Los Angeles Soccer: David Ferreira

FC Dallas' Ferreira to rehab in L.A.

April, 24, 2012

David FerreiraOtto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesDavid Ferreira of FC Dallas is in Los Angeles to rehabilitate an injury.

David Ferreira, the skilled midfielder voted Major League Soccer's MVP as he led FC Dallas to the MLS Cup 2010 title game, is coming to L.A., and not because the Hoops are meeting the Galaxy this weekend at Home Depot Center.

The Colombian playmaker, who has been out since last April because of a broken foot and following several setbacks during preseason, underwent another foot surgery a few weeks ago and will do his rehabilitation at Athletes' Performance's L.A. location at Home Depot Center, ESPN Dallas' “3rd Degree” blog reports.

“Our mentality right now with David is he just got the OK for rehab,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told ESPN Dallas. “What we’re going to do is send him out to L.A. and get intensive rehab out there where some of the better athletes, like [David] Beckham, [Landon] Donovan and some of those guys when they’re injured, they get their rehabs.

“We felt like a change of environment was very important for David. We didn’t want to send him to Brazil, to Colombia or anything like that because we want him to still be a part and focus for this. But if everything goes the way we think it will go, he could be back in six weeks.”

MLS: UCR star signs with Quakes

March, 3, 2012
The San Jose Earthquakes have signed forward Cesar Diaz Pizarro, who starred at UC Riverside and was selected in the second round of Major League Soccer's supplemental draft in January.

Diaz Pizarro (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) was the Big West Conference's Co-Offensive Player of the Year last fall after scoring nine goals for the Highlanders, who went 9-6-4 with two victories over national powerhouse UC Santa Barbara and another over conference titlist UC Irvine, a top 10 team.

Diaz Pizarro, 21, was considered one of the top forwards on the West Coast, but he was not invited to MLS's pre-draft combine in Florida. The Quakes have had success with under-valued players from Southern California, last year signing Loyola Marymount star Rafael Baca (Lawndale/Animo Leadership HS).

“We liked what we saw from Cesar in our [club] combine and during the preseason,” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop told his team's website. “He was a quality goalscorer in college from a competitive conference, and we would like to see him develop into the same thing in our league. He’s tall, good on the ball and a hard worker, and we’re happy to have him in San Jose.”

In other MLS news:

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CHIVAS: Romero has goals with Goats

February, 23, 2012
SAN DIEGO -- Chivas USA's depth is thinner up top than anywhere else on the field, so Cesar Romero's performance during a quick but fruitful trial with the club has been as rewarding as it has been impressive.

The Goats have a fine supply of target forwards, but Romero, 22, is a finisher who can play off a target forward, a skill that ought to prove useful when a goal is needed late in games or as an option when Juan Pablo Angel is not available.

Romero, whose signing was announced Wednesday, has two goals in the equivalent of three full matches this preseason and could add more in Friday afternoon's scrimmage against Loyola Marymount University at Home Depot Center.

“The thing I like about [Romero] is I think in most every game he's played for us, he's had a goal-scoring opportunity,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser said last week. “He seems to have a good nose for the goal. He has good feet. ... He's showing some ability to be dangerous in this league; I think every team's looking for guys who can be dangerous.”

Romero is excited for the opportunity -- and for the chance to absorb from Angel, the Colombian veteran who is arguably the finest pure striker in MLS annals.

“I'm really happy I was able to get an opportunity here at Chivas,” Romero said following the 5-2 loss Wednesday night against Club Tijuana at the University of San Diego. “[Now it's time] to work hard and try to get that starting job and help the team out as much as I can.”

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GALAXY: No Ferreira? No fire

May, 1, 2011

The Galaxy faces FC Dallas for the first time since their MLS Cup dream was demolished last November, and they're not talking revenge.

Last year has nothing to do with this year, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will testify, and the 3-0 defeat in the Western Conference title game will play no part in what occurs Sunday in Frisco, Texas.

