Arizona Exports: Gordon scores in return, Robles could move after Karlsruher relegation, Diskerud hopes to stay with Gent

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 know 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. First road trip of his life was to Flag? Yes. Enjoys waving a flag? No. In between? We’ll decide.

We’re still not counting Chad Barrett as an Arizonan. We can, however, report that he didn’t get in to the Galaxy’s weekend match with the Montreal Impact.

MLS

It was a triumphant return for Alan Gordon. The forward has been coming off a hamstring strain, but came off the bench for the San Jose Earthquakes and netted the equalizer in a 1-1 result. That resulted in some good press for the Gilbert product who told reporters he was much happier to be discussing a goal than any nagging injury.

In the same game, Blair Gavin came off the bench to play the final 15 minutes of the game. He wasn’t able to contribute too much for Chivas USA. He went 61 minutes in the reserve match against the Quakes, which also finished with a 1-1 scoreline.

With several emergency central defenders as his partners, Brandon McDonald continues to be fantastic as a mainstay of D.C. United’s back line. Unfortunately for McDonald, even he couldn’t stop Brad Davis’ cracker that christened BBVA Compass Stadium, as the Houston Dynamo beat United, 1-0. Still, McDonald was superb if not flashy in defense. He’s becoming a really, really good central defender. Like, really good.

He also got some love on MLSSoccer.com for his assists in previous contests.

Danny Cruz went the full 90 in the loss as well. Cruz was ferocious on the right side and performed well on both sides of the ball.

He could be called on to fill a different role in future games with Perry Kitchen, typically the club’s defensive midfielder, going down with an injury.

I have no idea how I missed this, but Washington Post soccer writer Steve Goff had a tremendous story on Cruz a few weeks ago. It touches on a couple of things – Cruz’s father being a military man, Danny hoping to play football or hockey and his emphasis on family. It’s really a must-read for AZ soccer fans.

Nick DeLeon was again left out of the D.C. United lineup. He’s been recovering from a hamstring injury, another in a somewhat disturbing trend of Arizonans with hammy issues.

MLSSoccer still did a piece on his hot form as a rookie and his relationship with Cruz. The story reveals the guys are roommates, which is pretty awesome from an AZ soccer fan perspective.

In the best MLS match of the week, Nat Borchers and Real Salt Lake were able to get the better of the streaking Seattle Sounders, 1-0. Borchers was instrumental in defense as the Sounders’ potent attack kept the pressure high on RSL. While his center back partner, Jamison Olave, may have been one of the best players of the the entire weekend, there was one clearance Borchers made in the second half that I thought was particularly crucial, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem anyone has uploaded a video. It was one of nine clearances Borchers made in the victory.

He made an enjoyable appearance on MLS’ Extra Time podcast this week, speaking on a number of topics including the importance of playing fantastic defense.

Previously, he was rested in Salt Lake’s scoreless midweek draw with Chicago. If you listened to our podcast with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Michael C. Lewis last week, you’re aware that being rested isn’t exactly a favorite for Borchers.

Brad Evans had the inverse of Borchers’ week, playing in his club’s midweek game and sitting out on the weekend.

He hasn’t had a great go of things lately, not looking himself at times during his squad’s 2-0 victory against FC Dallas last Wednesday. A calf injury kept him off the field during the loss to RSL, and while he has been able to participate in the majority of training, he’s still doubtful for Saturday’s matchup with fellow Cascadia squad Vancouver.

Andrew Weber continues to rehab from a severe ankle sprain.

The Colorado Rapids and Tony Cascio enjoyed a bye week. Well, to be honest, I have no idea if they enjoyed it or not, but one would think they could use the time off. They return to action Wednesday against D.C. United.

Pablo Mastroeni remains off the pitch for Colorado with post-concussion complications.

NASL

Justin Davis and the Minnesota Stars bagged another win and are still undefeated on the season, getting a 2-1 victory at home before they undertake a long road stretch.

