A Sigi Soccer Saturday

Former Galaxy Coach and South Bay boy Sigi Schmid continued his undefeated streak at the helm of the Columbus Crew today, drawing 0-0 against fast-improving Toronto FC

The league-leading Crew are now undefeated in six games, while Toronto’s five-game unbeaten stretch establishes a new club record.

Great atmosphere and competent commentators on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp feed added to the EPL Lite feel (almost half of Toronto’s lineup played in the U.K.).

Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers had a shot cleared off the line.

You can almost heart Sigi saying: “Goals change games.”

By the way, assuming Sigi answers my e-mail, I’ll have more on the Crew and Rogers in my Tuesday column.

Off to the Chivas USA game in a few minutes and you’ve got to wonder: are these two teams meant for each other?

From this morning’s Washington Post:

Chivas USA, crippled by injuries to its back line and next to last in the Western Conference with a 1-4-2 record, might be the perfect opponent for an equally stressed team.

“We are as bad as they are,” United midfielder-forward Santino Quaranta said. “They’re struggling, and so are we.”

Let’s hope it’s a half-decent game.

Lastly, a reminder the Galaxy PR folks sent out to me this morning: “I wanted to make sure that you know our game will also be on FSN Primeticket on Sunday with pregame show at 11:30am.”

Nope, didn’t. Thanks.

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Chivas USA Gameday

Under normal circumstances, Chivas USA Coach Preki would be licking his lips at the prospect of playing a 2-5 D.C. United.

Not today.

The game is on Fox Soccer Channel at 7:30 p.m. or if you’re going don’t forget to pick up your Mickey Mouse ears at the gate (try writing that with a straight face).

What’s the issue, Jaime Moreno?

“The reason is very simple – we’re not playing well. We worked so hard through preseason and got to this point where at the end of the day, it’s the players who play. The coaches can do so much. The players who step on the field have to do the job and unfortunately we haven’t done our job.”

Back later blogging from the game.

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Friday Football: Waiting for the Weekend

With a gorgeous weekend for watching if not playing soccer forecast, here’s a preview of the options on tap locally this weekend.

Chivas USA plays D.C. United at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Home Depot Center and live on Fox Soccer Channel, while the Galaxy is on the road in Dallas for a game that airs at noon Sunday on Telefutura.

It’s a big day in England Saturday with the annual finale to the season, the F.A. Cup final. The game begins at 7 a.m. local time on pay-per-view and at your favorite English pub.

In live action, W-League expansion team Pali Blues plays its first-ever game in Pacific Palisades Saturday against the Los Angeles Legends.

In the Pacific Development League, the Lancaster Rattlers plays the Los Angeles Legends at 7:30 tonight at Cougar Stadium in Glendora.

Other PDL games this weekend include:
Ventura County Fusion at San Jose Frogs
Southern California Seahorses at Lancaster Rattlers at 7 p.m. at Pete Knight High.
Orange County Blue Star at San Francisco Seals

Have a great weekend. I’ll blog from Carson as usual Saturday and be back later with a game preview.

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Donovan, Rogers in Bradley’s 33-Man Pool For Upcoming Friendlies.

The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers of the Columbus Crew, Fontana’s Maurice Edu of FC Toronto and Chivas USA’s Brad Guzan and Sacha Kljestan were among a pool of 33 players U.S. Coach Bob Bradley has selected for consideration for three upcoming friendlies.

Rogers is one of five uncapped players included in the pool. Others looking for their first cap: San Luis Obispo’s Chris Seitz, Orange’s Michael Orozco, Modesto’s Heath Pierce and goalkeepers Troy Perkins and Dominic Cervi.

DaMarcus Beasley returns to the squad after injury.

There is at least one surprise. Or as one colleague so eloquently put it when he saw the pool: (former Galaxy forward) “Nate frikkin Jaqua???”

Prominent names not included: Reading goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, Bobby Convey (injured) and Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein of Los Alamitos, who suffered a serious knee injury last week.

Pool: goalkeepers Dominic Cervi (Out of Contract), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton FC), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake); defenders Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Dan Califf (FC Midtjylland), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United); midfielders Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Eddie Lewis (Derby County), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids); forwards Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nate Jaqua (Out of Contract), Eddie Johnson (Fulham FC), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich).

The U.S., which is on a five-game unbeaten run, plays in England May 28, Spain June 4 and against Argentina in New Jersey June 8. The three games lead up to the June 15 opening World Cup qualifier against Barbados at Home Depot Center.

The 22-man roster for the England game will be announced next week.

Said Bradley: “With the challenging schedule of friendlies we have organized to prepare for World Cup qualifying, this is an excellent opportunity to continue to evaluate our player pool and at the same time balance the workload. Many of our players have just completed seasons in Europe, and the MLS schedule is in full swing, so it is important that we manage the time wisely to give ourselves the best chance to be successful in the important matches this summer.”