Of greater import is who's missing from this rematch and the impact that will have on the game and, more so, on the path FC Dallas takes the next few months. Reigning Major League Soccer MVP David Ferreira, through whom the Hoops' attack flows, suffered a fractured ankle in a victory last weekend at Vancouver and could miss as much as three months.

Ferreira, a playmaker from Colombia, is architect of nearly everything Dallas does going forward -- he has three goals and an assist in five games this year, 21 and 24 in two seasons-plus -- and his absence will require the club to change things substantially.

It's doubtful they'll be better -- teams don't improve by losing their best players -- but there's mystery about how they'll approach the match that could cause the Galaxy some trouble.

“We'll see. It's hard to know” how Dallas will play without Ferreira, L.A. captain Landon Donovan said. “Obviously, formation-wise, we don't know what they'll do. Stylistically, who knows how they play? When you have a player that's that dynamic, that can pull off special plays, it influences the way you play, and now without him, we'll be curious to see how they'll play.”

So will the Hoops. Head coach Schellas Hyndman said all the right things, about how this is an opportunity for players to step forward and make a real mark, about how this doesn't change the aim, which is to win soccer games.

“Athletics is always involved with some good moments and some bad moments,” he told told media last week. “All players will get injured at some point in time. They can’t choose the time and they can’t choose the injury. For [Ferreira], it was very disappointing, but at the same time, we know he will be back.”

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MLS Power Rankings, Week 7: Ferreira's injury more painful than Zakuani's

April, 27, 2011

Steve ZakuaniRon Chenoy/US PresswireSeattle's Steve Zakuani is tackled by Colorado's Brian Mullan. Zakuani suffered a broken leg on the play.

Two tackles, four broken bones, and two of Major League Soccer's most important players are facing significant time away.

It was a dire weekend in Major League Soccer, with Seattle's Steve Zakuani, the league's premier winger, and FC Dallas' David Ferreira, the reigning MLS MVP, suffering major injuries that could cripple their clubs.

Zakuani's broken leg has received more attention -- it came in a ghastlier confrontation, and on a national telecast -- but Ferreira's is more damaging.

Zakuani's right leg was demolished in a rash, brutal tackle by Colorado's Brian Mullan's just moments into Friday's game. Zakuani, one of MLS's most explosive and exciting talents, underwent emergency surgery to repair a broken tibia and fibula, remained hospitalized for four days and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Mullan, one of MLS's most aggressive midfielder (but in no way considered dirty) leapt into Zakuani's leg in frustration after he didn't draw a foul moments earlier. As Zakuani flew in the air, replays showed, his lower right leg flopping unnaturally.

Mullan, who was red-carded, first called it a "tackle that I’ve done hundreds of times and would probably do again," then backtracked after seeing the replay and withstanding withering criticism from all sides. He pulled out of training with the Rapids this week, too distraught to take the field, and is awaiting news of punishment, expected sometime Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Mullan released an official statement through his agent: "It is with regret that my tackle resulted in the injury of Steve, and I am deeply sorry to Steve and all those impacted by his injury."

The speedy, skillful Zakuani's absence takes away the most devastating dimension of the Sounders' multifaceted attack. They're a different team without the Congolese-born, London-raised, Akron-educated midfielder, but Ferreira's injury -- two fractured bones in his right ankle -- ought to be more costly to FC Dallas.

Ferreira, a Colombian forward/playmaker who was hurt on a challenge by Vancouver defender Jonathan Leathers -- no foul was called -- makes everything click for the Hoops' attack, and there's nobody available who can do what he does. The Hoops will have to alter how they attack more so than Seattle, which will rely more on Designated Player Fredy Montero and rising forward O'Brian White.

