Monday Catch-up: Galaxy, Becks & More

In 60 seconds or less.

The Galaxy shot blanks Sunday in Arizona, the USMNT decamped from Carson Sunday, David Beckham played all of nine minutes Sunday for AC Milan, while local high schools are increasingly losing players to the Chivas USA and Galaxy academies and negotiations between MLS and the players union over a new collective bargaining agreement took a turn for the worse over the weekend.

Chivas USA have headed to Arizona today as well, but beat San Diego Boca FC of the National Premier Soccer League twice at Home Depot Center Saturday, winning two 60-minute scrimmages by the score of 5-1 and 3-1 respectively.

Chivas USA lineup (first game) – Dan Kennedy, Ante Jazic, Carlos Borja, Emilio Viades, Carey Talley, Jorge Flores, Marcelo Saragosa, Blair Gavin, Mariano Trujillo, Justin Braun, Maykel Galindo

SDB – 12′
CHV – Carlos Borja (Mariano Trujillo) 22′
CHV – Marcelo Saragosa (Trujillo) 27
CHV – Jorge Flores (Ante Jazic, Blair Gavin) 36′
CHV – Carey Talley (Trujillo) 38’CHV – Maykel Galindo (Trujillo) 58′

Chivas USA lineup (second game) – Jon Conway (Jose Manuel Miranda, 31), Kevin Tangney, Claudio Surez, Yamith Cuesta, Miguel Sanchez, Amaury Nuez (Jesus Ochoa 31), Ben Zemanski, Chris Ross, Cesar Zamora, Chukwudi Chijindu (Armando Ochoa 45), Artur Aghasyan

CHV – Chukwudi Chijindu (unassisted) 12′
CHV – Artur Aghasyan (Chris Ross, Chijindu) 25′
CHV – Armando Ochoa (Kevin Tangney) 49′

Finally, a Chicago-based sports marketing company, Cardenas Marketing Network, has signed a four-year agreement with the Argentine Football Association to produce national team games in the U.S. and some European nations. The first game will take place in the U.S. after the World Cup.

“It is encouraging to know that Argentina will have a bigger presence in the U.S., where soccer continues to grow and where South Americans have played an important role,” said Julio Grondona, President of AFA and Vice President of FIFA. “We hope that this influence will continue to develop and complement the great efforts, both on the field and off, that are already in place in today’s fastest growing soccer market.”

Mexico, of course, already plays a series of money-spinning games in the U.S. annually.

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Saturday Soccer: Donovan’s Everton Wins Again & More

i-9e465f0ccec43fb188f4770cb7b4f46b-donovanmanutd.jpgDarren Fletcher and Manchester United spent much of today chasing Landon Donovan and Everton with limited success (AP Photo).

And yeah I know he’s only on-loan from the Galaxy so he can’t exactly claim a leadership role with the Liverpool club, but Donovan was again outstanding for Everton in their landmark 3-1 win today over Manchester United.

Donovan should have put Everton up 2-1 about five minutes before halftime when a ball bounced off Wes Brown’s hand in the six-yard box and fell beautifully for Donovan – who turned, fired and whiffed on the ball with the goal yawning in front of him.

Still, the lively Donovan started the move that led to Everton’s go-ahead goal and the performance from the influential midfielder left Coach Bob Bradley suitably impressed as the U.S. Men’s National Team wrapped up the final day of training camp in Carson.

“I thought that was a good solid game from Landon,” Bradley said. “I think as a whole for Everton today it was a team effort, they have a good level of confidence of late.

“The key to the game was (Diniyar) Bilyaletdinov’s goal so quickly after Man United scored. That put the game right back on even terms and that was really important.

“That’s an interesting play,” Bradley said of Donovan’s missed opportunity for a second career Everton goal. “The ball comes in and he’s jumping for the header and it just happens to fall down behind him. But the most important thing is the team has played well down the stretch and he’s been a good solid part of the effort in every game. That’s great for him and it says a lot for his confidence and that’s what it’s all about.”

So does Bradley want Donovan to stay with Everton should an MLS lockout occur?

“I’m not going to touch that one,” he said.

BTW, Bradley has named a 20-player party for Wednesday’s game against El Salvador in Florida. Left out were Galaxy central defender Omar Gonzalez, former Galaxy goalkeeper (and the now apparently clubless) Kevin Hartman and the Philadelphia Union’s Michael Orozco.

