Galaxy, Sol Saturday Gameday

Good morning and now you’ve watched this game it’s time to turn your attention to the rare doubleheader today at Home Depot Center.

First up is Sol-Saint Louis Athletica. The teams’ last meeting produced a 0-0 tie (Marta was missing though) so it’s no wonder the Sol tout this as the battle of goalkeepers Karina LeBlanc and Hope Solo.

Former Galaxy one-season wonder Herculez Gomez could have a prominent role for Kansas in the second game in the absence of top scorer Josh Wolff.

Also, here’s a Becks update. Relevant line on Galaxy fans’ expected reaction:

“I hope they realize by now the reasons why I made this move. I’m sure they do deep down. I’m sure they’ll be supportive when I come back. But you never know. Things could be good. Things could be bad. I can only play the game and enjoy myself. I’ve had quite a bit of stick [fan abuse] at certain grounds in England, so I’m sure I can take it.”

Deal o’ the week: Four tickets to the games, four hot dogs and sodas and a $50 ESPNZone Gamecard are $66. Call 1-877-3GALAXY.

If you don’t plan to be there, check back here: I’ll blog from the games.

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England’s FA Cup Final on Free TV Saturday

Why is this a big deal?

Because for the last few years the annual finale to the English football season has been aired here live exclusively on pay per view.

So that has meant crawling out of bed at 6:30 a.m. or so for the dubious honor of paying $24.95 to watch the game at home. Or heading to a British pub, paying a $10-$20 cover charge, and then having some inebriated Brit screaming in your ear by half time “Come on you (pick the team).” Or waiting until the next day to see it free and hope you manage to avoid seeing the result (an increasingly iffy idea these days).

I don’t know about you, but those prospects in what I like to call my reclining years has proved less and less alluring. That’s prompted me to skip the game entirely in recent years.

But this Saturday, as a result (I believe) of Fox’s new deal with the English FA the game between Chelsea and Everton will be seen live at 6:30 a.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.

With U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard between the posts for Everton and Chelsea scheduled to play in Pasadena this summer, there’s plenty to keep Southern Californian soccer fans interested.

For a primer on the historic game click here.

For a preview of this year’s game click here.


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Chivas USA-Fire Post-Game Quotes & Highlights

Game story.


Notable: The Fire’s 11 game undefeated record to start the season is the longest in club history and the second longest in league history. The title holder: the Galaxy, which posted 12 wins in 1996 (my, my, is that a long time ago now).

Bonus quotes
*Here’s Fire Coach Dennis Hamlett on the pivotal last call and his reaction to Preki calling it a dive:

“That’s his opinion. It was a PK. I saw the ball being played in, Brian (McBride) going up and being pushed from the back. … You can’t just take a free shot at a guy in the box. You have to play the ball.

*Here’s Paulo Nagamura on his bomb of a goal:

“That was an opportunity that came to me. I got the ball in the middle and there was nobody around me and I saw that I could drive forward and so I kept going and nobody came to me. It was a chance to hit a ball and I hit it pretty well.”

*On whether his goal celebration was a copy of the goal-scoring routine of Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o:

“Actually, I did that a few weeks ago. He may be watching MLS games.”

*Here’s Preki on the continuing unnecessary flurry of yellow cards that referees are prone to in MLS this season, especially on Jesse March’s first, which became much more relevant when he received the second (that no-one questioned) and are undermining the contests:

“Just before Jesse got his second yellow card (Fire midfielder John) Thorrington makes the foul in the middle of the field against Jesse, the referee reaches in his pocket to give him a second yellow card and he changes his mind. We can see it clearly from the bench. And then the tackle by Jesse gives him a second yellow. That’s nuts. That’s like a comedy hour because if you look at the replay it’s a devastating call to a group that played its heart out.”

*Here’s Mexican Mariano Trujillo on the massive cheers heard after Blanco, a former player with huge CD Guadalajara rivals Club America, scored at Home Depot Center:

“We know that there’s a lot of fans for Blanco here in L.A. It’s just like a little bit sad that we’re playing at home and they’re cheering. But we’re getting used to these games.”

BTW, how will Chivas USA mark the loss (and their fifth anniversary)? By going to Disneyland! On Friday the players will: participate in a cavalcade along Main Street USA and take a team photo in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle (if Sacha shows up in a tinkerbell outfit flying over the castle we’ll be sure and bring it to you).

Thanks again to Phil Collin for the bulk of those quotes.

Sweet dreams boys and girls.

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Final: Fire at Chivas USA

Chivas USA 2 (7-2-3) Chicago Fire 3 (5-0-6)

A stupid push in the back by Chivas USA right back Mariano Trujillo on Brian McBride in the box just moments before the game ended gave Cuauhtemoc Blanco the opportunity to convert his second PK of the night and extend the Fire’s undefeated streak to eleven.

Fire substitute Patrick Nyarko had equalized against 10-man Chivas USA in the 90th minute.

It was an exciting end to an eventful game played before a season-high Chivas USA crowd of 20,379 with the teams combining for 28 shots.

Preki was clearly unhappy after the final whistle with the call that ruined a gutsy performance by his still MLS-leading team. Chivas USA played with a lone forward up front for the last 30 minutes after Jesse Marsch was sent off for a foul on Blanco.

Despite an excessive 11 cards handed out by ref Terry Vaughn this was a fast-paced game with end to end action that was a great advertisement for MLS.

Lots of talk about in this one; back with more later.

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Half Time: Fire at Chivas USA

Chivas USA 2 Fire 1

What looks to be Chivas USA’s biggest crowd of the year is enjoying what is arguably their best game of the year so far at the HDC.

Attacking, flowing football on both sides of the field has resulted in eight shots for Chivas, four for Chicago and five yellow cards.

No offside calls in this game between MLS’ best.

This one is a joy to watch.

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Update: Fire at Chivas USA

Chivas USA 1 Chicago Fire 0

Jon Busch apparently hasn’t watched enough game tape of Chivas USA’s Paulo Nagamura.

Nagamura nailed his fourth goal of the season with a nasty, swerving shot from all of 35 yards out that Busch was far too slow to react to in the 16th minute, although his defense should have also done a better job of shutting down the dangerous Brazilian.

The alleged defensive midfielder is now tied for the team scoring lead with Eduardo Lillingston.

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Chicago Fire (4-0-6) at Chivas USA (7-1-3) Lineups

A delicious match-up tonight between the respective conference leaders, with the Fire’s MLS-best offense facing Chivas USA’s MLS-best defense.

The Fire are undefeated in 10 games, while Chivas USA haven’t lost in five and are beginning to field a stable lineup.

Just one change in Preki’s starting XI from the team that drew 1-1 with Kansas City last time out, Mexican striker Eduardo Lillingston replacing Fontana’s Chukwudi Chijindu (who is on the bench), in attack.

Chivas USA lineup: Thornton, Trujillo, Talley, Thomas, Bornstein, Kljestan, Marsch, Nagamura, Harris, Galindo, Lillingston.

The Fire counters with John Busch, Tim Ward, Wilman Conde, Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares, Marco Pappa, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Logan Pause, John Thorrington, Brian McBride, Chris Rolfe.

In other news, Chivas USA today announced the signing of 18-year-old Sylmar midfielder Casar Zamora to a developmental contract. He’s the third product of the club’s youth system to sign a pro contract.

In addition, Chivas USA goalkeeping coach Leo Perkovich was fined $500 for his conduct at the Wizards game, MLS announced today.

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