Los Angeles Soccer: Dan Kennedy

CLASICO: Joseph changes the landscape

August, 11, 2012

JosephKyle Rivas/Getty ImagesSharlie Joseph will make his debut for Chivas USA on Sunday night against the Galaxy.

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.”

(Read full post)

Galaxy, Chivas on a roll heading into SuperClasico

July, 20, 2012
CARSON -- The Galaxy and Chivas USA meet up in the second SuperClasico of the season on something of a roll, and Saturday night's showdown at Home Depot Center is clearly the most important meeting in the rivalry since L. A. captured the 2009 playoff series.

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.

(Read full post)

CHIVAS: Sounders end Open Cup dream

July, 11, 2012

Dan KennedySteven Bisig-US PresswireGoalkeeper Dan Kennedy sits alone after Seattle scored one of its four goals Wednesday.

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.

(Read full post)

Beckham, Donovan make All-Star list

July, 8, 2012

David Beckham and Landon Donovan won the fans' vote for Major League Soccer's All-Star First XI, the first step in selecting the team that will take on European champion Chelsea later this month in Chester, Pa.

MLS on Sunday announced the first 11 players, selected in a 4-4-2 formation, and the list includes New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry, San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski and reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario from D.C. United.

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy lost out to Sporting Kansas City's Jimmy Nielsen for the First XI goalkeeper slot but was among seven players MLS cited as being “close to the leading vote-getters at their positions.”

The First XI is not the starting lineup, merely the first 11 players chosen for the team. Commissioner Don Garber has two selections and D.C. United coach Ben Olsen, who will guide the MLS side in the July 25 match, will fill out the remainder of the 18-man game roster, with the announcement of their picks scheduled for next Sunday. Olsen will determine his starters from the 18.

Fourteen additional players will be announced July 25 as all-stars, per the MLS Players Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league, but none will be eligible to play.

Donovan is a 12-time All-Star selection, and Beckham is making his third appearance on the list. Beckham's availability is uncertain; he might be in London for the Olympics, which begin July 25.

Sporting Kansas City placed three players on the First XI, with defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Graham Zusi joining Nielsen. Former Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce is the second Red Bull on the list, and San Jose also has a second player, defender Steven Beitashour.

Here is the First XI:

Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), Denmark, second All-Star appearance

Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), U.S., first
Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), France, first
Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps), U.S., first
Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls), U.S., first

David Beckham (Galaxy), England, third
Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United, Canada, seventh
Landon Donovan (Galaxy), U.S., 12th
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), U.S., first

Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), France, second
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), U.S., second

CHIVAS USA: Goats need goals, wins

July, 6, 2012

ChivasVictor Decolongon/Getty Images Jose Erick Correa, left, and Juan Agudelo, center, have infused Chivas USA with offense, but the team needs more.

CARSON -- The steps Chivas USA has taken this season are apparent in the results the past two months: just one loss in 10 games of every stripe -- and that to Real Salt Lake -- with a march into the U.S. Open Cup's final four.

How much further the Goats still must go is right there, too: They've won just twice against Major League Soccer competition during that span -- and that extends to 10 league games, going back into mid-April.

They've been turning a corner, in the parlance, but where that corner straightens isn't yet clear, it seems. Not everyone agrees.

“I feel like maybe the first month of the season, you could emphasize that,” Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said on the eve of Saturday night's match with the Vancouver Whitecaps (8-4-5) at Home Depot Center. “I feel like the last two months, we've really turned that corner and become a team that can really grind results out.

“I would like to obviously see those results not just being ties.”

The Goats (5-7-4) have asserted themselves the past two months as their personality -- a gritty possession team -- has matured with the acquistions of, especially, young forwards Juan Agudelo and Jose Erick Correa. There's a growing dynamism within the group, and as they hit the midpoint of their MLS campaign, the next step in the evolution requires that dynamism to start translating into goals.

