Friday Football: Waiting for the Weekend

Here’s your live soccer and television viewing guide for the weekend.

The Galaxy (6-10-8) look for their first victory in 12 games at 8 p.m. Saturday at Home Depot Center (live on Fox Soccer Channel) against D.C. United (10-11-3), while Chivas USA (8-10-6) are on the road in Salt Lake (live at 6 p.m. on KAZA or delayed until 8 p.m. on FSN) and will look to leapfrog their opponents in the standings and haul themselves back into an automatic playoff spot.

Incidentally, veteran defensive leader Jesse Marsch has had his jaw unwired and could play for the first time since breaking it Sept. 14 against the Galaxy.

Other televised games include:
*Manchester United-Chelsea at 6 a.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel) in the undoubted game of the weekend. Incidentally, this is so big so early in the season, the BBC unearthed former Galaxy and Chelsea Coach Ruud Gullit to offer his wisdom on the game. Among Gullit’s insights regarding Luiz Felipe Scolari taking over at Chelsea:

“A coach must adjust to the players he has and, at a club like Chelsea, get results,” he says.

Hmmm. Read the whole thing here.

*7 a.m. Saturday FSC – Managerless Newcastle United face West Ham.
*9:30 a.m. Saturday FSC – Arsenal-Bolton Wanderers.
*5 p.m. KVEA – Jaguares-CD Guadalajara.

College soccer offerings locally this weekend include:
*The UCLA Women’s Cup begins today with No. 2 UCLA (5-0-1) taking on Miami (7-0) at 5:00 p.m at Drake Stadium, followed at 7:30 p.m. by No. 24 USD (5-2) against New Mexico (3-1-3). On Sunday it’s USD versus Miami at 11:00 a.m., and UCLA against New Mexico at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 adults, $5 youths/UCLA students. The Bruins slipped to No. 2 in the rankings after their scoreless draw with Brown last weekend.
*The UCLA men (1-3-1) hosts Santa Clara (1-3-1) 7 p.m. Saturday at Drake Stadium in a rematch of last season’s NCAA second round playoff match, which Santa Clara won 3-1.
*The No. 4 Trojans (6-1-0) begin a six-game home stand at McCalister Field 1 p.m. Sunday hosting SMU (1-4-1).

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Rolling HIlls Estates’ Robbie Rogers Rips Red Bulls Royally (Really)

Assuming the role admirably usually performed by hamstring-challenged Argentine playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto, this year’s likely MLS MVP, South Bay Boy Robbie Rogers curled home the audacious winning goal for the Columbus Crew in a 3-1 win Thursday over New York.

In a man of the match performance, Rogers could have had a second and drew a red card from frustrated Red Bulls defender Kevin Goldthwaite at game’s end.

Game story.


Want more? Rogers’ contributions were broken down nicely at this blog.

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Thursday Kicks

Given a choice between watching soccer and blogging about it, I’d much rather do the former, but the scant rewards Wednesday for doing so included a tepid Manchester United 0-0 draw with Spain’s Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League and a surprising 2-0 win by Marathon of Honduras over Cruz Azul in the CONCACAF version

I will likely impose radio silence again today with two UEFA Cup games on Fox Soccer Channel (Spurs-Wisla Krakow at noon followed by Tim Howard’s Everton against Oguchi Onyewu’s Standard Liege) and New York meeting Sigi Schmid’s Columbus Crew over on ESPN2 at 4 p.m.

The Red Bulls’ Juan Osorio is calling this New York’s most important game of the season. Local soccer fans know this is Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers chance to shine in prime time with likely MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto expected to continue resting his aging hamstrings before the playoffs.

Catching up briefly:
USA Today brings people up to speed with a feature on the global ambitions of Chivas USA co-owner Jorge Vegara

*The U.S. Women’s National Team beat Ireland 1-0 in New York Wednesday with Natasha Kai getting the goal before a little over 4,000 (an Olympic gold medal apparently not going as far as it used to in terms of crowd appeal).

U.S. lineup: 1-Hope Solo (22-Briana Scurry, 46); 17-Lori Chalupny (21-Kacey White, 70), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt, 15-Kate Markgraf (4-Rachel Buehler, 46), 2-Heather Mitts; 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Aly Wagner, 11-Carli Lloyd, 9-Heather O’Reilly (14-Stephanie Cox, 46), 6-Natasha Kai, 16-Angela Hucles.

Finally Wednesday, the No. 7-ranked Cal State Dominguez men drew 0-0 with UC San Diego; the women lost 3-2 to UCSD.

