Thursday Catch-Up: Pali Blues in W-League Final & More

Apologies, busy with a big project and not much time to blog.

A few things to pass along:

*Pacific Palisades-based W-League team Pali Blues defeated reigning champion Washington Freedom 2-0 earlier tonight earning a berth in Saturday’s final against FC Indiana. Game reports here. The final will air on Fox Soccer Channel at 8 p.m. Saturday (despite the wrong date being given at this writing in the link).

*Set your TiVo alert. David Beckham appears on the season opener of Sesame Street Aug. 22. Oh, and his latest pithy blog entry is here, too. But really check out the muppet (no, not Abel Xavier) with Elmo, um, Becks.

*Almost as surreal; Chivas USA’s blog brings us up to date on the team news – from an LAX gate waiting area. There’s Jim Curtin reading a magazine, Alecko Eskandarian slouching in a chair and stand-in Coach Mike Matkovich grabbing a Starbucks while reveling in the suspended Preki’s absence from the bench Saturday:

“I don’t think it would make much difference [not to have Preki in the bench] to be honest.”

Well, OK I took that quote out of context. But that constant yelling can drive you nuts, huh Mike?

More on Chivas USA as they wait for their airplane to Chicago is here.

*Neither Jorge Flores of Chivas USA or goalkeeper Brian Perk of UCLA got on the field Wednesday as the U.S. Men’s Under-20 Team beat their Wales counterparts 4-0 in the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea scored a brace (and I just like using that word). Next: Belgium in the third place game early Friday our time.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

MLS to expand to 18 Teams by 2011

MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced today that two more teams will be added by 2011, bringing the number in the league up to 18.

Ownership groups and/or markets have until Oct. 15 to apply. MLS will make a decision on the chosen pair in either the last quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2009.

I’m pulling for that combo casino and stadium with retractable roof in Vegas (can you say road trip!) for at least one of the teams.

And Vancouver, B.C. is a beautiful city and a natural rival for Seattle (loved the atmosphere of those NASL games between the old Sounders and Whitecaps where fans actually hit the road with the clubs).

Where would you like to see the next two teams located?

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

SuperLiga Final Set & Stuff

It will be an all MLS SuperLiga final with the New England Revolution, 2-0 winners over bad losers Atlante tonight, playing the Houston Dynamo Tuesday in Boston.

I only watched the last 10 minutes of the game (work intervened), but that was enough to see some ugly scenes at game’s end for the second consecutive SuperLiga semifinal.

Five red cards (!) were brandished at Atlante players (several after the game) in what was a nasty conclusion.

And it was clear in the waning moments of the game Atlante were simply trying to get in some lumps with behind the legs two-footed tackles, late challenges and body checks.

(BTW, for those who don’t know things got rambunctious at the end of Tuesday’s Pachuca-Houston Dynamo game, too).

The silver lining for Chivas USA? They got knocked out by a team in the final of the tournament.

Well-moderated discussion of the game here.

Full disclosure: I’m Anglokixx in this thread.


*USC striker Amy Rodriguez, essentially Abby Wambach’s replacement, was profiled here.

*Galaxy rookie Bryan Jordan is going on loan to the USL Portland Timbers for the third time this season – until the end of the season. Will he be missed? From the Galaxy:

Jordan leads the Galaxy Reserve Team in goals this season, scoring four times in five games, including one in Monday’s 2-2 draw with FC Dallas.

*And for those with nothing better to do at 8 p.m. Monday tune to Fox 11 to see whether the winner of the “Choice Male Athlete” award at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards is David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Eli Manning or Tiger Woods.for the award. Woo hoo!

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Wednesday Rumblings

Well, let’s hope there’s no repeat of Tuesday’s temblor, but it seemed an apt headline in more ways than one as you’ll find out if you keep reading.

*The U.S. Men’s Olympic Team drew 0-0 with the Ivory Coast in Hong Kong in what was the wee hours of the morning our time. Cameroon is up Saturday in the final tune-up before the games begin.

*The Galaxy have finally confirmed their interest in Nolberto Solano (noteworthy in that Galaxy officials usually never confirm that sort of thing).

