The race for playoff berths in the wild, wild, Western Conference will go down to the wire.
No teams qualified for the postseason on Wednesday as Vancouver Whitecaps FC smashed second place Seattle Sounders FC 4-1 at CenturyLink Field powered by a hat trick by Kekuta Manneh. With the result, the Whitecaps keep their dreams of the postseason on life support as they sit just three points behind a playoff berth. Speaking of keeping hopes alive, the Earthquakes moved to within one point of a fifth place with a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids as Chris Wondolowski notched his seventh game-winning-goal of the season.
With Wednesday’s results, the gap between West leaders Real Salt Lake and sixth place San Jose is just points. The LA Galaxy currently sit four points behind first place RSL with a game in hand. As for the gap between fourth place and the seventh spot? Just three points.
Out in the Eastern Conference, Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo played to a cagey scoreless draw. Sporting are now one point behind Supporters’ Shield leaders New York Red Bulls for the top spot in the league—and the East.
Think the LA Galaxy have a chance to finish in first in the West?
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Jeff Cunningham speaks to MLSsoccer.com about sharing the MLS goal scoring record with Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan is on the brink of breaking Jeff Cunningham’s all-time MLS regular season goal scoring record, but what does the man whose mark is about be broken think of the LA Galaxy forward’s accomplishment.
Cunningham, who scored 134 goals while making 365 appearances during his 14-year career in MLS while playing for six teams, spoke to MLSsoccer.com’s Jeff Bradley earlier this week about the goal scoring record. When asked about how he felt when Donovan tied his record, Cunningham handled the question with grace, mentioning his humble upbringings back in Jamaica.
“If you know my background, I grew up in Jamaica playing barefoot. My goal was to play professional. And now you’re asking me, interviewing me about being the all-time leading scorer, in a league that has produced many great players,” said Cunningham to Bradley. “And now I’m going to be passed by one of the best players in US soccer history. That’s a pretty good story. I’m proud of where I am, and what I’ve accomplished. I’m honored. To be asked these questions, to be mentioned alongside Landon Donovan, I’m humbled.”
But does Cunningham any words for Donovan as he prepares to pass him on the league’s all-time goal scoring chart?
“Landon, Landon, Landon ... you have every record in the US. Why couldn’t you just let me have this one?” Cunningham joked.
“No, really, I’m honored to be up there with him. I think the world of him and for me to be mentioned with him, that’s not too shabby, my friend."
In an interview with U.S. Soccer, U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann discusses the roster that he called up for the USMNT's October World Cup qualifiers.
Check it out below...
Robbie Keane will not be returning to the LA Galaxy early from international duty ahead of the team's vital Oct. 16 match against the Montreal Impact.
"The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that Noel King has responded this afternoon to the manager of LA Galaxy, Bruce Arena, to inform him that he has decided not to release Robbie Keane and trusts that he understands the position, having been an international manager himself," the FAI said in a statement. "Bruce Arena had requested that the release of Robbie Keane be considered after the Germany match and before the international match against Kazakhstan in Dublin on October 15."
The wording of the release is important because remember that with a loss or a draw against Germany on Friday, Keane's Irish side would be eliminated from contention for the World Cup. Arena told reporters on Tuesday that he had been in contact with U.S. Soccer and the FAI about potentially releasing Landon Donovan and Keane following their respective first international matches, which could in effect mean nothing in terms of qualification.
Thoughts on the Irish FA's decision?
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Bruce Arena on possible international returns of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane and the status of Omar Gonzalez
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez will not be heading out on international duty with the U.S. National Team, but could the LA Galaxy get Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane back before next Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Impact?
“It's possible” says Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
Gonzalez has already withdrawn from U.S. duty with a hip injury, but following training on Tuesday, the Galaxy boss stated that the club has communicated with the national teams of Ireland (Robbie Keane) and the U.S. (Landon Donovan) about having the players return in time for Montreal.
“They're well aware of the fact that we'd like to bring the players back,” Arena said, who reiterated that the decision is in the hands of their respective national team coaches. “We've been in contact. We know what we're doing there. We didn't make a decision, but we in a timely fashion have requested to see if the players could return.”
Donovan indicated following Sunday’s 5-0 victory over Chivas USA that he’d like to help out the Galaxy next Wednesday while Robbie Keane downplayed any return “as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to play for my country, and that's it.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with LA Galaxy Insider after the SuperClasico, Jaime Penedo also indicated that he was unlikely to return due to the importance of the October World Cup qualifiers to Panama’s hopes of reaching Brazil next year.
As for Gonzalez's status for Montreal, Arena stated that there was no update on his status, but said that the team will "just see how he responds."
It looks like we may have the schedule in place for the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
As for how the Galaxy's quest for the postseason is shaping up, check my Playoff Picture piece for LAGalaxy.com.
