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Western Conference Final: Galaxy vs. FC Dallas: Match Night Commentary | Soccer By Ives

BY ADAM SERRANO

Theres only one ticket left to be punched for Toronto and MLS Cup.

The Los Angeles Galaxy take on FC Dallas in the Western Conference Final with the right to play the Colorado Rapids on the line. The Galaxy are looking to make it to back to the Cup Final for the second year in a row, but once more a team from the Lone Star State stands in their way. FC Dallas is seeking their first berth in the Final and led by their MVP candidate, David Ferreira, FCD is alegitimatecontender to knock off LA.

I will be providing commentary throughout the match, live from Home Depot Center so please feel free to follow along here. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

FINAL Total team effort by Dallas tonight. They were buzzing around the field and deserved the result. What a performance by FCD to earn the Western Conference Trophy. For those followingalong at home. Hyndman has his Butter Leather jacket back on. Credit to the players like McCarthy, Ferreira, who all did the extra mile to give Dallas a victory. Thats all from me tonight. Thank you for following along with LA based coverage this year. This is Adam Serrano.

More on this match later. The final is FC Dallas 3 LA Galaxy 0

FINAL – THATS IT! FC DALLAS 3 LOS ANGELES GALAXY 0. FC Dallas is going to MLS Cup to face the Colorado Rapids!

93rd Minute Hartman with a great save on a Beckham free kick. Remember when Ricketts won GK of the Year? Yeah, I dont either

90th Minute Silence is deafing here, only the Angel City Brigade is keeping up the noise level. LA seems content to just play out the clock. Two minutes of stoppage.

88th Minute McCarthy comes out for Alexander. In a way he was my MVP of the night a dominant performance that I can best describe as buzzing, who was your MVP of the night?

86th Minute Lost in the malaise of the defeat was Eddie Lewis being pulled for Kirovski. The end of a great career, but not enough in the tank tonight. What was your favorite Lewis memory?

85th Minute Yellow cards beginning to fly from the Galaxy. Hyndmantryingto get off as many players as possible now. Arena wants to make sure that they chip FC Dallas as much as possible.

76th Minute – The Galaxy have their axes out now and are looking to hack out Dallas in the worse way possible. Expect a Red card to come soon.

73rd Minute GOAL DALLAS!!!! Good Night Los Angeles. 3-0 with Marvin Chavez with the goal, but Harris was offside. What was a great season for Los Angeles is about to end in flames.

72nd Minute Buddle on the sidelines receiving treatment and LA continuing to fail with the final touch.

69TH Minute – la earns a corner. Buddlegetspushed to thegroundand is down. He seemed to have gotten hit on that play. No luck from Buddle today as his headers are just off.

66th Minute – Another move that comes a bit late. Birchall enters for Kovalenko. The Galaxy are hoping that he displays somestrengthgoing forward, but right now hes been outmanned by McCarthy, who is just ALL over the place.

64th Minute – LA beginningto run out of options. Beckhams crosses which were on target last week are just not there for the Galaxy right now.

61st Minute – LA starting to put some more pressure in the Dallas end. Jovan Kirovski on the bench warming up. Looks like hell be coming in soon. Chavez on the break, but MISSES Harris. LA dodges a bullet.

58th Minute – LA fans attempting to will the Galaxy back into the match. BTW Magee was removed for Cazumba. About 5 minutes too late for Bruce Arena.

56th Minute – Shea with the ball played wide by Ihemelu. Shea sends in a GREAT pass to John that skirts past the LA defense for John to easily put in the back of the net. Dallas up 2-0! On the other end Donovan nearly cuts the lead in LA. LA needs a goal in the next few minutes.

55th Minute GOAL!!! GEORGE JOHN!!!!!!

52th Minute WOW! What was Magee doing.Was Benitez offside there? Because that was just a baffling decision.

50th Minute – Hartman and Magee collide as the Galaxy subs get up along the sideline. Birchall, Stephens and Kirovski appearing to work the hardest.

49th Minute -LA earn a corner, but Dallas takes it away with a foul. Harris NEARLY gets behind the defense, but no luck. This one is getting tense.

46th Minute – Franklin goes down after hitting heads with Ferreira. Both men shake off the cobwebs and play on.

46th Minute – No Birchall at the half as both teams stay the same. Five minutes to save the World by JT playing on the loudspeakers as we kick off. More like 45 minutes to save the Galaxys season. Were off.

