Wednesday Wrap: Becks, Galaxy, Chivas USA Update

Beckham Update?
David Beckham wasn’t talking today, but Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena did on the possibility of him going on loan to AC Milan:

“I haven’t spent a second of my day even thinking about it to be honest. For me personally and with this team, I don’t think we would loan any player out for six months. That’s how long you have to loan him out for until the next transfer window, which would be June. On the surface, it sounds like an odd proposition. I don’t see where that benefits MLS or the Galaxy. “

Who said anything about six months?

Here’s Chris Klein on Beckham’s pending loan move:

“He wants to win. He made it known when he came over here he wasn’t coming here to sell T-shirts. I’m sure he’s disappointed in the production of the team in the last year and a half. Does that fall on his shoulders? No. We all take responsibility for the results of this team of late. I’m sure there’s that disappointment inside of him, though.”

In other Galaxy news:
*Former President and General Manager Doug Hamilton, as well as former midfielders Mauricio Cienfuegos and Cobi Jones are the first honorees of a Wall of Legends intended to “honor individuals or groups who have significantly contributed to the growth and success of the club.” Inauguration of the first members is 9:30 a.m. Sunday in the Southwest Concourse of Home Depot Center.

In Chivas USA news:
*Fox Soccer Channel will air both Chivas USA games of its Western Conference semifinal series against either Real Salt Lake or the Colorado Rapids. Game 1 is set for Nov. 1, while game 2 of the series is scheduled for Nov. 8 at Home Depot Center.
* Brad Guzan update.

In college soccer:
*Cal State Northridge men (6-5-3), down one player for the majority of the match, lost 3-2 Wednesday to Cal State Irvine.
*No. 9 USC (12-2-1) meets No. 3 UCLA (13-0-2) 7 p.m. Friday in a rematch of the 2007 NCAA semifinal at the Coliseum. Organizers are trying to set an NCAA attendance record, which stands at 14,410. USC, unbeaten in a program record 19 home games, wants a crowd of 15,000.
Check out the promo.

Lastly, in youth soccer news:
*Lancaster and Cal South will host the 2009 U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Championships June 15-21 drawing nearly 4,500 players and an estimated 10,000 spectators at the Lancaster National Soccer Complex The 35-field facility will see 248 boys and girls teams, ages Under-12 through Under-19, from the 14 western U.S. Youth Soccer State Associations that make up US Youth Soccer Region IV (Alaska, Arizona, California North, California South, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). Regional winners of the Under-14 through Under-19 brackets earn a berth to the 2009 US Youth Soccer National Championships.

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Update: Beckham Releases Statement on Italian Loan Deal

Although a small media horde has gathered in Carson this morning, I understand from David Beckham’s publicist on this side of the Atlantic that Becks will not speak after the Galaxy’s practice.

But Glenn Lehrman confirmed that talks are on-going for a two-month loan deal and released this statement:

“At this moment discussions are going on with AC Milan – nothing has been confirmed at the moment. He’s considering a proposal from them to go on loan for the start of the year to maintain his level of fitness and make himself available for England selection. He remains an L.A. Galaxy player and would report as normal to the start of the 2009 MLS season.”

England coach Fabio Capello had reportedly told English media that Beckham would be axed from England’s next World Cup qualifying squad in February if he were not playing regularly.

Updated: Beckham did not, as previously reported, talk to reporters today after practice, although Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena and other players did.

There will be a complete story in Thursday’s Daily News, Daily Breeze, Long Beach Press-Telegram and other MediaNews newspapers.

I was told by reporter Phil Collin, who was out at practice today, that Arena made a reference to a six-month loan deal, although he did not cite a source or rule for that length of time, which contradicts what we’ve heard so far.

Beckham will apparently wait until Saturday before addressing the media, his publicist said. Presumably by then the A.C. Milan deal will be confirmed.

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Beckham Loan to AC Milan Confirmed & More

i-e8f2c9f50029f7a36bd271bef4985045-TS22-Galaxy_Soccer.SV-261.jpgCNN confirmed with David Beckham’s agent today that the Galaxy midfielder will head to Italy’s AC Milan on a two-month loan in the wake of the club’s tour Down Under after the MLS season concludes so he can retain his fitness for England.

It does not sound like he’s going to miss much, if any, of the MLS preseason, according to this quote in England’s Daily Mail from Beckham agent Simon Oliveira:

“Nothing is confirmed yet, but the intention is to go to AC Milan on loan for January and February. He would be going there with the view to keeping fit and being available for selection for England.

