Los Angeles Soccer: MLS
The Galaxy gave up a conditional pick in next year's MLS SuperDraft.
Hoffman, 22, appeared in only seven games in his rookie season with Philadelphia, making two starts.
During his final season at UCLA, Hoffman scored 18 goals with six assists to lead the Bruins to the NCAA College Cup semifinals. The goal total was the most in a season for a UCLA player since 1991.
The Galaxy, the two-time defending MLS Cup champions, open their season Sunday against the Chicago Fire at the Home Depot Center at 2 p.m.
CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan likes to talk about what he calls "being present" -- living in the moment and forgetting the past.
He found himself doing the exact opposite for a half-hour on Saturday afternoon. Donovan couldn't stop thinking about his 13th-minute empty-net whiff in the MLS Cup title game until halftime, when he finally collected himself and re-focused.
Twenty minutes later, his "present-ness" was tested. With Donovan's L.A. Galaxy tied, 1-1, with the Houston Dynamo in Saturday's season finale at the Home Depot Center, he took a crucial penalty kick.
"I'm not gonna fool anyone if I say I was calm about it," Donovan said. "I was pretty nervous. But you have to keep going."
Donovan kneeled for an extended stretch while Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall readied to defend the penalty, given for a Ricardo Clark handball in the 65th minute. Then, as soon as the whistle was blown, Donovan walked up to the penalty spot and delivered the ball to the right side of the net.
In extra time, the Galaxy tacked on another goal via a penalty kick -- which Donovan ceded to Irishman Robbie Keane -- and topped Houston 3-1. L.A. is the MLS Cup repeat champion for the first time in its history, after a 1-0 victory over these same Dynamo last year.
Donovan's early miss was so egregious stadium staffers set off confetti anyway, apparently believing a goal to be a sure bet. A great downfield ball from David Beckham and smart pass from Keane gave Donovan a clear look at an open goal, but his shot inexplicably went wide right.
He wasn't readily involved in the game for the rest of the half. But he then helped spearhead a mad Galaxy rush in the early portion of the second half and was rewarded with the penalty goal, the fifth of his career in an MLS Cup.
"It took some (guts) for him to step up and take that penalty," said Beckham, who played 89 minutes in his final game with the Galaxy, exiting the match to a massive ovation. "Because I could see what he was like after that (first) chance."
CARSON, Calif. -- Josh Saunders punted the ball away as soon as he got two hands firmly on it, but it was too late.
The Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper let a controversial free kick slip from his hands and into his net in stoppage time, giving the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-0 advantage just 90 seconds before the final whistle of the first leg of the teams' Western Conference semifinal series. To advance and defend their 2011 MLS Cup title, the Galaxy will have to beat San Jose by two goals in the return leg in the Bay Area on Wednesday (8 p.m. PT, ESPN2).
After Marcelo Sarvas fouled San Jose substitute Simon Dawkins, Earthquakes center back Victor Bernardez delivered a low ball with pace that deflected off the left foot of Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez and spun just before it reached the Saunders.
He appeared to touch the ball with both hands as he dove left, but a final bounce pushed the ball below his left shoulder and into the net.
The Galaxy disputed the foul call afterward, with forward Landon Donovan saying he suspected referee Ricardo Salazar would "probably say it was a mistake."
"If that's a foul in this game, then there's a hundred fouls," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said in a testy postgame news conference.
Los Angeles appeared in control for most of the match, never coming particularly close to a goal until the final half-hour but maintaining possession the majority of the time.
"It was never a game you would think that we would lose," Donovan said afterward. "We probably weren't sharp enough in the offensive third of the field, but at worst we thought we'd go up there 0-0 and just have to get a goal."
The two teams have played to some dramatic finishes this season, with a combined 15 goals in three previous matches and a lead change in every one. As is typical for leadoff legs under MLS rules, both teams seemed fairly content to make Wednesday's match the decider.
Now, the Galaxy need a dominating performance from Saunders on Wednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara and at least two goals from their attack. The Earthquakes lost just one of their 34 regular-season games by two or more goals this year, and none at home.
CARSON -- The Galaxy and Chivas USA face off in one of the most meaningful of SuperClasico showdowns, surely the biggest since the 2009 playoffs, and a rivalry first-timer will be playing the wild-card role.
