U.S.-Costa Rica Live Blog

All right, that’s it for us. Our Man at DSG got snowed in, but we’ll post any additional bon mots he has as they come in. Fascinating game, and a great result for the US, as well as a solid outing for Run DMB at left back.

Good night everybody.

95+ There it is! The final whistle. Three big points for the U.S. 1-0 in the snow. It was “beautifully ugly,” as Alexi Lalas said. The weather was unprecedented, and chances are, quite different from what they’ll face in Mexico City on Tuesday night.

94′ Kyle Beckerman on for Gomez. One minute of stoppage time left.

91′ Geoff Cameron helping the grounds crew shoveler clear the line!

89′ Another free kick for Costa Rica, but they cant lift the ball off the snow. And it’s cleared out easily by the US.

88′ Cameron gives away a free kick in a dangerous area, 10 yards off top of the box left side. US clears it away. Whew, say US fans. Not sure there was much of a foul on Cameron there but…

86′ “Eddie Johnson goes for a tumble, as if he were on a tobaggon ride,” says Ian Darke.

83′ Maurice Edu on for Jermaine Jones. Snow continues to be ridiculously heavy. Players just scuffing and banging the ball around.

78′ These conditions are barely (really, not) playable. And Costa Rica is starting to get more of the play. Guzan comes out to claim for the second time in the past two min.

76′ Eddie Johnson on for Graham Zusi.

73′ “Both sides have abandoned the idea of playing pretty football,” says Ian Darke. “They’re both hitting it long and seeing if they can control the second ball.” Yes. And the field is completely covered with at least two inches of snow, compared with the first half where there was not complete coverage. Tundra now.

70′ Costa Rica goal called back for offside! Wow. US under pressure here with 20 min to play.

69′ Jermaine Jones elbow gives CR a free kick deep on right flank. US clears it but gives up a corner. “Nervy moments for the US,” says Twellman.

MGlo: Ian Darke just said that the US looks to have a 2nd goal in them. How can he see that in these conditions?!

64′ Dempsey draws a foul in a dangerous area. Zusi takes it… foul off the ball on the US.

MGlo says: Costa rica hoping they score. Then they will go to the ref and say “come on we can’t play. This is crazy!”

60′ Saborio with a drive! Tight angle from the right. Great save by Guzan. Conditions are far worse than they were in the first half. TV cameras are getting flecked with snow.

58′ Dempsey with a chance! Just wide.

55′ They’re stopping the game! According to the sideline reporter, they’re stopping the game to try to clear the field, or … they’re stopping it for good? This is…still in doubt. Ian Darke suggests they may resume it tomorrow, when the conditions would be….worse, right? Costa Rica seems to want to continue, US definitely wants to continue and…we’re back on! Wow! How bout that?!

53′ Costa Rica free kick in a very dangerous area: right on the top of the box. Deflects out for a corner. Wow. That could have gone anywhere. Ensuing corner leads to a chance for Saborio! Second corner: that one…Guzan comes out, misses it! Ball sails out.

52′ Prison Mike says, “Jones has been very smart. He knows that the defender has no traction, so when it’s played to his feet with his defender on his back, he turns him every time.  I think Bradley is the best player on the US and he’s useless in these conditions.” Good point. Bradley has been mostly invisible tonight.

49′ Altidore does very well to keep possession in the middle, sprays a ball out wide to Zusi, who can’t catch up to it.

48‘ Snow expected to continue for “next 12 hours.” Ha. US needs another goal to keep this result safe.

46′ Second half under way. Field doesn’t look much better. Taylor Twellman echoes OMATV’s point about Zusi, saying he “has to be careful” on the defensive side of the ball.

Our Man at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park: Halftime. We are better team but Cameron is our weak link at right back. Zusi not helping him.

Prison Mike says: “We win this and we’re in second, we lose and we’re in last. Altidore is showing why he needs to be out there all the time. He’s a beast. And I think Goodson deserves a spot in the back.”

Bob Ley just described the conditions as “surreal.” Let’s see how the field looks in the second half.

MGlo asks: At what point does the result stand? And if the game is called tonight, do they replay the whole game, or from where it was stopped? Good questions.

47+ There’s the halftime whistle. US 1, Costa Rica 0 after 45. The snow continues to fall. Grounds crew has work to do during the break.

Here are some catchup posts from Our Man at the Valley:

“Not much love for Beasley here in the stands, but I think he’s playing well. Lots of snow.”

“White foam on free kicks not going to work in this snow.”

47′ Saborio with a late hit on Gonzalez on that play–a corner claimed by Guzan. Hmmm. Just got a bulletin from Our Man at the Valley–from the 22nd minute. Weather-related technical difficulties….

45′ Beasley, Gonzalez and Goodson all do well to stop another CR attack. US needs a two-goal cushion in this one.

43′ Dempsey taken down in the box! No call! Then follow-up US chance goes just wide.

41′ Costa Rica getting a bit more of the play here in the later stages of the second half.

39′ Goodson with a thumping headed clearance to repel CR attack. Nice play by Goodson.

38‘ Costa Rica counter leads to good shot on goal! Guzan handles it.

