Tuesday’s (Late) Update

World Cup Semifinals Begin Wednesday

Germany play Norway at 4:55 a.m. Wednesday on ESPN2 in the first of the semifinals, while the U.S. faces Brazil Thursday morning. We’ll have a complete pregame analysis from Ajax America Women Coach Brian Boswell up Wednesday. But for now, here’s the story that ran in the Daily Breeze today.

K.C. Compensates Fans For Beckham No Show

The Kansas City Wizards belatedly discovered today (I kid you not) that David Beckham won’t play Thursday (are they still using pony express there?) in the game on ESPN2. Still, the club announced a slew of special offers for fans to make up for his absence (are you paying attention, Galaxy?):

Parking is free.

Buy one playoff ticket, get one free playoff ticket for the first home playoff game (for fans with) the ticket stub from the Wizards versus Galaxy game

A drawing for three kids to have a Wizards starting player (as chosen by the Wizards staff) visit their school.

The Wizards have already arranged for numerous attractions surrounding the match, including an expanded soccer celebration east of the stadium (which includes 40 booths), NASCAR driver David Ragan signing autographs before the game, a performance by the band Liverpool: A Tribute to the Beatles, a special pre-game tribute to Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones and much more. The first 10,000 fans into the stadium will receive blue and white thundersticks courtesy of game-sponsor M&I Bank, and the game ball will be delivered to mid-field by jet pack. After the game there will be a fireworks show and then Wizards players signing autographs.

By comparison, Galaxy season ticket holders got a “hey, we won’t jack up the prices for next season if you renew by such and such a date.”

Beck’s on Best World XI List

The MLS Players Union was bursting with pride today that it had a player – David Beckham – included among the 55 finalists for the third annual World Best XI Player Awards. Too bad the press release from FIFPro, which represents 45,000 professional players worldwide, noted that Beckham plays for Real Madrid.

Here are the nominees, as voted on by players, with the winners announced in October:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/ Juventus), Iker Casillas (Spain/ Real Madrid), Petr Cech (Czech Republic/ Chelsea), Nelson de Jesus Silva Dida (Brazil/ AC Milan), Edwin van der Sar (Holland/ Manchester United)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (France/ Olympique Lyon), Daniel Alves (Brazil/ Sevilla), Roberto Ayala (Argentina/ Valencia), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy/ Real Madrid), Roberto Carlos da Silva (Brazil/ Real Madrid), Jamie Carragher (England/ Liverpool), Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal/ Chelsea), Cristian Chivu (Romania/ AS Roma), Ashley Cole (England/ Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (England/ Manchester United), Philipp Lahm (Germany/ Bayern Munich), Ferreira Lucio (Brazil/Bayern Munich), Paolo Maldini (Italy/ AC Milan), Marco Materazzi (Italy/ Inter), Alessandro Nesta (Italy/ AC Milan), Carles Puyol (Spain/ Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/ Real Madrid), John Terry (England/ Chelsea), Nemanja Vidic (Serbia/ Manchester United), Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy/ Juventus).

Midfielders: David Beckham (England/ Real Madrid), Anderson Deco (Portugal/ Barcelona), Mickael Essien (Ghana/ Chelsea), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy/ AC Milan), Steven Gerrard (England/ Liverpool), Andres Iniesta (Spain/ Barcelona), Ricardo Kaka (Brazil/ AC Milan), Frank Lampard (England/ Chelsea), Claude Makelele (France/ Chelsea), Andrea Pirlo (Italy/ AC Milan), Juan Roman Riquelme (Argentina/ Villareal/Boca Juniors), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/ Manchester United), Paul Scholes (England/ Manchester United), Clarence Seedorf (Holland/ AC Milan), Xavi (Spain/ Barcelona).

