Update: RSL at Galaxy

Edson Buddle 1 Real Salt Lake 0

It took Edson Buddle just 12 minutes to head home a Landon Donovan corner kick from seven yards to become the first Galaxy player since Carlos Ruiz to score the first six goals of the season for the club, a feat the Guatemala striker accomplished in 2002.

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Real Salt Lake (1-1-1-) at Galaxy (3-0) at Home Depot Center

There’s just one change for the Galaxy tonight with central defender Leonardo out with a right quad strain he suffered in training this week.

That means AJ DeLaGarza slides into the middle of defense to partner former Maryland teammate Omar Gonzalez as Gregg Berhalter continues to recover from injury. It’s the first time the collegiate duo, who played that position together in college, have played in the middle for the Galaxy.

Sean Franklin drops to right back and Michael Stephens slots into the midfield for his first MLS start.

Galaxy XI: Ricketts, Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant, Stephens, Birchall, Juninho, Magee, Buddle, Donovan.

Jovan Kirovski is available off the bench again for the first time this season after coming on late against the Dynamo last week.

Salt Lake City lineup: Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchors, Jamison Olave, Robbie Rusell, Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams, Nelson Gonzalez, Alvaro saborio, fabian Espindola.

Former Galaxy striker Robbie Findley is on the bench.

Actor Michael Sheen (Damn United) is doing the ceremonial kickoff.

The game is live on FSC.

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Final: Houston Dynamo-Chivas USA

Houston Dynamo 3 Chivas USA 0

i-ece9520e3248adda60fa19528ac6cd29-jonnybgeoff.jpgHouston Dynamo’s Geoff Cameron battles for the ball Saturday with Chivas USA’s Johnathan Bornstein (AP photo).

Coming into Saturday’s game against the Dynamo, Chivas USA had never beaten Houston in Texas.

They still haven’t.

Another flaccid Chivas USA attacking performance has left the toothless Martin Vasquez-led team at 1-3 and showing few signs of life.

Ineffective Jorge “Sueno” Flores was subbed out at halftime for the second time this season, striker Maicon Santos was largely anonymous and midfielder Jesus Padilla, seeing his first start of the season, was not the difference-maker he was in last week’s win.

It was all over after 20 minutes anyway, with Houston 2-0 up and cruising.

The highlight of the game was this Lovel Palmer goal, his first in MLS, which made it 2-0 Houston:

Game story from the Houston perspective.

Chivas USA lineup: Zach Thornton, Mariano Trujillo, Daro Delgado, Michael Umaa, Jonathan Bornstein, Jess Padilla, Sacha Kljestan, Blair Gavin, Jorge Flores (Justin Braun 46), Chukwudi Chijindu (Gerson Mayn 78), Maicon Santos (Ben Zemanski 46)

Rookie midfielder Zemanski made his MLS debut for Chivas USA, coming on as a second half sub.

Next for Chivas USA: the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday at Home Depot Center.

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Chivas USA & Galaxy gameday

Chivas USA are up first today, taking on the Dynamo in Houston at 1 p.m. on Prime and Telefutura.

The Dynamo are not only without the injured Brian Ching, but couldn’t get paperwork in order in time for former Galaxy striker Joseph Ngwenya (four goals over three seasons in 40 games from 2004-2006) to transfer to MLS from a Turkish club and play today.

The alternative? Former Galaxy midfielder-forward Brian Mullan will lead the attack.

The Fontana Herald News interviewed local kid Chucky Chijindu, the Chivas USA midfielder-forward who is seeing more playing time this season already.

The Galaxy play Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. (live on prime) at Home Depot Center, although with it being BritNight there’s plenty of pre-game activities going on beforehand including the usual celebrity game.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena is up and motivated for this one, right? Um, sorta.

For more on the rematch, check out this Galaxy-produced video preview:

There’s also a pre-game concert beginning at 6:45 p.m. with Paul Ryder formerly of Madchester favs Happy Mondays.

Here’s a sample of his recent solo work:

I plan to blog from the game as usual, so join me then.

Finally, MLS will be looking for the next Jorge “Sueno” Flores at the Home Depot Center this weekend.

