Thursday Kicks: UEFA CL draw & more

*The day after we saw a wild finish in a CONCACAF Champions League game (I can’t recall ever seeing four goals in the last six minutes of a game), the UEFA Champions League draw for the group stage was made today.

Fontana’s Maurice Edu and Glasgow Rangers will face Manchester United, while AC Milan, Real Madrid and Ajax were all drawn in one group. Full details here.

*Bell’s Bryan De La Fuente and Sylmar’s Cesar Zamora both of Chivas USA, cousins Emilio Orozco and Moises Orozco of Oxnard (who both play for Mexico’s Tigres) as well as Fontana’s Adrian Ruelas, who also plays with Santos Laguna in Mexico, were named to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team squad for a tournament in Peru next month.

*Twitter trade/loan rumor of the day via MLS Rumors: Paulo Araujo Jr to LA Galaxy and Tristan Bowen to Miami FC?

*Finally, if you’re single and looking to meet soccer-mad members of the opposite sex, this opportunity may well be for you this weekend at Home Depot Center.

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Wednesday Kicks: Cosmos come to LA & more

The newly-revitalized New York Cosmos announced today they are taking over the Pasadena-based Los Angeles Football Club – known as LAFC Chelsea – moving it to Pomona and opening a West Coast youth academy.

“Chelsea and adidas have been good to us, however they are no longer associated with LAFC,” said Cosmos Academy West Director Teddy Chronopoulos, a former player with the New England Revolution. “Under the new partnership with The New York Cosmos, the Academy will now be outfitted by Umbro.”

The Cosmos also announced today that Giovanni Savarese, the former New York MetroStars striker, will become director of Cosmos Academy (East).

From the Cosmos press release:

LAFC, based out of Pasadena, is one of the nation’s most esteemed and competitive youth soccer organizations will now be called Cosmos Academy (West), based out of Pomona. The Academy will field teams from U9-U18 (boys) and participate in major leagues and tournaments throughout California, in addition to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. LAFC has received widespread recognition in the sport, most recently being ranked the No. 1 youth club in California, and No. 6 across the country by Soccer America.

As part of the agreement, Cosmos Academy (East) and Cosmos Academy (West) will now be funded by The New York Cosmos, whereby costs normally incurred by the families of these elite players will now be fully covered – such as registration fees, uniforms, coaches’ salaries along with the cost of participating in select tournaments and its related travel. In addition, the respective club teams under LAFC and BWG will now be called LAFC Cosmos and BWG Cosmos.

With a focus on youth development, The New York Cosmos is investing significantly to provide young talented players with elite coaching programs, facilities and training opportunities to help them realize their dreams. All of this is part of The New York Cosmos’ fundamental preparation and underpinning needed to field an MLS franchise team in New York in the near future.

“Our priority is the long-term development of players who will one day represent The New York Cosmos at the highest possible professional levels in soccer,” says Terry Byrne, Director of Soccer, The New York Cosmos. “Developing that talent, with the Academies and coaches that we now have on both coasts, will give us an outstanding platform for the future of The New York Cosmos as well as U.S. Soccer.”

The involvement of Byrne, a close friend of David Beckham who negotiated his MLS contract, has spurred speculation the sometime Galaxy midfielder could become involved in the Cosmos, if it becomes an MLS expansion team.

The league wants a second New York team and Beckham has indicated his interest in one day owning an MLS club.

In other news today:

*Chivas USA announced they have signed youth player Bryan de la Fuente of Bell to a professional contract.

The U.S. Under-18 international becomes the fourth former Chivas USA youth player on the club’s first team roster. Also making the grade were Carlos Borja (Anaheim), Jorge Flores (Anaheim), Cesar Zamora (Sylmar) and Gerson Mayn (Los Angeles). Mayen is currently on loan with Miami FC.

“Bryan has been with the youth program for the last three years, and he’s also been consistently with the U.S. U-20’s playing for Thomas Rongen,” said Coach Martn Vsquez. “We need to look at our youth program before we bring someone from outside. He’s a player for the future of this team, but we’re going to give him an opportunity, and help him develop in the short-term.”

