Alan Gordon

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP

MLS: Techera’s hat trick; Gordon the hero (again) for Chicago

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Cristian Techera scored three second-half goals and the Vancouver Whitecaps overcame several defensive errors to tie the New England Revolution 3-3 on Saturday.

Techera completed the hat trick in the 74th minute off a pass from striker Yordy Reyna.

The Whitecaps (4-5-5) are winless in five games and have just one victory in their past nine matches (1-4-4). New England is 5-4-3.

Vancouver trailed 2-0 early in the second half.

Whitecaps defender Aly Ghazal had an own goal and made a poor pass that helped set up a goal by New England’s Teal Bunbury. Another Revolution goal came after defender Sean Franklin mishandled a ball.

Techera made it 2-1 in the 49th minute off a cross from Marcel de Jong. Russell Teibert set up Techera again two minutes later, with Techera scoring on a header after goalkeeper Matt Turner stopped the first shot.

Bunbury gave New England a 3-2 lead in the 59th minute after Ghazal’s weak pass was picked off.

Cristian Penilla also scored for New England.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Alan Gordon broke a tie in the 82nd minute and the Chicago Fire beat Orlando City 2-1 on Saturday night.

Gordon settled Bastian Schweinsteiger’s cross with a couple of touches at 25 yards from goal and fired a rocket into the upper right corner past goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s outstretched hand.

Chicago’s Mohammed Adams was sent off in the 89th minute for violent conduct, but the Fire (4-6-2) held on from there, including six minutes of stoppage time, to end a two-game losing streak.

Orlando City (6-5-1) has lost three straight after winning six in a row.

Aleksandar Katai gave Chicago the lead on a free kick in the 13th minute.

Cristian Higuita tied it for Orlando City in the 28th minute, slotting a right-footed shot inside the far post after getting sprung free by Chris Mueller’s short pass to the right side of the penalty area.

Patrick McLain had four saves for his first MLS win.

MLS announces inaugural class of free agents, re-entry draft candidates

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Who says there’s such a thing as the Major League Soccer “offseason?” And who says we were supposed to kick back and enjoy such a thing on Monday, barely 24 hours after the Portland Timbers hoisted the 2015 MLS Cup?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Not only have we already witnessed a flurry of early offseason trades today, but MLS also announced the inaugural class of free agents — players who are eligible to negotiate new contracts with any of the league’s 20 teams after meeting its brand new age-28 and eight-years-MLS-experienced requirements.

(All salary numbers taken from MLS Players Union salary release, found here.)

FULL LIST OF 2015-16 FREE AGENTS (by position, alphabetically)

Goalkeepers

Jon Busch — Chicago Fire
Troy Perkins — Montreal Impact
Kyle Reynish — New York Red Bulls
Andrew Weber — Portland Timbers

Defenders

Corey Ashe — Orlando City SC
Bobby Burling — Colorado Rapids
Ty Harden — Chicago Fire
Michael Harrington — Colorado Rapids
Steven Keel — FC Dallas
Jeff Larentowicz — Chicago Fire
Drew Moor — Colorado Rapids
James Riley — Colorado Rapids

Midfielders

Eric Avila — Orlando City SC
Brian Carroll — Philadelphia Union
Ricado Clark — Houston Dynamo
Ned Grabavoy — New York City FC
Nick LaBrocca — Colorado Rapids
Justin Mapp — Montreal Impact
Paulo Nagamura — Sporting Kansas City
Nathan Sturgis — Houston Dynamo

Forwards

Chad Barrett — Seattle Sounders
Edson Buddle — LA Galaxy
Conor Casey — Philadelphia Union
Kenny Cooper — Montreal Impact
Alan Gordon — LA Galaxy
Mike Magee — Chicago Fire

Of the above listed players, the following names (no particular order) seem most likely to garner the most interest on the open market: Mike Magee, Justin Mapp, Paulo Nagamura, Ned Grabavoy, Jeff Larentowicz and Drew Moor.

Magee, who won the MLS MVP award just two years ago, has fallen off spectacularly since that 2013 campaign in which he scored 22 goals in 29 games while splitting time between the Galaxy and Fire. In the two seasons since, he has scored just seven goals in 29 appearance for his hometown club. Given his $400,000 cap hit in 2015, he’ll have to take a pay-cut, but he will land somewhere.