This week's rankings:

1. REAL SALT LAKE (4-0-0, 12 points), Last week: 1
Week 6:
Idle in league after the 2-2 midweek draw at Monterrey to prepare for the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final
Remark: Win over Monterrey, CCL title would be MLS's greatest result
Trophies: MLS Cup 2009
Next: Wednesday vs. Monterrey (Mexico) in second leg of the Champions League final, 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel); Saturday at Portland, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

2. GALAXY (4-1-3, 15 points), Last week: 2
Week 6: Landon Donovan
ends 11-game goal skid, nets two in 3-0 romp over Portland
Remark: Sure they were spotted two goals, but dominance was complete
Trophies: MLS Cup 2002, 2005; CONCACAF Champions Cup 2000, MLS Supporters' Shield 1998, 2002, 2010, U.S. Open Cup 2001, 2005
Next: Sunday at FC Dallas, 4 p.m. (Galavision)

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MLS Power Rankings, Week 5: FC Dallas makes its point(s)

April, 13, 2011
FC Dallas was Major League Soccer's best team for a good portion of last season, and had Macoumba Kandji's ball ricocheted differently off George John last November, it might have been the Hoops celebrating an MLS Cup title on that chilly Toronto evening.

Last week's 3-0 romp over Colorado in a title-game rematch could serve as a spark for FC Dallas, which started the season slowly after head coach Schellas Hyndman, a deserving MLS Coach of the Year in 2010, tossed out some key players during the offseason.

We've had the Hoops as low as 13th in our power rankings, mostly wondering whether Hyndman's moves -- especially letting go linking midfielder Dax McCarty (to D.C. United, through the expansion draft), speedy forward Atiba Harris (to Vancouver in the expansion draft) and versatile defender Heath Pearce (in a trade with Chivas USA) for, well, nothing -- had destroyed the balance and chemistry that served the club so well in last year's run.

Friday night's victory showed Dallas in the best light, with reigning league MVP David Ferreira scoring twice, then celebrating with a pacifier and by “rocking the baby” to let the world know his wife is pregnant. Colorado was missing some key personnel, but if Ferreira is back at his best, FC Dallas is capable of anything. We've got them sixth this week.

This week's rankings:

1. REAL SALT LAKE (3-0-0), Last week: 1
Week 4:
Takes its B team to Foxborough and cleans up, 2-0, on the Revolution
Remark: RSL would be a contender with its second team
Star of the (coaching) staff: Head coach Jason Kreis scored 108 goals, won 1999 MLS MVP with Dallas in 1999
Next: Wednesday vs. Colorado, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

2. GALAXY (2-1-2), Last week: 3
Week 4:
Get robbed on Charlie Davies' end-of-game dive for 1-1 draw at D.C. United
Remark: Landon Donovan offers Davies some pool gear, via Twitter; maybe he could give the Galaxy a few goals
Star of the (coaching) staff: With Cobi Jones off with the Cosmos, the honor falls to assistant Gregg Berhalter, a two-time World Cup selection who would be starting on L.A.'s backline if healthy
Next: Wednesday at Toronto FC, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Sunday at Chicago, 1 p.m. (Galavision and Fox Sports West)

3. COLORADO RAPIDS (3-1-0), Last week: 2
Week 4:
No match for FC Dallas in 3-0 defeat
Remark: Pablo Mastroeni's absence plays huge role in MLS Cup rematch
Star of the (coaching) staff: Former Galaxy director of soccer Paul Bravo, the Rapids' technical director, was a star forward in San Jose, Colorado
Next: Wednesday at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

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2010: A wonderful campaign ... and the big man up top

December, 29, 2010
Our countdown of 2010's top 10 soccer stories and newsmakers -- from a Southern California slant -- continues.

  • Stories/No. 3: Galaxy's great year

The Galaxy wasn't expected to reach the MLS Cup final last year and did so. Expectations that they would get to the title game, and win it, weren't met in 2010. A step backward?


David Beckham
Brendon Thorne/Getty ImagesDavid Beckham huried back from an awful Achilles' tendon tear to join the Galaxy on their unexpected playoff run.

L.A. started strong, skidded long and rediscovered its best form down the stretch en route to Western Conference and Supporters' Shield titles before a disappointing postseason finish to a trying and exhilarating campaign.