32′ Conditions continue to be unbelievable. Our Man at the Valley is clearly suffering the elements on site. All action in Costa Rica’s end.

26′ Jermaine Jones was down with an ankle knock for a while, which gave the crew a chance to clear the lines a bit. Nice play by Cameron on the right flank to clear some danger, then Costa Rica gets to the endline and crosses!…Guzan has it, and it was flagged over the line for a goal kick.

24′ This is a straight up blizzard. Here’s MGlo on the goal: “Saw Altidore shoot. Saw Dempsey celebrate. Like I said, hockey.”

22′ Costa Rica counterattack off a Cameron giveaway goes for naught even though Beasley slipped in the box at the end.

16′ GOAL! US! Hard to see how it went in exactly but Altidore shot hit the post (we think) and the rebound was turned in by Dempsey! Goal! 1-0 US.

Our Man at the Valley is back in contact. Says it’s snowing really hard. Great conditions in which to host Costa Rica.

13′ US attack thwarted by the elements: Dempsey’s leading ball slides too far and over the endline.

9′ “Was dicks all out of orange balls?” asks friend of Backpost MGlo. “The yellow looks great in the closeups, shit on tv. Like watching hockey.” Beasley went down after a collision with Gonzalez. Back up and back in now.

6′ Dempsey sends Altidore into the box…but the ball skitters away and CR defender pokes it out.

4′ U.S. with a free kick 35 yards out, dead center. … Gomez lofts it toward back post… it scoots out of bounds.

We’re under way. Television visibility is poor. Hard to see the ball, and the U.S. team. 10:12

U.S. takes the field in their white uniforms…and almost disappear against the snowbound pitch. —Ed. 10:11

We should probably see the orange ball for this one. Snow is that heavy. Costa Rica anthem done, U.S. in progress. Our Man at the Valley no doubt scrambling to his seat at DSG as we type this. More from him soon. —Ed. 10:07.

The snow is surprisingly heavy. Covering the field, and the lines have been cleared by the grounds crew.— Ed. 10:05.

We’re about 15 minutes from kickoff. The U.S. will line up in a 4-2-3-1, with Guzan in goal, Beasley, Goodson, Gonzalez, and Cameron across the back (l-to-r); Jones and Bradley in front of the back four; Gomez, Dempsey, and Zusi forward in midfield and Altidore up top. — Ed. 9:58

9:55: Now playing the theme to Ghostbusters. Somehow this fits with the Rolling Rock.

9:45: Bus playlist so far: “Jump,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Born in the USA,” “America, Fuck Yeah!” … Am waiting on some Indigo Girls. Maybe Southland in the Springtime.

9:33: Spontaneous singing of “Star Spangled Banner” on the bus….God, I cant believe I used to want to drink Rolling Rock!

9:26: Big dilemma for Colorado Keeper upon boarding bus. Since there’s one free beer per passenger, do you grab one on behalf of your 7-year-old son? … Keeper decided not to. First bad move by him associated with this website since he brought in Fernando Torres for Robin Van Persie during Week 3 of the Backpost EPL Fantasy League.

9:08: The Bulldog is pssing out complimentary half-pints of Guinness. That was a good bus to miss.

8:58: Mmmmmm. Titan IPA.

8:41: There’s good news and bad news: First, the bad: The 6:30 [local time] bus from the Bulldog to the stadium, for which we have reservations, has come and gone. The good news: Great Divide is a wonderful brewery in Denver, and the British Bulldog serves their Titan IPA.

8:22: Now watching Argentina-Paraguay. Ref is using white foam on free kicks! MLS taking over the world!

8:11: Colorado Keeper of BPFL fame, just met league rival Clever and Witty. Worlds collide.

8:01: Chicken tikka masala at the Bulldog is very good.  Also very spicy.

7:54:  Suarez!  What a goal!!

7:43:  Girlfriend is here. Diego Forlan is on tv. She is happy.

7:31: At a table with arduous American outlaws from Arizona and California. We are arranged in a 3-4-2 to commemorate our perennial lack of a left back.

7:22:  Now watching Uruguay  v Paraguay. Paraguay apparently thought it was bibs v non bibs

7:08: At pub [British Bulldog]. Heaving… Lots of cheers for final whistle in Honduras. [Honduras and Mexico tied 2-2 after Honduras was controversially denied a late penatly.—Ed.] I think they are misplaced and it’d be better for us I Mexico run away with group.

6:57 ET: On way to pub. Light snow and very windy.

Good evening, sports fans!

We are about one hour from kickoff of the crucial World Cup qualifier between the United States and Costa Rica in Commerce City, Colorado. But Our Man at the Valley has been going strong, on site, for a couple of hours now.

He began the evening at the British Bulldog, the de facto headquarters of U.S. supporters group, the American Outlaws, for this match, and last we heard, was getting ready to board a bus for the stadium.

Let’s get right it.

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Galaxy-Red Bulls Live Blog

That’s it for us. Late night here on the East Coast. We apologize to all who sent in (multiple) comments that didn’t get posted in the IT scramble. And we thank you.

We will post this one last one before we go, though: Our Man at the Valley says. from Denver, “I miss Paul Caligiuri’s hair.” Who doesn’t, OMATV? Who doesn’t.

