LOCALS: Wynalda takes Atlanta job

July, 3, 2012
7/03/12
3:34
PM PT
Cal FC's stirring U.S. Open Cup run has given Eric Wynalda the first step toward the coaching job he covets. He's taken charge of the Atlanta Silverbacks, the last-place team in the second-division NASL, on an interim basis.

Eric Wynalda
Steven Bisig/US PresswireEric Wynalda took the head coaching job in Atlanta in the NASL, but he's essentially there to find a permanent replacement.

Wynalda, a Hall of Fame striker from Westlake Village, replaces head coach Alex Piņeda Chacon and director of soccer Rodrigo Rios, but it's not a permanent move. Wynalda last week told ESPN Los Angeles that he is merely a careholder coach -- he will lead the search for a full-time boss -- but he figures to serve the Silverbacks (1-5-8) as an adviser moving forward.

Wynalda guided Cal FC to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup -- with a surprise victory over Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers included. He previously lobbied for head-coaching jobs with Chivas USA and Chicago.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for this opportunity with the Silverbacks. It was truly one that I didn’t want to pass up,” Wynalda, also an on-air analyst for Fox Soccer Channel's international coverage, said in a statement. “This is a case of an underperforming team, and I’m honored that the club chose me to take on the challenge of turning things around and helping the Silverbacks fulfill their potential on the field.”

Atlanta, which has played in whichever league served as America's second division all but two years since 1995, has made the playoffs only three times in 15 seasons. It went 4-20-4 last year and is winless at home (0-4-3) this season.

The Silverbacks play Tuesday against Carolina and Saturday at Minnesota. Wynalda will make his debut in a July 14 home game against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Elsewhere in minor-league soccer:

USL PRO: The L.A. Blues' trek east started poorly, with losses at Charlotte and Wilmington dropping them to sixth in the third-division league, and if they can't right things the next few days, they could be down to ninth place by the end of the weekend. The Blues (5-5-2) wrap up their trip Tuesday at Richmond, then have games Friday and Sunday at Cal State Fullerton against first-place Orlando City (10-1-4), the defending champion.

Some good news for the Blues: USL Pro is expanding to Phoenix next year, which means no more two-game sets over three days when clubs come to visit. Of course, if attendance doesn't pick up, the Blues aren't going to be around much longer than next year.

Orlando City was held to ties at Dayton at Pittsburgh, but they still have double the points or better than six of the other 10 clubs. Charleston (10-4-0) could have pulled within a point of the Lions but settled for a split in its two-game trip to last-place Antigua (3-9-0).

PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: The Ventura County Fusion (10-1-2) nailed down a Western Conference playoff berth and command of the Southwest Division with a 2-0 triumph at FC Tucson (7-2-3), on goals by Mickey Daly (Cal State L.A.) and Chris Tsonis.

The Fusion also routed Orange County Blue Star, 4-0, with Cal State Bakersfield's Gyassi Zardes (Hawthorne/Leuzinger HS) tallying twice (giving him a Southwest-best eight goals) and Cal FC star Danny Barrera (Thousand Oaks/Westlake HS and UC Santa Barbara) contributing an assist. Blue Star (3-6-5) has lost six in a row.

Tucson had a 10-game unbeaten streak -- V.C.'s reached 11 -- and has games in hand on its pursuers (Fresno, Ogden and BYU) in the playoff chase. Fresno (6-4-3) has reignited with three straight wins to climb to third place.

One SoCal faceoff last week: La Mirada's Southern California Seahorses (3-8-3) pulled away late to a 4-0 romp over Pali Blues (1-9-3), who have conceded 23 goals in five losses over their past six games.

NATIONAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: The battle for Southern Conference berths to the Western Division playoffs is following expectations. FC Santa Clarita (7-3-3) is back in second place, one point ahead of the Fullerton Rangers (7-4-2) with one game to go. That game, for the Storm, is Saturday against the San Diego Flash (11-0-2), which has clinched the Southern title and last weekend routed the Rangers, 5-1.

If the Flash completes an unbeaten regular season and Fullerton handles San Diego Boca on Sunday, the Rangers head to the playoffs. Otherwise it's Santa Clarita.

The Flash and Allentown, Pa.-based FC Sonic Lehigh Valley (8-0-0) appear the best bets for the NPSL title, but San Diego might not be long for the league. The club has informed the second-division North American Soccer League, a fully professional league, that it is interested in possibly making a move upward.

