Los Angeles Soccer: Marco Pappa

WORLD CUP: U.S. makes its point

June, 12, 2012
The U.S. settled for a point in its second World Cup qualifier after watching a late lead disappear in a 1-1 draw in Guatemala.

Chicago Fire star Marco Pappa's free kick toward the upper-right corner in the 83rd minute left goalkeeper Tim Howard rooted to his spot, enabling the Chapines (0-1-1) to claim a point in their Group A home opener.

Clint Dempsey scored near the end of the first half for the Americans (1-0-1), who are atop their semifinal group on goal difference over Jamaica (1-0-1), which played a scoreless draw at Antigua & Barbuda (0-1-1).

ELSEWHERE: Hector Moreno nodded home a misplay by Salvadoran goalkeeper Benji Villalobos in the 82nd minute to lift Mexico to a 2-1 triumph in San Salvador. In the other Group B game, Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio scored a hat trick to lead Costa Rica past Guyana, 4-0. ... Canada gained a point in Toronto, playing Honduras to a scoreless draw in Group C. Panama is atop the group after beating Cuba, 1-0, on Nelson Barahona's second-half strike.
Third round
Tuesday's results

Guatemala 1 (Pappa 83), United States 1 (Dempsey 40)
Antigua & Barbuda 0, Jamaica 0

1. United States 1-0-1 (4-2 GF-GA) 4 points
2. Jamaica 1-0-1 (2-1) 4
3. Guatemala 0-1-1 (2-3) 1
4. Antigua & Barbuda 0-1-1 (1-3) 1

El Salvador 1 (Pacheco 65), Mexico 2 (Zavala 60, Moreno 82)
Guyana 0, Costa Rica 4 (Saborio 20, 26, 52, Campbell 77)

1. Mexico 2-0-0 (5-2) 6
2. Costa Rica 1-0-1 (6-2) 4
3. El Salvador 0-1-1 (3-4) 1
4. Guyana 0-2-0 (1-7) 0

Canada 0, Honduras 0
Panama 1 (Barahona 58), Cuba 0

1. Panama 2-0-0 (3-0) 6
2. Canada 1-0-1 (1-0) 4
3. Honduras 0-1-1 (0-2) 1
4. Cuba 0-2-0 (0-2) 0

CHIVAS USA: Goats still 0 for home

May, 4, 2012

CARSON -- Chivas USA took care of their first need Friday night, finally finding the net in a home game. It took 383 minutes and came from the penalty spot, courtesy of Juan Pablo Angel.

That was supposed to spark the Goats to some real home success, but another hit-and-mostly-miss performance -- marked by many of the same troubles -- led to another home defeat.

Marco Pappa scored a superb goal in the third minute of stoppage time to deliver to the Chicago Fire a 2-1 victory, handing Chivas their fifth one-goal loss in as many matches at Home Depot Center.

“Not a whole lot to say, really,” said Robin Fraser, who dropped to 5-12-5 in home games as Chivas head coach. “Bitterly disappointing to give up a goal in the dying seconds to lose at home. It's a bitter pill to swallow for sure.”

Their season-worst third successive loss left them 3-6-0, and things aren't going to get any easier. The next five games, through mid-June, are against a Major League Soccer murderers' row: at San Jose, home against the Galaxy, at New York, home against Seattle, home against Real Salt Lake.

Fraser changed his formation, heavily altered his lineup and gave four players their season debuts -- two of them, Colombian defender John Alexander Valencia and newly arrived Colombian forward Jose Erik Correa, their MLS debuts -- but Chivas' game ebbed and flowed, with moments of great clarity obscured by extended spans in which they created very little.

They got the goal in the 23rd minute, with Angel converting after rookie Austin Berry, making his MLS debut, dragged down Alejandro Moreno just inside the Fire box. Berry made up for it about two minutes later, volleying a chip from Sebastian Grazzini inside the left post after a throw-in was cleared.

The Goats did enough to earn a point, but Pappa crushed those aspirations following a sequence on the right flank with Federico Puppo, firing across the goal and inside the left post from about 22 yards.

“[It's great] any time you can score a goal like that late and put three points in a difficult place,” said Fire coach Frank Klopas, who was confined to a luxury suite while serving a one-game suspension. “It took a special player to make a special play at the end.”

Kennedy was, as always, outstanding, making three big saves -- including back-to-back stops on Grazzini and Dominic Oduro in the 62nd minute. There was nothing he could do on Pappa's winner.

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GOLD CUP: Day 9 recap

June, 13, 2011

Jamaica finished a perfect run through Group B, notching its third shutout in a showdown Monday night with Honduras, and Guatemala romped to claim one of two third-place berths in the CONCACAF Gold Cup's quarterfinals.

San Jose Earthquakes forward Ryan Johnson scored the lone goal in Jamaica's triumph, which also sent the Hondurans to the knockout stage, where they will meet the other Central American power, Costa Rica, in Saturday's quarterfinal opener in East Rutherford, N.J.

Jamaica will face the No. 2 team from Group C in Sunday's quarterfinal doubleheader in Washington. The likeliest foe: United States.

Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa scored one goal and set up another to lead Guatemala to a 4-0 rout of Grenada in the opener at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

A quick look at the ninth day of group play in the region's nations championship:

ROCKSTEADY REGGAE BOYZ: Jamaica followed shutout victories over Grenada and Guatemala with a 1-0 triumph over the Hondurans, who started just four first-choice players from last year's World Cup squad and lost star forward Carlo Costly to a rib injury midway through the first half.