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Wednesday Breakfast of Champions

It says a lot about the UEFA Champions League and a lot more about the global stature of Manchester United that for many in Los Angeles the most important game of the week does not involve the Galaxy or Chivas USA, but today’s 11:30 a.m. game on ESPN2 that has the Red Devils facing Jozy Altidore’s Spanish team Villareal.

(Alas Altidore, who just made his debut for Villareal over the weekend, is not on the Champions League roster, according to The New York Times’ soccer blog Goal).

Other televised UEFA and CONCACAF Champions League games worth checking out today:
*2 p.m. ESPN Classic – Real Madrid-FC Bate Borisov (of Belarus in case you were wondering and I know you were).
*5 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel – Montreal Impact-Joe Public.
*10 p.m. Marathon-Cruz Azul.

A couple of other CONCACAF related notes:
*Panama’s FC Tauro, vanquishers of Chivas USA in the preliminary round of the Champions League, lost to the Puerto Rico Islanders of the USL 2-1 Tuesday night.
*Hey, mon – Barnsey’s back! Former England and Liverpool wing wizard John Barnes has resurfaced as coach of Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz face a crunch World Cup qualifying clash Oct. 11 against Mexico.

While we were distracted by the start of the Champions Leagues and the return of Sacha Victorine to Southern California, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena quietly picked up former FC Dallas developmental player Jeremy Barlow before the close of the MLS transfer window Monday.

*The U.S. Women’s National Team plays the second game of its post-Olympics tour tonight against Ireland in New York.
*The Cal State Dominguez Hills men (7-0) jumped to No. 4 in the latest NSCAA poll.

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Portable Soccer Goal Recalled After Tot’s Death

A type of soccer goal blamed for the death of a 21-month-old toddler last year has been recalled by the federal government.

No, I don’t know what took them so long. And yes, the goals were made in China. About 190,000 of the goals were sold from May 2002 until May 2008.

More details on the circumstances surrounding the recall is here.

More details from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission here.

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Torrance’s Shannon Boxx Among Players Allocated to L.A. WPS Franchise

Former South (Torrance) High star Shannon Boxx, Olympian Stephanie Cox and midfielder Aly Wagner were allocated to Los Angeles’ Women’s Professional Soccer franchise today.

“This is a big day for Women’s Professional Soccer, as teams now have Olympic gold medalists from Beijing allocated to their home cities along with other talented national team players,” said WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. “These are the first building blocks for the teams as the league begins the countdown to the inaugural 2009 WPS Season.”

Here’s the full list of allocations to all seven franchises.

Next for WPS – a draft of four top international players to each team the week of Sept. 22:

That will be followed by a draft of remaining players in early October and again in January. The order of the international draft will depend on the weighted rankings voted on by teams following the U.S. Women’s National Team allocation with the weakest-rated team selecting first and the strongest-weighted team selecting last


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Monday Witchcraft, Former Galaxy Midfielder Returns to L.A. & More

I wasn’t kidding about the witchcraft.

Depressing way to start the week (sorry about that), but somehow in tune with the catastrophes, accidents and Wall Street mayhem afflicting us of late.

As expected, not a great deal happened on MLS trade deadline day, but don’t tell that to former Galaxy midfielder Sacha Victorine; the now former Kansas City Wizards player and Southern California native is back in L.A. – with Chivas USA – which also signed largely unknown Brazilian attacking midfielder Dejair (pronounced ‘dey-zha-IR’), as an international player.

“As we enter the last six weeks of the season, we are pleased to be adding some additional depth to our midfield in the face of injury and international call-ups,” said Chivas USA Head Coach Preki Radosavljevic. “We hope both Sasha and Dejair will make important contributions to Chivas USA as we continue our push toward the playoffs.”

Translation: We are desperate.

Victorine will be in L.A. Tuesday and be available for Saturday’s game in Salt Lake City; Dejair awaits his visa.

In related transactions today, Chivas USA placed midfielder Raphal Wicky and defenders Lawson Vaughn and Eric Ebert on the season-ending injury list.

Swiss international defender Wicky, 31, was a major disappointment after signing in the off-season from FC Sion. He started just one game before undergoing reconstructive ankle surgery in July.

Vaughn, 25, managed seven games. He’s slated for left ankle surgery.

Ebert, 24, also started two games this season before suffering a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee during Chivas USA ‘s Sept. 6 game in Toronto.

