Corrales, 'Quakes dominate Chivas USA


Corrales, 'Quakes dominate Chivas USA

A pair of free kick goals from Ramiro Corrales paced the SanJose Earthquakes to a convincing 4-0 win over visiting Chivas USA at a soldout Buck Shaw Stadium. Victor Bernardez and Simon Dawkins also scored for theEarthquakes in the victory that extended their home unbeaten streak to 15games.It was a good night for defenders, said head coach FrankYallop after the match. The goal scoring was a bonus, but the clean sheet iswhat I am more happy about.Even without a goal from Chris Wondolowski, who almostnetted in the first half when his header glanced off the crossbar, theEarthquakes romped over their Southern Californiaopponent in fine fashion. The three goals directly from free kicks, all fromEarthquakes defenders, were the teams first in 2012. The club also set a newfranchise record for goals in a season as they pushed their total to 56. Theprevious season best was 55 goals in the 1997 season.The stats say it all, said Yallop. We are scoring a tonof goals from everywhere. If you had asked me that before the start of theseason, I would have said I am not sure we could do that.Corrales, the Earthquakes team captain and MLS original, hadan especially memorable night. Twice in the second half he lined up over freekicks in Chivas USAterritory and twice he sent the ball into the back of the net.It was the great team performance and I am happy I scoredtwo goals to contribute, said Corrales. I cant remember the last time Iscored two goals in a match. I couldnt be more proud to captain this team.Goalkeeper Jon Busch made a series of spectacular saves inthe first half to preserve an early 1-0 Earthquakes lead, and he remainedstrong through the second half to earn his sixth shutout of the season.Thats my job, said Busch. Some days you are called onmore than others and tonight I was glad I could help the team. It was nice toget the clean sheet.The Earthquakes extended their lead atop the MLS WesternConference over Real Salt Lakeand they separated themselves from Sporting Kansas City in the race for theSupporters Shield. However, with seven games remaining on the regular seasonschedule Busch knows the team still has work left to do.Especially at this time of year, other teams are startingto come on, said Busch, and we have to keep picking up three points everytime we play. Thats our focus right now, winning games. We know we are playingwell, but we have a long way to go.San Jose has a week off beforereturning to action on Saturday, September 15, away to the same opponent ChivasUSA.Sunday night at Buck Shaw Stadium, the Earthquakes made onechange in a line-up that beat the Colorado Rapids 4-1 a week earlier, with ironman Justin Morrow getting the night off in favor of center back Bernardez. Themove paid dividends almost immediately, as the Honduran opened the scoring onthe nght.Following a hard foul on Sam Cronin in the 11thminute by Chivas USAdesignated player Oswaldo Minda, Bernardez lined up a free kick from 30 yardsout. His shot stayed low and curled around the defensive wall and into net forthe opening score. For Bernardez, who will join up with the Honduran nationalteam ahead of a pair of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers on Monday, the goal washis second of the season for San Jose.Earthquakes goalkeeper Busch was soon called into action ona couple of Chivas breakaways. In the 14th minute following a poorback pass from Ramiro Corrales, forward Juan Agudelo pounced on the loose balland carried it toward the San Josegoal. Making himself big at the top of the area, Busch sacrificed his body tosave Agudelos blast and keep his team up a goal.Twenty minutes later, it was Busch again stopping Agudelo,as a turnover in midfield led to another Chivas counterattack. BeatingBernardez to a through ball, Agudelo got a shot off before Busch could convergeon the play, but the keeper deftly deflected the 19-year old strikers shotattempt away.The Earthquakes doubled their lead in the 39thminute after a good hustle play from Alan Gordon forced a turnover in theChivas half. After tracking down a weak goalkick, Gordon passed the ball off toMarvin Chavez. The speedy winger dribbled the ball toward the area beforecutting the ball back to Wondolowski. The MLS leading scoring elected to threada pass to Dawkins inside the 18, and the English midfielder slotted home thegoal, his seventh of the season.A confrontation between Gordon and Minda in the waningminutes of the first half led to both being awarded yellow cards. Rafael Bacahad earlier been shown yellow for a delay of game infraction.San Josekept their foot on the gas in the second half and scored their third goal ofthe evening in the 72nd minute. After having had a goal called offminutes earlier, the Earthquakes continued their high pressure on Chivas andearned a free kick 25 yards from goal. Team captain Corrales sent a shotbetween two members of the defensive wall and just inside the near post toextend San Joseslead to 3-0.In the 81st minute, on another free kickopportunity deep in the Chivas USA half, Corrales again found the back of thenet for San Jose.With the defense still setting up a wall, Corrales took a quick restart andcaught goalkeeper Dan Kennedy sleeping. The shot bounced just beyond his reachand into the net for the 4-0 Earthquakes lead. The two free kick goals byCorrales were his first two goals of the 2012 season.With the game safely in hand, all that was left for theEarthquakes was to run out the clock on the 4-0 victory. The win restored San Jose to the top ofthe Supporters Shield standings and extended their lead in the MLS WesternConference to 7 points over second place RSL.