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Thursday Wrap: Galaxy, UCLA & More

Damaged Goods

The most notable thing about the ever-lengthening Galaxy injury report is that David Beckham, sore foot and all, isn’t on it:

OUT – Charles Alamo (R-Knee Surgery)


QUESTIONABLE – Ely Allen (R-Hamstring), Edson Buddle (R-Hamstring), Landon Donovan (R-Calf), Alvaro Pires (L-Knee), Carlos Ruiz (R-Knee Surgery), Peter Vagenas (R-Quad)

PROBABLE – Ante Jazic (R-Ankle Surgery)

Jazic played for the first time since December on Tuesday against Vancouver and will continue to train this week. All other injured players, with the exception of Alamo, are schedule to take part in portions of training this week in the lead up to the game against FC Dallas this weekend.

Meanwhile, Alamo continues on the second phase of his rehabilitation process

Barca Back

In other MLS news, Barcelona inked a partnership deal with the league that boils down to the Spanish powerhouse playing six games in the U.S. over the next five years.

Barcelona played CD Guadalajara at the Coliseum in 2006, as part of a three-game U.S. tour, drawing 1-1 in front of 92,650.

Olympic Run-In

U.S. Soccer announced today that the U.S. Women’s National Team’s final two games before the Olympics will be against Brazil July 13 in Colorado and July 16 in San Diego. Tickets, priced between $22-$85, go on sale Tuesday.

“It’s always good to get great games before you go to the Olympics and what better team to play than Brazil,” said U.S. midfielder Shannon Boxx of Torrance, who has started 12 of the 14 games the USA has played this year. “It’s always an exciting game playing Brazil so these will be good tests to give us confidence heading into the Olympics. Obviously, we didn’t do well against them in the World Cup so it will be beneficial for our team to play them a few times beforehand in case we do meet them in China.”

UCLA Schedule

The UCLA men’s program released the 2008 schedule today opening against Maryland Aug. 29 at Home Depot Center in a game televised nationally.

The Bruins will have nine games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

Here are the home games at Drake Stadium:
Date Opponent
Aug. 29 Maryland
Aug. 31 UC Riverside
Sept. 12 Indiana
Sept. 20 Santa Clara
Sept. 28 Cal State Northridge
Oct. 1 UC Santa Barbara
Oct. 5 San Diego State*#
Oct. 17 Washington*
Oct. 19 Oregon State*
Oct. 31 California*#
Nov. 2 Stanford*#
Nov. 5 Cal Poly
* Pac-10 Conference game
# Doubleheader with UCLA women’s soccer team

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Chivas USA in CONCACAF Champions League & More

CONCACAF made official today what was widely expected anyway, naming Chivas USA as one of four U.S. entries in the inaugural Champions League that kicks off this summer.

Chivas USA qualifies by virtue of owning the second highest points total during the MLS regular season.

That slot was originally allocated to the U.S. Open Cup champion (thereby making that neglected competition more meaningful), but winners the New England Revolution qualified anyway by being MLS Cup runners-up, allowing Chivas USA to move into that slot.

The other U.S. qualifiers are MLS champions the Houston Dynamo and D.C. United, who collected the most points during the regular season.

Chivas USA is one of 16 entrants (eight receive a bye in the preliminary stage) that will play home and away games Aug. 26-28 and Sept. 2-4 to qualify for the round robin final 16 stage played Sept. 16-Oct. 30.

Chivas USA will learn its first round opponent June 11 when the draw is conducted.

Also today, voting begins for the MLS All-Star game against West Ham United July 24 at the league Web site.

Robbie Rogers’ exploits last weekend earned him a profile here.

Despite what the article says, Rogers grew up in Rolling Hills Estates on the Palos Verdes Peninsula as most readers of this blog know by now. We’re not going to let Surf City claim him.

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Tuesday Wrap: Galaxy Lose, Rangers UEFA Cup Viewing Party & More

The Galaxy lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in Edmonton Tuesday with David Beckham nursing a sore foot by game’s end.


And where is Peter Vagenas?

A helluva less pointless game is Wednesday’s Glasgow Rangers-Zenit St. Petersburg UEFA Cup Final.

Locally, there’s a free viewing party for Rangers fans at downtown Torrance’s best dive bar The Crest.

Kickoff is at 11:30 a.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.

Lastly, UCLA has signed U.S. youth international midfielder/forward Eder Arreola (Chino Hills/Edison Academic Center), forward Prince Lapnet (Silver Spring, Maryland) and defender Victor Yanez (Riverside/Patriot High) to national letters of intent

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Tuesday’s Column & Galaxy Gameday

For today’s column I looked at the imploding Chivas USA defense and the potential consequences for their season.

