Tag Archives: LA Galaxy

Week 3 Power Rankings: Power Shifts West

Week 3 Power Rankings:

1. Seattle (3-0-0)- The Sounders continue to roll on the road at hostile BMO Field, even without wunderkind Fredy Montero.  As Freddie Ljungberg returns to form, this team could get even more dangerous.  The only question is whether they have the defensive depth to weather injuries.

2. Chivas USA (3-0-0)- The Goats are somehow managing to win games with an injury list that looks like a starting lineup.  They didn’t look overpowering against Columbus, but winning 3 of 3 is impressive for this league. Perhaps most importantly, they managed to score with Kljestan effectively taken out of the game.

3. Chicago (2-0-1)- As usual, the Fire are the early season class of the East.  Winning a 10-on-11 contest shows that this team has the resilience that last year’s lacked.  There is impressive offensive depth, with Rolfe and Blanco on the bench, but can the defense hold up over the course of the season?

4. New England (2-0-1)- Nipping at the heels of Chicago in the East.  Having to come from behind at home to beat Dallas is worrying, but you can’t argue with the results.  The next contests (DC and RSL) will be better tests of what this team can do.

5. Colorado (2-1-0)- So they can beat LA and Kansas City.  The big test for them will be at Columbus next week.  The Crew will be at home and fighting desperately to regain a shred of respect.  Colorado’s road win over LA was impressive, but most teams won’t give up the easy goals that the Rapids managed to poach.

6. Real Salt Lake (1-1-0)- Two ends of the spectrum from RSL.  Will this be like last season where they dominate at home and flounder on the road?  Benefited from some huge errors by Columbus, but still managed to beat the defending champs 4-1 (does that mean anything right now, though?).  Can Findley and Movsisyan keep it up?

7. Toronto FC (1-1-1)- Showed some flashes in the windy home loss to Seattle.  When will TFC find a consistent goal-scoring threat?  If the Reds can’t beat Dallas next week, John Carver will be in hot water up north.

8. DC United (1-0-2)- Less than impressive in a game where they had a man advantage at home against Houston.  Couldn’t create very much on offense until the end.  Circle the Eagles’ tie with RSL next week as the most potentially enlightening game of the week, as both are in a good position in the standings.

9. Kansas City (1-2-0)- Maybe the Wizards found the right defensive combination against San Jose?  2-0 over the Quakes is impressive, but they’re still one of the worst defensive teams in the East.  Can they be the first to keep Seattle out of the W column next week?

10. San Jose (1-2-0)- How can they score so little when they have so many experienced playmakers?  The Quakes can redeem an ugly road loss to KC at home against Chicago next week.  Paging Bobby Convey.

11. Houston (0-2-1)- The class of the winless ranks of MLS.  There’s plenty of fight in this team, they just haven’t been getting the bounces thus far.  The Dynamo no longer have a consistent midfield presence with D-Ro gone.  Cameron and Mullan are good at times, but neither is much of a revelation.

12. Columbus (0-2-2)- Showed some fight with 10 men against Chivas, but the injuries are mounting and this team doesn’t have the same confidence that it did last year.  Could Sigi Schmid have been the difference maker?  Even Guillermo Barros Schelotto looks off.  A home win against Colorado would be huge next week.

13. Los Angeles (0-1-1)- The talent is there, but it is horribly inconsistent.  Omar Gonzalez’s roller coaster performance perfectly exemplify this.  Can a 35 year-old 2.Bundesliga defender really improve the backline?  Does anyone really miss David Beckham?

14. New York (0-1-2)- The only consolation for The Red Bulls is that they aren’t the worst team in MLS.  However, Houston would seem to be ripe for a road upset.

15. FC Dallas (0-0-3)- There is no consolation for Dallas.  They let a 1-0 lead slip away at New England and now have to travel to Toronto.  Off-season improvements look like a waste at this point.

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Los Angeles Signs Jamaican International Ricketts

No longer seeing double in goal, the LA Galaxy signed 31 year-old Jamaican International goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.  The terms of the deal, in compliance with strict, totalitarian MLS policy, were not disclosed, and are subject to Ricketts’s receipt of a work permit, a technicality that has plagued Ricketts throughout his career.

