Good evening folks. The Opening match of the Pan Pacific Championship, between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Gamba Osaka, is fast approaching, and for those of you who plan on watching, it will be the first chance to watch an MLS team play in 2008.
The Houston Dynamo-Sydney FC match that follows the LA-Osaka match should be the better match from a soccer standpoint, but both games will offer very enticing match-ups as we get a glimpse of how MLS teams stack up against clubs from Australia and Japan.
For a preview of the matches, check out Jeff Carlisle’s preview on ESPN.com.
I plan on watching tonight’s matches and will look to do a light running commentary on both games (at least that’s the plan, I have a feeling those plans will chance). At the very least, I will offer you night owls and West Coast SBI members a place to discuss the matches as they happen (and also offer up your own play by play on the matches for those unfortunate souls who don’t have ESPN Classic.)
Check back here throughout the night as we try to keep you updated on the Pan Pacific Championship. Enjoy the action.
10th minute- Okay folks, I’m done for the night. I’ll watch this in the morning. Thanks for following along tonight.
6th minute– Is anyone still watching (or reading here)? If so, let me know in the comments section.
3rd minute- Yes, I’m up and watching this match. I can’t promise that I’ll make the full 90 minutes.
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. SYDNEY FC
FINAL– Gamba Osaka 1, LA Galaxy 0. The second half from LA was better than the first half, but that wasn’t really saying much. Having Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz would certainly help, but I still wonder about that defense.
91st minute– Good second half from Beckham, who has to be dead tired.
90th minute– If there is any stoppage time in this game somebody should slap the referee.
85th minute– I’ve made fun of the Galaxy tonight but I do actually think they will be a good team this year. Assuming the defense can be pieced together and there are no serious injuries.
And Beckham tackles Lucas cleanly, nice bit of revenge there. He’s a tough cookie.
83rd minute– I’m going out on a limb and saying Beckham won’t play in the third-place game.
81st minute– Wow, nice sequence for LA, a long wicks through to Beckham, who delivers a laser to Ely Allen in the area. The rookie doesn’t do a thing with it. LA keeps the ball and had some looks but the Galaxy’s forwards are horrendous.
79th minute– Somebody wake me up when Josh Tudela wins a tackle.
78th minute- Why in the world is Beckham in this match? Did Frank Yallop show up to guest-coach the second half?
76th minute– McDonald completely ruins a wide-open look by blasting a short-range shot into the stands. That was the Galaxy’s best chance to equalize.
71st minute– Is anybody still following along on the commentary? If so, please let me know in the comments section.
66th minute– Nice camera shot of Beckham going at it with Gamba Osaka’s Lucas. He must have said something about Beckham’s tattoo of Posh.
64th minute– Beckham is still in the game for some reason. Apparently he lost a bet with Ruud Gullit.
62nd minute– Wicks does well to come off his line and thwart a dangerous Osaka sequence.
61st minute– Two-thirds into this match and I’m convinced that somebody needs to start airing J-League games. Osaka is playing some nice soccer.
56th minute- Here’s hoping the Houston-Sydney game is a bit more competitive than this one.
54th minute– Bare with a good shot that Wicks saves with ease.
51st minute– Josh Wicks races out of the area to head the ball clear. What’s with the LA goalkeepers rushing off their lines?
49th minute– We’re under way in the second half and the poor soccer has picked right up.
HALFTIME– The Galaxy is making some subs at halftime. We will get to see Sean Franklin and Julian Valentin, a pair of rookie defenders who have impressed in preseason. I’m actually interested to watch now.
HALFTIME– So for those of you who noticed, this is my second running commentary of the day. After watching Milan-Arsenal and Barcelona-Celtic, and now watching this, I’m at a loss for an analogy to describe the disparity between the two.
It’s like going from being at the Playboy Mansion to being on The View.
HALFTIME– I must confess, I have switched the game to ESPN360.com and am watching on the laptop as I catch up on my Rob & Big.
