Friday Football: Galaxy update & more

*Will David Beckham actually get a start Saturday against D.C. United at Home Depot Center (live at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel) in what would be just his second start for the club since returning from a torn Achilles tendon? Phil Collin has more here.

*It appears the U.S. Men’s National Team is heading back to South Africa:

CHICAGO (AP)– The U.S. Soccer Federation said Friday that the Americans probably will play an exhibition against the Bafana Bafana in Cape Town on Nov. 17.

It will be the fourth trip to South Africa for the U.S. in three years, following a November
2007 exhibition at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park, the 2009 Confederations Cup and this year’s World Cup.

The U.S. will be missing players involved in the MLS Cup final, scheduled for Nov. 21 in
Toronto. The Americans also could be without players in the Mexican playoffs, which open Nov. 20-21.

The Americans host Poland on Oct. 9 at Chicago and Colombia three days later at Chester, Pa.

*Meanwhile, U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo will miss World Cup qualifying because of injury:

CHICAGO (AP) — American goalkeeper Hope Solo will have right shoulder surgery and miss qualifying for the Women’s World Cup.

The U.S. Soccer Federation said Friday that the 29-year-old will be sidelined for five to six months, a timetable that should allow her to return for the start of the World Cup on June 26.

Dr. James Andrews will operate Wednesday on what may be a torn labrum.

Solo has 91 international appearances. She leads Women’s Professional Soccer this season with 104 saves for St. Louis and Atlanta.

*Controversy has found former Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and next Friday’s main box office draw at Home Depot Center, when the Galaxy play New York in Carson, Thierry Henry:

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry’s celebratory kick left goalkeeper Kevin Hartman with an injured knee — and Dallas FC coach Schellas Hyndman hopping mad.

Following a goal by New York’s Mehdi Ballouchy on Thursday night, Henry went to strike the ball again and Hartman got in the way. The Dallas goalkeeper, who came into the game leading Major League Soccer with a 0.58 goals-against average, went down with an injured medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

“Basically, from I what I see, right after they scored the goal, they both go to kick the ball
at the same time,” referee Hilario Grajeda said after the 2-2 tie. “They never connect knees or anything. They just nailed the ball at the same time. It happens, you know.”

Henry, a longtime French star, joined the Red Bulls last month.

“The ball was there and like I do sometimes, I just wanted to kick the ball back in the net,” Henry said. “He put his foot out there and that’s how he got injured. That was unfortunate. I went to apologize at halftime because I didn’t mean to hurt him. He put his foot out there and I just wanted to smash the ball back in the net. A pure accident. I told him I was sorry. He accepted it. It was one of those stupid things.”

Hyndman said the team would likely submit a complaint to the league.

“It’s the weight it puts on us now,” Hyndman said. “I thought Hartman was going to be up for MVP. Now we have to go get a pool goalkeeper. It was something that was not necessary, so we’ll see what happens.”

Hartman’s shutout streak ended at 415 minutes on Ballouchy’s goal.

“I’m not real sure exactly how it happened,” Hartman said. “We’d given up the goal, obviously, and it was just one of those things where he wanted to get the ball back to midfield or whatever. Henry went to hit the ball and I tried to intercede, and unfortunately got hurt.

“I’m pretty bummed about it. You obviously want to play as much as possible and to have to come out because of an injury that happens pretty much in dead time is

Judge for yourself what happened, here:

*Lastly, previews of Cal State Dominguez Hills men’s and women’s soccer teams are here and here.

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy update & more

*The Galaxy’s next opponents, D.C. United, have traded veteran defender Carey Talley to the New York Red Bulls, which play the Galaxy the Friday after next in Carson.

Talley, 34, only rejoined United, where he started his career, at the outset of the season after two seasons with Chivas USA. United and the Galaxy play Saturday in Carson.

*For other United team news, including word that veteran Jaime Moreno, who will retire at season’s end, will miss Saturday’s game at Home Depot Center click here.

*Incidentally, Galaxy striker Edson Buddle needs to step it up Saturday if he wants to hold onto the MLS lead for game-winning goals.

San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski scored his sixth winning goal of the season and ninth overall Wednesday as the Earthquakes beat the Philadelphia Union, 1-0.

*In other MLS trade moves, former Galaxy midfielder/striker Brian Mullan, 32, was traded from the Houston Dynamo to the Colorado Rapids. Mullan had five goals for the Galaxy in 31 regular season games way back in the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

*Also, the WPS announced today that former Sol player Marta was named the league’s MVP for the second year in a row after she scored 19 goals in 24 games for FC Gold Pride. The figure was almost double the 10 she hammered home for the Sol.