From the (edited) Chivas USA press release on the trade:

Former Bruin Sacha Victorine, a nine-year MLS veteran, Victorine was drafted in 2000 by the Galaxy as a first-round pick. Victorine has played in 227 MLS regular-season games (starting 205). He has four U.S. caps

A product of the Botafogo youth system, attacking midfielder Dejair joins Chivas USA from Brazilian club ABC FC of Natal, which won the 2008 Rio Grande do Norte state championship. The 12-year veteran has played in Brazilian Serie B and C football with Cricima and won state championships with club sides Moto Clube and ABC FC.

Meanwhile, the as yet unnamed L.A. entry in Women’s Professional Soccer will participate in Tuesday’s draft of national team players – without a coach being officially named. L.A. will receive three players.

The U.S. women beat Ireland Sunday, BTW, 2-0 in the first of three post-Olympic victories games against the nation.

Sunday college scores:
No. 3 USC 6 Clemson 2 (USC 16 goals in last three games).
UCLA women 0 (5-0-1) Brown 0
Cal State Northridge women 2 Saint Mary’s 1 (CSUN moves to 5-1)
UW-Milwaukee 2 Cal State Northridge men 1
Loyola Marymount women 0 (3-2-2) Utah 0
Pepperdine 1 (3-3-1) Washington State 0
Long Beach State 3 (4-1-2) Oregon 3 (double overtime)
No. 7 Cal State Dominguez Hills men (7-0) 4 San Francisco State 1

Lastly, the group stage of the UEFA and CONCACAF Champions League starts Tuesday. More on that in Tuesday’s column.

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MLS Trading Deadline & Roster Freeze Date Looms

In just under 24 hours as I write this, at 5 p.m. Monday, MLS rosters will be set in stone for the rest of the season, until the day after MLS Cup.

Which means, incidentally, the Galaxy will be stuck with $130,000 a year defender Eduardo Dominguez (“he was all we could afford,” one team official allegedly told a colleague of mine).

In any event, unlike in England, where the closure of the transfer window includes dramatic deadline day deals and live countdown coverage, things are likely to be significantly less tense here (the Galaxy swooped for USL goalkeeper Josh Saunders Friday – who hoo – and other names that were exchanged include the likes of Hunter Freeman).

Still, MLS trumpeted the improvement in talent in the league recently, issuing a list of the top in-coming players (50 from 21 countries) and 17 MLS players heading overseas.

Interesting reading:
Incoming Player Current Team Last Club Country of Birth
Tomasz Frankowski Chicago Fire CD Tenerife (Spain) Poland
Lider Marmol Chicago Fire Hercules CF (Spain) Paraguay
Brian McBride Chicago Fire Fulham FC (England) USA
Marco Pappa Chicago Fire CSD Municipal (Guatemala) Guatemala
Roberto Nurse Chivas USA Queretaro (Mexico) Mexico
Raphael Wicky Chivas USA FC Sion (Switzerland) Switzerland
Greg Dalby Colorado Rapids Charleroi SC (Belgium) USA
Cory Gibbs Colorado Rapids Charlton Athletic (England) USA
Tom McManus Colorado Rapids Dunfermine Ath. (Scotland) Scotland
Emmanuel Ekpo Columbus Crew Enyimba International (Nigeria) Nigeria
Pat Noonan Columbus Crew Aalesunds FK (Norway) USA
Gino Padula Columbus Crew Montpellier HSC (France) Argentina
Louis Crayton D.C. United FC Basel (Switzerland) Liberia
Marcelo Gallardo D.C. United Paris-Saint Germain (France) Argentina
Gonzalo Martinez D.C. United Millonarios (Colombia) Colombia
Gonzalo Peralta D.C. United Almirante Brown (Argentina) Argentina
Duilio Davino FC Dallas Club America (Mexico) Mexico
Andre Rocha FC Dallas Atletico Paranaense (Brazil) Brazil
Victor Sikora FC Dallas NAC Breda (Netherlands) Netherlands
Tony Caig Houston Gretna (Scotland) England
Nate Jaqua Houston SC Rheindorf Altach (Austria) USA
Claudio Lopez Kansas City Club America (Mexico) Argentina
Ivan Trujillo Kansas City La Equidad (Colombia) Colombia
Josh Wolff Kansas City 1860 Munich (Germany) USA
Eduardo Dominguez Galaxy Huracan (Argentina) Argentina
Eddie Lewis Galaxy Derby County (England) USA
Alvaro Pires Galaxy Spartak Nalchik (Russia) Brazil
Gabriel Badilla Revolution Saprissa (Costa Rica) Costa Rica
Mauricio Castro Revolution Olimpia (Honduras) Honduras
Oscar Echeverry Red Bulls Atletico Nacional (Colombia) Colombia
Gabriel Cichero Red Bulls Deportivo Italia (Venezuela) Venezuela
Diego Jimenez Red Bulls UAG Tecos (Mexico) Mexico
Juan Pietravallo Red Bulls A.S. Veria (Greece) Argentina
Jorge Rojas Red Bulls UA Maracaibo (Venezuela) Venezuela
Nat Borchers Real Salt Lake Odd Grenland (Norway) USA
Kenny Deuchar Real Salt Lake Gretna (Scotland) Scotland
Ian Joy Real Salt Lake St. Pauli FC (Germany) USA
Clint Mathis Real Salt Lake Ergotelis FC (Greece) USA
Jamison Olave Real Salt Lake Deportivo Cali (Colombia) Colombia
Robbie Russell Real Salt Lake Viborg FF (Norway) USA
Mikel Arce San Jose CD Lourdes (Spain) Spain
Ramiro Corrales San Jose S.K. Brann (Norway) USA
Darren Huckerby San Jose Norwich City (England) England
Francisco Lima San Jose Brescia Calcio (Italy) Brazil
Kasey Keller Seattle Fulham FC (England) USA
Amado Guevara Toronto CD Motagua (Honduras) Honduras
Rohan Ricketts Toronto Barnsley (England) England
Tyler Rosenlund Toronto Atvidaberg (Sweden) Canada
Johann Smith Toronto Bolton Wanderers (England) USA
Jarrod Smith Toronto Hawke’s Bay Utd (New Zealand)New Zealand
Marco Velez Toronto Puerto Rico Islanders (USL) Puerto Rico

