Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ka-sey Kel-ler!

USA: Gold Cup Champs (ISI)
Originally uploaded by mfishkin.
The Washington State native brought home the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the US on Sunday, winning a penalty shootout vs. upstart Panama 3-1 after a scoreless draw and a scoreless 30-minute overtime period. Keller, who has played for clubs in England, Spain, and Germany, stopped the plucky canaleros on numerous occasions throughout the match, but set the tone for the US win early in the shootout. Keller guessed correctly, dove to his left, and stoned Luis Tejada to open the tiebreaker and rattle the Panamanians’ confidence. After Santino Quaranta scored for the US, Jorge Dely Valdes hit the crossbar. After Chris Armas’ shot was saved, Felipe Baloy scored for Panama. After Landon Donovan gave the US a 2-1 lead, Alberto Blanco missed the net entirely. Finally, the US’ Brad Davis, in only his second international appearance, buried his penalty shot, giving the US their third Gold Cup title.

National team soccer now gives way to some MLS-European exhibitions, as AC Milan takes on Chicago on Tuesday (9pm), DC United hosts Chelsea on Thursday night (espn2) and the MLS All-Stars take on Fulham on Saturday in Columbus (ABC, 3:30pm). The US gets back in the World Cup groove on Wednesday, August 17th vs. Trinidad at Rentschler Field in Hartford, CT.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Last-Minute Love

Whew! The US National Team played from behind for nearly an hour before scoring two last-minute goals to beat Honduras 2-1 in last night’s Gold Cup semifinal match at Giants Stadium. Playing in front of 40,000 mostly Honduran fans, the US gave up a goal in the 30th minute after a defensive lapse left Ivan Guerrero all alone on Kasey Keller, and the Honduran prevailed. US Coach Bruce Arena was ejected in the second half after arguing a poor call by the officials, and the US looked like they were going to get beat… until John O’Brien tapped in poor Honduran clearance in the 86th minute to knot the game at one. In injury time, Landon Donovan lofted a free kick into the box that found the head of 6’ 2” defender Oguchi Oneywu, who deflected the ball into top corner of the net, sending the US to the Gold Cup Final. The US will play Panama, a surprise semifinal winner over Colombia, in the final at 3pm on Univision.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Da Beas' Knees

Beasley Scores (Reuters)
Originally uploaded by mfishkin.
DaMarcus Beasley had a hand in all three of the US goals in a 3-1 win over Jamaica in Saturday’s Gold Cup Quarterfinal at the Big Razor in Foxboro. The PSV midfielder scored two and assisted on a Josh Wolff goal to open the scoring in the early going. Both teams had a man sent off (for the US, Ben Olsen) and failed on a penalty kick (for the US, Landon Donovan). Next up, Honduras in the Semifinals at Giants Stadium on Thursday evening (6pm, Telefutura). Should the US prevail, they’ll face either Panama or Colombia, who did the US a favor by knocking off tournament favorite Mexico 2-1 in the quarters, on Sunday at 3pm (Univision). The US, on a seven-match unbeaten streak, has two Gold Cup titles to its credit, in 1991 and 2002. The US' 3-0-1 record in the continental championship has boosted its FIFA World Ranking to a best-ever#6, ahead of France, England, Spain, and Portugal in the top 10.

The Real Deal
A packed Home Depot Center saw top global club Real Madrid defeat a Landon Donovan-less LA Galaxy 2-0 on Monday night. While Real held possession for much of the match, LA didn’t embarrass themselves or MLS with its effort. Upcoming Europe vs. MLS matches in the next two weeks include Chicago vs. AC Milan, DC United vs. Chelsea, and the MLS All-Stars vs. Fulham in Columbus.