This win ties New York with Columbus atop the Eastern Conference. The Crew takes on New England at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

Postgame interview with Angel: He talks about the quality of this win, then pretty directly implies that he won’t be coming back next season. Bummer. Thirteen goals on the year after burying the PK tonight—and an alltime MetroBull.

That’s it—Red Bulls win, 2-0. Surprising result, we must say, and a great one for New York. Hans Backe may know more than he lets on. He may have his team hitting its stride at just the right time. We will try to tie up some loose ends here and catch up. Technical difficulties cost us tonight.

93:00: Bowen squanders a superb ball from Beckham down the flank. Moments later, Beckham free kick balloons, Coundoul grabs it easily.

91:00: Dunivant to Donovan in front! LD steers his shot right at Coundoul.

91:00 Richards cross for Ibrahim in the box! He takes an extra touch and his shot is blocked.

90:00: Buddle cross blocked by Ream.

89:00: After Angel took too long with a chance for NY, LA counters … Bowen with another cross—cleared by NY.

86:00: Nice poke-out by Lindpere to win possession for NY, Ibrahim slide-tackled—hard—by Beckham. Yellow card for Becks.

85:00: Donovan with a ball to Bowen on the right—the youngster settles, shoots! Coundoul smothers it.

83:00: New York looking surprisingly poised and in control. Lindpere has been huge. Richards was involved in both goals. Even Carl freaking Robinson hasn’t screwed it up.

81:00: Tristan Bowen (yes, he’s also in—for Kovalenko) with a heavy first touch on the right, plays himself out of a golden opportunity! Wow. Now Beckham down the right…soft cross dealt with by NY.

78:00: Robinson sends Richards down the right. LA defenders backing off in droves, respecting The Speed of the Dane. Dunivant finally shuts him down on the byline.

73:00: Salou Ibrahim in for Tchani.

71:00: Lindpere gets a step on Franklin, sends in a great ball to the far post. Angel just misses getting on the end of it! Could’ve been 3-0 there.

68:00: Backpost favorite Carl Robinson (nooooo!) coming in for Rafa Marquez. Crowd booing Marquez. No word on Cobi Jones’s response here.

67:00: Eddie Lewis in for Kirovski. As Harkes says, this gives LA two excellent crossers: Beckham on the right, Lewis on the left. Lewis immediately swings in a dangerous ball. Coundoul punches it away.

66:00: Beckham free kick from 27 yards! Swerves at Coundoul’s right post. The keeper parries it away. Franklin comes back down the right, swings in a cross, NY clears it out for a corner.

62:00: Getting chippy: Marshall goes in hard on Tchani. Ballouchy and Kovalenko also flashing studs.

60:00: Angel to take it: He stutters, then buries it, left side! GOAL! New York, 2-0.

59:00: Penalty! Dane Richards (involved again) pulled down by Yohance Marshall after surging past the Galaxy defender in the box!

58:00: Mendes for Angel in the box! Heads just over the bar.

57:00: Kovalenko with a rugged challenge on Lindpere, but De La Garza is booked for earlier late tackle on Miller. (Yeah, De La Garza is in. We missed it when the site crashed.)

56:00: Coundoul comes way out to stymie long ball from Juninho, looking for Buddle. Good anticipation by the keeper. Out of the box on that one.

55:00: JP Dellacamera points out that NY has been outscored 7-1 by the Big Three of LA, Real Salt Lake and Columbus this season. No wins or ties against those three.

54:00: Beckham free kick blocked at short range by Lindpere. Backe laughing. Re-kick…..for naught.

52:00: Marquez with a free kick from distance….right to Ricketts, with no NY players in the box. Marquez tries to get it to Richards moments later, pass is short.

50:00: Beckham leads the break for LA. Gets it wide to Donovan, who sends it to Kirovski. His cross is claimed by Coundoul.

48:00: Tchani with a tough tackle on Kovalenko, who screams bloody murder. Perhaps Dema’s reputation precedes him, because the ref barely bats an eye. Here’s the replay: definitely could have been a red for Tchani.

47:00: Kovalenko sends Donovan free on the right. He cuts it back on Miller, who falls, but still strips the ball from LD.

Second half

The Christian Brother out of Seattle says, “New York is deceptively dominating this game. Stealth domination.” If that makes sense.

Here is what we’re getting from our humble hosts at WordPress:

“WordPress.com is temporarily unavailable. We’re working on the issue and things will be back up and running ASAP. Please check back in a few minutes.”

Their definition of ASAP is very fluid, apparently.

Oh well: Enjoy the following treasure-trove of Ft. Lauderdale Strikers memories from the Striker Liker in Westchester: Gordon Banks, George Best, Ray Hudson [!], Thomas Rongen [?], Teofilo Cubillas. Outstanding stuff right here.

45:00: There it is, halftime. New York gradually got a grip on this game. And WordPress still doesn’t have a grip on itself. Grrr. Site still inaccessible.

45:00: Richards completely overhits a cross with Angel wide open in the box. See Ref Baiter’s earlier comment.

44:00: We would like to dedicate this evening to WordPress….still cant get back on the site. Ridiculous.

