Tuesday Kicks: Becks, Donovan, Chivas USA & More

i-52596ea5f2043764fa394062bd7019ff-donovanpain.jpgNo pain, no game for Landon Donovan and Everton over Sporting Lisbon today in the Europa Cup (AP Photo).

Assorted links for the day:

*Everton beat Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon 2-1 in the Europa Cup. Game story. Landon Donovan had one of those games where he flitted in and out of the contest, but still managed to pose problems when he did re-emerge periodically (a “cameo” appearance observed one commentator). The Galaxy midfielder went the full 90.

*David Beckham was on the losing end of today’s UEFA Champions League contest against Manchester United, but things could have been far worse before AC Milan pulled back a late goal through Clarence Seedorf who replaced the on-loan Galaxy star. Becks supplied the free kick that led to Ronaldinho’s opening goal.

*Chivas USA lost 2-1 today to Universidad de Guadalajara with Justin Braun scoring for the MLS outfit.

Chivas USA – Jon Conway (Dan Kennedy ’45), Mariano Trujillo (Miguel Sanchez ’45), Emilio Viades (Carlos Borja ’45), Carey Talley, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud (Blair Gavin ’45), Marcelo Saragosa (Chris Ross ’59), Osael Romero (Cesar Zamora ’73), Jorge Flores, Justin Braun (Artur Aghasyan ’45), Maykel Galindo (Omar Padilla ’45).

*The U.S. will play Turkey in Philadelphia May 29 in the final game before the World Cup.

*UCLA product Benny Feilhaber is the latest U.S. star to go down injured..

*Central defender Clarence Goodson is on his way to the USMNT training camp in Carson.

*I chatted with former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman on Facebook Monday who told me his agent is shopping him around the league. Here’s more on that.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Tuesday’s Column: MLS Must Loosen Purse Strings

I’ve tried to avoid writing about the new collective bargaining agreement the MLS Players Union is negotiating with the league if only because those three little words tend to make most readers’ eyes roll back into their head.

Yep, nothing says a compelling story like the phrase “labor agreement.”

But in this case the average fan should care because MLS spending more money will increase the quality of play on the field and after some of the mind-numbing games I watched last year (and yes, I’m well aware you sometimes can say the same for your typical Wigan-Hull EPL game, too) we could always do with a few better players and better teams.

That’s the thesis of today’s column, which is helped considerably by the comments of the thoughtful and articulate Chris Klein and Todd Dunivant of the Galaxy.

I tried not to get bogged down with the details of the main points of contention under negotiation, but I though Dunivant summed it up best when he said:

“It’s about basic rights that players in this league don’t have that every other soccer player in the world has.”

Lastly, here’s Dunivant expanding on a comment he made in the column on the pros and cons that come from just a handful of teams dominating some European leagues year in and year out and whether that’s just as bad (or worse) as MLS’ much vaunted parity:

“In our league they go for absolute and utter parity where every team is the same and there’s not a lot of interest in that either. Some people might like that, but there are going to be people who want the Yankees, who want the Man U’s, the teams that really want to try to go out and win and get the best players; that draws a lot interest. … You’ve got to draw a balance because it is difficult when you just have your same four teams always (winning) – you can more or less predict what’s going to happen at the beginning of the season…. It can become a bit predictable.”

What do you think? Is parity over-rated? Or would you rather see something like Spain’s La Liga where the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona dominate?

And do you back the players in the labor negotiations? Or should they simply feel fortunate a league exists and they have jobs?

A reminder: not only is David Beckham and AC Milan facing his old club Manchester United on Fox Soccer Channel at 11:45 a.m. in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, but Landon Donovan’s Everton play Sporting Lisbon at 9:45 a.m. in Europa League action on DirecTV channel 462.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Monday Catch-up: Becks, Chivas USA & More

With the holiday it’s a slow day for soccer news.

The USMNT has an off day at training camp in Carson and Chivas USA is in Mexico (although I saw Claudio Suarez and a few other players who were left behind doing fitness work today at Home Depot Center).

The Galaxy practiced this morning and I talked to player’s union reps Todd Dunivant and Chris Klein for their perspective on the new collective bargaining agreement that’s under negotiation. I’ll have more on that in Tuesday’s column.

BTW: Clint Mathis is on Fox Football Fone-In at 5 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.

A couple of other things to pass along:

*David Beckham plays against Manchester United Tuesday for a UEFA Champions League game with AC Milan for the first time since leaving the club for Real Madrid.

Beckham has spent much of AC Milan’s last two games watching from the bench, but there are rumors today he will start the game against United. You can see for yourself beginning at 11:45 a.m. 2 p.m. Tuesday when Fox Soccer Channel airs the game live.

Here’s more on the game from today’s press conference.

