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Amid Uncertainty, LA Galaxy Celebrate MLS Cup Win

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CARSON (g4s) – Los Angeles Galaxy invited fans and media Monday evening to celebrate Saturday’s MLS Cup victory over Houston Dynamo. A crowd of 4,000 fans were in attendance to celebrate the club’s fourth league championship and to show their appreciation to a roster that may see significant changes during the off-season.

Fans were treated to speeches from Galaxy Vice President (and former Galaxy star) Chris Klein, Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena, and stars Landon Donovan, Mike Magee, Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Keane and, in what is most likely his last public appearance as a Galaxy player, David Beckham.

The man who helped make Galaxy’s star the brightest in MLS’ constellation, Beckham thanked fans, coach Arena, and his teammates for making his time with Galaxy special. Amid chants of “one more year” – chants encouraged by midfielder Juninho – Beckham re-confirmed that Saturday was his last match in a Galaxy kit, but hinted at his post-playing plans by noting his expectation to remain a part of the club in the future.

The hour-long casual affair was not without surprises, however. Mr. Klein announced to media after the festivities that there would be no post-season tour for the team. As in previous years, a tour seemed like a foregone conclusion – particularly after an MLS Cup victory – but the decision was made earlier in the day to scrap plans for doing so. Mr. Klein noted that players were informed just before the celebration ceremony that they would be experiencing a full off-season for the first time in nearly four years.

That doesn’t suggest the team will be inactive for the next four months, however.

Los Angeles faces a number of obstacles heading into the off-season. Many of Galaxy’s starting roster will certainly invite loan or trade offers from elsewhere – particularly MLS Cup MVP Gonzalez, fellow defender Sean Franklin and Sao Paolo loanee Juninho. In addition to possibly losing  current starters due to their increasing desirability elsewhere, coach Arena has the unenviable task of dowsing the future of his team captain, Landon Donovan.

Donovan, who hasn’t been sparing in expressing his inner turmoil during the latter stages of the season, has kept reporters at arms’ length in the lead-up to the championship final whenever asked about his future with the team – and the sport. It’s Donovan’s desires that will determine whether Galaxy experiences a remodeling leading into 2013 or a complete rebuild.

One man Arena and Los Angeles shouldn’t have to worry about retaining is Robbie Keane. The Irish international and vice-captain has expressed his contentment with living in Los Angeles and playing for Galaxy. It was his leadership – and goals – widely regarded as key to the team’s dominance after the All-Star break. Should Donovan depart Galaxy, Arena has a ready-made captain in Keane to take his place.

And finally, Galaxy face the monumental task of replacing the departing Beckham with a figure who can perform at least to his level on the field – even if he cannot match Beckham’s dominance off of it. Real Madrid midfielder Kaká has been a lightening rod for rumors as of late whenever talk turns to a post-Beckham superstar, but Arena and Galaxy executives have remained coy throughout the weekend when asked if talks were underway.

An unavoidable certainty looms for Los Angeles as they rest and regroup heading into the new year: MLS’ marquee team must be prepared for the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champion’s League elimination rounds. The team – and the league – grow increasingly expectant of bringing the region’s top club honor to American soil. Like the 2011-2012 tournament, Los Angeles is regarded as a heavyweight contender, but the team will want to avoid a glass-jaw knockout blow like the one it received in last year’s tournament from Toronto FC.

But talk of 2013 can wait… at least for one more night. Los Angeles faithful took advantage of an evening meant to celebrate the 2012 campaign and the men who endured a nightmare start only to bring home silverware for a second consecutive year.

Dane

Red Bull New York: 5 Wins in a Row and a New Obsession

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Saturday night was special.

While I complain about referees with friends I’ve held my tongue on here, but Saturday was horrible – just horrible. The only calls I think they got right were the two yellow cards on Victor Palsson (really you were just a dumbass). Both penalties were questionable and I’m still trying to see the handball for the Montreal one and I’ve watched the call a good 10 times.

A win is a win but come on refs it needs to be better then that. On the positive side well we got to see Heath Pearce in New York jersey. (Yes, I have my new obsession. Sorry Solli) Also, finally Dane Richards is scoring this season. Clever Hans Backe said he wanted Lindpere and Richards to start producing and in the past 4 games the two have combined for 3 goals.

