White Sox

Galaxy down Fire without Beckham, Donovan

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Galaxy down Fire without Beckham, Donovan

Sunday, April 17, 2011Posted: 5:10 p.m. Updated: 6:38 p.m.

By Dieter Kurtenbach
CSNChicago.com

No David Beckham? No Landon Donovan? That was no problem for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Goals from Chad Barrett and Omar Gonzales lifted the injury-riddled Galaxy to a 2-1 win over the snakebitten Chicago Fire Sunday at Toyota Park, handing the Fire their third consecutive loss.

The Fire had two first-half chances to take advantage of the Galaxys second-string lineup, but breakaway opportunities from Gaston Puerari and Gonzalo Segares were both shot wide of the goal.

Its soccer this is football, Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said afterward. We are living a similar situation in different games. We are creating good options to score, and we didnt...this is soccer.

With the Galaxy locking down on the sidelines, the Fire attempted to play longball up the middle of the pitch. Relentless energy from Puerari and striking partner Diego Chaves resulted in a multitude of won balls, but lack of attacking support prevented other chances from developing.

The frustration from Fire winger Marco Pappa, who seemed to be taking on two or three Galaxy defenders at all times, was taken out on those same LA markers. Pappa was charged with two fouls in the game, all in the Fire attacking zone, and as the game progressed, the Fire midfielders body language became more and more anguished.

The missed opportunities came back to burn Chicago. In the 42nd minute, former Fire striker Chad Barrett found himself unmarked six yards from goal. The Fire defense was running an offside trap, moving forward on the play, but seemingly no one told Jalil Anibaba. The rookie defender maintained his position, allowing an unmarked Barrett to stay onside as a pass from Miguel Lopez found him.

Catching up with Chad Barrett

Barrett, who scored 17 goals in his three-year Fire career, had no problem finishing this go around. The score was Barretts first of the season and first with the Galaxy.

It felt real good, Barrett said. Not so much against one of my old clubs, it just felt good to score for my team, to help them get the win, and you know, get my first goal for the Galaxy.

Despite strong defensive play from the Galaxy, the Fire continued to create quick-strike opportunities. In the 65th minute, a corner kick from Los Angeles required a bicycle-kick clear from Segares. The clear sprung Chaves on the counter attack, but a collapsing Galaxy defense forced an early shot that went wide.

Seconds after Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos used his final substitution of the game, running a forward switch by replacing Puerari with Orr Barouch, Fire defender Cory Gibbs had to be helped off the field with a thigh injury. The Galaxy forced a corner kick on the next possession. The Fire, a man down, were unable to mark up a full Galaxy attack, and Gonzales, the six-foot-four defender, put home clean header to take advantage. The goal was the first of the season for Gonzalez, the 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year.

Gibbs did not return to the game and his injury will be re-evaluated Monday.

Even with Gibbs out, the Fire committed more players to the attack, looking to make a game of it late, but a 10-man squad had a hard time breaking the Galaxy defense. Pappa, who had a late, hope-giving goal Thursday night in Portland, had two shot attempts in the final 10 minutes, both sailing wide of goal and both earning dramatic reactions from the Guatemalan playmaker.

But life was restored to the Fire in the 89th minute, when Dominic Oduro freed himself form his marker and blasted a shot from a tight angle past Galaxy goaltender Donovan Ricketts.

A minute later, a corner kick pulled Fire goaltender Jon Conway out of his net and into the Galaxy box. The tactic did not pay off, as the Galaxy cleared, but were unable to muster a shot on the vacant Fire net.

The Fire had chances for two more corner kicks in stoppage time, and despite Conway playing up on each stoppage, neither play found the equalizing goal.

Still, de los Cobos was enthused by his teams resolve after going down a man.

I like the personality of the team to try to return to the game, de los Cobos said. The team dont surrender. The players fight, and even with a less player, the team created some options. We were very close to a tie...I dont have nothing to complain to my players, because they are putting 100 percent on the field. I have the responsibility, all the responsibility of the team, of what is happening on the field.

Even with ten players, we take out the savage side of us, Chaves said. We just wanted so bad to tie the game...That pressure, even with ten men was I know that they felt it.

Conway, who started his first game of the year, spelling Sean Johnson, made one save in the game. After the game, de los Cobos said that he will continue to start Conway. Johnson surrendered four goals against Portland in the Fires 4-2 loss on Thursday.

Sean is not living a good moment, de los Cobos said. Before the start of the season, we think of this possible situation... for that reason we brought in Jon Conway. Conway is still playing. I dont know how long, how many games more... but for now, Jonny looks to play in the next game.

The Fires next chance to get of the schnide will be Saturday night, when they host the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we'll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time.