Chivas has hit the net only 11 times in 16 games, by far the worst rate in MLS. It has been shut out seven times, scored more than once just twice, and that's not entirely about the scoring struggles at season's start: no goals in two of the last three MLS games.

“We certainly feel like every day we're getting closer to the group understanding what is necessary to create more chances,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser said. “We like our group of players. There's this gelling process we certainly feel has to take place and is taking place. The more we see the group, the more we feel like it's coming along.”

(Read full post)

CHIVAS USA: Goats make their point

June, 23, 2012

Dan KennedyJerome Miron/US PresswireChivas USA goalie Dan Kennedy made two big saves as he helped his team get a point at Dallas.

Chivas USA did what it needed to do and got a little help at the finish, braving the Texas heat and tiring legs in their third game in eight days to claim a point Saturday night.

Dan Kennedy made two big saves, Alejandro hit the post and referee Fotis Bazakos, making just his third Major League Soccer appearance, gave the Goats a gift in stoppage time of a scoreless draw at FC Dallas.

The Goats (5-7-4, 19 points) pulled even with fifth-place Colorado on points, although the Galaxy could vault past both and into the Western Conference playoff zone with a victory in a later game against Vancouver; L.A. led, 3-0, at halftime. Dallas (3-9-4, 13 points) climbed out of cellar, one point ahead of Portland, which plays Sunday.

Nick LaBrocca returned to action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury a month ago, but Oswaldo Minda took a late yellow card for time-wasting after kicking away a ball following a foul -- his league-worst eighth of the season -- and will be suspended for the next league game, July 17 against Vancouver.

The Hoops, who outshot Chivas, 13-2 -- 9-0 in the second half -- deserved a penalty kick when defender Danny Califf spun around Fabian Castillo just inside the Goats' box four minutes into stoppage, but Bazakos, watching nearby, didn't make the call.

Chivas had plenty of first-half possession but just one legitimate chance at goal, with Kevin Hartman diving to stop a Juan Agudelo drive in the 12th minute and Moreno putting the rebound off the right post.

(Read full post)

CHIVAS: No expectations vs. lowly Hoops

June, 22, 2012
Chivas USA spent most of the last month taking points off Major League Soccer's biggest sides, then climbing to within a point of the Western Conference's playoff zone with an impressive victory over a pretty good Montreal side.

Now they get a taste of the American soccer's ghetto.

The Goats (5-7-4, 18 points) are in Texas on Saturday to take on an FC Dallas team that has been decimated by injuries, red cards and suspensions, hasn't won in two months and sits at the bottom of the Western standings.

That doesn't mean a whole lot, says head coach Robin Fraser, whose team has lost just once -- last weekend to Real Salt Lake -- in its last seven games, all competitions.

“For us, it doesn't matter who the next opponent is, we have to improve,” Fraser said. “There are some things that we could he better and sharper at. Regardless of who we play, there's going to be that challenge. Dallas is a very talented team. They've certainly not gotten the results that they're capable of.”

Everything has been tough for the Hoops, who played in the MLS Cup final two seasons ago and reached the playoffs last year. 2010 MVP David Ferreira is still out after last year's injury, and nearly a dozen players have joined him on the bench at one time or another.

They're missing starting center backs George John and Ugo Ihemelu, influential midfielder Ricardo Villar and top scorer Blas Perez with one ailment of another, and star winger Brek Shea is just getting back from a foot injury.

And Jair Benitez is suspended after a red card, for an off-the-ball elbow to Colin Clarke's head, in last weekend's loss at Houston. That's five red cards in 16 games for the Hoops (plus another in a U.S. Open Cup loss), plus a three-game suspension to Shea last month for kicking the ball at a linesman.

The red cards have been largely stupid and costly: Dallas watched a lead turn to a loss following Zach Loyd's second yellow card at Columbus last month, and twice it has given up decisive goals in defeat following dismissals.

The Hoops have lost seven of their last eight games, including the Open Cup, are winless in their last 11 games -- and in five of them, they scored first.

