Carli Lloyd Scores Again as Dash get Vital win

Carli Lloyd celebrates another goal
Carli Lloyd celebrates another goal
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The stunning performances coming from Carli Lloyd continued on Wednesday night as she scored yet another stunning goal to give Houston Dash a 3-2 win over FC Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium. The goal was an absolute stunner, which stole headlines from the MLS All Star game being played at the same time, and was the perfect response to a late equalizer.

Kansas City started the better side, with two of USA’s World Champions combining well to get the opening goal just three minutes in. Heather O’Reilly found Lauren Holiday at the edge of the area, allowing her to shoot, which Erin McLeod looked to cover but it deflected off of Ellie Brush and hit the back of the net, with McLeod stranded.

After that disappointment, Brush looked to make amends for that unlucky deflection and did so nine minutes later. Kealia Ohai sent in a ball in to the box which found Brush who was still forward from a corner, allowing her to volley home the equalizer, giving the Australian first NWSL goal.

Houston Dash were able to take the lead in the 16th minute, capping a frantic start to the match from both sides. Jessica McDonald was able to cut in to the box and then kept running, getting in to close range and shoot, beating the keeper at the near post.

It was a phenomenally entertaining match, competing on Fox Sports alongside the MLS All Star Game and proved more entertaining than the male match. The two sides continued to attack, but McLeod was doing well in the goal for Houston Dash.

As the match wore on Kansas City continued to pile on the pressure with McLeod was able to keep out Kansas City. That was until the 83rd minute win Liz Bogus took a shot that forced a dive from McLeod only for the post to come back off the post for Sarah Hagen who was left with a simple finish to take advantage of the keeper being out of position.

That was a deserved lead for Kansas City but it was only short lived after Houston restored their lead just two minutes later. Lloyd received a ball from Niki Cross, took a touch and then sent in a powerful shot from 30 yards which left the keeper with no chance and gave Houston all three points.

The win is vital for Houston Dash as they now jump two points above FC Kansas City and find themselves in fourth place. That sees Houston in the last playoff place, and Saturday’s match against Washington Spirit will allow them a chance to consolidate their playoff position.

Comeback not Enough for Scorpions Again

NASL Fall Season 2015: San Antonio Scorpions v Minnesota United-slide0
Courtesy San Antonio Scorpions
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The San Antonio Scorpions are fast falling behind the back in the NASL after a loss to Minnesota United at Toyota Field on Saturday night. On the bright side for the club, the match entertained the 7,087 fans as the Scorpions fell 4-3 to the Loons.

Scorpions players celebrate their opening goal

courtesy San Antonio Scorpions

In what is becoming an alarming trend in 2015, the Scorpions were forced to come from behind three times. For the second week in a row that attempted comeback was just not enough despite the vocal support of their largest home crowd of the season.

The first half saw plenty of action as both teams’ defence really struggled, allowing plenty of goals to entertain the fans. Minnesota opened the scoring in the 12th minute and it was the defending Young Player of the Year, Christian Ramirez, who got things started. Aaron PItchkolan found Kalif Alhassan who ran through and then crossed over Daryl Sattler to leave Ramirez with a simple header.

That lead lasted only four minutes as the Scorpions responded quickly and got their goal from a set piece. Marvin Chavez took the corner and sent in the ball for Adrian Cann who managed an impressive back-heel volley to level proceedings.

But again the score did not remain that way for very long as Minnesota restored their lead in the 22nd minute. Ramirez was in the thick of it again as he sent in a perfect through ball for Justin Davis to run on to and put away to make it 2-1.

After a longer break without a goal, a whole 11 minutes, the Scorpions were able to get back on to level terms. Daniel Mendez brought down Cesar Elizondo, which allowed Rafael Castillo to step up and hit the penalty, making it 2-2.

But yet again, the score line was short lived as it took just four minutes for Minnesota United to get the lead back. Again it came from a set piece as Alhassan sent in a free kick which found Ibson who was able to head it in and make it 3-2 at half time.

Minnesota were able to quickly add to their half time lead as they made it four in just the 48th minute, and again it was Alhassan and Ibson linking up well. But this time the roles were reversed as Ibson sent in a ball from the left flank that Alhassan delicately chipped over Daryl Sattler.

Now with a two goal buffer, Minnesota seemed pretty content with looking to control possession as they held the ball away from the Scorpions well. Frustration started to boil to the surface from the Scorpions as they started to give away fouls, Alen Marcina again argued with the officials, and this time it cost him as he was sent to the stands in the 73rd minute.

