Los Angeles Soccer: Andy Williams

CHIVAS USA: Goats open vs. Dynamo

December, 6, 2011
The Houston Dynamo are returning to Home Depot Center -- as Chivas USA's opening-day foe.

The Dynamo, who lost to the Galaxy in the MLS Cup final a little more than two weeks ago at HDC, will play the Goats on Sunday, March 11, at 4 p.m.

The league unveiled four first-week matchups Tuesday as games that will be shown on national television. The Chivas-Houston game will be televised by Spanish-language network Galavision.

The other games announced were Montreal at Vancouver on Saturday, March 10 (3 p.m. PT,. on two Canadian networks), New York at FC Dallas on March 11 (noon PT, NBC Sports), and Philadelphia at Portland on Monday, March 12 (6:30 p.m. PT, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).

The Galaxy's opener is March 11 at HDC, but the opponent has not been announced.

In other Chivas news, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, the team's 2011 MVP, has been signed to a multiyear contract -- general manager Jose Domene said securing the deal was "one of our priorities this offseason" -- and Costa Rica has called up defender Michael Umaña for its friendly Sunday against Cuba in Havana.

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GALAXY: MLS Cup-bound

November, 6, 2011

Galaxy soccer Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesLandon Donovan's penalty kick got the Galaxy going on their way to a 3-1 win over Salt Lake.

CARSON -- David Beckham hooked up with Mike Magee for the third straight playoff game, and the Galaxy is headed back to the MLS Cup final.

Magee's header 13 minutes into the second half broke open a tight tactical battle and sent the Galaxy toward a 3-1 triumph over Real Salt Lake in Sunday night's in the Western Conference final at Home Depot Center.

Robbie Keane tallied on a breakaway in the 68th minute, outbattling surprise starter Jamison Olave to finish inside the right post to increase the lead.

Landon Donovan converted a 23rd-minute penalty kick after Andy Williams bundled into Omar Gonzalez from behind as he nodded a Donovan cross over the bar. RSL pulled even less than two minutes later when Olave, who passes a pregame fitness test, nodded Javier Morales' corner kick into the center, and Alvaro Saborio headed it home.

Fabian Espindola nearly tied the score again seconds after Magee's strike, but his blast from the left caromed off the crossbar and out of danger. Keane and RSL's Kyle Beckerman hit posts in the first half, and Josh Saunders made a superb reaction save on Robbie Russell after a Morales corner kick.

Magee, who scored from Beckham serves in both first-round playoff victories over New York, scored the lone Galaxy goal in a penalty-kicks loss to RSL in the 2009 MLS Cup, the last time L.A. got so far.

The Galaxy, who will make their seventh title-game appearance looking to add to trophies captured in 2002 and 2005, take on the Houston Dynamo in the Nov. 20 championship at HDC. The Dynamo beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-0, in the Eastern Conference final but lost MVP candidate Brad Davis to a season-ending thigh injury.

AEG, the Galaxy's owner, owns about half of the Texas club, along with a group led by boxer Oscar de la Hoya.

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Chivas' meet-up with RSL not so 'weird'

February, 15, 2011

Robin Fraser met up with his former club for the first time Tuesday, and it wasn't what he expected.

On the field, perhaps: Real Salt Lake was as tough a foe as always, pulling out a 2-0 victory on an own goal and Will Johnson's strike at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz.

But Fraser, who spent 3½ years on Jason Kreis' staff at RSL before taking the Chivas job early last month, was surprised by how normal it felt to oppose the club he helped build into an champion.

“It was not as weird as I thought it maybe would have been,” he told ESPN Los Angeles. “It's not a real game -- just a preseason game -- and a big part of it was I'm very focused on what our team is doing. Once it got going, it was not that odd an experience.

“It was a great experience for our group to play against a good-quality team.”

Fraser, who acknowledged that at one point he called out to RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy, used the first hour to gauge players, few of them likely starters, and try out combinations, then went to a mostly first-choice lineup in the 57th minute.

The Goats had better command from that point but surrendered both goals. Conrad beat Jamison Olave to Andy Williams' corner kick in the 62nd minute but nodded it into Chivas' net, finding the upper-left corner, no less; Johnson slipped behind the Goats' defense and slotted past goalkeeper Zach Thornton from Alvaro Saborio's feed eight minutes later.

