Match analysis: Dempsey goal gives Seattle 1-0 win over Chivas

Seattle Sounders FC put in a complete performance against Chivas de Guadalajara as they thrilled the home crowd with a 1-0 win. Both sides played aggressively and the game became an end-to-end affair for much of the second half. A strong defensive performance from Chad Marshall and Stefan Frei helped Seattle keep a clean sheet while it was Clint Dempsey who would score the winner in the 78th minute.

Chivas opened the match with intense pressure on the ball, forcing Seattle into mistakes early on. Eleven minutes into the match Alejandro Mayorga slipped into the box in front of the Seattle defense to register the first shot of the match. Stefan Frei had to make himself big to make the save and then paw away the rebound and keep a clean sheet.

In the 33rd minute a slip by Roman Torres gave Alan Pulido a one-on-one opportunity versus Frei and it looked like Chivas would take the lead. Pulido’s final touch was too strong and allowed Frei enough time to close down on the ball an deny Pulido from finding the net.

Seattle seemed to wake up after the Pulido chance as they began to gain more possession and create chances although the chances were further from goal and didn’t trouble keeper Rodolfo Cota.

Don’t miss: In pictures – Seattle Sounders 1-0 Chivas Guadalajara

The second half seemed the exact opposite as Seattle came out as the team pressuring the ball and forcing the issue looking to take the match in their control. Seattle did well to cut down passing lanes and frustrate Guadalajara when in possession to force turnovers. They attacked Chivas down the wings, stretching the defence and creating gaps in the box that would eventually give them the opening goal.

Henry Wingo came on as a substitute in the 73rd minute for Handwalla Bwana, who had an impressive performance in his first start, and made an immediate impact on the wing. Wingo was able to consistently get dangerous balls into the box from out wide and pick out players in open space. In the 78th minute Wingo makes a run towards the corner flag into space and receives a pass from Jordan McCrary. He lets the ball run until about five yards from the endline before whipping in a low cross right in between four Guadalajara players to the feet of Dempsey for a first-time strike past Cota.

Through much of the second half, Guadalajara left space open around the top of the box and were beat to crosses as Sounders began to take control of the match. Dempsey had two other chances that looked similar to the play he was able to score on, where a cross from a wide area pulled Chivas out of position and allowed Seattle to find Dempsey for a scoring opportunity. The third of these chances came in the 82nd minute and it looked as though Dempsey would have a wide open goal to target but his shot was skied over the bar.

Seattle will hope the missed opportunities do not come back to haunt them in the second leg as they travel to Guadalajara Wednesday March 14th looking for a result that will send them to the CCL semifinals for the second time in club history.

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In pictures: Seattle Sounders 1-0 Chivas Guadalajara – Dempsey fires Sounders to first-leg victory

The Seattle Sounders completed the job in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal clash with Chivas Guadalajara on Wednesday night. Clint Dempsey fired the game’s only goal late into the second half, giving the Sounders the advantage ahead of the return leg in Mexico.

It was a fairly even match, as expected, with both sides creating opening they will feel they could have scored from. Stefan Frei came up big for Seattle in the first half, denying Alejandro Mayorga and Alan Pulido to keep the score at 0-0.

Will Bruin then came closest to opening the scoring as his header clipped off the post. But Seattle kept plugging away and got their reward on 78 minutes. Henry Wingo came off the bench and did well down the right flank. And it was the homegrown attacker who provided the pass for the breakthrough.

Wingo’s low cross was met by Dempsey in the box, who slotted in first time to earn an important first-leg win for the Sounders. The two sides will meet again next Wednesday at Estadio Chivas to determine who advances to the semi’s.

Check out exclusive photos from Wednesday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

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REVEALED: The highest MLS salaries eclipse those seen in Liga MX

Major League Soccer and Mexico’s Liga MX will long be battling for the tag of the best domestic league in the CONCACAF and if player salaries are anything to go by, MLS is winning the battle.

Liga MX has long been considered the superior league, in terms of player quality and business, as well as the fact that the league has seemed to attract the ‘big’ names ahead of MLS in recent years.

But that is changing and changing fast. MLS is growing at an unprecedented level and the 2015 season will be the league’s biggest and best ever as 20 teams will take part for the first time ever and international stars such as Kaka, David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco will grace the league with their quality.

If player salaries are anything to go by, the MLS is now the superior domestic league in the CONCACAF as a list of the top ten highest paid players in Liga MX has been released by Forbes Mexico:

 Player  Club  Annual Base Salary
 Roque Santa Cruz  Cruz Azul  2.6 million USD
 Oribe Peralta  Club America  2.5 million USD
 Darwin Quintero  Club America 1.8 million USD
 Ronaldinho  Queretaro  1.8 million USD
 Angel Reyna  Chivas  1.7 million USD
 Jesus Corona Cruz Azul 1.5million USD
 Marco Fabian  Chivas  1.5 million USD
 Paulo da Silva  Toluca  1.2 million USD
 Dorlan Pabon  Monterrey  1.2 million USD
Mauro Boselli Leon  1.1 million USD

Roque Santa Cruz is the highest paid player in Liga MX, earning 2.6 million dollars annually but that is just a fraction of what Major League Soccer’s highest paid player Sebastian Giovinco is set to earn in 2015 following his move from Juventus this winter.