43:00: Talley out with a hamstring strain. Nice pickup there, getting the 34-year-old Talley…. Tchani up the middle, looking for Angel…intercepted.

42:00: Tchani looked to be fouled on the right—no call. (This right after Ballouchy got roughed up on the touchline—and no call.) Galaxy on the break. Buddle loses it.

40:00: Petke takes a deflection from Ream, plays it out to Marquez. He gets it to Angel, who tries to find Richards with a through ball. LA defends it.

39:00: Talley is hurt. Injured on a sliding tackle. Mike Petke coming in.

Ball was flicked on to Lindpere off a throw-in. He crushed it off the post. Richards kind of boinked it in.

36:00: Lindpere sprung in the box, great touch to get free on the left side! … He hits the post! It caroms back to Richards, he sticks it in the open net! GOAL! 1-0, New York.

35:00: We are getting completely jacked by WordPress right now. Site has been inaccessible for 15 minutes. Dane Richards is getting swarmed every time he touches the ball.

31:00: Beckham sends a ball over the top…Donovan running on to it! Coundoul living dangerously, casually claims it at the very top of the box—at LD’s feet.

30:00: What was her name? Irma?” says Hurlz out of Los Angeles. “Doesn’t seem to be bothering him tonight.”

30:00: Juninho and Beckham with a nice exchange on the right, but Juninho’s return pass is poorly weighted, cut out by Ream.

29:00: Miller shuts down Beckham on the right flank, but it’s a corner for LA. Becks takes it. Cleared by NY.

28:00: Lindpere with a shot from the left side of the box! Just wide of the far post.

27:00: Ref Baiter, from Vegas: “Richards: No words can describe how frustrating he is to watch.”

26:00: Richards plays a ball to no one at the top of the box, then barks at Angel. Really, Dane? Really?

24:00: Angel made a great move to get free on the byline but his cross was met by three Galaxy defenders and easily handled.

23:00: WordPress just crashed! We were knocked offline totally. Again, we’ll do our best to catch up. The Ref Baiter, who is Vegas this weekend, says “this is the best Galaxy crowd in a long time.”

18:00: Beckham cuts inside, tries to chip it for Buddle, New York handles it.

14:oo: Los Angeles with the better of the play so far. But now Marquez finds Angel in space, he tries to spring Richards on the wing. cut out. Red Bulls get it back, Ballouchy works a 1-2 with Angel, shoots from distance! Ricketts with the diving save.

12:00: Half chance for Buddle. New York squelches it.

12:oo: “Why is that yellow guy in the middle?” asks Mrs. Backpost. “Is that the ref?”

10:00: Claymation, out of New Jersey, doesn’t like the camera position for this telecast. “Too high,” he says.

9:00: Richards gets the ball wide, immediately surrounded by three Galaxy defenders. Moments later Miller plays a long ball over the top for Richards, he knocks it back for Ballouchy! … Shot blocked.

8:00: Beckham peels back, lays it off for Juninho, who shoots from distance! Skips wide, way wide.

6:00: Miller stuffs Franklin near the top of the box, 1 v 1. But Galaxy wins the ball back. Long ball by Beckham…too long.

4:oo: Donovan disposses Talley, cuts inside, through ball for Buddle…cut out.

3:00: Franklin takes a pass from Beckham, swings in a cross…cleared out.

1:00: And we’re off. Galaxy  plays the kickoff long and Carey Talley promptly falls on his face, gives up a corner. Beckham swings it in. Cleared out.

Stadium looks fantastic. Mrs. Backpost: “That looks like a beautiful emerald surrounded by sapphires. Speaking of….”

Here are your lineups:

Los Angeles:

—————–Ricketts——————-

Franklin—Leonardo–Marshall–Dunivant

Beckham[!]–Juninho–Kovalenko–Donovan

——–Kirovski—-Buddle——

New York:

————-Coundoul——————–

Talley—Mendes—Ream—Miller

Richards–Tchani–Marquez–Lindpere

———Ballouchy

——————-Angel

No Albright (he’s got a knock), and Beckham gets the nod. How will Talley handle this baptism by fire with his new team?

Pregame

Good evening, sports fans!

We are coming to you live from the newest Backpost satelllite office, in upper New England.

We’re more than a little pumped for this one, not only because of the marquee matchup on tap, but also also because we’ve got a distinguished panel of commenters from all over this great land, ready to chime in during the broadcast.

Mrs. Backpost is here, sipping a nice Prosecco (her report: “dry, lemony”) and talking a good game about making it through the first half of this 11:oo pm EST kickoff.

We shall see.

Underreported subplot to this game, courtesy of Abraham Thinkin’ of Chicago: The Cobi JonesRafa Marquez Situation.

See here (that’s Jones on the ground after absorbing a combination studs-up-challenge/head-butt from Marquez in the 2002 World Cup. Click here for video of the unprecedented maneuver; it’s at the 3:07 mark).

Jones is now a Galaxy assistant coach.

Will they exchange pleasantries tonight?

U.S.-Honduras Live Blog

The U.S. lineup looked pretty good on paper, much less so on the field. Hard to say that anyone improved his standing in this one, as the U.S. never recovered from the one-two punch of Conrad’s red and the penalty that put Honduras up 1-0. As for Conrad’s sending off, hey, Backpost did not jinx him, really!

