Wambach, Sol’s Marta Among Five WPS Nominees for FIFA World Player of Year

But Torrance’s Shannon Boxx is not among the 10 female players on the FIFA short list this year.

Marta has won the award three times in succession.

Here’s FIFA’s list of the male and female nominees as announced today.

And here’s the WPS press release heralding the accomplishments of the players nominated who play in the league:

Sonia Bompastor FRA/Washington Freedom – Led the league in assists (6) while tallying four goals and was selected as WPS Player of the Month for May. Her slashing, exciting play at defensive midfield helped the Freedom bounce back from a slow start to finish third in the 2009 WPS Regular Season.

Cristiane BRA/Chicago Red Stars – The only player in WPS to notch a hat trick this season, her incredible long-range strike against FC Gold Pride in early July was one of the goals of the year this season in WPS. Finished with seven goals, fourth-best in WPS.

Marta BRA/Sol – Winner of the 2009 Michelle Akers Player of the Year Award as the league MVP, Marta notched 10 goals and 3 assists to lead the Los Angeles Sol to the regular season title and a spot in the WPS Championship final.

Kelly Smith ENG/Boston Breakers – Tallied six goals in just 15 games in WPS this year to lead the Boston Breakers early charge to start the season as one of the best teams in WPS and winning WPS Player of the Month honors for April. Finished among the top 5 in WPS in goals and was a consistent threat in the offensive third with her dangerous left foot.

Abby Wambach USA/Washington Freedom – After a slow start, Wambach finished tied for second in the league in scoring with eight goals and led her team to a strong finish down the stretch and a third-place finish in the regular season as WPS’s July Player of the Month. Notched her 100th career international goal with the U.S. National Team in July against Canada.

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Waiting for the Weekend

Soccer on TV this weekend kicks off with a broadcast of the USC-UCLA women’s game at 7 o’clock tonight on Fox Soccer Channel (and delayed at 8:30 p.m. on Prime) in a meeting of two top 20-ranked teams.

Here are some other highlights of the weekend’s televised games (for a complete list click the link at top right) followed by the local college action you can see live.

Saturday’s games

5:30 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel Arsenal-Tottenham Hotspur
8 a.m. FSC Bolton Wanderers-Chelsea
10:30 a.m. FSC Manchester United-Blackburn Rovers
Noon GolTV Barcelona-Osasuna
12:30 p.m. FSC AC Milan-Parma

Sunday’s games

6 a.m. FSC Livorno-Inter Milan
6:48 a.m. ESPNU U.S.-United Arab Emirates (U-17 WC)
8 a.m. FSC Birmingham City-Manchester City
11 a.m. FSC New England Revolution-Chicago Fire
2 p.m. ESPN2 Chivas USA-Galaxy
3 p.m. KMEX Club America-Jaguares

Women’s college games

3 p.m. today Sullivan Field LMU (9-6-2, 1-3-1 WCC) vs. San Francisco (6-4-5, 1-3-0 WCC)
1 p.m. Sunday Matador Field Cal State Northridge (9-9, 5-2 BWC) vs. Long Beach State (5-10-3, 1-5-1 BWC)

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Friday Football: Sounders, Chivas USA & More

There was plenty of huffing and puffing in Seattle Thursday – here former Galaxy striker Nate Jaqua and Houston’s Geoff Cameron challenge for the ball – but no-one blew anyone’s house down in the scoreless draw. (AP Photo) i-562a4a18e8e3de7ae4e5549005c4eee1-soundershouston.jpgThe first game of the MLS playoffs are over and neither Chivas USA nor the Galaxy are any closer to knowing who the winner of their semifinal will face in the Western Conference Championship.

The Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo played to 0-0- tie Thursday in the other Western Conference semifinal, a result that was more disappointing for MLS in general than either of the two teams involved.

With a bumper 35,000-capacity crowd roaring the teams on and a national television audience watching I was really hoping for at least a goal or two. But both teams were content with what was essentially the halftime result of a 180 minute game. Bring on the away goals rule I say, a move that would give greater incentive to the away team to take risks and attack and conversely open that team’s defense up and make it more vulnerable.

(BTW, Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid saw things similarly:

“Getting a draw on the road is good for them, but we’ve been a good road team. I look at it as we’re 0-0 at halftime. … You always want to win at home. Don’t look at it as a missed opportunity. We played the first half of this series and didn’t get a goal. We have to get a goal in the second half of the series now.”)

Is MLS essentially saying American soccer fans are too dumb to be able to understand the away goals concept, I wonder? Or is it just another illustration of the lack of sophistication at MLS? The latter I suspect.

Still, I enjoyed the game, in large measure due more to the wonderful crowd than the play on the field. But it could have been even better.

