New Home Depot Center food & snow angels

Yeah, this is pretty important ahead of Thursday’s Galaxy-Chivas USA game: New food at Home Depot Center.

The (edited) press release from the HDC:

“This season, expanded food and beverage options include the popular fried chicken restaurant chain Pollo Campero, Starbucks coffee and Cinnabon at selected concession stands.”

“In addition to Pollo Campero, Starbucks coffee and Cinnabon, stadium food and beverage partner Levy Restaurants will be introducing new items, including a BBQ brisket stacker sandwich, pulled pork sandwiches, pizza-by-the-slice, tostadas grandes, super nachos and more.

I had the Pollo Campero chicken in the press box last week and it is excellent (a Guatemalan colleague of mine who wasn’t impressed notwithstanding).

Also from the Home Depot Center press release:

The American Express Stadium Club’s west terrace has been transformed into an outdoor lounge, complete with 2,295 sq. ft. of Tiger Turf Sierra Pro synthetic grass, flat screen television, outdoor couches and lounge furniture and a full bar. More than 30 planters were also added to the west terrace, filled with Jasmine flowers. The re-design was done by Hermosa Beach-based design firm, GEORGE Interior Design

Also on the west terrace, the facility will roll out private, four-seat ‘Cabana Suites’ this season, available for single game rentals with a view of the field along the south endline. The cabana rental includes four tickets, two VIP parking passes, complimentary food and drink with waiter/waitress service and access to the American Express Stadium Club. The private cabanas will occupy space on the west terrace, above sections 104 and 105. More information on the cabana rentals is available by calling 1-877-604-8777.

And the snow angels?

More here.

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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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Tuesday Kicks: MLS Cup awarded to Toronto & More

Three Four for Tuesday:

*As expected, Toronto was selected as the site today of this year’s season finale, the MLS Cup, a reward for a market that has sold out the stadium since the MLS franchise began play there in 2007.

Other factors that undoubtedly played a major role in awarding the event to Toronto on Nov. 21: capacity at BMO Field will increase this year to 21,800 and the stadium now has a grass field.

A Canadian newspaper broke this news a week or two ago, but it was a fairly predictable choice anyway. In fact, let’s forecast who will get the game next year: name the world-class city with a spanking new stadium touted as perhaps the world’s best for its size. No prizes for guessing New York and no prizes for guessing that this team could be this year’s All-Star game opponent either.

*And this isn’t much of a surprise either: Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment group, owner of the Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Home Depot Center, etc., has joined the effort to bring the World Cup to the U.S. in 2018 or 2022.

“AEG has an unparalleled history with soccer in the United States and Tim has played an important role in developing the sport’s legacy in this country for many years,” said Sunil Gulati, the chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “He is a tireless worker whose international experience and industry connections will be invaluable assets to the USA Bid Committee moving forward.”

*FIFA has amended the rules regarding player selection for the World Cup.

From the U.S. Soccer press release:

“For this tournament, teams must submit a preliminary list of 30 players by May 11. The final list of 23 players must be delivered to FIFA by June 1, and those players must come from the 30-man preliminary roster. Once again, teams must include three goalkeepers. From June 1 on, a player may be replaced due to injury up to 24 hours prior to a team’s first match. In this case, the replacement player is not required to come from the 30-man preliminary list.”

*Almost forgot to mention (speaking of potential World Cup players) that U.S. international defender Oguchi Onyewu (seen sitting with club teammate David Beckham at Saturday’s Galaxy game, BTW) was busy running stairs Monday during the Chivas USA practice I was watching at Home Depot Center as he continues to rehab the injury suffered with AC Milan.

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Tuesday’s Column: The boys from Brazil

i-28e15b26a2f579e9788f7cb9737e668c-dubeleonaRDO.jpgNew England Revolution’s Kheli Dube, left, knocks the ball away from the Galaxy’s Leonardo during last Saturday’s MLS encounter that saw Los Angeles field four rookies, including Leonardo (AP Photo).