Giovinco is expected to earn around $7 million in his debut campaign in MLS while fellow newcomer Kaka is set to earn $6.6 million as a base salary.

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Below is a list of MLS players anticipated salaries for 2015. Most are according to the MLS Players’ Union while the salary of Steven Gerrard is based on reported figures. Frank Lampard’s projected salary with New York City FC has not been revealed, though he would likely make the top ten in earnings this year.

It is clear to see that the best players in MLS are earning significantly more than those in Liga MX as a base salary:

 Player  Club  Annual Base Salary
Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC  7.0 million USD
 Kaka  Orlando City SC  6.6 million USD
 David Villa New York City FC 6.0 million USD
 Michael Bradley Toronto FC  6.0 million USD
 Jozy Altidore Toronto FC  6.0 million USD
Clint Dempsey Seattle Sounders 4.9 million USD
Robbie Keane LA Galaxy  4.5 million USD
Steven Gerrard LA Galaxy 4.0 million USD
Jermaine Jones New England Revolution  3.0 million USD
Obafemi Martins Seattle Sounders  1.6 million USD

It says a lot that the ninth-highest paid player in MLS, Jermaine Jones would be the highest paid player in Liga MX with his base salary of around $3 million per year.

The Designated Player rule in the United States means a small fraction of players can earn the huge wages seen above, but Liga MX players still earn better salaries on average league-wide.

A report last November revealed players in Mexico would earn an average of $410,139 per season compared to $209,906 per year in MLS on average.

On the field, an MLS side has yet to win the CONCACAF Champions League since the tournament’s inception in 2009.

A Liga MX club has won each year since then, with Monterrey the most successful team with three Champions League titles in six years.

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Real Salt Lake came closest when they reached the final in 2011 but ultimately lost to Monterrey on that occasion.

Things could now be swinging in the favour of MLS though as the rapidly growing league continues to rise on and off the field.

Which league would you class as the best – MLS or Liga MX?

Erick Torres heads back to Chivas before possible MLS switch in 6 months

Erick “Cubo” Torres has dominated most of the postseason transfer headlines as his stance has been unclear since Chivas USA were disbanded as a club, but his situation looks to be finally resolved… for now.

The 21-year-old Mexican striker has been in talks with Major League Soccer for some time, as the league looked to keep him in the US. And they may have succeeded, but for now he’s going back to parent club Chivas Guadalajara of Liga MX.

Chivas are in a real relegation scrap as they have won just one of their last ten, and have failed to score in three of their last four. Solution – bring back Torres.

He netted 15 goals in 29 games for a poor Chivas USA side last season and will now look to carry that form into Liga MX to keep Chivas in the top-tier of Mexican football.

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That does not mean a move to MLS is dead in the water though as ESPN soccer reporter Tom Marshall indicated on Twitter.

Torres is expected to still make a return to Major League Soccer and will reportedly join up with a new team at the midpoint of the 2015 season.

The next big question then is ‘who is that team going to be?’ Well it seemed like LA Galaxy were frontrunners for his signature for a long time, as Torres himself was keen on a move to the MLS Cup champions, but the Galaxy are not believed to be interested.

They are looking to replace Landon Donovan with a designated player, but are exploring other options. Another rumoured destination for Torres was the Seattle Sounders, but they too are not believed to be chasing the talented young Mexican at this point.

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Last night, it emerged that the Houston Dynamo were in pole position to bring Torres back to MLS as Ives Galarcep reported on Goal.com.

According to the report, the Dynamo were willing to meet a $7.5 million demand for Torres but by sending him back to Chivas for six months, that fee could be lowered significantly.

The Dynamo therefore will be favourites for his signature after he is done on his rescue mission to Mexico.

Torres needs a home after a turbulent few months and a move to Houston would certainly be an intriguing move.

What do make of the Erick Torres situation? Would Houston Dynamo be a good destination?

2014 MLS Season Review: Chivas USA

Western Conference Final Position: 7th

Review

It was a disappointing show by Chivas this year as they showed a lot of promise but never really produced enough to threaten anyone. We were expecting a bit more than what we saw unfortunately.

Best Moment

A four-game winning streak where they beat San Jose, Real Salt Lake, Montreal and Vancouver consecutively through June and July – Erick Torres scored in all four games.

Worst Moment

Being 4-0 down by half time at home to Seattle Sounders early in September. They did fight back in the second half but eventually lost the game 4-2.

