It doesn't get any bigger than this.
The United States will take on Mexico on Tuesday in an important World Cup qualifier that will help determine whether or not the two countries can qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With a victory over Mexico and a Honduras win or draw against Panama will put the U.S. through to Brazil. Meanwhile, Mexico is reeling as El Tri fell 3-2 to Honduras last week -- leading to the dismissial of head coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" De La Torre -- and currently sit in fourth place in World Cup qualifying just a point ahead of fifth place Panama.
In a Q&A looking back on the first U.S. vs. Mexico match in Columbus, MLSsoccer.com's Jeff Bradley talks with one of my favorite people Clint "Cleetus" Mathis.
Ahead of Tuesday's match, U.S. Soccer has provided a video preview with thoughts from several players including Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez.
Check it out below...
In a fascinating video for MLSsoccer.com, LA Galaxy forward Jose Villarreal and FC Dallas goalkeeper Richard Sanchez discuss their identity and the rationale behind their selection to play for the United States and Mexico.
This type of struggle is fairly common among Latinos in the United States, not simply those that have the skills to play soccer. What I find fascinating about the stories of Villarreal and Sanchez is not only are they key prospects for the respective nations, but they both hail from the Southern California area and had the option to play for either the U.S. or Mexico. Although many fume when a player chooses one nationality over another, it's important to remember that these decisions stem far deeper than the soccer field, but also one's personal identity.
Expect many more situations like these in the future, but remember that it isn't purely just a Mexican-American struggle, but one that exists for all players of dual nationalities like Salvadorian-American Oscar Sorto or Scottish-American Jack McBean.
Check out the video below...
CARSON, Calif. – Chandler Hoffman bagged his sixth goal in the MLS Reserve League during the LA Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday.
Hoffman was dangerous from the outset as he nearly put the Galaxy reserves on the board early on, but his effort sailed over the bar. However, the 23-year-old would play a role in both of LA’s goals as he set up Charlie Rugg’s finish in the 22nd minute and then found the back of the net himself in the 33rd minute.
“He makes intelligent runs and he can finish,” said Galaxy assistant and reserve league head coach Curt Onalfo. “If you can talk to him, I think that he’d say that he’d like to have another one because he had a clear chance, but he’s done well.”
As Hoffman looks to muscle himself into the picture for a spot on a Galaxy roster spot—something that would likely come in LA’s CONCACAF Champions League campaign—the young striker is brimming with confidence.
“It’s good. I got the assist on the first goal and then I got the second,” said Hoffman. “Obviously, I would have liked to have scored the chance that I had the beginning of the game, but it’s something that I have to keep building on and keep creating chances and being dangerous.”
CARSON, Calif. –LA Galaxy assistant and reserve league head coach Curt Onalfo’s thoughts following the club’s 2-2 draw to the Colorado Rapids reserves.
Check it out below…
(On the result…)
ONALFO: “Feels like a loss, but we knew going into the game that we had a depleted team with a lot of young players on the field, having said that, we gave two goals away today. We had two good chances and conceded on a goal that was a gift to them and our response was excellent as we scored two goals. In the second half, they picked up the pressure. They’re a really good team, they have a high amount of experience on that team and it’s always a challenge. There was a 20 minute stretch where they had a majority of the game, but we weathered the storm and we all had to do was close out the last minute, but a poor clearance led to another gift for them. It was unfortunate that we didn’t walk away with three points, but we’re still positioned—depending on other results—to go into the last game with a chance to win the reserve league, which is part of it. There’s a lot of goals, you bring back players from injury and there was a lot of young players getting minutes and then saying all that, you want to instill a championship mentality. If we can battle through all those things and still position ourselves to win the league then it’s a positive. That’s our goal now as we approach the game against Chivas.”
(On the performance of Brian Perk…)
ONALFO: “He was excellent. He had an excellent presence in goal; there were no two ways about it. His presence in goal was very, very good. His kicking game was good, his organization was good. It was an all-around good performance. You can see that, it’s difficult when you have concussion issues, but he’s looked good in training and it was good for him to have a good performance.”
(On Chandler Hoffman’s performance…)
ONALFO: “He makes intelligent runs and he can finish. If you can talk to him, I think that he’d say that he’d like to have another one because he had a clear chance, but he’s done well.”
(On his thoughts on the young players…)
ONALFO: “I thought Mendiola was menacing for a good 60 minutes. He fatigued a little bit, but he impressed me. He made a lot of things happen and you can see his quality in the final third. Jaimeson came in and grew with each minute. I think Malcolm Jones did a solid job as well and Quezada also did well. Credit to the young guys in our academy to step up and do well in a professional game.”
(On Mendiola’s defense…)
ONALFO: “He’s turning into a complete player and it’s good to see.”
CARSON, Calif. – A late goal by Colorado Rapids reserve forward Danny Mwanga gave the LA Galaxy reserves a 2-2 draw on Sunday at StubHub Center.
Chandler Hoffman and Charlie Rugg scored for LA while Colorado found the back of the net through an Oscar Sorto own goal and Mwanga’s last strike. The match marked the return for Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk, who suffered a concussion in LA’s 1-0 reserve victory over the Portland Timbers on July 14. In his first appearance since the injury, Perk made four saves in a confident showing.
