Chelsea 0 Galaxy 0 (Half Time)

Chelsea overwhelmingly had the better of the possession in the first 45 minutes, but didn’t have their shooting boots on in only their third game of the preseason.

Young Galaxy defenders Ty Harden and Troy Roberts looked out of their depth at times, but Chelsea were unable to capitalize despite some shaky defending from the two in what is undoubtedly the biggest game of their respective careers.

Although there was a marked lack of midfield creativity from the Galaxy, which found it difficult to maintain possession, they weren’t without scoring chances.

A Cobi Jones cross skidded off Kyle Martino’s head in the 19th minute that just flashed wide.

And Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Czech had to stretch to foil an Abel Xavier header from a Landon Donovan free kick in the 39th minute.

But Chelsea are clearly not firing on all cylinders yet.

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Chelsea at the Galaxy

Tigres disposed of the Suwon Bluewings on the strength of three first half goals, two from Jose Fonseca and one from Walter Gaitan in the opening game.

Now it’s on to the main event.

There are two changes to the Galaxy’s starting line-up from the Tigres game earlier in the week: Peter Vagenas is on the bench, while Chris Klein isn’t on the roster at all. In come Cobi Jones and striker Alan Gordon.

And yes, David Beckham is on the bench, but he did not participate in the pre-match warm-up.

Chelsea starts John Terry, Tal Ben Haim, Richard Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira in defense.

New signing Florent Malouda as well as Frank Lampard and Michael Essien comprise the midfield.

Up top: Shaun Wright-Phillips, Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba.

Kick off is at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

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The Mad Mad Media World of David Beckham

Sports media critic Tom Hoffarth breaks down the planned ESPN coverage of Becks Saturday for what may or may not be his Galaxy debut in Carson.

And if that’s news to you, read the previous post.

My bet: he’ll put in at least a cameo appearance if only to prevent a class action lawsuit from fans seeking ticket refunds.

Meanwhile, Beckham has quietly put up his own American-oriented Web site.

Supposedly he’ll blog at some point (welcome to the party, Becks), but for now that hasn’t happened and the updates are coming a little slow. Still, you can win a signed Galaxy Beckham shirt there.

By the way, as the pace of marketing soccer quickens in the U.S., it’s becoming a mini-trend for familiar names in Europe to try to establish themselves as brands here by unveiling Americanized Web sites.

English Premier League team Chelsea, the Galaxy’s opponents Saturday, has one called Chelsea in America.

And Real Madrid, Becks’ former team, unveiled one this week dubbed Real Madrid America.

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100 Percent Soccer on “Which Way, L.A.?”

I’ll be talking to Warren Olney, host of “Which Way, L.A.?” at 7 p.m. on KCRW (89.9 FM) about David Beckham’s prospects of making his debut Saturday against Chelsea.

Updated: Listen to the podcast here.

The Reporter’s Notebook segment on Beckham is about 20 minutes into the program, after a lengthy discussion on Homeland Security.

Updated 9:50 p.m. Anyone else smell a major PR debacle brewing?

At the half of the MLS All-Star game tonight, Beckham said live on ESPN2 that he’s more likely than not to miss Saturday’s game against Chelsea.

But even after those comments, ESPN continued to promote his appearance during the game, simply saying he’s unlikely to start. The network plans blanket coverage of his debut, including an isolated camera on Beckham — even if he is on the bench.

In the Associated Press story that followed on Beckham’s comments, Galaxy GM Alexi Lalas is quoted as saying Beckham will get on the field in some fashion.

The apparent conflict leaves plenty of questions:

Is a player-club clash over Beckham’s fitness to play unfolding? Will commercial interests be placed over a player’s long-term health? If the injury was this serious why didn’t Beckham get here sooner for treatment rather than the day before he was introduced at the HDC? What kind of treatment did he receive in England? And how exciting will it be for television viewers to see Beckham wave to Tom Cruise from the bench?

