Soccer Saturday: U.S.-Sweden at Home Depot Center & More

A young U.S. team plays a young Swedish team at 5:30 p.m. at Home Depot Center (the game is also live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision, although plenty of tickets are available if you want to be there in person).

A game preview is here.

Coach Bob Bradley will dress 18 of the 24 players in camp for the game tonight. There’s been so many injuries and changes to the original roster, here’s a reminder who is in camp:
Goalkeepers – Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids)

Defenders – Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Ugo Ihemelu (Colorado Rapids), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjlland), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

Midfielders – Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire)

Forwards – Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire)

Sean Franklin’s hernia injury means there’s not a single member of the Galaxy on the roster, but there’s still plenty of local interest; Palos Verdes’ Thorrington will likely continue his career resurgence, Chivas USA’s Sacha Kljestan will undoubtedly be extra motivated knowing Glasgow Celtic is watching him carefully after his recent training stint with them, while Rolling Hills Estates Robbie Rogers (he moved to Huntington Beach at age 16 briefly, which is why U.S. Soccer lists him as being from there, although he was South Bay born and raised) is likely to make a storybook debut in front of friends and family.

(Update) Fellow blogger Luis Bueno has a nice round-up of previous U.S. January games at the HDC and assesses the impact the players involved in the largely experimental lineups eventually had on the national team. Answer: not much.

Elsewhere, Landon Donovan and Bayern Munich have the weekend off before resuming Bundesliga play next week, while David Beckham and AC Milan play a 6 a.m. game (live on Fox Soccer Channel) Sunday at Bologna. AC Milan sat third in Serie A coming into the weekend, six points behind crosstown rival table-toppers Inter Milan.

Said Coach Carlo Ancelotti of Beckham at today’s press conference:

“If Beckham is fine with us, we are happy and the fact that he plays is because he is a tactically intelligent player, disciplined and unselfish. He will decide what to do in his future. For the time (being) it remains confirmed that on March 9 he will return in America. He’s a very good player in the defensive phase, even though he has offensive characteristics and does not create any unbalance in the squad. I was expecting a player who would face more difficulties in adapting to the team, but his intelligence and qualities allowed him to come in and play.”

Also this weekend, CD Guadalajara play Tecos in a game shown live at 5 p.m. today on KVEA.

I will blog from the HDC tonight – so join me for the latest from there – and with any luck I’ll have that promised Dema Kovalenko Q&A up this afternoon.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!