Arizona Exports: General MLS updates, Bayona scores yet again, Garcia’s struggles continue, Diskerud expresses match fixing concerns
Arizona Exports is a feature in which we track the progress of those from the state who are playing professional soccer. It is an evolving feature, as we continue to find more players who once kicked it in Arizona and are now kicking it on some of the largest stages in the game. If we’ve left anyone out (and we expect we have), please feel free to leave their name in the comments.
A brief note, all decisions as to who will be featured as an Arizonan will be made by AZKI and can be subject to debate. Wakes up early to avoid searing 110-degree heat? Maybe. Plays through that same heat in mid-afternoon? Oh yeah.
Just a quick note, there have been some requests to add players in the USL PDL and NPSL. I wish all the best to those guys and hope they keep grinding, but we won’t be tracking them until they’re a full-time league domestically (USL PRO and up) or a major international league. Feel free to update us on their statuses in the comments, though, and we’ll keep tabs on them when we’re able.
Is-he-or-isn’t-he Arizonan Chad Barrett came on for the last half hour and scored for the LA Galaxy in a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia midweek. He started and went 65 minutes in LA’s Sunday win against Chicago where he was targeted for some long balls and had a solid match. He ended the day with one shot on the stat sheet.
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Alan Gordon went 83 minutes for the San Jose Earthquakes before yielding to Khari Stephenson in a scoreless draw with Dallas. Like most of the attacking players in the game, Gordon had a few chances but couldn’t convert. He also was involved in one of the Quakes’ best opportunities, attempting to set up Chris Wondolowski late in the first half, but a FC Dallas defender cleared the Golden Boot-leader’s attempt off the line after he had beaten the keeper.
Phoenix’s own Brad Evans played the first 64 minutes of a scoreless Seattle draw with Real Salt Lake. The Sounders definitely lost the battle of the midfield, and Evans contributed little. He was left out of the team on Saturday as the Sounders finally snapped their nine-game winless streak by beating the Colorado Rapids, 2-1. We’ll see if he gets in to tomorrow’s USOC semifinal against Chivas USA.
Andrew Weber is still out for the Sounders with a groin strain, but his twin brother, Eliot, who was his partner on The Amazing Race stopped by training ahead of the victory against the Rapids.
Tony Cascio got in for the last six minutes for the Rapids as they chased that game and added one shot to his stat total.
Earlier in the week, he came on as a sub with about a half an hour left and contributed a few shots to the Rapids’ total of 17 attempts on goal to Vancouver’s 3. The Whitecaps made more of their opportunities, though, converting the one shot on goal they had for a 1-0 victory.
MLSSoccer.com had a story on Cascio which noted he has the most minute of any non-GK rookie this season and is also among the league leaders in shots. Coach Oscar Pareja is taking care with his development and making sure he doesn’t run out of gas in his first season like many rookies do. As someone who grew up around the Dallas soccer scene, I couldn’t be more confident Cascio is in good hands under the tutelage of Pareja and his roommate on the road Drew Moor.
That story also includes the sentence, “Like any MLS rookie, Cascio humps the equipment after training…” All right, then. We’re pretty sure he’s using hump to mean carry.
Nat Borchers and Real Salt Lake kind of bounced back in that scoreless draw with Evans and Seattle, dominating the game but failing to convert. Borchers went the full 90 and even had a shot to go with his six clearances and 56 successful passes.
Then, on a day when most MLS squads struggled to find goals, Alvaro Saborio scored a hat trick and Salt Lake defeated Portland, 3-0. Same song, different verse for Borchers who went the full 90 and once again logged a shot while keeping things on lock in the back.
Here’s his weekly appearance on RSL broadcaster Bill Riley’s radio show as he dishes on the quest to win the West and a little All-Star Game chat.
Sometimes defenders don’t really get their due in a roundup like this since a lot of it relies on stats and it’s harder to dig up defensive statistics, but I’ll just say that a lot of people have said Jamison Olave, Borchers RSL teammate, has been the best defender in MLS at the midway point of the season. I think Borchers has been just as good, and perhaps better than Olave, and I’d love to see Borchers get a trip to Philly for the game.
Chivas USA midfielder Blair Gavin was an unused sub against Vancouver in a scoreless draw Saturday.
I originally said Gavin and the Goats would play the Sounders in a USOC semifinal, but they’re actually facing off with Sporting Kansas City tomorrow. Update: Actually, no they’re not. Brandon in the comments points out that I was right the first time, which means I was wrong this time. Chivas USA-Seattle, SKC-Philly tomorrow.
D.C. United, along with its trio of Arizonans, was off this week.
Brandon McDonald and Nick DeLeon are both quoted in this MLSSoccer.com story about the players being greeted with a heat wave upon returning to training. McDonald says he came home to Phoenix on his days off while DeLeon used the time to vacation in Miami.
Not sure what the vacation entailed for Danny Cruz, but the former Houston Dynamo midfielder joined Dynamo play-by-play guy Glen Davis on his radio show yesterday night. Podcast available here. There’s also a story on DCU’s official site about how Cruz looks to Brian Mullan, his former Dynamo teammate, as a mentor.