Player of the Year

It’s the obvious choice really, but with 15 goals and 52% of the overall team goals, it has to be Erick Torres. We’re expecting big things in the future from the 21 year-old.

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Colorado Rapids 1-3 Chivas USA (May 11 2014)

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-3 Chivas USA (July 13 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Chivas USA 0-4 Sporting Kansas City (September 13 2014)

Chivas USA fold

Sadly, Chivas USA will not be returning to Major League Soccer in 2015 as the league undergoes a few changes.

MLS to adopt new setup for 2015 season

Major League Soccer will look a little bit different for the start of the 2015 season, after the league announced some key changes today.

Chivas USA will cease operations with immediate effect, and a new Los Angeles-based side will be announced on Thursday, to begin playing in 2017.

The decision to remove Chivas from MLS was made by the MLS Board of Governors, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed the reason behind the key decision.

“As part of our new strategy for Southern California – a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support, we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success,” he said.

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With Orlando City SC and New York City FC set to enter the league next season, MLS has had to shake up the conference alignment.

As a result, the two new franchises will enter the Eastern Conference, while Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo will have to face new rivals in the Western Conference.

This means that Major League soccer will have two 10-team conferences for the first time.

MLS Season 2015 Setup

The 20 sides will play 34 regular season matches once again, and clubs will play teams in the opposing conferences once for five home and five away matches.

That will cover 10 games, and the remaining 24 fixtures will be played against sides from within the same conference.

Teams will play their nine conference rivals at least twice (one home and one away game), plus six additional games against teams from the same conference – three home, three away.

What do you make of the latest changes to the MLS setup?

Preview and Prediction: Chivas USA vs San Jose Earthquakes

Chivas USA take on San Jose Earthquakes as the two worst sides in the Western Conference clash this Sunday, to end what have been largely miserable seasons for both.

The sides lock horns level on points and both will want to get the win to avoid being at the foot of the table come the end of the final weekend.

The Earthquakes go into the game in good form, having taken four points from their last two, which is promising for them, considering they had failed to win in the previous 13 in all competitions.

Chivas had won two back-to-back for the first time since July, but did lose against Real Salt Lake on Thursday. Their form over the season simply hasn’t been good enough, but there is promise for them in the season finale as Erick Torres will want to add to his tally of 15 to end what has been a good season individually.

Both sides will be looking to end this season with something to take into next term and ensuring that they don not finishing bottom would be a step in the right direction.

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Chivas have won twice more this season than the Earthquakes so they will feel they’ll have the upper hand in the tie despite being bottom of the Western Conference going into it.

With both sides struggling to have found any real form all season a draw looks a likely possibility in what will be the final regular season game of the 2014 MLS season.

Key Player: Erick Torres – The most positive aspect of Chivas’ season, as he has scored 15 in 28.

Key Stat: Chivas have lost more games than any team in Major League Soccer with 19.

Chivas Last 5: L/L/W/W/L

SJ Earthquakes Last 5: L/L/L/W/D

Prediction: Chivas 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes

Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Chivas USA

Real Salt Lake will play their last game of the regular season when they take on Chivas USA in a Western Conference clash at the Rio Tinto Stadium tonight.

Chivas will have one more game after this one when they host fellow strugglers San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

The home side will be keen to pick up all three points in their last outing in order to give themselves a chance of finishing in the top three and will therefore avoid the 4th vs. 5th playoff encounter.

They need to do their job here and hope that FC Dallas fail to win against Portland Timbers at the weekend as anything other than a victory means they will face either Vancouver Whitecaps or Portland Timbers in the wildcard game.

Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in their last nine home games, picking up seven wins and two draws, so recent history and standings would suggest they are heavy favourites to win this one.

Real Salt Lake’s home form: Played 16 – Won 10 – Drawn 5 – Lost 1

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[Key Player: Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake]

Chivas USA have had yet another season to forget as they prop up the Western Conference table alongside San Jose Earthquakes.

From their 32 games played this season, they have managed just 28 goals and also shipped 59 at the other end giving them the worst attack and the worst defence in the league.

They have managed to win their last two games though, one of which was a 1-0 success over their opponents in this fixture on 5th October – they also beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 on 29th June, so there is reason to be optimistic.

Before those last two victories, they had been on a 12-game winless streak which saw them pick up just one point in a goalless draw with Vancouver and slump to 11 defeats.

Chivas USA’s away form: Played 16 – Won 3 – Drawn 4 – Lost 9

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[Erick Torres has been the one bright spark for Chivas USA this season with 15 goals]

Key Player: Javier Morales – the Argentinian playmaker has had a good season for Real Salt Lake with 9 goals and 11 assists so we can expect him to be at the heart of things once again.

Key Stat: Chivas USA have only kept one clean sheet away from home this season, so you’d expect Real Salt Lake to grab at least one goal.

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Chivas USA’s last five: L/L/L/W/W

Prediction: Real Salt Lake 2 – 0 Chivas USA