Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Week in Soccer: Donovan Does the Double

Landon Donovan scored in the 6th and 63rd minutes, and Kasey Keller made some incredible saves as the US deflated Costa Rica 3-0 in front of more than 40,000 fans in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Brian McBride scored the other US goal in a match that saw the nats dominate possession against the Ticos, save for a 15 minute-stretch in the second half when Keller made six terrific saves that kept Costa Rica from tying the match. His most acrobatic came in the 60th minutes, when Keller reached backward with his left hand to make a fingertip save on a shot from Costa Rica’s Jafet Soto.

The win, combined with Mexico’s 2-0 win at Guatemala and Trinidad’s 2-0 defeat of Panama left the US solidly in 2nd place in the six-team World Cup 2006 CONCACAF qualifying final group. Tonight, the US visits Panama, Mexico hosts Trinidad, and Costa Rica takes on Guatemala as the round reaches its midpoint. Wins by Mexico and the US will all but assure the two rivals a ticket to next summer’s World Cup in Germany. Soccernet’s Mark Connolly has a great piece on what the US must do to prevail.

Around the World
In other World Cup Qualifying news, Japan become the first team, other than host Germany, to qualify for next year’s tournament after a 2-0 win over North Korea this morning. 24 matches will be held today around the world, and five other nations have an opportunity punch their World Cup tickets: Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Korea, Brazil, and Argentina.

U-20’s Get their Game On
The U-20 National Team has left for Holland for the biennial U-20 World Youth Championship. On the squad are Metros Eddie Gaven and Tim Ward, as well as DC’s Freddy Adu. The 24-nation tourney kicks off on Friday, and the US has been placed in a tough Group D with powers Argentina, Germany, and Egypt. The “gnats” start off vs. Argentina on Saturday at 11:30am on Fox Soccer Channel.

Metro News
The Metros continued their strong road play with a 2-2 draw at LA Galaxy on Saturday. Abbe Ibrahim and Sergio Galvan Rey scored for Metro, who one-third into the MLS season sit in 4th place. The team made a controversial trade yesterday, sending super-sub and fan favorite John Wolyniec to Columbus in exchange for 31-year old former national team forward Ante Razov. Razov played for Metro coach Bob Bradley when the two were in Chicago. When with the Fire, Razov was known as a Metro-killer, scoring 12 goals in 18 matches vs. the Metro.

Last Week’s Results
Wednesday, June 1st
Chivas USA 1-1 Kansas City

Saturday, June 4th
US 3-0 Costa Rica
Guatemala 0-2 Mexico
Trinidad 2-0 Panama

Chicago 5-2 Chivas USA
New England 1-1 Kansas City
Salt Lake 0-2 FC Dallas
LA Galaxy 2-2 MetroStars
San Jose 0-0 DC United

Standings (Team, Points, GD)
CONCACAF (Top 3 qualify, 4th place plays off vs. Asian 5th place)
Mexico 10, +4
US 9, +5
Guatemala 4, 0
Trinidad 4, -3
Costa Rica 4, -3
Panama 2, -3

MLS Eastern Conference
New England 22, +11
Chicago 19, +1
Kansas City 17, +5
MetroStars 16, +6
DC United 12, 0
Columbus 10, -10

MLS Western Conference
FC Dallas 24, +12
LA Galaxy 20, +6
San Jose 14, 0
Salt Lake 11, -9
Colorado 8, -5
Chivas USA 5, -17

This Week’s Matches
Wednesday, June 8th
Mexico vs. Trinidad, 8pm, Univision
Costa Rica vs. Guatemala, 9pm
Panama vs. US, 9:30pm, tape-delayed on ESPN2 at 1am

Saturday, June 11th
US U-20s vs. Argentina, 11:30am, FSC
Columbus vs. Colorado, 4pm, ESPN2
Kansas City vs. New England, 8pm HDNet
LA Galaxy vs. Salt Lake, 10pm, FSC

Sunday, June 12th
MetroStars vs. DC United, 6pm
Chicago vs. FC Dallas, 7pm
Chivas USA vs. San Jose, 8pm

Tuesday, June 14th
US U-20s vs. Germany, 2:30pm, FSC

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