Half Time: Houston Dynamo at Chivas USA; Real Salt Lake is Chivas USA’s Playoff Opponent

This result just in: Pasadena City College product Yura Movsisyan equalized for Real Salt Lake in the 90th minute against Colorado to put the Utah team through and dumping the Rapids from the playoffs.

RSL needed only a draw to clinch a playoff spot. Conor Casey scored the Rapids’ goal in the 11th minute, aptly enough his 11th of the now-ended campaign.

Chivas USA will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium for the opening game set for 3 p.m. Nov. 1 live on Fox Soccer Channel; the return leg is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 in Carson.

As for the game at Home Depot Center, perhaps predictably, with nothing at stake there’s nothing on the scoreboard either.

But Chivas USA have goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, quickly becoming a cult figure to the lively crowd, to thank for the 0-0 scoreline.

With Brian Ching running in alone on the goal four minutes before half time, Kennedy came out to the penalty spot to narrow the angle and saved Ching’s shot from 18 yards with his right foot, to the delight of the crowd.

A minute later he made a reaction save to deny Ricardo Clark a headed goal from a corner kick.

While there weren’t many scoring chances, this is an attractive fast-paced game with lots of short passes between two teams unwilling to back down given that they could face each other in the Western Conference championship.

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Houston Dynamo (13-5-11) at Chivas USA (12-11-6)

Changes galore for Chivas USA Coach Preki in the meaningless final regular home game of the season, as experience is preferred over youth.

Dan Kennedy continues to keep Zach Thornton on the bench and starts in goal, but there are three changes to the four man back line in front of him.

Shavar Thomas is the lone holdover from the defense that conceded two goals in a losing effort against the Rapids last weekend. In come Carey Talley, Claudio Suarez and Francisco Mendoza (both rested last week); Jonathan Bornstein and Alex Zotinca are both on the bench while there’s no sign of Loyola Marymount product Bobby Burling at all.

In midfield Sacha Klejstan comes in for the injured Sasha Victorine, Paulo Nagamura returns from concussion and Justin Braun is relegated to the bench.

Up front for the second consecutive game: Ante Razov and Alecko Eskandarian.

Brazilian Dejair and Mexican Roberto Nurse are options off the bench.

Houston isn’t resting anyone by the looks of it, although Leuzinger High (Lawndale) product Kei Kamara is suspended.

Dynamo lineup: Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Nate Jaqua.

In the most relevant game for Chivas USA this evening, Colorado is leading Real Salt Lake 1-0 just before half time. Chivas USA plays the winner in the first round of the playoffs.

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Beckham Speaks on The Italian Job

With reporters from Italy, England, Holland and the usual local contingent present, David Beckham spoke for the first time today on the proposed two-month loan deal to AC Milan aimed at maintaining his fitness for England.

Beckham said he is “95 percent sure” it will be completed in the next two weeks, but repeatedly reiterated there was no chance of a permanent deal when he was asked point blank if Sunday could be his last game for the Galaxy:

“No, it won’t be. I made that clear. I’ve said my commitment is still to be with the Galaxy and that’s not changed.

“I’m not leaving the Galaxy,” he added later. “I’ll be back. I’m a Galaxy player.”

Beckham, who acknowledged he had initiated the possible deal, suggested the loan was beneficial not only for him, but the Galaxy as well:

“If you know footballers, they don’t have four months off in any league in the world except for here,” he said. “This is my second season in the league and I’m not prepared to have four or five months off without training.

“I don’t agree with the amount of time that we have off here,” he added. “I need to play. My body is programmed not to have so much time off. I’m not prepared to do that again.”

Beckham said AC Milan was the Italian team he most wanted to play for:

“I’m honored that I’ve been given a chance to actually join up with a team like Milan, specially with the players they’ve got. They’ve got some of the best players in the world on their team – Ronaldhino, Seedorf, Gatuso, Kaka and, of course, Maldini.”

And Shevchenko. Bit different than playing alongside the likes of Franklin, Roberts, Gordon and Jordan anyway.

Can he keep up with the improved caliber of player in Italy? I asked if he was in Serie A form. His response: “You always ask negative questions.”

He later copped to his underwhelming play this season:

“Its been on and off. I’ve had good games, I’ve had bad games … Its been OK in spells and maybe in other games it’s not been.”