The Galaxy (18-7-5) sprinted at the start, winning 10 games in the first 11 weeks, then needed more than three months to capture five more. They hung on to the top spot as Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas and, in the East, New York made late-season charges, then executed a perfect tactical plan to dominate Seattle in the opening round of the playoffs.

Another MLS Cup final might have followed if not for former Galaxy star Kevin Hartman's heroics in the nets for FC Dallas, which routed L.A. in the conference title game en route to an MLS Cup loss to Colorado, which finished fifth in the West, 13 points behind L.A.

The journey was tumultuous. A 10-0-2 start provided a cushion needed when the Galaxy slumped as summer arrived, with quick exits from the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League and just three wins in 12 games against MLS opposition from June 9 through Sept. 4.

The Galaxy absorbed injuries, illness and off-field tragedy, with coach Bruce Arena giving one of the best performances of his career, especially providing confidence to Brazilian midfielder Juninho, who developed into a nearly complete player by season's end, and with deft maneuvers along a hit-and-miss-and-hit-again backline. A.J. DeLaGarza's play in central defense -- partnered with former University of Maryland teammate Omar Gonzalez -- in place of defensive leader Gregg Berhalter down the stretch was a high point of L.A.'s season.

The stars? Landon Donovan, MLS's 2009 MVP, stepped into midfield and played provider more than finisher -- he led the league in assists with 16 -- and Edson Buddle emerged as the league's most dangerous striker, scoring 17 league goals, more than half of them in the first half-dozen games. David Beckham returned from a torn Achilles' tendon at least a month earlier than expected and was closing in on top form as the season closed.

The Galaxy wasn't MLS's best club in 2010 -- Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas and New York (when at full strength) were deeper and had more talent through their lineups -- but they had the best campaign, start to finish, and head into 2011 looking to sharpen their attack (with Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel) and add depth in midfield and the backline. The goal, of course, is a championship, and they'll surely be among the chief contenders when the new season kicks off in mid-March.

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My MLS bests ...

November, 25, 2010

With the Major League Soccer season more or less behind us -- more trades to come from the expansion draft perhaps, and there's the re-entry draft coming up, and the Galaxy still has the friendly in Australia, but other than that -- here's one man's All-Major League Soccer 2010 selections:

David Ferreira (FC Dallas)

The most important player in the league couldn't quite get his club to the MLS Cup title, but he came close. The Colombian playmaker was at the heart of everything the Hoops accomplished.

Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas)

I was all for New York's Hans Backe until the Red Bulls choked at home against San Jose and Hyndman unveiled a perfect game plan to beat the Galaxy in the Western Conference final. His 2-year rebuild of FC Dallas was absolutely masterful.

Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas)

The Palos Verdes product (Peninsula HS/UCLA) had the greatest goalkeeping season in league history, his record 0.62 goals-against average merely hints at how good he was. Nobody made bigger, more brilliant saves.

Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)

The Costa Rican forward added dimensions to RSL's attack, turning MLS's champion into, arguably, its best team. He netted a dozen goals in MLS play, plus another six to prod the Utahns to next year's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Andy Najar (D.C. United)

The most electrifying player in MLS is a 17-year-old Honduran winger who might soon be starring for the U.S. national team. Oh, we hope so.

Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders FC)

The Congo-born, London-raised, Akron-educated winger needed one full season to get his bearings in MLS, but he took over in year two, scoring 11 goals to lead the Sounders' attack. A rare blend of speed, power, skill, brains and incomparable self-confidence.

