Keane gets Galaxy 2-0 win over Quakes in debut


Keane gets Galaxy 2-0 win over Quakes in debut

Many times this season, the Earthquakes have shot themselves in the foot. On Saturday night against the Los Angeles Galaxy, though, they were undone not by any particular mistakes of their own, but by the fact that the Galaxys star-studded lineup simply had too much quality. It was an unfortunate result. We did a lot of right things tonight, Earthquakes defender Jason Hernandez said. I think the story of the game is you see the quality of players they have. The Galaxy featured a strong lineup, featuring not only known quantities in the shape of David Beckham and Landon Donovan, but also new addition Robbie Keane, all three on Designated Player contracts. The Republic of Ireland international threatened from the start, and it didnt take long for him to get onto the scoresheet. After seeing two breakaway chances stopped short for offside, the 31-year-old Keane burst through the Earthquakes defense in 21st minute after collecting a looping pass from Beckham and taking the ball past Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, leaving him with an easy finish. They are three quality players, said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop, on facing the Galaxys trio of stars. Any time you have three players of that caliber on the field at the same time you are going to be a pretty dynamic team. The Earthquakes did have their own chances to get something out of the game, especially with the score at 1-0 until the 90th minute, when Mike Magee finished off a well-worked Galaxy move to put the game beyond doubt. Due to various injuries and suspensions, Yallop was forced to field a lineup with Rafael Baca, naturally a winger, and Ramiro Corrales, naturally a left back, in the center of midfield. Khari Stephenson, normally a midfielder, partnered Chris Wondolowski up front and had the first good chance of the game early on saved by LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders. From then on, though, the Earthquakes lacked consistency and chemistry in the midfield for most of the first half, allowing Beckham and Donovan to pull the strings with relative ease, the period during which Keane netted the opener. After the goal, though, the Galaxy took their foot off the gas, allowing Baca and Corrales some room to work. In fact, the Earthquakes ended up edging the game statistically, putting six shots on target compared to the Galaxys two. However, none of the shots provided Saunders with a serious challenge, highlighting the Earthquakes continued toothlessness in front of goal throughout the summer months. Its a tale of finishing chances. They finished theirs and we had some good chances, but unfortunately we didnt finish ours, Busch said. I thought we played well again tonight, but in the end we didnt get anything out of it. That aspect is frustrating because it has been that way a lot this season where we have done the right things and havent gotten a just result. The loss sent the Earthquakes to their 12th straight winless game, prolonging a franchise record.. During the streak, though, the team has scored in just four of its games, with eight teams posting shutouts against them. Bearing that in mind, with just nine games remaining in the season, the Earthquakes will be looking for some improvement from their offense. New signing Edmundo Zura could be the help the team is looking for, and he made his debut in the 71st minute after joining the team in Los Angeles and passing his medical after a whirlwind week. While Zura wasnt able to make an immediate impact, it could be his presence in the lineup that the Quakes will look for to avoid a repeat of Saturdays defeat.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.

What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras


What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras

The United States Men's National Team faces a critical match against Honduras. 

With an 0-2 record, and currently in last place, the USMNT is on the brink of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Motivation across the sports world is pouring in for the Red, White and Blue.