HALFTIME – Looking at LAs bench. Who do you bring in for a sub? Birchall, Stephens and Kirovski are the only options off the bench. Last year, the Galaxy were brought down for not having a second scoring option and this year

45th Minute Hartman wraps up a chance by Lewis. Hes incredibly motivated tonight and the whistle blows. FC Dallas up 1-0 at the half.

45th Minute LA tries to strike back on the counter, but chooses to settle. Not the best service into the box from the Galaxy so far. One minute of stoppage.

44th Minute – Dallas earns a corner. Ferreira will stroll to the corner flag.

39th Minute Let me hear from you. Should Marrufo be a bit more generous with the cards in this match or is he calling a good game by letting them play?

39th Minute Could have easily been a second yellow for Kovalenko after bringing down Ferreira. There will be a red tonight.

37th Minute LA is starting to press just a bit. Theyre looking for that goal before the half, but FCDs defense is putting in a great display. Rough stuff as Marrufo allows Donovan to be brought down. This is playoff soccer folks.

32nd Minute YELLOW CARD – Kovalenko brings down Chavez and picks up a yellow card. That will severely limit his physical game. Or not knowing Dema.

31th Minute JUST WIDE!! Donovan beats Hartman but he gets a finger tip on it. LA corner

28th Minute Harris plays the ball to Chavez who hits Ferreira with a beautiful pass. The Colombian confidently puts the ball in the back of the net and gives Dallas a 1-0 lead. Strap your seatbelts in folks its about to get real.

26th Minute – GOAL!!! DAVID FERREIRA!!!!

25th Minute JUST OVER THE BAR! Juninho fires a shot that just misses the top of Hartmans net. LA wants that first goal and they want it bad.

24th Minute SAVE!!! Hartman comes up big again after Beckhams free kick bounces into the box. What a save. LA loses possession and Hernandez will take the goal kick for Hartman.

21st Minute SAVE!!! Hartman with a cracker of a save on a Juninho LASER. LA with the corner kick, but Dallas clears and gains possession.

20th Minute Both clubs seemingly feeling each other out right now. LA with the lionshare of possession, but not much to show for it.

17th Minute Juninho brings down Dax with a little bit of the rough stuff to give FCD a free kick at the edge. Little in the ways of attack from Dallas so far, but their counter is too dangerous for LA to neglect

14th Minute – LA Reject being sung to Hartman. Thats pretty surprising. Perhaps theyre singing it to Ugo.

12th Minute -Ihemelu THROWS Beckham to the turf in the box, but no call. High paced and highly physical right now expect some cards in this match.

10th Minute – Wow. Incredible sequence with both teams playing back and forth missing some clear chances. A Press box colleague just screamed out so its gonna be that kind of game. LA earns a throw in after Donovan gets into with Jackson. A lot of fire right now.

8th minute SAVE!!!!! MAGEE with a chance that Hartman saves. Jackson with a foul on Beckham for a free kick. LA knocking on the door.

5th Minute – A bit surprising that Hyndman left the butter leather jacket at home tonight. For some that has to be a bigger surprise than having Cunningham on the bench. This must be the lucky jacket that we heard of last week. What do you think?

3rd Minute Inswinger is cleared by Dallas and FCD will go on the attack. Something that I do not expect to say very often tonight with this line-up.

2nd Minute – LA earns the corner, Beckham to take the chance.

1st Minute – And.Here.We.Go! Penultimate MLS match of the season. LA vs. FCD.

PREGAME: The key players tonight for me are as follows: For FCD: Kevin Hartman, David F erreira and Atiba Harris and for LA: Donovan Ricketts, Dema Kovalenko and Landon Donovan. These three will have a major impact on this match.

PREGAME: Miss LA Galaxy is leading the team s out the tunnel with the Western Conference Trophy in tow.

PREGAME: Apologies for the delay in the Commentary. HDC internet is spotty and lets hope that it doesnt give too much trouble tonight.

PREGAME: If youre following along tonight, let me hear from you. Where are you coming from and who are you supporting.

PREGAME: Good atmosphere so far. Expect a capacity crowd at the HDC.

PREGAME: Big surprise is that Jeff Cunningham is on the bench for FCD. Looks like Dallas will plan to pack the back and hit LA on the counter.

PREGAME: Here are the line ups:

LOS ANGELES GALAXY

MageeBuddle

Donovan-JuninhoBeckham

-Kovalenko

Lewis-DeLaGarzaGonzalezFranklin

-Ricketts

FC DALLAS

Harris-

Shea-Ferreira-Chavez

-McCartyHernandez-

Benitez-Ihemelu-John-Jackson

-Hartman-

PREGAME

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Maryland tops UNC to take ACC title | Soccer By Ives

By JOHN BOSCHINI

No. 3 Maryland again showed why they are a strong favorite to hoist the College Cup as the Terrapins won their fourth ACC championship with a 1-0 victory over No. 4 North Carolina, who went down to 10 men after Michael Farfan was shown a straight red card in the first half.