Outgoing Player Original Team New Club Country of Birth
Matt Pickens Chicago Fire QPR (England) USA
Brad Guzan Chivas USA Aston Villa (England) USA
Marcos Gonzalez Columbus Crew Universidad Catolica (Chile) Brazil
Bryan Arguez D.C. United Hertha Berlin (Germany) USA
Troy Perkins D.C. United Valerenga (Norway) USA
Chris Gbandi FC Dallas FK Haugesand (Norway) Liberia
Clarence Goodson FC Dallas IK Start (Norway) USA
Juan Carlos Toja FC Dallas Steaua Bucuresti (Romania) Colombia
Nate Jaqua Houston SC Rheindorf Altach (Austria) USA
Joseph Ngwenya Houston SK Austria Karnten (Austria) Zimbabwe
Will John Wizards Randers FC (Denmark) USA
Eddie Johnson Wizards Fulham (England) USA
Clint Mathis Galaxy Egotelis FC (Greece) USA
Andy Dorman Revolution St. Mirren FC (Scotland) Scotland
Pat Noonan Revolution Aalesunds FK (Norway) USA
Jozy Altidore Red Bulls Villarreal CF (Spain) USA
Maurice Edu Toronto FC Rangers FC (Scotland) USA

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Black Hole of Record Winless Streak Devouring Galaxy’s Season

Wizards 2 Galaxy 0.

This was a game that looked like it involved the two last-place teams in the league, at least until the Wizards scored two goals in two minutes to dispose of the Galaxy.

The largest Wizards crowd of the season – 26,113 – watched as the Galaxy winless streak reached 12 games, a stretch that has seen L.A. go 0-6-6 while getting outscored 28-16.

How bad is this?
*The winless streak is longer than any Chivas USA endured during its horrific inaugural season.
*New York hasn’t been this bad in almost a decade, back when they were called the MetroStars.
*The Galaxy are within striking distance of tying the all-time MLS winless streak set by Real Salt Lake, something they will do if they fail to win any of the rest of their games.

Here are the all-time MLS winless streak “leaders:”
Team Number When set
Real Salt Lake 18 8/10/2005-5/6/2006
Real Salt Lake 15 9/23/2006-6/17/2007
Columbus Crew 13 6/10/2006-8/16/2006
New York 12 7/14/1999-9/5/1999
Galaxy 12 6/21/2008-?
Chivas USA 11 5/14/2005-7/2/2005

Incidentally, defender Eduardo Dominguez may have made the best move of the night and he wasn’t even on the field. The Argentine flew home to be with his wife who was due to give birth to the couple’s first child.

Game story.

And David Beckham is clearly not with us.

Watch and weep:

Perhaps this video makes the point even better. The Galaxy have just six MLS games left in the season.

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