One More Reason For Galaxy Fans to Worry

The trivia-minded official Galaxy blog has inadvertently given fans one more reason to fret even more about the 0-1-4 club’s start to the season.

The blog points out four current members of the Galaxy team (look in the comments section of the Galaxy blog post to find out who) were with the Red Bulls when Bruce Arena coached there in 2006 and 2007. (The Galaxy, of course, play New York Saturday at Home Depot Center).

Yeah, the same Red Bulls team that sported a 16-16-10 MLS regular season record under Arena.

The same Red Bulls team that went winless in four playoff games under Arena.

And the same Red Bulls team that fired Arena at the end of 2007.

Now, don’t you feel better?

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The Sol’s Mother’s Day Incentive

Attend the Los Angeles Sol’s May 10 home game against the Boston Breakers at Home Depot Center and if the team wins you’ll get a free ticket to the club’s June 3 home game against the Chicago Red Stars.

Sol General Manager Charlie Naimo explains:

“We are certainly not guaranteeing a victory on May 10,” he said. “Instead, we are potentially rewarding those who have decided to share their Mother’s Day with us.”

As bets go, this is a pretty good one: the undefeated Sol are 3-0-1, atop the WPS standings and have yet to concede a goal.

You can get four tickets to the game plus a picture on the field with a Sol player for $49. Call 1-877-4-SOL-TIX (476-5849).

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MLS All-Stars to Play England’s Everton

It’s not often an e-mail with word of a major announcement lands in my in box at 2:15 a.m., but that’s the way MLS chose to announce the opponent today for the annual game set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday July 29 in Salt Lake City (live on ESPN2 and Telefutura).

Everton, of course, boast U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard between the posts and are FA Cup finalists this year.

Regular readers will know I’m no fan of the All-Star Game, but with the format changed to playing against a foreign team at least MLS no longer has to find 22 (plus subs) worthy all-stars and no longer is the game scheduled to gobble up a precious weekend.

Plus, playing foreign teams who are (generally) in pre-season has proved something of an advantage for MLS; the MLS All-Stars have won all five previous meetings against international opponents, outscoring them 13-4.

And it’s certainly been a more authentic brand of soccer than watching, for instance, the Eastern Conference All-Stars battle to a 6-6 draw against their Western Conference counterparts as we did in 2001.

Apparently you must like British teams though; MLS has played teams from the U.K. the last four years in a row.

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No Column Today

I’m preparing for my first two-week vacation in three years, so there’s no column today.

I’ll return next Tuesday with a review of the forthcoming Spanish-language futbol movie “Rudo Y Cursi,” which opens May 8 in L.A., and a look at soccer movies in general.

A couple of items of note to pass along:

*CONCACAF this morning announced it was postponing indefinitely the region’s Beach Soccer Championship scheduled to begin Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta due to the spread of swine flu in Mexico. CONCACAF on Monday canceled the remainder of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and postponed the second-leg of the Champions League final until May 12 to “safeguard the health and safety of players, officials and fans.”

*The Galaxy and Chivas USA youth teams split a pair of games on the weekend, the Galaxy U-16′s beating Chivas USA 4-0 at Home Depot Center, while the Chivas USA U-18′s prevailed 3-1 over the Galaxy.

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Spreading Swine Flu Forces Soccer Postponements in Mexico

AP Photo

Azteca Stadium in Mexico City sat eerily empty Sunday during the game between Club America and Tecos because of the swine flu outbreak.

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CONCACAF today canceled the remainder of the Under-17 championships in Tijuana and postponed the second leg of the Champions League final because of escalating fears of a swine flu pandemic.

The U.S. Under-17 team, which includes midfielder Carlos Martinez of San Pedro, is returning to its home base in Florida.

The U.S. is advising residents not to travel south of the border.

Professional games in Mexico City were played behind closed doors over the weekend.

Here’s the (edited) CONCACAF press release:

Due to the growing concerns about the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer announced Monday that the remainder of the confederation’s Under-17 Championship in Tijuana has been canceled and the second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals has been postponed.

Mexican authorities previously had closed schools in Mexico City and on Monday extended that decision nationwide. Based on the actions of the Mexican government, CONCACAF responded to safeguard the health of players, officials and fans.

Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the USA all had clinched berths the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2009, and were to play the semifinals on Wednesday with the championship and third-place match scheduled for Saturday. The four semifinalists will advance to the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria from 24 October – 15 November.

The second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals between CD SC Cruz Azul (MEX) and Atlante FC (MEX) was to be played Wednesday in Cancun, but that game now will be delayed until Tuesday, 12 May at 9 p.m. local (10 p.m. EDT). Atlante leads the two-game title series 2-0 from its opening win in Mexico City last Wednesday.

The CONCACAF Beach Championship in Puerto Vallarta, scheduled to begin Wednesday and continue through Sunday, is under review with a final decision expected Tuesday.