The measure of Shalrie Joseph's impact in his Chivas debut Sunday night (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 8 p.m.) could determine the final regular-season meeting this season, one which could send the Galaxy streaking toward a top-three spot in Major League Soccer's Western Conference or leave the Goats within striking distance -- with games in hand -- in the battle for the West's final postseason berth.
Joseph, 34, was acquired last week in a trade with the New England Revolution, and although the four-time MLS Best XI selection is on the far side of his professional arc, bringing him to L.A. could be be the pivotal step in Robin Fraser's quest to return Chivas to league-power status.
He figures to solidify the Goats' midfield, combine in the middle with Oswaldo Minda in what surely will be MLS's most intimidating central tandem, and provide the link required to connect a fine possession game with a talented frontline that has starved for appropriate service.
“He's a winner, he's a battler ...,” Fraser said. “He's a very intelligent player at both ends of the field. Very solid in the defensive end, certainly very competent and potent at the attacking end. We've seen many times in the past where New England needs something, so they put him up front and he scores a goal. They need him to play in the back, he prevents goals. You need him to connect through the midfield, he does that.
“Bringing him into the mix is certainly going to help.”
Chivas (7-8-5, 26 points) could use some assistance. It has scored just 14 times in 20 games, by far the worst total in the league, and sits just seven points behind L.A. (10-11-3, 33 points) on the other side of the dividing line for a playoff spot because of defense that has conceded an MLS-low 21 goals.
“It's about me trying to connect the dots, passing forward, trying to get the ball to the talented guys ...,” Joseph said. “I just find it unbelievable they haven't been able to score so many goals. World-class forwards they have here. So I look forward to getting them the balls in [dangerous] situations.”
The Grenada-born, Brooklyn-bred Joseph is certainly a known quantity. He spent nearly a decade with the Revolution, some of that as captain, and led the club to four MLS Cup title games. He likely would have been a starting midfielder for the U.S. in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups had he not impatiently turned out for his native island's national team when he was younger.
The Galaxy, who look to bounce back from last week's 4-0 debacle at Seattle without David Beckham, who is in London for the Olympic Closing Ceremonies, certainly know what Joseph can do. Left back Todd Dunivant calls him “one of the best defensive mids, if not the best, in the history of the league,” and head coach Bruce Arena predicts “in time he's going to be able to reshape their midfield.”
Barrett, 27, trained with the club for a week earlier this month. He will travel to Oslo on Wednesday to join his new team, whose season concludes in November.
In 45 regular-season games with the Galaxy since 2011, Barrett has scored eight goals and eight assists.
This season, Barrett appeared in 18 regular-season games, scoring one goal against Philadelphia on July 4. He also had three assists this season.
Valerenga team is currently sits in sixth place in its standings and have 13 games left on its schedule.
CARSON, Calif. -- The mission had been accomplished long before the teams even took the field Tuesday night.
The final score was irrelevant to the larger goals for the Los Angeles Galaxy, which, if you must know, played to a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League in front of a near sellout crowd at the Home Depot Center.
As nice as it was to see an undermanned Galaxy team (playing without David Beckham and Landon Donovan) hold their own against a Tottenham side, which finished fourth in the English Premier League last season, the Galaxy’s goal have always been larger than one game, one player and one country.
The vision of Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, has always been to make the Galaxy a global brand that would be easily recognizable around the world. He wanted fans to be familiar with the Galaxy and be able to rattle off two or three players on the team no matter what continent they were on.
It was a lofty goal, especially considering Major League Soccer’s place in the global soccer landscape and soccer’s place in the United States’ sporting pecking order.
Yet, five years after Beckham arrived in Los Angeles, Leiweke’s dream for the Galaxy has come true.
When Tottenham arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday to play the first of three exhibition matches in the U.S., they didn’t come for a sun-kissed vacation on the beach and to walk over an unknown side filled with unfamiliar players.
Everyone on Tottenham was quite familiar with the Galaxy and their surging status in the soccer world. It began when the Galaxy signed Beckham in 2007 but for many who play at White Hart Lane it grew when Los Angeles signed their old friend and teammate Robbie Keane last year.