When it was suggested to Becks he might need to go on loan again in the winter of 2009-2010 ahead of the World Cup, if you follow his logic of needing to play this January, he smiled and declined to look that far ahead.

And for the fashionistas among you, Becks was dressed ultra-casually on a scorching day in white flip flops, burgandy fashionably-worn cargo shorts and an acid-washed t-shirt.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena was considerably more vague about what he knew about the deal and when he knew it, the suspicion among the assembled press corps being that like his predecessors he knew little in advance about the proposal:

“I have information. In my view since the league is the one that handles the contractual matters I think it’s crucial they are involved in the process.

“This has been something that’s come on recently. I’m not of the belief this thing has been in the works for months.”

On the risk of Beckham getting injured in Italy as he did at Real Madrid right before he got here:

“Injury is a part of the game. You could get injured going in the weight room.”

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Chivas USA Saturday Gameday

Much more important to Chivas USA fans than today’s 7:30 p.m. regular season-ending game at Home Depot Center (live on Fox Soccer Channel) in what could be a preview of the Western Conference championship game against the Houston Dynamo is the match between Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids.

That game, which kicks off an hour earlier than the one in Carson, will decide Chivas USA’s first round playoff opponent.

So what’s the lure of today’s game?

Let us count the ways:
*Good quality soccer – Chivas USA has won four of their last five games, the Dynamo are unbeaten in eight.

*Cheap seats plus swag – four tickets, four hats and four hot dogs start at $58, plus the first 7,500 fans get a free soccer ball. Oh, and the first 10,000 also get a T-shirt.

*Soccer tennis anyone? You want to get there early anyway to check out the free soccertennis tournament starting at 5 p.m. in the adjacent tennis stadium. Participants include Playa del Rey’s John O’Brien, Eric Wynalda, Alexi Lalas and Joy Fawcett. Video and more info here.

*Altruism? Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit organization that recycles cell phones to buy prepaid calling cards for U. S. troops stationed overseas, will be at the match. Fans are encouraged to bring old cell phones to donate them to the group, which will have a booth outside the Southwest Entrance to the stadium. The organization will also hand out envelopes so fans who did not bring cell phones can send them in later.

Game previews are here and here.

Finally, MLS announced details Friday of the 10-round Nov. 26 expansion draft for the Seattle Sounders.

MLS teams must submit their lists of protected players by Nov. 24. No team can lose more than one player to Seattle.

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Friday Night Football: Bruins at Trojans Final & More

UCLA 2 (14-0-2, Pac-10 5-0-0) USC 1 (12-3-1, Pac-10 2-2-1). No NCAA attendance records broken, but the 7,804 there was still the largest ever to see a Trojans-Bruins game and beat the the previous USC record for attendance at a soccer game. A total of 1,469 fans attended USC’s NCAA Third Round match last season in the Coliseum.

*Pepperdine 0 (6-9-2, 1-3 WCC) San Diego 1 (12-4-2, 4-0 WCC)
Waves lost on first half goal from free kick.

*Loyola Marymount women 2 (8-5-3, 3-1 WCC) Santa Clara 1 (4-10-3, 1-2-1 WCC)
Lions win was third ever over Santa Clara, snapping seven-game winless streak against the Broncos.

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WPS L.A. Team Name, Logo Revealed

i-2454167a0b4da627b3802379649f2ba6-Sol Logo_FNL.jpgThe L.A. Women’s Professional Soccer team will be called the Sol (the lasses of LAS!).

Check out the logo and team colors (guess we should have figured a team owned in part by the owner of the W-League Pali Blues would stick with a primarily blue – dark and light – color scheme with accents of yellow and black).

The Sol name is meant to reflect the sunny weather and heritage – “sol” is sun in Spanish and other languages – of Southern California.

Season tickets for the inaugural season that begins in April will cost $125 to $750.

Full disclosure: The official unveiling of the name, logo and colors is set for Sunday; because another reporter was leaked and published the information this afternoon, I decided to break the embargo and publish it, too.

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College Friday Football Gameday: UCLA at USC & More

I’ll forgo the usual weekend preview today (I’ll have more later today) to hype up a game that’s increasing in magnitude with every passing year when the No. 3 USC (12-2-1) women host No. 9 UCLA (13-0-2) tonight at 7 at the Coliseum.