Chasing the match, the Scorpions had to go on the attack and they finally pulled their goal back in the 86th minute. Omar Cummings was brought down by his defender, allowing Castillo to step up to the spot again and hit the penalty to make it 3-4.

Any hope the Scorpions had of a late comeback were put to bed in stoppage time when they were reduced to ten men following a red card to Eric Hassli. The result held and will see the Scorpions lose further ground as they have their bye week next week and will have to work hard to remain in the playoffs hunt.

Houston Dynamo Eliminated From US Open Cup

Dom Dwyer celebrates a goal
Dom Dwyer celebrates a goal
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A red card and a rampant Sporting Kansas City have ended Texas’ chances of getting a US Open Cup winner for 2015. A ten man Houston Dynamo could not hold on as they fell to a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park in the US Open Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night.

Houston Dynamo were looking the stronger side throughout the opening stages of the match as they were almost constantly on the attack. Dynamo had four corners in the opening 12 minutes but they could not put any of them away.

In the 30th minute Houston’s chances took a significant hit after they were reduced to ten men. Luis Garrido was the man shown the straight red card as he went in on Amadou Dia with too much force, seeing Ted Unkel hand him a red card.

Despite Houston now being a man down, they were able to hold off the Sporting Kansas City attacks. It did not take long for Houston to readjust well and take back control but the match went to half-time with the match still scoreless.

Sporting Kansas City started the second half well and were looking the most likely to score in the early stages of the half. But despite that Houston Dynamo were looking solid defensively and holding firm.

Despite being under the pump for those early stages, Houston stole the opening goal of the match. Ricardo Clark was able to get a header away but his effort was blocked, only for Will Bruin to respond the fastest and tap home the opening goal.

Just four minutes after going behind Sporting Kansas City should have been on level terms after Brad Davis took down Chance Myers. That allowed Dom Dwyer to step up and take a penalty but his effort was well saved by Joe Willis to keep Houston in front.

In the 69th minute Benny Feilhaber could well have pulled Sporting Kansas City on level terms but was denied by a clearance off the line from Kofi Sarkodie. But in the second minute he was not to be denied as Matt Besler found Feilhaber who buried it to level the scores.

This saw Kansas City keep pushing, as they were inspired by the goal and looked to wrap things up without extra time. The goal finally came in the 86th minute as Krisztian Nemeth found Dom Dwyer who was able to beat Willis at the near post.

Just two minutes later the match was well and truly stitched up as Sporting took a 3-1 lead when Dwyer returned the favour to Nemeth. That allowed Nemeth the chance which he took, thanks to a deflection off of AJ Cochran to seal the final score.

Comeback From Scorpions not Enough

Akira Fitzgerald denies Giuseppie Gentile
Akira Fitzgerald denies Giuseppie Gentile
courtesy San Antonio Scorpions

A sold comeback from the Scorpions fell just short of doing what was required as they rallied from two goals down, scoring twice. But unfortunately for the Scorpions there was a goal between those two which gave Carolina the 3-2 win in Cary on Saturday night.

After a tight start, Carolina started to push back and take advantage in the middle period of the half and they really took full advantage. Former Rangers legend, Nacho Novo sent in a ball that floated in for Neal Hlavaty in the 22nd minute allowing Hlavaty to follow past Daryl Sattler.

The situation got even worse two minutes later as Carolina was able to quickly double their lead after some neat play. Again Novo was a part of the play. After two solid saves from Sattler, the second rebound fell to Novo who was able to get there before Sattler and stab it home in to an empty net.

With ten minutes to play in the first half, the Scorpions were able to pull a goal back going in to the break. A free kick just outside the box allowed the Scorpions the opportunity as Rafael Castillo was able to step up and send it in, which Cesar Elizondo redirected well to make it 2-1 at the break.

The second half was not quite as exciting as the first with only three real chances coming in the half, and two of those came from the spot. The Scorpions were perhaps the stronger side but being a goal down allowed Carolina to do more defending which frustrated the Scorpions.

But with Carolina’s first foray in to the Scorpions half of the field Carolina were able to restore their two goal lead. Novo was taken down in the box which allowed him to dust himself off and take the penalty which his dispatched well, despite Sattler guessing the right way.

But it took just eight minutes for the Scorpions to get back a goal and this one also came from a penalty after Elizondo was brought down trying to gather the ball from Giuseppe Gentile but was brought down allowing Catillo to step up and send Akira Fitzgerald the one day.

From there the Scorpions went absolutely all out having plenty of chances but they just could not take advantage. Their best chance to pull level came with the last kick of the match after Eric Hassli earned the visitors a free kick. That allowed Castillo to step up and put it over the wall but the impressive shot was matched by a great Fitzgerald save to keep it 2-1.

