U.S. Women’s Olympic Team to be Announced Today & More

Coach Pia Sundhage will announce the roster in a teleconference at noon today, although few, if any, surprises are expected.

The roster is likely to be virtually unchanged from the just-concluded Peace Cup, which means Torrance’s Shannon Boxx, USC’s Amy Rodriguez and UCLA Lauren Cheney are anticipated to head to China.

While we await the official announcement, here’s a few weekend leftovers:

*The Galaxy Rios, the Galaxy’s youth team, holds three open tryouts next month in Irvine, Chino Hills and Glendale.

From the (edited) press release:

The LA Galaxy will be holding open tryouts for the Galaxy Rios, the club’s official youth development program, for any male player born between 1990 and 1994 at three different locations throughout Southern California from July 11 through July 13. Players must register and pay the $30 fee by Sunday, July 6th for one of the three open tryout venues.

Players will play a seven v. seven, 50-minute game, while being assessed by Galaxy Rios Coaching Staff, including Galaxy Director of Player Development Trevor James and Galaxy Director of Soccer Paul Bravo. The top players from each of the three tryouts will be invited back to participate in a training session at The Home Depot Center for further evaluation by the Rios Coaching Staff.

All players must apply online and have a valid email address. More info is available here.

*Sixteen U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Champions won titles Sunday in Hawaii, with 12 teams representing the Under-14 through Under-19 boys and girls divisions earning spots at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships July 22-27 in Little Rock, Ark.

Among the championship highlights from the (edited) press release:

The Under-15 Girls Slammers FC earned their second shot at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship title Sunday after beating fellow California South team Real So Cal, 4-1. Last year the Slammers lost in the final game of the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

Under-16 Girls So Cal Blue is the only U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV team to return to defend its U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship and won 3-0 against Real So Cal.

Arsenal FC Under-14 Boys won the championship against the LA Rampage with a goal from Jake La Porte (34:00).

Other results involving teams from Southern California include:
Girls Under-13 – So Cal Blues 3 Real Colorado National 0
Boys Under-15 – Arsenal FC 0 Valley United 4
Boys Under-16 – FC Barcelona 0 Real So Cal Blue 2
Girls Under-17 – Eagles FC 0 Slammers FC 1
Girls Under-18 – Colorado Nike Rush 2 Slammers FC 1
Girls Under-19 – FC Portland 0 Slammers FC 3

*In the PDL Sunday:
Orange County Blue Star 2 San Fernando Valley Quakes 2

Pali Blues 3 Vancouver Whitecaps 0

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Sunday Soccer: SF Quakes & More

This is an excellent Sunday read on the trials of minor league soccer team the San Fernando Valley Quakes and its owner.

The Quakes play at 7:05 p.m. today at Calabasas High.

In Barbados, the U.S. Men’s National Team is trying to stay focused on the task at hand. The game is at noon on ESPN Classic (opposite the 11:30 a.m. Spain-Italy Euro 2008 quarterfinal on ESPN one should note).

This weekend’s World Cup qualifying so far.

In other PDL games, the Ventura County Fusion beat the Fresno Fuego Saturday (and Friday).

Other PDL scores:
San Francisco Seals 2 Los Angeles Legends 3
Orange County Blue Star 2 Lancaster Rattlers 4
San Francisco Seals 2 Southern California Seahorses 0
Lancaster Rattlers 2 Bakersfield Brigade 1

Ventura County Fusion 0 Fort Collins Force 2

Ajax America Women 1 West Coast FC 3
Claremont Stars 0 Los Angeles Rampage 3

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Xavier Rips Referee

Galaxy defender Abel Xavier was upset over the foul and yellow card from referee Mark Geiger that set up the game-tying goal by Columbus.

“C’mon, the referee is so bad,” Xavier said. “The question of one of the things they must improve in this league is the referees. It is very clear my foot was on the ball. If someone has eyes, they see clear contact with the ball.

“I can name 15 wrong decisions with the ref on both sides.”

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Galaxy Post-Game

So the Galaxy still haven’t beaten a team with a winning record this season.