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Friday Football: Fan demonstration scheduled at Saturday’s Galaxy game & more*

It appears fast-growing Galaxy fan group Angel City Brigade have had enough of the typically over-zealous Home Depot Center security after events they contend occurred at the recent derby with Chivas USA.

The group plans this event Saturday night when the Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake:

“In this demonstration of unity, the ACB requests that all of its members and guests wear a black shirt for this Saturday’s game along with a white shirt underneath (or separately) to wear for the second half of the game. The ACB will stay seated during the first half of the match. No songs or cheers will be heard from our group in order to prove the importance of our presence and the change of atmosphere in the Home Depot Center. At a designated time at the beginning of the second half, the black shirts will be requested to be taken off by our song leader. This transformation will allow everyone in the venue that evening to witness the impact that our group has on the atmosphere, the game and the overall Home Depot Center experience.

We ask you to spread the word and promote the cause by wearing black in the first half and our typical white in the second half. Please refrain from using any foul language or any form of aggressive behavior toward security staff (especially our faithful section 121 guards) and any other patron. Display the personable side of the ACB that attracts prospective members, take the higher road.”

The group apparently has a meeting scheduled with HDC management.

*Updated 8:50 p.m. Friday:

The protest is canceled. Received this e-mail earlier Friday evening from the ACB media rep:

“We had a wonderful meeting with Tim Martin and Tom Payne of the L.A. Galaxy. There will no longer be a “Rebel or Fan demonstration”.

We’re finally on the same page with L.A Galaxy Front office.”

In other news:

*Houston’s Brian Ching won’t play against Chivas USA Saturday (1 p.m. Prime), but he is back in training.

*Santa Clarita will host the W-League final four this July.

To plan your weekend soccer viewing scheduled click the link at top right, but I’ll be checking out the following:

*4:30 a.m. Saturday ESPN2 Manchester City-Manchester United
*9:30 a.m. Saturday Fox Soccer Channel Tottenham Hotspur-Chelsea
*11 a.m. Saturday GolTV Espanyol-Barcelona
*Noon Sunday ESPN2 Real Madrid-Valencia

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy, RSL & another World Cup ticket fiasco

*Reporter Phil Collin talked to the Galaxy player who can’t stop scoring and another who won’t let anyone else score in this story.

*Real Salt Lake will be without three regular starters when they visit the Galaxy Saturday.

*Want more proof the organizers of this World Cup have no clue what they’re doing? Check this out:

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Police were called to a World Cup ticket center in South Africa on Thursday as FIFA’s attempt to boost sluggish ticket sales ended with fans angered by delays caused by technical difficulties.

A crowd gathered at the entrance to the ticketing center in Cape Town, one of 11 centers which opened countrywide Thursday, and chanted and yelled at organizers. Police were called to keep them calm.

i-c6900a71899796128d1f93d60878fb3c-SAtickets.jpgFans wait in line to purchase World Cup tickets at the Maponya Mall in Soweto, South Africa, Thursday (AP Photo).

After 3 hours, only 32 people out of a crowd of about 1,000 had managed to buy tickets.

“No one’s informed us what’s going on. No one’s directing the public outside. A primary school sports event could be better organized than this,” said Theo Spangenberg, who had been waiting for 16 hours and still hadn’t made it inside the newly opened ticketing center.

“For a World Cup, an international event of this nature, it’s a really, really bad show.”

The carnival atmosphere at the start of the day, as fans across the country were given a first chance to buy some of the 500,000 tickets still available, quickly disappeared in Cape Town. About 300 tickets for the final were to be sold on a first-come first-served basis.

Fans inside the ticketing center slept on the floor as they waited to be served.

A representative from Match, the company employed by FIFA to run the ticket process, blamed technical problems and said she could not guarantee that every person would be helped Thursday.

“I can understand there’s a lot of frustrated people outside, and we have experienced some teething problems, since it is our first day,” Christa Venter said. “The IT guys are well aware of the problem. Obviously it is a timely process, since we are experiencing quite high volumes at this stage countrywide.”

Local media also reported crowd scuffles at the ticket office in Pretoria. Earlier in Cape Town, a 64-year-old man died of an apparent heart attack, but it was not related to the problems at the ticket office.