“I think that game is there for the taking,” Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said after Wednesday's 2-1 win over Montreal. “It's not like they're on fire and unbeatable. When you win, it can become contagious, and you can build momentum with it, so that's what we need to do.”

(Read full post)

CHIVAS: Angel delivers satisfying win

June, 20, 2012

CARSON -- Chivas USA has been stung four times this year by late goals that cost it a win or a draw, so there was great enjoyment derived Wednesday night from getting a a winner near the finish.

Juan Pablo Angel's looping, off-balance header from Jorge Villafaņa's cross in the 82nd minute delivered to the Goats a 2-1 victory over expansion Montreal, prodding them to within one point of fifth place following a performance that did much to alleviate the disappointment of last weekend's loss to Real Salt Lake.

Alejandro Moreno also scored, after Juan Agudelo connected with Cesar Romero's corner kick in the 14th minute, and Chivas (5-7-3) grabbed points for the fifth time in their last six Major League Soccer encounters.

“Now that feels a little better, doesn't it,” said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who had to deal with a few scrambles in his box -- one immediately after Angel's goal in heavy smoke from a supporters group's celebrations behind his net -- but not a whole lot else. “That was good. Really, that game was there for the taking, and we've talked all week just about winning, and we found a way to win tonight.

“Just a class finish by Juan. That's what he is who he is: goals like that.”

The Goats were more aggressive in the final third -- their primary focus as the season nears its midpoint -- and got more from its wide play, even with lead wingers Ryan Smith out because of a concussion and Laurent Courtois on the bench.

“We've been trying to emphasize with the wide players that we need to get the ball in the box more, because at the end of the day that's where you score goals,” said Angel, who netted just his third goal of the season and his 71st in 5 1/2 MLS seasons. “And today we have a great cross by Cesar out of a corner kick and we score, and then another cross, another goal.

“I think today was a game where we probably crossed the ball more than we ever have. At the end of that day, that's what we have to do, and we have to do it consistently.”

Montreal (4-8-3) was just as good as the Goats, for the most part. Not as dangerous, perhaps, but deserving of a point after Felipe Martins beat an otherwise excellent Ben Zemanski to finish Davy Arnaud's serve just before halftime.

That answered Chivas' goal, which went to Moreno after Agudelo raced past Zarek Valentin to volley Romero's corner kick off the Goats' captain, who was squared up with a defender in the goalmouth.

(Read full post)

CHIVAS: 'The general' returns, with Impact

June, 20, 2012

Jesse MarschEric Bolte-US PresswireJesse Marsch, who spent his last four seasons in MLS with Chivas USA, returns to Carson as coach of the Montreal Impact.

CARSON -- Jesse Marsch returns Wednesday night to Home Depot Center, his home for nearly half a decade, and if it's nothing special to him -- and he says it isn't -- it is for the guys he played alongside.

Marsch, who has the Montreal Impact (4-7-3) humming along nicely for an expansion side, takes his team up against Chivas USA (4-7-3), the club he captained during its golden era under Bob Bradley and Preki, when making the playoffs were more than a dream and the deepest disappointment was failing to extend regular-season success into the postseason.

Marsch was more than the leader of the Chivas teams from 2006 to 2009: He set the Goats' standard for, well, nearly everything.

“I'm excited. I'm excited to play him,” said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, one of three players, with Ante Jazic and Jorge Villafaņa, who remain from Marsch's tenure. “He was the man. I mean, he was really a great, great teammate. He was an incredible leader I tried to learn a lot from. He really set the bar high for my expectation of what a captain is.”

Marsch, a gritty defensive midfielder who made up for a lack of size, discernible speed and sublime ball skill with an intensity and intelligence that gave him a 14-year Major League Soccer career and prepped him for a manager's job while winning the players' respect.

His teammates adored him.

“You knew right away he'd have a successful future in the game as a coach,” said Jazic, who arrived in 2009 from the Galaxy. “Very cerebral guy and a great locker-room guy and a great person in general. ... He was a coach in the locker room, a coach on the field.”