HALFTIME– Gamba Osaka 1, Galaxy 0. You’re not missing much if you haven’t been able to see this match. Osaka has been sharper and passing better while the Galaxy has looked extremely rusty.
45th minute– If you’re wondering about actual action, there hasn’t been much, not from the Galaxy anyway.
SAVE CRONIN. Bare with another shot on goal and Cronin does well to stop it.
41st minute– Anybody else think Josh Tudela wears a beard so he doesn’t look 12 on the field?
35th minute– Hey, it’s David Becham. I didn’t know he was going to be here.
33rd minute– It’s official, Alvaro is a diving machine.
32nd minute– I would hate to have paid for a ticket to this match. Then again, if I was at this game it would mean I was in Hawaii. I could put up with this mess if I were in Hawaii.
27th minute- Osaka is knocking the ball around pretty well. Not bad for a team missing more than half of its starters.
25th minute– I know it’s just the pre-season, and LA is missing some key players, but if this is "Sexy Football" I think the Galaxy should try abstinence.
23rd minute– I wonder how much it would cost an MLS team to pry Bare away from Gamba Osaka. I’m sure some MLS teams are wondering that same thing right now.
22nd minute– This game is awful. Osaka looks sharp and the Galaxy looks a mess. Shouldn’t be a surprise really.
15th minute– The Galaxy dodge a bullet as Bare breaks in on an empty net but can’t catch up to the ball after beating Cronin to the ball.
12th minute– Wow, Gavin with a great pass to the opposition, which nearly leads to a goal.
And there’s Edson Buddle, with a chance in the box only to lose it on his own.
SAVE STEVE CRONIN. Nice shot on goal and Cronin pushes it wide.
11th minute– It’s easy to forget that this is an early pre-season game for the Galaxy….until you look at some of the names in the LA lineup.
8th minute– I must say the crowd is pretty disappointing. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about a Hawaii expansion franchise any time soon (Damn).
6th minute– WOW, What an acting job by LA’s Pires. He gets kicked and goes down like someone sprayed him with an Uzi.
4th minute- GOAL GAMBA Osaka. And just like that, the Galaxy’s 2008 is off to a flying start.
3rd minute– Don’t you love it. It’s the Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii and an MLS team still has to play on football lines. Funny.
1st minute– We’re under way.
PRE-GAME– If you know who all eleven Galaxy players are you deserve a prize.
PRE-GAME– A pretty sparse crowd at the match. Figures the one MLS team not used to that is playing.
PRE-GAME– And Greg Vanney, the newest Galaxy player, is in the lineup. And was that Jay-Z’s older brother in the Barcelona jersey?
PRE-GAME– We’re almost under way and the anthems are being played.
10:30pm– Okay, I’ll admit it, I thought the game started at 10pm. With an 11pm start I’m curious how many of you will be staying up to watch.
I was at the game(s) on wed also- Beckham is gracious and knows what his role is. I was actually impressed with him (and I’m not a 12yr old girl). And although the team was ‘flat’, it was exciting for the locals to see Beckham- I saw him go over after the game & give his jersey to those boys- WOW! how amazing was that?! =D BEEG GRINS ALL OVER!
In the second game, Chingy’s touches on the ball were so awesome- it was fun to watch. Sydney’s keeper was having an OFF day…
Does anyone think Beckham will play tomorrow?
The games were on a wednesday night and started during rush hour. Which is always a mess by the stadium.
I was actually impressed with the crowd in that respect.
Maybe more will come on Sat. Less traffic and no school the next day.
Perhaps more people would have stayed for the Dynamo if they weren’t absolutely blowing Sydney away at half time.
Thanks for the comments Mafia….I watched the first game, but was corraled by the missus for the 2nd. sorry I missed the game by Holden.
Smokeminside….thanks for the sideline stories, made it real for me…
Thought Valentin and Franklin looked good. Will put money down that a GK signing is in the works.