Meanwhile, reporter Phil Collin headed out to Chivas USA practice Thursday looking back at Chivas USA’s past playoff failures in an effort to understand why this year could be different. Read the piece here.

At least Preki has strikers in quantity this go round; we’ll soon find out whether he has sufficient quality to get past the Galaxy.

Meanwhile, over in Germany Thursday the U.S. Women’s National Team beat the No. 1 ranked team in the world on their own turf with a 1-0 victory, Hermosa Beach resident and resident U.S. goal machine Abby Wambach netting the winner. A notable accomplishment given that the Germans outshot the U.S. 17-7.

See the typically brave Wambach effort here:

Finally, in college action Thursday the Long Beach State women (5-10-3, 1-5-1 BWC) will miss out on the Big West Tournament for the first time since 2004 after losing 3-0 at UC Irvine.

Also, the Pepperdine women beat Seattle 1-0 Thursday.

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Thursday Kicks


*The MLS playoffs begin tonight and Seattle Sounders fans will demonstrate the right way to support a team – by going freaking nuts in the stands. Hope Galaxy and Chivas USA fans are taking note. The Dynamo-Sounders game is on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Game preview here.

*Incidentally, the U.S. is playing Malawi at the U-17 World Cup live on ESPNU right now. It’s 0-0 at the half. You can also follow along on Matchtracker. Updated: The U.S. win 1-0 on an Alex Shinsky goal

*The U.S. women are in Germany for a sold out friendly that starts at 10 a.m. The Sol’s Brittany Bock is a doubt because of a knock. Sounds like her participation is a game time decision.

*Belated congratulations to former Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan who saved four penalties (!) deputizing for regular starter Brad Friedel for Aston Villa the other night. More here.

Finally, the Cal State Northridge men (7-7-2, 2-4-1 BWC) lost 2-0 to UC Santa Barbara Wednesday. Next: hosting UC Riverside at 3 p.m. Saturday at Matador Field. Take along three cans of food as a contribution to the food drive being held and you’ll get in free.

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Con-man Targets Chivas

i-f779c9af472e946d04547f9739d2e52b-vlcsnap-2009-10-27-16h12m40s207.pngA thief targeted three sports teams visiting Los Angeles recently – including CD Guadalajara when they were in town taking on their American spinoff at the Rose Bowl:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man with slicked-back hair who stole $26,000 in cash and jewelry from an Israeli basketball team at the Staples Center also scammed his way into two downtown hotels to steal thousands of dollars from Chivas players and a salsa music troupe, police said Wednesday.

Detectives linked the man to the three thefts after comparing surveillance footage from the Staples Center on Oct. 20 to video and descriptions from two hotels that had reported similar thefts in August and September, said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives for downtown Los Angeles.

“It was a good catch. It was the slicked-back hair style that really stood out,” Vernon

In the first theft, a man convinced a hotel clerk that he was part of a 30-member salsa group booked to play at the Greek Theater and needed pass cards to rooms. He gave the clerk a CD in return for the help, police said. The musicians later discovered more than $9,000 was missing from several rooms.

In the second theft, a man wearing a Chivas jersey greeted and hugged members of the Chivas soccer team as they left their hotel on a bus. He then walked up to the desk and convinced a clerk to give him room keys.

Players later reported more than $10,000 missing from their rooms.

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Commercial Crimes Division at (213) 485-2524. Tipsters may also call the 24-hour, toll free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247), or text “crimes” by cell phone. Begin all messages with “LAPD.” Tipsters may remain anonymous.

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Too Bad the MLS Deadline to Make Roster Changes Has Passed

Otherwise, Chivas USA or the Galaxy could hook up with this guy who e-mailed me last month in the wake of a recent column about the two teams’ lack of scoring prowess:

Hi Nick,

I read the article today.

If Chivas USA or even the Galaxy need an effective playmaker to win the league, you should hook me up.

I’m more skilled and faster than Landon Donovan, but much taller. (6’2″)

Give me a chance and try me out seriously, thank you.

(Name deleted to protect the innocent).

If either Preki or Bruce Arena is reading this, I still have the guy’s e-mail address.

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InterLiga Returns to Home Depot Center in January

Tickets for the seventh annual tournament that serves as the qualifying tournament for the Copa Libertadores for Mexican clubs go on sale next month.

Home Depot Center hosts games Jan. 9, 10 and 12.

