Los Angeles Soccer: Cody Carlson
Now he's back with the Sounders, taking the next step in his journey to being a full-fledged professional.
Steres (Calabasas/Calabasas HS), who starred at San Diego State, was taken by Seattle in last week's college-waiver draft and headed over the weekend to Washington.
“We're getting the contract [sorted out], and then working my way up to get a starting role, obviously,” Steres told ESPN Los Angeles after the Fusion's 2-1 victory Friday evening over Orange County Blue Star. “Sounds like they're excited to have me come in. I'm excited to go in.”
Steres, probably a center back or right back in MLS, lost out in numbers games during preseason at Chivas and, after his release by the Goats, in Seattle. He's been superb for the Fusion, bolstering the backline next to Mickey Daly (Cal State L.A.) or Tim Pontius (Yorba Linda/Servite HS and UC Santa Barbara) or teaming with former Chivas USA/Portland Timbers midfielder Rodrigo Lopez (Santa Barbara/Santa Barbara HS) in central midfield.
The Fusion (6-1-1) are atop the Southwest Division after rallying for a 2-1 win against Blue Star at Concordia University. Travis Bowen (Van Nuys/Chatsworth HS), the older brother of Chivas USA forward Tristan Bowen, scored both goals -- his fourth and division-best fifth of the season -- with the winner coming in the 76th minute.
Ventura is one point ahead of FC Tucson, which visits the Fusion next weekend.
Pontius, the younger brother of D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius, also is getting some MLS attention. The big center back, a Sounders draft pick, has been in camp the past week with the Galaxy. He says playing with the Fusion has helped prepare him.
“College is one thing,” he said. “College prepares you for the next step. This is kind of the in-between phase between college and pros. You've got a lot of players here who can make the next step.”
He said his time with Sounders in preseason was “spectacular.”
“Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me, but at the end, I gained a lot of experience out of that opportunity,” Pontius said. “Spots were tight there, so there's only so much you can do. You play your game, if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. You try the next one.”
Elsewhere in minor-league soccer:
In the Big West Conference, UC Irvine's Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) and UC Riverside's Cesar Diaz Pizarro (Chino/Ayala HS) were co-Offensive Players of the Year. UCI's Andrew Fontein was honored as top goalkeeper, and Riverside's Nat Gonzalez was Coach of the Year. UC Santa Barbara's Luis Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) won Midfielder of the Year honors, and James Kiffe was the best defender.
California Collegiate Athletic Association champion Cal State L.A. dominated the league's awards, with UC Santa Barbara transfer Taylor Rivas (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) winning for Most Valuable Defensive Player, Rosario Bras for Newcomer of the Year and Chris Chamides as Coach of the Year. Cal Poly Pomona star Luis Gonzalez (Long Beach/Millikan HS and Cerritos College) was the Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Redlands' Cody Carlson (Burbank/Burbank HS) is the Southern California Collegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year.
Here are all of the local men's all-conference teams:
MALIBU -- Nadia Link has netted some wonderful goals this season, but few as sweet -- and none as important -- as her bending blast Saturday afternoon at Pepperdine.
Link fired into the far corner of the net with 13 seconds to go in the first overtime period to lift Long Beach State to a 1-0 triumph over the seventh-ranked Waves in an NCAA Division I tournament opener.
It was the first NCAA victory in 49ers history, and the first over a top-10 opponent, and it was product on Link's twisting shot and five big saves by goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves.
“That's seven years of work -- seven and a half years ...,” said Long Beach State coach Mauricio Ingrassia, who has the 49ers in the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years. “We had a couple of injuries [when we lost in the first round to San Diego] in '08. And last year we played our best game of the year against Santa Clara, but [their goalkeeper] had the game of her life. This year we felt we had the experience. It would have been very painful to be 0-3 in the tournament without scoring a goal.”
The goal was a beauty. Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) received a pass from midfielder Sidney Garza (Ventura /Buena HS), took the ball up the left flank, then cut inside along the top of the Waves box, where she found uncommon space.