From the Chivas USA press release:

The versatile midfielder played in the Guadalajara youth system from 2005-2007 before moving to Bell, Calif., where he joined the Chivas USA Under-16 team coached by Miguel Ramos and Samuel Rivas. Moving up to the Chivas USA U-18’s under coaches Sacha van der Most and Jos ‘Cuco’ Mancilla, de la Fuente played in the Copa Chivas in Guadalajara and the Copa Saprissa in Costa Rica, two of the most prestigious youth tournaments in the region. This year, de la Fuente has played for the United States U-20 National Team under head coach Thomas Rongen at the Dallas Cup and in the Milk Cup in Ireland, which the team won.

Incidentally, the club will hold tryouts at 4 p.m. Thursday for players born between 1997 and 2003 (U-7 to U-13) for its Bell Gardens youth academy. Cost is $20. E-mail for more information.

*Lastly, a preview of the Harbor College men’s team is here.

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College update: Paraclete High’s Lambert back with New Mexico & more

You remember Liz Lambert.

The New Mexico senior out of Lancaster’s Paraclete High became a YouTube sensation when this video went viral last fall:

Well, she has returned for her final college season:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico women’s soccer player Elizabeth Lambert is back.

She’s being kept out of view, but she’s back.

After serving a two-game suspension for her role in a widely publicized hair-pulling fracas during a game last fall against BYU, Lambert has been reinstated and is eligible to play as a senior this season.

“She’s doing great. She’s got an unbelievable team behind her,” coach Kit Vela said

Lambert’s actions created an Internet sensation — the video was viewed by millions of people worldwide.

The most striking image was Lambert grabbing BYU’s Kassidy Shumway by her ponytail and jerking her to the ground, but the game was physical on both sides. Lambert took an elbow to the ribs from a BYU player during a dead ball, responding with an elbow to the back.

Lambert was expected to attend a news conference Tuesday with Vela and New Mexico athletics director Paul Krebs but the person everyone wanted to see was a no-show. The team also changed its regular routine by closing Tuesday’s practice.

Krebs and Vela told reporters Lambert wants the focus to be on the team, not on her. A
publicist said Lambert might do interviews later in the season.

“Hopefully, everybody understands that,” Krebs said. “The attention, the number of hits, the number of times that video has been played, I think she’s just trying to move on, and I think we have an obligation to help her move on.”

Lambert, a defender from Los Angeles, can return to action when the Lobos play Friday at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Sunday at Marquette.

Vela had nothing to say about the BYU game — “Truly, we’ve moved on from it. I’d rather not go back and rehash it because we have moved on.”

Krebs said Lambert has fulfilled the Mountain West’s two-game suspension, missing
season-opening wins over Montana and Nebraska last weekend. She also met several internal requirements, including keeping up her grades, doing community service and staying away from the team until fall workouts.

“She put herself in a difficult place. She made a bad decision. She has acknowledged that. But she’s arisen from that situation,” Krebs said.

Vela said she treats her players like family and that it was difficult for the team to see
Lambert at the center of an international spectacle.

“The Internet and the media are great resources. The world wouldn’t be where we are without it,” Vela said. “But I think when something goes that viral when it was an honest mistake — and I say mistake, she was in the heat of competition — it’s unfortunate that it can become that negative.”

Video of the fracas also ignited debates about sexism in coverage of women’s sports. Some editors and bloggers used phrases like “catfight,” prompting leaders of women’s organizations to complain that some fans apparently can’t accept women playing rough in sports.

Lambert addressed that issue in a New York Times interview after the episode, the only public comments she has made.

“I definitely feel because I am a female, it did bring about a lot more attention than if a
male were to do it,” Lambert said. “It’s more expected for men to go out there and be rough.”

In other college soccer news today:

*Sophomore Nadia Link scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute Monday evening to lift the Long Beach State women’s soccer team (1-1-0) to its first win of the season as the 49ers beat Fresno State, 1-0.

*For the first time in a decade, Rancho Palos Verdes’ Marymount College is fielding men’s and women’s soccer teams. The first men’s game is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Home Depot Center against Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz.

More information on the college’s soccer program is here.

*The UCLA men’s soccer recruiting class of 2010 has been ranked No. 1 in the nation by College Soccer News. This is Coach Jorge Salcedo’s third top-ranked recruiting class in his seven years at UCLA and the Bruins’ fourth in the last eight years.

