributes it well.
We saw vintage Altidore as he brought down a Fabian Johnson cross and left it for Dempsey’s clinical finish- the Yanks only genuine opportunity of the game.
Check out Clint's goal after the break....
The USMNT will face its most formidable test of the Klinsmann era today when they take on the Azzurri in Genoa. The US have previously faced tough European opposition under Klinsmann, but the Italians offer a new test and bring a style of play the Americans are not accustomed too.
Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli, announced his starting XI yesterday which was broadcasted to the world via a tweet from Grant Wahl. The Azzuri will be anchored in goal by World Cup veteran and Italian legend, Gianluigi Buffon. The backline will consist of the likes Cristian Maggio of Napoli, Andrea Barzagli of Juventus, Angelo Ogbanna of Torino, and Domenico Criscito of Zenit. Not the typical backline that Prandelli would normally use, but yet again the start of the European Championship is only a few months away and Prandelli needs to cover all his bases before the tournament begins.
The real danger for the US lies in Italy's midfield third, which will be comprised of Andrea Pirlo, Thiago Motta, Claudio Marchisio, and Antonio Nocerino. These four are not the fleetest of foot, but they have the ability to play great 1 and 2 touch passes that will present immense danger for the US backline.
Look for Pirlo to be the deep lying midfielder who controls the flow of the game. The real test for the US will be to not allow Pirlo the time and space to play those cutting edge passes. Motta and Marchisio will provide a more creative presence in the final third, look for them to link up with the forwards- Giovinco and Matri. I would then expect Nocerino to assume the "search and destroy" role that De Rossi usually holds. The other three midfielders are not the most tenacious of tacklers and Italy usually likes to have at least one true ball winner in the midfield to aid the three creative midfielders, so Nocerino is the guy by default.
With the US-Italy friendly quickly approaching (Wednesday @ 2:30pm ET on ESPN2) and World Cup qualifying soon after that, Jurgen Klinsmann still has a lot of work to do to get his team ready to compete against the world powers. If you want to get caught up on all things US Soccer, make some popcorn, sit down, and listen to Jurgen Klinsmann address everything and anything you would want to know about the US Program...no comments
Jozy Altidore got his first start since December 18th for AZ and made the most out of it, earning Man of the Match honors for his 12th and 13th goals of the season across all competitions. This coming shortly after AZ's manager proclaimed that Jozy had lost his starting role due to the lack of progress he had made this season. AZ's boss further went on to explain that the club at this point in time played better with Charilson Benschop starting up front.
However with Benschop missing Sunday's match vs. Heerenveen due to injury Jozy got the nod and in the 26th minute flawlessly executed a Robin van Persie-esque turnaround shot to put AZ ahead 1-0. Check out the goal and the amusing "Born in the USA" soundtrack played in celebration...
Jozy then registered his second of the match to once again put AZ in front. The go-ahead goal came only 3 minutes after Heerenveen tied things up from the middle of the box...check out the finish after the jump no comments
The US U-23 Men’s National Team scrimmaged new NASL side, the San Antonio Scorpions FC, Friday night in Frisco, TX and won the competition 3-0. Goals from Brek Shea, Dilly Duka, and Jack McInerny led the US youth internationals to victory.
The play from the 2nd tier side was spirited and organized, which allowed the Scorpions to stay level with the US U-23s through the first 45 minutes. Although the match was dominated much in part by the midfield and the defense of the US team, the Scorpions managed a few decent attacks in the first half.
Despite the US’ dominance, it wasn’t until the second half that the constant pressure from the young Olympic hopefuls equated to a goal, as Brek Shea found the net in the 53rd minute. Shea, who’s goal was his second in two games during this camp, easily finished a cross delivered by Juan Agudelo.
The second goal came from an inventive piece of individual skill from Dilly Duka on the left hand side of the box 9 minutes later. Then, in the final third of the match Jack McInerny headed home from point blank range after the goalie failed to punch out a Tony Taylor cross.
Next up for the U-23s is their heated rivals, Mexico. The young yanks will face their CONCACAF “friends” on Wednesday at FC Dallas Stadium, which will provide the Americans with an important test run ahead of qualifying matches in March.
“There’s never a friendly game against Mexico. We’re all excited, for most of the guys it’s the first time they get a chance to play against Mexico on such a stage and every time you get a chance to play against your arch-rivals in a televised match, it’s exciting,” said US midfielder Freddy Adu.