The race in the Northern Conference is starting to settle, with surprising Bay Area Ambassadors (8-4-1) in the playoffs and Sonoma County Sol (7-3-3) set to snag the other berth with a win or tie at San Francisco. Sacramento (7-6-0), the first-place club most of the season, figures to miss out after losing three in a row.

USL W-LEAGUE: The Pali Blues (10-0-1) rallied from an early deficit to beat Vancouver to clinch a Western Conference playoff berth. They'll win the regular-season title with with four points from games Friday and Sunday against the Colorado teams, both of them openers of Cal State Fullerton doubleheaders with brother club L.A. Blues.

Sunday's game, against the Rush, will feature an Olympic send-off to Abby Wambach, star forward for the U.S. women's national team.

Santa Clarita Blue Heat (3-5-2), last year's regular-season champ, has tenuous playoff hopes after losing to Vancouver. Failure to beat either Colorado team -- Rush or Rapids -- or a Seattle victory over last-place Victoria ends the quest. The L.A. Strikers (2-7-1), which drew with the Whitecaps, have been eliminated.

Seattle (7-2-1), which split two games last weekend in Colorado -- Veronica Perez had her second hat trick of the season in a 4-1 rout over the Rush -- could claim the second postseason berth this week, although that's unlikely.

WOMEN'S PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: The Pacific-South teams had last weekend off, but this weekend is huge. Long Beach's Beach FC (3-1-0) needs to beat South Bay club Ajax America (1-3-0) on Saturday to set up a showdown Sunday against the San Diego SeaLions (5-0-0) in a regular-season finale at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego.

Only one team advances to the Western playoffs -- along with one from the Pacific-North, Northeast and Big Sky-North divisions -- and Beach needs a sweep to get there. First tiebreaker is head-to-head play, so Beach must overcome a 2-0 loss last month to the SeaLions. Second tiebreaker is overall goal difference, and San Diego has the edge, plus-18 to plus-11, heading into the weekend.

The race in the Pacific North is insane: The top five teams' point totals: 12, 12, 12, 11 and 9. Sacramento's California Storm (3-2-2) dropped from first to fourth after Fresno's Central California Heat (4-3-0) completed a season sweep; Bay Area Breeze (3-2-3) are in first.

NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE: San Diego isn't the only possible site for NASL expansion. League officials acknowledged they also are looking at Las Vegas, Sacramento, Phoenix and Albuquerque, with 2014 or 2015 likely for a westward push.

San Antonio (7-2-4) are back on top after a 3-0 romp at Atlanta, with Pablo Campos scoring his seventh and league-best eighth goal of the season. Puerto Rico (7-3-3) dropped a point behind with a scoreless draw against FC Edmonton.

Tampa Bay (6-5-3) jumped to third with a 2-0 win at sttruggling Minnesota (5-3-5), the Rowdies' third straight victory.

THE NUMBERS




  • DIVISION 3/MEN
USL PRO
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Tuesday (U.S. Open Cup)

Chivas USA (MLS) 2 (Correa 61, 94+), Charlotte Eagles 1 (Salles 89)
Sporting Kansas City (MLS) 3 (Sapong 5, 59, Zusi 56), Dayton Dutch Lions 0
Philadelphia Union (MLS) 5 (Adu pen. 5, McInerney 9, Pajoy 29, pen. 69, Gomez 81), Harrisburg City Islanders 2 (Ombiji 51, Langley 54)
Thursday
Charlotte Eagles 3 (Salles pen. 28, Meza 32, Herrera 87), L.A. Blues 2 (Dike 58, I. Garcia 88)
Friday
Antigua Barracuda 0, Charleston Battery 2 (Cuevas 75, Banks 92+)
Dayton Dutch Lions 2 (DeLass 21, Priestley 31), Orlando City SC 2 (Luzunaris 4, Pulis pen. 29)
Saturday
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1 (Kassel 82), Orlando City SC 1 (Molino 90)
Rochester Rhinos 1 (Banks 89), Harrisburg City Islanders 2 (Mkosana 52, Yates 83)
Wilmington Hammerheads 4 (Taylor 3, Hertzog 5, 73, Budnyy 31), L.A. Blues 2 (Dike 25, Burke 60)
Sunday
Antigua Barracuda 1 (Byers 47), Charleston Battery 0