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Tuesday’s column: The imploding Galaxy

i-580a1c7f04a6906811a6a30ef71b3f46-donovanstrain.jpgThe Galaxy’s Landon Donovan shows the pressure Saturday against San Jose (AP Photo).

In this week’s column I took a look at the cooling off of the previously red hot Galaxy.

A couple of things I didn’t have the space to touch on in the column:

*The Galaxy have a relatively easy regular season run-in. Seven of their last nine games are at Home Depot Center including a home game against Eastern Conference bottom dwellers D.C. United and an “away” game at Chivas USA, similarly scraping along the bottom of the Western Conference.

*Supposedly David Beckham will return from injury to provide the team some sort of boost, although I’m not sure what, which is why I didn’t bother to mention him in the column. Beckham seems so 2007 and it remains to be seen whether he is any sort of force in 2010.

Also, the U.S. Women’s National Team has announced two games against China Oct. 2 and 6 on the East Coast, the final two games before CONCACAF World Cup qualifying begins.

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Weekend wrap: College scoreboard, Kljestan & Marta

*Just as we find out that (surprise, surprise) the WPS is unlikely to return to Southern California next year former Sol player Marta added to her league-leading goalscoring record Sunday as FC Gold Pride won the WPS regular season title in front of a crowd of 6,089.

*Former Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored his first Belgian league goal for Anderlecht in a 3-0 win over the weekend. Check out the goal here:

*Women’s college games:

USC 0 San Diego 1
Long Beach State 0 BYU 2
UC Santa Santa Barbara 2 Cal State Northridge 0
California 2 Loyola Marymount 0
Pepperdine 2 Fresno State 0

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Final: Chivas USA at FC Dallas

FC Dallas 1 Chivas USA 0

i-84933919f08456e0c872e9fad9b7576d-hartmansoars.jpgFormer Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman continued to provide punch in Dallas today with his sixth shutout of the year (AP Photo).

A drab game if you’re a Chivas USA fan (with the season sliding ever closer to irrelevancy) punctuated by a great goal from the opposition and in particular Brek Shea, whose maturity on calmly and precisely placing the header in the net is a seldom seen skill among young American players.

The main redeeming feature of the game – the goal – is worth watching here.

Notable: UCLA product Sal Zizzo made his MLS debut when he came on for Chivas USA with eight minutes to go in regulation time.

And I know it was hot and humid in Dallas, but what a horrible atmosphere at the stadium for a team on an 11-game win streak (although the Inferno did their best at game’s end).

Chivas USA lineup: Zach Thornton, Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Umana, Dario Delgado, Ante Jazic (Sal Zizzo 82), Justin Braun (Carlos Borja 46), Ben Zemanski (Jesus Padilla 74), Paulo Nagamura, Rodolfo Espinoza, Alan Gordon, Giancarlo Maldonado.

Next for 5-11-4 Chivas USA – the Battle of the Bads! D.C. United (3-14-3) visits at 7 p.m. next Sunday at Home Depot Center as the two conference basement strugglers meet. Guess we’ll find out how big of a draw a rally towel giveaway AND Zach Thornton commemorative poster giveaway is.

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Final: Galaxy at Earthquakes

San Jose Earthquakes 1 Los Angeles Galaxy 0

i-931395b6a6d7718f9e7552bab1d380cd-stepbehind.jpgA step behind: Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts hesitated Saturday and the Galaxy lost to goalscorer Chris Wondolowski and the Earthquakes (AP Photo).

Spotting the Earthquakes an early lead doesn’t help at a sold out Buckshaw Stadium.

And yet, the Galaxy could have taken home a point had Edson Buddle converted a sitter with the goal yawning with less than 10 minutes in regulation left.

Mike Magee, starting at forward, displayed an atrocious first touch.

And Rickets, whose eccentricities have not been anywhere near as visible as fans at his English clubs apparently witnessed, made a hash of things on the first goal and then spent the game making questionable decisions, seemingly charging out of his penalty box at every opportunity.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena summed things up:

“That’s certainly a game that we gift-wrapped for them. No question about that. Our start of the game was poor and it cost us in the end. That’s a game we really should have gotten three points out of. But we didn’t, and there is nobody else to point the finger at but ourselves. We didn’t play well, and I like I said I feel that we gift-wrapped the three points for San Jose today”.