Keane played at Tottenham from 2002 to 2011 with a brief stint at Liverpool in 2008 and still captains the Ireland national team.
“A lot more players overseas know about the MLS now,” said Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, who scored a first half goal on Tuesday.
CARSON -- The Galaxy are deep into their transition from woeful underachievers to Major League Soccer title contenders, and although the cast of contributors is steadily growing -- just like last year -- it's the three Designated Players who have made the difference.
It was so again Saturday night, when L.A. pounded archrival Chivas USA, 3-1, as Landon Donovan scored a pair of goals, Robbie Keane added another plus an assist, and David Beckham picked up two assists in front of 25,180 at Home Depot Center.
The Galaxy (9-10-3, 30 points) have won six of nine games since returning in mid-June from Major League Soccer's three-week World Cup qualifying break -- they probably should have won the three they didn't -- to cement their hold on fifth place in the Western Conference, building a seven-point cushion on the Goats (6-8-5, 23 points) and eight on Colorado (7-13-1, 22 points). Fifth place, of course, gets the final playoff berth.
“We're getting there,” said Donovan, who netted his eighth and ninth goals of the season and his sixth and seventh in the past nine games. “We've gotten better and better. ... I think we're getting there. I think we're starting to figure out what combination of guys on the field play well together and work well, and a lot of guys are doing a lot of dirty work to make plays so that the few of us can just focus on getting in front of the goal and scoring.”
The Galaxy has 22 goals in their last eight games after scoring just 16 in their first 14, and Donovan, Keane and Beckham have scored 17 of them (with 12 assists, too). They're more explosive than they were at any point in last year's championship run, and if the defensive lapses can be conquered -- Omar Gonzalez saw his second action of the season, a real plus in this regard -- L.A. might be the team to beat again come November.
Keane scored in the 14th minute from a Beckham through ball, netted another six minutes later from Donovan's through ball -- that one was waved off by an offside call that replays suggested was in error -- then fed Donovan's sprint for the second goal three minutes into the second half. Donovan, who twice hit posts, secured all three points from a scramble following a Beckham corner kick in the 78th minute.
“I think [Keane and Donovan] combined for a number of opportunities tonight and were outstanding, and certainly David as well with that group ...” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “We're scoring an awful lot of goals [with Donovan partnering Keane at forward], right? It's been pretty damn good. It really has.”
Former Galaxy midfielder Paolo Cardozo scored his first MLS goal in the 52nd minute for Chivas, firing just inside the right post from the top of the box with L.A. goalkeeper Josh Saunders screened from the shot. Chivas had more chances, but none of them particularly dangerous.
The Galaxy (8-10-3) have won five of eight games since returning in mid-June from a three-week break, and they ought not to have lost the two games they've dropped in the span. Their resurgence, following a dreadful first 2 1/2 months, is all about the big names: David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Chivas (6-7-5) has lost only one of its last nine league games, posted three straight shutouts -- the Rojiblancos haven't surrendered a goal in 318 minutes -- and gone 6-2-5 since mid-May, including the run to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
The rivals sit fifth and sixth in the Western Conference, separated by four points on the boundary for playoff berths, and every conference encounter can be a six-point swing.
Here's a look at the 27th SuperClasico showdown, Saturday at 7 p.m. at Home Depot Center in Carson:
CURRENT FORM: There's been a lot of good and a bit of bad in both teams' recent performances. They're getting results, but Chivas USA's attack is toothless, and the Galaxy has taken to outscoring opponents, or at least trying to, which leads to some grossly entertaining encounters.
L.A. just picked up seven points in a three-game road swing, and they've come from behind for three wins and a tie in the past month. Two Beckham goals fueled last weekend's 5-3 romp over Portland, and 18-year-old rookie Jose Villarreal, from Inglewood, came off the bench to score a terrific 87th-minute goal to deliver a 2-2 draw Wednesday night at Portland.
Reigning MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez's absence because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament has been debilitating all season. He returned to action in the July 4 loss to Philadelphia but hasn't played since, complaining of pain in his surgically repaired right knee.
Chivas USA's quest for a trophy ended the same place its last real quest met its end, where every quest, at least for this trophy, seems to come to a close.
