By MIKE DONOVAN
Steven Beitashour, who has played in every league match since April 21, has finally returned to the form he had before two offseason hernia surgeries.
The 2012 MLS All-Star had struggled for the San Jose Earthquakes for much of the season, notching just one assist in his first 15 matches. In the last three matches, however, Beitashour has two assists and finally feels fully recovered from the procedures.
“I feel 100 percent now, that’s the main thing,” Beitashour told the club’s website. “You get opened up in one spot twice, there’s a lot of scar tissue. I did a lot of work with the physical therapist here. I did a lot of work with the trainers, a lot of work on my own, just trying to get all that scar tissue gone.”
Beitashour had the game-winning assist in the Earthquakes’ 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City this past weekend, and he also had a secondary assist in the first goal in San Jose’s 2-0 triumph over Chivas USA back on Aug. 4.
Here are some more news and notes from around the Western Conference:
Defender Daniel Antunez, who tore his left meniscus in his first MLS start in April, has returned to do light cardio work on the field. The 27-year-old University of Hartford product signed with the Goats in the offseason after a stint with Finnish side, FC Inter Turku. While it is unknown if Antunez will return this year, he is happy with his progress so far.
“It feels good,” Antunez told the club’s website. “It’s been a while since I’ve actually trained with the team outside on the field. I’m slowly incorporating myself with the team more and more, which is good especially now that we have a few guys out and injured, it motivates me to have a speedy recovery.”
The Rapids have welcomed a pair of new trialists to training this week in Brazilian midfielder Netinho and Colombian midfielder Deiner Andres Cordoba. The pair is expected to see action in the club’s Aug. 27 reserve match with Chivas USA.
Netinho is a 19-year-old former Santos youth product who just wrapped up his first season in the U.S. with Phoenix FC of USL Pro. The 21-year-old Cordoba last played at Deportivo Pereira in Colombia and scored a goal for his country at the 2009 U-17 World Cup.
On Wednesday, the Rapids announced that newly-signed designated player Gabriel Torres has been called up by the Panamanian National Team for World Cup qualifying matches next month.
FC Dallas currently have two players on loan with the Ft Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL and both were in action for the club over the weekend. Goalkeeper Richard Sanchez got the start and was a major reason behind the Strikers’ 2-1 win over the San Antonio Scorpions. Teammate Bradlee Baladez started the match, marking the first time he had done so since he was loaned to Ft. Lauderdale.
Another FC Dallas loanee, Bobby Warshaw, is yet to make his debut for Swedish side AF Angelholm.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
According to Landon Donovan, the most important attribute that Robbie Keane delivers for the Galaxy is his movement.
“His biggest attribute is his movement. His movement is sublime,” Donovan told the club’s website. ”You don’t always see it and there are a lot of times that he makes good movements on the field where he doesn’t get the ball, but the times that he does, you see it. He’s very sharp, very active and he’s always playing with the defender’s mind.”
Despite playing just 14 league games this season, Keane is currently in the top four for both goals and assists in 2013.
Alvas Powell, who was acquired on loan from Portmore United FC in late June, has worked himself into the club’s starting lineup despite being just 19 years old. The right back’s exceptional speed and athleticism brings a different dimension than previous starters, Ryan Miller and Jack Jewsbury. Powell also has the tools that head coach Caleb Porter wants in his outside backs.
“We thought he’d be a guy that would eventually fit more of the prototypical outside back that we look for,” Porter told the Oregonian. “A guy that’s athletic, that can really run the channel and go box to box, get forward, provide width, be a threat in the attack, but also defensively be capable of getting back. Alvas kind of checks all those boxes.”
Powell has five caps for the Jamaica National Team and is one of three Jamaicans on the Timbers, joining Donovan Ricketts and Ryan Johnson.
REAL SALT LAKE
RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen says he believes Kreis is the “most beautiful coach in MLS,” but he would not give a definitive answer when asked if Kreis will return next season. The 40-year-old coach has been with the club since he became RSL’s first player prior to their 2005 inaugural season.
“I think we’ve got a relationship with Jason and our coaches at RSL that gives him the best place to realize what he wants,” Hansen told KUTV according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “At the same time, he’s an extremely talented coach. That doesn’t go without notice in other franchises.”
Kreis, whose contract is up at the end of this season, has been the head coach at RSL since he retired as a player in May 2007 and is the youngest coach to win the MLS Cup in league history.
Saturday will mark both the home debut of Clint Dempsey and the revival of the Cascadia Cup rivalry between the Sounders and the Timbers. The match also marks the first time since Portland joined MLS in 2011 that Seattle is looking up at Portland in the Western Conference before a match.
“Of course it makes us even hungrier to beat those guys and move up in the standings, as well,” goalkeeper Michael Gspurning told the Seattle Times. “But Portland is always Portland. It doesn’t matter if we’re first and they’re last or the other way.”
In addition, on Wednesday, the Sounders announced the signing of Blair Gavin, formerly of Chivas USA and the New England Revolution. The midfielder played for the University of Akron for Caleb Porter, who will be on the other side of the field when the Sounders meet the Timbers.
Daigo Kobayashi, who displayed creativity and exceptional skill during the preseason, has struggled as the MLS season has worn on. Kobayashi hasn’t had a goal or an assist in league play since March 9.
“It’s one of those things where we’re seeing progress and then maybe not quite seeing what we want,” Rennie told the Province newspaper. “I think we’ve just really got high expectations for him and he’s got fantastic talent, so we just want to keep encouraging him and see if we can get the best out of him.”
The 30-year-old Japanese midfielder has played the full 90 minutes in just one of his last six appearances for Vancouver.
Impressed with the way Beitashour has been playing lately? Expecting the Rapids to sign either of their two trialists? What do you think of Powell’s performances for the Timbers?
Share your thoughts below.