Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

USA: Donovan seals MLS Cup success for Galaxy (+video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on November 21, 2011
Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan's goal gave Los Angeles Galaxy their first MLS Cup win since 2005

Los Angeles Galaxy claimed the title of Major League Soccer champions for the third time in their history following Sunday’s 1-0 win over Houston Dynamo in the 2011 MLS Cup final. Although the game featured prominently in the headlines before kick-off due to it being David Beckham’s last game for the club, the headlines were reserved afterwards for a true American hero in Landon Donovan whose goal late in the game gave Galaxy the cup for the first time since 2005.

The game remained scoreless after 71 minutes before Republic of Ireland international Robbie Keane played through USA captain Donovan who guided the ball beyond the oncoming Houston keeper Tally Hall to give his side the crucial strike of the final. The 30,000 crowd were treated to one of the league’s better finals in recent years despite the lack of goals and a fitting ending in which the Galaxy proved their worth as the best team in MLS this season.

Their regular season record of 19 wins, 10 draws and 5 defeats saw them pip the Seattle Sounders to the Supporters’ Shield by four points. In the post-season the Galaxy won all four of their knockout games against New York Red Bulls (played over two legs), Real Salt Lake (Western Conference final) and Houston Dynamo to show that they had learnt the hard lessons of 2010 in which they lost out to FC Dallas in the Western Conference final.

Los Angeles Galaxy had already qualified for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League as a result of winning the Supporters’ Shield and they will be joined in that competition by losing finalists Dynamo, US Open Cup winners Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake, who finished third in the Supporters’ Shield behind the Sounders.



SuperLiga: New England and Morelia in 2010 final (+video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on August 6, 2010
Tigres UNAL

Mexican side Tigres UNAL lifted the SuperLiga title in 2009. Who will win it in 2010?

For anybody unfamiliar with the SuperLiga one could call it a mini version of a UEFA Europa League or a Copa Sudamericana. I say “mini version” because it is pretty much a best of the rest competition limited to teams from the United States and Mexico with the best four teams who have not qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League from each country allowed to participate in this tournament. Now in its fourth year the SuperLiga shows the Mexicans enjoying more success than the Americans with two titles to one so far, Tigres UNAL winning the title last year after defeating Chicago Fire in a penalty shoot-out after the game finished 1-1. In this year’s competition the group stages, divided into two groups of four teams, were completed in July with each team only having to play their group opponents once. The best four teams in the competition have played in the semi-finals this week and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog brings you the latest action:

New England Revolution, 2008 winners of this event, have qualified for their second final after beating Mexican side Puebla F.C. in a penalty shoot-out after their semi-final contest finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. The Revolution qualified for the semi-finals after finishing top of Group B with a 100% record over Morelia, Chicago Fire and UNAM Pumas and had the home draw against their Mexican opponents, who finished second behind Houston Dynamo in Group A. Kenny Mansally gave the Revs the lead after 56 minutes but the New England outfit were made to pay the price just two minutes later when Nicolás Olivera equalized for Puebla to restore parity so soon after going behind. With no further scoring in the ninety minutes the match went straight into a penalty shoot-out and each team were equal to each other until they took their fourth penalty with the Revs having the advantage once Edgar Lugo hit his kick straight at keeper Matt Reis. Kenny Mansally scored the winning penalty to take former Liverpool man Steve Nicol’s team into their second SuperLiga final.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION V PUEBLA F.C. HERE:

The second semi-final was played between Houston Dynamo, who finished top of group A with two wins and a draw from three games, and Morelia. The Mexicans went through courtesy of a goal just two minutes into the second half after Miguel Sabah coolly finished to give his side a 1-0 lead which they never relinquished. It sets up the third America v Mexico final in the tournament’s four year history with only the 2009 final being an all-American affair. The final takes place in late August and will be hosted at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the home of the New England Revolution.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF HOUSTON DYNAMO V MORELIA HERE:


MLS: 2010 Season Preview – part 1

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 23, 2010
Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS Cup final against LA Galaxy via a penalty shoot-out

The build-up to the 2010 Major League Soccer (MLS) season has been dominated about talk over the potential for player strikes but, thankfully, the powers-that-be and the Players’ Union got together to find some common ground and the big kick-off will take place as planned on Thursday, March 25th. The league’s newest club Philadelphia Union, whose inclusion this season increases the size of the MLS to sixteen teams, will play in the opening match against last season’s expansion team Seattle Sounders. Now in its 15th season the MLS has slowly but steadily grown into a quality sporting product which is able to nurture its own talent whilst embracing top foreign stars and the top clubs have been busy building their roster ahead of the new season. Can anybody take the MLS Cup away from last year’s champions Real Salt Lake? In a two-part preview to the new season “Stoppage Time – International Football blog” looks at the two conferences which make up the league, starting here with the Western Conference:

Real Salt Lake were very much the surprise champion in the 2009 MLS Cup. Having scraped through to the eighth and final spot in the play-offs by virtue of having a better goal difference than Colorado Rapids and D.C. United in the overall regular season table, Real fought their way past the 2008 MLS champions Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy in the play-offs to become overall MLS Cup champions for the first time in their short history. Last year’s beaten finalists Galaxy will have to overcome the setback of star player David Beckham’s Achilles rupture injury, obtained whilst on-loan at AC Milan, but will welcome back a rejuvenated Landon Donovan from his loan spell at English Premier League side Everton. The two-time MLS Cup champions will hope to build on their solid, if ultimately unsuccessful campaign last season, and go all the way this time.

Elsewhere in the west the MLS’s newest franchise Seattle Sounders were the resounding success of 2009 having achieved in their maiden season the record average attendance in MLS history (30,943). The club, who have stuck to the old name from the halcyon days of the North American Soccer League (NASL), finished a respectable third in the conference last season but were ultimately knocked out of the MLS Cup by Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference semi-finals but made up for this disappointment by winning the 2009 U.S. Open Cup (an American knock-out competition similar in style to traditional European cup competitions) defeating D.C. United 2-1 in the final. With experienced players such as Freddie Ljungberg and Kasey Keller the Sounders will hope, at the very least, to match last season’s efforts and qualify for the play-offs. Houston Dynamo, who won consecutive MLS Cups in the first two years of their existence (2006, 2007), will rely on top-scorer Brian Ching if they are to keep up their perfect 100% record of qualifying for the play-offs.

Another two-time MLS champion San Jose Earthquakes, who were triumphant in 2001 and 2003, have struggled in the last couple of years having finished 7th in the Western Conference in 2007 and 2008. Another club who have struggled in recent years is the Colorado Rapids who haven’t qualified for the MLS Cup play-offs since 2006 and who have yet to win the trophy in the 15 years since the MLS began. A founder member of the MLS, Colorado came close to the title in 1997 but lost out to D.C. United, and haven’t come as close to winning the trophy since. Another original MLS club FC Dallas, formerly known as the Dallas Burn, have a number of South and Central American players in their squad in order to compete for a first ever title as have Chivas USA, who share the same Home Depot stadium as LA Galaxy, and who have had relative success in the MLS since their inclusion into the league in 2004 having qualified for the play-offs in four out of five seasons but have yet to progress beyond the Conference semi-final stage.