That’s it; 3-1 Honduras.

Not the best showing for the U.S. We didn’t get a glimpse of much new blood, outside of Bedoya, who looked okay, and the team looked listless. The red card obviously didnt help, but still, the U.S. was substandard in this one.

96:00 Free kick U.S., after Bedoya is fouled down the right side. Feilhaber over the kick—it’s loose in the area briefly, then partly cleared by Honduras, and then … the referee’s whistle. Game over.

95:00 Not a bad buildup from the U.S. Bedoya over the top looking for Casey, it’s deflected to Findley, he heads it back….Casey in the box! … Just rolls it wide of the far post.

90:00 Five minutes of stoppage time announced. Honduras banging the ball out of its own end.

88:00 After Perkins stops a Honduras break, the U.S. makes a break of its own and Findley is taken down just outside the Honduras box. Brad Davis takes the free kick. Rockets it on frame, but it’s parried away. Corner kick follows…U.S snap-down header goes wide.

85:oo Honduras playing keep-away. This has got to be a big confidence-builder for them.

79:00 Bedoya takes a pass from Davis, sends in a decent cross, punched away by Honduran keeper.

78:00 Carlos Pavon is coming out for Georgie Welcome.

77:00 Feilhaber, after a nice touch into space and long-distance strike that sails wide, comes out for Dax McCarty.

75:00 Findley taken down, free kick U.S., 45 yards out…Brad Davis sends it in. Findley collects on the right…repelled by Honduras.

73:00 Feilhaber steps up and intercepts, flies forward, lays it off for Bedoya…Bedoya loops a poor ball into the box….Honduran keeper claims.

70:00 GOAL! U.S.! Clarence Goodson! Brad Davis swings in a corner to the far post and Goodson beats the keeper to it. 3-1 Honduras.

69:00 Conor Casey, who has looked okay since coming on, taken down outside the box….no call.

64:00 Honduras knocking it around, possessing the ball until a run down the left against Wynne ends in a corner. It’s cleared but not out, and Honduras swings in another cross. Cleared, but Honduras looking like a team that could surprise people at SA 2010.

60:00 U.S. subs four players: Conor Casey in for Beckerman. Heath Pearce in for Marshall. Alejandro Bedoya in for Kljestan. Brad Davis in for Rogers. All righty then. Let’s see what they can do.

59:00 Christopher Sullivan wonders aloud where Benny Feilhaber has been for the U.S. all night. Fair point. And here come some subs for the U.S. Why not?

56:00 Toronto F.C.’s Amado Guevera coming out for Honduras, Melvin Marias(?) will take his place.

53:00 GOAL! Honduras! Guevera, Palacios, and Espinoza skillfully dissect the U.S. backline. Just slice it open with a great sequence of one-touches ending in a nice finish to the far post by Espinoza. 3-0 Honduras.

51:00 U.S. plays it well through midfield, and Kljestan slips past a defender in the final third, taken down! Yellow card for Honduras. Free kick for the U.S. 35 yards out. Kljestan(?) skies it well over the bar. Wasted opportunity.

50:00 Robbie Rogers tries from distance—hits the post! Oh, that would have been just what the doctor ordered for the U.S.

49:00 Honduras with another nice buildup ending in a shot by Martinez. Perkins handles it easily.

46:00 Fox is late getting back. Cunningham has been substituted; defender Clarence Goodson comes on in his place.

Halftime: Not a great first half for the Yanks. The forwards have been invisible, the midfield ineffectual and the backline under siege, not to mention missing its most experienced member due to his … momentary lapse in judgment.

Jonathan Bornstein is auctioning off the boots he was wearing when he scored the header that tied the U.S. with Costa Rica in its final World Cup qualifier this past fall, and sent Honduras to South Africa 2010. The proceeds will got to Haiti earthquake relief.

First-half stoppage time: Rogers on the left looking skilled but also lax….Ball rotates over to the right….and there is the halftime whistle.

43:00 Findley on the left–first time we’ve mentioned him, we’re pretty sure–nice move, slings it to Kljestan in the middle. Great move by Kljestan but it ends up with him sliding for 50-50 ball with the Honduran keeper, and the U.S. attack dies.

41:00 Rogers crosses from the left….right to Honduras keeper.

40:00 They just showed the replay of the Conrad incident. He pulled down Palacios in the box, while carrying a yellow. Maybe Palacios went down easy, but there was no pressing need to collar him there.

38:00 GOAL Honduras! Palacios diving header off a great cross from Pavon. 2-0 Honduras.

37:00 Nice buildup by Honduras, they surge down the left, ball cut back to the  middle to Palacios, who whistles one wide to Perkins’s right.

35:oo Wynne takes a nice, switching-the-field ball from Feilhaber, steams down the right and…balloons his cross out of bounds.

33:00 U.S. wins its third corner of the game, Rogers sends it in…poorly. Headed away by first Honduras defender.

32:00 Wynne with a nice move on the right, gets the cross in…headed away by Honduras.