I’ll have more from Bradley and striker Brian Ching a little later.

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Weekend TV Football Viewing Options

Any self-respecting Galaxy fan should crawl out of bed at 4:30 a.m. Saturday (or set up the DVR) to see what may be one of the most absorbing EPL games of the year so far from an American perspective – Landon Donovan (and Tim Howard) and Everton against the mighty Manchester United, Wayne Rooney and all. Best of all, it’s on in HD on ESPN2.

Need more reasons to get psyched? Here’s a selection of stories previewing the game (or focusing on Donovan) including:

*Sports Ilustrated’s Grant Wahl on the potential implications for the Galaxy on Donovan’s form (which I not coincidentally agree with completely) you can read here.

*The Daily Express on American soccer’s (and Donovan’s) search for respect.

*The game basics, including likely starting lineups, from the Guardian here.

*The Daily Telegraph’s take on the game.

Other games I’ll be keeping an eye on this weekend include:

*7 a.m. Saturday Fox Soccer Channel Wolves-Chelsea

*7 a.m. Sunday FSC Manchester City-Liverpool

*11:30 a.m. Sunday FSC Bari-AC Milan

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Galaxy announce preseason game March 21 in Carson against El Salvador’s CD Aguila

The game will begin at 5 p.m. at Home Depot Center against Club Deportivo guila, the current leaders of El Salvador’s top division.

The Galaxy open their season six days after this final tune-up against the New England Revolution in Carson.

C.D. guila is a 14-time league champion and one of El Salvador’s most popular clubs.

“guila are one of the best and most popular teams in El Salvador and we feel that they will provide a difficult challenge for our team while also attracting the extensive Salvadoran fan base throughout the Southland,” said LA Galaxy President of Business Operations Tom Payne.

Tickets starting at $15 go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.

This is the second preseason game the Galaxy has announced the club will play in Southern California.

The Galaxy will also play Costa Rica’s Puntarenas F.C. March 10 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton.

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USMNT defender Onyewu returns to field in Carson for first time since injury

CARSON (AP) — Oguchi Onyewu returned Thursday to training with the U.S. national team for the first time since knee surgery Oct. 21.

The AC Milan defender, trying to get back into playing shape ahead of the World Cup, worked out for about 30 minutes as players prepared for next week’s exhibition against El Salvador.

He participated in 5 vs. 2 and possession drills, U.S. team spokesman Michael Kammarman said.

Onyewu, a 27-year-old from Olney, Md., ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee during the Americans’ final World Cup qualifier, against Costa Rica on Oct. 14. At the time of surgery, the U.S. Soccer Federation medical staff estimated he would be able to resume training in March and be sidelined a total of six months.

Onyewu planned to train with the team again Friday and will remain in California for his
rehabilitation until he is ready to rejoin AC Milan, Kammarman said. The U.S. team — all but one from Major League Soccer — travels to Florida on Sunday for Wednesday’s game. After that, Europe-based players will be added for a March 3 exhibition against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. That is the last match before U.S. coach Bob Bradley selects his 23-man World Cup roster.

Onyewu left Belgium’s Standard Liege to sign with AC Milan last summer but he appeared in just one of the club’s 10 competitive matches this season before getting hurt.

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Even the Affluent Skipping World Cup

It serves FIFA right, frankly.

Try to force people to pay for expensive packages through tour operators in a crap economy in a country where crime is rampant and this is what happens:

ZURICH (AP) — Only half of the VIP tickets for the World Cup have been sold four months before soccer’s biggest event kicks off in South Africa.

FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke said only 2.1 million tickets have been sold for the tournament, which has a capacity of 2.9 million.

The biggest problem has been with “hospitality” programs, where ticketing agencies make the bulk of their profits by selling spots in luxury booths at significantly higher prices.

Valcke blamed the disappointing performance in the VIP sector on the economic crisis.

Price gouging and security fears over South Africa are also causing many fans to forgo the World Cup.

Last year “was the worst period to sell hospitality programs,” Valcke told reporters at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich. “I’m sure that it impacted at least by 50 percent the potential.”

Valcke also said South Africa would not get 450,000 visitors as it had predicted. He said the number could be as low as 350,000, but he didn’t have a precise estimate.

FIFA claims is has worked hard to make the World Cup more accessible.

Valcke said world soccer’s governing body negotiated lower plane tickets with some airlines, bringing the price of a round-trip flight from New York to Johannesburg down to $2,000 during the World Cup from a normal charge of $3,000.