Come Wednesday night RBNY may have a new record winning streak. Right now the 5 wins in a row is tied for the longest streak in NY history that was last achieved in 2003 and it’s Chivas USA at home so it could be a win but I’m expecting Juan Pablo Angel to spoil that party. On a side note, anyone at RBA for the game should only applaud JPA as he is and will always a be a NYRB/MetroStars Legend! He should receive a hero’s welcome even though he will be in a Chivas USA kit.

Let’s go for 6 before the international break/Open Cup!

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Red Bull New York: Welcome to the Silly Season

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So, you know that post from yesterday I posted…yeah, that was the calm before the storm…

Yesterday no Major League Soccer club other than the New York Red Bulls decided to start the summer silly season off right with a trade that [insert any phase here]. Seriously, I have gone through every thought from this “is happening” to “this is amazing” and from what I’ve read everyone has done the same but with the dust settling this a good trade.

Oh yeah the trade was Juan Agudelo for Heath Pearce (salary partially paid) + allocation money + 1/3 of the transfer fee when Agudelo goes to Europe.

So let’s look at the positives and negatives of the trade.

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New York Red Bulls: 4 Wins, Top of the East and Getting Healthy

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The Red Bulls have had a lot of doom and gloom forecasting since the beginning of the season. First the away losses to Dallas and Salt Lake. Then came the scoring onslaught. Then came the horrible game in DC and lots of injuries ending with Henry’s hamstring going in the beginning of the New England game. Everyone expected NY just to fall apart.

Oh how wrong they were. 4 wins later and guess what NY actually has real depth for the first time in god knows when. P.S. this is the first 4 win streak by NY since 2003. Dax McCarthy, Kenny Cooper, Ryan Meara, and the entire inexperienced backline stepped up. Lindpere started producing. Hell, Holgerssen who started off his MLS career being the scapegoat has turned things around and even scored a goal on Sunday in Philly. Yes I do find it odd the second Miller and Marquez are brought back into the starting XI the shutout streak ended but a win is a win.

The summer is looking bright. Almost everyone is back to training which is perfect time since the MLS teams start the open cup in 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see how Backe deals with a full healthy squad now that the bench have proven themselves. I think the summer will be bright and wins will continue. I’m also curious who our 3rd DP will be. I also wonder what is going to happen to Wilman Conde. Oh what’s NY without more drama now that Marquez is back from suspension another player decides to assault a police officer? Words can’t describe it really.

Red Bull New York: Grinding Out Results

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So that was unexpected. The flatness of the Galaxy and the amazing commanding of the area by Ryan Meara. While some people have complained about the dullness of the Galaxy game, this is a result business as many euro commentators always remind us. A win is a win no matter what. In this case we were going to the most powerful (on paper) attack in the league to the MLS cup winners and where they were undefeated last year with almost the whole first XI injured. They did what was need to win. They didn’t just park the bus there were lots of attacking runs by New York. Our inexperience defense is doing great, I see lots of bright spots. Ryan Meara is justing getting better and better every game. This is proven by the talk of Rookie of the Year already.

The good part is with Jan Gunnar Solli and Juan Agudelo back, and with Miller and Marquez coming back. The unavailable list is getting shorter and shorter so hopefully the wins with continue to come with some more entertainment. I hope the shutouts continue though. Meara’s confidence is starting to fly off the charts which can only be good for the rest of our season.

I curious how Hans Backe is going to field to team against Houston with the defense doing so well in the past two games but we will see if they won a vote of confidence from Backe or if its back to the bench.

File under "things you won't see this weekend."

Red Bull New York Update: Injuries, Injuries, and a Shutout

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File under "things you won't see this weekend."

First off, bravo on Ryan Meara with his first shutout last saturday with a very inexperienced defence in front of him because well the backline is all in the treatment room. Second off, Dax McCarty has become a rock star on the field since becoming the first player on the red bulls to become a soccer ally. I think it may be a lucky charm sort of thing.

