Los Angeles Soccer: Matt Kassel
Bright Dike scored his first goal for the Blues and set up Matt Fondy's finale as L.A. (3-2-1) completed a two-day sweep of lesser sides with a 3-0 romp Saturday night at Pittsburgh (2-5-0).
All three goals came in the second half as the Blues overcame a slow start and gradually assumed command starting about halfway through the first 45 minutes.
Ricky Waddell scored a stunning goal in the first minute of the second half, running onto a bouncing ball and half-volleying it into the upper-left corner from 25 yards to send L.A. ahead.
Dike, who Tuesday joined the Blues on loan from Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers, chipped over Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap six minutes later from Fondy's ball over the top. Fondy, who played last season for Pittsburgh, netted his second of the season from a Dike feed in the 69th.
The Riverhounds' best chances arrived early, with David Leon hitting the right post in the third minute and former New York Red Bulls youngster Matt Kassel firing at Blues goalkeeper Jose Miranda when 1-on-1 in the eighth minute.
CARSON -- The expansion Montreal Impact got a lot of work done in a nearly two-week stay at Home Depot Center, a good deal of it away from the field.
They finished this swing of their preseason camp Friday with 90-minute games against UCLA (a 0-0 draw) and Ventura County Fusion (a 3-1 victory), but what's been going on off the field has been far more interesting.
The Impact on Thursday traded veteran striker Brian Ching back to the Houston Impact for a conditional first-round selection in next year's SuperDraft. They topped that Friday, shortly after their games on one of Home Depot Center's training fields, by taking former U.S. national team forward Eddie Johnson through the league's allocation dispersal process, then trading him to Seattle for top young attackers Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle.
It wrapped a wild week that started with Montreal's announcement that Ching, who played last week at HDC against his former Houston teammates, had departed camp for “personal reasons.” Turned out he was in Houston negotiating a new deal, one that would significantly trim his salary -- he'll make $250,000 rather than $450,000, The Houston Chronicle reported -- but allow him an expected final season with the club he's identified with as they open a long-awaited stadium.
“This is where I want to be, where I want to retire ...,” Ching told The Chronicle. “I know how old I am, and I've been around the league long enough to know my value. I have no problem. I just want this team to be successful, and I'll do what it takes. If that means less money, that means less money. Me taking less money allows me to be here where I want to be, allows me to open up a stadium that I've always dreamed of doing. That's rewarding enough for me.”
Ching, 33, considered retirement after Montreal surprisingly took him in November's expansion draft. Trade talks between the Dynamo and Montreal began almost immediately, and the Hawaii-born forward reported to the Impact's camp last month and last week said the idea of playing for Canada's third Major League Soccer franchise was “definitely growing on me. Obviously, it was a very emotional time when it all happened. But I've been with the team for about a month now and enjoy playing with the guys, enjoy the project of trying to build a competitive team here.”
Impact coach Jesse Marsch was asked if the Impact had received enough in the trade with Houston.
“I don't think it went the way we all thought it was going to go, whether he was going to stay or go. But in the end, it was just so difficult,” the former Chivas USA captain told ESPN Los Angeles. “He committed himself wholly, professionally to being here, but you also could see that his mind was still in Houston.