Also, Chivas USA beat Mexican team Irapuato 3-1 Saturday, scoring three unanswered goals in the first 38 minutes before a crowd of 15,000.

Maykel Galindo had a brace inside seven minutes and Irapuato also conceded an own goal.

Newly-signed Chivas USA midfielder Osael Romero of El Salvador saw his first action for the club, coming on at halftime.

Chivas USA – Dan Kennedy (Jon Conway 45), Mariano Trujillo, Carey Talley (Emilio Viades 45), Carlos Borja (Miguel Sanchez 87), Ante Jazic (Kevin Tangney 45), Marcelo Saragosa (Ben Zemansky 45) Michael Lahoud, Blair Gavin (Artur Aghasyan 61), Jorge Flores, Maykel Galindo (Osael Romero 45), Justin Braun.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Friday Kicks: Becks Sits, Galaxy Wins & More

i-f1b76fac8a79aa1d4fbdcc0c3ee16365-beckhamboots.jpgDavid Beckham apparently occupied this pose for much of AC Milan’s 3-2 win over Udinese today, coming on as a late sub. And he didn’t perform well at all in front of old boss Alex Ferguson, by all accounts (AP Photo).

Game story here.

In other soccer news today:

*The Galaxy beat UCLA 4-0 in its first preseason scrimmage today. The club also announced today they will leave next Friday for a 10-day camp in Tempe, Ariz., where they will play four scrimmages against other MLS clubs.

*With the Kansas City Wizards saying they have no plans to bring out-of-contract goalkeeper Kevin Hartman into camp, the former Galaxy goalkeeper has instead arrived at the USMNT camp in Carson. Why? Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton is out with an injury for now. No word on its severity just yet.

*UCLA announced today it has landed the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit Jenna Richmond of Centreville, Va., a member of the U.S. Under-20 National Team. Also among the seven future Bruins signing national letters of intent on Friday: U.S. Under-18 standouts Natalia Ledezma (La Mirada High) and Ariana Martinez (Moorpark High).

*Click the link at top right for a full listing of games this weekend, My picks? A pair of FA Cup games Sunday on Fox Soccer Channel – Bolton Wanderers-Tottenham Hotspur at 5:30 a.m., immediately followed by Crystal Palace-Aston Villa.

*Finally, is a major rule change in soccer afoot?

LONDON (AP) — Soccer’s lawmaking body will reconsider whether players who concede penalties should also be sent off.

The current triple-punishment means a player who denies the opposing team a goal-scoring opportunity is red-carded, handed a suspension and the opposition is awarded a penalty kick.

FIFA has put the issue on the agenda for the annual International Football Association Board meeting, which takes place in Zurich next month. England’s outgoing refereeing chief Keith Hackett recently urged IFAB members to change the rule.

“Why are you sending a player off when you have already reinstated that goal-scoring
opportunity as a penalty kick?” Hackett said in an interview with The Associated Press. “If you take the logic of that, the penalty kick is actually reinstating the opportunity. Just
award the penalty kick if it is inside the penalty area and caution the player.”

IFAB — the custodians of the laws of soccer — is made up of the four United Kingdom soccer associations and FIFA, which holds the other four votes. Motions must be passed by at least six votes.

Also on the agenda, the Scottish Football Association has proposed allowing players to be treated on the pitch for injuries inflicted by an opponent to prevent giving teams a numerical advantage.

The meeting will also hear updates on the Europa League’s trial of using an extra official
behind each goal and developments in goal-line technology.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Soccer Nation Expo This Weekend

i-77d8dccc2c18e198835fc28ee11502c3-soccerexpo0001.jpgThe annual Cal South-sponsored event is free and it’s at the L.A. Convention Center.

*Full details here.

*Coaching schedule (including Galaxy Assistant Head Coach Dave Sarachan and former U.S. National Team Coach Bob Gansler here.

*Galaxy players autograph schedule here.

Other autograph opportunities:
*Fox Football Fone-In hosts Nick Webster, Eric Wynalda and Temryss Lane sign from 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday.

*University of North Carolina and U.S. international Tobin Heath signs at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Nike booth.

Notable: For the first time, an indoor beach soccer field will be set up at the expo. The field, with eight tons of sand, will have a goal and penalty box so that players can practice shooting on the sand, a considerably different pitch for most players.

Oh, and I might be wandering around.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Thursday Kicks: Donovan, Hartman, Kamara & More

News and notes from all over today, so let’s take a little tour shall we?

i-163a2d739034ad74fea8e50be8d7f3cc-cole.jpgThe incident between Ashley Cole and Landon Donovan Wednesday that could have World Cup repercussions (AP Photo).

