Friday Football: Donovan, Henry, SuperLiga & more

i-c38e54b46375c64efd33dc54086015ca-LDwave.jpgWill the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, right, seen here after the Independence Day game against the Seattle Sounders, wave farewell to the Galaxy and MLS after his vintage World Cup exploits? (AGP Photo).

I snuck out of town to much cooler San Diego for a couple of days and while I was gone:

*MLS and Landon Donovan continued their “will he stay or will he go (overseas)” pirouette with MLS Commish Don Garber declaring the league’s best player is not for sale.


If a big enough offer comes, LD is gone. But will that offer come? If not in the next few months then LD won’t be going anywhere, ever, period. Time is running out as he gets older to convince a club with deep pockets to make that kind of investment.

*Chivas USA lost (again, ho hum) their SuperLiga opener Thursday at Home Depot Center against Puebla going down 2-1 after giving up an early goal and ending the game with 10 men. Game story here.

*Meanwhile, former Galaxy striker Joseph Ngwenya helped himself to two goals and the Houston Dynamo beat Pachuca Thursday in Super Liga.

*Forward Thierry Henry formally joined the Red Bulls Thursday after a years-long courtship between the Frenchman and MLS. Key date for Southern Californians: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24 when the Galaxy host New York at Home Depot Center.

Games this weekend include:

*This poorly-promoted charity game at Home Depot Center Saturday aimed at fans of Mexican futbol.

*A friendly at 3 p.m. Saturday between relegated EPL club Portsmouth and PDL outfit the Ventura County Fusion at Oxnard College, 4000 S. Rose Ave. Tickets start at $20 adults, $12 youth at the gate.

*4:30 p.m. Sunday Galaxy at D.C. United (Fox Soccer Channel).

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And the ESPY goes to …

i-28a27ea7883dfbc599ed15f59d98ae33-capt.-espy-0.jpgFrom left, Edson Buddle, Jonathan Bornstein, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Maurice Edu and Jozy Altidore pose with the award for Best Moment in the press room at the ESPY Awards tonight in Los Angeles (AP Photo).

Yeah, I think these completely artificial awards are lame too, a thinly-veiled excuse to fill up TV time after the MLB All-Star game, as a colleague pointed out this week.

Still, sometimes these awards say more than intended: For instance, the U.S. Men’s National Team won “Best Moment” for its 1-0 victory in stoppage time against Algeria in the team’s final group match that gave the U.S. a place in the Round of 16.

More than a “best moment” is needed really, though, by the U.S.

Landon Donovan, who scored the winning goal against Algeria, also won the Castrol Performance Under Pressure and Best MLS Player awards. (His date for the night was – his soon to be ex-wife? – actress Bianca Kajlich).

“The comment I’ve received more than any other is ‘thank you for inspiring us and inspiring our country,'” said Donovan during his acceptance speech at the Nokia Theater at LA Live. “I believe it takes two to tango and I want to say on behalf of all of us, thank you for allowing us to inspire you guys. You put everything else aside to let us inspire you, so thank you so much.”

Depressingly notable: The ESPY awards have been given out annually since 1993

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Quote of the Week

I couldn’t resist this comment from Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva via AP regarding his nation’s behind the curve preparations for the 2014 World Cup:

“The World Cup in Africa is over and now everybody is asking, ‘Where are the Brazilian airports? Where are the Brazilian stadiums? Where are the Brazilian trains? As if we were a bunch of idiots who didn’t know how to do things and define priorities.”

Da Silva was responding to a report by the government’s own budget watchdog, known as the Brazilian Court of Audit, that warned work on improving airports needed to start as soon as possible or the “risk” exists that it would not be completed in time for the World Cup.

Uh oh.

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Chivas USA signs playmaker Espinoza

As expected.

Rodolfo Espinoza, a 29-year-old Mexican midfielder, had most recently been playing for Peru’s Universitario. He began training with Chivas USA last Friday.