Ricketts was thurst into the international spotlight when he was the backup keeper on Jamaica’s surprise 1998 World Cup squad.  In 2004 he made a move to Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, but never played in a match and was loaned to League Two Bradford City.  Ricketts eventually became a fixture in net for Bradford City, starting 80 consecutive games, and was in line for a move to Queens Park Rangers before work permit complications forced him back to Jamaica.  Back in his home country, Ricketts joined Village United last season and has split time between club and country, taking up the role of Vice Captain of the Jamaican National Team.

In his first match with Village United, Ricketts was replaced after complaining of double vision from being hit in the head with a ball.  Even with double vision, Ricketts could probably still mind the goal better than 2008 keeper platooners Josh Wicks and Steve Cronin who combined to allow 56 goals in 28 games, an even 2 goals allowed per game.  Clearly, Bruce Arena’s latest signing addresses a pressing need for Los Angeles.

Boswell Sure to be Hot Commodity

2006 Cosmo Mr. Bachelor Virginia and occasional central defender Bobby Boswell will be a hot commodity this winter…for employers.  Boswell led the backline for Houston last season, but he is out of contract and with all of the league’s frontrunners in need of central defenders–Columbus, New England, Chicago, Chivas USA, and even Los Angeles all have holes to fill there–Boswell can basically go anywhere he wants.

He may have to fight for a spot in Columbus, as two of the three players the Crew rotated in that spot are definitely returning, with Chad Marshall the wildcard.  If Marshall resigns with the Canaries instead of heading for Europe, Boswell would have to look elsewhere.

In Chicago he would be playing in front of MLS Keeper of the Year Jon Busch, but would be stepping into a defensive unit that will suffer a few losses this offseason, and thus a hit to their chemistry.

New England lost Michael Parkhurst to Europe, but Boswell could team with Costa Rican import Gabriel Badilla to form a solid central duo in Boston.

Chivas USA would probably love to add Boswell to complement Shavar Thomas, but Thomas is not nearly the potential partner that Badilla would be and playing for Chivas may just be the least rewarding experience in the league.

Los Angeles is always in need of defenders and may be too much of a landmine to step into (the Galaxy probably don’t have the money to spend anyway), but Boswell would be on the league’s highest-profile team and having both Boswell and Franklin in defense could be the stabilizing force LA needs.

In the end, Boswell’s best option might be staying in Houston.  If the Dynamo can reload up front, they may have just as good a chance as anyone in the league of holding the 2009 MLS Cup after not making it to the finals for the first time in three years in 2008.

Regardless of where he goes, what will Boswell’s new team be getting?  According to Cosmo magazine:

“I am optimistic, work well under pressure, and am goofy.”

What does Boswell look for in a partner?:

“Confidence and enthusiasm are big for me. I like girls [or teams] who challenge themselves.”

The man has spoken MLS, now go show him what you’ve got.

Philadelphia MLS Name

Over at goal.com, Shane Evans has a good article on the naming of Philadelphia’s new MLS team.  Overall, I agree with his opinion that MLS names need to reflect the simple majesty of club names worldwide (Manchester United, Real Madrid), rather than being used as marketing tools as they are in the US.  The Columbus Crew are an example of a team who try to milk their name for all it’s worth as a marketing tool, constantly referring to themselves as “America’s hardest working team”.  That may have been an acceptable consolation when Columbus was miserable, but Columbus Crew still feels a bit forced, especially when combined with the men-in-hard-hats logo. 

As a name, however, Crew could be an acceptable nickname like the ones that organically occur in other countries (such as the Canaries of Norwich or reffering to Wolverhampton Wanderers FC simply as ‘Wolves’).  The same cannot be said of the New England Revolution, LA Galaxy, or Colorado Rapids.  No one would ever casually refer to LA as the ‘Galaxy’ in such a way that it would gradually catch on as a nickname.  That is how most college nicknames developed, and that is how club names should come about: organically, rather than artificially.