I actually stayed up and watched the first half of the Dynamo game and they look really good. DDR had a great goal and Stuart Holden looked dangerous. Overall they took apart FC Sydney and played on their side of the field almost the whole half. Good Stuff.
Speaking of Holden, Bradley needs to cap tie this guy because he has a lot of potential. I was impressed with his runs and how he attacks the ball.
LA looked like a Junior Varsity team out there. You’ve got to feel pretty bad for Beckham because everyone else from LA was a joke.
I only watched the Galaxy/Gamba Osaka game. Jesus, was that awful. What a conundrum MLS has on its hands. They’re forced to use the Beckham circus to market the league, but the team is downright embarassing. The Galaxy were playing USL-1 or even USL-2 level soccer last night. I think all of us that read this blog would agree that the league holds itself to a higher standard than what LA showed last night. What an embarassment.
Also, that “Field Turf” played more like Astro Turf. Even the Giants Stadium surface, clearly the worst of the 3 artificial surfaces in the league, doesn’t produce that much bounce and extra spin on the ball.
I usually am a great optimist when it comes to MLS because I care deeply about the American game and want the league to succeed. The Galaxy were a flat-out disgrace last night. However, the Dynamo seemed to impress (I didn’t see the game), so that’s good. I truly believe that MLS is MILES ahead of what the Galaxy showed last night.
Never thought I’d say this, but damn, I feel bad for Beckham.
was able to stay awake throughout the horrid first game- was gamba pulling punches b/c they didn’t want to embarass LA in a game clearly designed to showcase Becks on Japanese television? B/c it sure looked like they were unlucky not to score 3-4 goals in the first half, and then they made a bunch of subs and appeared to basically abandon the attack in the second. Houston- alas i fell asleep before kickoff, but when i woke up after a half hour cat nap the dynamo were up 2 goals! i know they havw a reason to get in shape quicker (champions cup), but wow! 3-peat?
Wow, just over 15,000 with Beckham and the back-to-back MLS champs in the house. And this after the NFL Pro Bowl sells out the week before? It’s nice outreach but it goes to show how far soccer still has to go in the U.S. outside of its hotbeds. Unfortunately Fieldturf, in addition to not being a suitable surface for soccer, along with the football lines only adds to the amateurish feel of the tourney. Seattle’s planning on making that football stadium with its size and surface its permanent facility? Seems like a step backwards.
The Galaxy looked beyond pathetic last night. It goes to show how thin the MLS still is talent-wise in spots. They’re going to really need to consider that as they expand. Soccer is about refined skill, knowledge, technique, and imagination not just raw athleticism. U.S. soccer still can be very crude.
All and all, this was not a great success though it was good to see Houston take care of its business and pound an upper-echelon A-League team. If LA can acquit itself a little better against Sydney as well as not get Beckham hurt and Houston can beat Osaka then there might be something worth salvaging here.
Oh, well. After the past couple of heady years the MLS probably needed a bit of a reality check.
Galaxy should be relegated to USL-1. I was really dissapointed with LA, they played horrible. Field Turf sucks!!!!!!!!! Dynamo all the way. Pretty good for a preseason tourney.
Was at the games, too, and still up for no good reason. most of the following comments are off topic, but my wife doesn’t really get all the fuss, so I was hoping my friends here might identify a bit.
Highlights: 1)watching Beckham off the ball. He’s amazing: directing traffic, running to space, standing around waiting, waiting, waiting for someone else on Galaxy to see him WIDE OPEN time after time. Man, LA is weak.
2)my 7 year old was chosen to escort a player on the field, and got to walk out with Cronin, whose best play of the night was standing next to Beckham during the national anthem. Son almost broke his neck looking up at Becks.
3)after the game Becks gave his jersey to two of my son’s teammates who were holding the orange Beckham signs. Very cool gesture.