GK Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas):
For all Ferreira did, with no Hartman, Dallas doesn't come near MLS Cup.
D Heath Pearce (FC Dallas): Turned his disappointment over missing the World Cup into a stellar season -- and on the right rather than at his usual spot at left back.
D Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake): Smart, regal center back provided the foundation that enables the MLS Defender of the Year next to him to do all the risky stuff that attracts so much attention.
D Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake): Tremendous athlete willing to try things other defenders won't. When it doesn't work, it's ugly; when it does, glorious.
D Jair Benitez (FC Dallas): Hoops' right back was the best attacking back in the league.
M Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): Won the Golden Boot with 18 goals to carry, almost single-handedly, the Quakes into the postseason for the first time since the relaunch.
M Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids): His partnership in the middle with Pablo Mastoeni provided the foundation for Colorado's success. And nobody was better in the MLS Cup final.
M David Ferreira (FC Dallas): The league's premier playmaker wonderfully orchestrated the Hoops' dynamic attack. Virtually unstoppable.
M Landon Donovan (L.A. Galaxy): Played provider more than scorer and led the league in assists (with 16), but more impressive: His defensive play and his peerless ability to turn the transition.
F Edson Buddle (L.A. Galaxy): Big, strong, fast and technical, Buddle was the best finisher in the league, scoring 19 goals (playoffs included) and winning a role at the World Cup in South Africa.
F Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids): The Jamaican forward's pace made him the most feared attacker in MLS, and his connection with Conor Casey was pivotal in the Rapids' stunning championship run.

Others we liked ... a lot:

Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Sean Franklin (L.A. Galaxy), Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas)
Midfielders: Daniel Hernandez (FC Dallas), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia), Joel Lindpere (New York), Steve Zakuani (Seattle), Bobby Convey (San Jose)
Forwards: Fredy Montero (Seattle), Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake), Conor Casey (Colorado)

MLS CUP: Three keys to victory

November, 21, 2010
TORONTO -- FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids might not be marquee franchises that command the kind of buzz Major League Soccer would like for its showcase event, but here's a tip: You don't want to miss this one.

Sunday's 15th MLS Cup, which kicks off at BMO Field a little after 5:30 p.m. (ESPN and Galavision), could be a classic. Dallas and Colorado are fast, athletic, attacking sides capable of producing scintillating stuff.

There will be abundant goal opportunities, but with Palos Verdes' Kevin Hartman (Peninsula HS/UCLA) in the FC Dallas nets, there's no certainty of scoring. At least at one end.

Both teams attack so well, especially off the counter, that defensive approaches ought to be decisive. The team that does the best job closing space and preventing its opponent's attacking speed from making a difference is likely going to prevail.

Three keys to victory:

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MLS CUP: Perfect finish for Dallas' difference-maker

November, 21, 2010

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman of FC Dallas applauds the fans after the Western Conference Finals of the MLS playoffs against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center.

TORONTO -- Kevin Hartman thought it might be time to go on to something else when the Kansas City Wizards told him as kickoff neared for the new season late last winter that his services no longer were required.

The veteran goalkeeper had few options: The other Major League Soccer clubs' goalkeeping hierarchies were in place, and most weren't looking to make a chance, no matter the former UCLA star's pedigree.

Schellas Hyndman , who had what he believed a title contender after a 21-month rebuild of FC Dallas' roster, was intrigued. And Hartman thought he had more to give.

Theirs turned out to be the perfect partnership, and it's led to Sunday night's MLS Cup in Toronto (ESPN and Galavision, 5:30 p.m. PT), where the Hoops or Colorado Rapids will claim their first league title in what could be the most dynamic of the league's 15 championship games.

Hartman could be -- should be -- the difference.

The Palos Verdes product, who played at Palos Verdes and Peninsula high schools and started his college career at Cal State Dominguez Hills, was the final, and perhaps most important, piece of Hyndman's remake. He rewarded the coach with often spectacular play that sparked a league single-season record 19-game unbeaten streak, saw FC Dallas lose just four times -- tying an MLS mark -- and took the club into its first MLS Cup final, the last of the surviving remaining original clubs to do so.

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GALAXY: Delight and, ultimately, disappointment

November, 21, 2010

TORONTO -- This is where the Galaxy wanted to be, planned to be: In Canada's largest city, preparing for Sunday's MLS Cup title game, 90 minutes from the club's first Major League Soccer championship in five years.