Mapp might just be the gem of this inaugural class. Sure, he just turned 31 years old and he missed most of 2015 due to a long-term injury, but he’s only one year removed from back-to-back eight-assist seasons in Montreal. For the right price ($186,725 cap hit in 2015) and with the right team, he’ll be one of the best fringe-starter wingers in the league.

[ MORE: MLS offseason kicks off with flurry of big-time trades ]

Larentowicz, Magee’s now-former teammate in Chicago, is a more-than-serviceable starting center back, even at 32 years old, with the ability to seamlessly slot in at defensive midfield. He’ll be an intriguing option for teams looking to shore up either position with a craft veteran (hellooooo, D.C. United!), though he’ll likely have to do so at a slightly lower price than his $265,000 cap hit from 2015.

The other possible starter of the players mentioned above is Grabavoy, who ended up with NYCFC at the behest of Jason Kreis, who is no longer the team’s head coach. He’s approaching 300 games played in his MLS career and was a massive part of Real Salt Lake’s sustained successes from 2009-2014. As with Larentowicz, on the right team and the right system, Grabavoy will be a useful pick-up for something a little below his 2015 cap hit of $200,000.

Nagamura is wanted in Kansas City, where there are hopes he’ll take a reduced salary ($230,000 cap hit in 2015) to remain the first midfield option off the bench for Peter Vermes’ side. Moor is an interesting case in his own right, in that he’ll turn 32 in January, but he’s coming off of arguably the best season of his career. He could actually get close the his 2015 cap hit of $258,500 if a team believes he’s still a full-time starter.

Beasley’s out of retirement as Klinsmann makes trio of moves for Gold Cup’s knockout rounds

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DaMarcus Beasley, Joe Corona and Alan Gordon are now member of this summer’s USMNT Gold Cup squad, as head coach Jurgen Klinsmann looks to tidy up his squad a messy but successful group stage.

Gone are Jozy Altidore, Greg Garza and Alfredo Morales. Altidore “just wasn’t there yet”, according to Klinsmann.

Klinsmann is probably looking to push Fabian Johnson forward with the addition of Beasley, Houston’s dynamic left back who also can play as a winger. Beasley had been retired from international play for less than a year, and will look to build on his 121 caps and 17 goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Gold Cup coverage ]

Morales has struggled mightily for the USMNT on several occasions, and Monday’s tie with Panama might’ve been his toughest outing yet. In adding Corona, Klinsmann snares a Gold Cup winner who’s scored twice in the tournament.

Garza leaves after being a last-minute replacement for Brad Davis. Gordon gives Klinsmann cover at forward, and the big 33-year-old striker has only one cap for the U.S. (in 2012 against Antigua & Barbuda, where he picked up an assist).

The Gordon move will confuse some, but the big add is Beasley. His experience and leadership is invaluable, and he can be a marked upgrade in certain situations.

LA Galaxy 1-0 Houston Dynamo: Alan Gordon supplies stoppage-time winner

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One game in 100 words: For those expecting another draw for the LA Galaxy, it really wouldn’t have been a terrible result as a rebound from last week’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Orlando City SC. But fear not for Galaxy fans, a late goal from hero Alan Gordon produced a much-needed three points to catapult Bruce Arena’s side past the Houston Dynamo and into the sixth place right past their opposition, the Houston Dynamo, who were deflated after hanging around the entire contest and producing legitimate scoring opportunities of their own. At the match’s conclusion, Oscar Sorto was penalized with a red card for fighting, giving Houston one last chance on a difficult free kick, but Raúl Rodríguez headed it wide.

 

Goals

LA: Alan Gordon 90’+2’

Houston: None

 

Three moments that mattered

8’ — Penedo rejects all-alone Bruin — When Dynamo midfielder Oscar Garcia saw that forward Will Bruin could splitting the Galaxy’s back line, he had no trouble knocking a well-weighted lobbed pass to spring the Indiana University alum free, 1-on-1 with Jaime Penedo. Bruin wasn’t able to knock his attempt past Penedo. The Galaxy goalkeeper took the proper steep angle to thwart the very threatening attack, forcing Bruin to shoot immediately or make a athletic move to avoid him.

12’ — Galaxy can’t convert lingering ball in box — Dan Gargan sent a looping cross into the box near a host of LA Galaxy players and forced Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric to rush out of the net and punch the ball away. HIs clearance didn’t escape the penalty area, though. Jose Villarreal consequently fed Mika Vayrynen with a back pass, and his quick shot was blocked prior to zipping to Gyasi Zardes’ feet, though he couldn’t get the right touch on goal. Deric hugged the ball for the save.