“Rodolfo is a dynamic player who gives us another look in the midfield,” said Chivas USA Coach Martn Vsquez. “He’s a proven midfielder and can help us continue to strengthen our attack. We’re excited for him to get started.”

This is likely the final signing for Chivas USA for now, club officials said earlier this week.

From the Chivas USA press release:

Espinoza, a native of Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico, began his professional career at Necaxa of the Mexican First Division, where he played from 2002-2008, appearing in a total of 78 matches and scoring eight goals. He has spent time with other Mexican First Division clubs, including parts of 2006-2007 on loan at Atlante, and 2008-2009 with Chiapas, where he played 35 matches. Since 2009, Espinoza has played for Universitario in Peru, where he scored five goals in 36 games. Espinoza also played in the Copa Libertadores with Universitario in 2009 and 2010, and has made appearances with the U-20 and U-23 Mexican National Teams.

He, along with re-signed holding midfielder Paulo Nagamura and Venezuelan striker Giancarlo Maldonado, are eligible to make their Chivas USA debuts Thursday against Puebla in the SuperLiga opener at Home Depot Center.

Incidentally, tickets start at just $8 for the game.


*UCLA striker Sydney Leroux got a 70th minute equalizer for the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team, which drew 1-1 with Ghana today in the Group D opener at the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

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Next for Becks: the Olympics?

i-bd41a92ac8314e09f3b9fb2e9e4503c7-Beckhamtie.jpgYeah, you read right. Here we go again. Wonder what Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena is thinking?:

LONDON (AP) — David Beckham wants to play for Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, but doesn’t expect to play for a European club again.

The 35-year-old midfielder has put himself through a grueling schedule in recent years playing for AC Milan during the Los Angeles Galaxy offseason, but that took its toll as an injury ruled him out of the World Cup.

While accepting he has been pushing his body too hard, Beckham wants to play a role at the Olympics.

“If I’m still playing and I’m still considered to make a difference to the team I’d love to be
involved,” Beckham said Wednesday during a live Yahoo! video webchat.

A team of English-only soccer players is set to represent Britain. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations won’t be part of the team, fearing it would jeopardize their independence and voting rights within FIFA.

Beckham was at the World Cup in South Africa as a member of coach Fabio Capello’s support staff after being ruled out with an Achilles’ tendon injury. Beckham said he has been running for the past 10 days and should be back in action for the Galaxy within two months.

But when the season ends in November, Beckham will take a break, rather than seeking another loan to a top European club — which is a necessity to stay in Capello’s plans.

“I think it’s something I will have to think about carefully now — I don’t think it will
happen, to be honest,” Beckham said. “This injury came as a result of me pushing it too hard for the last two years — going to AC Milan when I could have had a few months’ rest.

“But I did it for a reason, I did it to be part of the England team and part of the World Cup … but this time around, when the season ends in LA, I’m going to have to take a rest and get myself fit.”

Beckham, though, still hopes to end his career at the 2014 World Cup — and score the winner in the final in Brazil.

Beckham fears that the England players who flopped at the World Cup — winning just once and going out in the last 16 — could be abused by fans when the new Premier League season starts next month.

“The players know it was disappointing because we didn’t perform,” Beckham said. “The manager can only do so much, then it has to be down to the players and when the players go on the pitch they know if they don’t perform they don’t win games.”

Beckham, who was hit by an intense public backlash after being sent off at the 1998 World Cup, didn’t want the current squad to face a similar fate.

“I hope not, but we do live in a world where that happens,” Beckham said. “You do enjoy the good times, but when the bad times come along you have to learn from them otherwise you just crumble … In 1998 it was tough and you just have to block it out.”

Beckham’s appearance on the sideline in South Africa led to suggestions that he could coach England one day.

“It’s not a passion of mine to be a manager of a football team,” Beckham said. “I’m passionate about the game and being there. I was wearing the suit — so people thought I’d be doing that (coaching).”

