Los Angeles Soccer: Tyrone Marshall

MLS: Houston, K.C. open with wins

October, 30, 2011
Higher-seeded road teams won both Eastern Conference playoff openers Saturday, with conference champ Sporting Kansas City using two Teal Bunbury goals to knock off defending MLS Cup champion Colorado and Houston scoring twice in the first half en route to a victory at defensive-minded Philadelphia.

Bunbury scored four minutes into the second half and converted a penalty kick 10 minutes later to lead Sporting to a 2-0 triumph at Colorado, which missed injured captain Pablo Mastroeni and lost three more players -- forward Caleb Folan and defenders Kosuke Kimura and Drew Moor -- to injury.

Houston beat the Union, 2-1, with Calen Carr's 30th-minute strike making the difference after Dynamo defender Andre Hainault, from a Brad Davis set piece, and Philly's Sebastien Le Toux traded goals in the sixth and seventh minutes.

K.C. will be home for the second leg Wednesday, and Houston plays its home leg Thursday. The series winners meet in the Eastern final next Sunday.

Houston's win was its first in five meetings with Philadelphia, which debuted last year in MLS. Sporting's triumph hinged on Colorado defender Tyrone Marshall's nightmare of a night -- he was beaten by Bunbury on the first goal, then dragged down the speedy forward in the Rapids box for the PK, picking up a red card in the process.

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GOLD CUP: Can 'special' Jamaica fulfill promise?

June, 5, 2011

CARSON -- There's a lot of chatter that this team Jamaica has brought to the CONCACAF Gold Cup might be the best it's ever fielded, even better than the side that won a game at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Dane Richards doesn't want to hear it. He just wants to spur some more.

Donovan Ricketts
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images Donovan Ricketts

“All the talking, we can't pay attention to that,” the New York Red Bulls winger said on the eve of the Reggae Boyz's CONCACAF Gold Cup opener Monday at Home Depot Center. “We just got to go there and do the job and make the people keep talking positive stuff.”

They'll start their business in the region's nations championship against Caribbean rival Grenada, kicking off a Group B doubleheader at 6 p.m. Honduras, with a dozen players from last year's World Cup roster, faces Guatemala at 8. It's the only group-stage games in Southern California; the June 25 final is set for the Rose Bowl.

Jamaica, guided by former Reggae Boyz midfielder Theodore Whitmore, has big aspirations.

“Jamaica, we have special players,” said Donovan Ricketts, the Galaxy's goalkeeper. “We are blessed with people that are very quick, so hopefully we can utilize that in the tournament and see how it goes.”

What's special about this team?

“I don't know,” he replied. “We're just special people, man. We have a fighting spirit. As you see, it's a small country, and anything you put [in front of us], we Jamaicans, we can do it.

“We don't have snow in Jamaica, yet we do bobsled.”

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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 takes Juan Pablo Angel in re-entry draft

December, 15, 2010

The Galaxy made a big splash in the second phase of Major League Soccer's re-entry draft Wednesday, taking New York Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Angel -- arguably the finest target forward ever to play in the league -- after making a trade with Houston to move up to fourth in the draft.

The 35-year-old Colombian, who joined the Red Bulls when Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was in charge in New York, has scored 61 goals in four seasons for New York.

Juan Pablo Angel
Icon SMIThe 35-year-old Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel played the past four seasons with the New York Red Bulls.

His contract, for $1.62 million (with $1.918 million guaranteed compensation), was not renewed, and the Galaxy will be able to negotiate a new pact with the tall striker.

“In the re-entry draft, all teams are doing is acquiring rights to players,” Arena said on a teleconference Wednesday afternoon. “There's still a negotiating period to see if we can reach an agreement. … We think he's a very fine forward, and we're hopeful we can reach an agreement. …

“The reason we took him in the re-entry draft is we think we can make it work. I think Juan wants to make it work, but we have to get in some discussions this week and see if we can reach an agreement.”

The Galaxy also selected Red Bulls midfielder Luke Sassano, and Chivas USA took Kansas City central defender Jimmy Conrad (Temple City/Temple City HS and UCLA).

Galaxy midfielder Dema Kovalenko and Chivas USA midfielder Marcelo Saragosa and defender Alex Zotinca weren't drafted and become free agents. So do Colorado midfielder Peter Vagenas (Pasadena/St. Francis HS and UCLA) and Columbus midfielder Duncan Oughton (Cal State Fullerton).

Arena said he has spoken twice with Angel in recent weeks and believes a deal can be made despite the forward's stated desire to remain on the East Coast. If signed, Angel likely would be a Designated Player, which would all but end any chance of L.A. acquiring Brazilian forward Ronaldinho.

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Galaxy-Seattle: A matter of sides?

November, 7, 2010

AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
The Galaxy's David Beckham, right, says of his first assist off a corner kick: "The ref pointed over to the side where I went." Seattle coach Sigi Schmid says Beckham outsmarted the referee to give himself a more favorable position.

CARSON, Calif. -- It was certainly a frustrating playoff series for Seattle coach Sigi Schmid. The Galaxy's defensive mindset greatly limited what his usually dynamic attack could do, and when chances showed up, the finish left much to be desired.