A big game – it’s a rematch of last year’s NCAA semifinal that saw USC defeat the Bruins and go on to win the national title – so a big crowd is expected.

Here’s our preview.

Here’s the Daily Bruin version.

And here’s what the Daily Trojan had to say.

Tickets are just $7 adults, $5 children 12 and under or organize a group of 10 or more of your closest friends and pay just $3 a ticket. Take a minibus though; in best L.A. tradition parking is more expensive than a seat – it’s $8 in Coliseum lots 4, 5 and 6.

*UCLA has conceded just two goals all season, but the Bruins’ defense faces a USC offense ranked No. 10 in the nation with an average of 2.8 goals per game.
*USC is unbeaten in a program record 19 home games.

In other UCLA soccer news, former Bruins Paul Caligiuri and Brad Friedel have been selected to the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer 50th Anniversary team.

A list of more than 100 former players athletes and 10 head coaches was narrowed down to 32 and six, respectively, through a voting subcommittee. The finalists were then put on an online ballot and voted on by the public through NCAA.com.

The winners and their college affiliations: Jeff Agoos, Virginia; Armando Betancourt, Indiana; Paul Caligiuri, UCLA; Richard Chinapoo, Long Island; Angelo DiBernardo, Indiana; Brad Friedel, UCLA; John Harkes, Virginia; Glenn Myernick, Hartwick; Farrukh Quraishi, SUNY Oneonta; Claudio Reyna, Virginia; and Al Trost, Saint Louis. The coach is Indiana’s Jerry Yeagley.

Former Galaxy defender Caligiuri, now coaching at Cal Poly Pomona, led UCLA to its first-ever national title in 1985 before playing 114 times with the U.S. National Team.

Friedel, currently mentoring former Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan at Aston Villa, led UCLA to the 1990 NCAA title as a freshman and still holds the program’s record for career goals against average (0.60). He played 82 games for the U.S.

Team members will be honored at the College Cup in December.

Finally, in a college game Thursday the Loyola Marymount men lost at home for the first time this season in conference play, falling 2-0 to San Diego despite hitting the woodwork three times. The Lions are now (4-5-5, 2-3-1 WCC), while the Toreros (5-6-3, 5-1-0 WCC) finish the first half of WCC play atop the league standings.


“We outplayed them, we hit the post three times,” said LMU Coach Paul Krumpe. “For whatever reason we’ve been very unlucky putting things away this year.”

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L.A. WPS Franchise Name Unveiled Sunday

I mentioned this in a column earlier this month, but officials with the Carson-based Women’s Professional Soccer franchise confirmed today the team’s name, logo and colors will be unveiled at Sunday’s final Galaxy home game of the season.

U.S. Women’s National Team star Shannon Boxx (South High), who will play for the team, will be on hand to help with the unveiling.

I’ll have more Sunday.

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Kljestan Named Chivas USA MVP & More

i-a4a9f98b420e8a0455738b3d32a36813-TS06-Chivas.SV-233.jpgChivas USA announced its 20088 season award winners today.

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan, 23, was named team MVP after his break-out season for club (and country). He’s tied for the team lead in goals and leads the team in assists.

Other award winners named by the club in a press release were:

Claudio Surez, Chivas USA’s Defender of the Year in 2006 and 2007, this year wins the Chivas Regal Award, for the player “who best represents the spirit of Chivas USA.” Surez is succeeded as Defender of the Year by the 2008 winner, defensive midfielder Paulo Nagamura. Los Alamitos native Jonathan Bornstein, in his third year with the club, was named U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year.

The trio will be recognized Saturday at the final home game of the regular season.

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Your Daily Beckham & More

Your daily Beckham.

Cal State Dominguez Hills teams swept Cal State San Marcos Wednesday, the No. 6-ranked men men (15-2-1) winning 5-3, the 11-7 women winning 5-1 over their sixth-ranked opponent in the Toros’ final home game of the regular season. The CSUDH programs close out their respective conference campaigns on the road this weekend.

Finally, a tip of the hat to two press box colleagues, Andrea Canales and Luis Bueno, who are shutting down their blog Sideline Views. It was one of my daily must reads. Andrea, one of the few female soccer writers in the country, brought a unique perspective to the game, while Luis was one of the most knowledgeable English-language writers on Mexican futbol in the region. Both will continue to write for other outlets; me, I’ll miss seeing them daily in the same place.

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