Galaxy central defender and Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez was the club’s only player to see action in all 30 MLS games, while former Maryland teammate and fellow rookie AJ DeLaGarza, also saw significant playing time.

But after that there wasn’t much depth in terms of youth and Coach Bruce Arena was forced to stick with capable, if pedestrian veterans for the most part.

Not this year, as Saturday’s opener showed when Arena played four rookies, including the trio of on-loan Brazilians.

Why the change over last season?

“They’re better,” Arena said.

Point taken, but it makes for a short column.

I go on longer about the subject in today’s column.

The only problem is no-one on the playing or coaching staff can speak Portuguese (midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi could, but he was taken in the expansion draft).

The three receive an English lesson twice-weekly, but curiously those same tutors haven’t taught a handful of Portuguese words to the rest of the team.

Spanish and sign language only goes so far.

“The biggest thing is going to be the communication barrier with the Brazilians,” said Landon Donovan. “Being able to communicate is the most important thing. When you have three guys who don’t speak the language it’s difficult. When that comes I think it will be a lot easier for all of us. They need to learn at least the basic words so we can move forward.”

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Monday Kicks: Countdown to SuperClasico

With Tuesday’s column wrapped (check back in the morning for more on the Galaxy’s new crop of rookies) and the technical issues that have prevented me from blogging solved, I thought I’d provide a modest update on the teams ahead of Thursday’s nationally televised LA derby between Chivas USA and the Galaxy.

Regular readers of 100 Percent Soccer know that Chivas USA Coach Martin Vasquez is strongly leaning toward veteran Costa Rican Froylan Ledezma to fill one of the two remaining open roster spots.

The other could well be filled by a more familiar face – former Chivas USA defender Alex Zotinca.

The club didn’t pick up Zotinca’s option last year and he spent 2009 qualifying for his coaching license.

But the 33-year-old veteran of six MLS seasons is not ready to hang up the cleats yet and Vasquez needs a backup at centerback (and right back).

“We need depth because we only have six defenders, with him it will be seven,” Vasquez said. “He looks good so far. We have another two weeks to make a decision, but if he gets over the fatigue and the soreness and gets fit, I believe he can help us.

“He knows the players in this league and that’s a big plus.”

Meanwhile, striker Maicon Santos played 60 minutes Saturday in a scrimmage against a local PDL team and could return for the game against the Galaxy, pending a fitness test Tuesday or Wednesday.

Here’s the Galaxy’s injury report ahead of Thursday’s game:

QUESTIONABLE – Gregg Berhalter (left knee soreness), Alan Gordon (left knee bruise), Bryan Jordan (left upper leg soreness), Jovan Kirovski (left knee sprain), Eddie Lewis (left foot contusion), Clint Mathis (left knee surgery)

Also, while I was unavoidably out of the blogging loop for much of the weekend:

*GOLTV announced it will start airing in HD Aug. 1, although of course, as we’re discovering with Fox Soccer channel, if your carrier doesn’t make room for it among its hi def offerings that doesn’t mean much.

*Three So Cal products all got on the scoresheet as the U.S. Women’s National Team, downed Mexico 3-0 Sunday in San Diego.

Scoring were Torrance’s Shannon Boxx, USC product Amy Rodriguez and UCLA product Lauren Cheney (Boxxy got the assist on Cheney’s goal, too).

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Galaxy-Revolution postgame

Galaxy 1 New England Revolution 0

Technical difficulties will force me to cut this short tonight.

Here’s the game story.


The guys for the most part were pretty solid, but we could have been better and I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get the second goal,” said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena.

Here’s the reaction of New England Coach Steve Nichol to the loss:

“The one thing we said at halftime was we needed to believe in what we were doing. The inexperience we had tonight kind of manifested itself in the first half; we were timid and unsure.”

New England finished with just one shot on target; the Galaxy had three.