She's a left-footer, but the shot was on her right, and it twisted away -- “corkscrewed,” is how Pepperdine coach Tim Ward put it -- toward the upper-right. Waves goalkeeper Roxanne Barker (Irvine/Woodbridge HS) never had a chance.
“The team was asking why did I wait so long,” said Link, who tied the school record with her 16th goal of the season. “I saw the pass coming from Sidney Garza, and all I heard was Mauricio saying, 'Take it down the line!' And I remember thinking, 'That's a long way.' ... It went in, and I don't even remember celebrating. I was too busy crying.”
Said Ward: “A moment was going to decide the game, and that moment [belonged to] Nadia Link. ... A great player scored a great goal to beat us.”
Link described the odd path of her shot as “the unpredictability of my right foot.”
The strike brought a dramatic end to a tight, thrilling clash marked by superb defense in the boxes, with Long Beach State's backline -- especially center back Jordan Nelson (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS and Loyola Marymount) -- doing well to get in the way of shots by Lynn Williams and Laura Cole (Whittier/La Habra HS).
Gustaves (Long Beach/Wilson HS) came up big five times, including a double-save, the second with her foot, on Amanda LeCave after an uncharacteristic giveaway by defender Alex Balcer. The goalkeeper followed up by snagging a long shot by right back Michelle Pao, Pepperdine's most dangerous attacker, then made two diving saves on Williams in the second half.
Long Beach advances to a second-round clash Friday against Miami (10-7-1), a 3-2 winner over Alabama, at UCLA's Drake Stadium.
In other women's action:
- Freshman Kylie McCarthy knocked home a 65th-minute rebound as No. 2 UCLA (16-1-3) scored a 1-0 victory over visiting New Mexico (12-5-4) in an NCAA Division I first-round game. The Bruins limited the Mountain West Conference champion to three shots, just two on target, in a dominant performance en route to a second-round clash Friday in Westwood against San Diego.
No. 15 Redlands and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps are on target for a fourth meeting this season after both were included in the NCAA men's tournament field announced Monday. If they win their openers Saturday on the Bulldogs' Farguhar Fields, the showdown will be Sunday at 5 p.m.
Claremont (14-5-1) beat Redlands (18-3-1) on penalties to snare the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament title and its automatic NCAA berth, and Bulldogs coach Ralph Perez was happy to see his team's name in the bracket.
“It's the first time that I know of that [the SCIAC] has gotten two teams,” said Perez, whose team is unbeaten in 17 games and had a perfect regular-season conference record. “We don't get the kind of respect that we deserve. Last year I thought we should have been in -- we were 13-3-2 and won conference -- so to get in this year, we're ecstatic.”
Claremont has beaten Redlands in the conference tournament two years running, although this year's result officially goes into the books as a draw.
“We just happened to hit penalty kicks better than they did ...,” said Stags coach Dan Calichman, the former Galaxy captain, whose team lost both league meetings with Redlands. “They had a great year this year, but it's hard to beat a team three times.”
The game hinged on an overtime penalty kick, with Claremont goalkepeeper Ricky Doar denying Cody Carlson's would-be winner.
Both schools have work to do to set up another showdown. Redlands opens the tournament against Northwest Conference co-champion Pacific Lutheran (15-3-0), from Tacoma. Claremont faces Chapman (11-4-3), from Orange), in the second game Saturday at Redlands.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps did it again, prevailing at the finish against Redlands to claim the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III men's tournament.
The Stags (13-5-2), guided by original Galaxy captain Dan Calichman, outfired regular-season champion Redlands (18-3-1) in a penalty-kick shootout following a 1-1 draw on the road. It's the third straight year Claremont has beaten the Bulldogs in the SCIAC title game.
The teams traded goals 85 seconds apart midway through the second half, and Claremont stayed alive when goalkeeper Ricky Doar saved a penalty kick by Cody Carlson (Burbank/Burbank HS), after Daniel Price (Quartz Hill/Quartz Hill HS) was red-carded, with 2:40 remaining in overtime.
Matej Kustura scored for Redlands, which is No. 14 in the D3 rankings, in the 63rd minute. Eric Bean's header pulled the Stags even in the 64th.
Claremont had a 4-2 edge in the shootout, clinching when Jaison Kimura converted in the fourth couplet.