Forwards: Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria/ Tottenham Hotspur), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast/ Chelsea), Samuel Etoo (Cameroon/ Barcelona), Thierry Henry (France/ Arsenal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/ Inter), Filippo Inzaghi (Italy/ AC Milan), Lionel Messi (Argentina/ Barcelona), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Holland/ Real Madrid), Ronaldinho (Brazil/ Barcelona), Ronaldo (Brazil/ Real Madrid/ AC Milan), Wayne Rooney (England/ Manchester United), Carlos Tevez (Argentina/ West Ham United), Luca Toni (Italy/ Fiorentina), Francesco Totti (Italy/ AS Roma), David Villa (Spain/ Valencia).

Hail Haley

The Under-14 Girls National Developmental Program competed for the first time as a team at the 2007 Womens Nike Friendlies at Home Depot Center last weekend, picking up two wins and a draw against the nations top Under-16 club teams. Haley Rosen of Palos Verdes scored twice.

Toros Triumph

Freshman Tiburcio Casillas (Gardena/Animo Leadership High) scored twice as the Cal State Dominguez Hills men slammed visiting Cal State San Marcos 6-1 Monday at Toro Stadium.

CSUDH, now 8-2 overall, concludes its six-game homestand at 7 p.m. Saturday against nationally-ranked Seattle Pacific.

The Cal State Dominguez Hills women, meanwhile, beat Cal State San Marcos 3-0 Monday with Melissa Livergood (North Torrance High) and Kristen Boskovich (Peninsula High) combining for the three goals.

The 7-1-3 Toros concludes its six-game homestand 7 p.m. Tuesday against Western Washington.

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Jesse Marsch, the No Diving Campaign Begins

i-a5aaae207121d2948b8eae048b34015d-marsch.jpg Jesse missed Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Wizards. And he wasn’t happy about it. This is his inaugural post:

I was sitting in my house this week contemplating what to write for my first blog entry. I was thinking about the extra time I had on my hands this week because I had been suspended for yellow card points for the game against the Kansas City Wizards.

I became irritated because my last yellow card was for a tackle on Colorado’s Colin Clark where I not only didn’t foul him, but I didn’t even touch him! He took one and a half more steps and then took a dive that Greg Louganis would have been proud of. The attempt to garner a call from the referee was so pathetic that when he took out the yellow card, I was sure it was fixed on Clark. I actually started clapping and demanding that Clark get off his rump, but the ref then pointed at me indicating that I was the recipient. I couldn’t believe the ref fell for it.

I have a major problem with diving, and an even bigger problem with rolling around on the ground like someone has been shot.

I grew up in Wisconsin, which needless to say is not a soccer state.

We like brats, cheese, beer, and the Packers.

Most of my friends and family back home don’t understand soccer, but they will watch occasionally because they like to see me on TV. (Although I always get the question, “Why don’t you shoot more?”)

The one thing they do know about soccer is that they hate diving! And I mean loathe it. And because of this reason I have never in my career done the ole’ lay on the ground and cry for a card.

It’s pathetic.

I mean we are talking about grown men, with families, lying on the ground grabbing their knees (even though the were kicked in the ankle) moaning and whining. So much so that when I go out and play with my three-year-old son, he kicks the ball and then falls to the ground grabbing his foot. That’s what he absorbs from watching professional soccer.

The biggest problem is that it works.

I’m not sure if Carlos Ruiz or Brian Ching will read this blog. Or if we can forward this article to every Brazilian that comes to play in America, but I am starting a “no diving” campaign.

Let’s get some sponsors and go global with it. Because unless we eliminate diving from our sport, we provide easy fodder for all of the antagonists of soccer in this country.


So now you know who Jesse Marsch thinks are the biggest divers in MLS.

Who do you think are the worst culprits at faking injury?

My nominee: the Galaxy’s Kyle Martino.

If memory serves, he won two penalties in quick sucession by ramping up the drama when he fell in the penalty box. Now referees have caught on and Martino just flails dramatically to no avail.

And looks silly.

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Monday Morning Lite

Light (and late) Monday post after a busy weekend. Chivas USA veteran Jesse Marsch blogs later today with his first post. Until then here are a few weekend left-overs:

MLS Playoff Update

Here’s an (edited) summary from MLS after this weekend’s games:

By defeating the Kansas City Wizards Saturday on a dramatic, stoppage-time goal, Chivas USA became the fourth MLS team to secure a berth in the playoffs, which begin Oct. 25 on ESPN2.