The full schedule is below…
Knockout Round: October 30 and 31 (single game, No. 4 seed hosts No. 5)
Conference semifinals: November 2-3 and 6-7 (home and home series hosted with the higher seed hosting the second leg. Scoring based on aggregate goals. No. 1 seed playing the Knockout Round winner while the No. 2 seed plays No. 3)
Conference finals: November 9-10 and 23-24 (home and home series hosted with the higher seed hosting the second leg. Scoring based on aggregate goals. Higher seed hosts second leg. Two-week break between games due to FIFA international window)
MLS Cup: December 7 (hosted by team with best record in the regular season)
Thoughts on the postseason schedule?
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy clinched their second consecutive MLS Reserve League West Division title with a 2-0 victory over Chivas USA.
The victory is the perfect cap to a season that saw the Galaxy reserves go undefeated in their last eight matches after going winless in their first two matches. On Monday, LA controlled the tempo against Chivas USA with Hector Jimenez and Jose Villarreal scoring in the win.
“To win the Reserve League title for a second year in a row is great," said Galaxy reserve league head coach and LA assistant coach Curt Onalfo. "The thing with the reserve league is that it has a lot of functions: developing players, bringing guys back from injury, and you’re keeping guys sharp so you’re trying to balance all of that as a coach, but at the same time, you’re the Galaxy so every time you step on the field, you win. So being able to accomplish all things two years in a row has me very pleased.”
“We take this real seriously and these guys don’t get many days off. When the first team is off, we’re plugging away with reserve games and getting guys sharp,” Onalfo added. “We put in a good effort and it shows because when they were called upon in [the CONCACAF Champions League], they stepped up. Today was a big game for them and they stepped up again and how we stepped up to the challenge.”
Back from injury, Leonardo moving toward game action after 45 minute shift with the LA Galaxy reserves
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender Leonardo continued his return from injury on Monday with a 45 minute shift in LA reserves 2-0 victory over Chivas USA.
Leonardo has missed the Galaxy’s last two league matches with left adductor fatigue that he states occurred in the closing moments of the team’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Sept. 21 and then became re-aggregivated during LA's trip to Costa Rica for CONCACAF Champions League play.
“It was the first time that I’ve played or trained with the group. The last couple days, I’ve been training off to the side and it was good for me to do that. I realized that there are a couple things that I need to work on and I’ll work on that.”
Rookie Kofi Opare has performed well in Leonardo’s absence, but following the reserves victory, assistant coach Curt Onalfo admits that the Brazilian center back is back in the mix for a starting role—possibly as soon as LA’s Oct. 16 game against the Montreal Impact.
“[This appearance keeps] him sharp. He’s been out two weeks and it keeps him in the mix for the next game,” said Onalfo. “We just wanted to be smart [with playing him 45 minutes] and moving him along slowly. He’s on target [for Montreal].”
The Brazilian center back agrees that Montreal could be a target for him.
“My fitness is not that far off where it was just two weeks ago, I didn’t lose that much,” said Leonardo. “I’m confident that I can get it back in the next couple of days. Yes, we’re off for a few days this week, but I’ll have a few individual sessions to do that.”
LA Galaxy right back Sean Franklin reflects on being present during the Los Angeles Dodgers dramatic win
CARSON, Calif. – Los Angeles is still buzzing following the Los Angeles Dodgers dramatic 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday evening, and as the Boys in Blue advanced to the National League Championship Series, LA Galaxy right back Sean Franklin was there to enjoy the action.
The lifetime Dodgers fan and two-time MLS Cup champion was in the stands at Chavez Ravine on Monday evening and on Tuesday, still marveling at the atmosphere in the crowd as the Dodgers moved to within four victories of their first World Series appearance since 1988.
“It was crazy. I’ve been in the stadium and seen some games, but to see the stadium like it was on Wednesday and the way that it ended was amazing. I was fortunate to get tickets and go with my closest friends. It was a great feeling.
But what was the moment like when Los Angeles’ newest hero Juan Uribe belted his National League Division Series winning home run in the 8th inning?
“The moment that he hit you knew that it was gone and everyone just went crazy,” said Franklin. “I had my hands up and once the ball went in the stands we were all high-fiving and jumping around. We were high-fiving strangers and that was one of those night’s that you made a friend with everybody.”
Omar Gonzalez will not be joining the U.S. National Team after all as the LA Galaxy defender pulled out of the squad with a left hip strain suffered during the first half of LA's 5-0 victory over Chivas USA last Sunday.
The injury caused Gonzalez to exit LA's SuperClasico rout at half time, but following the match, associate head coach Dave Sarachan -- and Gonzalez himself -- described the substitution as precautionary. Gonzalez will now have less than 10 days to get fit for the Galaxy's match against the Montreal Impact on Oct. 16.
Puebla defender Michael Orozco replaces Gonzalez in U.S. camp as they prepare for World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica on Oct. 11 in Kansas City, Kan. and Panama on Oct. 15.
Expect Gonzalez to be fit in time for Montreal? Upset that he's not with the U.S. this week?
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