Meanwhile, David Beckham and the Galaxy arrived in Edmonton Monday for tonight’s extraneous game against the Whitecaps where more than 30,000 tickets have been sold.

Longtime injury victim Ante Jazic may return to action tonight for the Galaxy.

Landon Donovan will apparently be absent though, while Canadians are lamenting Beckham’s likely non-appearance at the game against FC Toronto at month’s end.

Incidentally, the game is televised beginning at 6 p.m. locally on Channel 22.

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Galaxy Trio Named to U.S. Under-23 Squad

Coach Peter Nowak named three Galaxy players to an experimental U.S. Under-23 National Team squad for the upcoming Toulon Tournament.

“This tournament will give us an opportunity to have a look at some players we have had in previous camps, and also a look at the new faces,” said Nowak. “We don’t want to be short-sighted with our selection for the Olympics. We want a whole picture that includes a
variety of players, and to make sure we see every option before we make final choices.”

Selected were Mike Gavin, Bryan Jordan and Julian Valentin.

The U.S. plays Turkey May 21, Ivory Coast May 23 and Italy May 25.

All games are on Fox Soccer Channel.

The full squad: Goalkeepers Dominic Cervi (out of contract), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake), Quentin Westberg (Troyes AC); defenders Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Eric Brunner (out of contract), Kyle Davies (Southampton), Michael Gavin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Jonathan Leathers (Kansas City Wizards), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Julian Valentin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Rob Valentino (New England Revolution), Blake Wagner (FC Dallas) ; midfielders Bryan Arguez (Hertha Berlin), Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Greg Dalby (SC Charleroi), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Lee Nguyen (Randers FC); forwards Gabe Ferrari (Sampdoria), Bryan Jordan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ellis McLoughlin (Hertha Berlin), Sammy Ochoa (Tecos).

No recall for Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers, but then if Nowak was paying attention over the weekend, he knows what the Columbus Crew midfielder is capable of:

Updated: Rogers’ two-goal performance earned him MLS Player of the Week honors (his first such award) Monday from the North American Soccer Reporters.

It’s is the Crew’s best-ever start to a season and Sigi Schmid’s, too.

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Chivas USA Post-game

It didn’t take long for the New England Revolution to begin counting the cost of its first-ever victory over Chivas USA in Southern California.

Striker Taylor Twellman, whose 59th minute winner was his first of the season, was visibly distressed after the game with the severity of an apparent second half ankle injury that almost resulted in him being pulled just 14 minutes after coming on as a half time sub.

“My fingers are crossed for myself,” he said. “It doesn’t look good, but what are you going to do?

“I can’t even walk on it right now, that’s what scares the shit out of me” he said, adding he initially believed Chivas USA defender Shavar Thomas had kicked him (he hadn’t).

Twellman said he could have had a second at game’s end, but for the injury.

“I would have had a second if my ankle was attached to my leg,” he said. “That was the most painful shot I’ve ever taken.”

Twellman was initially slated as a starter for the season opener against Houston, but was removed from the lineup after experiencing discomfort in his right knee during warm-ups.
He underwent surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee on April 2, and returned just ahead of the expected six to eight rehab period.

Twellman, fifth on the MLS career goalscoring list, scored his 92nd career goal, his fourth in four games.

Chivas USA Coach Preki was in a fatalistic move after the game.

“We scrambled to put a back line together,” he said. “We did a decent job. But we had a couple of break-downs and we got punished.”

Preki described it as a “strange game,” observing that the early domination of Chivas USA did not result in goals, which “took the wind out of our sails.”

“In a lot of ways, I thought it was a little bit of a lop-sided score,” he said.

But, he noted, Chivas USA remains just four points out of first place in the Western Conference.

Quote of the day goes to Preki: “It is what it is,” he said. “What we have is what we have.”

Um, yeah.

Also noted:
*Steve Ralston made MLS history at the 16th minute, becoming the first player in MLS to reach the 30,000-minutes-played mark.

*Today marked Ralston’s first start since the season opener when he dislocated his left shoulder, forcing him to miss the next five games.

*Ralston’s assist today was his 34th career game-winning assist, giving him sole possession of first place on MLS’ all-time list. He had been tied with former Tampa Bay Mutiny teammate Carlos Valderrama.

* Former Galaxy defender Chris Albright also got his first assist for the club today.
“Those are the best kind, the ones you don’t have to work for,” he said.

Incidentally, Albright is enjoying his new career in New England.

“The veterans on this team have such a good work ethic,” he said. “That’s what makes this team go. The best players on this team show up and put in 110 percent every game.”

Next up for 1-4-2 Chivas USA: D.C. United at home on Saturday.

Where were all the moms? The attendance today was just 10,927.

Updated: Game details are here.

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