*Finally, FIFA’s World Cup bid assessment team has wrapped up its three-day tour of Qatar, which is one of the U.S. rivals for the 2022 tournament (I’m already assuming the U.S. will lose out in 2018).

From the AP story:

The 12 planned new stadiums will cost $4 billion to build and include a cooling system that ensures temperatures on the field and in the stands remains below 81 degrees.

Qatar also showcased its plans to spend $42.9 billion on infrastructure projects to be completed by the World Cup, including a high-speed rail network and airport.

All but one of the stadiums will have modular components, allowing organizers to dismantle them afterward and donate some 170,000 seats to soccer programs in developing countries.

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Maybe Bayern fans should “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

This has nothing to do with soccer in Southern California, but as a Monty Python fan I cherish stupid bureaucratic tricks like this:

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — European soccer’s governing body has barred Bayern Munich fans from displaying a Monty Python-inspired banner at a Champions League match because it could offend visiting fans from the Italian club AS Roma.

The Union of European Football Associations says the banner saying “Romani ite domum” — Latin for “Romans Go Home” — supporters wanted to display at Wednesday’s match was considered provocative.

The slogan references a scene in the movie comedy Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.” UEFA did approve the German fans displaying a “Life of Bayern” flag at the Allianz Arena.

In a statement, UEFA says: “Anything that may cause offense to a fan base or ethnic group, and therefore pose a security risk, including banners or symbols, is carefully vetted.”

Don’t forget to check out today’s UEFA CL games around 11:30 a.m. and the following for a pre-game boost:

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Goats win on PK’s!

Chivas USA 0 CD Guadalajara 0 (Chivas USA wins 4-2 on penalty kicks).

i-5bb699d7f1d9f8287545f8e0fe310a0c-chivasflare.jpgA flare provides a backdrop for CD Guadalajara goalkeeper Sergio Arias Tuesday in San Diego (AP Photo).

It was the sort of game that made you ask, how many converts to MLS didl this performance provide?

Chivas USA strikers Justin Braun and Alan Gordon reminded us of the Justin Braun and Alan Gordon of old in the first half (that’s not a good thing) with each missing opportunities that begged to be finished. The highlight of the second may have been a fan running onto the field.

Echoes of last year’s snoozer in Pasadena, frankly.

Reporter Scott French made the most of what he had to work with when it came to the game story.

Chivas USA – Zach Thornton (Kevin Guppy 46), Ante Jazic (Jorge Flores 46), Daro Delgado (Carlos Borja 66), Michael Umaa, Mariano Trujillo (Alex Zotinca 58), Michael Lahoud, Paulo Nagamura, Rodolfo Espinoza, Sal Zizzo (Jess Padilla 46), Justin Braun (Osael Romero 58), Alan Gordon (Ben Zemanski 46)

Chivas de Guadalajara – Luis Michel (Sergio Arias 46), Mario De Luna (Ulises Davila 46), Christian Perez (Patricio Araujo 46), Miguel Ponce (Dionicio Escalante 46), Jonny Magalln (Juan Ocampo 46), Edgar Mejia, Xavier Baez (Jorge Enriquez 46), Adolfo Bautista (Sergio Avila 75), Omar Arellano (Michel Vazquez 46), Marco Fabian (Jesus Sanchez 46), Omar Bravo (Mitchel Oviedo 46)

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Tuesday Kicks: The latest Donovan transfer rumor & more

*Those Landon Donovan to Everton rumors just won’t go away.

Donovan had this reponse last week when asked about another European loan in the MLS offseason, BTW:

“If you ask me today, I’m going to say unequivocally no. I’m tired. My body needs a break. But once I’m off for a few weeks it might be a different answer.”

Glad we got that cleared up then.

*Meanwhile, if you’re an MLS fan you’d better set aside even more time for games next season. The league released this brief statement today:

In 2011, each of the 18 MLS clubs will play 34 regular season games, beginning the weekend of March 19. The League will not take any breaks for the CONCACAF Gold Cup or other competitions. The 32-week regular season will conclude on October 22. The format of the regular season and MLS Cup Playoffs are still being reviewed, and the date of MLS Cup will be announced later. MLS clubs will announce their 2011 home openers in the near future.