“The idea is he then goes back to the Galaxy to join up with their pre-season in March. He will not be joining AC Milan permanently. He had a five-year contract with the Galaxy
and has three years left and every intention of fulfilling that.”

AC Milan are currently sitting fifth in the league.

Updated 10:28 a.m. Got off the phone a few minutes ago with the Galaxy PR folks who tell me his Beckhamness will not be addressing the media on the issue after training today (he usually only deigns to speak to reporters once a week). We’ll see. But that would be par for the course: a global news story, Beckham in our back yard and he’s not talking.

In other Beckham-related news, he’s agreed to do his bit for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Speaking of the World Cup, there’s much gnashing of teeth south of the border over Mexico’s World Cup qualifying status – or lack thereof.

Finally, this just in from the “I live in a glass house” department – North Korean nutjob Kim Jong Il is not at all pleased with the nation’s hairy soccer players.

Because, of course, that rich, famine-free and non-authoritarian nation doesn’t have more pressing issues than a “follicular clampdown”.

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Chivas USA Injury Woes Continue: Midfielder Sasha Victorine Out Two to Four Weeks

Sasha Victorine was smiling after scoring a goal against the Wizards earlier this month – he’s not smiling now.
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If Chivas USA Coach Preki was wondering who on his injury-ravaged squad was going down next he got the answer Tuesday: newly acquired midfielder Sasha Victorine is out two to four weeks – which means possibly the rest of the season depending on how the playoffs go – after spraining his left knee in Sunday’s loss to the Colorado Rapids.

An MRI Monday evening revealed the extent of injury, which forced Victorine out of Sunday’s game in the 25th minute.

Spare a thought for former Galaxy midfielder Victorine who had just one goal in 16 games with the Kansas City Wizards this season before being acquired by Chivas USA Sept. 15 in a deadline-day trade. Eying a fresh start after his declining role in Kansas City, Victorine scored two goals and one assist in five games with Chivas USA and was involved in both goals (scoring one) against the Wizards in his first start.

In other Chivas USA injury related news, (there’s always more) defender Lawson Vaughn underwent successful surgery on his left ankle today in Baltimore. He’s out for up to six months. It’s Vaughn’s fourth (!) serious injury this season.

Guess Chivas USA is going to have to recalculate that stat from last week that observed they had endured missing an average of 5.67 players per game solely due to injury.

And all this comes after a rare bit of good injury-related news for the club: forward Ante Razov, who had been out two games with a right calf strain, started and played the first 61 minutes of Sunday’s match. Defender Carey Talley also returned from a concussion, playing the final 25 minutes. Paulo Nagamura, who was out with a sprained knee, played 45 minutes Sunday for Chivas USA reserves.

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Tuesday’s Column: May This Galaxy Rest in Pieces

The Galaxy’s obituary.

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The two charts above show the Galaxy’s record in the Sigi Schmid (bottom) and post Sigi Schmid era in comparison with other MLS teams that played all those seasons (I excluded expansion teams and used the old Earthquakes’ final season combined with the Dynamo’s record since it was essentially the same team with a new name slapped on in the upper chart).

Graphic evidence of the Galaxy’s decline since Schmid left.

And thanks to KLF for technical assistance with the spreadsheet.

Clarification: The Galaxy “elevated Doug Hamilton to president and general manager” Jan. 1, 2004; he was, of course, appointed vice president and general manager Jan. 14, 2002. So he had been eight months on the job as president when he fired Sigi.

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A Few Words With Chivas USA Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy & More

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Yorba Linda’s Dan Kennedy made what I believe was his sixth consecutive start in goal for Chivas USA Sunday and it was an eventful one – he faced two penalty kicks, saving the first, but not the second, which proved the game winner.

Soccer beat writer Phil Collin caught up with Kennedy after the game at Carson’s Home Depot Center for a brief chat:

Q: You played for UC Santa Barbara at the 2004 College Cup final in this stadium and you were subbed out for penalty kicks. Did you flash back to that today?
A: When they took me out? No, it’s funny, that sticks in your mind. That’s more of an after-the-game type of deal. During the game you’re not thinking of that kind of stuff. I think I’m capable of making PK saves just as good as any other keeper. I like my chances. So it was good to get my first one saved. I wish I would have saved the second one and we would have had a point out of the game.

Q: Do you know how Preki intends to handle the goalkeeping position during the playoffs? Will you be in the net or is he waiting for regular starter Zach Thornton to get healthy?
A: No idea. I’m just trying to do as well as I can for the good of the team.

