Update: Post victory for the Galaxy, David Beckham decided not to give it a go for club and country, by removing himself from Fabio Capella’s side for this coming Sunday’s friendly with Brazil. It’s a good move by Beckham and a bigger one than you might surmise as Beckham wants to obviously make the squad, some suggest that he needs to be putting in time at an overseas club and finally because it may threaten his go at the England cap record.
It’s the Herbalifes vs. Sunderland L.A. and I’ve got my bottle of Barbaroja Argentinian Red Ale and I’m ready to go.
TSG finally made it back to the MLS playoffs after watching the inaugural Sounder-Dynamo affair in Emerald City. Kevin, Antonio, start the discussion in the comments and please rip me apart for the “novi” comments.
A 1-0 grind-it-out win for Donovan and company that saw Los Angeles keep more possession in midfield and play more consistently in the back than Chivas. Does anyone actually call Chivas the Goats? Is that a real nickname?
Here are our observations, rudimentary as they might be, on a game where LA pushed the ball to Beckham to create opportunities and Chicago did not really string anything together more than a few sprinting counters toward the middle/end of the 1st half.
• Thank you, thank you ESPN Soccernet. Nothing interesting on the game in your pre-game columns and then I go to look at the start time of the match and you’re match card says 19:30 EST (7:30 EST). So I tune in and I’m subjected to a pre-game that not only did I not have time for, but that I really didn’t want to see. I walk away thinking the game now starts at 8pm EST–I come back at about 7:50 and it’s 9 minutes in. Disservice.
• Carey Talley, sir. You are a defender. You are a captain. You are from Tennesse, not South America. You don’t have long enough hair. And you probably don’t score.
Lose the manband!
You’re a captain for chrissakes. After the manband and the yellow card in the first half, I hoped for a better second half for you that allows you to sport that extra non-essential accessory. Not sure you earned it in your team’s finale.
• I’m sorry, I see Bruce Arena and I don’t think, “former USMNT coach” or “former Virgina coach.” I think “Ba-Ba-
• I think Jonathan Bornstein *is* going to make it there. “There” being a quality defender. He has the tools and I can see growth in his game. I’d like to see him play with more confidence and, most importantly, lose the silly “non-fundamentals” plays. Bornstein went to his dominant foot to make a clearance midway through the first half and cleared the ball right into Edson Buddle’s arm (could have been his Buddle’s head and could have been a goal). Great play (and speed) getting back to disrupt the play for Bornstein–but a horrendous decision. C’mon Johnny, be good.
• Sacha Kljestan is just an unbelievably inconsistent player. Laid into a 30-yarder and nearly scored in the first half, but also had worse than a Clint-
Dempsey-against-El-Salavador giveaway in his own end that led to a good chance for the Galaxy. I expect more from Kljestan. You haven’t “arrived.” So you don’t get to yell at officials and you don’t get to be nonchalant on the field. We need some visionary midfield play on the USMNT, but you’ve got to improve.
And once again, Taylor Twellman agrees with TSG; this time on SK.
• Speaking of Kljestan, Preki had him out wide to start both halves. I’m not sure if he was trying to force Arena and LA to chance tactics when he brings him later in the half, but the Serbian-American is clearly a central midfielder, not a winger. The ploy didn’t work and also robbed Chivas of midfield linking.
• It is easy to see how Beckham’s upbringing and quality create opportunities for Los Angeles. Simple, effective, visionary passes. The ball obviously to Donovan before the penalty was a “maybe four players in the world can see and do that” ball. I love how Beckham uses the threat of his longball to create spacing. I wish I was a young player and could learn from him.
• I saw Omar Gonazlez’s potential, but I saw a lot more of his youth today. He’ll get there too.
• I expected more from Landon tonight. He’s categorically a threat, but don’t try to make the perfect pass or shot, just rip it. What did you see? Still an effective game for Captain America.
• Cuesta,who I criticized last week, is a yellow card waiting to happen for Chivas. The central defender needs to think a bit more before he acts. Reminds me of a Titus Bramble, minus some pounds. (Update: Learned that Cuesta committed the foul for the penalty kick. Be discreet lad!)
• Extremely surprised at the space through the middle of the field and the midfield. More surprised that neither team capitalized.
• Mike McGee taken off in the 86th minute, about 85 minutes too late. A few simple passes would have unlocked a lot more Landycakes tonight.
• John Harkes, please explain what you meant by this:
• 78th min. Harkes, “Beckham’s coming out. You’ve got think of the next game. He’s got 5 days to get ready and he’s got to play more this season. He’s got to remember that, not Brazil (England nattie friendly).”
• 85th min. Harkes, “Beckham must have been really hurt. I guarantee you he’s only thinking about this game. This is the one that matter.”
• “Loved” the fisticuffs at the end of the game. What the h*ll was Preki doing out there? I love when players mix it up after the game knowing full well that nothing is going to happen. Real tough.
• What I (actually) loved more was Donovan being the last one to leave the field and cheering on all the Galaxy fans. Class.
Thanks TSG readers for getting me into the MLS playoffs.