The Goats ran into the Seattle Sounders in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup semifinals, and if their usual trouble spots -- an inability to create chances, costly mistakes in the worst places -- hadn't put them at a sizable disadvantage, then surely the reigning champs' attacking prowess would have done the trick.
The Sounders advanced to a fourth straight U.S. Open Cup title game -- and perhaps an unprecedented fourth straight triumph -- with a 4-1 romp in Tukwila, Wash., where they are 17-0 in the 99-year-old tournament.
Eddie Johnson gave Seattle a 31st-minute lead, Osvaldo Alonso converted a penalty kick at the start of the second half, and Cesar Romero's strike to halve the deficit with about 20 minutes to go was answered by UC Irvine product Brad Evans and Riverside's Sammy Ochoa near the end.
Chivas, which hasn't won a trophy in its 7 1/2-year history, failed in its biggest match since falling in the semifinals two years ago to the Sounders on the same Starfire Sports Complex turf.
“Early in the game was exactly as we expected it to be: a battle for territory, not giving anything up, getting into good spots,” head coach Robin Fraser told ESPN Los Angeles. “I really thought it was going exactly as expected. Then we made a mistake to give up a bad goal, made another mistake for a bad goal to start the second half, then we're chasing the game.”
Chivas, despite ample possession, couldn't penetrate, and the service from the wings wasn't good enough. Starfire's narrow dimensions caused problems, and the Goats didn't get off a shot until the 58th minute -- and didn't get off a good one until Romero, who provided a big spark off the bench, made it 2-1 in the 74th.
That has been the recurring theme all season: Chivas has only 17 goals over 21 games in all competitions, and it's not because chances aren't being taken.
“I'd say I'm running short on patience in terms of scoring goals,” said Fraser, whose team has been shut out in three of its last four Major League Soccer matches and scored more than once only four times all year, twice against lower-level Open Cup opposition. “We'll just continue to work at it, continue to try to get the ball in dangerous spots.”
Seattle will face Sporting Kansas City in the final Aug. 8 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Sporting won, 2-0, at Philadelphia, with Jacob Peterson tallying from Graham Zusi's free kick in the 65th minute and -- with Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath pushed forward in search of an equalizer -- Zusi scoring from midfield into an empty net deep into stoppage.
Center back Andrew Jean-Baptiste, a first-round pick in January's MLS SuperDraft, has joined the Blues on loan from Portland in advance of this week's games against last-place Antigua Barracuda in Bradenton, Fla.
Also arriving on loan is Orlando City forward Maxwell Griffin (Palmdale/Littlerock HS), a former UCLA star who scored 10 USL Pro goals last year and finished the season on loan to the San Jose Earthquakes. The Blues sent winger George Davis IV to Orlando on loan in the deal.
The moves with Portland coincide with Monday's dismissal of Timbers head coach John Spencer, with general manager Gavin Wilkinson taking charge on an interim basis for the rest of the MLS season.'
The Blues also have signed defender Josh Suggs, who played for the club last year and has been with San Jose this season, and goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski, a Chicago Fire supplemental draft pick who spent nearly a week on trial in February with Chivas USA. Head coach Charlie Naimo indicated L.A. also is talking to an MLS club about acquiring an attacking player.
Woszczynski could be replacing Amir Abedzadeh, the Blues' No. 1 goalkeeper, whose transfer to a club overseas appears imminent.
Naimo, whose team has lost five in a row, expects to release a few players this week.
“Everybody knows we’re one win away from feeling good again,” he said in a club release. “That said, it doesn’t erase what I’ve seen over the past two weeks. Nothing will ever erase that -- not even two wins this week in Florida. What has happened has happened, and the mark has been left. Making changes now is nothing more than the logical conclusion from that.
“It’s never personal, but we’re absolutely going to release players and trade to bring on others who we think can help us. I’m exhausting every minute of my time right now to try to find a way for us to get better in our personnel.”
Chivas USA sits just 90 minutes -- perhaps 120; perhaps penalty kicks, too -- from playing for its first trophy, but it's not just the Seattle Sounders that stand in its way.
