Tuesday’s Column: CONCACAF Champions League Galaxy gameday

For the first time in club history the Galaxy play a legitimate Champions League game.

Well, a preliminary round game anyway. And it’s against the “minor league” Puerto Rico Islanders not a big name club. Oh, and it’s the CONCACAF version not the famous UEFA edition.

Still, for Galaxy fans tonight’s 7 o’clock game at Home Depot Center (live on Fox Soccer Channel) is bigger than the MLS All-Star game featuring Manchester United a day later, said Coach Bruce Arena in my weekly column.

He’s right even if most soccer fans would disagree.

Of course, the Galaxy actually won this competition back in 2001 beating CD Olimpia 3-2 at the Coliseum when the tournament was known as the Champions Cup.

The goalscorers? Ezra Hedrickson had two and Cobi Jones the other.

Just for fun, here’s the Galaxy lineup: Kevin Hartman, Paul Caligiuri, Greg Vanney, Alexi Lalas, Ezra Hendrickson, Zak Ibsen, Simon Elliott, Pete Vagenas, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Adam Frye, Cobi Jones.

Adam Frye? Takes you back, doesn’t it?

The Galaxy also lost in the final of the Champions Cup to Cruz Azul in 1997.

Here’s more on the structure of the tournament courtesy of the Galaxy, which underlines the ultimate prize involved, even though it’s a long way off:

In 2008, CONCACAF changed the tournament’s format, adopting the current structure, which sees the eight teams which advance past the Preliminary Round join eight other teams that have been directly seeded into the Group Stage. Those 16 teams are divided into four groups of four that will play round robin style, giving each team a total of six games. After those games are played, the top two teams in each group will advance to the Champions League Quarterfinals, which will begin in March 2011. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals are all two-leg, aggregate goal series, with the finals being held in April 2011.

The winner of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League will then advance to the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held in Japan in December of that year.

If the Galaxy advance past Puerto Rico, who qualified for the tournament by winning the 2010 Caribbean Football Union Club Championship, they will be placed into Group D along with Mexican champion Toluca, Honduran side CD Olimpia and the winner of the series between FAS of El Salvador and Xelaju of Guatemala.

I plan to blog from the game, so join me then for updates.

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Monday Kicks: Mourinho, Gonzalez, Marsch & more

i-0bd29a29aceb1f06c9669c7f5e36a0fb-jose.jpgEndless possibilities: Jose Mourinho surveys the field on his first day as Real Madrid coach earlier this month ahead of their U.S. visit (AP Photo).

*As Real Madrid bade farewell to Raul and Guti, Coach Jose Mourinho granted a telephonic audience to two California journalists today (I wasn’t one of them) to promote Real Madrid’s games Aug. 4 against Club America in the Bay Area and three days later at the Rose Bowl against the Galaxy.

Still, I did manage to get some quotes passed along and he revealed that Real Madrid will unveil two new players who will make their debut in Pasadena:

“I’m not ready to tell you that ‘this’ or ‘that’ new player is a arriving, but for sure during that first week in L.A. next week some new players will arrive to Real Madrid and that game will be the first game for them. If you can add two or three quality players to our squad, I think that game can motivate people.”

Real Madrid will announce their tour roster Wednesday.

The self-proclaimed Special One also said while he doesn’t pay attention to MLS, he is up for playing against the Galaxy:

“I’m not the kind of coach that likes easy friendlies, easy matches in preseason. I don’t play the preseason to win 5-, 6- or 7-nil. I play to win 1-0, even draw or lose. (Because) that game (on Aug. 7 verses the Galaxy) is at the end of our preparation work, everybody will be involved. It will be an important match for us. The Galaxy has a name, a prestige and some quality to give us a game. I think the crowd will be very enthusiastic and it will be a good moment to enjoy.”

*Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez got a little love from The Washington Post today ahead of the Maryland product’s MLS All-Star appearance. Read it here.

*I’ll have more Tuesday in my weekly column on the Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League game against the Puerto Rico Islanders at Home Depot Center and the MLS All-Star Game Wednesday in Houston.

*Finally, Jared Montz talks to former Chivas USA hard-man Jesse Marsch, now an assistant to Bob Bradley on the USMNT, about why Edson Buddle didn’t play more in South Africa and other imponderables on his latest podcast here.

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Sunday Kicks: Fusion, Ajax & more

*Six wins in their last seven games secured the defending PDL champion Ventura County Fusion the Southwest Division title Saturday.

*There will be no third consecutive W-League title for the Pali Blues, 2-1 losers to the Whitecaps Saturday in Vancouver.

*Rolling Hills Estates-based Ajax America Women will face Brandi Chastain’s California Storm in the Women’s Premier Soccer League Pacific Conference final 5 p.m. Sunday in Pasadena at Muir High. Ajax beat North Bay F.C. Wave 2-0 Saturday, while the Storm triumphed 3-1 over LAFC Chelsea.


Former USC star Shannon Cross scored one goal and created two others as Ajax beat the Storm 3-0 Sunday to qualify for a record fifth straight Final Four appearance.

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Chivas USA postgame wrap

Real Salt Lake 1 Chivas USA 1

* Game story.

* Salt Lake City perspective.

*Chivas USA (4-9-3) are now undefeated in their last three MLS games.