Standings
1. Orlando City SC (10-1-4) 34 points; 2. Charleston Battery (10-4-0) 30; 3. Rochester Rhinos (7-4-4) 25; 4. Wilmington Hammerheads (6-5-4) 22; 5. Harrisburg City Islanders (5-4-4) 19; 6. L.A. Blues (5-5-2) 17; 7. Richmond Kickers (4-5-5) 17; 8. Charlotte Eagles (4-8-2) 14; 9. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (3-6-5) 14; 10. Dayton Dutch Lions (1-7-6) 9; 11. Antigua Barracuda (3-9-0) 9.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Tuesday

L.A. Blues at Richmond Kickers, 4 p.m.
Wednesday
Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Dayton Dutch Lions, 4:30 p.m.
Antigua Barracuda at Rochester Rhinos, 4:55 p.m.
Friday
Harrisburg City Islanders at Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 4 p.m.
Charlotte Eagles at Charleston Battery, 4:30 p.m.
Orlando City SC vs. L.A. Blues at Cal State Fullerton, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday
Antigua Barracuda at Harrisburg City Islanders, 4 p.m.
Dayton Dutch Lions at Rochester Rhinos, 4:05 p.m.
Richmond Kickers at Wilmington Hammerheads, 4:30 p.m.
Charleston Battery at Charlotte Eagles, 5 p.m.
Sunday
Orlando City SC vs. L.A. Blues at Cal State Fullerton, 5 p.m.

Leading scorers
Nicki Paterson (Charleston) 8, Andriy Budnyy (Wilmington) 8, Bright Dike (L.A. Blues) 7, Dennis Chin (Orlando City) 6, Jose Cuevas (Charleston) 6, Corey Hertzog (Wilmington) 6, Christopher Agorsor (Richmond) 5, Yann Ekra (Harrisburg) 5

  • DIVISION 4/MEN
USL PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE
WESTERN CONFERENCE
Southwest Division
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Wednesday

Ventura County Fusion 4 (Bowen 8, Zardes 34, 75, F. Lopez 90), Orange County Blue Star 0
Thursday
Fresno Fuego 2 (og Niccoli 71, Reinhart 89), BYU Cougars 1 (Losee 88)
Friday
Southern California Seahorses 4 (Chrzan 38, Siemens 61, Shaw 77, Armstrong 87), Pali Blues 0
L.A. Misioneros 3 (Samaniego 34, 52, Mendoza 42), Ogden Outlaws 1 (Williams 92+)
Saturday
L.A. Misioneros 1 (Samaniego 39), BYU Cougars 2 (Bauer 37, Moreno 63)
FC Tucson 0, Ventura County Fusion 2 (Daly 34, Tsonis 77)
Fresno Fuego 2 (Islas 6, Reinhart 25), Ogden Outlaws 1 (Malmquist) 65

Standings
1. Ventura County Fusion (10-1-2) 32 points; 2. FC Tucson (7-2-3) 24; 3. Fresno Fuego (6-4-3) 21; 4. Ogden Outlaws (6-6-2) 20; 5. L.A. Misioneros (4-4-7) 19; 6. BYU Cougars (5-5-2) 17; 7. Orange County Blue Star (3-6-5) 14; 8. Southern California Seahorses (3-8-3) 12; 9. Pali Blues (1-9-3) 6.

This week's games
Wednesday

Fresno Fuego vs. Ventura County Fusion at Ventura College, 1 p.m.
Ogden Outlaws at BYU Cougars, 7 p.m.
Friday
BYU Cougars at FC Tucson, 7 p.m.
Saturday
Fresno Fuego vs. Pali Blues at Palisades HS (Pacific Palisades), 7 p.m.
Sunday
Ogden Outlaws at FC Tucson, 7 p.m.