But at least they didn’t lose after blowing a lead as Coach Ruud Gullit noted has already happened this season:

“At the beginning of the season we lost these games in the last couple of minutes.”

Still, as Gullit and several players observed, it was a draw that felt like a loss:

“We gave the goals away,” he said. “You have to win these games. It’s two points thrown away.”

Crew Coach Sigi Schmid was none too impressed with how Donovan snatched the first Galaxy goal with his challenge on goalkeeper Will Hesmer:

“That was an obvious push. … Landon obviously pushed Hesmer. … He gets a way with a great shove in his lower back.”

Here’s David Beckham thinking like a referee on the penalty he drew:

“He grabbed me around the waist. I felt that was enough contact for a penalty.”

Landon Donovan, well, wasn’t so sure – but wasn’t complaining either:

“I wasn’t sure David really got fouled, but whatever. It’s the referee’s decision to make.

Donovan believes the team isn’t doing enough to protect the defense:

The issue is (opponents) are able to get from their defensive end into our attack in sometimes two or three passes and easily. It’s not always just the back four that’s struggling.”

Here’s Schmid on South Bay product Robbie Rogers:

“Sometimes Robbie dropped too deep at times. He’s been too honest defensively. Now he’s got to that point of learning how to cheat (going forward) and when to cheat and get forward at the right time. But still he’s an important player for us and he had an impact on the game for us.”

By the way, Beckham insisted he was 100 percent, but then conceded a left foot injury was bothering him in the first half until he got treatment at half time:

“I got a kick on it a couple of days ago in training and it was still playing up slightly.”

The game story is here.

Finally, just to end things on the right (wrong?) foot, here’s Beckham on his blazing miss that could have sealed the game for the Galaxy:

“I’m disappointed not to finish the game off there. I felt personally the ground gave way, the grass gave way as I hit the ball. … When you get an opportunity like that in the last couple of minutes, it’s disappointing not to score.”

The grass gave way?

I dunno. He sure looks like he knows he screwed that up.

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Final Result: Columbus Crew at Galaxy

The Galaxy managed to blow two leads in the second half and in the end escaped with a 3-3 tie with David Beckham blowing a gorgeous chance to smash home the winner in the 90th minute. Afterward he slumped to the turf, hanging his head in shame.

Substitute Steven Lenhart was the hero for Columbus, poking home the ball in the 88th minute to make it 3-3 after Steve Cronin punched away a hard Frankie Hejduk shot.

Edson Buddle’s ninth goal of the season had made it 2-0 for the Galaxy in the opening moments of the second half. But the Crew came back via a freakish Brad Evans goal in the 67th minute and Robbie Rogers drawing a penalty two minutes later that Barros Schelotto converted to make it 2-2.

Beckham drew a penalty in the 82nd minute that allowed the Galaxy to take a 3-2 lead after Edson Buddle’s fine work down the left sideline had the Crew back-pedaling. He pulled it back to Beckham, who was tripped in the box by O’Rourke.

Back later with locker room reaction.

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Half Time: Columbus Crew at Galaxy

Defensive calamities for the Crew and a tepid offense combined to allow the Galaxy to take a one goal lead after the first 45 minutes.

A horrendous mistake by Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer in just the fourth minute gifted the Galaxy their goal, the Columbus net minder failing to hold a David Beckham cross when challenged by Landon Donovan who then turned and fired the ball home.

The Galaxy could have had a couple more, notably when defender Chad Marshall completely missed a pass from Hesmer, allowing Beckham to almost chip the goalkeeper.

Donovan also missed from eight yards when wide open and an unmarked Edson Buddle sent a ball from a diving header wide of the post, too.

The Crew’s best chance came just before half time, Robbie Rogers almost nipping in to get on the end of a long through ball, but he got under it too much and put it over the bar from about 12 yards.

That was the most we’d seen so far from Rogers, who like Argentine star Guillermo Baros Schelotto, were largely kept in check by the Galaxy.