29:00 Honduras dominating. Martinez again down the right, cuts it back…stopped by the U.S. But Honduras comes right back! Shot just wide to Perkins’s left. U.S. on its heels.

26:00 Honduras has another appeal for a penalty as Wynne blocks a shot from the top of the box. Might’ve hit his arm.

25:00 U.S. not finding their footing in this one. Findley and Cunningham have not seen much of the ball at all, and the midfield is scrambling, not winning the battle there.

22:00 Chad Marshall header off a corner goes just over the bar…..Moments later Robbie Rogers skies a pass into the seats from midfield, looks at the turf.

18:00 Pavon hits the penalty, but must re-take! Ref tells him to line it up again…He hits it again, 1-0 Honduras. What happened with Conrad and the Honduran striker in the box? Nice pk by Pavon; Perkins guessed the right way, and nearly got it, but it was well tucked into the corner.

17:00 Penalty for Honduras! Jimmy Conrad getting a second yellow and ejection! We missed the incident, maybe an elbow off the ball.

16:00 Nice sequence from the U.S.: Beckerman to Rogers to Findley to Feilhaber…..and then a ballooned cross by Wynne.

14:00 Great touch by Martinez of Honduras to keep possession in midfield. He plays it to the middle, it’s swung out to the left and…out of bounds. U.S. throw.

12:00 Beckerman steps up and intercepts a pass in midfield, gets it to Cunningham, but the speedy striker loses it.

8:00 A through ball to Pavon, who curls back and starts a good long sequence of possession for Los Catrachos. They surge forward again, but their forward () dives in the box. U.S free kick.

6:00 Kljestan picks a pocket on the right, drives down the wing, lays it back for Feilhaber, he’s tackled in the box. U.S. corner kick. Honduras clears it and tries to break out but Conrad fouls to stop the counter. Yellow card for Conrad.

4:00 Honduras attacks well down the left side, decent cross in…Perkins claims it.

2:00 Frenetic beginning, players flying around, high-energy, but no coherent attacks yet.

U.S. Lineup:

Perkins

Wynne     Marshall        Conrad        Bornstein

Kljestan      Beckerman     Feilhaber     Rogers

Findley         Cunningham

FSC announcers Christopher Sullivan and Mark Rogondino just talked to Bruce Arena about his induction into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame as a “Builder.” Nice moment.

Pre-game: We wouldn’t ordinarily live blog a January friendly between the U.S. and Honduras, but this is a World Cup year, and the list of young players U.S. coach Bob Bradley called into camp this month is pretty interesting, so here we are. Maybe we’ll catch the first flash from a previously uncapped player who ends up being a factor in South Africa 2010. It’s more likely that these guys would factor in later than that, but….you never know.

MLS Cup Live Blog

Real Salt Lake was sub-.500 during the regular season, and  won its final two games on penalties—and yet you have to say RSL deserved this. It may not be what’s best for the league—the Beckham-Donovan trophy-hoisting shots would have gotten much more play, to put it mildly—but Salt Lake outplayed both Chicago in the semis and LA tonight.

Congrats RSL. Nick Rimando is MVP.

Real Salt Lake are your 2009 MLS Cup Champions!

Robbie Russell can win it now for RSL … HE DOES!! Russell tucks it inside the left post as Saunders dives right. It’s over!

Buddle: Stopped by Rimando! Poor shot—not far enough in the corner, and at a save-able height: Waist high.

Chris Wingert must score to keep RSL alive. He does. Right side, low.

Chris Klein….sends Rimando the wrong way, slots it low in the left corner.

Andy Williams can win it now for RSL. MLS Cup … NO!!! Suanders with the save!! Freaking Saunders!

Magee must hit for LA to survive….He does! Top left corner.

Ned Grabovoy slots to the right side. Goal. RSL back on top,

Lando: … He skies it! He puts it over—way over! Not even close! Oh, man. Landon Donovan.

And Saunders stops Beckerman! We’re all even again! What a night for Saunders.

Kirovski! Hasn’t missed in 12 MLS penalties for his career. …. But of course he misses here!! Rimando dives to his right and stops Jovan’s not-very-well-taken, waist-high penalty.

Robbie Findley: Beautifully taken, upper 90.

Berhalter for LA: Goes to Rimando’s left and…hits side netting with Rimando in hot pursuit. Nice shot.

Now it’s Clint Mathis for RSL . Mathis buries it with power. Not much placement, but it’s in.

Beckham is first shooter! He steps up and….rolls it into the lower left side while Rimando goes the wrong way.

Penalties

120:00 This game is at the ragged end, tired players, wide open, end-to-end, action, and here Mathis plays a superb ball into the box to Andy Williams, who fails to collect it, then collapses in either disbelief that he didn’t do better with that or … exhaustion…..And there’s the final whistle. We are headed to penalties for the second time in MLS Cup history (Houston’s 2006 title came on penalties over New England).

119:00 Mathis bends in a free kick. Saunders confidently claims it. He’s played well since coming in for Ricketts in what Chris Russo would say is a big spot.

117:00 Beckham to Donovan down the left side! Donovan sends a weak cross/chip that Rimando grabs easily. RSL counters….goal kick.