Q: What has the last month or so meant to you in your development?
A: As any keeper in any situation, it’s very important to be comfortable with your team and with your defenders. That’s how you can better yourself and manipulate your results by understanding their play and talking to them and putting them in the right positions and building trust and confidence. And you can see that over time we’re beginning to play together, so it’s helping.

That’s a file photo of Kennedy, BTW, not one from this weekend’s game.

In other Chivas USA news:
*The reserves (4-3-3) beat their Colorado Rapids (4-5-2) counterparts 2-1 Sunday in their third consecutive win. Midfielder Keith Savage and forward Anthony Hamilton scored the second half goals.

The reserves play 4 p.m. Tuesday against the San Jose Earthquakes reserves on Field 6 at the HDC. Admission is free.

*The Chivas USA Under-18 team (4-1) picked up a fourth straight win with a 5-2 victory over Nomads SC. Orr Baroush scored twice, Andy Lopez had a bicycle kick go in, while Jesse Paredes and Polo Morales added goals. The Kids’ win moved them into first place in the SoCal Division of the U.S. Development Academy’s Western Conference.

(The Galaxy Under-18 team beat the San Diego Surf 4-2 Saturday at the HDC, BTW to move to 2-3 on the season; they’re third in the nine-team division.)

*The Chivas Under-16′s (2-2-1) lost 4-2 to the Nomads Saturday; they’re in second place in their division with a 2-2-1 record (W-L-T), behind the 4-1 Galaxy. The Galaxy lost 4-0 to the San Diego Surf at the HDC. Standings.

Sunday College Scores
UCLA men 3 (5-4-5) Oregon State 0 (4-7-3) (The Bruins received first-half goals from Michael Stephens and Prince Lapnet, and Palos Verdes Estates’ Kyle Nakazawa added a goal in the second half from a 22-yard free kick).
Conference standings.

Arizona State 1 (7-4-3) USC 0 (12-2-1) (USC suffered its first loss of the season on a 17th minute goal).

Arizona 0 UCLA 2 (13-0-2) (Junior forward Lauren Cheney scored both Bruin goals giving her a team leading nine goals and five assists. It was the Bruins’ 13th shutout in 15 matches; they outshot Arizona 13-4).
Conference standings.

San Francisco men 1 (4-7-1) Loyola Marymount 0 (4-4-5) (Leon Williams scored the game’s only goal in the 50th minute).
Conference standings.

Gonzaga women 1 (5-9-2) Loyola Marymount 2 (7-5-3) (Junior Kristen Garcia scored her first career goal 2:12 into the second overtime period for the LMU winner).

Portland 2 (13-1) Pepperdine 1 (6-8-2) (The game-winner came in the 88th minute from a penalty kick).
Conference standings.

Cal State Northridge 2 (7-7-1) Pacific 1 (8-6-1) (Freshman midfielder Nancy Avesyan scored in the 88th minute to give the Matadors the win and was named Big West
Co-Player of the Week. She leads the team with four goals and three assists).
Conference standings.

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A Few Words With Croatian Pro and San Pedro Native Peter Hazdovac

You never know where Yanks abroad are going to show up.
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Photo by Branimir Kvartuc

San Pedro native Peter Hazdovac, 22, a graduate of San Pedro High who played club soccer with Fram on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and 66 games in four years at Cal Poly (10 goals and eight assists) is playing professional soccer in the Croatian regional third division.

On Saturday, Hazdovac scored both goals in a 2-0 NK Gosk win, sending the club to the top of the table. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: How did you end up in Croatia playing soccer?
A: It was always a dream of mine to play professional soccer and with both my parents being born in Croatia I am able to get citizenship. With some help I was able to get my foot in the door and from there it took off.

Q: How have things gone in Croatia?
A: I came to Croatia in the beginning of July and was sent to Zagreb to the Kranjcar Soccer Academy where I was evaluated by a professional coaching staff. After being in Zagreb for about ten days, the coaches at the academy got me connected with the first division side NK ZADAR. I was able to train with the first division side for two months but since I came to camp late they decided to send me on loan to get some experience. They placed me in Dubrovnik where my family is from, to play for NK GOSK. I have played in seven games scoring three goals. If things continue to go well, my goal is to be back in Zadar or another first division side by mid season break in December.

Q: What is Croatian football like?
A: Like most of Europe and the world, soccer is number one in Croatia. Fans support their clubs with passion and the professional divisions are very well organized. In my first away game in the city of Makarska we were welcomed to the stadium by a group of home supporters. We finished the game winning 2-1 and had to deal with fans ready to jump fences, people spitting, and objects being thrown. This was my first experience as a professional footballer and I really could do nothing but smile and enjoy the situation I was in. Our training is very demanding and has put me in the best shape of my life.