“He was the general,” said Kennedy, who has been with the Goats since 2008. “He demanded a lot out of his teammates, and he made us better as an individual and better as a team. ... He had a very big part in turning this franchise in the right direction.”

Said Villafaņa: “He was the heart of the team.”

(Read full post)

CHIVAS USA: Goats pay for mistakes

June, 17, 2012

CARSON -- Chivas USA has been punished for mistakes all season -- it's a recurring theme for the Goats, and so is how they create so little from a goodly amount of possession.

Both were at play Saturday night, when they ran into a stronger, more precise and -- because of Chivas' unexpected win back in March -- more pumped up Real Salt Lake side, which used its every advantage to post a 3-0 victory before an announced 13,816 at Home Depot Center.

Fabian Espindola scored on each side of halftime and Will Johnson added a stoppage-time strike as RSL (10-3-2, 32 points) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, became the first MLS club with double-digit wins and restored its lead atop the Supporters' Shield standings after D.C. United had grabbed the top spot a few hours earlier.

An uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Dan Kennedy led to the first goal, RSL's transition game tore a hole in Chivas' midfield for the second, and the Goats had no answer, struggling again to accomplish something worthwhile in the final third.

“That's been, I'd say, our Achilles all year,” said left back Ante Jazic, who was involved in the error on RSL's opener. “I mean, we do a great job getting to the final third, and then that last pass or the final cross or the final product is lacking.

“It's coming. I think we're playing better as a team in general, but the toughest thing to do in this game is score, and we definitely have to start scoring some goals.”

It's the sixth time in 14 games Chivas (4-7-3, 15 points) has been shut out this season -- and the fifth time in eight home games. Only Toronto FC and Philadelphia, the two worst teams in MLS, have fewer than the Goats' nine goals.

Chivas created virtually nothing worth noting until it was down by two goals, and only Juan Agudelo's 85th-minute header from a Ryan Smith cross tested RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

“Certainly, we have players that we think are good players, and we have to be able to execute,” Goats coach Robin Fraser said. “Tonight we didn't execute in the attacking end, and we took stretches of possession and didn't turn them into dangerous chances.

“I do feel like we've had this conversation many times.”

(Read full post)

CHIVAS: Goats face RSL with real belief

June, 15, 2012

Alejandro MorenoKelvin Kuo/US PresswireAlejandro Moreno says Chivas USA is becoming more competitive and more consistent in its effort.

CARSON -- Chivas USA returns after three weeks away from Major League Soccer's wars confident that their run of form before the break is the start of something real, not just a nifty little streak.

The Goats posted successive results against San Jose, the Galaxy, New York and Seattle -- as good as it gets in this league -- and then added to them with a pair of gritty victories in the U.S. Open Cup, a six-match unbeaten stretch they take into Saturday night's match against another league superpower.

Real Salt Lake (9-3-2), which sits atop MLS's Western Conference and Supporters' Shield standings, always is an intriguing matchup for Chivas (4-6-3), more so this time, perhaps, because of what occurred March 24 in Utah.

Chivas withstood an RSL onslaught the first half hour, gave a fine second-half performance, then pulled off the upset thanks to a heads-up half volley from rookie Casey Townsend, one of just two real chances the Goats created.

This time Chivas is better equipped: Juan Pablo Angel is healthy and sharp, the additions of Juan Agudelo, Jose Erik Correa and Danny Califf have made for a more talented, better-rounded squad, and the results of the last month and three days have bolstered the belief.

“Something we can use as a confidence-builder and as a steppingstone,” said Califf, who arrived in a trade from Philadelphia right before the May 19 SuperClasico victory over the Galaxy. “Those results, it wasn't like we didn't deserve those results. Having that run of form is a big help when you come into games that you know are going to be tough, but you have the recent results where you can say, 'Look, guys, here are games we've played against the best teams and done well, and there's no reason we can't do that again.' ”

Said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy: “After the last month, we've proven we can play with the best. ... With the Open Cup games, we've gained a little more momentum, a little more belief in the group.”