114:00 Friend just texted me that LA should bring on Kirovski. Can’t tell if he’s joking or not. Beckham restart parried away by Rimando.

113:00 Donovan to Magee … back to Lando … out of bounds.

110:00 Chris Klein over the back of Wingert on a ball at the far post. Foul on Klein, good positioning by Wingert. This one looks headed to penalties.

106:00 According to Allen Hopkins, Arena asked Bex if he could continue. Beckham said yes and is still out there now as we begin the second extra time period.

105:00 RSL completely dominating now, knocking it around: Beckerman to Wingert and back. But here’s an LA counterattack…that fizzles. And that’s the first 15 of extra time. Beckham is limping noticeably now.

100:00 Beckham fouls Beckerman about 23 yards out on the right. Complains about it. Has no case. Mathis steps up to take the kick, drives it near post! Side netting. Real Salt Lake continues to dominate extra time.

97:00 Mathis sends in Findley on the right! Side netting. Findley should’ve done better with that.

96:00: Real Salt Lake once again dominating possession but now Klein has a chance on a rebound. He flubs it.

93:00: Saunders with a great save on Findley! Espindola makes a driving run into the box, lays it across the top it’s sent on to Findley, and DeLaGarz and Saunders both smother his attempt. Huge.

Extra Time

Is Beckham hurting? He just pulled on his inhaler. And he has a bone bruise on his foot.

90:00+7 RSL on the counter, led by Mathis. He sends Williams into the box on the right. Williams back to Espindola…and … out of bounds. … There’s the final whistle. We’re going to extra time.

90:00+6 Beckham leveled in midfield. No call.

90:00+4 Kirovski with a nice defensive play in the LA box. He’s shifted to a holding-midfielder role, and John Harkes has some words of praise for him. … DeLaGarza flicks an Andy Williams cross out at at the far post. Another good defensive play by LA. Mathis started the sequence with a good pass to Williams on the right flank.

90:00 Espindola comes close for RSL at the near post.

88:00 And now Gonzalez is out, waving to the bench for a sub, possibly as a result of his lunge to stop Findley’s shot two minutes ago, and an injury in training last week. DeLaGarza is coming in for him. Terp for Terp. But what’s happening to LA’s rearguard tonight? We will play two 15-minute extra time periods before penalties. And they just announced seven minutes of stoppage time.

86:00 Buddle back the other way! From Donovan … But he’s just offside.

86:00 Robbie Findley goes 1 v 3 against Berhalter, Gonzalez and Franklin. Suanders with a huge save after Findley makes his move on Gonzalez and rips a shot on goal.

85:00 A Beckham corner is followed quickly by two Beckham crosses, all of which are extinguished by RSL, but the momentum has shifted back again. LA is in control now.

82:00 Franklin sends a nice pass to Beckham, Beckham fouled by Beckerman. Becks free kick from 35 yards, overhits it a bit, header goes wide.

81:00 Mathis free kick headed by Olave. Saunders collects it.

79:00 Chris Klein coming in for Birchall. Birchalll and Kirovski have been the lesser half of the LA midfield tonight.

77:00 Havent said Beckham’s name much this half, but now he sends a great ball into the box to Kirovski. Jovan with a lame effort, but he does win a corner. Beckham takes it…cleared out by RSL.

75:00 Espindola coming on for Yura Movsisyan, whose MLS career is now at an end. He’s signed for Randers for next season.

73:00 Buddle with good possesion at the top of the box, lays it back to Donovan, but Donovan rolls it wide from 23 yards out.

73:00 Mathis with another good ball to Findley into the box. But Findley’s first touch botches the deal.

71:00 Mathis with a great ball to Beckerman [?], who sends Movsisyan down the right side on goal! … Movsisyan misses the target.

70:00 Real Salt Lake with a sea change in momentum. Plenty of space in midfield for them all of a sudden. Movsisyan again on the right. Berhalter slides it out.

67:00 Much like the Galaxy before its goal, Real Salt Lake was buzzing before they found the net. They could have had a penalty on the Movsisyan tackle. They are dominating possession right now.

66:00 Oh boy: Josh Saunders is coming in for Donovan Ricketts, who calls it a night due to the hand injury.

64:00 GOAL! Real Salt Lake! Robbie Findley buries a ricochet of a shot by Movsisyan after a frantic build-up by RSL. We are tied, 1-1.

60:00 Great sequence for RSL: Beckerman to Olave [?] to Movsisyan and as he readies the shot he’s tackled from behind in the box! … No call. Mathis, outraged further back up the pitch after the ball is cleared out, picks up the ball and is whistled for a hand ball.

58:00 Beckham with a free kick from 25 yards, just to the right of center, outside the box. Blocked by the wall.

56:00 Kirovski, by the way, moved out left when Donovan shifted to the center. Magee also drifted out to the left, making Donovan almost a second forward. Magee scored his goal ghosting in from the left to the back post.

54:oo Birchall is full of heavy touches tonight. Not his best game.

52:00 Dunivant sends Donovan down the left, Olave sees him out. Then Wingert with a hard tackle on Beckham. That could have been ugly.

51:00 Ricketts finally back up, ready to take goal kick. ESPN graphic informs that no goalkeeper has ever been removed form an MLS cup Final.

