Tuesday’s Column: Twittering Soccer

Admittedly, a rather light subject, but since Twitter is all the rage right now it seemed silly to ignore it. Hence, today’s column.

Here’s a list of selected soccer tweeters. (And yes, I tweet). It’s not mean to be definitive, but by all means add folks who you follow (or yourself) in the comments section below:

Galaxy & MLS:

*Striker Edson Buddle: EdsonBuddle

*Forward Bryan Jordan: BJ6

*Radio play by play voice Joe Tutino: joetutino

*Fan group Angel City Brigade: ACBrigade

*Don Garber: thesoccerdon

*Jimmy Conrad: JimmyConrad

Chivas USA (past and present)

*Sacha Kljestan: SachaKljestan

*Brad Guzan: bguzan

Sol & WPS

*Midfielder Aly Wagner: alywagner

*GM Charlie Naimo: LASolGM

*WPS Commish Tonya Antonucci: wpscommissioner

*Sol: LosAngelesSol

*Sol Midfielder Manya Makoski: Makoski22

U.S. Men’s National Team
*Charlie Davis: CharlieDavies10

*Freddy Adu: FreddyAdu11

*Jozy Altidore:

*Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers: robbierogers

*Stuart Holden: stuholden22

*USMNT: ussoccer

*PDL team Hollywood United: HollywoodUnited

*Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl: GrantWahl

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Riot Squad Member in Half Time Altercation With Beckham Banned for Life?

That’s according to an official Galaxy press release quoting GM and Coach Bruce Arena that was issued this afternoon:

“We regret the incident that happened at the end of the first half of last night’s friendly at The Home Depot Center. While it is important that our fans remain free to voice their opinions, they must do so in an appropriate manner. We appreciate our players and fans passion for the team and the game, but we all must aim to hold ourselves to higher standards.

We have a very good relationship with the LA Riot Squad and have already reached out to them to set up a meeting to discuss moving forward together in a positive direction. In addition, the LA Riot Squad has informed us that they have issued a lifetime ban to the fan that went onto the field of play.

We want to move in a positive direction as an organization, and ask our fans to support our players and our club as we look to return to the playoffs for the first time in three years. We need the support of our fans to continue providing an amazing home environment at The Home Depot Center as we look to reach our shared goal of qualifying for the playoffs.”

No word on what “higher standard” the Galaxy plans to hold Beckham to for his part in the confrontation.

And the LARS message boards this afternoon are full of members wondering just who has the authority to issue a so-called “lifetime ban.”

Here’s the Beckham video of him appearing to go after the Riot Squad and being restrained:

More details on the Riot Squad incident here.

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Pasadena Appearances by Author of Book “Finn McCool’s Football Club: The Birth, Death and Resurrection of a Pub Soccer Team in the City of the Dead”


Stephen Rea, a native of Northern Ireland who moved to New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina leveled the city, will make two appearances in Pasadena today and Tuesday promoting his book “Finn McCool’s Football Club: The Birth, Death and Resurrection of a Pub Soccer Team in the City of the Dead.”

(It’s the story of a Sunday pub team and the eccentric collection of largely British ex-pats that play on it set against the backdrop of the worst natural disaster ever to hit a major American city).

Rea and two ex-Chelsea players will take part in a Q&A session tonight beginning at 8 o’clock at Lucky Baldwin’s, 17 S. Raymond Ave., ahead of Tuesday’s Chelsea-Inter Milan game (Rea is a Chelsea fan). The pub has an excellent beer selection BTW, which if you’ve read Rea’s book was probably a prerequisite for his presence.

On Tuesday Rea will autograph copies of the book beginning at noon at the Fan fest in Rose Bowl Area H before the game (thankfully, given the heat it includes a wine and beer garden).

I’m still making my way through the book between watching Beckham melt down (those boos don’t bother him, huh?) and the match marathon we’ve seen on TV these last few days (I’m on page 243 of 336), so out of fairness I’ll refrain from a full scale review.

But here are a few random thoughts so far:

*This is not a bad summer read, but readers who find racial and ethnic stereotypes, expletive-laden sentences and a general preoccupation with drinking heavily offensive or boorish might want to give this one a miss. Here, for instance is the opening line to Chapter 11: “You cheating f****** c***.” You get the idea.