The Goats are clearly capable of more than they were in March and April, but it's all a work in progress. They've continued to struggle creating chances and scoring goals, but netting at least one in their last seven games (just one in six of them) is a step forward after being shut out five times in the first eight matches.

“We're more consistent in some of the things we're trying to do,” captain Alejandro Moreno said. “We're more in tune with things we want to do as a group, and really the attitude and mindset of the group has been positive. ... We're a lot more competitive and a lot more in tune with what it takes to win games in this league with some consistency. We've done that over the course of the last month, and there's a lot of challenges ahead of us, there's a lot of games ahead of us, there's a lot of points to be won ahead of us, and hopefully we can seize these opportunities as they come to us.”

(Read full post)

Dunivant makes All-Star list this time

June, 7, 2012

Fan balloting for the July 25 MLS All-Star Game begins Friday morning, and a name missing from last year's list of candidates has found its way onto the ballot: Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant's.

He's one of six L.A. players eligible to make the All-Star First XI, the first group of players for Philadelphia coach Peter Nowak's side for the clash with England's Chelsea at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

The First XI will be determined by fan voting at Major League Soccer's website, via text messaging and, in two weeks, during a two-day Twitter session. Additional players will be selected by Nowak, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and in a players vote.

Midfielders David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Juninho, forward Robbie Keane and goalkeeper Josh Saunders are the other Galaxy players on the ballot. Donovan would make a record 12th appearance is selected; he shares the record with retired defender Eddie Pope.

Chivas' eligible players are goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, defender James Riley, midfielders Nick LaBrocca and Oswaldo Minda, and forwards Juan Pablo Angel and Alejandro Moreno.

A media panel determined the 114 names on the ballot, just six per team, including one goalkeeper from each side. As always, there are omissions, although for the local teams none as wrong-headed as Dunivant's omission last year.

Given the Galaxy's struggles, only a few players -- Beckham chief among them -- are worthy of consideration, although the priority is more about putting together a team that can compete with Chelsea than in rewarding players for their performances in the first half of the season.

The biggest omissions among local players are Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee, one of the few L.A. players who has done well this season, and Chivas USA center backs Danny Califf and Rauwshan McKenzie.

(Read full post)

MLS: Biggest raise went to Lenhart

May, 27, 2012

Major League Soccer's salary list, which the Players Union released Friday, reveals that nearly everyone in the league received a raise of some sort this year, most of them a mild step-up of a few thousand dollars, a few getting more considerable reward.

Among players bred or educated in the L.A.-area, one of the biggest jumps occurred at the top: Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, the best-paid American in MLS, saw his salary jump 100 grand -- from $2.3 million to $2.4 million. Donovan, who is from Redlands (Redlands East Valley HS), is the league's fifth-highest-paid player.

Bruising forward Steven Lenhart (Yorba Linda/Esperanza HS and Azusa Pacific University), who is so key to San Jose's success, picked up a bigger raise, some 400 percent, when he signed a contract extension last November. He made $45,000 in base salary last season and is making $180,000 this year.

Also improving by six figures: Galaxy defender Sean Franklin (Palmdale/Highland HS and Cal State Northridge), from a little more than $97K to $205K, and Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy (Yorba Linda/El Dorado HS and UC Santa Barbara), from about $62,500 to $175K.

New England's Benny Feilhaber (Irvine/Northwood HS and UCLA), whose contract mechanics led Chivas USA to decline his services when he showed up on the allocation list last year and the club had first dibs, also received a $100,000 raise, to $400,000 in base salary.

The only local players whose salaries declined were New England goalkeeper Matt Reis (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and UCLA), who dropped about $30K to $157,000 base salary; Vancouver midfielder John Thorrington (Palos Verdes Estates/Chadwick School), whose $170,000 is a cut of almost $25K; and FC Dallas backup goalkeeper Chris Seitz (Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks HS), who dipped from $100,000 to $75,000.

