Tuesday’s Column: Martin is the Man for Chivas USA

As I indicated Monday I chatted with the fifth Chivas USA coach in franchise history for today’s column in what I believe was the first in depth interview Martin Vasquez has given since taking the post.

We learned nothing too revealing frankly, but that’s about what one might expect from a club that is managed conservatively by (left to right below) Stephen Hamilton, Shawn Hunter and Antonio Cue.

i-95315a0b53e9bd8dd3b46521a56f611e-martinjeersey0002.jpgPhoto by Juan Miranda /Chivas USA.

There has been a largely muted reaction from Chivas USA fans regarding the hiring of Vasquez. Feel free to leave a comment below. Did fans want a bigger name to make a bolder statement or was the appointment of Vasquez apt?

And you can read the column here.

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Chivas USA Goalkeeper Coach Perkovich Joins Preki in Toronto & More

Just finished interviewing new Chivas USA Coach Martin Vasquez and I will have more on his plans for the club in Tuesday’s column.

Vasquez told me he plans to tweak the roster rather than make wholesale changes to it, but some changes (at least off the field) have already begun.

Goalkeeper Coach Leo Perkovich, who Zach Thornton credited with playing a pivotal role in resurrecting his career, will join former Chivas USA coach Preki in Toronto, the two clubs announced today.

Percovich had been with the club for two years.

In other news today:

*David Beckham is shuttering his London-based soccer academy. The economy has taken it toll on the Carson branch with programs only offered in July this year due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

*Palos Verdes Estates’ Kyle Nakazawa of UCLA has been named a NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-American. From the UCLA press release:

Nakazawa finished the season leading the Pac-10 in points (31), and ranked second in goals scored (12) and points per game (1.55). He provided the bulk of the scoring for UCLA this season, recording a goal or assist (12 goals, 7 assists total) on 61% of the Bruin goals. A semifinalist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, Nakazawa was also a first-team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic honoree.

Goalkeeper Brian Perk (Rancho Santa Margarita) was named to the second team.

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Friday Football for a Rainy Weekend

For a full listing click the link to the right, but here’s my picks for the best games of the weekend:

4:30 a.m. ESPN2 Stoke City-Wigan Athletic
7 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel Bolton Wanderers-Manchester City
9:30 a.m. FSC Manchester United-Aston Villa
11 a.m. GolTV Barcelona-Espanyol

8 a.m FSC Liverpool-Arsenal
10 a.m. ESPN2 NCAA final: Virginia-Akron/North Carolina winner (the Cavaliers beat Wake Forest 2-1 Friday afternoon)
4 p.m. KAZA Apertura final (second leg): Cruz Azul-Monterrey

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Thursday Kicks: Ball Drive in Stoppage Time & More


You know it’s tough out there when the annual Daily Breeze ball drive needs a little bounce.

I’m also noticing a dearth of donated soccer balls, BTW, hence this appeal to 100 Percent Soccer blog readers. I already have calls out to Chivas USA and the Galaxy who are peering into their equipment rooms, but yet to make any firm commitment (hint, hint, folks). The Sol should feel free to jump in, too.

Conveniently, there’s a Sports Authority store across the parking lot from the Breeze building at the corner of Hawthorne and Torrance boulevards.

In other news:

*MLS announced Thursday the initial list of 62 college seniors to has invited to its annual combine Jan. 8-12 in Florida ahead of the SuperDraft that begins just two days after the combine’s conclusion.

Locals invited include UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk, midfielder/forward David Estrada and midfielder Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes Estates).

The full list is here.

The Women’s Professional Soccer draft is Jan. 15, BTW.

*A slight schedule change to the InterLiga schedule Jan. 10 at Home Depot Center. The first game will now be Tigres-Jaguares (3 p.m.) followed by Monterrey vs. Puebla.

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England’s Everton in Talks for Donovan Loan Deal

Following up on the earlier reports linking Landon Donovan to the Liverpool EPL club, the Associated Press today provided the clearest indication yet that the short-term deal will become reality:

“Landon is a player David Moyes has identified as someone he would like to bring to the club,” Everton chief executive Robert Elstone said Thursday. “We are working to make that happen and hope we can reach agreement soon with all the appropriate parties.”

Read the entire story here.

I have calls requesting comment into the Galaxy and Donovan’s agent.

Updated 11:50 a.m.

The Galaxy just released this statement:

We are aware of Everton’s interest in Landon Donovan and they are one of a number of clubs who have contacted the Galaxy about the possibility of a short-term loan agreement for Landon. The Galaxy, MLS and Landon’s representatives will work together (to determine) if and whether an arrangement with Everton or any other club would be beneficial to all parties.

So it’s not a done deal yet, despite claims elsewhere to the contrary.

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Chivas USA and Galaxy Tracking Ecuadorian Defender

100 Percent Soccer has learned that both clubs have DVD’s of central defender Jorge Guaga, 28, who has made 38 international appearances for the national team and made 224 appearances over the last 10 years while scoring 13 goals for the likes of El Nacional, Coln, Emelec and Barcelona (not that one).

Guaga’s preference is to play in Southern California because of the large Ecuadorian population here.