Quote of the night went to Edson Buddle when he was asked what his assessment of the Brazilian trio of new Galaxy players was.

“Well, they’re from Brazil,” he said as reporters dissolved into laughter.

Buddle, who only got his braces off his teeth a couple of weeks ago after wearing them since arriving at the Galaxy, took an elbow to the bottom front teeth from Pat Phelan in the 70th minute.

He was not pleased and required emergency dental work from the team dentist before addressing the waiting media.

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win,” he said to laughter.

Attendance: 21,376.

Next: Chivas USA 8 p.m. Thursday.

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Final: Galaxy-New England Revolution at Home Depot Center

Galaxy 1 Revolution 0

The second 45 minutes was quieter than the first, but the Galaxy again had the better of the game and for the most part cantered home comfortably to win a season opener for the first time since 2004.

Buddle tested Preston Burpo in the 79th minute, the goalkeeper needing to tip the ball around the post to prevent a second goal, while Omar Gonzalez had a stong header repulsed by Burpo in the 82nd minute.

Donovan had a couple of forays forward that left the Revolution’s defense at sixes and sevens, but the Galaxy was unable to find the second goal that would have put this one well beyond the Revs’ reach.

Still, the Galaxy did what they needed to do to win, while playing comfortably within themselves. A good start to the season for Ricketts who had nine shutouts last season and wasted no time notching another at the outset of this one.

More later.

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Halftime: Galaxy-Revolution

Galaxy 1 Revolution 0

When Galaxy midfielder Eddie Lewis left in the 26th minute with a left knee contusion and was replaced by Alex Cazumba, Coach Bruce Arena found himself fielding all three of his young Brazilian imports in the first game of the season to good effect, sending a message to his sidelined veterans as well.

The Galaxy are firmly in control of this one with the Revs seemingly unable to penetrate the attacking half.

The Brazilian trio have been involved in all the best Galaxy chances outside of Buddle’s sixth minute goal.

Central defender Leonardo headed over the bar from a Landon Donovan corner kick in the 26th minute, Cazumba supplied a cross that needed a Kevin Alston deflection to stop a stabbing Buddle attempt from 14yards in the 36th minute and Juninho supplied the cross that gave Revs goalkeeper Preston Burpo issues and Mike Magee almost a headed goal two minutes before half time.

Key stat: the Galaxy have seven shots to the Revs’ one.

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Galaxy-Revolution lineups at Home Depot Center

The opening game of the season and both teams are missing several veterans.

As expected, the Galaxy are without central defender Gregg Berhalter (left knee soreness), striker Alan Gordon (left knee bruise), Jovan Kirovski (right knee sprain) and Clint Mathis (left knee surgery).

Injured David Beckham, I’m told, is also in the house, on crutches and wearing a knit cap.

So the Galaxy give MLS debuts to two of three young Brazilians on the roster – Leonardo in central defense in place of Berhalter and Juninho in the depleted midfield.

Coach Bruce Arena is already modifying his original plan of having Mike Magee partner Edson Buddle in attack; Magee moves back to midfield and Donovan will go up front with Buddle.

Sean Franklin is back at right back.

The complete Galaxy XI (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant, Mike Magee, Dema Kovalenko, Juninho, Eddie Lewis, Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan.

Bench options include: Chris Birchall, Chris Klein and A.J.DeLaGarza, but just one out and out striker – young Tristan Bowen of Van Nuys.

The Revs are without the injured Shalrie Joseph, Taylor Twellman and goalkeeper Matt Reis, while Steve Ralson, of course, is gone to the USL.

The Revolution lineup (4-4-2): Preston Burpo, Kevin Alston, Cory Gibbs, Emmanuel Osei, Seth Sinovic, Sainey Naissi, Pat Phelan, Joseph Niouky, Chris Tierney, Kheli Dube, Zack Schilawski.

Updated: Nice touch – Donovan just went over before kickoff and acknowledged the Riot Squad, who were displaying a large “Welcome Home Landon” sign.

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