Here is the full list of salaries for local players, those who grew up or attended high school or college in the greater L.A. area. Also included is Portland Timbers forward Bright Dike, who is playing on loan with the third-division L.A. Blues. The first figure is base salary and the figure in parentheses is average guaranteed compensation):

(Read full post)

CHIVAS USA: Goats claim another point

May, 26, 2012
CARSON -- Chivas USA is four games into a five-game stretch against the best teams in Major League Soccer, and they've managed results in every one of them. Saturday night's was a 1-1 draw with visiting Seattle, and although the Goats might have wrested something more from it but for one error at the back, theirs was one satisfied locker room when it was over.

Juan Agudelo scored his first goal with Chivas, and it might have stood up for a full three points had John Alexander Valencia not whiffed on a ball sent into the Goats' goalmouth just four minutes later. That's three times this season, and twice this week, they've taken a lead and given it right back.

That's on the list of things that still need to be corrected, and if it's a long list, it's getting shorter all the time.

“We would have liked to close the week with three points tonight. I think that goes without saying,” captain Alejandro Moreno said. “Listen, we had an emotional game against the Galaxy last week, we go to New York, a long trip, and get a [tie] there in a very physical and demanding game, and we were able to put together a decent performance tonight. In the end, I think we'll take whatever we got out of this week, but most of all, I think we'll take the fact that we seem to be taking steps forward, the way we're playing. There's more consistency to what we're trying to do on the field.”

Chivas had most of the ball, with 61 percent possession, but created only so many chances -- a recurring theme -- but they put away the best of the lot, maybe their best sequence all season, just 12 minutes into the second half.

Moreno played a ball back to Peter Vagenas, who sent it to James Riley -- outstanding all game, our choice as man of the match -- on the right flank. Riley had plenty of time to look up and pick out Agudelo, who got behind Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to head the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.

(Read full post)

MLS: Pay cut drops Beckham to No. 3

May, 25, 2012

David Beckham took a fairly sizable cut in pay to stay with Galaxy rather than chase Paris Saint-Germain's millions, it turns out, and he's no longer Major League Soccer's top earner.

That's the big news from the MLS Players Union's release Friday of salary figures across the league, an annual event that provides the only substantial look at at least a portion of player contracts in the league.

Beckham, whose initial five-year deal with the Galaxy paid him $32.5 million -- $5.5 million in annual salary and $6.5 million in average guaranteed compensation -- settled for $2.5 million less this go-round: His salary is $3 million and guaranteed compensation is $4 million.

That drops him below New York Red Bulls stars Thierry Henry ($5 million and $5.6 million) and Rafa Marquez ($4.6 million for both figures). Galaxy striker Robbie Keane (making $2.917 million in salary, $3.417 million guaranteed) is No. 4 on the league's list, and captain Landon Donovan ($2.4 million) is No. 5.

Beckham was offered a reported 18-month, $18.7 million contract by French giant PSG before re-signing a two-year deal with the Galaxy in January.

Additional compensation, beyond base salary and guaranteed compensation, is not accounted for in the Players Union survey.

Chivas USA striker Juan Pablo Angel also took a substantial pay cut, dropping out of Designated Player territory. He's making only $350,000 in base salary (after receiving $1 million under his previous contract) but $600,000 in guaranteed compensation (down from $1.25 million).

The Galaxy has the second-highest payroll at about $10.76 million, behind only the Red Bulls' $12.2 million. Chivas is 14th at nearly $2.62 million.

Chivas has been economical in picking up talent in South America. Star central midfielder Oswaldo Minda is making only $50,000 ($68,750 guaranteed), fellow Ecuadoran Miller Bolaņos and Colombian forward Jose Erik Correa just $48,000 apiece, and Colombian center back John Alexander Valencia $50,000.

Decent raises were given to Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy ($175,000 from $62,496) and Galaxy defenders Omar Gonzalez ($180,000 from $120,000) and Sean Franklin ($205,000 from $97,389).

(Read full post)