MLS Weekly Review and Preview 9/2

First, a quick rundown of last week’s games:

Salt Lake 2-Colorado 0

Fabian Espindola made a big splash in his return from injury, scoring his 4th and 5th goals of the season to lead RSL to yet another home win.  Salt Lake continues to try to keep pace with streaking Houston, while Colorado is trying to find its groove under Interim Head Coach Gary Smith, who has lost both games he has presided over with that official title.  The Rapids were also hampered by injuries to Pablo Mastroeni and potentially England-bound midfielder Terry Cooke.  With the loss, Colorado relieved San Jose of the cellar spot in the West.

New England 2-Los Angeles 2

Taylor Twellman notched his 5th goal, but also went down after taking LA ‘keeper Steve Cronin’s hands to his head.  Landon Donovan picked up his 15th and 16th and Shalrie Joseph finally got his name into the scorebook for the season during a 2-2 draw.  The Revs, reeling from their CONCACAF Champions League loss to Joe Public FC of T&T and fighting depth issues, switching to a 4-4-1-1.  New England continues to slowly lose ground on Columbus for first in the East (and the league), while Bruce Arena’s LA is hanging on to MLS’ other playoff contenders by their fingernails.

DC 0-New York 0

A bore draw between two teams locked in stalemate in the East.  DC continues to draw games that it needs to win, while New York stays hot with a solid road draw.  Both teams are currently in good position for the playoffs, but New York is on their way up, while DC seems to be stagnating and in danger of heading downwards.

Dallas 1-Columbus 2

Just two weeks after defeating FC Dallas at Crew Stadium, the Canaries traveled to Dallas and picked up a valuable road win, pushing them two points ahead of New England.  Alejandro Moreno scored his team-leading 8th of the season and Eddie Gaven finally got his 1st on the year.  Dallas took the lead on a 35th minute Jeff Cunningham strike, but Columbus continues to prove that they play just as well, if not better from behind as they do from a tie or a lead.  With the loss, Dallas loses valuable ground in the West, falling to just two points out of the cellar.

San Jose 2-Kansas City 1

The red-hot ‘Quakes finally crawled out of the cellar for what seems like the first time since before the Expansion Draft.  Darren Huckerby’s arrival continues to lead the revival for San Jose, scoring the game-winner in the 83rd.  Arturo Alvarez scored in the 43rd, but Davy Arnaud equalized for the Wizards in the 64th.  With the loss, Kansas City continues their wallowing at the bottom of the East.

Chivas USA 2-Toronto 1

The struggles continue for media darling Toronto FC, despite acquiring Guatemalan International Carlos Ruiz, as Chivas picked up an injury time game-winner from Atiba Harris to secure the home win.  Jim Brennan opened the scoring for TFC, but Alecko Eskandarian tied the game up just 11 minutes later.  The game would stay tied for the next hour before Harris inserted the dagger.  Chivas climbs to the top of the West deadlock, now behind only Houston and Salt Lake, while Toronto remains tied for last in the East with Kansas City.

Houston 2-Chicago 1

Brian McBride scored his first goal in his return campaign to MLS, but it sparked a Dwayne De Rosario equalizer just a minute later, which was followed by Brian Mullan’s 3rd goal of the year, giving the Dynamo a lead they would not relinquish.  Although they lost defender Eddie Robinson to injury, Houston stays firmly ahead of RSL in the West with a 5-point lead.  Chicago continues to squander opportunities to overtake, or at least keep pace with New England.