The disappointment from last weekend's loss to FC Dallas in the Western Conference final slowly is ebbing away, replaced by a broader perspective of what the Galaxy accomplished over eight months and what will be required to reach next year's goal: winning the MLS Cup title, of course.

L.A. posted the best record during MLS's regular season (18-7-5) -- that would have meant the championship in most leagues on the planet -- it won the Western Conference title, claimed the Supporters' Shield for the third time (gaining entry to the group stage of next season's CONCACAF Champions League) and came just a handful of miraculous Kevin Hartman saves of reaching an MLS-record seventh title game.

All in all, not bad. Just not good enough.

Landon Donovan
AP Photo/Lori SheplerLos Angeles Galaxy's Landon Donovan scores a goal against D.C. United's Troy Perkins, left, the second half of an MLS soccer game on Saturday, Sept. 18.

“It hurts. There's only one team that's happy at the end of the year,” defender Todd Dunivant said a few days after FC Dallas' 3-0 triumph ended the Galaxy campaign. “It was a tough ending for us. We had every intention to get back to the Cup [after losing on penalties to Real Salt Lake in last year's final] and win it this year. But we've looked at the positives, too. We won the Supporters' Shield and qualified for the Champions League, so there are a lot of positives to take out of it.”

Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts acknowledges “it means a lot to lead the regular season. It's good. But in this league, it means nothing. Ultimately, you have to play the playoffs and get to MLS Cup. So the Supporters' Shield is only a consolation for me, personally.

“It's not bad we got some silverware. But that's not what I play for. I play for MLS Cup.”

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MLS CUP: Galaxy's going with FC Dallas

November, 19, 2010

The Galaxy was mightily impressed by FC Dallas' victory in last weekend's Western Conference final, and a lot of their players think the Hoops' success will continue in Sunday's MLS Cup final against Colorado in Toronto (ESPN and Galavision, 5:30 p.m. PT).

Here's what a few had to say when asked to predict a winner:

GOALKEEPER DONOVAN RICKETTS: “The team that beat us, 3-0. Dallas. They play pretty good football, so I pick Dallas. But I have to care for my Jamaican man, [Colorado forward Omar] Cummings. My head tells me Dallas, but my heart goes to Cummings.”

MIDFIELDER CHRIS KLEIN: “I think I would pick Dallas just because they're very difficult to beat. When you have the attacking weapons that they have, I think that maybe they have a little bit of an advantage. But you look at Colorado and you look at their two forwards [Cummings and Conor Casey] and you look at who they have in the center of the park [Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz], and I think it will pose a big challenge for [Dallas].”

DEFENDER TODD DUNIVANT: “I think it will be a good game, but I would think it will be Dallas. I mean, they've only lost four games this season, and they've kind of done so under the radar. … Not a lot of people were talking about Dallas, and they've only lost four games in, what, 33 now? That's pretty incredible. That's an unbelievable record. That means they have a good team. I think they're obviously the favorites, but when you have Casey and Cummings up top, that's an unbelievable combo that can hurt you any time. It'll be a good game.”

FORWARD/MIDFIELDER LANDON DONOVAN: “It's going to be a good game. Mmmm. There's no two players playing better this season than Conor and Omar together, but in my opinion there's no one player who's more important to a team than [FC Dallas's David Ferreira]. It's going to be interesting. My guess is whoever scores first is going to win, because they're both very good counterattacking teams, and if you have to come at them and open yourselves up, Conor and Omar can make you pay, and Ferreira can make you pay going the other way. … Umm. I've got to say Dallas because we lost to them.”

MVP: It's David Ferreira (Edson Buddle finishes second)

November, 19, 2010

TORONTO -- No surprise when David Ferreira popped out to pick up Major League Soccer's MVP trophy Friday afternoon at BMO Field. The FC Dallas playmaker was the clear frontrunner for the honor -- he got my vote -- and, also, Commissioner Don Garber inadvertently gave it away on his state-of-the-league teleconference the other day.

