MLS: Western Conference round up
LA Galaxy’s Western Conference play-off charge took a severe dent over the past week having been undone twice in the matter of days. Despite taking a 3-2 lead at half-time in the El Classico derby against fierce rivals San Jose Earthquakes, defensive frailties cost LA. After the break Sam Cronin and a Chris Wondolowski master flick snatched victory.
Five days later, without Beckham (suspended due to clocking up five bookings) on Independence Day, another intended celebratory salute was halted with a late goal from Michael Farfan after Jack McInerney and Chad Barrett tied the game with goals either side of the break. Bruce Arena must now mull over changes to his side as he seeks to get his side back on track and ensure a clinical edge is installed.
As the Galaxy were throwing the kitchen sink and more at the San Jose Earthquakes, a moment of stupidity from David Beckham in the second minute of three added minutes ultimately cost him a game suspension and a significant amount in fines too. It all started from a David Beckham corner which was cleared out for a throw at the near post by Sam Cronin who was caught on the follow through by centre back AJ De La Garza. With Beckham keen to get the play going his frustrations got the better of him, kicking the ball out of his hands the ex-England captain struck a combination of referee and Sam Cronin.
In a matter of seconds the pitch moved from a soccer match into a vast numbered brawl involving players from each side. An angry David Beckham failed to accept the yellow card sanctioned by Hilario Grajeda and continued pointing and verbally insulting opposition players. After looking over the footage later on Thursday, the MLS disciplinary committee took action and now Beckham will miss the trip to Toyota Park on Sunday. Bruce Arena was also fined for failing to control his players in the fracas.
As well as this MLS new boy Barry Robson made his debut for the Vancouver Whitecaps in their 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids. Darren Mattocks cool finish was enough to kick-start Robson’s Whitecaps career with a win. The Scot signed a pre-contract agreement in February while he was still captaining Middlesbrough in the Npower Championship. Following the opening of the MLS transfer window on June 27 2012, the versatile Scottish midfielder was cleared to play and he put in a solid performance, which saw him almost score, sending a rasping 30-yard drive just over the bar. Martin Rennie can now feel satisfied that he has finally got the experience and expertise of Robson to help push for a play-off place.
Meanwhile another player on the move was Japanese full-back Kosuke Kimura who swapped Colorado for Portland. Kimura has seen very limited first team action after losing his place to Hunter Freeman, hence the reason why Oscar Pareja has given the trade the go-ahead, in exchange for allocation money and an international roster spot. Since Steve Purdy suffered an injury in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Montreal Impact back in April, John Spencer has manoeuvred club captain Jack Jewsbury to the right back berth. Despite a number of solid performances and most recently a goal against San Jose on Tuesday, the ex-Chelsea player feels a player who is more accustomed to the role is needed to solidify the backline. The arrival of Kimura will most likely see Jewsbury move back into his regular slot in the middle of the park for the Timbers.
Western Conference Results
Saturday June 30 2012
New England 2 – 2 Seattle Sounders (Eddie Johnson 23, 35)
Columbus Crew 2 – 0 Real Salt Lake
Colorado Rapids 3(Castrillon 18, Casey 22, Smith 89) – 0 Portland Timbers
San Jose Earthquakes 4 (Lenhart 7, Bernardez 44, Cronin 47, Wondolowski 61) – 3 LA Galaxy (Beckham 31, Hernandez OG 36, Donovan 41)
Tuesday July 3 2012
Portland Timbers 2 (Mwanga 29, Jewsbury 59) – 1 San Jose Earthquakes (Gordon 74)
Wednesday July 4 2012
FC Dallas 1(Lloyd 5) – 1 Toronto FC (Koevermans 31)
Colorado 0 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps (Mattocks 43)
Real Salt Lake 0 – 0 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 1(Barrett 73) – 2 Philadelphia Union (McInerney 46, Farfan 90+)