The ticket centers opened across the country at 9 a.m. for the last phase of sales. Thousands of fans lined up outside the Maponya shopping mall in Soweto — near where the opening game and the final will be held at Soccer City.

FIFA ticket center manager Richard Lalla said the final tickets would last “a few minutes,” but that was enough time for Malin Fisher, a 32-year-old trainee church minister, who spent more than 10,000 rands ($1,370) on six tickets, including two for soccer’s biggest game.

Fisher was first through the doors after queuing overnight and said it was “an incredible feeling” to have tickets.

“There are no words (to describe it). I’ve spent a couple of rands but it’s all worth it,” he said while holding his tickets up for photographers and TV cameras. “The Internet and applying was a bit frustrating but to be able to buy World Cup final tickets over the counter, that was amazing.”

Fisher is one of many South Africans to be frustrated by FIFA’s initial online process, which did not work for local supporters who are not used to buying tickets for soccer games on the Internet. Many are on low incomes and have no access to the Internet and no credit cards.

“I didn’t even bother to go onto the Internet to buy because it was a waste of time to me,” Nodoimpela Dlamini said as he waited patiently outside Maponya Mall. “Most of my colleagues who had applied through the Internet had been refused and actually couldn’t get tickets.

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Wednesday late night with Movsisyan, Donovan & More

Catching up on the day:

*Pasadena College product Yura Movsisyan, the former Real Salt Lake striker, scored twice today for Danish team Randers in their 3-1 victory over Silkeborg.

Here’s the description of the two goals courtesy of Google translation from Danish to English from the club’s Web site:

“Again, it is energetic Yura Movsisyan (in the 35th minute), who brings kronjyderne the lead. A long presentation ends up in feet Movsisyan, who dribbles around Lasse Heintze and sends the ball into the net.

Randers FC was clearly better off after the break. After 49 minutes exit Morten Karlsen determined from the distance, and three minutes later, Yura Movsisyan again at work – even in two stages. Both times, beautiful frispilninger from a well-playing Alexander Fischer.

It’s just like being there isn’t it?

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan proves you can go home again when he shoots the ESPN show “Homecoming” in Redlands.

*Lastly, check out the latest in the slew of World Cup ads. Frankly, this song is so good you can use it as a soundtrack to virtually anything.

But here’s how the press release describes the ad:

“As if you weren’t excited enough for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to begin, PUMA has just released the latest component of their Love = Football Campaign. The “Journey of Football” TV spot is sure to get any football fan’s blood pumping in anticipation. A celebration of true football, PUMA brings the game back to its roots, having shot the video on location in Angola, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and features some of the world’s favorite PUMA players, Samuel Eto’o, Emmanuel Ebou and Mohamed Zidan. The video is sure to remind any true fan that Love = Football.”

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Wednesday Kicks: Galindo, Jazic, Britweek & More

Nothing like attending a long Manhattan Beach City Council about a giant sand dune to keep you blogging through the night:

*Chivas USA striker Maykel Galindo is out up to two weeks and defender Ante Jazic four to six weeks after both picked up injuries in Saturday’s game against the Red Bulls. Jazic came out with a right knee sprain, while Galindo lasted just 19 minutes after coming on as a 58th minute sub. He sprained his left ankle.

Chivas USA will play the Dynamo Saturday in Houston.

i-b8119dc552d351576bbec85aa0edee53-ramseybecks.jpgGordon Ramsey and David Beckham observed the start of Britweek by hanging out Sunday at a Lakers game (AP Photo).

*The Galaxy mark their third annual BritNight Saturday with a rematch of MLS Cup 2009 by taking on victor Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. at Home Depot Center (live on FSC) following a celebrity soccer match at 5 p.m. (gates open at 4:30 p.m.).

Celebs playing include aforementioned chef Gordon Ramsay (“Kitchen Nightmares”), actor Michael Sheen (a brilliant Cloughie in The Damn United and a good player in his youth) and former Wimbledon hardman Vinnie Jones (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”).

It’s all part of Britweek.