48:00 Movsisyan picks up a loose ball and springs Findley down the right side, all alone streaking toward Ricketts’ goal! He takes a heavy touch while cutting inside and both Ricketts and Gonzalez converge on him. Ricketts and Findley in a heavy collision. Both players come away hurt. Ricketts’ right hand is hurt, according to Allan Hopkins.

46:00 Ned Grabavoy in for Real Salt Lake. Johnson out. Is that because of the food poisoning, or for tactical reasons? ESPN says they’ll find out.

Halftime: It took them a while to get into the game—while RSL enjoyed a lot of benign possession—but LA’s difference makers eventually made the difference in the first half. When Donovan slid into the middle he immediately injected life into the Galaxy attack (yeah, Kirovski didn’t work out too well in there) and combined more readily with Beckham. As we said, they nearly created a goal for Buddle before Magee’s strike. RSL has no answer for those two.

45:00 Borchers with a header! … Right into Ricketts’ arms—but a nice ball in from Andy Williams.

41:00 GOAL! The Beckham–Donovan combination sprung Buddle moments ago, but he was offside; this time Donovan takes a pass from Becks on the right and serves an absolutely perfect ball to the backpost where Magee calmly finishes. 1-0 Galaxy.

40:00 Donovan has moved to the middle and it’s making a positive difference for LA. Birchall clatters in to Mathis after a bad first touch. Mathis dinged up.

38:00 Jason Kreis sporting an Inspector Gadget trenchcoat and looking like the third Voltaggio brother from Top Chef this season.

36:00 LA counterattack: Donovan with a nice run, springs Magee on the left, Magee pulls his shot past the far post.

36:00 Johnson with space on the left for RSL, dumps it off….Gonzalez quashes the threat.

34:00 For LA, Donovan and Beckham need to assert themselves in this game. Kirovski doesnt look ready to do it. On the RSL side, Beckerman has been active, but that’s about all. Mathis invisible so far.

31:00 This game has all the makings of an unpretty 1-0 result, where one lucky bounce or one mistake makes the difference.

28:00 Beckham bends a wicked corner in to the mixer that bamboozles Rimando, but no Galaxy player can get on the end of it. Just as well, since it should have been a goal kick, not a corner.

27:00 Findley one-on-one with Berhalter in the LA box. Greased lighting versus molassses and LA fans are heart in throat right now. Berhalter ushers him over the endline. Nice play.

25:00 Rimando has trouble handling one from Kirovski. Artificial surface creates a funky bounce. First attempt on goal of the game.

25:00 Clint mathis with a nice touch to Beckerman, who tries to spring Findley over the top. Offside.

22:00 Morales in tears as he exits. Championship game cut short.

20:00 Morales hobbles back out on to the field after a nice play to keep possession by Beckham. But sustained possession leading to attacking forays are in short supply so far. But now Morales has just waved to the bench to say he’s done. Too bad. But the silver lining? CLINT! Mathis will come on for him.

16:00 Robbie Findley offside. Morales appears to be dinged up after a recent collision with Beckham. Replay shows that they went knee-to-knee and Morales is clearly worse for the wear. Johnson is also battling food poisoning, so Mr. Kreis’s substitution options looking like a tricky proposition early on here.

14:00 Donovan (and Beckham, for that matter) very quiet to this point. Now he picks up a ball on the left wing, knocks it by Johnson and Johnson takes him out with a hip check. Yellow card for the young Canuck.

12:00 Beckham still sporting his version of the Fauxhawk. Corner kick for him now: Near post…Will Johnson knocks it out. Second try they go short, and draw a whistle for offside on the pass back to Becks.

9:00 Nice sequence for LA. Long ball from Franklin to Buddle at the top of the box. He dribbles wide cuts it across the top of the box to Magee, who backheels to Donovan, who can’t find a seam. He lays it back for Kirovski and the ball is eventually worked wide to Dunivant, who crosses for Buddle. Header off target.

7:00 No chances yet. RSL still controlling possession, but almost entirely in the middle third of the field.

5:00 Birchall tries to get stuck in on Beckerman. Fails. Beckerman the other way with the ball, but then turns it over with an aimless long ball.

1:00 And we’re on. Real Salt Lake with an early stretch of possession, Movsisyan and Morales combining well. Hectic early pace.

Here are your lineups:

Real Salt Lake

————Findley             Movsisyan

Johnson            Morales             Williams

—————–Beckerman

Wingert    Borchers         Olave             Russell

—————–Rimando

Los Angeles

————-Buddle             Magee

Donovan            Kirovski            Beckham

——————Birchall

Dunivant    Berhalter       Gonzalez  Franklin

——————-Ricketts

No surprises in the RSL team, but the Galaxy going with Kirovski in the middle of the park is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. According to the ESPN crew it’s because Kovalenko is sick. We’ve never been too big on the ham-handed, foul-prone Kovalenko, but we’re not sure Kirovski is not a step down, if only mobility- and fitness wise.

Pregame

Outstanding atmosphere in Seattle right now. Qwest Field looks full, and the energy is stupendous, even if they are chanting “See—attle….Soun—ders!”