Wednesday Kicks: Countdown to SuperClasico & more

Here’s a half-dozen (or so) soccer stories for you to chew on:

*Reporter Phil Collin observes that Chivas USA are looking to put their season-opening loss behind them ahead of Thursday’s derby against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center.

*The first event on ESPN’s new 3D channel: the opening game of the World Cup. More here.

*The Budweiser Cup, a six-on-six soccer tournament held in 16 cities, begins April 17. The championship is scheduled for Sunday, May 16 at Home Depot Center. The ultimate prize: a trip to South Africa to represent the U. S. at an international 6v6 tournament. Details here.

*The U. S. climbed two places to No. 16, one ahead of Mexico in the latest FIFA rankings released today.

*The U.S. Women’s National Team plays Mexico at 6 p.m. today live on ESPN2 for the second time in four days.

*If you’re wondering what’s going on at Home Depot Center today, it’s filming for something called “Rock n’ Gol,” a 4v4 tournament of four teams of athletes and celebrities. Among them: Marcelo Balboa, Brandi Chastain, Tony Meola and Tab Ramos. If you care the event airs at 6 p.m. June 3 on MTV Tr3s.

*Finally, if you’re a U.S. fan sick of hearing about the string of injuries to American players ahead of the World Cup opener against England, you should know the soccer Gods are watching and are apparently evening things out:

LONDON (AP) — Wayne Rooney will be sidelined for two-to-four weeks because of a sprained ankle, a person close to Manchester United told The Associated Press.

Rooney was hurt in the final minute of Tuesday night’s 2-1 Champions League loss at Bayern Munich. The person, who spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made, said Rooney had not broken any bones and should be fit for the World Cup.

Rooney flew back to Manchester from Munich on Wednesday with his right foot in a protective boot. He scored his 34th goal of the season in the second minute of the game at Allianz Arena.

England coach Fabio Capello says the injury is “terrible” news. England plays its World Cup opener against the United States on June 12.

“I think he will have a scan tomorrow,” Capello said Wednesday. “I’m not happy when a player from the England team is injured, it’s terrible. It’s not a good thing for me. I will speak to him this evening or tomorrow morning.”

Rooney is set to miss Saturday’s Premier League match against Chelsea at Old Trafford. The result is likely to have a major effect on the title race, with United a point ahead of second-place Chelsea.

An absence of two weeks would rule Rooney out of three games: league matches against Chelsea and Blackburn and the Champions League return leg against Bayern.

Three weeks would mean Rooney also misses the derby at Manchester City. If out for a month, he would be sidelined for the league game against Tottenham and possibly a Champions League semifinal against Lyon or Bordeaux — if United qualifies.

With Michael Owen out for the rest of the season, United is left with Dimitar Berbatov as the team’s only veteran forward until Rooney returns.

“England’s worst nightmare” said The Times, while the mass circulation Sun had one word: “Pray.”

“Get well soon” said the Daily Mail alongside a photo of Rooney grimacing and lying on the turf in pain. “Please don’t let this be the moment England’s World Cup dream died.”

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!