*In case you were wondering I’ve heard nothing (yet) about any roster moves at either the Galaxy or Chivas USA today ahead of the roster freeze deadline at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Here’s what that means, via MLS:

No changes may be made to a team’s roster from the Roster Freeze Deadline until the day after MLS Cup, including changes to the Disabled List.

All players listed on the Disabled List after 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday will remain unavailable through MLS Cup. If a team believes its player will recover after Wednesday and would like him to be available to play in any remaining MLS Regular Season and Playoff games, he must be removed from the Disabled List prior to the deadline and any necessary moves to maintain roster compliance must be made by the deadline as well.

In the case of incoming players, if a contract has been signed by the deadline and the League is waiting for his Visa or ITC, the player must still be added to the club’s roster and any related roster moves to accommodate that player must take place before the deadline. The player will be listed as unavailable until the necessary documents are received.

Teams may still add short term replacements after the deadline in cases of extreme hardship, as determined by the League. If a team calls up a player during the MLS Playoffs and he plays in a game, he will be tied to that team for the remainder of Playoffs and MLS Cup. If a player was called up but did not play, then he is not tied to that team.


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Tuesday’s Beckham column, Chivas V. Chivas gameday & more

i-45e4e0ccd3c93f0fc434bf1ee797829b-becksbooked.jpgWhat’s your name, son? Ref Alex Prus was taking names – or at least David Beckham’s – about five minutes after he got on the field in Saturday’s game in Carson (AP Photo).

Yeah, it’s mandatory, I’m afraid. An LA soccer columnist just isn’t allowed to ignore David Beckham’s temporary reappearance in Southern California before he heads back to Europe to play for England. Only a year left on his contract before he joins a newly-revitalized Cosmos in New York, heads to the Olympics or something.

Read more here.

Meanwhile, it’s little Chivas V. big Chivas, fake Chivas V. real Chivas or simply a battle of the Chivi tonight in San Diego. Or if you prefer, it’s a chance to see the reigning MLS Player of the Week: recently-signed former Galaxy striker Alan freaking Gordon, who had one of the best MLS games of his career Friday in Chivas USA’s win over the New England Revolution

i-ba5af99ddf4b9b2a818752680e4c7e0a-sandiegochivas0022.jpgChivas de Guadalajara Coach Jos Luis Real, left, and goalkeeper Luis Ernesto Michel listen to questions from the media during Monday’s press conference ahead of today’s ChivaClsico against Chivas USA in San Diego (Photo courtesy Chivas USA).

A preview is here.

If you go to the game tonight, (which begins at 8 o’clock and is also live on Galavision) the guys in the famous red and white stripes are Chivas USA. CD Guadalajara will play in jerseys with green trim intended to honor 200 years of Mexican independence the nation will mark Sept. 16. And yes, you can buy the jersey at the game, too.

Here’s the CD Guadalajara roster:

goalkeepers – Luis Michel, Sergio Arias

defenders – Hector Reynoso, Mario De Luna, Edgar Meja, Miguel Ponce, Jonny Magalln, Christian Perez, Patricio Araujo, Juan Ocampo

midfielders – Xavier Baez, Dionicio Escalante, Jorge Enriquez, Marco Fabin, Ulises Dvila, Sergio vila, Mitchel Oviedo

forwards – Omar Arellano, Omar Bravo, Adolfo Bautista, Michel Vzquez, Jess Snchez


Well, I’m not sure anyone saw this coming (at least not quite this quickly when we’re talking about Preki), but Mo Johnston and the former Chivas USA coach were fired this morning by Toronto, which is five points adrift of a playoff spot.

From the Toronto press release:

Toronto FC Assistant Coach Nick Dasovic will take over as Interim Head Coach and Earl Cochrane has been appointed Interim Director of Soccer Operations.

Assistant Coaches Leo Percovich and Danny Dichio, Goalie Coach Mike Toshack and Assistant General Manager Jim Brennan will remain with the club.

“This was a difficult decision, but one that was made in the both the short-term and long-term interest of the club. Mo has been with the club since its inception and has embraced the Toronto community. Preki is a proven winner who led the team to the Nutrilite Canadian Championship and our first taste of CONCACAF success,” said Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and chief operating officer for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “At the start of the season, we set a team goal of improving on last year’s record and making the playoffs. Anything less would be unacceptable to our club and our supporters. We felt we had to make this move at this time to best position the team for the final push for the playoffs as well as for its long-term success. The search for a new management team begins today.