History, too, has some say and plenty of sway, and it all favors the Sounders in Wednesday night's U.S. Open Cup semifinal in Tukwila, Wash.
- The Sounders have won the past three championships in the 99-year-old competition, one for every season they've played in Major League Soccer.
- They're in their sixth straight semifinal, dating to their time in the second division, haven't lost in the Open Cup since the 2007 semis and haven't been beaten in regulation since 2005.
- They have won all 16 Open Cup matches at Starfire Sports Complex's 4,500-seat stadium, which has been the incubator for Seattle's recent supremacy in the nation's oldest soccer event: The Sounders are 11-0 in Tukwila these past four campaigns.
Chivas, which lost in a 2010 semifinal at Starfire, isn't intimidated.
“It's a chance to get to a final for this club, very important,” said right back James Riley, who was part of all three Sounders title teams. “To do it at Starfire isn't going to be easy, and I think we're up for the challenge, for sure.”
Chivas has lost just once in 11 competitive matches, pulling out three tight Open Cup victories in that span, the last two -- in the fourth round at second-tier Carolina RailHawks and in the quarterfinals against third-tier Charlotte Eagles -- on goals in second-half stoppage.
Seattle has had it easier, blowing out the second-division Atlanta Silverbacks, 5-1, and Thousand Oaks-based amateurs Cal FC, 5-0, before holding off the San Jose Earthquakes in a 1-0 quarterfinal victory earlier this month in San Francisco.
The Sounders just ended a franchise-record nine-game MLS winless streak, and Riley, who came to the Goats last November via Montreal in the expansion draft, says that although “they've been struggling a little bit, I kn they have fantastic players. I know once they get one [win], they'll go on a little bit of a run.”
“It's a huge challenge,” Chivas head coach Robin Fraser said. “Obviously, Seattle wins frequently and wins at their place and wins in Open Cup, so certainly it's a great challenge going in there, but we like the fact that [ours] is a team that has really begun to respond to challenges. We feel as if we're doing some things well and are on the verge of doing some things even better.”
Robbie Keane celebrated his 32nd birthday Sunday with two goals to end a two-game Galaxy skid and restore some of the momentum from that three-game run a couple of weeks ago.
The Irishman might have had a third, but two was more than enough for L.A., which again channeled last year's model in grinding out a 2-0 Major League Soccer victory at Chicago to climb back to fifth place in the Western Conference.
It was all about defense, and the Galaxy (7-10-2, 23 points)-- its usual back four on the field, Omar Gonzalez sent to the bench -- gave its finest defensive performance of the season, keeping things tight at the back and eliminating space for the Fire's vibrant attack, then took its chances well.
“It was a good win ...,” head coach Bruce Arena told media at Toyota Park. “I think we had a good plan coming into the game, and we played pretty solid for 90 minutes. It wasn’t our best game, but it was good enough for three points. But it was a good effort by the group.”
The Galaxy was without David Beckham, serving the second game of a suspension, and Landon Donovan started on the bench after picking up a hamstring strain in Wednesday's loss to Philadelphia, but they prospered through Keane's strikes -- his fifth and sixth goals of the season -- and two superb second-half saves by Josh Saunders.
Keane wasn't particularly sharp, but he drew a questionable first-half penalty to give the Galaxy the lead and finished after some superb work by Donovan in midfield for the second goal with a dozen minutes plus stoppage to play, and that was enough.
“You get the ball to that guy anywhere near the goal, he's going to score more often than not,” said Donovan, who was a spark after coming off the bench in the 65th minute.
Keane converted a 24th-minute penalty kick, firing in off the right post, after his cross from just left of Chicago's box caught defender Jalil Anibaba's hand on the edge of the box. It was clearly an infraction, but Anibaba's arm might have been outside the box when contact was made.
The Fire had more of the ball -- 60 percent possession -- and managed 14 shots and 10 corner kicks, but they couldn't create space for speedy forward Dominic Oduro, who departed after 66 frustrating minutes, nor winger Patrick Nyarko. The shutout was L.A.'s third in the past six games.
“They're good attacking players, and we're certainly aware of their speed,” Arena said. “What your trying to do is keep them in front of you as much as you can. I think our backline did a good job for the most part.”