Costa Rica’s Puntarenas punts another player to Chivas USA

This time it’s 24-year-old midfielder/forward Jos Macotelo who comes to the club on loan, Chivas USA announced today, following in the footsteps of recent acquisition defender Daro Delgado.

“Jos is a young and dynamic attacking player who can bring a lot the club,” said Chivas USA Head Coach Martn Vsquez

Macotelo has scored nine goals in 79 appearances for the Costa Rican club, where he spent his entire professional career.

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Waiting for the weekend: Soccer on TV & more

The English Premier League is coming down to the closing stages with a thrilling title battle under way, the playoffs are starting in Mexico and this weekend the PDL cranks up with a trio of games in Southern California.

Oh, and the Galaxy play the expansion Philadelphia Union Saturday at Home Depot Center.

As always, click the link at top right for an overwhelming look at all the televised games.

And, as always, I’ve sifted through the chaff and recommend the following games:


7 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel Manchester City-Aston Villa
1 p.m. Telefutura D.C. United-Red Bull New York
1 p.m. GolTV Villarreal-Barcelona
3 p.m. KMEX Pachuca-Monterrey
5 p.m. KAZA Monarcas-CD Guadalajara
5:30 p.m. KDOC Chicago Fire-Chivas USA
7:30 p.m. FSN Galaxy-Philadelphia Union


8 a.m. FSC Sunderland-Manchester United
10 a.m. ESPN2 Real Madrid-Osasuna
11:30 a.m. FSC Lazio-Inter Milan
7 p.m. KMEX Club America-Toluca

I plan to blog from the Galaxy game Saturday night, so if you can’t be there in person join me back here then.

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Chivas USA Update

El Salvador international Osael Romero did not travel with Chivas USA to Chicago for Saturday’s game against the Fire after spraining his right ankle Tuesday in a scrimmage against the U.S. U-18 team.

Backup keeper Dan Kennedy likewise stayed home after sustaining a minor hip strain Wednesday in training.

As noted earlier, they will presumably train with Herculez Gomez beginning Monday at Home Depot Center, while Chivas USA completes their two-game road swing.

Chicago’s Brian McBride, though, is still going strong.

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World Cup Update: U.S. Coach Bradley speaks about Buddle, Gomez, Davies & more

i-a77cb4bb2595f218396cf466b5d55260-happyherc.jpg Former Galaxy striker Herculez Gomez is a contender for the World Cup squad, U.S. Coach Bob Bradley confirmed today. (AP Photos).

Former Galaxy striker Herculez Gomez, seen here celebrating a goal for Mexican team Puebla, is scheduled to start training with Chivas USA at Home Depot Center on Monday, although most of the squad is out of town until next Thursday on a two-game road trip. Reports he was training there this week were incorrect, Chivas USA officials confirmed

Here’s more on how the U.S. squad is coming together, essential reading for any American fan:

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. coach Bob Bradley is uncertain whether Charlie Davis will recover enough from severe injuries sustained in a car crash last fall to earn an invitation for the Americans’ pre-World Cup training camp next month.

Davies resumed full training this week with his French club, Sochaux, for the first time since an Oct. 13 accident in Virginia, The crash left the 23-year-old forward with two broken bones in his right leg, a broken and dislocated left elbow, a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a ruptured bladder and bleeding on the brain.

“I think the fact that Charlie is that far along is great, but certainly even within the
framework of being back in training, let’s face it, there’s different levels there,” Bradley
said Thursday at Major League Soccer’s office.

Bradley will announce his 30-man preliminary roster on May 11 and expects to call in 26-28 players for a training camp at Princeton, N.J., that opens four days later. He said only 16-18 spots likely are set.

By the time the U.S. leaves for South Africa on May 30, following exhibition games against the Czech Republic (May 25 at East Hartford, Conn.) and Turkey (May 29 at Philadelphia), he will have picked a final 23-man roster, which is due to FIFA by June 1. He can make substitutions up until 24 hours before his team’s World Cup opener against England on June 12.


Bradley said his fitness coach, Pierre Barrieu, speaks with Sochaux about Davies every week. National team head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra was in Europe and will visit Davies in several days for a personal update. Bradley realizes making the World Cup has been a major motivation in Davies’ rehabilitation.