Leading scorers
Gyasi Zardes (Ventura County) 8, Jaime Chavez (Misioneros) 7, Travis Bowen (Ventura County) 7, Daniel Burnham (Ogden) 6, Francisco Lopez (Ventura County) 6, Alex Caceres (Fresno) 5, Paul Islas (Fresno) 5, Cesar Samaniego (Misioneros) 5, Ryan Shaw (Southern California) 5

NATIONAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE
WEST DIVISION
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Saturday

FC Santa Clarita 4 (Helmy 1, Bueno 59, Galvan 61, Harry 79), FC Hasental 2 (Canel pen. 41, Cazares 50)
Bay Area Ambassadors 2 (Hill 54, 89), Real San Jose 1 (Pacheco 87)
San Diego Boca 1 (Rubalcaba 17), Phoenix Monsoon 0
Sonoma County Sol (Middlemiss 52, 63, 75, Mendez 68), Sacramento Gold 2 (Aguilar 8, 45)
North Coast Tsunami 2, San Francisco Stompers 1 (Crist 70)
Sunday
San Diego Flash 5 (Perez-Bernal 65, 73, 81, Pizarro 75, Shah 88), Fullerton Rangers 1 (Roldan 50)

Standings
Southern Conference:
1. San Diego Flash (10-0-2) 32 points; 2. FC Santa Clarita Storm (7-3-3) 24; 4. Fullerton Rangers (7-4-2) 23; 5. San Diego Boca (5-5-3) 18; 5. FC Hasental (3-8-2) 11; 6. Phoenix Monsoon (0-11-0) 0.
Northern Conference: 1. Bay Area Ambassadors (8-4-1) 25; 2. Sonoma County Sol (7-3-3) 24; 3. Sacramento Storm (7-6-0) 21; 4. Real San Jose (4-6-3) 15; 5. San Francisco Stompers (3-7-2) 11; 6. North Coast Tsunami (3-8-1) 10.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Saturday

Bay Area Ambassadors at North Coast Tsunami, 1 p.m.
San Diego Flash vs. FC Santa Clarita at Canyon HS (Canyon Country), 5 p.m.
Sonoma County Sol at San Francisco Stompers, 7 p.m.
Sacramento Gold at Real San Jose, 7 p.m.
FC Hasental at Phoenix Monsoon, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday
San Diego Boca vs. Fullerton Rangers at Santa Ana Stadium, 5:30 p.m.

Leading scorers
Tyler Coombes (Santa Clarita) 12, Ross Middlemiss (Sonoma County) 11, Eder Roldan (Fullerton) 10, Javier Hill (Bay Area) 8, Manolo Piņa (Sacramento) 8, Justin Picou (San Diego Flash) 7, Brandon Zuniga (San Diego Flash) 7, David Arvizu (Fullerton) 6, Greiner Pacheco (Real San Jose) 6

  • DIVISION 2/WOMEN
USL W-LEAGUE
WESTERN CONFERENCE
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Wednesday

Pali Blues 2 (Pao 28, Hubka 35), Vancouver Whitecaps 1 (Richardson 7)
Friday
L.A. Strikers 3 (Murrillo 15, Stockdale pen. 90, Muņoz 92+), Vancouver Whitecaps 3 (Richardson 23, 70, Sawicki 38)
Saturday
Colorado Rapids 1 (Tagen 22), Seattle Sounders 0
Sunday
Colorado Rush 1 (Evans 17), Seattle Sounders 4 (Perez 9, 39, 51, Manthey 73)
Santa Clarita Blue Heat 1 (Rodwell 57), Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (French 15, Richardson 69)

Standings
1. Pali Blues (10-0-1) 31 points; 2. Seattle Sounders (7-2-1) 22; 3. Colorado Rush (5-3-1) 16; 4. Colorado Rapids (4-3-2) 14; 5. Vancouver Whitecaps (3-4-4) 13; 6. Santa Clarita Blue Heat (3-5-2) 11; 7. L.A. Strikers (2-7-1), 7; 8. Victoria Highlanders (1-11-0) 3.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Wednesday

Colorado Rush vs. Santa Clarita Blue Heat at Valencia HS, 4 p.m.
Friday
Colorado Rapids vs. Pali Blues at Cal State Fullerton, 3 p.m.
Colorado Rush vs. L.A. Strikers at Occidental College (Eagle Rock), 7 p.m.
Victoria Highlanders at Seattle Sounders, 7 p.m.
Saturday
Colorado Rapids vs. Santa Clarita Blue Heat at Valencia HS, 7 p.m.
Sunday
Colorado Rush vs. Pali Blues at Cal State Fullerton, noon
Victoria Highlanders at Vancouver Whitecaps, 4 p.m.
Monday
Colorado Rapids vs. L.A. Strikers at Occidental College (Eagle Rock), 6 p.m.