Shocker: US Men's National Team eliminated from World Cup contention


Shocker: US Men's National Team eliminated from World Cup contention

COUVA, Trinidad — Twenty-eight years after one of the United States' most important victories came in stunning fashion at Trinidad to end a four-decade World Cup absence, the Americans' chances for the 2018 tournament in Russia ended on this island nation off the coast of Venezuela.

The U.S. was eliminated from World Cup contention Tuesday night, a shocking 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago ending a run of seven straight American appearances at soccer's showcase.

The Soca Warriors scored a pair of first-half goals, getting one off U.S. defender Omar Gonzalez, and the United States made too many other mistakes to recover. The Americans are out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

"We let down an entire nation today," Gonzalez said.

Shocked American players slumped on the bench, and Matt Besler sat on the field after the final whistle as Panama's game ended and then Costa Rica's. At the end, dejected U.S. players filed into their locker rooms with blank looks.

"We foolishly brought Trinidad into the game with the own goal," coach Bruce Arena said. "That was a big goal for Trinidad psychologically. That got them motivated."

The U.S. entered its final qualifier with a berth uncertain for the first time since 1989. Home losses to Mexico last November and Costa Rica left the Americans little margin for error.

The 28th-ranked Americans needed merely a tie against 99th-ranked Trinidad, which lost its sixth straight qualifier last week. But the defeat — coupled with Honduras' come-from-behind 3-2 win over Mexico and Panama's 2-1 victory over Costa Rica on Ramon Torres' 88th-minute goal — dropped the Americans from third place into fifth in the six-nation final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

Mexico and Costa Rica already had clinched berths, and Panama claimed the third and final automatic spot and will go the World Cup for the first time. Honduras will meet Australia in a two-game playoff next month for another spot at next year's 32-nation tournament.

Missing the World Cup is a devastating blow to the U.S. Soccer Federation, which has steadily built the sport in the last quarter-century with the help of sponsors and television partners. It also is a trauma for Fox, which broadcasts the next three World Cups after taking the U.S. rights from ESPN. The USSF hopes to co-host the 2026 tournament with Mexico and Canada, and Morocco is the only other bidder.

After an 0-2 start in the hexagonal last fall under Jurgen Klinsmann, the USSF replaced him last November with Arena, the American coach from 1998-2006. The team revived with home wins over Honduras and Trinidad last spring and draws at Panama and Mexico. But the 2-0 defeat to Costa Rica in New Jersey at the start of Labor Day weekend proved one hurdle too many to overcome.

The Americans fell behind in the 17th minute when Gonzalez made a casual attempt with his left foot to clear Alvin Jones' cross and sent the ball looping over the outstretched right arm of goalkeeper Tim Howard from 18 yards.

Jones doubled the lead in the 37th with a 35-yard strike, again to Howard's upper right corner, and nearly scored another in the 44th when his swerving shot bounced off Howard's chest and spilled into the penalty area.

Christian Pulisic, the Americans' 19-year-old star midfielder, scored in the 47th minute from the arc with a right-footed shot. He played a role in 12 of the 17 American goals in the hexagonal.

One minute later, Howard made a kick save on Shahdon Winchester's short-range shot, and DeAndre Yedlin blocked Levi Garcia's follow-up attempt.