Galaxy lineup: Donovan Ricketts Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonard, A.J. DeLaGarza (Bryan Jordan 77′); Chris Birchall, Michael Stephens (Alex Cazumba 67′), Juninho, Landon Donovan Edson Buddle, Mike Magee (Eddie Lewis 59′)

i-e5ea213afc4f28072878f736aa58094e-sprawlinggalaxy.jpgLeonardo sprawls, the Galaxy falls in the Bay Area.

Next for the Galaxy: 7:30 p.m. Saturday against the Kansas City Wizards at Home Depot Center.

Here’s what Landon Donovan had to say:

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Galaxy, Chivas USA Saturday gameday


*Former Hull City striker Geovanni could well make his debut today for the Earthquakes (7-6-5) against the Galaxy (13-3-4) after some cross-border bureaucratic perambulations (1 p.m. FSN).

*Last place Chivas USA (5-10-4) takes on surging FC Dallas (8-2-9), which has a 10-game unbeaten streak and has former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman in goal producing one of the best seasons of his long career (5:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel).

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Friday Football: Waiting for the Weekend

It’s a rare weekend when both the Galaxy and Chivas USA are on the road, but that’s the case Saturday and Sunday.

Still, there’s plenty going on including:

*The Galaxy visiting San Jose (1 p.m. FSN) where fans there still loathe Landon Donovan.

*Long Beach State kicks off their season at 5 p.m. today against BYU at George Allen Field.

*Other college games locally include Pepperdine playing at 3 p.m. today at Tari Frahm Rokus Field against Fresno State. Tickets are $8 adults, $5 students, seniors and children.

*The Cal State Northridge women play at UC Santa Barbara tonight then play the first-ever home game under lights at 7 p.m. Sunday against Portland at Matador Field. The floodlights were installed this summer. Tickets are $5 adults, $3 youths and seniors.

*San Diego Padres management may be thrilled about the Chivas USA-CD Guadalajara game announced Thursday, but players with the baseball franchise are not.

*Check out this cool soccer map that won awards at a recent San Diego convention for mapmakers. (Click on it to enlarge).

*Finally, Daily Breeze columnist John Bogert today pays tribute to his late father-in-law, John Crisp Yellowley, a huge soccer fan and former club physician for Scotland’s Dunfermline Athletic. Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who banged in 45 goals in 51 games for Dunfermline back in the 1964-1965 season, will attend his funeral Tuesday. Read the column here.

*For those of you loathe to leave the comfy confines of your couch this weekend, Clint Dempsey’s Fulham hosting Manchester United at 8 a.m. Sunday on Fox Soccer Channel is probably the pick of the televised games from the EPL.

In MLS, Chivas USA plays at Dallas at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on FSC.

Click at top right for a full listing of all the games on TV.

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Hopes fade for WPS expansion team in Southern California in 2011

i-9b903fab84ab4a5363af217d14f87fe6-20080117_wps_medium.jpgWhen the Los Angeles Sol folded in January, Women’s Professional Soccer officials immediately voiced hope a new team would play in the region in 2011.

But despite discussions with “multiple groups” the league has held this year, no firm financial commitment has been forthcoming.

The most recent discussions have been with an unnamed group to locate a team in Orange County, – Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium is said to be a potential home ground for any franchise – but time is running out.

And the WPS has established a self-imposed deadline of getting new ownership in place within the next month or abandoning the effort until the following year.

“We should know in the next month whether that timing is feasible, and if it doesn’t work out, we will target 2012,” said league spokesman Robert Penner. “We have not completely shut the door yet on 2011 as we could still finish the season and have an expansion draft in October if the diligence process moved quickly.

“In summary, we’re giving it one more month until we shift focus to 2012 expansion.”

Still, that doesn’t sound particularly optimistic.

If discussions haven’t gone anywhere for the last seven or eight months, there’s little reason to believe things are likely to change significantly over the next 30 days and that professional women’s soccer will return to the area next year.

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