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Kick Off: LA blame controversial calls for Morelia loss

Kick Off - Omar Gonzalez in Morelos

Photo Credit: 
MexSport

Another match in Mexico and another bout with referee controversy for an MLS club.

The LA Galaxy’s Bruce Arena has serious issues with the officiating in his team’s stinging 2-1 loss at Morelia last night in which the Mexican side scored two goals in the final seven minutes (watch the match highlights here). Arena cast doubt on Robbie Keane’s late goal which was called back for offside and he questioned whether the ball clearly crossed the line on Morelia’s first goal: “We don't even know if the first [Morelia] goal was a goal.”

Regardless of what the referee decided on Morelia’s equalizer, LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders is taking responsibility for allowing the ball to squirt to the goal line: “We worked really hard and I feel gutted to have the situation that happened, questionable or not, it was still a mistake by me.”

Back in the USA, there was no disputing any part of the Colorado Rapids’ thorough 4-1 beating at the hands of Santos Laguna at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last night (watch the highlights here). Rapids manager Gary Smith praised the laguneros, as did his veteran midfielder Brian Mullan: “They're a good team and they took us apart. We were a little out of whack defensively, and trying to find our stride offensively.”

For a taste of just how frustrating it was for the Rapids, relive the match through this photo gallery from the Denver Post. (PHOTOS)

The Champions League action continues today with three more matches. FC Dallas host Panamanian side Tauro (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), Toronto FC have a difficult match in Mexico City against Pumas UNAM (8 p.m. ET, TeleFutura) and the Seattle Sounders are on the road in Costa Rica, where they take on Herediano (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer).

Herediano are the former club of Seattle left back Leo González, who is obviously looking forward to going back home. “He’s definitely bringing presents for somebody,” says Sounders manager Sigi Schmid.

They’re feisty ones at Herediano. Check the fight that broke out after Herediano walloped defending champions Alajuelense 4-0 over the weekend. (VIDEO)

Staying with Seattle, we learn that fan favorite Steve Zakuani, who is recovering from a broken leg suffered earlier this year, reached out to speak to D.C. United’s Chris Pontius, who suffered the same fate this past weekend.

When Dallas face Tauro tonight, they will have to take the field again with heavy hearts. A little more than a week after the passing of club legend Bobby Rhine, yesterday came news of a tragic car accident that claimed the life of academy player Jose Perez. The details of the incident follow here.

Manager Schellas Hyndman will be without starting wingers Brek Shea and Marvin Chávez, but he does get his regular back four together again for the first time since Aug. 17: “We’re ready to rock out. It’s been a while,” says veteran defender Ugo Ihemelu.

Meanwhile, the first MLS team to reach the Champions League final, Real Salt Lake, have a conundrum at left back. With Tony Beltran suspended and Chris Wingert still out injured, manager Jason Kreis has to decide between using central defender Chris Schuler or new arrival Blake Wagner ahead of this weekend’s match against Kansas City.

Before we get to the weekend, there is an important league match tonight with a playoff battle in the Eastern Conference between the Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo (7:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live).

Houston’s rookie forward Will Bruin may not last a full 90 minutes but he’s eager to get major minutes in his first game back since suffering a long-term injury. And the Columbus Crew, who stand in first place in the East, are also promising changes after two consecutive heavy defeats.

The frustrations for the New York Red Bulls are spilling over onto the practice field as goalkeeper Frank Rost, in his first practice back with the club, was caught shouting at teammates for poor defense in a scrimmage: “This is girly football,” he’s quoted as saying.

Another outspoken goalkeeper is Vancouver Whitecaps No. 1 Joe Cannon, who calls out little-used No. 1 SuperDraft pick Omar Salgado and his need to “find a work ethic within him.”

A third goalkeeper calls it as he sees it: Portland Timbers netminder Troy Perkins. He’s warning his teammates about what it feels like not to make the playoffs: “It's possibly the worst feeling, besides retiring.”

There’s one more match tonight as the Chicago Fire are back in action against Chivas Guadalajara, who brought their full team for an international friendly that will renew the USA vs. Mexico hostilities of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Former Fire standard-bearer Jesse Marsch, now at the helm of the Montreal Impact ahead of their 2012 expansion season, says he has been concentrating on securing players for next year and some announcements are forthcoming ... but not all of them: “We don't want to announce everybody, because it's important not to show all our cards before the league's expansion draft.”

Speaking of player transactions, with just one day until the roster freeze date of September 15, it will be interesting to see what remaining moves are made by clubs. The New England Revolution are being linked with Danish midfielder Sebastian Svärd, who would arrive from the Dutch league. Also, the Philadelphia Union officially signed English defender Joe Tait yesterday.

The English enjoyed a positive start in the UEFA Champions League as Arsenal held on for a 1-1 draw at German champs Borussia Dortmund. The most anticipated match of the day was held at the Nou Camp, where AC Milan snatched a late 2-2 draw against holders Barcelona. (VIDEO)

Today the UEFA Champions League action continues with Benfica vs. Manchester United (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), Dinamo Zagreb vs. Real Madrid (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Deportes) and Manchester City vs. Napoli (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus).

Flying under the radar is the match between Brazil and Argentina, who will meet in the first leg of the Dr. Nicolás Leoz Cup tonight (9:45 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes) with players from the domestic leagues of both countries.

Reportedly seeking a return to domestic soccer is American goalkeeper Joe Bendik, who is currently struggling for playing time at Sogndal in Norway. He says he’d like to head back home to MLS. (NORWEGIAN)

Reports from Germany are that US boss Jurgen Klinsmann wants to place MLS players with European clubs for training stints between October and April, following up on his claim that the offseason for US-based players is too extensive. (GERMAN)

Lastly, you’ve never heard of Liverpool reserve-team striker Nathan Ecclestone, but a statement he’s allegedly made is making news headlines. The club is investigating the 20-year-old for a tweet about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in which he says: “Don't let the media make u believe that was terrorist that did it.”

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

The 24 Under 24 countdown begins with the players ranked No. 20 through No. 24

RSL and Sporting KC climb in the latest MLS Power Rankings

Sporting’s Vermes has a move up his sleeve ahead of roster freeze deadline


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