*This is one of those books that cries out for a separate section to help the reader keep track of the numerous players (many named Stephen) who flit in and out of the team and the story with regularity. I was forever pawing through pages to remind myself who so and so was.

*The book is more than a tad repetitive as we are regaled by tales of the pub team’s (all too similar) games or the author’s (often futile) searches for American bars carrying Northern Ireland games. The book would have been half as long if Rea had just signed up for DirecTV. And there’s about 175 pages of this stuff before the storm actually hits.

*Forgive me this thought given the devastation wrought on the city and its inhabitants, but it was hard to whip up much sympathy for some of these characters given how generally oblivious they are to the scale of the impending natural disaster. For instance, the team’s coach goes on a hours-long bender before the storm hits, is baffled to find the city empty when there’s eventually no where else to drink because everything is shut down and then improbably goes home to bed to ride the storm out by pulling the covers over his head in bed. By the time he’s literally swirling down the street in flood waters, I’m thinking that this guy is the epitome of the law of natural selection. As for Rea himself, you’ve got to wonder about anyone who moves to New Orleans and then writes “New Orleans had hurricanes? It was news to me.”

*All that aside, the book has a certain colorful charm that you would expect set in a place like New Orleans. Here’s an excerpt wherein a Liverpudlian named Adrian explains how he ended up in the city erecting scaffolding:

After a day they said, ‘You’ve never done this before, have you?’ but they were cool and we were the only two white boys on the crew. We were living in the Quarter and they showed us the city and we got second-degree burns working on a hospital roof and I went to a transvestite’s funeral after meeting a guy dressed as a nun and we had a fantastic time.

The hardcover came out earlier this year with the paperback to follow this fall.

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Galaxy-AC Milan Post-Game

Getty Imagesi-6a686e0a95e6ae7f3a316091b2eb566f-riotsquad.jpg

David Beckham’s first home game back with the Galaxy was (almost) everything you could ask for from a preseason (for Milan) friendly that was more about the show than the result and the money AEG was making from its prize soccer asset.

Was it a coincidence David Beckham was playing against his former and likely future club and looked more interested performing for the Galaxy Sunday night than he did for half of last season?

I think not.

Beckham created both L.A. goals and indeed during the first half he seemed responsible for virtually every Galaxy attack of note in front of as packed a stadium as I’ve ever seen at Home Depot Center (but it nevertheless worked out to exactly an announced 27,000 as usual). It was a pleasure to watch, but somehow it felt more than a little calculated.

Beckham played this game and this crowd like the savvy public relations expert he is. The prestigious event against classy European opposition. Buddy Tom Cruise watching from the stands. And a little slice of anti-hero just to add spice.

i-0f1dc6af9167b0050195f19b9347b81f-becksmilan.jpgDavid Beckham controls the ball against AC Milan defenders Massimo Ambrosini (23) and Mathieu Flamini. (AP Photo).

Beckham even had the obligatory confrontation with the unforgiving Riot Squad just before half time that was suitably provocative and inconsequential enough to bolster, not harm his pseudo-macho image (this is the second game in a row the usually reticent Becks has worn a – gasp- short sleeve soccer jersey that does nothing to hide his tats).

In contrast to what Beckham insisted he yelled at the crowd, one press box colleague related that he was told Becks said a word that starts with “m” and ends with “r” and taunted a fan to come on down and get a piece of him. So the fan did, never made it to the field and got thrown out (but not arrested), according to the Riot Squad message boards.

Notable: Milan Coach Leonardo expressing surprise at the Galaxy tactics given that Beckham was in midfield:

“The first half was very tough for both teams,” he said. “The long balls of the Galaxy was a big surprise to us.”


The AP game story is here.

Here’s the version in the Daily News, Daily Breeze and other MediaNews Los Angeles Newspaper Group papers.

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Final: Galaxy-AC Milan

Galaxy 2 AC Milan 2

This game petered out after the two second half goals as one might expect, with AC Milan satisfied to share the spoils and the Galaxy with both Landon Donovan and David Beckham subbed out by game’s end never likely to muster enough creativity to score a winner.

The Beckham boos diminished as the night went on and he actually received an ovation from some sections of the stands when subbed in the 71st minute.

I think most fans will say they got their value for money here tonight though – and you can’t say that about every Galaxy game this season.

More later.

