By ADAM SERRANO
Dasan Robinson is on his third club in just a year, but he's ready to return to the form that once made him one of the finest young defenders in MLS.
Recently acquired by the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for Kyle Davies from Toronto FC, who had acquired Robinson less than two months earlier from the Chicago Fire, Robinson is not unfamilar with the L.A. personnel. He previously played under Galaxy associate head coach Dave Sarachan at Chicago and alongside forward Chad Barrett with the Fire.
It was under Sarachan that Robinson enjoyed his best success during his rookie season in 2007 when he made 23 regular season appearances helping to anchor a backline that reached the Eastern Conference finals. However, hamstring injuries limited his effectiveness during the rest of his stint for Chicago.
Robinson traveled with the Galaxy during their trip to Costa Rica, but he was unable to participate having made his lone appearance for TFC earlier in the tournament. With the Galaxy backline weary due to travel and injury, Robinson understands that he's been brought in to contribute right away.
"I'm ready, to be honest. I've played a little bit this year, so I'm fairly fresh in all honesty. But I'm ready to contribute. I know this team has done pretty well this far, but they brought me in to help in the back some way, shape or form, and whenever my number's called, I'm ready to jump in there and do my best to help the team get a result each and every game."
More news from around the Western Conference is after the jump:
Juan Pablo Angel came to Chivas USA to score goals and as of late, Angel has done just that.
The Colombian forward scored two goals for Chivas USA in their 2-2 draw against D.C. United contiuning his recent tear. Angel has now scored four goals in five games for Chivas USA, which is more than the Colombian striker scored in his 31 previous apperances for the Galaxy and New York Red Bulls.
After a dismal stint with the Galaxy, Angel admits that his passion for the game has returned.
"Since I've moved to [Chivas], I have enjoyed the game again," Ãngel told reporters after the match. "I feel that I've been playing better every game. I'm feeling more comfortable on the ball and in the air. Today, I was happy that my goals helped the team to get at least a tie."
After a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Real España, the Colorado Rapids have conceded that their campaign in the CONCACAF Champions League is all but over. The loss against the Hondurans was the fifth straight loss in all competitions for the fading defending champions, who still have trips to Isidro Metapán in El Salvador and at Santos Laguna in Mexico to come.
Currently sitting at the bottom of Group B, the Rapids put out a reserve-laden lineup and admitted that their focus has shifted to defending their MLS Cup title.
"With the facilities, the travel, those games [vs. Metapán and Santos] will be very tough," said head coach Gary Smith. “Our energy now is in competing again for the MLS championship.
"There were some big opportunities [in CCL play] for players in and around the squad and it may have been a bridge too far for some of them. I did give more credence to this Saturday’s game [vs. San Jose] than this midweek game, that is the reality."
Late goals proved to be the difference for FC Dallas, which was defeated 2-0 by Pumas UNAM at Pizza Hut Park on Wednesday night in a CCL clash. It was a difficult night for Dallas, which went down to 10 men in the first half and were placed under attack by a Pumas side that was seeking retribution for it's 1-0 loss in Mexico City.
With their loss, Dallas find themselves in second to Pumas in Group C. Although Dallas remains in the hunt for a place in the knockout stages, the outcome was less than encouraging.
"We went to level-two defending," Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told reporters. "Ugo [Ihemelu], for one, I thought had a very good game. I think not only did he have a good game for himself, I think he played for some other players who didn’t have the same effort."
The Portland Timbers couldn't help but feel that they missed a major opportunity to boost their playoff hopes on Wednesday night.
Portland was unable to hold a one goal lead against the San Jose Earthquakes in a match that ended as a 1-1 draw. Although Portland weren't able to pick up a victory, due to the New York Red Bulls loss, they were able to move into sole possession of 10th place in the MLS playoff chase.
Portland will hope to stake their claim for the final spot in the playoffs on Saturday, when they travel to Red Bull Arena to take on New York. The Timbers will have their chance on Saturday, but letting one get away on Wednesday stung.
"To everybody watching in the stadium it (feels like a loss)," Portland coach John Spencer told reporters after the match. "After the great performance Friday night (Portland's 3-0 win against New England), everybody expects us to play well."
REAL SALT LAKE
There is perhaps no team in MLS that is hotter than Real Salt Lake at the moment.
On Wednesday, RSL routed the New York Red Bulls, 3-1 in perhaps their most convincing victory of the year. The victory was their fifth straight win giving RSL 51 points and placing them in a tie with the Seattle Sounders for the second spot in MLS. With playmaker Javier Morales nearing his return and the team on a roll, the sky is the limit for RSL.
"I believe we should be considered a contender for the championship," Jason Kreis told reporters after RSL's convincing victory.
While other MLS teams are faltering in MLS, the Seattle Sounders find themselves on the brink of qualifcation for the knock out stages. Despite their 1-0 loss to Herediano at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday, the Sounders need only a draw against Guatemalan side Comunicaciones to advance.
Although the Sounders were unable to officially qualify at home, the club is aware that they are still set up well to advance.
"Tuesday we need to get a result. If we go down to Guatemala and get a result, a win or a tie, that will put us through," Schmid told reporters after the match. "Now it's about that. It was probably not that different based on the results tonight, because Monterrey won and either way we'd have to get a result down there. It really doesn't change much."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The playoff dream is still alive for the San Jose Earthquakes, but only barely.
After a 1-1 draw on the road against the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field, the Earthquakes kept their fading hopes of the postseason alive. With a goal from Khari Stephenson and clutch goalkeeping by Jon Busch, the Earthquakes were able to steal a point from the Timbers. Currently San Jose sit seven points back of the Timbers for the final playoff berth with five games remaining.
Although the Earthquakes will need to win out, Stephenson is optimistic that his club can pull off the impossible.
"We're pushing for the playoffs," Stephenson told the San Jose Mercury News. "We're more than capable."
The postseason is not something that is on the minds of the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are looking to develop their future stars. The Whitecaps are in year four of their Whitecaps Residency program, a European-style academy program that strives to develop players for the Whitecaps and the Canadian national team.
In a nation with only two professional soccer teams, the Whitecaps Residency program is the only opportunity for Canadian youth to develop in a European style setting.
"This is the only chance for these kids to be in a professional club.It's great. It's what we need," residency head coach and technical director Richard Grootscholten told The Province. "We need leagues and competition and on the right age level. When you can play the same age then it's a proper evaluation, if you are ready or not, if you can develop yourself."