D.C. United, Houston Dynamo and the New England Revolution had previously clinched passage to the postseason.

Chivas USA, led by Ante Razovs two-goal performance against Kansas City, moved to the top of the Western Conference and closed within two points of D.C. United, the current overall leader in the MLS standings. When the regular season ends on Oct. 21, the team with the most points will win the Supporters Shield and will qualify for the 2008 CONCACAF Champions Cup. Most MLS teams have just four regular season games remaining.

FC Dallas and New York can book playoff slots this week, while Real Salt Lake and Toronto could be eliminated.

College Roundup

U.S. International Lauren Cheney had a breakout performance for UCLA Sunday in the program’s biggest win since 1995, while the USC women also won. Brief summaries are here.

Next for UCLA: at home at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 3-ranked Portland.

Meanwhile, second half strikes from senior Jamie Bell and junior Stefanie Baduria lifted the Loyola Marymount women to their fourth consecutive victory in a 2-0 win over visiting Fresno State Sunday afternoon at Sullivan Field in Westchester. The Lions (4-3-1) got their record above .500 for the first time this season, while handing the Bulldogs (3-4-0) their second straight defeat.

LMU continues its five-game home stand at 4 p.m. Friday against Idaho and 1 p.m. Sunday against UC Riverside.

In men’s soccer, LMU and Columbia battled to a goalless draw Sunday in the finale of the LMU Invitational at Sullivan Field. The LMU Lions (2-4-1), despite going 1-0-1 in the tournament, finished second to champions UC Santa Barbara on goal difference.

Next: The West Coast Conference home opener Oct. 5 against Santa Clara.

Best in the Galaxy

Finally, Sunday was the deadline for members of the media to choose the Galaxy MVP and defender of the year.

With two virtually completely different teams fielded this year, a ghastly season and so many injuries that Coach Frank Yallop has fielded the same lineup just twice, this was a crap shoot.

My picks are below. Discussion and ridicule welcome and expected.

MVP: Chris Klein – An ever-present this season starting 15 of 15 MLS games since joining the Galaxy from Real Salt Lake, the veteran utility man deserves the award for sheer perseverence if nothing else, filling in wherever needed. As a bonus he scored two of the most spectacular Galaxy goals seen this year, including that stunning SuperLiga equalizer that sent the final to penalty kicks.

Runner-up – Cobi Jones, not for his four goals in 18 games (12 starts), but for a sparkling 12-year MLS career (hey, the Oscars are often lifetime achievement awards).

Third – David Beckham. (What this isn’t for the richest player with the most valuables?). Beck’s gets it for sheer guts in trying to play through serious injuries and the exposure he brought to MLS. His goal in the SuperLiga semifinal and two assists in the 5-4 loss to New York in one of the most exciting MLS games ever weren’t bad either.

Defender of the Year – Goalkeeper Joe Cannon. He has the worst goals against average in the league, has lost more games than any other goalkeeper, is clearly not the player he once was and yet is the Galaxy’s best defender? That tells you more about anyone else than Cannon. But he’s played more games than any other Galaxy player and frankly was given virtually no support from the back four. Cannon made some fine saves and without him things could have been far, far worse.

Runner-up – Chris Albright. Played in just seven games (including two in the U.S. Open Cup) before going down with a season-ending torn hamstring. He’s blameless. And he’s also apparently in the last year of his contract; give him lots of money to return, Galaxy front office.

Third: Are you kidding me?

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Result: FC Dallas 1 Galaxy 2

The Galaxy came from behind to win for the first time this season – and record a victory for only the second time in 13 games – on another spectacular goal from Chris Klein.

Klein, who scored a magical bicycle kick in extra time in the SuperLiga final, collected the ball on the outside of the Dallas penalty box after Carlos Pavon had jumped over (deliberately, apparently) a long grass-cutting cross from Cobi Jones, who was playing in his 300th MLS game. Klein unleashed a blistering blast that almost ruptured the top left corner of the net and left Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala with no chance.

The Galaxy apparently have a far better chance of scoring when Pavon doesn’t actually touch the ball, a point proved seven minutes later when the Honduran, put through alone on Sala, shot the ball straight at the goalkeeper.

Pavon – whose goalscoring instincts are nearing the level of the almost legendary misser of sitters, Pando Ramirez – also somehow managed to miss from just six yards out in the 67th minute from a Jones cross.

The Galaxy (5-13-6) now have 21 points, but remain in last place in the league tied with Toronto on points.

Let’s hope the locker room is a bit happier.

Updated: It was.

“It felt good to have a bit of luck for a change,” said a smiling Yallop, who also observed that Dallas looked tired after playing Thursday against Chicago. “I looked at Dallas and thought, ‘I know how they feel.’ … We’ve been doing that for the last six weeks.”

And they’ll be doing it for a few more; the Galaxy play Thursday in Kansas City and Sunday in Columbus as the great no-show Beckham tour of MLS continues.

How tired was Dallas in the second half? They had just one shot on goal.

Yallop defended Pavon’s poor touch in front of goal.

“I still think there’s goals in him,” he said. “His finishing is amazing in practice. He needs to just bury one and he’s off.”

We hope.

Landon Donovan said he didn’t know why the refereee called back his first successful penalty, saying he didn’t hear a whistle.

But Sala apparently directed some choice words at Donovan in Spanish after the first attempt.

“After I scored (the second spot kick effort), I let him know he probably shouldn’t rile me up,” Donovan said.

And that’s why Donovan received a yellow card. He looked like he thought it was worth it.

Updated: Duffer Billy Witz has the game details.

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F.C. Dallas 1 Galaxy 1 (Half Time)

Both goals and an ejection of Dallas’ Chris Gbandi came within a 15-minute span of the first half.

The Dallas goal came first in the 11th minute, when a Gbandi cross was dummied by Carlos Ruiz and fell to Dax McCarty at the back of the penalty area, who scored from about 12 yards.

The Galaxy, by the way, are winless this season after conceding the game’s first goal.

Gbandi should have been sent off in the 21st minute when he retaliated after being fouled by Kevin Harmse, and simply gve the Galaxy midfielder a kick. Instead referee Michael Kennedy gave both involved yellow cards.

Gbandi was gone two minutes later for blatantly holding Alan Gordon in the Dallas penalty area. Kennedy amazingly had to consult with the linesman before issuing the red though, raising concerns about his eyesight.

That led to a Landon Donovan penalty kick, who scored (twice) although only one counted. Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala received a yellow card for encroachment after the initial kick.

Dallas finished the opening 45 minutes with three shots on goal to the Galaxy’s one.

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F.C. Dallas at Galaxy

The (4-13-6) Galaxy, losers of nine of their last 10 games, have Joe Cannon in goal as usual.

Quavas Kirk is a late switch for Kelly Gray at right back, who was scheduled to replace Chris Klein, who slots into midfield today. The rest of the back four – Ty Harden, Troy Roberts and Mike Randolph – is unchanged.

Klein lines up in midfield alongside Kevin Harmse, Cobi Jones and second round draft pick Josh Tudela, with Landon Donovan moved up to forward to partner Alan Gordon.

Honduran Carlos Pavon, who Coach Frank Yallop probably never wants to see starting at forward again, is on the bench as any international striker with two goals in 12 MLS games should be. Full back Ante Jazic and Pete Vagenas are also potential subs.

FC Dallas sees Alan Yi come in to replace the suspended Clarance Goodson at the back, while Dax McCarty starts in midfield for the injured Pablo Ricchetti.

Abe Thompson drops to the bench in attack, with Dominic Oduro coming in to partner former Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz.

Ominously, Ruiz has nine goals in his last 12 games and five in his last seven MLS outings, including a brace in Dallas’ 4-2 loss last Saturday to New England.

That doesn’t bode well for MLS’ worst team, who have seven games left to pull off a major miracle and make the playoffs.

The Crew’s win Saturday against Toronto means Dallas (12-9-4) can’t clinch a playoff spot today, but since they occupy the fifth playoff spot that’s just a matter of time.

Beckham Update: Calm your collective selves – He’s about to start a kicking a ball, he said in the pre-game interview on Fox.

Also, Klein is at right back after all, with Kirk in right midfield.

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Sunday Galaxy Gameday & More

On Donovan and Denilson

The Galaxy plays F.C. Dallas today at 5 p.m. at Home Depot Center, but with the likelihood of Beckham Inc. making the playoffs receding with every game journalists must find other talking points.

To that end, Galaxy beat writer Billy Witz breaks down the importance of Landon Donovan to the team.

The none too surprising conclusion: he’s important.

Still, since Galaxy fans often fall into two camps – those who think he’s the greatest American player ever and those who think “Landycakes” is an over-rated, often-invisible and sometimes lazy playmaker – that’s sure to spark a discussion or two.

The biggest point of interest at today’s game for the visitors is not ex-Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz, but the first appearance in L.A. of Denilson, the Brazilian who was once the world’s most expensive player, but never lived up to his potential. Which is why he’s in MLS, of course, but still this is a player you expect to tear the league apart, dominating opponents on the level of a Juan Pablo Angel.

Here’s the Denilson details.

By the way, fans who do decide to go to the game have three reasons to go early (in no particular order):
* The first 5,000 fans through the gates get a Galaxy soccer ball.
* The 10 Miss Galaxy candidates are introduced at 3:30 p.m. on the main concourse.
* And you can record a personal video tribute to retiring Galaxy great Cobi Jones from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Cobi’s Corner at the plaza below the Stadium Club. All the different Galaxy jerseys he has worn are on display, too, just to remind you how bad the designs were in MLS’ early years.

Or you can just stay home and watch on FSN.

Here’s a brief summary of Saturday’s World Cup and MLS action.

College Roundup

UCLA lost 2-1 in overtime to No. 8-ranked Santa Clara Saturday evening. The Bruins, down to 10 men after a red card to forward Richard Flores, almost won in in the final minute of regulation, but a shot by Palos Verdes Estates’ Kyle Nakazawa was saved by Santa Clara goalkeeper Kevin Klasila.

I’m sure Kyle will agonize over that one in his on-going blog for 100 Percent Soccer later this week.

Meanwhile, this came in from Loyola Marymount regarding today’s games:

The Harvard-UC Santa Barbara match in the LMU Invitational scheduled for Sunday, September 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Sullivan Field has ben moved to Santa Barbara. The two LMU games on Sunday will go ahead as scheduled. The women’s game against Fresno State will be at 11 a.m. with the men facing Columbia at 4 p.m.

World Cup Final Four Set

The U.S. remains on course for a World Cup final showdown with Germany and found out their semifinal opponents today: Brazil, which beat Australia 3-2 and lost to the Americans in the gold medal game at the last Olympics.

Norway beat hosts China to meet the Germans in the semifinals.

Here’s a breakdown of the action from FIFA.

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Result: Kansas City Wizards 1 Chivas USA 2

Colorado’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake tonight meant Chivas USA clinched a playoff place regardless of this result.

Still, Chivas USA kept their unbeaten home record intact, jumped to first place in the Western Conference with a game in hand over nearest rivals the Houston Dynamo and can now look forward to next Saturday’s visit by the Chicago Fire and former CD Guadalajara nemesis Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

Ante Razov scored his 108th and 109th goals of his career – the winner, a curling left-footed strike coming in second half stoppage time – putting him just one behind Jaime Moreno as MLS’ leading alltime goalscorer.

Chivas USA struck first in the 69th minute, when substitute Ramon Nunez sent a telling pass through the Wizards’ rearguard that found Panchito Mendoza on the left wing. Mendoza’s cross was met by Ante Razov for his tenth of the year.

