And Then There Were Two: Dynamo and Galaxy to Meet in M.L.S. Cup
By ANDREW DAS
Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
Danny Cruz and the Houston Dynamo defeated Sporting Kansas in the Eastern Conference final.
Major League Soccer’s regular-season champion, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and the two-time M.L.S. champion Houston Dynamo advanced to the league championship game by winning conference championship games on Sunday.
The Galaxy defeated Real Salt Lake, 3-1, in the Western Conference final a few hours after Houston defeated Sporting Kansas City, 2-0, to win the Eastern Conference title. Los Angeles will host the M.L.S. Cup on Nov. 20 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., where it has yet to lose a game this season.
Here’s some reaction after Sunday’s games:
Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena: “The regular season doesn’t mean anything, and we want to be the best team in this four- or five-game tournament. And we have that opportunity.”
Landon Donovan, on the Galaxy’s winning three games in eight days — two against the Red Bulls and a third against R.S.L. — by a combined score of 7-2: “The three games we played this week were as difficult as games as we’ve played all year.”
Galaxy midfielder David Beckham, on returning to the title game after losing it on penalties in 2009: “We’re happy to be winning the Western final, but we know that there is one more game to go so we’re not getting carried away. We did that a couple of years ago, and we paid for it. We didn’t win the M.L.S. Cup final, so hopefully this will be something that we’re happy to win [on Sunday]. But we know that we’ve got one more game.”
Real Salt Lake forward Fabian Espindola, who hit the crossbar two minutes after the Galaxy had taken a 2-1 lead: “They had a great night. It was even in the first half. They had their chances. They scored. We did not. Good for them.”
R.S.L. midfielder Kyle Beckerman: “It just wasn’t our night.”
Houston Coach Dominic Kinnear, whose team went unbeaten in its final six games just to qualify for the postseason: “Three months ago, I don’t think a lot of people thought we would be here at the end or close to it.”
Sporting K.C. Coach Peter Vermes: “We did everything to get ourselves in this position. But maybe (we’re) just a little bit too young still with the group that we have.”
Dynamo wing Danny Cruz, on winning after his star teammate Brad Davis was lost to an injury before halftime: “To watch your M.V.P. go down and someone who has been so intricate to this team, I was sad for him. This was an amazing moment, and he’s a big part of the reason we’re here. I was sad for him, but at the same time it gave us a little bit of a bite and we wanted to do it for him.” Davis later told reporters that he had a torn quad and was most likely “done” for the playoffs.
Corner kick: Landon Donovan is off to play for the United States national team, and Robbie Keane is headed to Europe to play for Ireland’s in a Euro 2012 playoff during the coming international break. (Maybe it’s a good thing for Arena that Omar Gonzalez wasn’t called up by Jurgen Klinsmann?) Houston has no similar commitments in the buildup to the final. Will that be an advantage, or are the Galaxy just too tough, especially at home?. Under-20 MNT Posts 3-0 Win Over Jamaica at 2009 U-20 CONCACAF Championship
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team posted a 3-0 victory against Jamaica in the opening game of the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, earning three points and the top place in Group A.
March 6, 2009 BACOLET, Tobago (March 6, 2009) –
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Jamaica 3-0 behind goals from Peri Marosevic, Dilly Duka and Billy Schuler to kick off the final round of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago. Marosevic scored what would prove to be the game-winner in just the sixth minute. Duka, doubled the U.S. lead in the 79th minute and Schuler rounded out the scoring in the 84th minute, just five minutes after entering the game as a substitute. Next up for the U.S. is a key game against Honduras on Sunday, March 8 at 6 p.m. ET, which fans can follow live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. With Honduras and El Salvador playing to a 2-2 draw in the first game of the night, the U.S. currently sits on top of Group A with three points and can clinch a berth to the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt by virtue of securing one of the top two places in Group A. “The first game of a tournament is always a tough one as we’ve essentially been working for a whole year to get here,” said U.S. head coach Thomas Rongen. “We are obviously extremely pleased with our result but we know we have to get better when we face two good opponents in Honduras and El Salvador.” The game started at a fast pace with the U.S. making the most of their first dangerous attack. Duka, who was playing in his first-ever international game, dribbled past a pair of defenders in the box and sent the ball across the goal mouth for Danny Cruz. Cruz headed the ball down for Marosevic, who hit a side volley from close range that gave Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake no chance. The goal came seconds after a chance on the other end that forced U.S. goalkeeper Brian Perk into his first save of the game. Dever Orgill, who gave the American defense trouble all evening, ran onto a long ball and carried it forward. With the U.S. defense closing in, he took a shot from just inside the 18 that Perk did well to prevent from going inside the near post. Both teams exchanged possession throughout the remainder of the first half, but the U.S. defense, led by team captain Kyle Davies, prevented Jamaica from creating many dangerous chances. The U.S. attack had several chances in the half to add to its lead but could not find the back of the net. The U.S. continued to press for chances in the second half as the game became more physical. Jamaica finished the game with 15 fouls to just six from the U.S. As the game wore on, the Americans gave Jamaica little chance to level the score. In the 52nd minute, Marosevic ran onto a long ball and chipped it up and over Blake, who was off his line. However, his shot was not strong enough to get the ball over the goal line as a Jamaican defender was able to clear it away just in time. Minutes later, Jared Jeffrey, who was very involved from his role in central midfield, finished a give and go in the attacking end with a shot that looked destined for the far post, but ended up just wide. Cruz, whose tireless efforts down the right wing earned him ussoccer.com Man of the Match honors, set up the USA’s second goal for Duka in the 78th minute. He battled down the sideline and slotted a perfectly placed ball into the penalty area. Marosevic ran over the ball, leaving Duka with a tap in and the New Jersey native finished off the play that doubled the U.S. lead. A minute later, Rongen brought on 18-year-old Billy Schuler and his substitute paid immediate dividends. Gale Agbossoumonde flicked on a Duka corner right to Schuler, who was waiting at the far post. Schuler knocked the ball to round out the scoring on the night and help give the U.S. a major advantage in Group A. The U.S. is looking to qualify for their record seventh-straight FIFA Under-20 World Cup. In 2005 and 2007, when CONCACAF qualifying was held as two groups at two separate venues, the U.S. has won their group. In the previous three editions in 1999, 2001 and 2003, the U.S. qualified for the World Cup as the second-place finisher in their respective group. With 11 FIFA U-20 World Cup appearances, the U.S. has qualified more than any other CONCACAF nation, but has never won the regional crown. The U.S. will, however, be vying to qualify for its record seventh-straight FIFA U-20 event after winning its group in both 2007 and 2005. U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT Match: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica Date: March 6, 2009 Competition: 2009 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Venue: Dwight Yorke Stadium; Bacolet, Tobago Kickoff: 7 p.m. local (6 p.m. ET) Attendance: 556 Weather: 75 degrees, humid Scoring Summary: 1 2 F USA 1 2 3 JAM 0 0 0 USA – Peri Marosevic (Danny Cruz) 6th minute USA – Dilly Duka (Danny Cruz) 79 USA – Billy Schuler (Gale Agbossoumonde) 84