The Terrapins benefited from two closedecisionsfrom referee Mike Landis in the first half. In the 34th minute, Farfan left his feet andcollidedwith John Stertzer, who was a gametime decision with an ankle injury. Landis showed Farfan UNCs first straight red card of the season and the Tar Heels were without their best player player.

UNC head coach Elmar Bolowich wouldnt comment on the decision after the game, saying he didnt seek an explanation from Landis.

Im not going to comment on the referees, Bolowich said.

Maryland had taken the lead 20 minutes earlier when Enzo Martinez was whistled for a handball inside the box. Junior Matt Kassel stepped up and sent Scott Goodwin the wrong way and Maryland had an early lead.

It wasnt intentional at all, said Martinez. My hand was just beside me, I cant chop my hand off, the ball just hit me there. Id understand if I raised my hand or something but the ref saw what he saw.

Surprisingly, the Tar Heels were a vastlyimprovedside after losing arguable their best player.

[The red card] had sort of a twisted effect on the game, said Cirovski. On the one hand, you thought wed have the ball a little more and wed have some chances. But I think it inspired them to a much higher level.

In the second half, it was all UNC as Maryland, who had zero shots after the intermission, was content to sit behind the ball and absorb pressure. North Carolina should have had an equalizer when Martin Murphy rounded Zac MacMath but Alex Lee cleared the shot off the line.

I probably got a little undisciplined by leaving my feet but thankfully I gave enough time for some guys to get back on the line, MacMath said. We ended up having three or four guys back there and it just so happened Alex got his chest out there and cleared it.

MacMath, who was named the tournament MVP with a 0.33 goals against average and a penalty kick save in the tournament, bailed the Terrapins out on numerous occasions. Redshirt senior Jason Herrick said that Maryland wanted to push on and get an insurance goal but as North Carolina increased its pressure, defense became the Terrapins priority.

We really wanted to press them from early on, Herrick said. We had a bunch of chances but we couldnt manage to get the second goal but we held on.

Marylands winning streak, which dates back to Oct. 1, increases to 13 games and the Terrapins should enjoy a lofty seed.

This was one of our stated goals and now this is one of our completed goals, Cirovski said. We have one more stated goal to go and thats what were going to focus on.

ACC All-Tournament Team

Jason Herrick, MarylandMatt Kassel, MarylandZac MacMath, Maryland (MVP)Jalil Anibaba, North CarolinaMichael Farfan, North CarolinaEnzo Martinez, North CarolinaCasey Townsend, North CarolinaKirk Urso, North CarolinaCraig Sutherland, NC StateHunter Jumper, VirginiaAmit Aburmad, Boston College

MLS Cup Final is set: Who’s your pick? | Soccer By Ives

The MLS Cup Final few people outside of Colorado and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area could have seen coming has arrived, and while we can spend time dwelling on the fact that some teams expected to be there arent, its time to focus on the two teams who did what they needed to do to reach the final.

FC Dallas and Colorado met twice this season, tying both matches. Their most recent meeting, on Oct. 9th, finished a 2-2 tie at Pizza Hut Park. Jeff Larentowicz scored both for Colorado while Milton Rodriguez and David Ferreira netted for Dallas.

Here is our question for you. Who do you see winning Sundays MLS Cup Final? Cast your vote here:

poll by twiigs.com

Who is my pick? Ill save that for later in the week. For now, tell us who you picked and why. Think FC Dallas speedy attack will be too much for the Rapids? See Omar Cummings going wild on the Dallas back-line?

Share your thoughts below.

Mid-Day Ticker: Edu out for ‘a few games’, Rooney nears return and more | Soccer By Ives

By AVI CREDITOR

United States midfielder Maurice Edu escaped serious damage to his knee, but hell still be spending a couple of weeks on the sideline, according to his teams manager.

Walter Smith said on Rangers team Web site that he will hold Edu out for a few games to let his left knee fully heal before he returns to action. An MRI revealed no major damage, but Smith said that his starting midfielder is still experiencing some soreness and will be held out until hes completely fit. Edu, who suffered the injury in a surprise loss to Hibernian last week, was forced to miss seven months of action after undergoing surgery on that same knee last season.

Should Rangers timeline for Edu hold, he will miss his teams key UEFA Champions League match against Manchester United on Nov. 24.