Leading scorers
Veronica Perez (Seattle) 9, Lynn Williams (Pali) 6, Edite Fernandes (Santa Clarita) 5, Mele French (Vancouver) 5, Nikki Washington (Pali) 5, Danica Evans (Colorado Rush) 4, Erin Gunther (Rapids) 4, Jenna Richardson (Vancouver) 4.

WOMEN'S PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE
PACIFIC CONFERENCE
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Friday

West Coast Wildkatz 3 (King 32, Shibata 69, Patton 77), Central California Heat 2 (Sherr 30, Ruiz 47)
Saturday
Bay Area Breeze 1 (Homidi 30), California Storm 1 (Mercik 80)
Sunday
San Francisco Nighthawks 2 (Weintraub 4, Jones 57), West Coast Wildkatz 3 (DeJesus pen. 48, Barnes 50, Andrighetto pen. 83)
North Bay FC Wave 1 (Leche 90), Bay Area Breeze 1 (Homidi 11)
California Storm 0, Central California Heat 2 (Mason 3, Sherr 92+)

Standings
South Division:
1. San Diego SeaLions (5-0-0) 15 points; 2. Beach FC (3-1-0) 9; 3. Ajax America (1-3-0) 3; 4. L.A. Vikings (0-5-0) 0.
North Division: 1. Bay Area Breeze (3-2-3) 12; 2. Central California Heat (4-3-0) 12; 3. West Coast Wildkatz (3-1-3) 12; 4. California Storm (3-2-2) 11; 5. North Bay FC Wave (2-1-3) 9; 6. San Francisco Nighthawks (0-5-1) 1.

This week's games (all times Pacific)
Friday

San Francisco Nighthawks at North Bay FC Wave, 5 p.m.
Saturday
Ajax America vs. Beach FC at Home Depot Center Field 5 (Carson), 3 p.m.
West Coast WildKatz at California Storm, 7 p.m.
Sunday
California Storm at San Francisco Nighthawks, 1 p.m.
Beach FC at San Diego SeaLions, 2 p.m.
L.A. Vikings vs. Ajax America at Nansen Field (Rolling Hills Estates), 3:30 p.m.
San Francisco Nighthawks at North Bay FC Wave, 5 p.m.

Leading scorers
Kristina Larsen (Beach FC) 9, Rosie Tantillo (San Diego) 9, Najma Homidi (Bay Area) 5, Ashley Sherr (Central California) 5, Nikki Petracca (San Diego) 4, Shelby Murphy (San Diego) 4

  • OTHER
U.S. OPEN CUP
Quarterfinals (home teams listed first)
Tuesday's results

Chivas USA (MLS) 2 (Correa 61, 94+), Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) 1 (Salles 89)
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 0, Seattle Sounders (MLS) 1 (Cato 19)
Sporting Kansas City (MLS) 3 (Sapong 5, 59, Zusi 56), Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) 0
Philadelphia Union (MLS) 5 (Adu pen. 5, McInerney 9, Pajoy 29, pen. 69, Gomez 81), Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) 2 (Ombiji 51, Langley 54)

Semifinals
Wednesday, July 11 (all times Pacific)
Sporting Kansas City (MLS) at Philadelphia Union (MLS), 4:30 p.m.
Chivas USA (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS), 7 p.m.

  • RANKINGS
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Men

1. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 6-9-2
2. Chivas USA (MLS) 5-7-4
3. Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 10-1-2
4. Los Angeles Blues (USL Pro) 5-5-2
5. San Diego Flash (NPSL) 10-0-2
6. Fullerton Rangers (NPSL) 7-4-2
7. FC Santa Clarita Storm (NPSL) 7-3-3
8. Los Angeles Misioneros (PDL) 4-4-7
9. San Diego Boca (NPSL) 5-5-3
10. Orange County Blue Star (PDL) 3-6-5
11. Southern California Seahorses (PDL) 3-8-3
12. FC Hasental (NPSL) 3-8-2
13. Pali Blues (PDL) 1-9-3

Women
1. Pali Blues (W-League) 10-0-1
2. San Diego SeaLions (WPSL) 5-0-0
3. Beach FC (WPSL) 3-1-0
4. Santa Clarita Blue Heat (W-League) 3-5-2
5. Los Angeles Strikers (W-League) 2-7-1
6. Ajax America (WPSL) 1-3-0
7. L.A. Vikings (WPSL) 0-5-0

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