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Mexico World Cup stars Mrquez, Guardado, Dos Santos & more play at Home Depot Center Saturday

i-39a38db96857f561115d8cac89ae62d5-rafamessi.jpgOne of these two players – seen here at the World Cup – will take the field in Carson Saturday in a charity game. Sadly, it’s not the little fella on the right (AP Photo).

Who knew?

Certainly no one in the English language soccer press since a press release about Saturday’s charity game featuring international stars past and present – that’s in just five days time – only went out today and as near as I can tell was not sent to anyone remotely connected with the sport (I received mine from a colleague who covers Redondo Beach. Go figure). The folks at Home Depot Center, who said the event was scheduled a “few weeks ago,” hadn’t even seen the release, put out by the event’s sponsor, Farmers Insurance.


Anyway, what’s being called the “Playing for Hope: All-Star Soccer Challenge, ” will benefit two charities – the Rafa Marquez Foundation and Eva’s Heroes. The former group is building a “children’s center” in Zamora, Michoacn, while Eva’s Heroes – it’s a charity run by actress Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” fame – is building a “social center in San Antonio to care for children with disabilities and special needs.”

Players past and present confirmed to play so far include Rafael Mrquez, Andres Guardado, Giovanni Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos, Luis Hernandez, Hristo Stoitchkov, Carlos Valderrama and Fabian Estay of Chile.

The game will air on KAZA.

Tickets are $30 general admission, available at TicketMaster.

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Tuesday Kicks: World Cup ratings, Galaxy land four on MLS All-Star team & more

i-57952a084237b175453496a5eb14e00a-uruguaybus.jpgConquering heroes: Uruguay fans surround the team bus in Montevideo, paying tribute to the third-place fourth-place team at the World Cup (AP Photo).

I’m not the only one going through World Cup withdrawal, I’m guessing:

NEW YORK (AP) — World Cup television viewership rose 41 percent over four years ago for English-language telecasts in the United States, with Spain’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Netherlands setting a record for a men’s soccer game.

Sunday’s game in Johannesburg, which gave the Spanish their first World Cup title, was seen by 15,545,000 viewers on ABC, according to fast national ratings. The previous high was 14,863,000 viewers for the United States’ 2-1 overtime loss to Ghana in the second round on June 26.

An additional 8,821,000 million viewers watched Spanish-language coverage Sunday on Univision, according to Nielsen Media Research, bringing the total to nearly 24.4 million.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged a 2.1 rating, 2,288,000 households and 3,261,000 viewers for the 64 World Cup games. The rating was up 31 percent from a 1.6 four years ago, while households increased 32 percent from 1,735,000 and viewers rose from 2,316,000.

The increases had been higher while the U.S. remained in the tournament. Through the first 50 games, the rating was up 48 percent, households increased 54 percent and viewers rose 60 percent.

“We always expected that the presence of the U.S. team would provide us with these big
spikes,” John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president of content, said Monday. “The TV rating is only a little piece of the story. One of every three people watched on something other than the television at their home, either watched in a bar, or on their phone, or in their office on a computer.”

ESPN paid FIFA $100 million for rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, while Univision spent $325 million.

i-5c1e4a4413ded6233a3dc37653a7365d-canalsoccer.jpgWater under the bridge: Despite finishing second at the World Cup for a third time, Dutch fans gave their returning national team a hero’s welcome today in Amsterdam (AP Photo).

In other news today:

*Four Galaxy players were named to the MLS All-Star team today that will take on Manchester United July 28 in Houston – goalkeeper Donovan Rickets, defender Omar Gonzalez, midfielder Landon Donovan and striker Edson Buddle.

The Coach is the Galaxy’s Bruce Arena.

Here’s the MLS XI announced today, as voted on by players, coaches, media and fans:

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts (Galaxy)*

Defenders: Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy)*, Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)*

Midfielders: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)*, Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire)* Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew)

Forwards: Edson Buddle (Galaxy), Landon Donovan (Galaxy)

*First time All-Star game selections.

Notable: This is Donovan’s 10th consecutive All-Star Game selection.

*There are two international games involving the U.S. the next two days.