In other men's action:
- Cal Baptist (13-5-0) won a share of the Pacific West Conference title in its first season at the NCAA Division II level, clinching as Osvaldo Bastida (Anaheim/Katella HS) and Marc Hope scored second-half goals in a 3-1 victory over Dixie State (8-8-2). The Lancers, who went 10-2 to finish even with Hawaii Pacific in PacWest play, are still in their transition period and not eligible for the NCAA tournament, but they will play in the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament.
- Edgar Orozco (Santa Ana/Santa Ana HS, Corona HS and Golden West College) struck twice in the first 16 minutes and No. 13 Concordia (14-3-1) built a three-goal lead in the second half en route to a 4-2 romp over No. 10 Azusa Pacific (12-3-3) in a Golden State Athletic Conference tournament semifinal. UC Santa Barbara transfer Christian Ramirez (Garden Grove/La Quinta HS) had an assist hat trick for the Eagles, who will be home against Biola in the title game next Saturday.
- Cameroonian freshman Collins Egbe scored in the 84th minute and fifth-seeded Biola (12-5-2) topped No. 21 Fresno Pacific (12-6-0), the GSAC regular-season champ, in the tournament semifinals.
Top-seeded Redlands and No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps romped to easy victories in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's soccer tournament openers Wednesday night to set up a showdown for a berth in the NCAA Division III championship bracket.
Charles Izydorek (Redlands/Arrowhead Christian Academy) scored his 13th goals of the season just before halftime, then set up Alex Laughton as Redlands (18-3-0) pulled away to a 3-0 victory over visiting Pomona-Pitzer (10-9-0). Cody Carlson (Burbank/Burbank HS) scored his 12th for the Bulldogs, who will be home for Saturday's tournament title game.
Connor Doyle (Hidden Hills/Calabasas HS) scored twice and drew a penalty kick for a third goal to lead Claremont (13-5-1) in a 4-0 rout of Whittier (9-9-0), setting up a rematch of last year's tournament final, won by the Stags.
Redlands, ranked 15th in the Division III poll, won its second successive SCIAC regular-season title, going 12-0 in conference play with two victories over Claremont -- 3-0 at home and 3-1 away.
In other men's action:
- UC Irvine clinched a share of the Big West Conference title when Jesse Vega (Whittier/La Serna HS) quickly answered a UC Davis strike to give visiting Cal State Fullerton (7-6-5) a 1-1 draw. Dan Reese provided a 70th-minute lead for Davis (5-3-1 BWC), which would win a tiebreaker with UCI (6-3-1 BWC) for the top seed in the conference tournament if it beats UC Riverside in its regular-season finale. Vega scored less than three minutes later -- and just 48 seconds after Mark Vasquez (Fullerton/Whittier Christian HS) was red-carded, leaving the Titans a man down. Two more red cards, one for each side, were issued in overtime.
All-American Ethan Finlay scored a hat trick, and fourth-ranked Creighton overwhelmed No. 7 UC Irvine in a non-conference men's soccer showdown Saturday night in Omaha, Neb.
Finlay provided a fifth-minute lead, then added goals in the 62nd and 88th minutes, each time extending the Bluejays' lead to two goals. Jimmy Turner (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) headed home a Christopher Santana cross in the 63rd for the Anteaters (12-3-0).
“That's a very, very good opponent. They will do well this year,” Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich, whose team notched its second win over a top-10 foe in its past three games, told his school's athletics website. “That's a great win for us. I thought the first half was probably the best half I have seen us play this season."
Creighton (11-2-0) hadn't conceded a goal in its first five home games.
UCIrvine leads the Big West Conference with a 4-1 mark, one game ahead of Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly and UC Davis.
In other men's action:
- Matt Sheldon tallied three minutes into overtime, his second goal of the game, to give UC Davis a 2-1 Big West victory at Cal State Northridge (6-6-1). Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Educational Complex) scored in the 79th minute for the Matadors.
- Ben Sperber (Palm Desert/Desert Christian HS) slotted home a loose ball in the 83rd minute as UC Riverside (6-5-2) rallied for a 1-1 Big West draw at Cal State Fullerton (6-5-2). Kevin Venegas (Lakewood/Los Alamitos HS) tallied for the Titans.