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Monday Morning Buzz: Becks, Juergen & More

Recapping the weekend:

AP Photo

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* David Beckham wasn’t lying down on the job Sunday: AC Milan moved into second place in Serie A with a win over Palermo.

*Is it too early to begin the Juergen Klinsmann to the Galaxy rumors? The Orange County resident was fired Monday by Bayern Munich.

*Fontana’s Maurice Edu is just beginning to gain some traction with Glasgow Rangers after an injury-marred season.

*Pasadena City College product Yura Movsisyan is finally off the mark for Real Salt Lake.

*The Sol’s French midfielder Camille Abily and Les Bleues earned their second victory over Switzerland in three days Saturday, the lone goal in the 1-0 win coming from the penalty spot. Meanwhile, Marta and Brazil lost 3-1 Saturday to Sweden. Both players will return to the Sol in time for this weekend’s road game against the Boston Breakers.

*The National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y., has received the game ball and official lineups from the first-ever WPS game played March 29th between the Los Angeles Sol and the Washington Freedom at Home Depot Center. The items go on display in early May.

*Hollywood United have replaced the San Fernando Valley Quakes in the PDL.

*And for those of you who might have missed them, here are the highlights of the Galaxy’s 1-1 tie Saturday in Colorado:

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Chivas-FC Dallas Post-Game Highlights & Quotes

Game story.

Highlights:

Notable:

*Chivas USA midfielder Gerson Mayn earned his MLS-leading fourth assist of the year on Chivas USA’s second goal.

*The shutout was the 62nd of Thornton’s MLS career, which ties him with Tony Meola for third place on the all-time MLS shutout list.

Quotable (with contributions from reporter Phil Collin):

*Here’s Chivas USA Coach Preki on the performance:

“It was a hard-fought game. … I don’t think it was a night when we were particularly sharp. … I would like us to play better soccer, more fluid, better organized.”

*Here’s defensive midfielder Paulo Nagamura on the ineffective Sacha Kljestan (who didn’t hang around to talk to reporters afterward), pulled from the game by Preki:

“I don’t think it’s a surprise. Preki is a very demanding coach so he wants all his players to play their best every single game.

“We all know that Sacha can do much more than he has been doing. . . He didn’t get involved too much in the game, so maybe that’s why he decided to sub him.

“The difference I think is the other guys have stepped up and contributed to the team. We have contributions from all the new guys and the young guys and we’re not relying on Sacha. … We know that Sacha is a difference maker. He may not be in his best soccer right now, but once he will be he’ll help us a lot.

“Every player has ups and downs and we just have to make sure when one player – Sacha or other players – when they are down, we pick them up and give them a boost and help the team. That’s what we’re doing with Sacha. We know he’s not at his best now but we all as a group we’re going to do everything for him to come back to his best form.”

Here’s Jesse Marsch on Kljestan:

“It’s been a long week for all of us. Obviously the travel and everything affected guys in different ways. You could see that Sacha was a step behind today for whatever reason.

“Listen, I think everybody around here understands how important he is to us. The better he plays, the better we are as a team. We’ve just got to keep tweaking things, finding a better combination of forwards up top to kind of combine with Sacha to get him going. I
don’t think there’s really that much concern whether he came out of the game or any of that because we all know how important he is.

“It’s still hard for a young guy to have so much pressure and he’s supposed to be this big-time player and he definitely is. He’s learning how to deal with that and we’re learning how to keep him going. I don’t think it’s just Sacha or just the players around him. … We’re still kind of developing as a team and the best part is as we’re doing that, we’re still winning games.”

*And here’s Preki on why he subbed Kljestan:

“I didn’t think he was particularly sharp,” he said, adding he didn’t think there was any particular reason. “It’s just locker room stuff. We’ll talk about it and see if we can help. it should be a big concern for him – not for me.”

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Final: FC Dallas at Chivas USA

Chivas USA 2 FC Dallas 0

Chivas USA moves to 5-1-1 and remains atop MLS; Dallas falls to 1-4-1 and is tied with the Galaxy in the Western Conference basement.

Chivas USA scored a second in second half stoppage time when Alecko Eskandarian ran on to a long Gerson Mayen ball.

Chivas USA were down to 10 men at the time; Atiba Harris was sent off in the 89th minute after receiving a second yellow to add to the one he received in the first minute of the game.

Dallas, who played with 10 men for about 65 minutes of the game after starting goalkeeper Dario Sala was sent off, were unable to break down the Chivas USA defense.

Their best chance was a Pablo Richetti shot that whistled past the post in the 82nd minute.

Chivas USA could have scored more: a 55th minute Harris header from a corner kick was saved by Ray Burse on the goal line. And Justin Braun saw a 56th minute cross almost catch Burse out and head to the top corner of the goal until the Dallas goalkeeper got his fingertips to it.

More later.

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