Ferreira, who scored the first goal in the Hoops' 3-0 romp over the Galaxy in last weekend's Western Conference final, received 20 percent of the vote among MLS players, coaches, GMs and media.

The Galaxy's Edson Buddle finished second, with 18.3 percent, and Landon Donovan was fourth, with 11.9 percent. San Jose's Chris Wondolowski (14.6) was third and Philadelphia's Sebastien Le Toux (8.9) was fifth. Strong arguments could be made for all five.

Ferreira, a 31-year-old Colombian who stands just 5-foot-5, 152 pounds, was most deserving because of the skill, vision and inspiration and exceeding class he provided to FC Dallas, which Sunday will become the last of the surviving original clubs to reach the MLS Cup final, taking on the Colorado Rapids (ESPN and Galavision, 5:30 p.m. PT).

“What he brings is a really true professionalism,” Hoops head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “Every team he's been involved with has found a way to find success. … He's a very quick thinker. I think he thinks ahead of the game. And even though he's 5-foot-5, he's a solid 5-foot-5. Thats why they call him the 'Little Bull.' He's hard to knock off the ball, and he's got a quick couple steps on you, so he'll get in front of you. He plays with a lot of courage as well. ...

“The one area that surpasses everything in a professional athlete is character. And talent can only take you so far; character can kp you there. And he exemplifies that.”

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Landon Donovan on Best XI -- as a midfielder

November, 16, 2010

Major League Soccer righted a real wrong and awarded Landon Donovan a spot on its Best XI all-league team Tuesday -- as a midfielder.

Donovan, who led the league with 16 assists, is fully deserving the honor, but he was listed on the ballot as a forward, and with only two forward slots on the Best XI -- and teammate Edson Buddle and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski shoo-ins for those slots -- the Galaxy captain was looking like a no-go.

“We need to do the right thing,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said during his state-of-the-league conference call Tuesday morning, “and it's certainly right to have Landon [on the] Best XI.”

Donovan, one of four Galaxy players among the 11, played up front and in midfield for the Galaxy this season, seeing nearly twice as much time as a midfielder. The Galaxy submitted his name as a forward.

“Landon's basically played as a forward half the time and as a midfielder half the time,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said late last month. “If we had to nominate two forwards on the ballot, who are we going to nominate? You know the answer.”

Donovan had said he would be “bummed” not to make the Best XI.

Buddle, defender Omar Gonzalez and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts also are on the all-league team.

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GALAXY: A disappointing (but most deserved) end

November, 15, 2010

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, now the starter in Dallas, is a major reason why L.A. lost Sunday at home.

CARSON, Calif. -- It's fair to say that had Kevin Hartman not been so spectacular Sunday night, the Galaxy would be packing right now for an MLS Cup trek to Toronto.

The Palos Verdes product made four huge first-half saves -- on Mike Magee, Juninho, David Beckham and Landon Donovan -- and had half of them found the net, the Western Conference final would have turned out very differently.

But Hartman is just one of several reasons FC Dallas dumped the Galaxy, 3-0, at the Home Depot Center to snare a spot in its first MLS Cup final, next Sunday against the Colorado Rapids in Toronto.

Here's what made the difference:


The Galaxy wasn't all that bad. They limited Dallas to eight shots, just five on target, created some outstanding chances in the first half-hour or so, and battled hard from start to finish.

But they couldn't match the Hoops.

“We have no excuses ...” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said to open his postgame news conference. “We were outplayed. We were beat on most matchups on the field, and we were outcoached. Dallas deserved the victory.”

The Hoops utilized space better than L.A. did, using a quick transition and its speed on the flanks -- with both Marvin Chavez and Brek Shea making big imprints -- to stretch the Galaxy, especially after David Ferreira's 26th-minute opener against the run of play.

From that point on, it was FC Dallas' game.

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