Notable: Three Chivas USA players made their 2010 MLS debuts – midfielders Paulo Nagamura and Rodolfo Espinoza, as well as forward Giancarlo Maldonado.


“We came here with the attitude to win the game because we need to add points to stay close to all the teams in the conference,” said Chivas USA Coach Martin Vasquez. “We will take the point; it’s a good result considering the way things happened in the game. (Considering) the effort and the load of nine games in 28 days, I think it was a good result and we will take it.”

Chivas USA lineup: Dan Kennedy, Mariano Trujillo, Michael Umana, Dario Delgado, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud (Ben Zemanski 46), Paulo Nagamura (Jesus Padilla 69), Blair Gavin, Rodolfo Espinoza, Justin Braun, Giancarlo Maldonado (Carlos Borja 82).

Next for Chivas USA: against the Columbus Crew Saturday at Home Depot Center.

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Chivas USA Saturday gameday

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for Chivas USA?

The club has just one loss in its last seven games in all competitions, after seven consecutive losses in the seven games before that.

*The game basics are here.

*Chivas USA’s leading scorer, Justin Braun, is looking forward to his return home to Utah in front of friends and family.

*Here’s more from the Real Salt Lake perspective including the return of Kyle Beckerman.

*Here’s the MLS standings.

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Friday Football: Waiting for the weekend (late edition)

The Galaxy are off this weekend, Chivas USA are out of town (they’re at Real Salt Lake at 7 p.m. Saturday on Prime), but that doesn’t mean there’s no live footie in Southern California this weekend and with international friendlies galore and the Mexican league cranking up again there’s no shortage of games on TV either (click at top right for a complete listing).

Local PDL clubs play their final games of the regular season this weekend (scroll down), while the Hollywood Hitmen also take a cue from their MLS brethren and play an international friendly against a Salvadoran team Sunday in downtown LA.

If it’s women’s soccer you want, the W-League Pali Blues are up in Vancouver taking on the Whitecaps in the first round of the playoffs, but the Women’s Premier Soccer League Pacific Conference final four play in Pasadena this weekend.

Here’s the semifinals schedule:

*LAFC Chelsea (6-3-1, #2 South) vs. California Storm (11-1-0, #1 North) 4 p.m. Saturday Maranatha High School, Pasadena, 169 S. Saint John Ave.

*North Bay F.C. Wave (9-3-0, #2 North) vs. Ajax America (6-3-1, #1 South)
6 p.m. Saturday also at Maranatha High School.

The final is at 5 p.m. Sunday at Muir High School, 1905 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena.

Enjoy the weekend.

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Galaxy-Earthquakes wrap

Galaxy 2 San Jose Earthquakes 2

i-6dc75cdecc4b7eca583509d6023c6f78-LDquakes.JPGCome dancing: LD requires the attention of two San Jose players (Photo by Staff Photographer Sean Hiller).

Game story.

Attendance: 17,712.

Galaxy lineup: Donovan Ricketts; Sean Franklin, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant (Eddie Lewis 77′); Dema Kovalenko (Tristan Bowen 60′), Landon Donovan, Juninho, Michael Stephens; Edson Buddle, Alan Gordon (Jovan Kirovski 81′).

Next for the Galaxy: Puerto Rico Islanders 7 p.m. July 27 in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round (live on Fox Soccer Channel).

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Thursday Galaxy gameday

The Galaxy begin a stretch of five games in 17 days with tonight’s nationally televised clash against up state rival San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 on ESPN2:

*Phil Collin has the game basics.

*Landon Donovan’s celebrity status continues to grow.

*The game marks a reunion between Donovan and former Galaxy and Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop.

I have another commitment tonight so will miss blogging from the game.

I will manage to sneak a peek at Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls debut live at 5:30 p.m. against Tottenham Hotspur on Fox Soccer Channel though.


MLS All-Star Coach Bruce Arena today replaced injured Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein with San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Bobby Convey on the 23-player roster to face Manchester United Wednesday in Houston. Bornstein suffered a knee injury this week against the Houston Dynamo and is expected to miss two to three weeks.

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Chivas USA SuperLiga wrap

Chivas go out despite the 1-0 win over Pachuca.

Nice direct goal though with Ante Jazic providing the service:

Phil Collin has the game story here.

Notable: Attendance was a respectable 14,817.

Chivas USA lineup: Dan Kennedy, Ante Jazic (Jorge Flores 46), Mariano Trujillo, Daro Delgado, Carlos Borja, Osael Romero, Blair Gavin, Ben Zemanski, Rodolfo Espinoza (Gerson Mayn 72), Jess Padilla, Giancarlo Maldonado (Chukwudi Chijindu 55)

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Chivas USA out of SuperLiga, Dynamo through

That’s because the first SuperLiga game today ended Houston Dynamo 1 Puebla 0.

The result renders the Chivas USA-Pachuca game that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Carson meaningless. Puebla had already qualified for the next round before a ball was kicked today.

So I’m skipping the HDC game (at least in person).

Here is the starting XI for Chivas USA: Kennedy, Trujillo (capt.), Delgado, Borja, Jazic; Espinoza, Lahoud, Gavin, Romero, Maldonado, Padilla.

Pachuca starts Herculez Gomez up top, but there’s no Jose Torres in midfield.

The game is live on Galavision.

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