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan is starring in a promotional campaign for United Against Malaria ahead of World Malaria Day April 25:

Here’s the (ahem) kicker: For every 10 people that join the campaign on Facebook a life-saving bed net will be donated to a family in need.

More info here.

*Finally, let’s belatedly acknowledge last weekend’s SoCal stars:

*Shannon Boxx of Torrance supplied both assists for English international Eniola Aluko’s two goals for Saint Louis Athetica in their 2-0 win Sunday over FC Gold Pride as the Sol-less WPS resumed for a second season.

*Lawndale’s Kei Kamara’s lone goal for the Kansas City Wizards Saturday dispatched the Colorado Rapids.

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The effect of altitude on the World Cup

Updated Wednesday:

It appears England is making preparations to deal with the altitude issue before heading to South Africa.

Other countries don’t have those concerns:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico is a long-shot to win the World Cup, though the country’s national team has one factor going for it that few others can match.

Many of its players have already acclimatized to playing at altitude, growing up at 7,400 feet in Mexico City or Guadalajara, which is located on a plateau at 5,000 feet.

So Mexico can take a no-worry attitude, basing much of its pre-World Cup training at a lowland camp in southern Germany before arriving in Johannesburg a week before June 11 opening game against host South Africa.

“If we can take advantage of (altitude), why not?” said Mexico midfielder Gerardo Torrado, who was born in Mexico City and is one of the team’s three captains. “We’ll take any favor we can get.”

South Africa isn’t the Himalayas, but five of the nine cites hosting matches are at altitudes that scientists describe as moderate, creating a challenge for many teams.

i-196f86dd6901183f003c07c2dba0a78b-Soccercitystadium.jpgThe sun sets over Soccer City Stadium in February with Johannesburg in the background (AP Photo).

Johannesburg is the highest at 5,900 feet and four others — Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Polowane and Rustenburg — are between 4,000 and 4,800 feet.

Three other host cities are at sea level — Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth — with Nelspruit at 2,200 feet. Playing in Cape Town one day and then a few days later in
Johannesburg could be tough.

That’s part of why there will be early training camps in South Africa for some teams, or
stints in the Alps to get ready.

“I wouldn’t say the altitude is a problem, but it’s definitely a factor,” said Pierre Barrieu,
a United States assistant coach who handles strength and conditioning.

The Americans got a breath of the thin air last year, playing in South Africa in the
Confederations Cup — upsetting Spain 2-0 before losing to Brazil 3-2 in the final in

“Having played there, you definitely can feel the effect,” Barrieu said.

FIFA and its chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak have said they expect few problems. Dvorak said in a recent interview that as few as three or four days would be sufficient to adjust. Others dispute that claim.

It’s very clear what can happen if players don’t have time to prepare.

The United States, for instance, has never won a game in Mexico. In 24 games, the Americans have lost 23 and a drawn one. Almost all of those matches were played without time to adjust to the altitude, arriving just a day or two before.

Teams from Major League Soccer are winless in 20 competitive games in Mexico with 18 losses and two draws.

And it’s no coincidence that Mexico has reached the quarterfinals twice in the World Cup, in 1970 and ’86 when the country hosted the tournament.

The thin air can also change the flight and speed of the ball. Curiously, for brief athletic
performances — say under 60 seconds — performance is improved in the less dense air.

A study done by Adidas shows that a free kick from 20 yards at a match in Johannesburg will reach the goal 5 percent faster than at sea level. This translates into a free kick traveling at an average speed of 78 mph at high altitude to 74 mph at sea level.

Though Mexico will arrive in Johannesburg just a week before its opener, most teams will take two or three weeks to acclimatize.

Five-time World Cup winner Brazil is set to arrive in Johannesburg on May 26, a full three weeks before its opening match on June 15. European champion Spain — the other favorite to win the World Cup — is expected to train for about 10 days in Austria near Innsbruck, where it plays South Korea in a friendly on June 5. The team returns to Spain for a friendly against Poland and arrives in South Africa on June 9.

“In my experience, a two-week acclimatization block works quite well for team sports and I guess I’d be hesitant to push it out much further,” said Randy Wilber, an exercise
physiologist with the United States Olympic Committee who is working with the U.S. team.

