A new season kicks off this weekend and see’s the return of Walker’s Word. Another 10 months of non-stop top flight football action begins on Saturday with both the opening and closing matches ripe for picking a couple of shock results at great odds writes David Walker. Saturday 19 August Sheffield United vs Liverpool Sheffield United make their...
ChivasUSA, the Los Angeles-based “franchise” of Mexico’s oldest football club–CD Guadalajara–has become the fourth MLS team to qualify for the league playoffs which begin October 25.
Chivas qualified on the strength of a 2:1 victory Saturday over Kansas City Wizards at the Home Depot Center in LA. The Red and White join DC United, New England Revolution, and holders Houston Dynamo as those clubs qualified for the playoffs. The clumination of the playoffs is the single-match MLS Cup to be contested on Nov. 18 in Washington, DC.
With the addition of Chivas, just four playoff Bandar Togel Singapore spots remain. Thus far, none of the clubs making midseason acquisitions of former World Cup superstars has qualified to vie for the 2007 MLS championship.
FC Dallas, featuring former Brazilian World Cup star Denilson, is the closest to attaining a playoff berth and likely would face Chivas in a Western Conference seminfinal. Dallas could qualify as early as Wednesday of this week.
Chicago Fire, new home to Mexican international Cuauhtémoc Blanco, remain in the hunt for the lowest seed playoff berth, but are closely bunched on points with Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew. With three points on the line in each of the last five matches, it will likely go down to the wire.
Finally, LA Galaxy, possessed of US international Landon Donovan, and now second home to England uber-star David Beckham, has virtually (though not mathematically) been eliminated from making this year’s playoff.
USA Advance Over Feisty Brits as Women’s World Cup Semis Take Familiar Shape
The USA weathered a strong first half from a feisty England side Saturday night to advance, 3:0, to the semifinals of the 2007 Women’s World Cup in China.
England, looking much sharper than their competition, held a hard-won scoreless tie at the halftime and appeared to have the US squad back on their heels and playing “not to lose”.
“Tonight I would have liked to see us start better than we did,” said US head man, Greg Ryan, when asked why his team seemed outplayed in the first half of such an important match. “Maybe it’s just that we are a young team [with] so many new players,” he concluded.
As the second half opened, however, the US’ captain and most experienced player, Kristine Lilly, took just 13 minutes to lead her side to a 3:0 advantage and put them back into contention for the championship.
Taking the second of two quick corners at minute 48, Lilly placed the served the ball to the far post where teammate Abby Wambach, the US’ leading scorer in these finals, leapt to head it home out of the reach of England keeper, Rachel Brown, for a 1:0 lead.
Nine minutes later midfielder Shannon Boxx scored her first goal at the finals on a low blast from just inside the corner of the box for 2:0. “It popped right in front of me,” Boxx said of the shot, the ball coming to her off a tackle by linemate Cat Whitehall as England tried to clear.
“My thought was just to take a quick shot,” she said after the match. “I hit it low,” she continued, “and it skipped in,” cleanly beating the diving Brown.
Just three minutes later it fell to Lilly, literally, to put away the finisher as the somewhat rattled England keeper misjudged a defender’s back-pass; the US skipper walked it in as the ball bounced over Brown’s head towards the goal line.
USA now move on to play Brazil in Thursday’s (Sept. 27) semifinal. Brazil defeated Australia in a Sunday evening thriller, 3:2, putting on as entertaining a display as their male counter-parts often do.
The matildas, for their part, did not succumb to the “Seleção” mystique until the 75th minute when Brazilian forward, Christiane, struck from 20 meters to make the final tally.
In the other semifinal (Wed., Sept. 26), Germany–3:0 quarterfinal winners over PRK–will play Norway, who ousted host China (1:0) in Sunday’s second match.
This is the 5th time the FIFA Women’s World Cup has been contested; the US (1991, 1999), Germany (2003) and Norway (1995) having won the previous four.