*Meanwhile, ultimate Soccer Insider Steven Goff reports on “rumblings” (told ya) that Galaxy owner Uncle Phil Anschutz is “none too pleased” with the performance of his team.

One would think General Manager Alexi Lalas might be on the hot seat, so why has Coach Ruud Gullit put his home up for sale? Especially considering the crummy housing market right now and the fact he presumably hasn’t owned it long. Take a peek.

*The winner of tonight’s second SuperLiga semifinal between the New England Revolution and Atlante (live 5 p.m. on Telefutura) will face Houston in next week’s final after the Dynamo Tuesday dispatched cup holders Pachuca, 2-0.

*Lastly, AYSO has come home.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Today’s Earthquake: The Largely Unreported Soccer Angle

The 5.4 magnitude earthquake this morning in Southern California provoked the giddy extremes of fear – and fun – from players and coaches with the Galaxy and Chivas USA.

Here’s Galaxy Coach Ruud Gullit’s reaction:

“It was the first time I have experienced this and I had my kids with me so I was worried sick. I didn’t know what it was. People had told me to stand in a doorway so I went to my office and hid there. I have to say, it was a really scary experience. I hope it is the last one.”

Hey, it wasn’t as horrible as what Galaxy fans endured on the weekend, Ruud. And I bet it isn’t the last one (on either count). Brace yourself.

In contrast, Chivas USA defender Lawson Vaughn was having way too much fun:

“When I first felt it, I thought something was wrong with my head – I thought maybe I was dizzy, or exhausted from heat. Then I looked around and everyone was saying ‘Earthquake! Earthquake!’ and I just enjoyed it. I could feel myself rocking back and forth, so I loved it!”

How’s that head injury healing, Lawson? (Kidding, kidding. And to be fair, I heard more than one person use that F-word – different from the one you’d expect – in regard to the earthquake).

Complete and unedited earthquake coverage from the Galaxy and Chivas USA.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Tuesday’s Column: A Gringos Guide to Mexican Soccer

(Originally posted by Nick Green on July 29, 2008 7:13 AM. A problem with our blogging software today meant I had to repost this item this evening).

The Mexican season started resumed play this weekend, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the English-language media in this country (and, yes, that is one of the only summaries I could find on the opening weekend of play on a Google News search. Thank you, Canada).

I do not profess to be any sort of Mexican soccer expert (and this is a good place to acknowledge the insights and suggestions of Chivas USA spokesman Keegan Pierce for his invaluable assistance in researching and writing today’s column), but this piece is undoubtedly long overdue.

By the way, a reader observed that the reference in the lead to “American soccer fans” should have been “English-speaking American soccer fans.” That person is correct.

Those who want to learn more should read this preview.

Incidentally, SuperLiga resumes tonight (the Houston Dynamo plays defending champion Pachuca at 7 on Telefutura, while New England Revolution plays Atlanta at 5 p.m. Wednesday).

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

The Week Ahead

Mark your calendar. Set your TiVo. Here’s your soccer week in Southern California.

*Real So Cal Boys Under-16 Team lost 2-0 to Dallas Texans Red at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

*Also, the Galaxy Reserves drew 2-2 with Dallas through goals by Alan Gordon and Bryan Jordan.

*Chivas USA midfielder Jorge “Sueno” Flores played 90 minutes in the U.S. Under-20 National Team loss to hosts Northern Ireland in the Milk Cup. Next on Wednesday: Wales.

*SuperLiga resumes tonight with the Houston Dynamo and Pachuca clashing at 7 on Telefutura in the first semifinal; Wednesday it’s Atlante-New England.

No LA teams involved now that Chivas USA is out so why am I mentioning this? See Tuesday’s column.

*Brad Guzan, Sacha Kljestan and the rest of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team plays at 2:30 a.m. our time against the Ivory Coast in the ING Cup, a warm-up for the Olympics.

*The W-League Pali Blues play at the Washington Freedom in the semifinals; in the other game the FC Indiana Lionesses play the Seattle Sounders. The final is Saturday.

*Chivas USA (6-6-4) visits Chicago (7-5-5) and Cuauhtmoc Blanco. Chivas USA is two points behind Real Salt Lake for the Western Conference lead.