“I think it was another positive day for us,” Fraser said on a video posted on MLS's website. “I think the group that played the first 60 minutes were pretty tight, were pretty compact, didn't give up too many chances and were able to create a few chances on the attacking end. Really, at the end of the day, we're trying to be a solid unit, and I thought that that first group did a really good job.

“The group that went in there for the last 30 minutes, I know that they were disappointed. Gave up two -- well, one kind of freakish and one soft goal, and all of a sudden a good day's work appears to be nullified. … I thought there were positives in that group as well.

“Overall, it's a work in progress. We're building and we're getting better, and we're going to have good moments and bad moments, and, obviously, the key is to have more of the good moments and less of the bad moments.”

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MLS PLAYOFFS: The champ is dead … the East is dead

November, 6, 2010

A look at Saturday's postseason action:

IN BRIEF: The reigning champs are dead, and it's an all-Western final four. … FC Dallas scored an early goal and held off 2009 MLS Cup champ Real Salt Lake's late onslaught for a 1-1 draw, enough to send the Hoops into the Western Conference final -- against the Galaxy or Seattle -- with a 3-2 aggegate triumph. … Colorado knocked off the East's No. 2 side, rallying to force overtime, then winning on penalty kicks in Columbus, and will be home against Western rival San Jose in the, yes, Eastern Conference final.

BEST PLAYER: Before his bizarre knee injury, Kevin Hartman (Palos Verdes/Peninsula HS and UCLA) was getting his share of MLS MVP talk. He reminded us why with a masterful performance in the nets for FC Dallas, making two game-saving stops and parrying balls from danger throughout the second half to make Dax McCarty's 17th-minute goal (from a great Brek Shea chest pass) stand up for the Hoops.

BEST GOAL: Robbie Rogers (Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS) finished beautifully in the 70th minute to give Columbus a 2-0 lead (and 2-1 edge on aggregate), running onto Emmanuel Ekpo's ball into space, positioning himself between the ball and Rapids defender Anthony Wallace, taking it into the box and left-footing past Matt Pickens. Bigger, and just as good, was Conor Casey's emblematic one-touch finish in the box from Omar Cummings' cross in the 84th to even aggregate at 2-2.

BIGGEST STOP: Take your pick from Hartman's collection. We'll go with two, both on Fabian Espindola, both foot saves as he dove one way and Espindola shot the other way. The second, a stoppage-time stop after Espindola redirected Andy Williams' blast from outside the box, ended RSL's comeback hopes.

FROM THE SPOT: It was going to take a miss rather than a save to decide the Columbus-Colorado shootout. All five Rapids shooters were on target, four of them with hard-hit, well-placed shots -- Macoumba Kandji's poor attempt should have been stopped by Andy Gruenebaum, who fumbled the ball off the post and in -- and Columbus made its first four just as impressively while Pickens looked well out of sorts. Brian Carroll, shooting fifth for the Crew, skied his well over the crossbar, igniting Colorado's celebration.

WORTH NOTING: Hartman, not fully fit following six weeks' absence after Thierry Henry's ill-advised goal celebration left the former Galaxy keeper with a sprained right medial collaterial ligament, did not take his own goal kicks. … Previous MLS Cup appearances for the five remaining clubs: Galaxy 6 (1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2009, with triumphs in 2002 and 2005), San Jose 2 (2001 and 2003, both triumphs, both with the team that moved to Houston after the 2005 season), Colorado 1 (1997, lost to D.C. United), FC Dallas and Seattle 0. ... Real Salt Lake's home MLS unbeaten streak, dating to May 2009, remains intact.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We said before the game we are not so sure that many people care about us, but we care about each other. We definitely fight for each other. At this point, we have come together and there is real cohesion.” -- Colorado Rapids midfielder Jeff Larentowicz.

at Columbus, Ohio
Columbus 2 (Gaven 22, Rogers 70), Colorado 1 (Casey 84)
(aggregate 2-2; Colorado wins on penalties, 5-4)
Penalties: Colo -- Casey G, Kandji G, Larentowicz G, Lopez G, Smith G; Clb -- Schelotto G, Garey G, Gaven G, Brunner G, Carroll H

at Sandy Utah
Real Salt Lake 1 (Findley 80), FC Dallas 1 (McCarty 17)
(FC Dallas wins on aggregate, 3-2)

L.A. Galaxy vs. Seattle at Home Depot Center, 6 p.m., ESPN and ESPN Deportes. First leg: Galaxy, 1-0

Galaxy/Seattle vs. FC Dallas, date, time and site TBA, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes
East: San Jose at Colorado, Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes