Galaxy on TV & Camp Update

ESPN Classic and will air next week’s inaugural Pan-Pacific Championship live from Hawaii, the Galaxy announced today.

Adrian Healy and Allen Hopkins will be in the commentary booth.

The schedule:
Feb. 20
8 p.m. Galaxy vs Gamba Osaka.
10:30pm Houston Dynamo vs Sydney FC .

Feb. 23
8 p.m. PPC Third Place Match – Live on
10:30 p.m. PPC Championship Final.

I just got back from training camp where Galaxy officials said trialist Gabriel Aikhena, who last played in Singapore, was cut from the roster today.

In addition, draft picks Ely Allen, a forward out of Washington, and Julian Valentin, a defender out of Wake Forest, have signed contracts, team officials announced.

I’ll have more from the Galaxy camp Tuesday including a closer look at new Coach Ruud Gullit.

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Monday Morning Buzz: Becks, Mathis & More

For what it’s worth, English tabloids were aflutter this weekend with “exclusive” news of an apt opponent and venue for the Galaxy’s David Beckham to collect that 100th England cap he craves.

More here and here. No confirmation from U.S. Soccer.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy begin the second week of training camp today. Here’s an update from the team on who remains in camp:

Thirty-three players, including eight of the clubs 10 draft picks will begin their second week of training with the Galaxy on Monday. With just more than a week remaining before the clubs first preseason game and the team scheduled to fly to Hawaii in one week, Ruud Gullit and the rest of his coaching staff will be continuing the clubs preparations for the Pan Pacific Championship and the opening match against Gamba Osaka on February 20.

Forward Landon Donovan was the last player under contract to enter camp, training for the first time on Friday after helping the U.S. National Team earn a 2-2 draw with Mexico in a friendly last week in Houston.

While four trialists were released from camp last week, one new face joined Galaxy camp over the weekend as 2007 USL First Division Rookie of the Year Jay Needham arrived in Los Angeles. The Texas native played for the Puerto Rico Islanders in 2007 after being selected by D.C. United in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. A central defender who is also capable of playing as a defensive midfielder, Needham played four years at SMU and was named a finalist for the Hermann Trophy as a senior in 2006, one year after he helped lead SMU to the College Cup.

Finally, former Galaxy striker Clint Mathis made a huge impression this weekend on his debut in Greece, scoring a vital late equalizer for his struggling new team.

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Saturday Soccer: Galaxy, Chivas USA, USWNT & More

Galaxy Goodies

As I write this almost 400 would-be Galaxy players have begun four days of games (and cuts) at Home Depot Center.

The big winner: the Galaxy. If memory serves players paid $150 apiece for the ultra long-shot Galaxy “trial,” which works out to $60,000.

In Torrance today, defender Ante Jazic is signing autographs, getting his picture taken with fans and getting asked the question, “when are you getting traded?” (I kid about the last one) from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at a Sports Authority store at 3610 Torrance Blvd. Galaxy gear is 40 percent off and they’re handing out free tickets to games. The Redondo Beach resident is one of the most approachable Galaxy players.

Finally, Sydney FC was confirmed Friday as the fourth and final participant in this month’s Pan-Pacific Championship. Despite the name, neither the Galaxy nor Sydney are champions of anything, of course.

Chivas USA Preseason Schedule

Here’s the Western Conference champions’ tentative California schedule (all games at the HDC unless noted):
10 a.m. Tuesday vs. New York Red Bulls
2 p.m. Saturday Feb. 16 vs. Japanese U-23 National Team
Noon Monday Feb. 18 vs. D.C. United
10 a.m. Wednesday Feb. 20 vs. UC Riverside
5 p.m. Saturday Feb. 23 vs. Columbus Crew @ Santa Clarita
TBD Saturday March 1 @ Fresno Fuego
10 a.m. Saturday March 15 vs. San Diego State
10 a.m. Wednesday March 19 vs. Cal State Fullerton

Camp Cutdown

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Pia Sundhage cut 11 players from training camp in Carson Friday, brought in three and sent defender Becky Sauerbrunn to the Under-23 team.

Incoming: defender Stephanie Cox, a starter at last year’s Womens World Cup, after being given last week off to rest and recuperate from the college season (she was the only player on the World Cup team to go straight into a collegiate season); Under-23 defender Rachel Buehler; and midfielder Kacey White, who Sundhage has likely seen playing in Sweden with AIK in Stockholm.

Outgoing: goalkeeper Cori Alexander; defenders Amy LePeilbet, Brittany Taylor, Lindsay Huie and Manya Makoski; midfielders Jen Buczkowski, Tina DiMartino, Sarah Huffman, Noelle Keselica and Joanna Lohman; and forwards Tiffany Weimer and Christie Welsh.

Full camp roster:

Goalkeepers Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Kristen Luckenbill (Paoli, Pa.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.); defenders Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Keeley Dowling (Carmel, Ind.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), India Trotter (Plantation, Fla.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.); midfielders Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.); forwards Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather OReilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

The 26 players train though Feb.17 at the HDC before Sundhage chooses a 20-player roster for the Algarve Cup, set for March 5-12 in southern Portugal.

College Notes

The NCAA champions announced Friday they will play Mexico at 7 p.m. Friday Feb 22 at the Coliseum.
The USC press release tells us why:

USC head coach Ali Khorsoshahin served as an assistant to Mexico head coach Leonardo Cuellar at the 1999 Womens World Cup and continues to serve on Cuellars staff.

Loyola Marymount announced Friday they have received letters of intent from teammates at Punahou School in HawaiI, defender-midfielder Brittney Sanford and striker Erin Rementer, along with midfielder-forward Caroline Helfrich (Moraga, Calif.) and defender Marissa Zamora (Danville, Calif) to join the Lions in the fall of 2008.

“Although Erin and Brittany have taken the same path to LMU, individually they will impact our team in separate ways,” Coach Joe Mallia said. “Erin is a dynamic athlete who has the ability to change games in the attack. She is a great one-vs.-one player going towards the goal. Brittanys biggest impact will be felt on defense, where she is strong in tackles and tremendous in the air. She is also a leader with a great work rate and technically poised on the ball.”

Helfrich spent a year living in Florence,Italy, where she played for the boys Rondinalla Scuola di Calcio, the soccer school that feeds players to Italian club Fiorentina.

Preps Press

From the Daily Breeze

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Friday Football Lite

English fans are predictably upset by the EPL proposal to stage regular season games overseas, but Galaxy GM Alexi Lalas is (equally predictably) happy about the idea.

And here’s the Galaxy blog on why teams and the media don’t pay a huge amount of attention to trialists in camp. Some have already received the dreaded tap on the shoulder:

The Galaxy’s roster has seen its first cutdown of the year already as trialists Fed Bianchi, Prince Daye, Richard Duru and Jordan King were each let go. That leaves the Galaxy with 32 players still in camp.

No word on who was let go from the U.S. Women’s National Team camp in Carson yet.

Finally, Manhattan Beach’s Mira Costa High girls team has won (at least a share of) the league title.

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MLS Schedule Released, EPL in the U.S. & More

MLS released its full 2008 fixture list this morning.

The Galaxy will have no excuses for a slow start: four of their first five games are at home.

A total of 113 games (out of 210) will be shown nationally on ESPN2 and ABC, Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports en Espaol, HDNet and TeleFutura.
The 14 clubs will play 30 regular season games over 31 weeks, playing each other twice (home and away), for 26 games. The remaining four games will be played against different intra-conference teams (two home and two away), with consideration given to rivalries.
ESPN2 airs 27 MLS Primetime Thursday regular season contests, beginning with a doubleheader on April 3 and the All-Star game.
ABC is scheduled to broadcast a unique soccer doubleheader June 29: the Galaxy at D.C. United at 9 a.m. followed by the Euro 2008 final.
The four teams with the best regular season records in 2007 will represent MLS in the second edition of SuperLiga: D.C. United, Chivas USA, Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution.

Here’s the complete Galaxy schedule:
Saturday March 29 at Colorado 6:30 p.m. FSC/HDNet

Thursday April 3 vs. San Jose 7:30 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday April 13 vs. Toronto FC 12:00 p.m. TeleFutura
Saturday April 19 vs. Houston 7:30 p.m.
Saturday April 26 vs. Chivas USA 7:30 p.m. FSC

Saturday May 3 at Real Salt Lake 6:00 p.m.
Saturday May 10 vs. New York 7:30 p.m. HDNet
Sunday May 18 at FC Dallas 12:00 p.m. TeleFutura
Saturday May 24 vs. Kansas City 7:30 p.m. HDNet
Saturday May 31 at Toronto FC 12:30 p.m.

Saturday June 7 vs. Colorado 7:30 p.m.
Saturday June 14 at San Jose 7:00 p.m. FSC
Saturday June 21 vs. Columbus 7:30 p.m.
Sunday June 29 at D.C. United 9:00 a.m. ABC

Friday July 4 vs. New England 7:30 p.m.
Thursday July 10 vs. Chivas USA 8:00 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday July 19 at New York 3:30 p.m. FSC
Sunday July 27 at FC Dallas 4:00 p.m.

Sunday August 3 at San Jose 12:00 p.m. TeleFutura
Thursday August 14 at Chivas USA 7:30 p.m. ESPN2
Thursday August 21 vs. Chicago 7:30 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday August 30 at New England 4:30 p.m. HDNet

Saturday September 6 vs. Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m.
Saturday September 13 at Kansas City 5:00 p.m. HDNet
Saturday September 20 vs. D.C. United 8:00 p.m. FSC
Thursday September 25 at Chicago 6:00 p.m. ESPN2

Saturday October 4 at Columbus 4:30 p.m. HDNet
Sunday October 12 vs. Colorado 5:00 p.m.
Sunday October 19 at Houston 4:00 p.m.
Sunday October 26 vs. FC Dallas 12:00 p.m. TeleFutura

Here’s the Chivas USA schedule:
Sunday March 30 @ FC Dallas Noon

Saturday April 5 Real Salt Lake 6:00 p.m.
Saturday April 12 @ Columbus Crew 4:30 p.m.
Sunday April 20 FC Dallas 5:00 p.m.
Saturday April 26 @ Los Angeles Galaxy 7:30 p.m.

Saturday May 3 @ Houston Dynamo 5:30 p.m.
Sunday May 11 New England Revolution Noon
Saturday May 17 D.C. United 7:30 p.m.
Saturday May 24 @ Colorado Rapids 6:30 p.m.
Saturday May 31 Columbus Crew 7:30 p.m.

Thursday June 5 @ New York Red Bulls 4:30 p.m.
Saturday June 14 Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m.
Thursday June 19 Chicago Fire 7:30 p.m.
Saturday June 28 New York Red Bulls 7:30 p.m.

Saturday July 5 San Jose Earthquakes 7:30 p.m.
Thursday July 10 @ Los Angeles Galaxy 8:00 p.m.

Saturday Aug. 2 @ Chicago Fire 5:30 p.m.
Saturday Aug. 9 @ Kansas City Wizards 5:00 p.m.
Thursday Aug. 14 Los Angeles Galaxy 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday Aug. 20 @ Houston Dynamo 6:00 p.m.
Saturday Aug. 23 San Jose Earthquakes 7:30 p.m.
Saturday Aug. 30 Toronto FC 7:30 p.m.

Saturday Sept. 6 Toronto FC 1:00 p.m.
Thursday Sept. 11 @ New England Revolution 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 20 @ Real Salt Lake 6:00 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 27 Kansas City Wizards 7:30 p.m.

Saturday Oct. 4 @ D.C. United 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 11 @ San Jose Earthquakes 7:00 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 19 Colorado Rapids Noon
Saturday Oct. 25 Houston Dynamo 7:30 p.m.

Following the lead of the NFL, it looks like the EPL will hold regular season games overseas.

LA is specifically mentioned in this story.

How about a Manchester United-Liverpool, Galaxy-Chivas USA doubleheader broadcast live worldwide from the Coliseum?

Finally, in the least surprsing news of the day so far, Aston Villa have confirmed they are not giving up the chase for Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Note the new name for the Goats.

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Wednesday Wrap: U.S.-Mexico Tie, England Wins, Croatia Loses & More

Super (International) Wednesday

Highlights of a busy international soccer Wednesday included the U.S. and Mexico battling to a unresolved, but enthralling 2-2 stalemate, (although defender Drew Moor, culpable on both Mexican goals, may not agree).

The undefeated streak against Mexico has hit 10 games despite their speed threatening to overpower the U.S. at times, Josi Altidore keeps justifying the hype and Coach Bob Bradley gave promising youngsters valuable experience in a hostile environment that will serve the U.S. well in the World Cup qualifying games to come.

Video highlights are here.

Speaking of … the U.S. was no closer to discovering which opening World Cup qualifying match opponent it will face in Carson after Barbados and Dominica tied.

And former Galaxy defender Tyrone Marshall popped up at the last moment to save Jamaica against Costa Rica. (Reuters got his club wrong you’ll note; Marshall was traded to Toronto).

MLS Training Camp Update

Chivas USA confirmed this morning Paraguayan veteran Jose Cardozo is in camp and former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is a well-honed goal-stopping machine in
Kansas City. Wonder if he ditched the black nail polish, too?

College Notes

UCLA announced the hiring today of former MLS player Kenny Arena (Bruce’s son) as an assistant coach.

From the (edited) press release:

Arena was an assistant coach at George Mason last season and a volunteer coach for the University of Virginia in 2006.

Arena was responsible for player development, recruiting and scheduling at George Mason in 2007. At Virginia in 2006, he helped the Cavaliers advance to the NCAA Semifinals, where they lost to UCLA.

Arena played three seasons in MLS, spending the 2003 and 2004 seasons with the MetroStars and the 2005 season with DC United. In 2002, Arena was a member of the U.S. Under-23 National Team and was also a member of the U.S. Under-20 National Team from 2000-2001.

At the University of Virginia, Arena started in 65 of 78 games played at midfield from 1999-2002, totaling 24 career points off seven goals (including three game-winners) and 10 assists.

Kenny Arena arrives with a great deal of experience both as a player and as a young coach who comes from a great soccer pedigree, said UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo. Our players are looking forward to learning from the great experiences he has had in Major League Soccer with New York and DC United.

In addition, UCLA goalkeeper Val Henderson and USC captain Ashley Nick were selected for the U.S. Under-23 team that will play three games in Spain Feb. 11-16 against England, Norway and Germany.

Finally, UCLA defender Lauren Barnes and USCs Kasey Johnson and goalkeeper Kristin Olsen received call-ups to the U.S. Under-20 National Team that will play three games in Chile, site of the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Womens World Cup Nov. 20-Dec. 7. The U.S. takes on England Monday, Norway Feb. 13 and Chile Feb. 15.

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I Hate Mexico

Well, not really.

But how many casual readers would read a post headlined “I love the culture and the people, but harbor a healthy disdain for the Mexican National Team”?

I share the same perception of Mexican futbol some Europeans have of American foreign policy: it’s perceived as insular and arrogant. And that provides motivation.

There’s really only two things you need to know about today’s U.S.-Mexico game in Houston: The U.S. is unbeaten at home against Mexico, outscoring them 15-1 along the way. And the Mexicans want to change that. Badly.

I spent part of last weekend talking to the likes of former U.S. internationals Mike Sorber and Chivas USA Coach Preki and current internationals Brad Guzan and Brad Davis about why the U.S. has Mexico’s number these days, at least “at home” (Mexican fans will, as usual, far outnumber American fans at the game).

There were no good observations.

“The U.S. has grown as a football nation,” offered Preki, but that doesn’t really shed much light on the American dominance over a nation filled with accomplished, highly-technical and highly-paid futbol players. Most soccer observers would contend the domestic Mexican league is better than the one here, so you can’t simply say MLS is the reason either., even though that has surely helped. Has the U.S. simply psyched Mexico’s players out?

No matter. It makes for a great rivalry. The game is at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

Want more?

Columnist Paul Oberjuerge has some thoughts about why Americans should care about the game.

Grahame L. Jones over at The Times provides context and perspective on the increasing importance of the game to both the U.S., Mexico and the growth of the sport.

And U.S. Soccer has more details and facts and figures than you can shake a stats book at here and here, including details of the extensive ESPN coverage.

Get that healthy hate, um disdain, on.

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The Calm Before the Storm: Wynalda Wacked & More

The U.S. plays Mexico Wednesday.

More on that in the morning.

Soccer By Ives is reporting that Eric Wynalda and ESPN have parted ways. Sounds like there’s history between the two (Ives & Eric) there.

Personally, I always appreciated Wynalda’s candor. Huge ego. But didn’t take himself seriously.

Set Your TiVo: 11:40 a.m. Italy-Portugal on GOLTV; noon England-Switzerland on Fox Soccer Channel; 5 p.m. Ireland-Brazil on Fox Soccer Channel; 6 p.m. U.S.-Mexico on ESPN2; and much more. Info: here.

Galaxy season ticket holders can attend a training session at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Track & Field Stadium.

Deal O’ the Week: $50 gets you in to Chivas USA games on the opening match of the season April 5 against Real Salt Lake, and games against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Chicago Fire, the San Jose Earthquakes and closing day, which doubles as Fan Appreciation night. Call 1-877-CHIVAS-1. That’s $10 a game.

Did I mention the U.S. and Mexico play Wednesday?

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Tuesday’s Column: MLS Goes Camping

The Galaxy and Chivas USA opened training camp Monday.

A couple of items that didn’t make it into the column:

*Paraguay’s all-time leading scorer and former South American Player of the Year Jose Cardozo was supposed to be at the Chivas USA camp Monday with a view to coming out of retirement. Coach Preki said he didn’t know where the player was.

If he does show up, he apparently does not command the sort of salary a designated player gets: “We are not searching right now for a DP,” Preki said. “We are keeping all our options open.”

Chivas USA officials, by the way, tell me the scuttled deal for goalkeeper Brad Guzan does not mean zero cash is available for a DP. The money is there. The team just needs to find a player that can help the team on the field and put butts in seats.

Galaxy goalkeeper Steve Cronin sounded pretty happy Monday about the turn of events (Joe Cannon’s trade) that has left him as the Galaxy’s starting goalkeeper.

“This feels like home and this is the team I want to start for – so it’s awesome,” he said, adding he spoke with new Coach Ruud Gullit earlier Monday. “He’s taken some of the pressure off me and given me some leeway to make mistakes. Hopefully I’ll keep that to a minimum.”

More coverage from camp is here.

Photos are here.

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Galaxy, Chivas USA Open Camp & Opening U.S. World Cup Qualifier at the HDC

Not one MLS team (the Galaxy), not two (Chivas USA), not three (New York Red Bulls), but four (San Jose Earthquakes) are in camp at Carson’s Home Depot Center.

Former Galaxy Coach Frank Yallop and his Earthquakes (sounds like an excellent name for a polka band, doesn’t it?) play Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 against the Columbus Crew and D.C.United respectively in San Luis Obispo, incidentally. Ticket details are here.

The Galaxy listed 35 players on its pre-season camp roster including EPL veteran Celestine Babayaro, whose signing was (finally) confirmed today by GM Alexi Lalas. Babayaro is in town, but awaiting a work visa.

And, yes, Beckham was in camp enduring Super Bowl-related questions (I kid you not) from television media types.

Players listed as on trial with the Galaxy include: Liberian international Prince Daye and Temple High graduate Bryan Jordan.

The Galaxy will endure two training seassions a day under new Coach Ruud Gullit who players already know will be a far harder taskmaster than Yallop.

Still, players expect a more stable environment than last year’s circus.

“You never knew who was going to be in the locker next to you,” said midfielder Kyle Martino, fully recovered from the hernia operation he had in the off-season.

Chivas USA listed 38 players and likewise confirmed the long-anticipated signing of Swiss international Raphael Wicky. He wasn’t speaking to the media today; Chivas has set a 9 a.m. Tuesday press conference to introduce him.

Other notables on trial with Chivas USA include Mike Munoz, who played a handful of minutes for Chivas USA during their inaugural season and whose girlfriend waged a media campaign to get the team to resign him; Fontana resident Chukwudi Chijindu and 2002 Japanese World Cup veteran Takayuki Suzuki

The complete MLS schedule is set for release Thursday, by the way.

I’ll have more on the opening day of camp in Tuesday’s column.

Finally, U.S. Soccer confirmed today the opening U.S. World Cup qualifier is set for Home Depot Center June 15 against either Barbados or the Dominican Republic.

The (edited) press release:

Kickoff for the first U.S. match of the 2010 qualifying campaign is set for 2 p.m. PT, with broadcast details still to be finalized. The U.S. will face the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica, who will meet on Feb. 6 in Dominica and March 26 in Barbados.

We are very much looking forward to beginning the process of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. We have been preparing for more than a year, and selecting a venue for the match really gives us a target for everyone to focus on for the next few months. The Home Depot Center has been a great host for the national team, and we are hoping to continue our run of good results there.

The June 15 match represents the USAs first World Cup qualifier played in Carson. The U.S. boasts an unbeaten 5-0-1 record at the HDC, including two victories during the group stage of their 2007 Gold Cup championship-winning run last year. In their opening match of 2008, goals by Eddie Robinson and Landon Donovan lifted the USA to a 2-0 win against Sweden. It is also the first World Cup qualifying match that the U.S. MNT has played in Southern California since a 1-1 draw with Trinidad & Tobago on May 13, 1989 in Torrance.

The U.S. has never faced Dominica and only played Barbados twice in the Mens National Teams 91-year history. The only meetings between the U.S. and Barbados took place in the Semifinal Round of 2002 World Cup qualifying in a group that also included Guatemala and Costa Rica. The U.S. dominated both matches, winning 7-0 on Aug. 16, 2000, in Foxborough, Mass., before cruising to a 4-0 victory in the final group match on Nov. 15, a win that booked the USAs passage to the final phase.

Should the U.S. advance, the semifinal round will take place from August to November, with the teams divided into three groups of four teams each. Playing a six-game round robin format, the top two finishers from each group will advance to the final six-team group that will play in 2009. The U.S. could potentially face Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba should each country advance out of their early-round series.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifying began Sunday, by the way.

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