Q: Are there any other Americans playing in Croatia? How have Croatians accepted you? Do you speak the language?
A: As far as I know there are no other Americans playing soccer in Croatia. Being from San Pedro I have always had close ties to Croatia and have visited the country numerous times throughout my life so I am able to speak the language. All my immediate family live in America, but we have plenty of friends and cousins that I am in close contact with here.

Q: How do you like living in Croatia?
A: It is a different lifestyle! People enjoy socializing and are able to find time for themselves everyday. Dubrovnik is a historic city and the tourist capital of Croatia. Even though it’s a relatively small city, thousands of people come here for its location on the Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean climate, and history. It truly is a beautiful place to call home and I constantly find myself amazed about the city.

Q: What do you miss about the U.S.?
A: Croatia has always been a second home to me but my friends and family are something that makes being away tough. My family is the most important thing to me and being away from all them is a challenge at times. San Pedro was a great place to grow up because of the people and is the reason why I am looking forward to coming home when our season goes on (winter) break.

Q: What are you long-term goals in soccer?
A: I have come to the point in my career where I understand what it is to be a professional. Like in any other job, I work hard to contribute and make a difference on my team, but I also look a head to advance my career. I am working with an agent in the United States who is helping me find the next appropriate stop in my career advancement. I will play anywhere as long is it benefits my development. Ultimately, I would love to finish in the MLS, ideally playing at the Home Depot Center for the Galaxy or Chivas USA in front of all my friends and family. Soccer is something that has kept me focused in life and allowed me to experience so much. I have worked extremely hard to get where I am at and I understand that now after completing college that this is the time for me to go for my dreams. The people I have met and places I have been is something I cherish more than anything.

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Chivas USA Loses – They Don’t Care

Chivas USA 1 Colorado Rapids 2

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Photo by Scott Varley

Brilliant save by the hirsute Colorado goalkeeper. Oh wait.

Full disclosure: I skipped the game.

Doesn’t sound like I missed much, according to beat writer Phil Collin:

The Soccer Collies were a flop. One of them refused to shoot, the other rolled the ball in slowly past a “goalie.” They were still more entertaining than the game. Now, if they played the game with the background music the Collies had, the game would be better. Oh, the music you ask? The theme from the Benny Hill Show!

In all, Chivas USA was without eight players today due to injury.

Latest Chivas USA injury: Sasha Victorine suffered an apparent left knee sprain early in the first half and was replaced by Sacha Kljestan in the 25th minute. Victorine, who was acquired by Chivas USA Sept. 15, is scheduled to undergo an MRI Monday to determine the extent of the injury.

Rapids’ Colin Clark celebrates his 2nd half goal by doing a flying kick into the corner flag.i-ad0b09dd725b8d2615ad8c1614f49a18-TS20-Chivas.SV-401.jpg
Photo by Scott Varley

Quotable:

“I kind of had a feeling that it’s going to be tough for us just because already we’re in the playoffs,” said Coach Preki. “We’ve secured the second spot, so it’s tough to get the group of guys motivated. From the first moment I didn’t think we were sharp, we were losing the ball too easily. Colorado was a little harder than us, they wanted it a little more than us.”

Game story.

Highlights:

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Chivas USA Soccer Collies Game Day

Brief game preview.

The game boils down to this: Rapids playing for everything, Goats playing for nothing.

The first 7,500 fans through the gate will receive a limited-edition Chivas USA hat, and kids under 16 years get in free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Prices start at $14.

And you don’t want to miss the Soccer Collies, (and, in truth, they may be the main reason to go).

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Galaxy Done

Story.

Quotable:

“At least since I’ve been here, it seems like in every game within 15 minutes, the other team has two or three or four chances,” Eddie Lewis told MLSnet.com. “Whether the other team scores or not is different every game, but the amount of chances that we allow early on in games, is almost suicidal.”

“There were segments in the first half where we were just physically manhandled,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told MLSnet.com. “It wasn’t as much about the soccer as it was about running harder, competing better. … They were more alert, more physical, more aggressive.”

BTW, if you were unlucky enough to watch the game, was that not one of the most uncomfortable in-game interviews (with Pete Vagenas) you’ve ever seen? And the quality of some of the questions didn’t help.

Sample (paraphrased) question: “Do you you think there will be a lot of changes for the Galaxy next year?”

Paraphrased answer: Um, yeah.”

Ya think?

Lowlights:

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