Beckham has also looked out of sorts and appeared to limp slightly in the 34th minute after an apparent problem with his left foot.

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Columbus Crew-Galaxy at Home Depot Center

The Galaxy (6-4-2), the highest-scoring team in MLS and sitting first in the Western Conference plays the Columbus Crew (7-4-1), which is lying second in the Eastern Conference.

The Galaxy have won four of their last five games propelled by the scoring exploits of Edson Buddle, who has eight goals during that stretch.

In contrast, the Crew have won just once in five games and scored a mere three goals, which all came in their last outing against Kansas City.

Galaxy Coach Ruud Gullit makes just two changes to the team that defeated San Jose last weekend with Josh Tudela dropping to the bench and Ely Allen moving back into midfield since Landon Donovan has returned from international duty to partner Edson Buddle up front.

Steve Cronin is in goal as usual behind an unchanged back four of Chris Klein, Sean Franklin, Abel Xavier and Mike Randolph.

David Beckham, Alvaro Pires and Ante Jazic line up alongside Allen in midfield.

On the bench: Joe Franchino, Alan Gordon, Brandon McDonald, Troy Roberts, and Greg Vanney.

Crew Coach Sigi Schmid makes three changes with Frankie Hejduk returning from international duty with the U.S. to slot into the defense in place of Andy Iro, while Brad Evans and Nicholas Hernnandez move into a five-man midfield in place of Duncan Oughton and Emmanuel Ekpo.

Former Galaxy forward Alejandro Moreno will play as the lone striker as Schmid seeks to slow the rampant Galaxy attack by clogging up the midfield.

Rolling Hills Estates Robbie Rogers, who has five goals so far this season, starts in midfield.

It’s finally cooling down in Carson, so hopefully the heat wave won’t interfere (too much) with the game.

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Tropical Galaxy Gameday

I’m on Barbados time, so late blogging this morning.

The Galaxy face the Crew at steamy Home Depot Center (7:30 p.m. live on Prime) later today. Game previews are here and here.

The U.S. women (narrowly) won the Peace Cup overnight.

On the men’s side, CONCACAF World Cup qualifying resumes this weekend. The U.S. is in Barbados for the second leg where the weather is typically tropical.

Back with more tonight from Carson.

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Friday Wrap

Bob Bradley named his squad today for the irrelevant return World Cup qualifying leg in Barbados Sunday (caps and goals are in parentheses): goalkeepers Dominic Cervi (out of contract: 0/0), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA: 1/1 SO), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake: 0/0); defenders Carlos Bocanegra (out of contract: 12/1), Dan Califf (FC Midtjylland: 1/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC: 0/0), Drew Moor (FC Dallas: 0/0) Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 8/0), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 1/0); mikdfielders DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers: 15/4), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen: 1/1), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 0/0), Eddie Lewis (Derby County: 18/2), Danny Szetela (Brescia: 0/0), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire: 0/0; forwards Freddy Adu (SL Benfica: 1/0), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire: 0/0), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire: 0/0).

Out: Tim Howard continues to rehabilitate a lower back sprain suffered prior to the Barbados match. Eddie Johnson is ill.

Even if the lopsided score of the first leg meant Bradley didn’t have to name his strongest squad, it was still a huge achievement for John Thorrington to win a recall with his fine form this term after almost quitting the game due to chronic injuries.

The above stats for Thorrington, who grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, are wrong by the way. John played 19 minutes as a sub in a game against Ecuador in 2001, according to my 2008 U.S. MNT media guide (and confirmed by John). He said he had “fond memories of the experience.”

“The good times are that much sweeter because a year ago I wasn’t even playing. I’m certainly not going to get carried away with it. It is what it is.”

Meanwhile, USC’s latest NCAA champion teams will visit the White House Tuesday. The USC women’s golf and soccer teams each captured NCAA titles in the past year, bumping the total of national titles claimed by USC teams to 108.

U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Pia Sundhage will name the Olympic team Monday,

The U.S. Women are playing Canada in the Peace Cup final as I write this: the score is 0-0.

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