First up at 6 o’clock tonight the U.S. women play Sweden on ESPN, the first of two games in five days against the Europeans. The Swedes are ranked fourth in the world by FIFA.

Notable: The two matches mark the first between the two countries in the United States since July 2006 when the Americans defeated Sweden 3-2 in sweltering Minnesota heat on a dramatic late goal from Kristine Lilly.

The U.S. team is preparing for CONCACAF qualifying this fall for the 2011 Women’s World Cup scheduled for June 26-July 17, 2011, in nine German cities.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National team plays the first of its three group games at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup at 9 a.m. Wednesday live on ESPNU.

Locals on the U.S. roster include UCLA midfielders Zakiya Bywaters and Jenna Richmond, as well as UCLA striker Sydney Leroux, who is playing in her third World Cup.

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Chivas USA introduce Nagamura & Maldonado

i-a027a8eeeb2556b278d2c0b27c69e051-nagsmaldo0022.jpgChivas USA reloads: Brazilian midfield destroyer Paulo Nagamura and Venezuelan striker Giancarlo Maldonado are introduced to the media Monday at Home Depot Center (Photo courtesy Chivas USA).

With Thursday’s SuperLiga opener against Puebla looming the reinforcements couldn’t have come at a better time for a Chivas USA team lacking bite in midfield and punch up front.

“(I’m) very optimistic they’re going to help us get on the right track,” said Coach Martin Vasquez.

Another possible signing: Mexican forward Rodolfo Espinoza, most recently of Peru’s Universitario de Deportes, who has been training with Chivas USA since Friday. Formerly with Necaxa, Espinosa, 27, is a creative winger with Copa Libertadores experience who is seen as a replacement for Sacha Kljestan, Vasquez said.

Atalante striker Giancarlo Maldonado became available after he went to Spain on loan with Xerez, didn’t get paid and got lost in the internationals number game when he got back to his Mexican club, Vasquez said.

Nagamura, who had eight goals in 78 appearances for Chivas USA from 2007-2009, and 58 with the Galaxy beginning in 2005, said Chivas USA was “a place I never should have left.” He departed in January as a free agent for Tigres in Mexico.

“I have a family here,” he said of his return. “I have a lot of responsibility for this organization. … I owed them and I hope I can help this team on the field.”

Also, Tigres had a poor season with Nagamura playing 14 out of 18 games. The club replaced their coach and president and “that changed a lot of things,” Nagamura said. So he’s back, in a positive development for Chivas USA, who were not the same team without Nagamura and the now-retired Jesse Marsch.

Possibly on his way out, however: striker Maykel Galindo, who Vasquez sounded as if he’s lost patience with:

“He’s trying to improve his fitness and work so he can help us. He’s a little bit behind Justin (Braun) and (Jesus) “Gringo” (Padilla), Vasquez said. “We want to keep Galindo at his best and if he’s at his best we want him around.”

Of course, it was pointed out that Galindo hasn’t been at his best for a couple of years now. Vasquez did not disagree.

Chivas plays Puebla at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Home Depot Center. Both Nagamura and Maldonado are expected to play.

Also: Justin Braun earned MLS Player of the Week honors after scoring two goals against Kansas City in Chivas USA’s 2-0 win Saturday.

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Two South Bay youth teams win national titles

The Palos Verdes SC Black Under-14 Girls and South Bay Force Blue Under-16 Girls won their respective age categories Sunday at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

PVSC Exiles (CA-S) Under-14 Girls beat Maryland’s Bethesda Threat 4-1 with Sarah Sanger scoring the second minute opener for PVSC. Bethesda pulled level in the 28th minute, but PVSC ran away with it by scoring two goals in four minutes from Lauren Kai in the 38th minute and Jordyn Alves in the 42nd. Karlee Neer wrapped up the victory for PVSC in the 61st minute.

A dominating performance by the U-14 Girls Exiles. U14G Standings.

South Bay Force Blue Under-16 Girls won 4-2 on penalty kicks after tying AR Rush Nike 94 0-0 in the championship game.

U16G Standings.

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