Scorpions Held by FC Edmonton

San Antonio Scorpions got some measure of revenge over FC Edmonton on Wednesday night as they managed a 2-2 draw. Unsurprisingly it was their two stars with Billy Forbes and Omar Cummings proving vital in the match.

Forbes managed two assists in the match while Cummings extends his lead in the Golden Boot standings as he scored his eighth of the season. Forbes also broke a Scorpions record as the match marked his 35th straight appearance, a new Scorpions record, getting past Esteban Bayona’s 34.

It was a good start from the Scorpions and they hit the lead just 17 minutes in to the match after Rafael Castillo played Forbes through on the right. Forbes was challenged, only for the ball to fall to Cummings who was able to slam it home.

Edmonton looked to kick on from there and try and find an equalizer and they controlled most of the half after that goal. The goal finally came in the 36th minute as Johann Smith found Michael Nonni, allowing him a simple tap in to make it level at one at the half.

The Scorpions came out from the break determined to get the lead back and they quickly were 2-1 up after an impressive start. Forbes made a great run down the left which allowed him to send in a cross for Cesar Elizondo who was wide open, making it a simple finish for 2-1.

Again Edmonton tried to kick on and find a goal, but this time San Antonio were looking much more solid in defense. They were holding firm in what was proving a defensive encounter for the remaining minutes of the match.

After working hard Edmonton were able to level the scores again in the 72nd minute after some neat work from Allan Zebie. Zebie was able to find a wide open Cristian Raudales who took full advantage of all the space and he slammed home the goal.

The Scorpions could well have gone back in front with just 12 minutes to play as Forbes was at the key part of it again. Forbes was able to make a great run down the left and he was able to send in a cross for Elizondo who sent his effort over the bar.

As they looked dangerous, the Scorpions just could not find a goal that would give them the lead despite looking a much improved side. FC Edmonton will have been pleased with the point after being behind twice in the match and they now sit top of a condensed NASL Fall table.

Bad Injury to Julius James Casts Shadow Over big win

NASL Fall Season 2015: San Antonio Scorpions v Tampa Bay Rowdies-slide0
courtesy San Antonio Scorpions
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The San Antonio Scorpions recovered from their opening loss to put in a big performance and manage a 3-0 win over Tampa Bay Rowdies. It was a much improved performance from the Scorpions who performed well as they did well despite missing two players due to suspension.

Omar Cummings celebrates his second goal

courtesy San Antonio Scorpions

Omar Cummings was impressive as he was involved in all three goals, and went back to the top of NASL Golden Boot standings. Matt Cardone also had an impressive performance with the former Trinity stand out putting in a good performance as an understudy in goal after some impressive saves.

It took just 11 minutes in as a quick counter allowed the Scorpions to hit the lead after a quick counter started by Adrian Cann’s clearance. That ball found Joseph Nane who was able to send it through to Cummings who crossed in for Marvin Chavez who buried it, his first goal for the club.

But not long after that things took a bad turn for the Scorpions when Julius James went down with a serious injury. Scorpions coach Alen Marcina confirmed after the match that it was serious, “You never want to see something like that. Julius is out for the year. It looked like a break in two bones.” He said after the match.

That seemed to lead to the match really fading away throughout the first half as neither side wanted to risk a further injury. That lead to the match going to the break scoreless after the fade but in the second half, the hosts came out looking to add to their lead.

And so nine minutes in to the second half Billy Forbes was able to receive Stephen DeRoux’s ball and then send in a cross for Cummings. That allowed him to send it past Matt Pickens powerfully allowing him to score his first of the second half of 2015.

It took just eight minutes for Cummings to seal his brace as Rafael Castillo managed a long through ball which saw Cummings run on to the ball. Cummings was one-on-one with the keeper and allowed him a simple finish to make it 3-0.

At the back Cardone was impressive in the final half hour as he did well to keep his clean sheet intact on his second ever professional game. Maicon Santos had a solid chance in the 82nd minute as his effort from the edge of the box was powerful but too close to Cardone, sealing the 3-0 win for San Antonio.

Omar Cummings Named NASL Player of the Week

Omar Cummings shoots against Tampa Bay
courtesy San Antonio Scorpions

After a stunning performance on Saturday, Omar Cummings has won the NASL player of the week for the second week of the Fall Season. His brace and assist was enough to earn the accolade, which was announced by the league office on Monday.

The performance from the striker capped a fantastic day for Jamaican Football, as the national team managed a 1-0 win in Houston right before Cummings scored his two goals. The current San Antonio Soccer News Player of the Year points leader put in his best individual performance of the season, in what was the best Scorpions performance of the season.