AC Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu is another injury concern. He hasn’t played since tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee during a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Oct. 15.

AC Milan said Thursday he has been alternating training on his own and with the team but still wasn’t ready to play. Even before getting hurt, Onyewu appeared in just one of 10 competitive matches for AC Milan, entering as a 60th-minute substitute in a Champions League match against Zurich on Sept. 30.

“Our expectation is that it may be hard for him at the end of the year to get back into the
team there, play games, but certainly good news just in terms of regular training,” Bradley said.

Bradley said Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, sidelined with a shin injury all season, had almost run out of time to get healthy.

“If it’s not going to happen for the summer, he may need to have another surgical procedure that would then get him back in time for the start of the season next year,” Bradley said. “We’re at that sort of cross in the road. We’ll know in the next week whether there’s any hope.”

Bradley also is monitoring forward Brian Ching, who still has not resumed full training after injuring his left hamstring during Houston’s home opener April 1.

“Again, a guy that in the next two weeks we have to assess,” the coach said.
Bradley said Glasgow Rangers midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, a veteran of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, was “on the radar screen” for the training camp, but “there are still clearly some questions.”

“DaMarcus has been tricky in this last year,” Bradley added. “He had some very good games in December, got back into the team and I think did well. And since then it’s been up and down, more down certainly of late.”

Bradley said there could be a hidden reason for Beasley’s lack of playing time.

“It may be a factor of late that his contract is up at the end of the year,” he said.

Midfielder Stuart Holden, who broke his right leg in a March 3 exhibition loss at the
Netherlands, is close to resuming full training. Bolton manager Owen Coyle has said Holden may not be ready by his club’s Premier League finale against Birmingham on May 9.

Bradley said players will be allowed to compete in club matches on May 15-16 before reporting to training camp.

He said Los Angeles forward Edson Buddle and Puebla forward Herculez Gomez
have put themselves in contention with outstanding seasons.

Buddle, who has scored all seven Galaxy goals during a 4-0-1 start, was selected MLS’s player of the month for April on Thursday. He made his only national team appearance as an 80th-minute substitute against Venezuela in 2003.

i-b7601cedb4ef5a39a86a244a86e1e788-MLS2010 265.jpg

“The easy thing to see so far this year is that he scored some incredible goals,” Bradley
said. “That actually fits if you look back over Edson’s career. As a young striker in the league, his talent came through based upon his ability at times to score some great goals — a variety of goals, goals from outside the box, goals where he dribbled, goals with his head. I think that part is not new, but that’s been there of late.

“And quickly I think there has been a lot of maturing that has taken place, so in less obvious ways he seems to be doing a lot of little things on the field that make a difference for his team.”

Gomez, like Buddle 28, became the first American to gain a share of the Mexican scoring lead, getting 10 goals for Puebla. He made his only national team appearances under Bradley in the 2007 Copa America, two years after he combined with Landon Donovan to help the Galaxy win the MLS title.

“He came into the scene in LA and what you would say is everything he touched went into the net — his pure ability to strike a ball was pretty obvious. And I think that that’s kind of come back again a little bit at Puebla,” Bradley said.

Bradley wouldn’t say whether Marcus Hahnemann or Brad Guzan is his No. 2 goalkeeper behind Tim Howard, but referred to 37-year-old Hahnemann’s strong second half of the season for Wolverhampton and discussed the potential of the 25-year-old Guzan.

He said Maurice Edu, in addition to midfield, could be used as a central defender, and that captain Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Spector, Jonathan Bornstein and Heath Pearce all were options at left back.

At the Niketown store Thursday, Bradley helped unveil the U.S. home World Cup jersey — white with an off-white sash that echoes the jersey from the 1950 World Cup, when the Americans upset England. Each jersey is constructed from eight recycled bottles.

Bradley said that when the U.S. plays England in Rustenburg, stopping Rooney is a key.

“He’s been in incredible form. He’s been slowed down a little bit of late with injuries, but
there’s the starting point of things,” Bradley said.

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Thursday Kicks: Le Toux, Buddle, Klinsmann & more

*While it’s not yet definite, it doesn’t like Philadelphia Union top scorer Sebastien Le Toux will play Saturday against the Galaxy.