Wanna see what Bruce Arena and Martin Vasquez are watching? Check this out:

Both Chivas USA and the Galaxy could perhaps do with a new central defender for next season, but Latin American defenders haven’t fared as well here as midfielders or forwards.

Guaga is the second Ecuadorian reportedly linked to MLS in recent days. Edwin Tenorio, a defensive midfielder who played in the last two World Cups for Ecuador, is also apparently being shopped around the league, according to the Soccer Insider blog.

BTW, I spoke with a Chivas USA official today regarding the latest reports (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) that Jaguares striker Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista, sought by CD Guadalajara, could instead head to MLS, specifically Chivas USA.

Take this one one with a large grain of salt, I was told. It all could be part of the effort to up Bautista’s price under the gentlemen’s agreement between Mexican clubs that call for a transfer fee for a player even if he is out of contract (as Bautista is). One report has Chivas offering $1.5 million, while Jaguares want $2.6 million.

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Report: Honduras to Play U.S. Jan. 24 at Home Depot Center

That’s according to this report from Honduran Web site Diez.hn.

i-02110ee91b1eb956437b9514c502abe8-honduras.jpgComing to America? Honduras players pose for a photo before a World Cup qualifier soccer match against Trinidad & Tobago in San Pedro Sula, Honduras in September. Top row from left is Jerry Palacios, Mauricio Sabillon, Hendry Thomas, Eric Morales, Noel Valladares, Amado Guevara, and front row from left is Ramon Nunez, Carlos Pavon, Elvis Turcios, Maynor Figueroa and Emilio Izaguirre. (AP Photo).

Here’s a rough translation of the above report from newsroom colleague Gene Maddaus:

Upon learning Honduras’ rivals in the World Cup in South Africa, the friendly against Chile was canceled, but the Federation has not sat idly by, and it already has its first match lined up for the month of January.

“It’s no longer feasible to play against them – Chile – because of the draw. Also with Argentina, it represented a large expense for both squads, so we have already filled in the blanks and the first game will be against the U.S. on Sunday, Jan. 24, at the Home Depot Center,” Rafael Callejas, the president of Fenafuth (the Honduran Football Federation), confirmed to DIEZ.

That indicates that the Honduran team will begin to work out together in the first days of January. “Soon we will play in Europe at the first Fifa date in March, we don’t have a clearly defined team, but it should be one that has already qualified,” he said.

Callejas confirmed that they are counting on the requested funds to bring the team together for the needed time in Europe before the World Cup.

“We’re counting on 20 million lempiras, that’s what Fifa is advancing us. Though that’s within the amount we requested, remember that in addition to that money, there will be all the expenses for the 35 members who will travel to South Africa.”

“By already being there, they will cancel the travel allowances also.”

The only concern for the Federation will be that the players “have the highest physical and mental level to compete in the World Cup, we want to qualify for the second round,” Callejas said.

No confirmation yet from U.S. Soccer, which always likes to have contracts finalized before making a formal announcement.

Honduras was drawn into a World Cup group with Chile, Spain and Switzerland, BTW.

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England’s Everton Pursue Loan Deal for Galaxy’s Donovan & More

The loan deal for Landon Donovan would be of the short-term variety, similar to what he did earlier this year with Bayern Munich.

It would be a good shop window for Donovan as he either seeks a foreign club or strengthen his bargaining position with MLS over an improved contract.

Everton have little money to spend so it’s unlikely to become permanent, but Everton manager David Moyes, who has worked with the likes of Brian McBride at the club level in the past, at least respects Americans more than your average English coach (or knows a good, relatively inexpensive deal when he sees one). Details here.

BTW, I should note Donovan (who is apparently on his way to Hawaii for a vacation as I write this) updated his Facebook page back on Dec. 1 thusly:

Just wanted to send a quick note regarding the Club America rumors. I certainly am interested but haven’t heard anything yet…we’ll see what happens.


*The alumni magazine of the University of Washington catches up with former Galaxy player Ty Harden to talk to him about his unusually selfless career move. The Galaxy’s 2007 Defender of the Year player returned to MLS with the Colorado Rapids this year, playing in seven games.

*Lastly, former Sol defender Martina Franko (she was traded to the expansion Philadelphia Independence in October) and Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc are among nine nominees for the women’s Canadian Player of the Year Award. (The other nominees are forward Christine Sinclair and Candace Chapman of FC Gold Pride, Sky Blue FC midfielder Kelly Parker, Washington Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato – who plays in Italy – and Rhian Wilkinson and Diana Matheson, who both play club soccer in Norway.

There’s also a men’s award with the usual suspects including Julian de Guzman and Dwayne De Rosario of Toronto FC.

Voting began today and runs through Dec. 20.

Vote here.

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Sol’s Marta World Player of the Year Candidate


FIFA announced the finalists earlier today.

Three of the five women finalists play in MLS – the others are Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers) and Cristiane (Chicago Red Stars).

From the WPS press release:

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 mid-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 WPS Regular Season title and a spot in the WPS Championship game.

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 five in WPS in goals and was a consistent threat in the offensive third with her dangerous left foot.

The other two finalists come from 2009 European Champions, Germany: Inka Grings and Birgit Prinz. Both Marta and Prinz have won the award three times and each is looking to win for the record fourth-time. The winner will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala scheduled for December 21 in Zurich, Switzerland.

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