It was a mixed night for the Scorpions as they managed the big win but lost veteran Julius James to a bad injury, which will force veterans like Cummings to step up. As a result of James’ injury, Cummings paid honor to James, dedicating the award to him and to his children, who saw him play for his first time.

Omar Cummings managed two goals, in the 54th and the 62nd minute to go back on top of the NASL Golden Boot Standings ahead of FC Edmonton’s own Jamaican, Lance Laing, with seven. On top of those two goals, Cummings added an assist in the 11th minute.

This makes Omar Cummings the second Scorpion of 2015 to earn Player of the Week honors after Billy Forbes had won earlier this season. Cummings will only need just one more goal to take the single season goals scored record and has 18 matches to do so.

Late Equalizer Salvages Draw for El Salvador

All the action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup match up between Costa Rica and El Salvador from BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
courtesy Eric Guzman

In front of a very vocal pro-El Salvador crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston a late equalizer sent the crowd home somewhat happy. Dustin Corea ran on to the ball at the far post to steal the point after what seemed a good enough performance from Costa Rica.

Bryan Ruiz celebrates scoring his goal

courtesy Eric Guzman

Unsurprisingly it was Costa Rica who started the match the brighter side as they looked to take it to El Salvador in the early going. Joel Campbell and Alvaro Saborio were looking especially dangerous for Costa Rica but Derby Carrillo was able to stop everything that came his way.

A big run from Jaime Alas gave El Salvador their first chance of the match as the defense slept and let him run through. Unfortunately for Alas, Esteban Alvarado was quick to react and rushed off his line to close the space, forcing Alas to shoot wide.

As the half wore on El Salvador were using the crowd to get more and more in to the match with Alas and Arturo Alvarez looking dangerous. Their best early chance came in the 18th minute as a corner allowed a set play but the header was too close to the keeper allowing Costa Rica to clear.

Alvarez had a great opportunity in the 27th minute as his great footwork allowed him to get in the box and in space but he was denied by a great Alvarado save. That set up a corner for El Salvador but it came to nothing as Costa Rica were able to clear thanks to an offside flag later on the play.

A poor clearance from Carillo gave Costa Rica a wide open invitation as his punch could only get as far as Bryan Ruiz. That left Carillo scrambling but he was let off the hook as Ruiz shot well wide of goal, which kept it scoreless at half time.

The two sides fought hard in the opening stages of the second half as the physicality of the match ramped up. That lead to plenty of cards and plenty of set piece opportunities but neither side could produce.

El Salvador should have hit the lead in the 58th minute when Pabo Punyed sent a perfectly weighted through ball for Irvin Herrera. But Herrera could not capitalize shooting it right at Alvarado to keep El Salvador out.

At the other end just one minute later Costa Rica should have hit the lead as a tempting cross was played across the face for Alvaro Saborio. But Saborio just could not get the final touch on the ball, which kept the match scoreless.

But that was only a temporary stay of execution for El Salvador as Costa Rica had the goal they wanted on the hour mark. Saborio flicked the ball over his head and over the El Salvador defense which played in Bryan Ruiz in a tight angle but he sent it across the keeper and in to the back of the net to give Costa Rica a vital lead.

The Costa Ricans kept the momentum up and nearly doubled their lead just three minutes later thanks to a set piece. With a free-kick in a good position Ruiz shot but was denied by a good save low from Carrillo to keep it 1-0.

El Salvador had their best chance in the 67th minute as an effort from Punyed was blocked. That saw Alexander Larin rush on to it and hit a powerful effort from 30 yards out that was just too close to Esteban Alvarado.

Costa Rica really did a clinical job after taking the lead as they shut up shop well and looked to really only do their attacking from the counter. That cut off El Salvador’s chances, which were not helped by that final ball, too often being hit just a little too far forward.

El Salvador managed to get their goal late in the match just before it ticked over in to stoppage time as the ball was swung in to the far post. That allowed Dustin Corea to run on to the ball and volley it home sealing the 1-1 draw.

Late Haiti Goal Seals a Point in Gold Cup Opener

A late goal has given Haiti a valuable point in the first match of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup as they managed a 1-1 draw against Panama at Toyota Park in Frisco on Tuesday night. Dukens Nazon made himself a hero for Haiti as he scored the goal in the 85th minute to salvage a point.

Dukens Nazon shoots for the equalizer

courtesy Eric Guzman

Panama went in to the match as heavy favorites after finishing the 2013 version of the tournament in second place. But Haiti were determined and looked to assert at least their physicality in the early stages of the match.

