By MIKE DONOVAN
Despite having a bye week, head coach Jason Kreis will not be giving his RSL players much of a break in the buildup to their Oct. 19th with the Timbers.
“We’re going to take this break and look at it as an opportunity for us to really to kind of refuel the tanks, up the fitness level of our group and see if that can mean something going into the playoffs,” Kreis told the Salt Lake Tribune.
The last time RSL returned from a break, the club was defeated by the Sounders, 2-0. RSL also has just one win in its last five competitive matches.
Here are more news and notes from around the Western Conference:
A month after signing with Chivas USA, forward Matthew Fondy received his first MLS start in Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. The UC Santa Cruz product spent the last two seasons with the USL Pro’s LA Blues before being signed by the Goats.
“I think most players would agree that your focus is on the game mainly and you try to block all the other stuff out. But walking out into the stadium was definitely humbling and a dream come true,” Fondy told the club’s website.
Gabriel Torres, who signed with the Colorado Rapids as the club’s first designated player in August, scored his first MLS goal in Saturday’s 5-1 romp over the Seattle Sounders. The Panamanian, who has been called up by Panama for their upcoming World Cup Qualifying matches, has netted six goals for his country in competitive matches since July and has been looking for the country form to carry over into MLS play.
“He was the one who needed it the most,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said, according to the club’s website. “He knows what he’s here for [to score goals]. He sees himself as being one of the foundations of this project, and he wants to be here”
Heading into last Saturday’s match, Kenny Cooper had not scored in a MLS match since mid-May. But after scoring the game-tying goal against RSL, Cooper is hoping for a strong finish to the season.
“I’m really hungry to be out there, the games are really important and I’m sure everyone feels the same way and wants to be out there on the field,” said Cooper on the club’s website. “I have some great memories against Chicago and one of my favorite ones looking back was my first goal in the league.”
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
For the second consecutive season, the LA Galaxy reserve team has won the MLS Reserve League West Division title. Managed by Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo, the reserves clinched the top spot after defeating Chivas USA reserves, 2-0, on Monday.
“We take this real seriously and these guys don’t get many days off. When the first team is off, we’re plugging away with reserve games and getting guys sharp,” Onalfo told the club’s website. “Today was a big game for them and they stepped up again and how we stepped up to the challenge.”
Darlington Nagbe, who was the first college player drafted by the MLS version of the Timbers, set a club single season record when he notched his ninth goal of the year against the Whitecaps Saturday. The previous record was held by Kenny Cooper, who scored eight in the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2011.
“He’s a fantastic talent and a guy we’ve counted on a lot this year,” right back Jack Jewsbury told the Oregonian. “He continually threatens that back line and is a guy that continually creates chances for us.”
Nagbe has just one more goal than teammates Ryan and Will Johnson and Diego Valeri for the season.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
While the delay of the opening to the Earthquakes new stadium is seen by many as a negative, the City of Santa Clara is not complaining about the development. In fact, the city and its police department are happy to host the Quakes at Buck Shaw Stadium for one season longer than originally expected.
“The police department loves to have them here,” council member Pat Kolstad said to SFGate.com. “They don’t have very many problems and it brings a lot of attention.”
After being blown out for the second consecutive match, Sigi Schmid declared Wednesday night that no starting job was safe.
“I think we have to look at everything. … There’s nobody that’s a given right now,” he said according to the Seattle Times.
The Sounders have let in ten goals in the last 195 minutes and have a quick turnaround with a match against the Timbers on Sunday night.
Eighteen year-old Kekuta Manneh headed into Wednesday’s match against with just three professional starts and two MLS goals. At the end of the evening, Manneh was the youngest player in league history to earn a hat trick, besting a mark set be 21-year-old Stern John in 1998.
“We kind of joked before it, you’re never exactly sure what you’re going to get with an 18 year old,” head coach Martin Rennie told the club’s website. “But he’s unbelievably talented and he’s someone we’re really proud of and really glad to have him in our team.