*Rolling Hills Estates-based Ajax America Women play in the Women’s Premier League Final Four as the Pacific champion against Arizona (Big Sky), New England (East) and the winner today of the match between Midwest champion MYSC Lady Blues and Sunshine Conference champion Brevard County Cocoa Expos for the final berth.

Ajax beat West Coast FC 2-0 Sunday to qualify.

The Galaxy plays at San Jose at noon on Telefutura.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

The Galaxy: Helpless, Hapless and Hopeless

Condolences to those of you, who, like me, just gave up two hours of a lovely summer afternoon to watch FC Dallas massacre the Galaxy 4-0.

Two goals inside 90 seconds just after 15 minutes sealed the result, but it could have been 6-0 (or more). The Galaxy ended the game with just two shots on goal (Dallas had 14).

Debutant Eduardo Dominguez looked like the second coming of Abel Xavier, Ante Jazic played as if he was allergic to attackers and David Beckham and Landon Donovan were largely invisible.

I have the Galaxy PR folks’ cellphone, but I’ll skip calling and avoid talking to players and coaches. What do I ask? How humiliated are you? Have you ever seen a team you were a part of play that badly? Do you know what a goal looks like?

And yes, I’m sharpening the knives for the mid-season Galaxy and Chivas USA review I am planning for Tuesday’s column.

These stats don’t lie.

And remember, this was a sixth-place team against one bidding for first in the Western Conference.

Game story.

Kudos to Kenny Cooper for showing the officials at Cardiff City in Wales what he can do for them.

They’re happy in Texas though.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Sunday Galaxy Gameday & More

The Galaxy (6-6-5) and winless in their last five games could nevertheless move into first place in the Western Conference this afternoon with a win over (4-6-7) Dallas.

As the Galaxy moves into the second half of their season, Coach Ruud Gullit was still fuming about Thursday’s MLS All-Star Game, while Dallas striker Kenny Cooper may well be preoccupied by his impending transfer to Cardiff City.

A capacity crowd is expected at Pizza Hut Park for the 4 p.m. game (live on FSN) because of you-know-who.

New Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman is still seeking his first win for the sixth-place team, by the way. Game basics are here.

There are three other games today as MLS action resumes after the All-Star Game including New York-San Jose at noon on Telefutura.

In the PDL Saturday, the San Fernando Valley Quakes lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Canadians equalizing with 10 seconds or so left in regulation and then going on to win. More on the four-team PDL playoff tournament in Fresno is here.

A similar four-team tournament is going on in Anaheim where the Women’s Premier Soccer League Pacific Conference playoffs saw Rolling Hills Estates-based Ajax America Women defeat the California Storm 2-0 Saturday to advance to today’s final. They will face West Coast FC, which defeated the Sol 3-2.

The WPSL also named Ajax Coach Brian Boswell Coach of the Year Saturday as his team finished the season with five straight victories.

The Pacific Conference team First XI was also announced Saturday:
F Charity Weston (WEST COAST F.C.)
MF Whitney Jones-Pridham (WEST COAST F.C.)
MF Crystal Howard (SONOMA COUNTY F.C. SOL)
D Kendal Billingsley (WEST COAST F.C.)
D Maureen Whitney (CALIFORNIA STORM)
D Amanda Harris (SONOMA COUNTY F.C. SOL)
GK Sophia Perez (SD UNITED)

Lastly, Real So Cal Blue’s Under-16 boy’s team plays for a national title today.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Saturday Soccer

There isn’t any.

Well, not much.

The closest top class local games today are in the Women’s Premier Soccer League regional playoffs at Esperanza High in Anaheim.

Today’s playoff schedule:
5:30 p.m. West Coast FC v Sonoma County FC Sol.
7:30 p.m. California Storm v Ajax America Women.

The Galaxy report rookie central defender Sean Franklin returned to training Friday with the full squad for the first time since injuring his knee July 10 against Chivas USA. His status for Sunday’s clash against Dallas in Texas will be decided today.

And Aston Villa of the EPL now have two American goalkeepers named Brad, as expected. Chivas USA’s Brad Guzan (who has his crucial work permit hearing Friday) is joined at the Birmingham club by Brad Friedel.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email