Davis played the full 90 and had a shot. The left back also put in a dangerous cross early on, but it went unfinished.

The Stars’ game-winning goal from Kevin Venegas was pretty sick.

The Stars look up in the table only at the Puerto Rico Islanders who defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers by a 2-0 margin Saturday. Jamie Cunningham played the whole match in defense for the Islanders. We’ve seen Cunningham draw several cards this season and we lightheartedly call him the AZ Exports disciplinary leader. Well, that moniker might be taken over soon by teammate and Export debut Josh Hansen. Hansen got a yellow card in only five minutes of play.

Hansen was born in Phoenix and is a Greenway High alumnus. He’s been instrumental in many of the Islanders CONCACAF Champions League runs and also has represented Puerto Rico internationally.

I was remiss in thanking Davey who left a comment last week. Thanks, Davey!

Also, the Islanders are seeking graphic design interns, so hit them up if you’re looking.

Abe Thompson came on for 21 minutes for the Strikers, but wasn’t able to make much of an impact.

Our other new Export of the week, Esteban Bayona, had a productive 13 minutes for the San Antonio Scorpions who continued their hot streak with a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He fired in a shot that was saved, but the rebound led to the game-winning goal for the NASL’s new boys.

The Colombia-born Bayona was raised in Arizona and went to Marcos de Niza High and Chandler-Gilbert Community College before heading to south Texas. Thanks to Jason for directing us toward Bayona.

USL PRO

The Los Angeles Blues started their road swing with two victories. Irving Garcia went 80 minutes in a 1-0 win over the Dayton Dutch Lions on Friday and went as an unused substitute in the Blues’ 3-0 win against Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Blues acquired forward Bright Dike from the Portland Timbers, and he made his impact known quickly, scoring and getting an assist in the Saturday contest.

Michael Zaher and the Rochester Rhinos stayed undefeated with a couple of 1-0 victories. Their defense was stern and has extended their shutout streak to 540 minutes. Zaher came off the bench and played 38 minutes in Friday’s victory against Charlotte and went the full 90 in the Saturday match with the Charleston Battery. He’s still playing through pain from a heel injury (we’ve had this injury listed as several different things, but it looks like it’s a heel injury now) and should expect some more playing time as the season progresses.

Last week, we mentioned Rob Valentino was questionable to make Orlando City’s trip to Antigua for a pair of games with Antigua Barracuda FC. He played in the first game, but was subbed out at the beginning of the second half and didn’t feature in the second game. The Lions won both matches, and, like the Rhinos, are undefeated on the season.

Elsewhere

KAA Gent, Mix Diskerud‘s current team,  had a pair of matches in the Belgian league’s top playoff. Diskerud came on in the 82nd minute of the Buffaloes loss to Standard during the week. He stayed on the bench as Gent defeated Genk 3-1 on the weekend to secure fourth place. Remember how I broke down how confusing the Belgian system is? Well, it’s almost over. Gent plays a two-legged playoff with the winners of Playoff 2, Cercle Brugge, for a Europa League spot. The first leg is Sunday.

Diskerud has also expressed his desire to make his loan deal a longer stay at the club, saying “I’ve fallen in love with this club, I told my agent and my father that I desperately want to stay here,” according to a Google translation of this article in Het Nieuwsblad.

Also, one of our top two favorite English blogs about Belgian football, The Belgian Waffle recently underwent a redesign. Give them a look if you fancy.

Speaking of two-legged playoffs, Luis Robles didn’t play for Karlsruher in either leg of a tie with SSV Jahn Regensburg. Unfortunately for Karlsruher, they were relegated to third division after drawing 2-2 with a nine-man Jahn Regensburg in their home leg on Monday. The aggregate ended 3-3, and Karlsruher was relegated on the away goals rule. Avi Creditor notes Robles might be a prime candidate to return to MLS, where he nearly signed with the New York Red Bulls before the season.

The season has ended for Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest.

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