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

ROONEY NEARS RETURN

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney could return to action as soon as this weekend after completing his rehabilitation and conditioning stint in Portland, Ore., and returning to England.

Rooney has missed Uniteds last five matches and hasnt played since a 20-minute appearance as a substitute against West Brom on Oct. 16.

Manchester United hosts Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

D.C. TERMINATES ALLSOPPS CONTRACT

Danny Allsopps tenure with D.C. United is over after the two parted ways on Monday. Allsopp scored five goals in his lone Major League Soccer season with United, and he tallied a hat trick in the teams victory over Portsmouth in a friendly over the summer.

Allsopp and midfielder Cristian Castillo were both brought in during the preseason to bolster D.C.s attack. Castillo was cut during the season.

PACHUCA DRAWS MONTERREY

Pachuca and Americans Jose Francisco Torres, Herculez Gomez and Marco Vidal begin their quest to capture the Mexican Apertura Liguilla on Thursday with the first leg of their two-legged tie with second-seeded Monterrey.

Should Los Tuzos get by Humberto Suazos Monterrey, theyd likely have a semifinal date with top-seeded Cruz Azul, which faces Pumas in the quarterfinals.

Happy with how Rangers is dealing with Edus injury? Can you see Rooney returning to form now that hes fit? Disappointed with how Allsopps season turned out for D.C.? Do you think Pachuca can get by Monterrey in the Liguilla quarterfinals?

Share your thoughts below.

USA to face Chile at Home Depot Center on Jan. 22nd | Soccer By Ives

As the U.S. mens national team prepares for the final match of 2010 against South Africa on Wednesday, U.S. Soccer has announced the first match of 2011.

The United States will face Chile at Home Depot Center on Jan. 22nd.

The match will take place at the tail-end of the U.S. national teams upcoming training camp in January. MLS-based players and Scandinavian League-based players.

Chile was one of the most exciting teams at the 2010 World Cup, but most of the teams stars are likely to be playing in Europe at the time.

What do you think of the match-up? Which players are you hoping to see face Chile?

Share your thoughts below.

Crew ready to rebuild without Schelotto | Soccer By Ives

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

When the Columbus Crew won the 2008 MLS Cup Final, it had a deep and strong team that many believed could potentially become a dynasty.

Two years later, that MLS Cup remains the only championship won by the club, with two straight first-round playoff exits forcing the Crew to consider making major changes.

Those changes are set to be made now as the Columbus Dispatch reported on Monday that the Crew planned on not exercising the contract options of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk, Gino Padula and Duncan Oughton.

Today the coach told me he wanted to make the team young, Schelotto told the Dispatch on Monday. They have made the decision.

By parting ways with Schelotto, the Crew is saying goodbye to arguably the most influential player in the clubs history, the player who led the Crew to that 2008 MLS Cup title. A player who once again led Columbus in goals and assists this season.

What is next for Schelotto? It is looking like a move to another team in MLS.

Schelotto is expected to be made available in the leagues new re-entry draft next month, meaning MLS clubs will have the option of signing him at his Designated Player-level option year. If all teams pass, Schelotto could be re-signed by MLS to a smaller deal, and go into another re-entry draft.

Long story short, Schelotto should be back in MLS and there should be several teams lining up for his services.

Who exactly? Here are some possibilities:

D.C. UNITED- With Jaime Moreno departing, the club could certainly use Schelottos skill and playmaking ability. Imagine a Schelotto-Juan Pablo Angel pairing in D.C.

HOUSTON DYNAMO- The club needs an attacking spark and Schelotto could fit right in. This is assuming the Dynamo dont already have a playmaker lined up, which some rumors suggest they do.

CHIVAS USA- The Goats need plenty, but a playmaker is at the top of that list. Would Chivas USA spend the money to make it happen, or if the teams new coach will want Schelotto.

NEW YORK RED BULLS- Its probably unlikely, but the idea of having Schelotto setting up Thierry Henry and Juan Agudelo and working with Rafa Marquez would be special.

As for Columbus, the Crew cant be blamed for wanting to turn to youth, but the team absolutely better have a replacement for Schelotto on the radar because a Columbus team without him in 2011 isnt going to come close to challenging for MLS Cup, or beating Real Salt Lake in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Here is what Columbus can look like minus the veterans it is cutting loose:

-MendozaLenhart-

RogersGaven

Carroll-Ekpo-

Francis-MarshallORourkeBrunner

Hesmer-

That isnt a bad squad, but one clearly in need of either a top striker or playmaker.