The top-ranked Cardinal (11-0-1), national runners-up the last two seasons, has won the last four meetings with the Bruins (10-0-1), including a round-of-16 clash in last year's NCAA tournament. They're unbeaten in their last 57 regular-season games, since falling to UCLA on Oct. 31, 2008.
UCLA, which is No. 1 in the RPI and No. 2 in Soccer America's rankings, has used dominant defensive displays while winning its last seven games, five of them by 1-0 scorelines, but its depth in the nets will be tested after senior goalkeeper Chante' Sandiford tore her left Achilles' tendon during training last week. She was the Bruins' starter the past two seasons, but freshman Katelyn Rowland has been in the nets most of this fall.
The Bruins on Friday face California (8-3-1), with Stanford starting the weekend against struggling USC (3-9-0). Cardinal coach Paul Ratcliffe, who played on UCLA's 1990 NCAA men's title-winners, will claim his 200th career victory with his next win.
Ratcliffe, who is from Calabasas, guided St. Mary's for five seasons before taking charge at Stanford in 2003. His teams are 81-4-4 in the past three-plus seasons.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Connor Brandt (Temecula/Great Oak HS) turned a 20th-minute takeaway into a goal to lift Cal State Dominguez Hills to a 1-0 victory Friday at San Francisco State. He went one better two days later, with a steal and a chip in overtime to carry the Toros past Cal Poly Pomona, 2-1.
Chandler Hoffman's first collegiate hat trick couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
The junior forward from Alabama netted three goals in 20 minutes of the second half Friday night, carrying UCLA to a 3-2 triumph over No. 6 UC Santa Barbara in a nonconference showdown between big-time soccer rivals that drew 2,965 to the Bruins' Drake Stadium.
UCLA (3-2-1), which is ranked by Soccer America but is not in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America top 25, overcame a first-half deficit as Chandler scored in the 52nd, 68th and 71st minutes, the first two off assists by All-American Kelyn Rowe.
Hoffman, who has seven goals in the Bruins' first six games (after scoring 13 in 13 Premier Development League appearances for Orange County Blue Star this summer), tied a school record by tallying in his fifth successive game.
“It's been really good to find the back of the net,” Hoffman said in a video posted on UCLA's athletics web site. “My parents were here tonight, so it's always fun to score when they're here. It's always fun to beat UCSB.”
James Kiffe gave the Gauchos (4-1-1) a 35th-minute lead, but UCLA -- with Rowe and Ryan Hollingshead making the difference in midfield -- took command early in the second half. Sam Garza converted a 73rd-minute penalty to cut the deficit to a goal, but Santa Barbara couldn't create chances for an equalizer.
The Titans (1-0-1) took a physical approach to the Labor Day Classic encounter at Cal State Northridge, keeping 11 men behind the ball and committing 28 fouls -- to only seven by Akron -- benefiting from a masterful performance by goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon, who made nine saves.
“We're not going to make excuses. We didn't play our best game today,” Akron coach Caleb Porter told his school's athletics website. “But, clearly, Fullerton's game plan was to chop the game up with fouls and be physical and not allow us to get into a rhythm.
“We could be disappointed with the way the game was officiated, but bottom line is we didn't handle [the physical play] very well. To me, we looked like a young team that wasn't ready to deal with a physical team that came to play. Fullerton wanted to rattle us, and in some ways it worked. We have to do better next time.”
The Titans, who survived a first-half onslaught and outshot Akron, 12-10, after halftime, nearly scored three times: Roberto Vernaschi hit the left post from distance at the start of the second half, and Zips goalkeeper David Meves was required to make two big saves. Fullerton cleared a Scott Caldwell shot off the goal line in the 29th minute.
UNLV beat Cal State Northridge, 2-1, in the second game on Jonny Espinoza's overtime goal. Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Education Complex) had pulled the Matadors (1-1-0) even in the 79th minute.
CSUN (1-1-0) meets Akron (1-0-1) in Saturday's tournament finale at 7 p.m.