It was all Panama in the early stages as they had plenty of possession but were often restricted by the overzealous defense of the Haitians. That lead to dangerous chances for Panama, the first clear chance coming in the 10th minute as Anibal Godoy was able to hit a shot from the free-kick which went just wide.

The Haitian defense was going all out to keep Panama out as they consistently put their bodies on the line to block efforts. In the 20th minute, on his home pitch, Blas Perez had a solid opportunity as he crossed the ball in for Luis Tejada but his effort was well saved.

Chances game to Haiti just after the half hour mark, first to Donald Guerreir who was able to get his shot away but see it blocked and cleared. Jean Sony Alcenat followed that on the clearance as he gathered possession in space, and shot but sent his effort over the bar.

Panama pushed for a goal in the later stages of the first half but they just could not break through despite the dangerous work of Anibal Godoy. The Panama offense was just too wasteful as the shots were not making the keeper work, keeping it scoreless at the break.

The second half saw Panama come out determined to get their opening goal and just 11 minutes in to the half it came. Perez was key as he headed the ball down for Alberto Quintero who hit a powerful shot past the keeper and in to the back of the net.

Almost instantly there was a response from Haiti as they should have been back on level terms just on minute later. Reginal Goreux found Jeff Louis in space at close range but he sent his effort just wide of goal.

Haiti were determined to get back on level terms for the remainder of the match with Jean Sony Alcenat and Jeff Louis looking dangerous for the Haitians. With 13 minutes to play there was a crucial change as Nazon came on the field, an attacking change for the injured Kervens Belfort.

Nazon made a quick impact as he had his first effort blocked but with four minutes to play he would not be denied. A stunning counter allowed Haiti to get the chance as Wilde-Donald Guerrier was able to get the ball to Nazon who hit it impressively out of the reach of the keeper to make it 1-1 and seal a point.

Unconvincing USA get job Done in Gold Cup Opener

It may not have been the most convincing performance but the defending champions did manage to get their Gold Cup campaign off to a good start. The United States did the job and managed a 2-1 win over Honduras to jump to the top of Group A at Toyota Stadium on Tuesday Night.

USA players celebrate Clint Dempsey's opener

courtesy Eric Guzman

Honduras had the better chances in the early stages as they were attacking the United States well. Both Anthony Lozano and Bryan Acosta had their early chances but were denied by the USA defense which kept them out.

MLS’ Andy Najar could well have had had the best early chance in the 6th minute after Mario Martinez found him on the edge of the area. Najar let rip a powerful shot but Brad Guzan made the save, sending it out for a corner.

That missed opportunity seemed to wake up the United States players as they started to look dangerous with Timothy Chandler being a key outlet. But too often the USA players just could not stay onside with both Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore being denied by the linesman’s flag.

After the tenth minute the match evened out, but not in a dull way, both sides fought for and managed to create chances. Soon enough the momentum started to swing the USA’s way and they were looking dangerous.

In the 25th minute Altidore found just enough space to get a shot away from close range but his effort was saved, going out for a corner. That corner proved vital as it was sent in and found former captain Clint Dempsey who headed it home, giving the USA a vital lead.

Following the goal the United States kept up the momentum and in the 31st minute they could well have doubled their lead. Fabian Johnson sent a ball through to DeAndre Yedlin who was able to get a shot away which was well saved by the goalkeeper.

In the final five minutes of the half Honduras were looking dangerous with Mario Martinez setting up two chances. Both of those chances were too high before Andy Najar had two late chances in the half as he sent both over the bar, keeping it 1-0 at the break.

The early stages of the second half saw the United States see plenty of the ball but they just could not get out of the midfield. It was still a solid performance from the United States and their next best chance came in the 64th minute.

That chance was a set piece and it worked perfectly with two of their stars combining well to double the USA lead. Michael Bradley sent in a perfect ball for Dempsey who was able to head it home and give USA a 2-0 lead.

But Honduras came back and just five minutes later they were able to pull the goal back that they so deserved. Wilmer Crisanto did well to find Carlos Disca who got the shot away well to pull a goal back and set up a tense final 20 minutes.

The possession in the final stages was all with Honduras as they almost constantly attacked the United States. In the final ten minutes Eddie Hernandez had two chances but missed both, first off a cross from Romell Quioto and the second from outside the box, letting USA off the hook.

There was one last chance for Honduras coming in stoppage time after Bryan Acosta headed the ball for Maynor Figueroa who sent his effort over the bar. It was that wayward shooting that decided the match as the USA held on for the 2-1 win.