What do you think of the Crews decision? Where would you like to see Schelotto wind up?

Share your thoughts below.

Is new look for KC a good change? | Soccer By Ives

The Kansas City Wizards, at least the team formerly known as the Kansas City Wizards, are set to make a major announcement on Wednesday and it appears the news will be a name and brand change.

Kansas City will now be called Sporting KC, with the above logo making the rounds as the new look (though the logo has yet to be officially revealed). The real question is whether the change in team name needed to be made. Switching to the European-influenced name sure does seem like change for changes sake.

What do you think? Do you like the new name, or do you think Kansas City is making a mistake?

Cast your vote here:

poll by twiigs.com

How did you vote? What do you think of the new name and logo?

Share your thoughts below.

Garber discusses playoffs, expansion in State of MLS address | Soccer By Ives

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

Don Garber outlined his visions for MLS in his annual state of the league addressed on Tuesday afternoon.

In a conference call with the media, commissioner Garber touched on a number of potential changes MLS today including expansion into New York City and the Southeast, the new Reserve League and much more.

The initial highlight of the State of MLS was thecommissionersslip that David Ferriera will be announced as the MLS MVP. During the call, Garber stated that the MLS Cup will contain a player who will be involved an upcoming announcement. The MLS MVP will be announced on Friday. The FC Dallas midfielder was announced as a finalist several weeks ago along with Edson Buddle and Chris Wondolowski.

Garber stated that, pending approval from the MLS Board of Governors, MLS rosters will expand to 30 in 2011, up from 24 this season. The roster spots will be available for players under the age of 24 and will not count against a teams salary cap.

2011 will also mark the return of MLS reserve division. According to the commissioner, teams will be able to place players from their academies, those on trial and players, who hold the latter six roster spots in the reserve league in hopes of developing their own prospects.

The commissioner also said teams will play 34 matches in 2011, but it was not yet known whether it will be a balanced schedule or an imbalanced one toenhancerivalries. Garber also announced that changes to the playoff format are expected.

Garber also addressed the playoffs, saying there may be changes to the number of teams that make the playoffs. Garber said that there is apossibilitythat the 2011 MLS Cup Final that will take place in the stadium of the higher-seeded finalist, while also dismissing any possibility of MLS ever eliminating the playoffs and crowning the team with the best record as league champion.

We will never do away with playoffs, Garber said. There is absolutely no reason to do that. I know that it exists in other soccer leagues, though not all. All have been around for hundreds of years, all that dont have the competition that we have. We will always have playoffs.

In terms of expansion, Garber announced that New York is on the top of the expansion list, with 2013 a potential season for the new teams arrival. The commissioner announced that there have been a number of conversations about a franchise in New York including conversations with the representativesof a prospective New York Cosmos franchise. Garber said there will be a focus on growing rivalries with more teams in a closervicinityto oneanother. The Red Bulls have stated that they areopen to the possibility of a second team in the New York market.

Regarding expansion into the South, Garber saidt it was highly unlikely that when MLS is finished with expansion that there will be no teams in the South. The league has not had a team south of D.C. United since the folding of the Miami Fusion and the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001. Garber outlined Atlanta and Miami as just a pair of cities that the league is interested in expanding in.

We are very focused on local rivalries being a key driver in growing our clubs relevance, and by growing local relevance, we believe that can translate into national relevance, said Garber. Rivalries really do matter. While we have been very focused on broadening our footprint. We do believe we need to have more rivalries and that a second team in New York will help us do that.

That being said, I cant imagine this will be a league, when all is said and done, that does not have teams in the South.

What are your thoughts on Commissioner Garbers comments? Like the idea of a second New York team? Relieved to hear that changes to the playoff format are being consdered?

Share your thoughts below.

USA vs. South Africa: The Pre-Game Tailgate | Soccer By Ives

The U.S. mens national team is ready to play its final game of 2010 today when it takes on South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup today (2pm, ESPN2).

Bob Bradley has brought a young squad to Cape Town for todays match, meaning American fans will be able to get their first glimpses of several top young prospects in the U.S. national team pool.

Juan Agudelo, Mikkel Diskerud, Teal Bunbury and Tim Ream are just some of the new faces who could make their USA debuts today, while more established players like Brad Guzan, Clarence Goodson and Alejandro Bedoya will lead the squad against a tough South African squad led by Steven Pienaar.

SBI will be providing commentary on todays match later today. For now, please feel free to share your pre-game thoughts here.

Which young player are you hoping to see start? What lineup would you like to see the USA trot out today? Who do you see scoring today for the United States?

Share your thoughts below.