Los Angeles Soccer: Joseph Ngwenya

MLS CUP: Dynamo's title-game history

November, 20, 2011
  • 2006/FRISCO, TEXAS
Houston Dynamo 1, New England Revolution 1 (OT)
(Dynamo win on penalties, 4-3)

The first 90 minutes? Blah. Overtime? Electrifying! With “golden goal” dead, Taylor Twellman's strike 23 minutes into overtime did not give the Revs the victory, and Brian Ching's header 71 seconds later sent the game to the penalty spot. Twellman and Ching converted in the shootout, which went to Houston when Jay Heaps -- hired last week as New England's head coach -- was saved by Pat Onstad.
Houston Dynamo 2, New England Revolution 1
The Dynamo made it 2 for 2 after the move from San Jose (and 4 for 7, including the Earthquakes' titles) behind Dwayne De Rosario, who fed Joseph Ngwenya's 61st-minute equalizer and scored the 74th-minute winner. The Revs hit Bills/Vikings territory with their fourth MLS Cup loss, all in overtime or on PKs.

MLS Quick Look: D.C. United

February, 17, 2011
D.C. United flew in Wednesday for a 10-day camp at Oxnard College, and the club has scheduled friendlies against the Ventura County Fusion, UC Santa Barbara and Chivas USA.

D.C. takes on the Fusion on Saturday afternoon (3:30) at Oxnard College, meets UC Santa Barbara in the Gauchos' Harder Stadium on Thursday night (7), and scrimmages Chivas USA at an undetermined Home Depot Center field on Feb. 25.

Here's a quick look at D.C. United:

MLS's most decorated club, with four MLS Cup titles (1996, 1997, 1999, 2004) and one of the league's two CONCACAF Champions' Cup titles (1998; the Galaxy captured the other, in 2000), provided the league its first dynasty, reaching the first four title games (the first three under Bruce Arena) with three championships in that span. The club's heroes: Bolivians Jaime Moreno and Marco Etcheverry, Eddie Pope and, of course, Ben Olsen, who followed a revered career in D.C. by taking charge of the club late in last year's horrendous campaign. United went 6-20-4, the league's worst mark, after winning only three of its first 20 games. Injuries were an issue, but so was a roster light on talent and depth, and Olsen stepped in after Curt Onalfo's ouster in August. (Onalfo has since joined Arena's Galaxy staff.)

Olsen is one of the most respected and beloved figures in American soccer, bright and funny, a real leader, with World Cup (in 2006) ability. The midfielder, who spent nearly his entire post-collegiate career with D.C. (there was a brief loan to England's Nottingham Forest) won MLS's Rookie of the Year in 1998 as a speedy winger with a sure attacking sense, but ankle injuries slowed his pace, and he transitioned into a tough, savvy central midfielder and was an MLS Best XI selection in 2007. His ankle problems forced his retirement after the 2009 season.

The former University of Virginia star -- Arena recruited him to Charlottesville -- made a positive impact for D.C. after taking charge as interim coach on Aug. 4, and the club played its best soccer down the stretch. After club president/CEO Kevin Payne (brother of Galaxy president of business operations Tom Payne) declared late in the season that Olsen would not be considered for the full-time post, he accepted the job in late November.

“Benny’s installed this no-nonsense mentality. Things are going to get done his way, and if anyone has a problem with that, they’re not going to be around,” forward Chris Pontius told MLS's website. “Everyone’s bought into it.”

Charlie Davies changes things, but we still like Andy Najar, the reigning MLS Rookie of the Year and one of the most electric players in the league. The Honduran-born winger, who moved to Virginia and joined D.C. United's academy when he was 13, is still a teen -- he's 17 for another month -- and he's got two nation's soccer fans on edge as he mulls his international future.

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Galaxy, Chivas lose nobody in re-entry draft

December, 8, 2010

The first stage of Major League Soccer's re-entry draft took all of four minutes, and only two players were selected. Neither of them have local ties, not really.

D.C. United took former Galaxy forward Joseph Ngwenya -- who has made six moves since leaving L.A. in 2006, from Houston with the top pick Wednesday -- and Columbus grabbed Sporting Kansas City defender Aaron Hohlbein after the eight teams following D.C. passed.

Everybody else passed, D.C. and Columbus made no second-round selections, and the draft, of veteran players either out of contract or with options that had been declined, was over.

What happens now?

The Galaxy are free to negotiate through Monday morning with defensive midfielder Dema Kovalenko and forward/midfielder Jovan Kirovski and Chivas USA with midfielder Marcelo Saragosa and defender Alex Zotinca. If no deal is made, they'll be available in next Wednesday's second stage of the draft. After that, unselected players become free agents.

Five players either from SoCal or who played college soccer here -- Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad (Temple City/Temple City HS and UCLA), Colorado midfielder Peter Vagenas (Pasadena/St. Francis HS and UCLA), Columbus defender Frankie Hejduk (UCLA) and midfielder Duncan Oughton (Cal State Fullerton) and Philadelphia goalkeeper Chris Seitz (San Luis Obipso/Thousand Oaks HS) -- were among 35 players on the list for Wednesday's draft. Only Conrad is out of contract.