So what we lovingly call the 1% derby (New York vs. LA Galaxy) has become LA v. the walking wounded. Miller, Keel, Taino, Henry are all out injured for the weekend. Marquez is suspended. Solli is questionable. Agedelo will play at most for 25 minutes. So it’s not looking good and I don’t have many comments about how to even prepare since … who is left other than who generally starts is all kind of unknown. I’m guessing we might be seeing Richards partnering up front with Cooper and Solli - if fit – playing in the midfield (his old position) for the first time for NY.

Hopefully this inexperience defense does well again and Meara keeps improving. I just don’t know how this is going to go at all. This is why having such an old squad is going to bite us in the ass.

Red Bull New York Notes: Dax and Marquez

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So I haven’t written anything lately because I’ve had some tech problems that past couple weeks but I needed to talk about Dax and Marquez

Dax McCarthy

So he became the first RBNY player to become a soccer ally last week. It might be a lucky thing for others to follow suit as he then went on to score his first goal for NY and was man of the match against San Jose. He is becoming a very good player in our midfield and that trade last summer doesn’t look so bad.

Rafa Marquez

Suspended for 3 games for something completely and utterly stupid. I was giving him props for starting out well for us this season but he can’t do us any good getting suspended. Out of the first 9 games of the season he will have been suspended for 5 of them. He needs to figure out how to cut out all of this crap or we need a DP in place of him that will not be such a situation.

[Editor's note: You can catch Kevin on the next Red Bull Rant]

 

New York Red Bulls: Offensive Power and Inclusive Supporters

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Sorry it has taken me a while to write this post from last Saturday’s game but I’ve had a strange week.

The game was a game of two halves: the first was a disorganized mess. The second was just amazing.

I’m not sure what happened in that first half. It was messy and the ball was lost way too easily but with some minor groin strains I’m going to blame that.

The second was seeing all the parts just seem to work. The Kenny Cooper/Thierry Henry front line is just getting crazy. Dax McCarty had what is probably his best half in a Red Bulls shirt. The much maligned Mehdi Ballouchy scored an amazing goal and did our ‘wipeout’ as his goal celebration. So what do we take from this?

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Colin Clark

Call Off the Torches and Pitchforks on Colin Clark

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A week ago, Colin Clark did, well, if you don’t know you have been living under a rock. In the past week, we have seen all parties operate properly.

Colin Clark (according to reports) – right after the game went to the ball boy to apologize in person, apologized on Twitter within hours of the end of the game, and then accepted his punishment with remorse over his actions.

MLS – took down the video as a kneejerk reaction, took a few days to figure the right course of action, then gave out a perfect punishment with a statement that shows MLS will not standard for homophobic actions and words.

In addition, this is the first time a major league athlete has ever been suspended solely for homophobic actions or words. John Rocker went off about everyone and everything. Kobe Bryant was just fined. In addition, a 3 game ban in most soccer leagues is seen for extreme behavior hence why its the standard punishment for a very violent act on the field.

With all of that said, I am tired of trolling gay media sites and reading articles and comments that are SO off base its shocking.

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New York Red Bulls Looking as Good on Grass as They Do on Paper

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The Red Bulls’ first win at our home opener — now the season can right itself before it is lost. What a win it was! Yes, I know Colorado were missing major players but NY is always missing major players; for example, no Teemo or Agudelo on Sunday. There are some still questions to review.

The Bright Spots
The Cooper/Henry partnership:

This is looking to be a budding partnership ready to run riot on the league. In the first two games, NY looked the best when they were both on the field together. In the first start together, each got a goal in the first 6 min and both got a brace. The few missed passes between the two make me think they are still meshing together so once they really get used to each other watch out. Cooper may be the answer to the everlasting Rodgers visa saga. I’ve never seen our offense start so well like it did on Sunday. I would have liked it to continue as strong all through the game but 4 goals in a game is always good.

William Conde

Wow what a difference the defense is with him in the lineup. I just hope he stays healthy but he may be the solution to all of the problems in the defense.

Roy Miller

Yep that one, the maligned left back that seems to always be the fall guy for any failure had probably his best game in a NY shirt. He seemed good in the back and assisted the final goal.

Marquez

Yep he’s back but he looked determined and ready to play as opposed to last year. He was very impressive minus the giveaway that lead to the Cummings goal but I could tell he was tired…

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