Beckham, Donovan not making trip to Chicago

Beckham, Donovan not making trip to Chicago

Friday, April 15, 2011Posted: 7:38 p.m.

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Galaxy have struggled to find their scoring touch, and Landon Donovan's knee injury hasn't helped.

Those offensive woes could continue Sunday with Donovan's status unknown and David Beckham, Juninho and Jovan Kirovski serving suspensions during a matchup with the Chicago Fire.

Los Angeles (2-1-3) is one of only five teams to have fewer goals (five) than games played, scoring one during Donovan's two-game absence. The forward has inflammation in his right knee, believed to have been developed during a stretch of three games - two with the U.S. national team and a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia on April 2.

With their captain back home, the Galaxy played to a 1-all draw at D.C. last Saturday and a scoreless tie at Toronto on Wednesday.

That game in Toronto might have proved costly for this week's matchup as Beckham was given his fifth yellow card of the season, drawing an automatic one-game suspension.

Juninho, who has a team-best two goals, also received a one-match ban for getting a red card during stoppage time.

The MLS suspended Kirovski on Friday for one more game after he sat out Wednesday's draw because of a red card. The midfielder was fined an additional 750 for verbal abuse of an official during the match with United.

"There are bad calls, and we've had the majority of bad calls over the last few games," Beckham told the league's official website. "It's ruining our preparation for games ... We want that consistency to be there (from the referees), and we want to keep our players on the field."

With those suspensions and Donovan potentially missing a third consecutive game, the Galaxy may need scoring help from Juan Pablo Angel or Mike Magee.

Angel has 58 goals in his previous four MLS seasons and one in five contests this season. Magee scored the lone goal against D.C. while taking Donovan's spot on the field.

Despite being extremely short-handed, Los Angeles might have some hope against a Chicago defense that has given up eight goals in the past three games. Chicago (1-2-1) suffered its second straight defeat Thursday, 4-2 in expansion Portland's first home match.

The Fire fell behind 3-0 early in the second half, but an own goal and Marco Pappa's second of the season cut the deficit to one. Chicago, though, couldn't find the equalizer and Fire defender Dasan Robinson sent a ball into his own net off a Timbers corner kick.

"It's a shame because our players made a great effort. We played much better in the second half and we need to learn off of this," coach Carlos de los Cobos said.

When Los Angeles visited Chicago last season, the Fire broke a scoreless tie in the 88th minute only to give up Omar Gonzalez's goal in stoppage time and settle for a 1-all draw.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

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Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

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Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."