More info from today’s press release:

InterLiga 2010 will determine two Mexican club berths (Mexico 2 and Mexico 3) for Copa Libertadores. Copa Libertadores begins at the end of January 2010. The eight best teams in the general standings at the end of the current Apertura 2009 season of the Mexican domestic league move on to InterLiga 2010, except for the club that finishes first in the regular season standings, which will qualify directly to Copa Libertadores as “Mexico 1,” per FMF regulations. Due to their participation in the 2009-2010 CONCACAF Champions League, clubs Toluca, Pachuca, Cruz Azul, and UNAM Pumas will not participate in InterLiga 2010 regardless of their place in the Apertura standings. Due to the events that occurred during Copa Libertadores 2009, Chivas and San Luis will qualify directly into the 2010 edition during the Round of 16.

More info is here.

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Tuesday’s Column: MLS Playoff Preview – The Hallway Series

Read it here.

Oh, and the Becks to AC Milan deal is done, say the Italian club.

BTW, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team predictably lost 2-1 to a technically (and creatively) superior Spain Monday in Ghana Nigeria at the World Cup for that age category.

San Pedro’s Carlos Martinez was an unused sub; Fontana’s Victor Chavez played the second half.

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Monday Catch-Up

A frenetic final MLS weekend is in the books and on Sunday we learned that Chivas USA and the Galaxy will face each other for the first time ever in the playoffs.

Here’s the complete playoff schedule as announced by MLS today:

Eastern Conference semifinals game #1
(1) Columbus Crew at (4) Real Salt Lake, 3 p.m. Saturday.
(2) Chicago Fire at (3) New England Revolution 1 p.m. Saturday Rescheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday (Fox Soccer Channel)

Western Conference semifinals game #1
(1) Los Angeles Galaxy at (4) Chivas USA 2 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2)
(2) Houston Dynamo at (3) Seattle Sounders FC 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPN2)

Eastern Conference semifinals game #2
(4) Real Salt Lake at (1) Columbus Crew 5 p.m. Nov. 5 (ESPN2)
(3) New England Revolution at (2) Chicago Fire 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 (FSC)

Western Conference semifinals game #2
(3) Seattle Sounders FC at (2) Houston Dynamo, Noon Nov. 8 (TeleFutura)
(4) Chivas USA at (1) Galaxy 4:30 p.m. Nov. 8 (ESPN2)

I’ll have more on the Galaxy-Chivas USA series in Tuesday’s column, but let’s catch up on what else happened over the weekend:

*U.S. Soccer announced today that the U.S. plays Slovakia Nov. 14 in Bratislava, four days before the U.S. plays Denmark.

“We are very pleased about the opportunity to face another quality opponent on European soil,” said U.S. Coach Bob Bradley. “Slovakia finished on top of a very competitive group in UEFA (World Cup) qualifying, and has demonstrated their capabilities throughout the process. With so few available dates for international matches between now and the World Cup, having the chance to play two fellow World Cup finalists is a big plus in terms of our preparations.”

It’s the first time the U.S. and Slovakia have played each other.

*In Sunday’s men’s college games it was:
Loyola Marymount 1 San Diego 4
Junior Rafael Baca scored his league-leading ninth goal of the season for LMU (7-7-1, 2-4-1 WCC). Next: at San Francisco Sunday.

Stanford 2 UCLA 0
The Bruins saw their 10-game unbeaten streak snapped and fell to 9-2-2, 4-1-2 Pac-10. Next: at Creighton Saturday.

On Saturday, the Cal State Northridge men (7-6-2, 2-3-1 BWC) lost 3-1 to Cal Poly. Next: at UC Santa Barbara Wednesday.

*Sunday’s women’s college games
Santa Clara 1 Loyola Marymount 0
The Lions fell to 9-6-2, 1-3-1 WCC. Next: hosting San Francisco Friday.

Long Beach 1 UC Riverside 1
Next for Long Beach (5-9-3, 1-4-1 BWC): at UV Irvine Thursday.

Cal State Northridge 1 UC Irvine 0
The Matadors (9-9, 5-2 BWC) qualified for the Big West Conference tournament for the first time since 2004 with the win. Next: hosting Long Beach State Sunday.

USC 1 Oregon 0
The Trojans sit at 12-5-0, 4-2 Pac-10. Next: at UCLA Friday.

UCLA 3 Oregon State 0
After beating Oregon 5-1 Friday, the Bruins completed their sweep of the Oregon schools and improved to 14-2-1, 5-1 Pac-10. Bruin sophomore Sydney Leroux scored her team-leading 15th goal of the season after netting a pair Friday. Next: hosting USC Friday (live at 7 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel)

San Diego 2 Pepperdine 0
The Waves fall to 8-7-1, 1-3-1 WCC. Next: hosting Seattle University Thursday.

On Saturday, the CSUDH women (11-7) beat Seattle Pacific 2-0. Next: at Cal State East Bay Friday.

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