Oh, and the MLS All-Stars beat Celtic 2-0 in the game.

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All-Star Thursday

The MLS All-Star game with Scottish powerhouse Celtic begins at 6 p.m. from the Colorado Rapids’ new home in Denver. It’s live on ESPN2.

Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones, in his last MLS season, represent the Galaxy; Torrance-born Jonathan Bornstein (although he grew up in Los Alamitos) of Chivas USA is playing in his first MLS All-Star game and is expected to start.

Kevin Hartman and Matt Reis will share goalkeeping duties for the MLS squad just as they once did for the Galaxy.

Here are the full rosters for both teams.

Of course, the highest profile player (I didn’t say best, yet) in MLS will be cooling his injured ankle in a luxury suite rather than playing.

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All-Star Eve

The showcase MLS All-Star game is at 6 p.m. tomorrow against Scotland’s Celtic in Denver live on ESPN2.

With reporters from around the nation in town, the league takes pains the day before to come up with some announcements in an effort to grab some headlines around what is largely a meaningless game.

Today was no different, although contrived as the timing is word usually leaks out about the biggest news and so we received confirmation of Tuesday’s news that a newly-reconstituted San Jose Earthquakes will start play next season.

It was expected anyway since Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff was considered ahead of the game, which means he was willing to ante up the ever-increasing price tag for an MLS franchise, not that the team has a stadium.

The Earthquakes don’t so they will lead a nomadic existence in the Bay Area for the first two years while one is built. That’s no way to build either a fan base or revenue stream, but at least the Galaxy (and Chivas USA) regain their closest geographic rivals.

Toronto will host next year’s All-Star Game, a reward to the public and team for the overwhelming response to the arrival of MLS.

Lastly, MLS unveiled something called the Coaching Diversity Initiative, essentially enshrining affirmative action in league policy.

“Beginning immediately, the new Coaching Diversity Initiative requires the leagues teams to interview candidates of diverse backgrounds for any open technical staff position, MLS said. “Technical staff positions include head coach, assistant coaches, youth coaches and technical director.”

There are two minority head coaches — Colorados Fernando Clavijo and Chicagos Juan Carlos Osorio — and nine minority assistant coaches in MLS, officials said.

To hype the game, Kansas City’s All-Star defender Jimmy Conrad appears on “ESPN First Take” (the successor to “Cold Pizza” Thursday morning. His segment airs at 8:30 am.

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Gameday Wednesday

The final game of the third round of the U.S. Open Cup is scheduled for tonight with Chivas USA playing striker Maykel Galindo’s former team, the Seattle Sounders, in the Pacific Northwest.

There’s no TV or radio coverage. The winner plays the Colorado Rapids Aug. 7 at the HDC.

To get up to date on the competition so far click here.

Updated: Ovan Orozco talks to Chivas USA rookie striker John Cunliffe, who has moved from his native Bolton to Palos Verdes to play pro soccer in MLS and may make his third start tonight.

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Result: Chelsea 1 Suwon Bluewings 0

An unmarked Didier Drogba scored in the 80th minute to break the scoreless deadlock in the nightcap, knocking in a ball at the far post Shawn Wright-Phillips had intelligently scooped over the Bluewings defense.

The game, which started at a fairly pedestrian clip, livened up as it wore on.

Chelsea never looked particularly challenged and moved to 2-0 on its preseason tour of the U.S., after beating Mexico’s Club America in the Bay Area over the weekend.

Based on tonight’s Chelsea performance, Yallop has every right to be worried – and not just about his job.

Updated 11:59 p.m.

Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho said after the game that after seeing his squad in 10 training sessions and two 45-minute games (he played virtually a separate line-up in each half of each game) he will for the first time this season against the Galaxy Saturday play the same 11 for an hour in a 4-4-2 formation.

Thankfully he only caught 10 minutes of the Galaxy game.

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