A punishing schedule at my other (non-related soccer) job the last couple of days (combined with a nasty attack of grunge-like spring allergies) has kept me away from the blog for a couple of days.
But if you’re ready for some soccer, both Chivas USA and the Galaxy are in action this weekend ahead of next week’s (alleged) start of the MLS season, presuming the players don’t go on strike Monday as has been rumored if there’s no new labor deal strike.
So here’s run-down of where and when to get your soccer fix:
*Chivas USA plays the Houston Dynamo Sunday in their final preseason game up in Santa Barbara.
Game time is 7 p.m. at Harder Stadium on the UCSB campus and it’s for a good cause: proceeds from the game go to nonprofit group Direct Relief International to help aid their efforts for the earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile. Tickets are $10 for children under 12 and students with valid ID, $15 general admission, $20 reserved. The high in Santa Barbara Saturday: 74 degrees. Lovely.
Also, Chivas USA Coach Martn Vsquez will appear on Fox Football Fone-In Monday. The show begins at 7 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.
*The Galaxy plays their final preseason game 5 p.m. Sunday at Home Depot Center against Salvadoran side CD Aguila, but if you go just before game time you’ll miss half the fun.
A free fan fest runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in parking lot 13 that includes speeches from Galaxy President of Business Operations Tom Payne at 2:45 p.m. and Coach Bruce Arena at 3 p.m. who will tell the assembled horde how little the team will miss David Beckham (and that you should all go buy tickets anyway) at the annual State of the Galaxy address.
Also on tap: a beer garden, dunk tank (featuring mascot Cozmo, unfortunately, not your least favorite Galaxy player), interactive soccer-related games, “special vendor carts from Don Chow Tacos and Fishlips Sushi on site” (no word on the availability of bacon-wrapped sausages) tons of other stuff and did I mention the beer garden. Yes, I did, but it’s worth mentioning twice with the temperature expected to hit 78 degrees.
The club will also host its annual equipment sale outside of the northwest entrance benefiting the Galaxy so you can buy Beckham’s old sweaty jockstraps (or something) from last year.
Tickets to the game start at $15.
*If you prefer to stay pinned to the armchair, games on TV this weekend include Aston Villa-Wolves at 5:30 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2 HD and Blackburn Rovers-Chelsea while Real Zaragoza plays Barcelona at 1 p.m. Sunday on GOLTV. Clink the link at top right for comprehensive listing of games.
Which reminds me: thanks to webmeister extraordinaire Chris Berry for culling and updating the list of links to the right.
Junked were many of the links I don’t believe were used much (including to local college programs) and of course the Sol and WPS are now a thing of the past locally. If I’m missing anything, let me know.
*Finally, thanks to those who responded via e-mail, telephone, in person or commented on the blog to this week’s intentionally provocative column about the aforementioned Mr. Beckham.
Some thought me more than a tad vitriolic (including my wife), but I was trying to make a point: by the end of this season Beckham will be four years into his $6.5 mill a year contract and will have probably played, what, 10 MLS games or so a year when you average it out.
If you think that’s worth the hype, the expensive tickets and the likely damage done to the team via the salary cap (will the Galaxy solve their issues in front of goal without a new striker or two?) I suggest applying for a job as an AEG PR flak.
Yes, it’s a shame everyone’s favorite cuddly Brit won’t go to the World Cup, dashed dreams, lost glory and all that.
But wasn’t this guy supposed to be this country’s soccer saviour, not England’s? Instead, I’m betting he alienated more people here than he won over.
I’ll print a couple of e-mails with a different view a little later, but at least I know the folks at my own newspaper not only read my column, but agree with it. And when was the last time you saw an editorial devoted to soccer?
Hmm, and who’s the influential one here anyway?