4) Beckham going after a guy who stepped on his foot. The replay showed him jawing at the other player, one of the Brazilians. What it didn’t show well was what led to it: the guy really stomped on Beckham’s foot. About 10 minutes later, Beckham laid out one of foot stompers teammates: an NFL hit, trust me. Sweet.
5)Houston’s overall play: very, very sharp.
Lowlights: the crowd was small, and fewer were at the second game than the first. So there is Beckham fever here, but it’s lowgrade.Too bad LA isn’t in the final; no one’s going to hang around a Houston/JLeague final.
LA’s dispirited play. Buddle was a mess. Can Beckham ask to be traded? I’m serious: what are the rules against him demanding a trade?
Okay, I’m finally getting drowsy.
See you tomorrow.
LA is HEINOUS. Are they capable of passing and trapping under control? Every ball was bouncing up head high and flopping around like a fish out of water. You can’t blame the surface either because Osaka (or HOuston or Sydney) didn’t have any of those problems.
Houston…looks like they are the team to beat again. They smacked the s*** outta Sydney.
Just got home from the games.
It was awesome. LA looked sluggish and seemed clearly dominated nearly the whole game.
Houston looked really good. I can’t wait to see them in the final. Not sure what to make of Sydney. They were never in that game.
Thanks for the running commentary. I was watching the game, but its fun to read now after the fact.
FYI, there’s everything but an official confirmation that Houston are signing Franco Caraccio from Arsenal de Sarandi of Argentina.
DWR, I hear ya. I’m procrastinating on my research project as we speak…
Damn – Ching to Wondolowski was something. 3-0. Houston is kicking their asses.
And now we learn, thanks to Wheelock’s commentary on 360, that Kinnear says that Wondolowski is the best finisher on the team. He’ll sure get his chance this season.
Wow much better of a game 3-0 Houston so far at half, very good goals.
Maybe if i have time tomorrow i will put some highlights up on Youtube
I normally wouldnt watch a match this late but I have school work to do.
That play makes me curious to see what Ching – Altidore can do together for the Nats. Ching is has really matured into a great passing forward, great guy to play off of
well, there ya go. apparently wondolowski wants to be the man to step up. houston just shredding sydney
More fun from Holden! I hope he has a great year, plays so much like Convey pre-injury
Yeah, I have to agree. Houston looks great tonight, but with such a full schedule, they are gonna need some depth at forward. They seem to have it in all other areas but not offense. Of course, this time last year Jaqua and Ngwenya were no where to be found. So lets see what Kinnear can find this year…
Wow, does this set the tone for Houston all year – all business, where ever they are playing? And DeRo doesn’t look as amused as Chingy after that scuff. These guys could definitely use at least one replacement for Jaqua/Ngwenya if they’re going all out for all these tournies…
29th minute – Another goal. Stuart Holden. Cheesy hula celebration to top it off.
Another, by Holden. I didn’t really think that Dynamo would be this sharp.
27th minute – GOAL! DeRo absolutely cracks one. Houston looks good. Enough said.
Wow, what a goal by DeRo
I’m not really into the Sydney jerseys, I don’t like the superfluous stripes of color on the shoulders for no particularly good reason.
Oh! There we go!
Damn, Houston looks like they are in championship form, and Sydney is the squad in the middle of their season. DeRo almost had an Extraneous-Tournament-Semi-Related-To-MLS Goal of the Year.
This game isn’t too bad for being a post season/pre season friendly
Some near soccer, just at the point where i was about to turn in. Sydney look pretty disinterested.
I kinda like the whole idea, some idea to measure up the new leagues against each other… but Super Liga it ain’t.
19th minute – Still here for you, Ives. DeRo crushes one off the cross bar from deep. Not sure what I think of these Sydney jerseys. Close to being cheesy, but still kind of cool.
I’m watching. thanks for the commentary
Ah, Stuart Holden. Hopefully he’ll make a run up the USMNT LW depth chart, at least past Eddie Lewis.