To prevent empty seats stadiums, seats once designated for traveling Europeans, Americans and other soccer supporters are being switched to a lower-price category for South Africans. This will hurt profits but will also help realize FIFA’s goal of ensuring that at least a fifth of spectators at the tournament will be locals.

The lower ticket sales don’t hurt FIFA because the organization reached a deal with marketing firm Match Services AG seven years ago for this World Cup and the next one in Brazil in 2014, Valcke said. South Africa’s organizing committee has broken even.

Still, Valcke acknowledged that things would need to be changed at future World Cups.

One suggestion he said would surely be studied was selling tickets directly to fans, instead of through ticketing agencies. FIFA would then require ticketing booths around the world, Valcke said, which he said would be part of a new “flexible” approach to selling seats.

Valcke promised that the World Cup would be safe at all venues, and although he noted South Africa’s crime problems, he said they couldn’t compare in any way to the breakaway region of Angola where Togo’s team was attacked last month at the African Cup of Nations.

To better ensure the safety of teams, fans and media, FIFA was organizing a meeting next month that brings together the police chiefs and heads of security from all 32 teams playing in South Africa.

Valcke also stressed that the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, slated to host the final, would be completed by March 15.

“It’s not fun not to have your main stadium now,” Valcke said.

Still want to go? Try this.

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Chivas Trademark Clash

This legal battle doesn’t affect Chivas USA, BTW.

This is the clearest explanation of this complex issue I’ve yet seen (a story earlier this week that appeared translated from Spanish was virtually unintelligible), although the ramifications of this courtroom squabble isn’t spelled out in this story either.

But, for what it’s worth, here’s the story:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Owners past and present of Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara are engaged in a legal battle over the rights to use the club’s name and trademarks.

An administrative court has ruled in favor of a group of former owners and has asked a federal court to follow its guidelines.

However, current owner Jorge Vergara, who bought the club in 2002 and changed its legal name, has said he retains ownership of the name and trademarks of the Chivas brand.

The complex case is likely to go to a higher court or be resolved in an agreement between the sides.

Former president Francisco Cardenas is arguing that the club’s trademark still belongs to Club Deportivo Guadalajara AC. When Vergara bought the club, he changed its name to Club Deportivo Guadalajara SA de CV.

Vergera’s lawyer, Leticia Ruiz, said the case brought by some of the former owners amounted to a publicity stunt.

“There will be no real legal ramifications,” Ruiz said. “We will continue to use our
trademarks and nobody has the right to ask us to do otherwise.”

Major League Soccer spokesman Dan Courtemanche said the case does not apply to Chivas USA.

“Chivas USA has protected its brand in the United States and Canada and is not involved with any of the legal proceedings in Mexico,” Courtemanche said.

Glad that’s cleared up, then.

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U.S. to Play Czech Republic May 25

Just a couple of weeks before the World Cup. Location TBA.

The game will be played four days after the U.S. meets Turkey in Philadelphia: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The U.S. will play the Czech Republic in a World Cup warmup match May 25 before meeting Turkey four days later at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

The site of the U.S.-Czech match was not announced Wednesday, but the U.S. Soccer Federation has discussed East Hartford, Conn., as a possible location for the opener of its World Cup send-off tour.

“We are very pleased to get two quality opponents in the Czech Republic and Turkey,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “These games will provide a great opportunity to fine-tune our plans for the matches in South Africa and test ourselves against some of the better teams in Europe.”

At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Czechs outplayed the Americans in the tournament opener for both teams, winning 3-0. In 1990, Czechoslovakia routed the U.S. 5-1 in the Americans’ return to the World Cup following a 40-year absence.

The Czech Republic failed to advance to the 32-nation field for this year’s World Cup in South Africa, finishing behind Slovakia and Slovenia in its European qualifying group.

Turkey, a 2002 World Cup semifinalist, also failed to qualify, finishing behind Spain and
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The U.S. has played the Turks twice before, a 1-1 tie at Istanbul in 2001 and a 2-1 U.S. loss at the 2003 Confederations Cup in Saint-Etienne, France.

Preparing for its sixth straight World Cup appearance, the U.S. hosts El Salvador on Feb. 24 at Tampa, Fla., then plays March 3 at the Netherlands.

At the World Cup in South Africa, the U.S. opens June 12 against England, plays Slovenia six days later and completes the first round against Algeria on June 23.

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