The group title is another achievement for the Reggae Boyz, who failed to reach the final round of qualifying for last year's World Cup, then bounced back to win the Caribbean Championship in January. Outsiders when the tournament began, they'll likely enter the knockout phase as the Gold Cup's No. 2 team, trailing only Mexico on goal difference.

Johnson netted his second goal of the tournament on a wild sequence in the 36th minute. His blast caromed down off the crossbar, smacked Catrachos goalkeeper Noel Valladares in the back of the head, and the ball bounced into the net.

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GOLD CUP: HDC combatants' rosters

May, 23, 2011

There's one early-stage CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader slated for the these parts, and now we know who's coming.

CONCACAF released all 12 rosters Monday for its nations championship, which begins June 5 and ends with the final -- U.S.-Mexico is hoped for, certainly -- on June 25 at the Rose Bowl.

A Group B twinbill is coming to Home Depot Center on Monday, June 6, with a Caribbean showdown (Jamaica vs. Grenada) at 6 p.m. and a Central American matchup (Honduras vs. Guatemala) at 8.

Honduras' roster features a dozen players from last year's World Cup team, including four who played every minute for the Catrachos (goalkeeper Noel Valladares, defenders Osman Chavez and Maynor Figueroa, and midfielder Wilson Palacios), plus Sporting Kansas City left back Roger Espinoza, who was raised in Denver, and former Chivas USA midfielder Ramon Nuņez.

Guatemala is led by former Galaxy star Carlos Ruiz, now in Philadelphia, and Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa.

The Jamaicans have eight MLS players, including Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and former Galaxy defender Tyrone Marshall, and 11 based in Europe, nine of them in Sweden or Norway. Grenada has Brooklyn-raised New England Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph, who would have played in two World Cups already had he chosen to play for the U.S.

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GALAXY: Second team makes a statement

April, 17, 2011
The Galaxy's available manpower Sunday might have been whittled by injury, suspension and decisions to rest a couple of players for the grind ahead, but their second-choice lineup delivered perhaps the best performance of the young campaign.

Miguel Lopez set up both goals, by Chad Barrett just before halftime and Omar Gonzalez in the 72nd minute, in a 2-1 victory at Chicago to wrap a wild, rarely wonderful three-game trek east that secured five points.

L.A. (3-1-3, 12 points) pulls even on points with Western Conference leader Real Salt Lake (4-0-0). The Fire (1-3-1) are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

If the absences of starting midfielders Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Juninho, among others, weren't enough, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena chose to leave superstar striker Juan Pablo Angel and right-flank standout Sean Franklin out of his starting XI, giving first starts to Paolo Cardozo and Frankie Hejduk.

But the L.A. lineup responded with an energetic performance that fueled a decent number of scoring chances and an outstanding defensive effort that probably deserved a clean sheet. Barrett scored a fine goal against his former club, his first strike with the Galaxy, and towering defender Gonzalez headed home a corner kick for the would-be winner. Dominic Oduro scored in the 89th minute for Chicago.

A quick look at the Galaxy's victory:

BEST PLAYER: The Fire had to be wary of Lopez every time he touched the ball, and their best answer more often than not was to spill the Argentine forward before he could get into dangerous positions or exploit space to give teammates chances.

His delivery from the right wing for Barrett's goal was delicious, splitting three defenders with a ball that the big forward admitted “surprised me” and left him no choice but to finish. The corner kick, too, was well-taken, pinpointed onto the head of the 6-foot-5 Gonzalez.

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GALAXY: Missing key players stings

April, 17, 2011

The Galaxy knew they'd be shorthanded when they embarked on an three-game trip east a week and a half ago, but they never could have expected this.

L.A. wraps its trek Sunday afternoon in Chicago missing not only Landon Donovan, who has spent the past two weeks recovering from a knee injury, but without David Beckham, too. And Juninho. And Jovan Kirovski. And, still, Gregg Berhalter.

That's four starters and a veteran off the bench, all injured or suspended as the Galaxy (2-1-3) looks for something more than two or three points from the swing from D.C. to Toronto to the Windy City.

Beckham is serving a one-game suspension after picking up five yellow cards, most in the league, in the first six games -- one for arguing, two for petulant fouls (and one of those should have drawn red).

Juninho was sent off with two yellow cards Wednesday in Toronto, and Kirovski's suspension for that postgame red card last weekend at D.C. United was bumped to two games. Berhalter, an assistant coach and the Galaxy's backline leader, is still recovering from a sprained knee sustained during preseason.

“Every time we step on the field, we’ve established an environment in L.A. where we play to win, we expect to win,” Mike Magee, who has stepped into Donovan's slot on the left flank, told MLS's web site this week. “It doesn’t matter if we’re missing David, Landon, Juninho. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to play to win.”

Beckham and Juninho have been the central tandem in midfield the past three games, but figure on coach Bruce Arena to stick Chris Birchall, who has started in the middle this year and last, with Uruguayan first-year Paolo Cardozo. Sean Franklin likely will remain on the right side of midfield, with A.J. DeLaGarza, L.A.'s most impressive defender the past two games, at right back.

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