Pablo Mastroeni remains out for the Rapids squad with concussion-related symptoms.
Is this really FOUR WEEKS STRAIGHT?! Esteban Bayona scored the only goal for San Antonio Scorpions this week, giving them a 1-0 victory against FC Edmonton on July 4. He got really pretty service from Jonathan Greenfield, and headed the ball back across the goal and in. And, yes, it’s his fourth goal in as many matches. Prior to that run he hadn’t scored.
Here’s the game recap video. The goal is at the 2:45 mark, but again we recommend listening to Arch Bell on the analysis for the entire video if you have 5 minutes to spare.
Bayona was subbed out of the match with 10 minutes left to go after getting the start. The victory sets up a showdown tomorrow night with Puerto Rico (who we’ll get to) for first place.
Weird times for the Minnesota Stars. They absolutely crushed the Puerto Rico Islanders, 4-0, in a July 4 clash. Justin Davis had the final assist in the contest, described for us by Brian Quarstad of InsideMNSoccer.com
Dribbling square above the box, Justin Davis chipped a through ball past the Islanders defense which found Amani Walker making a run that beat the offside trap. Walker touched the ball on the turn and his second touch calmly rolled the ball into the right side of the net, giving the Stars a 4-0 win.
Their weekend result wasn’t as favorable, as the Stars fell 2-0 to the Atlanta Silverbacks for interim coach Eric Wynalda’s first win at the helm of the division stragglers. Davis, though, had a good night individually, winning InsideMNSoccer’s Man of the Match award “for his willingness to make runs from the back all night long in trying to help the Stars make a comeback.” For the honor he gets $50 bar cash at Brit’s Pub and Eating Establishment in Minneapolis. We’re still waiting for our invite, Justin.
Islanders forward Josh Hansen came into the holiday match with the Stars in the 64th minute and his lone shot, which came in the 84th and was saved, was the final action of the match. He wasn’t in the squad for Puerto Rico’s 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton.
Our weekly Jamie Cunningham Twitter report forges on with the Islander defender kicking it in AZ while he recovers from an ACL tear. It looks like our man caught the movie Ted and enjoyed some Buffalo Wild Wings this week.
Abe Thompson started and went the distance for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a 3-3 draw with the Carolina Railhawks. Thompson was huge in attack, hitting the Railhawks on the counter and centering the ball to Darnell King for a 31st minute goal. Then, just two minutes later, he worked a one-two with Walter Restrepo and bagged another assist. He also had a shot that would’ve iced the match for the Strikers in stoppage time, but it was saved and the Railhawks were able to get a last-minute goal to grab a point.
Thompson didn’t get in to the Strikers’ July 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, but I have no idea if he was on the bench because nobody bothered tweeting it.
It continues to be a rough go of things for both Irving Garcia and the Los Angeles Blues. They played three times since we last checked in (the USL PRO schedule is pretty brutal for the Blues, currently the league’s only team West of Dayton, Ohio. Hopefully for the Phoenix club arriving next year, the league will continue to get all manifest destiny up in here and add a few more teams this side of the country) and all three resulted in losses.
Garcia came in for the final 22 minutes of a July 2 loss to the Richmond Kickers, in which he had one shot. That shot came after he drew a foul and took the ensuing free kick himself, but narrowly missed the target.
Then, it was a weekend doubleheader at home against league champs Orlando City. Garcia came on with 11 minutes to go in a 1-0 loss to the Lions on Friday, then started but was subbed out at the half of the 4-0 shellacking the Blues took Sunday.
Things are going poorly for the Blues, who have lost their last five matches, and don’t seem to be looking up with star forward Bright Dike set to end his loan spell with the club and return to the Portland Timbers. Coach Charlie Naimo was understandably upset after the 4-0 loss, telling ESPNLA’s Scott French that if the players’ contracts weren’t guaranteed he’d cut his entire squad. Garcia certainly hasn’t been immune from the struggles lately. Here’s more from French:
Also faring poorly is former UC Irvine playmaker Irving Garcia, who hasn’t done enough on attack to make up for his defensive liabilities. He’s played more than a half just twice since going the full 90 in the first three games, and Naimo pulled him at halftime Sunday.
We did have a Rob Valentino sighting in the first of that pair of matches. He went the full 90 and logged a shot for the Lions in his first game back from an injury he sustained a month ago. He wasn’t in the team for the Sunday match.
Michael Zaher is still sidelined for the Rochester Rhinos with a hip injury.
No update on the contract of Mix Diskerud who is training with Stabaek in Norway though he would like to return to Belgian club Gent on a permanent basis after being there on loan in the spring. He did, however, express suspicion that certain matches in Norway were fixed. Earlier this week, the Norwegian federation announced an inquiry into certain matches.
“I do not know whether the match-fixing case in Norway is a fact or not, but I get really upset over the phenomenon,” he said, translated by Google as always. “It’s just too awful. Players manipulate the outcome of football matches, are crooks. I will not play football with such people,” he says to NRK.” (NRK is the news agency the article comes from.)
Robbie Findley is in preseason with Nottingham Forest. I couldn’t spot him in a photo gallery posted by the club Sunday of the first session of the year, though.
No Luis Robles news this week.