The U.S. bench was tense, as Honduras scored twice early in the second half to take the lead over visiting Mexico in the 60th minute and Panama tied the score against visiting Costa Rica in the 52nd.

Clint Dempsey, who entered at the start of the second half, was denied by goalkeeper Adrian Foncette's leaping save in the 69th and hit a post from 22 yards in the 77th. Pulisic's shot in the 87th was saved by Foncette.

All American reserves were standing for much of the final minutes, and Arena had repeated exasperated looks.

"No excuses for us not getting the second goal and at least a point," Arena said. "It's a blemish for us."

Just a few hundred fans were in the stands at 10,000-capacity Ato Boldon Stadium, located 24 miles south of the capital, Port-of-Spain. Paul Caligiuri's famous goal at the National Stadium in 1989 put the U.S. in the World Cup for the first time since 1950.

Among the spectators were a few dozen American Outlaws, the U.S. supporters group.

Water that had flooded the track surrounding the field ahead of the U.S. training session Monday was gone.

USMNT back on track with 4-0 pounding of Panama


USMNT back on track with 4-0 pounding of Panama

ORLANDO, Fla. — Teenage star Christian Pulisic scored with a brilliant touch to complete a field-length attack just eight minutes in, then split the defense with a pass that set up Jozy Altidore for the first of the forward's two goals and put the United States back on track for next year's World Cup with a 4-0 rout of Panama on Friday night.

Pulisic fed Altidore for a 2-0 lead in the 19th. Altidore converted a penalty kick with a chip in the 43rd after Bobby Wood was fouled, and Wood added a goal in the 63rd.

The U.S. ended a three-match winless streak in qualifying and with 12 points and moved two points ahead of Panama into third place — the last automatic berth — in the North and Central American and Caribbean region. Honduras has nine points going into its match Saturday at Costa Rica, which is second with 15.

Goal difference means the Americans put themselves in great shape to reach an eighth straight World Cup, almost certainly with a win Tuesday at Trinidad and Tobago and likely with a draw if Honduras fails to win Saturday. The U.S. is plus-five to minus-two for Panama and minus-seven for Honduras.

The region's fourth-place team advances to a playoff next month against Australia or Syria.

"We could have finished better on the day and scored more goals," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said.

Playing his first international match since he turned 19 last month, Pulisic was moved to central midfield from the flanks by coach Bruce Arena and sparked the attack from the opening whistle with pace and ball control seldom seen from Americans.

After Gabriel Gomez broke free from Omar Gonzalez and shot over the crossbar, Tim Howard's goal kick was headed forward by Bobby Wood about 10 yards past midfield.

Altidore one-timed the ball ahead to on a sprinting Pulisic, and the midfielder reached back with his left leg to flick the ball ahead. Pulisic jumped to avoid Roman Torres' challenge and used the outside of his right foot to play the ball forward. As goalkeeper Jaime Penedo came off his line, Pulisic used the outside of his right foot again to play the ball wide and jumped over Pinedo's outstretched arm. At the edge of the 6-yard box and just 2 yards from the endline, Pulisic reached with his right foot to slot the ball in, completing a 112-yard U.S. move. Pulisic tumbled over as the ball rolled in for his eighth goal in 19 international appearances, his fourth in the hex.

Pulisic created the second goal when he played the ball between his feet and faked Michael Murillo on the left flank Pulisic broke ahead and fed Altidore, who split the center backs and redirected the ball in from 5 yards for his first goal of the hexagonal. At that point, Pulisic had played a part in 11 of the Americans' 14 goals in the hex.

After Wood and Altidore failed to convert good chances, Wood drew the penalty kick when he exchanged passes with Paul Arriola along a flank, broke past Felipe Baloy, spurted diagonally into the penalty area and was pushed down by Armando Cooper. As Pinedo dived to his left, Altidore chipped the ball down the center for his 41st international game.

Hacked down several times by Panamanians, Pulisic was removed in the 57th minute and walked out to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 25,303 at Orlando City Stadium, which opened in February,

Wood added his 10th international goal off a pass from Arriola.

Panama was trying to move into position to qualify for its first World Cup. The Panamanians were 90 seconds from advancing to a playoff against New Zealand four years ago, when Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson scored late goals at Honduras, which dropped Panama behind Mexico and into fifth place.