*Meanwhile, Galaxy striker Edson Buddle’s seven goals in five games to start the season earned him MLS Player of the Month honors, the league announced today.

i-5f5a27e5fb9848c40fb8e017f24d1e6a-newu.s.jersey.jpg(AP Photo)

*The U.S. officially unveiled their World Cup jerseys today in New York. Will England be afraid, very afraid?

From the press release:

The new home jersey, which will debut when the U.S. takes on the Czech Republic in East Hartford, Conn. on May 25, is white with a tonal grey sash across the front of the right shoulder to the left side, and includes an obsidian blue round-neck collar.

Designed by Nike with the national culture and identity of the U.S. in mind, the jersey echoes the uniform worn by the U.S. Men’s National Team during the 1950 FIFA World Cup in which they defeated England 1-0 in one of the biggest upsets in the history of soccer.

*German soccer great and Orange County resident Juergen Klinsmann is joining ESPN as an analyst for the World Cup, the network announced today.

From the AP story:

A star striker for his country when it won the 1990 championship, Klinsmann also coached his nation to third place four years ago in Germany. He will be a studio analyst on ESPN and ABC for the tournament, which runs from June 11-July 11.

Also hired by ESPN are former South African national team player Shaun Bartlett, who played in the 1998 World Cup, and Robbie Mustoe, Middlesbrough’s longest-serving player.

They join previously announced analysts Ruud Gullit, John Harkes, Alexi Lalas, Efan Ekoku and Steve McManaman.

Klinsmann will appear on prematch, halftime and postgame shows from South Africa, and on “SportsCenter.”

i-1517a78776c17025c3c9fde3ab030d62-jurgen_kilnsmann_1392013c.jpgJurgen Klinsmann will likely be considerably less tense as a TV analyst than he was as a coach with Germany and Bayern Munich (AP Photo).

Klinsmann was the first player to score at least three goals in three World Cups, 1990, ’94 and ’98. He remains Germany’s second-leading World Cup goal scorer with 11.

“Very few people in the world possess the firsthand knowledge and experience of playing and coaching in a FIFA World Cup match, and Juergen is one of them,” said Jed Drake, ESPN executive producer for the World Cup.

Added Klinsmann: “I hope that I can give American viewers insight into the world’s greatest game. Living in the U.S. for more than 10 years, I’ve seen soccer grow incrementally, and I think ESPN’s coverage of this exciting World Cup will take it to a new level.”

*Finally, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena will serve as an analyst for Fox when the network airs its first-ever soccer game May 22, the UEFA Champions League final, which is also being played for the first time on a Saturday, the network announced today.

Martin Tyler (play-by-play) and Andy Gray will call the game between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Kickoff is 11:30 a.m. and there will also be a one-hour pre-game show.

Eric Wynalda will also serve as an analyst with Arena.

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Wednesday wrap: SuperLiga, Special One & more

In 60 seconds (or so):

Home Depot Center (and presumably Chivas USA) will host SuperLiga games July 15 and July 21. Chicago, New England and Houston are also playing in the tournament; the four Mexican clubs have yet to be determined. … Trivia: what is the distinguishing feature of all three SuperLiga championship games? … Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan beat Barcelona today and will meet Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final later this month Pachacua won the CONCACAF version … You can help the Galaxy’s Riot Squad grow here and we’ve got to see that gone-viral miss again, don’t we? Ladies & gentlemen: Lawndale’s Kei Kamara:

And that trivia question? All three championship games have been determined by penalty kicks.

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Bocanegra, Slovenia exchange World Cup warnings

France improbably seems the epicenter of U.S. World Cup news today.

U.S. striker Charlie Davies endured his first tackle and scored his first goal today as he trained with French team Souchaux.

i-c98d19e1d0906f3bf340124010c8aee8-Carlosbocanegra.jpg(AP Photo)

And UCLA product and defender Carlos Bocanegra of Alta Loma, right, had this to say about the chances of the U.S. advancing out of its group:

PARIS (AP) — Carlos Bocanegra is expecting his team to play without fear at the World Cup because coach Bob Bradley has players brimming with confidence.