The Wizards tied it three minutes later, a long ball out of the back finding playmaker Carlos Marinelli who crossed to fellow Argentine Eloy Colombano. It was the rookie’s first-ever MLS goal.

Razov’s second was a worthy winner, a stunning 20-yard strike off a pass from Lawson Vaughn that left Hartman with no chance and no 1,000th save. (He’s now on 999).

“It would have been a (naughty word) hell of a save,” said Hartman, who is still a great quote, despite being in a different locker room. “To let a goal in, in that way, was very disturbing.”

Hartman thought the Wizards were the better team on the night, despite losing.

“I didn’t necessarily think they were worth the three points tonight,” he said.”Chivas is a team that plays unbelievable possession soccer and I thought we managed to disrupt that tonight.”

Preki agreed with Hartman about the result, but believed a modicum of justice had been done given that he thought Chivas USA dominated against the Wizards in Kansas City in July, yet lost.

“It feels very good to win when you don’t play well,” said Preki with an uncharacteristicly wide smile on his face. “I’m not going to feel bad about this.”

Chivas USA beat writer Ivan Orozco has the full details – and Razov remembers that July game against the Wizards, too, – in the game story.

Chivas USA are pretty stoked about Saturday night given the breathless press release the club issued early Sunday:

With its 2-1 win tonight over the Kansas City Wizards at Home Depot Center, Chivas USA has clinched a berth in the 2007 MLS Cup Playoffs, for the second year in a row, with five games still remaining in the clubs 30-game MLS regular season.

Fans can reserve their seats for Chivas USAs first-round MLS Cup Playoff match (date and opponent TBD) by calling 1-877-CHIVAS-1 or visiting www.cdchivasusa.com. Fans should be sure to ask about the Chivas USA Playoff Pack, which starts at just $56 and gets fans four limited edition Chivas USA Playoff t-shirts and four tickets to Chivas USAs Western Conference Semifinal Series opener at Home Depot Center.

Led by rookie Head Coach Preki, a leading candidate for 2007 MLS Coach of the Year, along with MLS Newcomer of the Year contender Maykel Galindo, Goalkeeper of the Year frontrunner Brad Guzan, MLS Defender of the Year candidate Claudio Surez and MLS MVP contender Sacha Kljestan, among others, the Red-and-White have compiled an 14-6-5 record (W-L-T) to date, while remaining undefeated in 12 matches at home.

This marks the second year in a row that Chivas USA has earned a postseason berth. After joining Major League Soccer as an expansion franchise in 2005, when the team finished last in MLS with a 4-22-6 record (W-L-T), Chivas USA qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2006 after compiling a 10-9-13 regular-season record.

This year, Chivas USA seeks to surpass its first playoff run, in 2006, which ended with a heartbreaking last-minute loss to the Houston Dynamo in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals.

Following Saturdays win, Chivas USA closes out its September to Remember by hosting Mexican National Team legend Cuauhtmoc Blanco and the Chicago Fire next Saturday, Sept. 29 vs. (kickoff 7:30 p.m. PT). Tickets are available by calling 1-877-CHIVAS-1 or visiting www.cdchivasusa.com.

I’ll have more on the Chivas USA-Chicago Fire match-up focusing on the renewal of a Mexican rivalry in the U.S. (Blanco-Claudio Suarez and all) in my Tuesday column.

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Kansas City Wizards 0 Chivas USA 0 (Half Time)

The Wizards enjoyed the bulk of the possession early on, with Chivas USA perhaps missing the experienced and calming influence of suspended midfielder Jesse Marsch, the only ever-present in the team’s starting line-up until tonight.

Chivas USA was not without its opportunities on the counter attack, although Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman has yet to achieve 1,000 saves (in fact he didn’t have to make a single one).

Overall it was a fairly slow opening half, with the game’s first shot on target not occurring until the 38th minute, when the Wizards’ Eddie Johnson prompted one from Chivas USA’s Brad Guzan.

Wizards forward Ryan Pore came out in the 27th minute, suffering from blurred vision. Argentine rookie Eloy Colombano replaced him.

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