*Starting in London, there’s word that Landon Donovan’s English excursion could have unintended consequences for the World Cup game between the U.S. and England:

LONDON (AP) — England left back Ashley Cole broke his left ankle during a challenge from Landon Donovan, an injury that will sideline him for about three months but should allow him to return for the World Cup.

The injury raises the possibility England coach Fabio Capello could start Wayne Bridge
alongside John Terry for a March 3 exhibition game against Wembley.

Cole was injured while playing for Chelsea against Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday night, and a scan revealed the extent of the injury on Thursday. The
timetable projects him to be back for England’s World Cup opener against the United States on June 12 but would give him only a month to regain fitness for a rematch in Rustenburg, South Africa, against Donovan.

Cole’s backup on England’s national team is Bridge. Terry was dropped as England’s captain last week following reports that Terry had an affair with Bridge’s former girlfriend.

Chelsea’s season will end May 8 or 9 unless it advances to the final of the FA Cup on May 15 or the European Champions League on May 22.

If Cole isn’t ready for the World Cup, other possible replacements for England include Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock, Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott and Everton’s Leighton Baines.

Cole was replaced by Michael Ballack after Donovan’s challenge in the 57th minute. Although Chelsea did not suggest that Donovan had fouled Cole, Blues assistant coach Ray Wilkins said after the game it was a strong challenge made while Cole was off balance.

*Up in Liverpool, Everton manager David Moyes moved to cool transfer speculation over the on-loan Galaxy playmaker.

*Meanwhile, following a 20-day training camp at Carson’s Home Depot Center, U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Pia Sundhage has named a 19-player roster for the 2010 Algarve Cup in Portugal:

goalkeepers – Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)

defenders – Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Meghan Schnur (Sky Blue FC), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)

midfielders – Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (St. Louis Athletica), Tobin Heath (Atlanta Beat), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC)

forwards – Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Casey Nogueira (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

The 12-team tournament runs from Feb. 24 through March 3.

Notable: The roster features one of the biggest turnovers from the previous year’s Algarve Cup roster since the USA started attending the tournament in 1994. Only eight players from last year’s 18-player roster made the squad.

*In Phoenix, Lawndale’s Kei Kamara marked a new contract he signed with the Kansas City Wizards last week by scoring a hat trick Wednesday in a 120-minute scrimmage with San Jose. The Wizards won 3-0 with Kamara scored all of his goals inside the first 30 minutes of the scrimmage.

*Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star reports former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman of the Palos Verdes Peninsula still isn’t in the Wizards camp.

Coach Peter Vermes isn’t sure when or if the 35-year-old veteran will sign a new deal:

“In the last three weeks it’s been hot and heavy (contract negotiations),” Vermes told the Star, “but it doesn’t seem like we’re really getting anywhere.”

And now Hartman may have negotiated himself out a job.

The Wizards have former D.C. United goalkeeper Louis Crayton, 32, in camp, but this morning came word K.C. have signed Danish veteran Jimmy Nielsen from Danish club Vejle to a one-year deal.

Updated 5 p.m.

MLS and the players union released this statement this afternoon: Major League Soccer and the Major League Soccer Players Union today announced that they have agreed to continue to negotiate through February 25, as they work towards reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. Negotiations scheduled for this week were postponed due to the snow storms along the Northeast Corridor. Negotiations will continue over the next two weeks.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Exclusive: Beckham Academy Closure Derails Canadian Soccer Team’s Dreams

In a follow-up to Sunday’s story about the unheralded closure of the David Beckam Academy in Carson comes word the shuttering was so quiet they weren’t even telling those who had registered for camp that it had closed.

Turns out they didn’t tell local hotels either: I received an e-mail from Natasha Hamilton, wife of the Lloyd Hamilton in the story Wednesday night, observing the Doubletree Hotel in Carson where they had booked rooms, was similarly unaware of the closure.

Yet, PR debacle aside, the termination of the David Beckham Academy is a loss to the South Bay (and wider) community as the following e-mail I received vividly illustrates:

To Nick:

Thank you for finally mentioning that the DBA had officially closed. I knew about this closure back in November. When I heard this news I was very devastated. One of the reasons is that the DBA had a School Outreach Program that provided, free of charge, soccer skills to public schools.

My school, Panorama City Elementary in Panorama City, was fortunate enough to be able to participate in it last year. We started to do it again this year. One group was able to experience it. But, the 2nd group wasn’t able to because the DBA closed a week prior to them coming out to our school again. The students at my school were extremely saddened by this news. They were looking forward in experiencing soccer with the DBA Coaches. The DBA coaches were excellent!

Last year, I even made a presentation board so that people in our district would see the great things that our students were doing in relation to sports. A lot of those people were very impressed. Our students learned a lot from the DBA coached about soccer and fitness/health in general. Too bad they won’t get to experience that again.