Recent Results
Gold Cup Quarterfinals
Saturday, July 16th

Honduras 3-2 Costa Rica
USA 3-1 Jamaica
Sunday, July 17th
Colombia 2-1 Mexico
Panama 1-1, 5-3pks South Africa

Friday, July 15th
DC United 3-0 San Jose

Saturday, July 16th
Chicago 1-1 Columbus
New England 3-2 FC Dallas
MetroStars 1-1 Colorado
Kansas City 3-2 Salt Lake
LA Galaxy 2-0 Chivas USA

Tuesday, July 19th
US Open Cup 3rd Round
Richmond Kickers 8-4 Ocean City (NJ) Barons

Standings (Team, pts, gd)
MLS Eastern Conference
Chicago 36, +7
New England 35, +15
Kansas City 28, +7
MetroStars 25, +6
DC United 25, +5
Columbus 15, -14

MLS Western Conference
FC Dallas 34, +13
San Jose 28, +5
LA Galaxy 28, +3
Colorado 18, -5
Salt Lake 13, -20
Chivas USA 9, -22

This Week’s Matches
Wednesday, July 20th
Columbus vs. MetroStars, 7:30pm FSNY
Kansas City vs. DC United, 8pm
Colorado vs. San Jose, 9:30pm

Thursday, July 21st
Gold Cup Semifinals

USA vs. Honduras, 6pm, TELE
Colombia vs. Panama, 9pm, TELE

Friday, July 22nd
Chivas USA vs. New England, 10:30pm

Saturday, July 23rd
LA Galaxy vs. DC United, 4pm, ESPN2
Columbus vs. Kansas City, 7:30pm, HDNet
Colorado vs. Chicago, 9pm
Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, 9:30pm, FSC
San Jose vs. MetroStars, 10pm

Sunday, July 24th
Gold Cup Final, 3pm, UNI

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Big Night

Guatemala's Carlos Ruiz (AP)
Originally uploaded by mfishkin.
Wednesday night was a huge night for soccer across the country. Not only was the first round of the Gold Cup finishing up at Reliant Stadium in Houston, but six third round matches of the US Open Cup took place, at venues stretching from Ludlow, Massachusetts to Dallas, Texas.

In Houston, Guatemala earned its first point of this year’s Gold Cup in a 1-1 draw with guest participant South Africa. One point wasn’t enough to lift the chapines out of the Group C cellar, however. Mexico got a goal from Alberto Medina in the 19th minute to beat Jamaica, 1-0 in the nightcap, giving Mexico the group title. The tricolores, South Africa and Jamaica will move onto the quarterfinals this weekend. Here are the matchups (times EDT):

Saturday at Foxboro:
1pm: Honduras vs. Costa Rica
4pm: USA vs. Jamaica

Sunday at Houston:
3pm: Mexico vs. Colombia
6pm: South Africa vs. Panama

The Gold Cup semis and finals will be held at Giants Stadium on July 21st and 24th.

In US Open Cup action last night, three MLS clubs were taken to overtime by lower level competition (one lost), and the Des Moines (IA) Menace from the Premier Development League, an amateur summer league mostly for college kids, beat a team two levels above it to advance to the cup’s fourth round.

Scores (club level: MLS=I)
Portland Timbers (II) 2-0 Seattle Sounders (II) (played on 7/12)
Rochester Rhinos (II) 2-1 Virginia Beach Mariners (II)
Western Mass. Pioneers (III) 1-3 Chicago Fire (I)
Charlotte Eagles (III) 2-3 OT Chivas USA (I)
Atlanta Silverbacks (II) 1-5 Des Moines Menace (IV)
FC Dallas (I) 3-1 OT Wilmington Hammerheads (III)
Minnesota Thunder (II) 6-4 OT Real Salt Lake (I)
Overtime in the USOC is thirty minutes, without a golden goal.

The Richmond Kickers (II) – Ocean City Barons (IV) match was postponed due to lightning and will be played on 7/19.