But the former Galaxy coach, who grew up in L.A. and Torrance, played at Bishop Montgomery High School and played and coached at UCLA, was not in a generous mood after either of the Sounders' losses.

After the first game, in Seattle, he called Edson Buddle's sensational strike in a 1-0 Galaxy victory “fortunate,” dismissing it as a shot in which “he just turns and hits the ball in basically the direction of the goal. It can go anywhere, and it went in.”

After Sunday's loss in another game largely defined by the Galaxy's superb defensive effort over the first hour, he said that he “thought we did more things to ourselves in the first half” than the Galaxy did, then expressed his dismay that referee Baldomero Toledo and his linesmen let the craftier Galaxy get away with gamesmanship.

He's right, in part. L.A. was the craftier side, the more veteran side, just as the Galaxy were in the first leg a week ago. It was the foundation of their defensive superiority and their ability to attack more effectively with fewer chances.

Schmid was especially unhappy with the Galaxy's first goal Sunday, a David Beckham corner kick that floated over three players -- 6-foot-5 Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and Sounders defender Patrick Ianni and forward Blaise Nkufo -- to Buddle, who shook off Tyrone Marshall to nod the ball powerfully past goalkeeper Kasey Keller and into the net.

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Eddie Lewis in Galaxy's starting XI

November, 7, 2010
Bruce Arena is going with the same lineup that beat the Sounders in Seattle for the Sunday's second-leg clash at Home Depot Center, which just kicked off.

That means veteran Eddie Lewis (Cerritos/Cerritos HS and UCLA) is in at left back in place of Todd Dunivant. Lewis was superb as a last-minute starter in last week's first leg after Dunivant pulled out with a hamstring strain.

Dunivant trained all week and was ready to go, but Arena decided to stick with a winning formula.

Only one, expected change by Seattle, with Tyrone Marshall stepping into central defense in place of Jeff Parke, who sprained his ankle in last week's game.

The lineups:

Galaxy: G Donovan Rickets; D Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza and Eddie Lewis; M David Beckham, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko and Landon Donovan; F Edson Buddle and Mike Magee.

Seattle Sounders: G Kasey Keller; D James Riley, Tyrone Marshall, Patrick Ianni and Leo Gonzalez; M Sanna Nyassi, Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis and Steve Zakuani; F Fredy Montero and Blaise Nkufo.

Galaxy-Seattle: Medical report

November, 7, 2010
Todd Dunivant is ready to go for the Galaxy and Jeff Parke is unlikely to suit up for the Sounders in Sunday's clash at Home Depot Center (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 6 p.m.)

More important: David Beckham should be at full strength after testing his Achilles' tendon in last week's first leg on Qwest Field's artificial surface. The English midfielder, who missed six months after rupturing the left Achilles' last March while playing for AC Milan, said after the Galaxy's 1-0 victory in Seattle that it was sore throughout the match.

“It's taken me a few days to get over it, I must admit,” Beckham said Friday. “It was the first time I played on [artificial] turf since the Achilles'; I'm almost recovered from it. … It's an aching kind of thing for a good few days. After each game, there's an aching effect, but after the game the other day there was more so.”

It seems everyone was affected by the Qwest turf in some manner.

“When you play on turf, everyone comes off the field sore,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “A bunch of guys were hurting on Tuesday. The surface is tough. I think the soreness is kind of natural.”

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Galaxy must make defensive decisions

November, 3, 2010

Robert Mora/MLS via Getty Images
A.J. DeLaGarza, above, has teamed on the Galaxy with former college teammate Omar Gonzalez to form a solid tandem along the backline.

The Galaxy expects Todd Dunivant and Gregg Berhalter to be ready for Sunday's second leg of their first-round playoff series against Seattle. Doesn't mean either will be in the starting XI.

L.A.'s defensive performance in the series opener in Seattle could mean another starting assignment for Eddie Lewis, whose expertise in shutting down the Sounders' right-flank attack was vital to last weekend's 1-0 victory, and A.J. DeLaGarza, who has partnered Omar Gonzalez in central defense in four of the Galaxy's last five games.

Dunivant, who suffered a right hamstring strain in training Thursday and was a game-time decision last Sunday to sit out, said an MRI this week showed no significant damage. He practiced fully Wednesday, the Galaxy's first full training session this week, said he was "very optimistic" he'd be available this weekend.

"I'm trying to be smart about it and ease into the week a little bit, not test it too much," said Dunivant, the Galaxy's first-choice left back. "But I did everything today and didn't have any restrictions. So that's a good sign."

Dunivant likely will return to the lineup if he's fit, although he said the Galaxy was "in good hands either way" coach Bruce Arena decides to go.

IN THE MIDDLE: Berhalter, who has started just once (Oct. 16 in a 3-1 loss to Colorado) since he was hit with what's been described as a mysterious virus in mid-October, was a late substitute in Sunday's game. Asked if he could go 90 minutes if called upon, he said: "That's a tough question. Of course, I'm there to help the team, do whatever the coach asks me to do."

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