The U.S. captain says the team’s performance at last year’s Confederations Cup is proof Bradley’s attacking soccer is paying off. And he is certain the Americans can reach the latter stages and cause an upset against any of the top teams in South Africa.

“When it hits the knockout stages it’s a one-off game, and who knows what can happen? We always take the example we beat Spain in the Confederations Cup,” Bocanegra said during an interview with The Associated Press. “Before that we beat Egypt 3-0, the champions of Africa. So on our day we feel like we can beat anybody.”

Bocanegra was part of the American team that was eliminated in the first round four years ago, losing 3-0 to the Czech Republic, holding eventual champion Italy to a 1-1 tie and then losing to Ghana 2-1.

This time the United States opens against England on June 12, plays Slovenia six days later and closes the first round against Algeria on June 23.

“It’s a great chance for us, and we thought we got a fair draw and we have a good chance,” said Bocanegra, a defender for French club Rennes. “We feel like we have a good team and we have gained a lot of confidence and experience over the past four years.”

Having played more than 100 Premier League games for Fulham, the 30-year-old defender knows just how passionate English fans are, and he is relishing the first competitive match for the U.S. against England since the Americans’ famous upset win at the 1950 World Cup.

“That is a cool way to kick off the tournament. It’s a big game. They are a country rich in
football history,” Bocanegra said, predicting the game “will be quite highly viewed in the
United States.”

Although Bocanegra is fully settled in France, where he has one year left on his Rennes
contract, he is aware that good performances at the World Cup could earn him a move back to England.

“If you play really well you have a chance to move,” he said. “If something arises there I
would never say, ‘No.’ But I am quite happy in France, actually. I enjoy the style here. I
enjoy the life off the field. But obviously the Premiership is the cream of the crop, right?”

But Slovenia’s captain, below, has warned the U.S. and England not to the Eastern European nation lightly:

WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) — Slovenia captain Robert Koren isn’t afraid of World Cup group rivals England and the United States, setting a target for his team to advance to the knockout round in South Africa.

i-40f7a878967b3c9d320381b17e41b0c7-Koren.jpg(AP Photo).

The Slovenes went home from the 2002 World Cup in disarray after three straight losses and a damaging rift between the coach and the team’s best player. But this Slovenia team, Koren said, is well organized, does not rely on a big star and thrives on being the underdog.

After all, Slovenia wasn’t even supposed to beat Russia in the playoffs.

“A few months back when we met Russia in the playoffs, everyone was saying Slovenia was the underdogs. Slovenia will lose this game. Russia is in the World Cup,” Koren said. “But, at the end of the day, we are in the World Cup, the Russians aren’t and we deserved that.

“It’s difficult to say what is realistic to expect at the World Cup but we are full of confidence. The last seven games we played together we won six of them. We have a great team spirit, we are really good friends and we do everything for each other on the field and that’s the main thing. Our target is to go through the group stage.”

Slovenia faces another Group C underdog, Algeria, in its first game, and then faces the two teams which are expected to make the last 16, the United States and England.

A victory over the Algerians in Polokwane on June 13 would give the nation with a population of only 2 million its first ever World Cup points and that, Koren said, will boost confidence ahead of the tougher games to follow.

“England is the favorite (in the group) and people are saying that USA is the second
favorite,” the midfielder said. “But we are not bothered about these things. We will go into each game, try to win it and try to get points.”

Although Koren is proud to be captain and joked that he is the star of the team, he stressed that this Slovenia lineup won’t be brushed aside in the same way the 2002 squad did when coach Srecko Katanec fell out with Zlatko Zahovic and sent the player home after the team’s opening game.

“It was a massive thing for our country for the national team to get into the World Cup (in
2002) and some bad things happened down there. First of all, we didn’t get the right results and that was a big disappointment because everyone expected that we would at least get some points,” Koren said. “There were problems in the national team between the manager and the players and that was no good for anyone.

“Now it’s completely different. Before, we had one star in the team, Zahovic was our best
player. Now we are trying to play more as a team than have one star in the team. We are really good friends and developing a team spirit.”

Koren, whose goals and consistent performances have helped West Bromwich Albion gain promotion to the Premier League, has played against many of the England players before, both with the national team in a 2-1 loss at Wembley and when West Brom last made it to the top flight two seasons ago.