In the fourth round on August 3rd, eight MLS clubs join the competition. The final will be held on September 28th. Fourth Round matches: (clubs MLS unless noted)
Columbus Crew – FC Dallas
Ocean City (IV)/Richmond (II) – DC United
Minnesota Thunder (II) – Colorado Rapids
Kansas City Wizards – Des Moines Menace (IV)
CD Chivas – LA Galaxy
Rochester Rhinos (II) – MetroStars
New England Revolution – Chicago Fire
Portland Timbers (II) – San Jose Earthquakes

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Going for Gold

Landon Donovan is, as they say, en fuego. His three goals for the US in their CONCACAF Gold Cup wins last week (4-1 vs. Cuba and 2-0 vs. Canada) have pushed the Nats through to the tournament’s quarterfinals. First, though, the US must finish first-round group play vs. Costa Rica in Foxboro this evening. (7pm, Telefutura). The Ticos have also clinched a quarterfinal berth, so both of tonight’s lineups may be highly experimental. Donovan’s three tallies give him 25 all-time, lifting the Redlands, CA product to 3rd place on the career US scoring list behind Hall of Famer Eric Wynalda (34) and elder statesman Brian McBride (28). Considering that Donovan is all of 23 years old, the Galaxy midfielder is destined to hold the top spot. The only question is how soon he’ll get there.

Open Cup-date
Amateur squads Ocean City (NJ) Barons and Des Moines (IA) Menace made big news in the US Open Cup’s second round on June 29th. The Barons knocked off the Long Island Rough Riders, a pro outfit from the USL’s Division Two by a dominating 4-0 scoreline at St. John’s University in Queens. The Menace took an even bigger scalp, defeating the USL’s Division One’s Charleston (SC) Battery 3-2 in Iowa to advance in the knockout tournament. The Cup’s third round will be played tonight and tomorrow, with some MLS clubs finally getting into the act:

Third Round Matches (club level: MLS = I)
Portland Timbers (II) vs. Seattle Sounders (II)
Richmond Kickers (II) vs. Ocean City Barons (IV)
Rochester Rhinos (II) vs. Virginia Beach Mariners (II)
Western Mass Pioneers (III) vs. Chicago Fire (I)
Charlotte Eagles (III) vs. CD Chivas USA (I)
Atlanta Silverbacks (II) vs. Des Moines Menace (IV)
FC Dallas (I) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (III)
Minnesota Thunder (II) vs. Real Salt Lake (I)

Recent Results
Group B
July 7th: Cuba 1-4 US
July 9th: US 2-0 Canada

US Open Cup
Second Round: June 29th
Wilimington (NC) Hammerheads (III) 5-0 Roma of Dallas (Amateur)
Western Mass. Pioneers (III) 5-0 Reggae Boys of Indiana (Amateur)
Virginia Beach Mariners (II) 3-0 Richmond Kickers Future (IV)
Ocean City (NJ) Barons (IV) 4-0 Long Island Rough Riders (III)
Des Moines Menace (IV) 3-2 Charleston Battery (II)
El Paso Patriots (IV) 1-4 Charlotte Eagles (III)
Minnesota Thunder (II) 2-1 Chicago Fire Premier (IV)
Seattle Sounders (II) 3-1 Salinas Valley Samba (Amateur)

Saturday, July 9th

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

Standings (Team, Points, GD)
x=clinched quarterfinals
Group A

x-Honduras 4, +1
x-Panama 4, +1
Trinidad 2, 0
Colombia 0, -2

Group B
x-USA 6, +5
x-Costa Rica 6, +3
Canada 0, -3
Cuba 0, -5

Group C
Jamaica 4, +1
South Africa 4, +1
Mexico 3, +3
Guatemala 0, -5

MLS Eastern Conference
Chicago 35, +7
New England 32, +14
Kansas City 25, +6
MetroStars 24, +6
DC United 22, +2
Columbus 14, -14

MLS Western Conference
FC Dallas 34, +14
San Jose 28, +8
LA Galaxy 25, +1
Colorado 17, -5
Salt Lake 13, -19
Chivas USA 9, -20

This Week’s Matches
Tuesday, July 12th
US vs. Costa Rica, 7pm TELE

Saturday, July 16th
Chicago vs. Columbus, 4pm, ESPN2
CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinals, 1pm UNI, 4pm TELE
MetroStars vs. Colorado, 7:30pm, FSC
New England vs. FC Dallas, 7:30pm
Kansas City vs. Salt Lake, 8pm
LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA, 10pm FSC, HDNet