Wilber specializes in getting athletes adjusted to altitude, heat, humidity and even jet lag. The Americans will indeed arrive about two weeks before their first match on June 12.

In an ideal world, Wilber said teams might want three or four weeks, or a location that allows to train at sea level but sleep at altitude. But he cautioned about overdoing it, warning the psychological component was as important as the physiological.

Players have to be convinced the altitude will not be a problem, and they have to remain

“You may be doing the right things physiologically in terms of acclimatization, but you don’t want to go past the point where you lose psychological sharpness,” Wilber said. “I’ve seen athletes, half out of their minds with no social life being stuck on the side of a

United States captain Carlos Bocanegra said matches last year in South Africa, and experience playing in Mexico City, will help.

“You try to play at little bit smarter and be more clever with your runs and more tidy on the ball so you are not chasing down bad touches, losing possession and having your whole team have to chase more,” said Bocanegra, a defender who plays for Rennes in France. “You definitely need to go out there and be intelligent. You can’t run yourself into the ground in the first 15 minutes.”

Wilber acknowledged Mexico might have a slight advantage, but emphasized others can catch up with training and time.

“On paper without considering any other factor, I would have to say the answer to a team like Mexico is more yes than no,” Wilber said. “I would have to say it probably doesn’t hurt you.”

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This week in SoCal soccer history

To mark the 15th season of MLS, I decided a series of retrospective posts was in order.

If you missed the inaugural edition, check it out here.

Here’s edition number two:



*The Galaxy played their first-ever game April 13, 1996 at the Rose Bowl.

Back then I was working for the LA Times in Ventura County and was still a fan rather than sitting in the press box. In the run-up to the game that week The Times reported a crowd of 25,000 was possible. A day or two later, the potential crowd was up to 30,000-35,000 or so if I recall correctly. The last thing I heard was that an attendance of 40,000 to 45,000 people was not out of the question.

As it was the crowd reached 69,255 (the Galaxy weren’t as good as padding their attendance figures in those pre-AEG days or it would have been reported as 70,000-plus), my car over-heated in the traffic jam on the way to the game and we didn’t get into the stadium until halftime.

The place was so packed actually finding your seat was hopeless. It was difficult to see the game. And I didn’t care.

The result was largely irrelevant to me. More significantly, pro soccer was back.

As it was the Galaxy won 2-1 with Cobi Jones scoring that historic first goal and Iranian defender Arash Noamouz the second in what would be his one and only season in MLS.

The starting XI (4-4-2): Jorge Campos, Mark Semioli, Dan Calichman, Robin Fraser, Arash Noamouz, Cobi Jones, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Chris Armas, Manny Motajo, Harut Karapetyan (Andrew Shue came on for him as a 65th minute sub!), Eduardo Hurtado.

Lesson learned: I never again attended a soccer game without buying a ticket in advance.

*On April 16 striker Ante Razov was waived by the Galaxy (he was re-signed a month later), while Greg Vanney was signed as a developmental player.


*On April 16 the Galaxy beat the then Dallas Burn 2-1 to start the season with a five-game unbeaten streak. Paul Caligiuri and Clint Mathis scored the goals, but most significantly (for me) it was my first time in a press box.

By then I was working at the Daily Breeze, but no-one on the sports staff cared particularly about soccer. So I volunteered to cover the occasional game, especially with the Galaxy pondering a move to the South Bay (Cal State Dominguez Hills officials attended this game as invited guests of the club). And I’ve been covering soccer ever since.


*On April 16 former Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz returned to Home Depot Center for the first time since his March 30 trade to Dallas. He scored the deciding goal on an 85th minute penalty kick and Dallas added another in stoppage time to beat Chivas USA 3-1. The attendance was 12,697, which is pretty much what it was Saturday for the Chivas USA game at Home Depot Center. Sadly, not much progress being made there.

*On April 12 I wrote the first of my weekly Tuesday soccer columns that now appears in newspapers throughout Southern California. Subjects included notes on the new MLS reserve league (no admission fees, no parking) that started the previous weekend and televised UEFA Champions League games at the Stadium Club at Home Depot Center. The reserve league no longer exists and the Stadium Club is no longer open for lunch.

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