“It’s a massive game not just for me but for everybody in our team. Of course, I play here in England, so it’s special for me,” he said. “But when you’re playing soccer you’re not thinking this way at all. We will stick with our plan and every player wants to play his part. We will play 11 against 11 and we will try to do our best.

“But of course it will help me a lot that I am playing in England and I will try to use my
experience to help the rest of the team and give the manager some information.”

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Wednesday Kicks: Philly’s top scorer could be out against the Galaxy & more

The big news this morning for Galaxy fans anticipating Saturday’s home game against the expansion Union at Home Depot Center is that Philadelphia could be without top scorer Sebastien Le Toux.

The former Sounders player, who has four goals in four MLS games to start the season, added another Tuesday in Philadelphia’s 2-1 U.S. Open Cup loss to Red Bull New York before being injured and stretchered off .

“He probably has an MCL sprain, but this is probable and we have to run the tests tomorrow to see what the verdict is going to be,” Coach Peter Nowak told the MLS site after the game. “I can’t tell you right now, it’s too early. He feels some pain, we’ll see how the swelling is going to come. He just got hit in (a) stationary (position) and his (left) leg actually got shifted to the right. It was a late play, that’s why (Andrew Boyens) got the yellow. (Le Toux) already played the ball and then got kicked.”

I’ll provide an update on Le Toux’s status later in the day, assuming the Union releases more information.

In other news this morning:

*Excellent article from the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Mark Ziegler on Galaxy reserve and San Diego County native Jovan Kirovski as his playing days wind down. Kirovski never fulfilled his potential. I recall talking to him at the outset of his first Galaxy stint way back in 2004 and he said then his goal was to make it back into the national team picture. Despite scoring eight goals in his first MLS season that never really happened.

*For what it’s worth Brazil has reclaimed the top spot from Spain in the latest FIFA rankings released today. The U.S. is 14th, up two places, and six behind England, the Americans’ first World Cup opponent. Complete table here.

*Speaking of international football, don’t miss the last of the UEFA Champions League semifinals today (11:30 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel) when defending champion Barcelona seeks to claw back a 3-1 first leg deficit to meet Bayern Munich in the final. Bayern beat Lyon Tuesday.

*Meanwhile, the under the radar CONCACAF equivalent wraps up today with Pachuca seeking to overcome a 2-1 deficit to Cruz Azul (5 p.m. FSC).

*Cal State Northridge announced today it has signed seven players to national letters of intent. The main prize: the aptly named Sam Ball of Westlake High who was named Marmonte League MVP last season after scoring a record 22 goals. Other locals signed were midfielder Carlos Benavides of Woodland Hills’ El Camino Real High and defender Shawn Berenji of Sunland’s Village Christian High.

*Chivas USA hosts a soccer tournament before its May 8 game against the Houston Dynamo at the HDC. The $195 fee includes five tickets to the game. More info here.

*Finally, the Conejo Valley-based Santos FC Academy is moving to Oak Park and merging its two U-13 boys teams under the auspices of the California Stars Soccer Club of Calabasas.

From the news release:

Santos FC Academy plans to further develop these existing teams and build the boys and girls under 11-14 teams with community players, and welcomes youth soccer players to Wednesday & Friday clinics at Oak View High School Field from 5:30-7:00. Cost is $15 per person. Tryouts for the U13 Silver & Bronze teams are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-7:30pm.

More information here.

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Galaxy host Argentina’s Boca Juniors May 23

The Galaxy announced the 5 p.m. game against the famed Argentine club today, while tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday starting at $20 for non-season ticket holders.

The roster of Boca Juniors, who have won 23 Argentine titles, includes midfielders Juan Romn Riquelme and Sebastin Battaglia and forwards Martn Palermo and Nicols Gaitn of Argentina.

“We are very excited to be hosting Argentina’s Boca Juniors, who are one of the most prestigious clubs in the world with an incredible tradition of winning championships,” said LA Galaxy President of Business Operations Tom Payne. “It is a thrilling game for our fans and one that will feature Argentina’s Riquelme and Palermo, and continues our commitment to provide our fans the chance to see the Galaxy face off against some of the best international competition.”

The game is the first of a planned U.S. tour for Boca.

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