Well, at least some of our students had the chance last year, and this year. But, they will surely be missed. I hope that AEG has plans to still use the field as some type of academy. Perhaps they might be able to continue the School Outreach Program that was in place at the DBA.

Always in soccer,

Carlisa Perdomo

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Late Wednesday Update: Chivas USA Camp News & More

A quartet of tidbits to pass along:

*Chivas USA announced today they had released backup goalkeeper Lance Parker, who made six appearances last year in MLS, SuperLiga and U.S. Open Cup competitions.

“Lance is a hard-working goalkeeper with a lot of potential,” said Chivas USA Vice President of Soccer Operations Stephen Hamilton. “He helped us both on and off the field.”

Also gone from Chivas USA’s camp: trialists Isaac Kissi and Matt McManus.

BTW, Chivas USA intend to hold open tryouts on the same March weekend as the Galaxy. Details here, giving budding MLS players an interesting dilemma. The $40 Chivas USA is asking players to pony up to participate is far cheaper than the $150 the Galaxy is charging though.

*Injuries and weather are causing problems for the U.S. Men’s National Team training camp at Home Depot Center.

*The World Cup countdown is truly on when ESPN’s Outside the Lines dedicates Thursday’s entire noon show to the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in South Africa. Bob Ley hosts from South Africa, former MLS striker and ESPN World Cup Analyst Shawn Bartlett comments on its significance to the nation and former Galaxy Coach (and I use the term loosely) Ruud Gullit, who dedicated his 1987 World Football Player of the Year award to Mandela, also chimes in.

Finally, the National Soccer Hall of Fame has sadly succumbed to its financial problems.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Galaxy’s Donovan Gets Assist in Everton Win Over Chelsea

Landon Donovan’s assist came from what The (London) Times called a “beautifully flighted corner.”

i-260fa5c1d6926a73cf10b510b17d3eb5-donovanpenalty.jpgHe also drew a first half penalty, seen above, after he was tripped by Ricardo Carvalho, but the resulting spot kick was saved. (AP Photo).

Still, Everton beat table-topping Chelsea 2-1. And how about that performance by former England captain John Terry?

And here’s a good point I just retweeted on Twitter: “Everton earned 22 points in 19 matches before Landon Donovan arrived. Since? 13 points in 6.”

Everton are now ninth in the EPL (and climbing).

What odds on Donovan returning to the Galaxy now?

Game story.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Wednesday Kicks: UEFA Champions League Final on Network TV, MLS Labor Negotiations Update & more

It’s a fair and balanced Wednesday for soccer including –

*A milestone development for soccer on television:

NEW YORK (AP) – The European Champions League final will be televised on a U.S. network for the first time when the May 22 match in Madrid airs on Fox.

The game at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium will be broadcast live starting at 11:45 a.m. It will be the first soccer match televised by Fox.

The Champions League final is shifting to Saturday for the first time this year. It had been a Wednesday fixture since the tournament began as the Champions Clubs Cup in the 1955-56 season.

ESPN and ESPN2 had televised the Champions League from 1994-95 through last season, when Barcelona’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the May 27 final was seen by more than a million U.S. households.

This season, the games shifted to Fox’s cable networks, primarily the Fox Soccer Channel, under a three-year deal. The final originally had been scheduled to air on FX, which is available in about 95 million homes – about 20 million fewer than Fox.

The round of 16 begins play Tuesday, BTW.

*I’m guessing MLS Commish Don Garber and player union reps aren’t out making snow angels today:

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Soccer’s labor negotiations have been postponed because of the snowstorm in the Northeast.

MLS commissioner Don Garber, president Mark Abbott and other management representatives had been scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to meet with union officials.

The league’s five-year labor contract expired Jan. 31, but the sides announced three days earlier that they were extending bargaining through Feb. 12 in an effort to avoid a work stoppage. Players fear a management lockout.

*Chivas USA’s veteran defender Claudio Suarez wants to play one more year.

*The Galaxy will hold open tryouts at Home Depot Center March 6-7 for “male soccer players ages 18 and older who feel they can succeed at the Major League Soccer level.” The cost of pursuing a long-shot dream? $150. Details here.

*Former Galaxy defender Ty Harden has joined Toronto FC from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for a third round MLS SuperDraft pick in 2011.

“We are excited to have him on board with us,” said Coach Preki. “He’s a good quality, young defender and there are many things I like about him. He showed a lot of promise in his rookie season with the Galaxy and we hope he can add some toughness to our back line.”

Harden, 25, was a second round pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft for the Galaxy, started 24 games that season and was named the club’s 2007 Defender of the Year.

He retired from soccer in 2008 and moved to Kenya where he worked as a volunteer at a children’s center and set up a soccer school.

He returned to MLS last year with the Rapids, but only played in seven games.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email