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Update: Galaxy-AC Milan

Galaxy 2 AC Milan 2

(Blogging software issues – apologies).

AC Milan showed how fast it could strike in the 61st minute, half time substitute Filippo Inzaghi finishing off a a deadly move of stunning swiftness and simplicity with a shot from 12 yards out that beat sub Josh Saunders in the net. Ronaldhinho had begun the move, getting the ball out wide to Mathieu Flamini.

The Galaxy equalized four minutes later from a David Beckham corner kick taken from the corner in front of the Riot Squad who appeared to be giving him a bad time again.

Becks’ cross found its way through a gaggle of bodies in the box to Bryan Jordan who managed to turn it into the net. Becks gestured to the Riot Squad after the goal, making his point.

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Half Time: Galaxy-AC Milan

Galaxy 1 AC Milan 1

As the first half ended, it appeared a fan in the area near the player’s tunnel where the Riot Squad sit were waving a David Beckham jersey at Becks, baiting him, and someone came out of the stands and went after Beckham. Security subdued the fan and took him away.

That silliness aside it was an entertaining first half, proving an MLS team can compete with a top European one – as long as it’s the said European powers’ first game of the season and they are not playing all their starters.

Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter may have had the best two looks at the Galaxy goal. An errant 12th minute header from 12 yards out required a good save by Donovan Ricketts to tip it over the bar and a long 40-yard back pass Ricketts mistakenly allowed to bounce in the area went narrowly wide of the goal.

The Galaxy probably should be in front: Eddie Lewis was the target for a pinpoint 60-yard Beckham pass, but managed to pull it wide with a shot from about 18 yards despite plenty of time.

Beckham was booed every time he touched the ball at the outset of the half, but his fans started to cheer at the same time in an effort to compensate.

Still, given what happened just before the break, Beckham still has a ways to go to convince some fans about his commitment to the Galaxy.

BTW, each team managed just one shot apiece on target.

AC Milan were tiring noticeably as the half wore on; expect wholesale changes to start the second.

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Updated: Galaxy-AC Milan

Galaxy 1 AC Milan 1

The Galaxy have equalized on the half hour with a well-worked move largely created by David Beckham who up until that point was still getting booed every time he touched the ball.

Beckham collected an Omar Gonzalez header from the Galaxy penalty area and sent a long ball from just inside his own half to a lurking Landon Donovan on the far side of the field. Donovan one-timed it across to substitute Alan Gordon who hit it first time into the net from about 12 yards. Beckham’s ball completely split the defense leaving defenders Alessandro Nesta and Marek Jankulovski in no man’s land.

Buddle left in the 14th minute with what looked like a foot problem.

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Updated: Galaxy-AC Milan

Galaxy 0 AC Milan 1

AC Milan take the leak through a freakish free kick from 35 yards out when Davide Di Gennaro’s ball bounced through the Galaxy penalty area and then appeared to just brush an on-rushing Thiago Silva’s head and bounce past a stunned Donovan Rickets into the goal.

Bit of a weird one that.

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Galaxy-AC Milan at Home Depot Center

I’d say the boo to cheer ratio was 60:40 when David Beckham jogged out to warm-up.

The Riot Squad have unveiled some apt signs for the occasion including “Hey Becks! Here before you, here after you, here despite you,” “23 Repent” and “Go home fraud 23″

(Updated: It’s about 13 minutes before kickoff; the signs are gone, no doubt removed by AEG. Update 2: They’re back).

It’s thankfully cooling off here in Carson, but it will still be an endurance test for the capacity crowd where full sun remains.

Galaxy XI (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonazalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Eddie Lewis, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Stefani Miglioranzi, Edson Buddle, Alecko Eskandarian.

Alan Gordon, Jovan Kirovski and Chris Birchall are among the bench options.

(Updated: Boos mixed with cheers when Beckham was introduced, too).

AC Milan lineup (4-4-2): Zeljko Kalac, Massimo Oddo, Alessandro Nesta, Thiago Silva, Marek Jankulovski, Mathieu Flamini, Massimo Ambrosini, Clarence Seedorf, Davide Di Gennaro, Marco Borriello, Ronaldinho.

Filippo Inzagi is on the bench; Alessandro Nesta, new signing Oguchi Onyewu and Pato are among those missing altogether for Milan.

The game is on FSN.

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