90’+2’ — Gordon nails it for the winner — Leonardo blasted a lengthy ball to Alan Gordon edging toward the goal, and a headed pass to his left for Robbie Keane inside the box created gasps from the crowd. Keane’s left-footer was blocked but the sequence wasn’t over. The former Premier League star recovered the ball and crossed it back into the box for Gordon, whose headed try arched high and dropped into the net.

 

Lineups 

LA: Gyasi Zardes, Jose Villarreal (Alan Gordon 68’); Jaime Penedo; Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Oscar Sorto; Stefan Ishizaki (Ignacio Maganto 85’), Mika Vayrynen (Robbie Keane 56’), Juninho, Baggio Husidic

Houston: Giles Barnes, Will Bruin (Rob Lovejoy 88’); Tyler Deric; Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor, DaMarcus Beasley; Oscar Garcia (Alexander López 66’), Luis Garrido (Nathan Sturgis 54’), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis

Inside Look: How the LA Galaxy won MLS Cup 2014 and cemented their legacy

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First things first, the soccer played in Sunday’s 2014 MLS Cup final was not a perfect advertisement of “the beautiful game.” Let’s remember, though, that cup finals rarely are, no matter what part of the world we’re talking about.

They’re almost always cagey affairs with tons of adrenaline and anxiety beforehand, both sides unwilling to be the ones who “lost” the game, and stretches of “good soccer” being few and far between.

The fine folks over at Backheel.com probably described Sunday’s final, and all cup finals for that matter, as well as can be done.

That said, here’s how the LA Galaxy won MLS Cup 2014, their third title in four years, willing their way past the New England Revolution in Sunday’s final.

“We own the left” – LA Galaxy  On the Revs’ left side of defense, you’ll find Chris Tierney and Jose Goncalves — two veteran defenders ranking among the top five or 10 at their respective position within MLS. On the right, there’s A.J. Soares and Andrew Farrell — a pair of young, promising, up-and-down performers opponents frequently target.

Here’s everything the Galaxy tried to during the first half on Sunday. And — shocker — which side did they target most frequently?

source:

The number of attacking-half touches by left back Robbie Rogers (14) tells you everything you need to know about Bruce Arena‘s attacking gameplan. The game’s opening goal also came — albeit, secondarily — from targeting Farrell who was nowhere near up to the challenge of marking Gyasi Zardes one-on-one.

[ RELATED: Recap: Galaxy top Revs in extra time, send Donovan out on top ]

Sarvas locked in on Nguyen — I thought Juninho might draw the assignment of following MVP finalist and Revs attack catalyst Lee Nguyen all over the field, but it was Marcelo Sarvas, instead, which makes plenty of sense considering the two switch roles over and over through the course of 90 minutes with great situational awareness.

In the first half particularly, Sarvas was all over Nguyen, allowing him fewer than 20 touches in the Revs’ attacking half, including a whopping zero inside 25 yards from goal. In the rare instance found the ball at his feet, he had little time — and even fewer options — to pick out a forward pass of carry the ball forward, something he did so devastatingly well in the regular season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS Cup coverage | PST on Twitter ]

Second-half adjustments — Donovan moves more centrally and Zardes goes wide. This one didn’t seem to make a ton of sense from Arena. For starters, both players are far bigger contributors in the positions in which the started the game. Beyond that, it lets Farrell off the hook by killing the overlapping moves of Donovan and Rogers.

Patrick Mullins took Charlie Davies‘ place after 72 minutes and immediately had an impact on the game. It took him seven minutes to set up the Revs’ equalizer, but the biggest difference between the two forwards’ shifts was evident in sheer work rate. Mullins made the left-channel run that Davies had failed to all game long, and in doing so set up an overlapping Chris Tierney for a goal. Very simple stuff, really.

[ RELATED: VIDEO: Robbie Keane scores the MLS Cup-winning goal ]

The brightest star steps up in the biggest moment — As I said after Robbie Keane scored the game-winning goal, you’d expect nothing less of the 2014 MLS MVP. He’d struggled up until that point, selfishly trying to create shots of his own when he had better options elsewhere, But when he got behind the backline of the Revs, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind he would find the back of the net.

In the end, experience and the been there, done that factor was just enough to nudge the Galaxy over the line.