Victor Rodriguez Named MVP After Seattle Sounders’ MLS Cup Championship Win

Victor Rodriguez is the man of the pitch…

The 30-year-old Spanish professional footballer and Seattle Sounders midfielder has been awarded the MLS Cup MVP trophy, after scoring the second goal in the Sounders’ championship victory over Toronto FC on Sunday.

Victor Rodriguez

Seattle came out on top 3-1 in front of 69,274 fans at a sold-out CenturyLink Field, making it the largest sporting event in the history of the stadium and the largest soccer crowd in the history of Washington State. 

Despite Toronto dominating possession in the first half, Seattle broke the deadlock after a cross-shot from right-back Kelvin Leerdamdeflected in off the unfortunate Justin Morrow.

Despite the introduction of Toronto striker Jozy Altidore off the bench, Seattle doubled their lead with 14 minutes remaining thanks to a fine strike from the edge of the box from Sounders substitute Rodriguez. And the result was put beyond doubt in the 90th minute, whenRaul Ruidiaz out-muscled Chris Mavinga and finished delightfully past Toronto keeper Quentin Westberg

Altidore’s goal soon after was a mere consolation for the visitors.

César Stops Two Penalty Shootout Kicks to Help Brazil Defeat Chile

World Cup 2014

Júlio César is being heralded as Brazil’s saving grace…

The 34-year-old Brazilian footballer, the national team’s goalkeeper, emerged as Brazil’s hero on Saturday after Brazil squeaked past Chile 3-2 in a penalty shootout to advance to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.

Julio Cesarorld

After the teams played to a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, César – a goalkeeper for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Toronto FC – stopped penalty kicks by Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez. The match then ended when Gonzalo Jara’s blast clanked off the post.

Brazil’s shootout goals came from David Luiz, Marcelo and finally Neymar, who calmly fired a strike into the left part of the goal after first trying to gauge where Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo would be moving.

The match was played on even terms until the 18th minute, when David Luiz scored from just a few feet away from the goal line after Thiago Silva headed the ball his way following a corner kick.

It initially appeared that the ball had gone in the net off Jara’s foot.

Chile got the equalizer in the 32nd minute when Eduardo Vargas took advantage of a Brazilian defensive blunder and centered the ball to Alexis Sanchez, who fired a perfectly placed strike past a diving César.

Brazil then had a couple of chances before halftime, but a header by Neymar was deflected away by Jara and then a blast off the foot of Fred sailed over the crossbar.

In the 54th minute, Hulk appeared to score the go-ahead goal when he received a cross and fired a shot past Bravo. But English referee Howard Webb waived it off and gave the forward a yellow card, ruling that he had lowered the ball with his arm.

Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari then sent on Jo and Ramires to replace Fred and Fernandinho, respectively, but they were unable to provide the creative spark needed to break down Chile’s resistance.

Bravo’s heroics also were key to keeping the match tied, as he stopped a header from Neymar and a powerful strike from Hulk before the end of the second half.

In extra time, Brazil dominated ball possession but had no answer for Chile’s all-out defensive tactics.

La Roja also proved dangerous with the few chances it had, with Pinilla blasting a shot off the crossbar shortly before the end of extra time.

With the win, the Brazilians, who are seeking their sixth World Cup title, advance to a quarterfinal match on July 4 against Colombia, which defeated Uruguay 2-0.

Bocanegra Signs with MLS’ Chivas USA

It didn’t take long for Carlos Bocanegra to land his next contract…

Following the news of his departure from the Scottish Premier League’s Rangers, the 34-year-old half-Mexican American soccer star has officially signed with Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA team.

Carlos Bocanegra

Bocanegra – who spent last season with Spain’s Racing Santander, where he was on loan from the Rangers – will join the team in Philadelphia to prepare for its upcoming July 12 match against the Union.

The U.S. national team captain becomes eligible to play for Chivas USA on July 9, when the international transfer window opens.

”It feels really good to be coming back home,” said Bocanegra. ”I’ve been following MLS a lot more closely this year, and I got my start here in the league, so I’m excited to [be] seeing personally how much the league has grown.”

Chivas USA traded a first-round draft pick in 2014 and an international roster spot to Toronto FC, which owned the first shot at acquiring Bocanegra.

He’s played 116 games for the United States, including World Cups in 2006 and 2010. He began his professional career with the Chicago Fire and was 2000 MLS Rookie of the Year.

In January 2004, Bocanegra moved to Europe, joining English Premier League team Fulham, where he spent four years. He then went to France, playing for Rennes and Saint Etienne before joining Rangers.

Despite being sidelined for a month with a left hamstring injury suffered while on national team duty last November, Bocanegra became a solid defender for Racing, starting in all 23 games played for the Spanish team. The Rangers did not renew his contract when the loan ended, freeing Bocanegra to return to MLS.

Chivas USA currently has the league’s worst defense, allowing 31 goals while going 3-10-3, last in the Western Conference.

”I’m very excited to join the club,” said Bocanegra. ”I know it’s going to be a big challenge because the club hasn’t been getting the greatest results on the field, but it’s something I’m looking forward to.”