CONCACAF Champions Leaue, US Open Cup and MLS Predictions

9/2: Champions League
New England 3-Joe Public 1 (NE 4-3 on PK’s) New England advances
Chivas USA 2-Tauro FC 1 Tauro FC advances

9/3 US Open Cup Final
DC United 2-Charleston Battery 1 DC wins 2nd US Open Cup

9/4 MLS League Play
FC Dallas 2-Colorado Rapids 0

9/6 MLS League Play
Toronto FC 1-Chivas USA 1
Columbus Crew 1-New England Revolution 2
Chicago Fire 2-New York Red Bulls 2
San Jose Earthquakes 2-DC United 0
Los Angeles Galaxy 2-Real Salt Lake 0

9/7 MLS League Play
Houston Dynamo 3-Kansas City Wizards 0

Around the MLS 8/21

There’s plenty of big headlines today, so I’ll run through them a little more briefly than usual:

Chicago at Los Angeles, 10:00 PM ESPN2

The Fire and Galaxy take the field for ESPN’s MLS Primetime (which has been pushed back to 10 the last few weeks and moved to ESPN2 as a reward for good ratings).  Both teams will be without stars (Beckham, Blanco, etc.) due to international duty, but Bruce Arena will make his big debut.  If the Galaxy don’t have enough depth to field a quality side of starters and they use front office people in Reserve League games, does that mean we should see some accountants on the field for LA tonight?

Chicago has been hot lately, they have plenty of depth, and LA is LA, so I’ll say Chicago 3-Los Angeles 1

Eddie Lewis to LA Galaxy

LA’s midfield mess should get a little bit tidier with the addition of American international Eddie Lewis.  34 years old, Lewis is mostly a link player and defensive midfielder, which is exactly what the Galaxy needed.  Lewis has spent the last 8 years playing for various high-level English clubs (Fulham, Preston, Leeds, and Derby County), picking up 80 caps along the way.  An added bonus is that Lewis is familiar with Bruce Arena from their US National Team days, so Eddie knows what he’s getting into.

Colorado Fires Head Coach Fernando Clavijo

After seeing a solid franchise slowly go downhill under the Uruguayan Head Coach’s tenure, the Colorado Rapids have fired Clavijo (or as the team put it, the two sides have “reached mutual agreement for termination based on personal reasons”).  Taking over will be Interim Coach Englishman Gary Smith, who led the Rapids to a 2-1 victory over Kansas City last week in Clavijo’s absence.

Carlos Ruiz to Toronto FC

The Transfer Season continues to chug along, and change continues to be the theme for the LA Galaxy, as forward Carlos Ruiz appears set to join Toronto FC.

The Guatemalan international has 81 MLS goals, an MLS Cup, an MLS MVP award and two MLS Golden Boots for the most goals in the league.  Internationally, Ruiz is Guatemala’s highest goal scorer ever, with 39 goals in 77 appearances.  However, his second stint in LA after 4 years in Dallas has been a disappointment.  Ruiz has played in only 10 games, few of those appearances have been starts, and he has nothced only one goal.

LA unloads upwards of $300,000 per season in salary cap space, a Designated Player slot, and an ego to compete with the abundance of personality already present in the Home Depot Center locker room.  Perhaps the Galaxy will use the space to sign American international M Eddie Lewis, who had been a rumored target in LA before new Head Coach Bruce Arena arrived.  With Edson Buddle scoring plenty this season, Ruiz became surplus, and LA has accordingly been attempting to dispose of him for a good portion of the season (New York and Columbus were potential destinations).

Toronto gets a forward proven in the league (even if he is looking a little chubby and dives a lot) who can pair up with Danny Dichio.  Apparently young forwards Abdus Ibrahim (17), Chad Barrett (23), Jarrod Smith (24), and Johann Smith (21) didn’t represent an immediate solution for TFC’s Director of Soccer Mo Johnston.  Although Ruiz has plenty of accolades and experience, this move seems a bit desperate for the Reds, as well as an inevitable hit to the confidence of new acquisitions Barrett and Johann Smith, who haven’t even been in Toronto for a month.  Ruiz carries a large price tag, has produced little this season, and can be an unsettling force similar to recently departed ex-TFC forward Jeff Cunningham.  Barrett, a former Generation Adidas player, and Smith, a recent arrival from Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, are both seen as rising stars in the US Soccer world.  It’s strange that the team would bring in a generously-paid player like Ruiz to take playing time away from the two of them, but Toronto is facing desperate times after slipping to a tie for last place in the Eastern Conference.

Update: Los Angeles received first and second round 2009 Supplemental Draft picks for Ruiz