The Galaxy reserves return to action on Oct. 7 against Chivas USA.
As part of an initiative to support soccer in the Southern California, the LA Galaxy has partnered with local youth club South Bay Force, who will now become LA Galaxy South Bay.
The LA Galaxy Academy will share coaching curriculum and training methods with the Galaxy South Bay program, which will be led by Technical Director Greg Vanney. In addition to the club’s boys programs, the new “LA Galaxy Girls” will also receive the same type of training and coaching as their male counterparts.
As part of the partnership, the LA Galaxy Foundation donated $10,000 to LA Galaxy South Bay at half time of LA's 1-0 defeat with the Colorado Rapids at StubHub Center on Saturday. The scholarship will be used for a scholarship program for players that would otherwise be limited financially.
CARSON, Calif. -- Ex-LA Galaxy stiker Edson Buddle found the back of the net against his former club on Saturday as he led the Colorado Rapids to a 1-0 victory at StubHub Center
The former Galaxy forward found the back of the net in the 75th minute when he launched a pass from Vicente Sanchez past Brian Rowe for the game's only goal. Buddle has struggled with injuries and a lack of playing time this season since being dealt to the Rapids in the offseason, but the ex-LA man was pleased with his goal against the Galaxy.
“For me, I’m a striker. I like to give the team a goal and then get going. This year there’s been a lot of ups-and-downs so to get myself going feels great," said Buddle, who tallied an assist in the last meeting between the two clubs back in July. "For the team, it was big. We needed these three points because the standings are really tight and to do it on the road, in this place, is not easy so we just have to build on this and keep going.”
Although he tallied against LA, Buddle admits that he is still fond of his time that he spent with the Galaxy.
“Not only do I like playing here, I like coming here in general. It’s a great city," said Buddle. "Before I got here, I always liked playing here so to play here and comeback it’s still the same feeling.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena's thoughts on LA's 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids...
(On his thoughts on the match...)
ARENA: “We just didn’t play well tonight, not well enough to win anyway. Give them credit they got an opportunistic goal and a great finish by Edson.”
(On how Villarreal and McBean performed…)
ARENA: “An okay performance, certainly not dangerous enough tonight. Between them, probably not enough chances.”
(On Kofi Opare’s performance…)
ARENA: “Kofi played very well, I thought Brian Rowe played well, the new players we brought into the lineup did very well.”
(On Marcelo Sarvas’ performance…)
ARENA: “Marcelo played well, had a couple chances as well, he’s played well all year. Marcelo played well tonight.”
(On whether MLS should cancel games during international windows…)
ARENA: “Well it’s ridiculous we have to play these games in these windows. We have such a congested schedule, I don’t think we’ve played Colorado yet this year with our team, which is ridiculous. You know, you’re in playoff races and I think every time, I don’t know if every time is a fixture window but for whatever reason we’ve not played them yet with our full team.”
(On the status of Carlo Cudicini…)
ARENA: “It was my decision not to play him tonight.”
(On what the loss does to LA’s confidence and whether it was a throwaway game…)
ARENA: “It’s not a throw-away game even though the way we schedule in the league we do make games very peculiar, difficult, but it’s certainly not a throw-away game. We played this game certainly to win tonight.”
WCQ Round-up: Donovan and Gonzalez's U.S. falls 3-1 to Costa Rica while Penedo and Panama play to scoreless draw with Jamaica
Three LA Galaxy players got the start for their respective nations in World Cup qualifying on Friday and none were able to come away with the victory.
Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez both got the start for the U.S. who went down in the opening minutes to Costa Rica and were unable to recover as the Americans fell 3-1 to Los Ticos. Clint Dempsey got the only goal for the U.S on a penalty kick as Johnny Acosta, Celso Borges and Joel Campbell scored for the Costa Ricans.
The U.S. will take on a desperate Mexico side on Sept. 10 in Columbus without the services of Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron due suspension. That isn't the only loss as they may be without the services of vital midfielder Michael Bradley who was a late scratch due to an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, Jaime Penedo's Panama played Jamaica to a scoreless draw in Panama City. They'll take on Honduras in Tegucigalpa on Sept. 10
Robbie Keane’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup were dealt a major blow on Friday as Ireland fell 2-1 to Sweden despite the LA Galaxy captain scoring his 60th international goal.
Keane put Ireland up 1-0 after 22nd minutes after the Irish captain was able to make an industrious run toward goal that ended with a calm finish from close range. However, the lead did not last long as 11 minutes later, Johan Elmander equalized off a header. In the 57th minute, the Swedes pulled ahead for good when A Zlatan Ibrahimović pass found Anders Svensson, who fired a shot past Irish goalkeeper David Forde.
Ireland now sits in fourth place in UEFA’s Group C with 11 points tied with third place Austria, who are head on goal difference. Sweden is in sole possession of second place with 14 points while Germany is head and shoulders above the rest with 19 points.
For the Irish to have any hope of qualifying for Brazil, a win is mandatory in their next qualifier against Austria on Sept. 10. Anything less than three points and the Irish may be in dire straits with matches on the road against Germany and at home to Kazakhstan looming in October.