Los Angeles Soccer: Los Angeles Galaxy
The Galaxy gave up a conditional pick in next year's MLS SuperDraft.
Hoffman, 22, appeared in only seven games in his rookie season with Philadelphia, making two starts.
During his final season at UCLA, Hoffman scored 18 goals with six assists to lead the Bruins to the NCAA College Cup semifinals. The goal total was the most in a season for a UCLA player since 1991.
The Galaxy, the two-time defending MLS Cup champions, open their season Sunday against the Chicago Fire at the Home Depot Center at 2 p.m.
CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan likes to talk about what he calls "being present" -- living in the moment and forgetting the past.
He found himself doing the exact opposite for a half-hour on Saturday afternoon. Donovan couldn't stop thinking about his 13th-minute empty-net whiff in the MLS Cup title game until halftime, when he finally collected himself and re-focused.
Twenty minutes later, his "present-ness" was tested. With Donovan's L.A. Galaxy tied, 1-1, with the Houston Dynamo in Saturday's season finale at the Home Depot Center, he took a crucial penalty kick.
"I'm not gonna fool anyone if I say I was calm about it," Donovan said. "I was pretty nervous. But you have to keep going."
Donovan kneeled for an extended stretch while Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall readied to defend the penalty, given for a Ricardo Clark handball in the 65th minute. Then, as soon as the whistle was blown, Donovan walked up to the penalty spot and delivered the ball to the right side of the net.
In extra time, the Galaxy tacked on another goal via a penalty kick -- which Donovan ceded to Irishman Robbie Keane -- and topped Houston 3-1. L.A. is the MLS Cup repeat champion for the first time in its history, after a 1-0 victory over these same Dynamo last year.
Donovan's early miss was so egregious stadium staffers set off confetti anyway, apparently believing a goal to be a sure bet. A great downfield ball from David Beckham and smart pass from Keane gave Donovan a clear look at an open goal, but his shot inexplicably went wide right.
He wasn't readily involved in the game for the rest of the half. But he then helped spearhead a mad Galaxy rush in the early portion of the second half and was rewarded with the penalty goal, the fifth of his career in an MLS Cup.
"It took some (guts) for him to step up and take that penalty," said Beckham, who played 89 minutes in his final game with the Galaxy, exiting the match to a massive ovation. "Because I could see what he was like after that (first) chance."
CARSON, Calif. -- Josh Saunders punted the ball away as soon as he got two hands firmly on it, but it was too late.
The Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper let a controversial free kick slip from his hands and into his net in stoppage time, giving the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-0 advantage just 90 seconds before the final whistle of the first leg of the teams' Western Conference semifinal series. To advance and defend their 2011 MLS Cup title, the Galaxy will have to beat San Jose by two goals in the return leg in the Bay Area on Wednesday (8 p.m. PT, ESPN2).
After Marcelo Sarvas fouled San Jose substitute Simon Dawkins, Earthquakes center back Victor Bernardez delivered a low ball with pace that deflected off the left foot of Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez and spun just before it reached the Saunders.
He appeared to touch the ball with both hands as he dove left, but a final bounce pushed the ball below his left shoulder and into the net.
The Galaxy disputed the foul call afterward, with forward Landon Donovan saying he suspected referee Ricardo Salazar would "probably say it was a mistake."
"If that's a foul in this game, then there's a hundred fouls," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said in a testy postgame news conference.
Los Angeles appeared in control for most of the match, never coming particularly close to a goal until the final half-hour but maintaining possession the majority of the time.
"It was never a game you would think that we would lose," Donovan said afterward. "We probably weren't sharp enough in the offensive third of the field, but at worst we thought we'd go up there 0-0 and just have to get a goal."
The two teams have played to some dramatic finishes this season, with a combined 15 goals in three previous matches and a lead change in every one. As is typical for leadoff legs under MLS rules, both teams seemed fairly content to make Wednesday's match the decider.
Now, the Galaxy need a dominating performance from Saunders on Wednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara and at least two goals from their attack. The Earthquakes lost just one of their 34 regular-season games by two or more goals this year, and none at home.
After their wild 5-3 win at Portland over the weekend, the Galaxy moved up a spot to No. 10.
Chivas USA, meanwhile, dropped a spot to No. 13 as the Goats prepare to host the Galaxy on Saturday in the latest edition of the SuperClasico.
Both teams also play mid-week games Wednesday, Chivas hosting Portland and the Galaxy playing at Vancouver.
Click this link to see the complete rankings.
Here's what the playoff field would look like if the season stopped now:
WILD CARDS: The top three teams in the Western and Eastern conferences are seeded right into the bracket, and the next four teams, regardless of conference, meet to decide who goes up against the conference champs. Real Salt Lake would be seeded first and play host to the Houston Dynamo in a one-game playoff if the postseason began today. San Jose would visit defending champ Colorado.
WEST: The Galaxy are four points up on FC Dallas and Seattle, and that trio would receive the conference's three automatic berths. L.A. would face the lower-seeded wild-card survivor, and the Hoops and Sounders would meet in the other Western semifinal.
EAST: The surprising Philadelphia Union are in front, two points up on New York and Columbus, and they'd get the other wild-card winner. The Red Bulls and Crew would tangle in the other Eastern matchup.
How would it play out? In this league, anything's possible, but based on current form and potential, we like a Galaxy-New York final -- which is exactly what television, advertisers, sponsors and, although they'll never admit it, league officials are praying for.
This week's rankings:
Week 15: Mike Magee, not a goalkeeper, steps into the nets to save L.A. in a 0-0 draw, then scores the winner to beat L.A. Blues in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup
Remark: Landon Donovan's return a plus, but Galaxy didn't lose without him, stretching unbeaten streak to 10
10 years ago: L.A. wins the West at 14-7-5, loses to then-archrival San Jose in MLS Cup final, wins U.S. Open Cup
Next: Monday vs. Seattle at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)
2. FC DALLAS (9-4-4, 31 points), Last week: 2
Week 15: Daniel Hernandez sets up two, Brek Shea scores No. 7 in 4-0 romp over Portland; Milton Rodriguez answers Orlando City's stoppage-time equalizer with a 95th-minute winner in the U.S. Open Cup
Remark: Shea's abstract paintings raise $10K for club foundation bringing soccer to disadvantaged kids
10 years ago: Dallas Burn goes 10-11-5, reaches the playoffs as Ariel Graziani and Jason Kreis combine for 18 goals, 18 assists
Next: Saturday vs. Columbus, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
3. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (8-4-7, 28 points), Last week: 5
Week 15: Roger Levesque scores twice off the bench for a 4-2 win over New York in front of 46,000; Newport Beach's Tyson Wahl nets his first MLS goal -- a wonderful free kick to the upper-left -- in a 2-1 victory over New England; Michael Fucito strikes twice to beat Kitsap Pumas, 2-1, in the U.S. Open Cup
Remark: Wahl needs goal-celebration lessons from Levesque, who practiced his submerging scuba diver off the edge of his couch
10 years ago: Nearly a dozen teams finish ahead of the Sounders (13-12-1) in the A-League
Next: Monday vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)