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Vela: Real Sociedad looks to press on after strong start

September 7th, 2013 Comments off

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While Mexico’s national team squad counts down the hours and minutes until tonight’s crunch tie with Honduras, Carlos Vela finished up training in San Sebastian on Friday ahead of a two-day break.

The in-form Mexican forward has already made his mark with Real Sociedad this season with four goals in five games and told the local press that he is looking to hit even dizzier heights after the international break.

“The truth is the start (of seasons) have always been hard work,” Vela said in a press conference. “At the start the games seem long, but motivation has helped us prepare, and I think that we saw that in the (Champions League) playoff against Lyon.”

The Mexican also said he wanted to feel “important and valued,” implying that he has found a home at Sociedad after an indifferent time at Arsenal punctuated by different loan spells. After the international break, Vela and Sociedad kick off the Champions League campaign on Sept. 17 against Shakhtar Donetsk, with games against Bayer Leverkusen and Manchester United to follow.

“The campaign is to enjoy and to push ourselves,” added the 24-year-old Vela, who hasn’t featured for the Mexican national team since March 2011.

FC Dallas-Sounders Preview

August 3rd, 2013 Comments off

After helping the United States capture the Gold Cup, Eddie Johnson will try to regain his scoring touch for the Seattle Sounders.

The forward will also seek to help the Sounders extend a home unbeaten streak to nine games and continue their recent success against struggling FC Dallas on Saturday night.

Johnson totaled two goals and an assist in the semifinal and quarterfinal matches for the national team in its CONCACAF tournament. The U.S. claimed the title with a 1-0 victory over Panama on Sunday in Chicago.

Johnson hasn’t experienced the same success in MLS play with no goals or assists in the past five games. He has four goals this season after scoring 14 times in his first year in Seattle.

“For me, it was good to get away because it was a bit frustrating in the previous games,” Johnson said. “The fight, hunger, desire, commitment and winning mentality, I want to bring that from the national team to Seattle.”

Sat, Aug 3.

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While trying to find the net, Johnson will try to aid Seattle’s attempt to improve on a 5-0-3 home record since a season-opening loss to Montreal on March 2. Lamar Neagle extended the run by scoring the tiebreaking goal in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Chivas USA, which snapped a three-game winless stretch.

“It was three points. Whether the scoreline was 2-1 or 3-1 or 1-0 doesn’t matter as long as it was three points,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “I was pleased that we played better soccer.”

The Sounders (8-7-4) might have a good chance to pick up another three points as they’re 4-0-1 in their last five against Dallas. Johnson also appears to have a strong opportunity to break out of his funk considering he scored a pair of goals in the only matchup with Dallas this season, a 4-2 home victory May 18.

Dallas (8-5-8) bounced back from that defeat with a 1-0 win over San Jose a week later, but the club is 0-3-5 since and has matched a dubious franchise record by getting shut out in four straight contests.

Leading goal scorer Blas Perez was with the Panama Gold Cup team during the team’s most recent game, a scoreless draw at Montreal on July 20. Perez and forward Fabian Castillo, who was serving a one-game suspension, will likely return for this game.

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Striker Eric Hassli, however, is suspended for this match for “violent conduct” in the tie with Montreal.

“Playing in Seattle is always difficult,” Perez told the team’s website through a translator. “What we need to do is go with the mentality that we can’t afford to lose and we need to work hard to bring back points.”

Dallas is also 0-3-5 on the road since a 1-0 win over New England on March 30 – its only victory in 10 games away from home this season.

Seattle has outscored FC Dallas 7-3 in its back-to-back home victories in the series.