“I want to thank Mo for his years of dedicated service to building Toronto FC from day one, as the inaugural Head Coach and then as Manager, Director of Soccer Operations. I also want to thank Preki for his passionate determination.”

Johnston became Toronto FC’s first Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations in team history on August 25, 2006. In February 2008, he was named Manager, Director of Soccer. Johnston leaves Toronto FC with a MLS record of 32-51-31. Preki was hired by the club in November, 17, 2009 and leaves with a MLS record of 7-10-7.

Dasovic is in his third season with Toronto FC. He joined the club in May 2008 as Head of the TFC Academy. He became a member of the first team in 2009 when he was named Assistant Coach.

“We have great confidence in Nick’s ability to lead the team for the balance of the year. He brings experience both as a player and a coach to the game. He understands our expectations and we think he will inspire a renewed effort and enthusiasm among our players necessary for this final playoff push,” said Anselmi.

Prior to joining Toronto FC, Dasovic spent five years with the Canadian National team program. He was also the Head Coach of the Men’s Olympic team that finished third in the CONCACAF Olympic qualification tournament and an Assistant Coach of the Men’s National Team in 2007.

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Monday catch-up: WPS Commish steps down & more

*In another sign Women’s Professional Soccer is more concerned with surviving than expanding, Commissioner Tonya Antonucci announced this morning she will leave the post she has held for three years at season’s end.

The financially-strapped WPS has recently laid off an unspecified number of employees and ended national marketing efforts.

From the WPS press release:

Antonucci will be replaced by WPS General Counsel Anne-Marie Eileraas, who will take the title of CEO, Women’s Professional Soccer. Under on-going league restructuring, Eileraas will head up the business and organizational aspects of the league office, working with the WPS Board, which will guide the strategic direction of the league.

*In local college games Sunday:

The UCLA men (3-1) beat Davidson 2-0 at Drake Stadium, freshman midfielder Kelyn Rowe scoring a pair of second-half goals.

The No. 13-ranked UCLA women (4-1-1) drew 1-1 with UC Santa Barbara (3-3-1) at Drake Stadium, defender Lauren Barnes getting a penalty kick equalizer. Star striker Sydney Leroux missed a first half penalty kick that could have evened the score. UCLA out-shot UCSB 30-10, but the tier snapped a 65-game home winning streak, the nation’s longest.

USC (4-1-2) beat Northern Arizona 3-1 at McAlister Field, getting goals from Samantha Johnson, Ashley Freyer and freshman Mia Bruno.

Pepperdine (4-2-1) beat Dartmouth 2-1 in Malibu.

The Cal State Northridge women (4-3) defeated UNLV, 1-0, in Las Vegas on a goal from Brittanie Sakajian.

The Matadors men (0-3-1) lost 3-1 to San Jose State in Fullerton.

Long Beach State (4-3-1) were crushed 6-0 by No. 19-ranked Cal in Berkeley.

The Loyola Marymount men (3-1) lost 3-1 and their undefeated start to the season to Butler in Kentucky.

The LMU women (4-2) lost 1-0 to No. 3-ranked Notre Dame on a second minute goal at Sullivan Field.

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Galaxy-Crew post-game

Galaxy 3 Columbus Crew 1

i-5f011119bafc352a96cb277208972541-Becksback.jpgGratuitous Elvis Costello reference: Columbus Crew defender Shaun Francis didn’t look like an angel who wanted to wear David Beckham’s red shoes Saturday in Carson (AP Photos).

Game story


Was this the Galaxy’s best performance of the season?

Perhaps. But Edson Buddle, seen here out jumping Riverside’s Chad Marshall, suggested it might have been the most important:

“If we had lost the lead in the league it would have been a totally different atmosphere in the locker room,” he said. “It would have felt like things were slipping away.”

BTW, the best irony of the night? The LA Times has a piece Sunday about how Edson Buddle is off the boil. The MLS scoring leader promptly scored 13 minutes into the game.

What was the difference between this sterling performance and the underwhelming ones we’ve seen recently? There were theories aplenty.

Coach Bruce Arena suggested the missing ingredient was motivation.

“The challenge of playing a team of Columbus’ character obviously woke us up a little bit,” he said.

Or was it Beckham?

“It’s kind of remarkable he’s back on the field in such a short period of time,” Arena said. “It’s inspirational for the team.”

Or was it unsung hero Dema Kovalenko?

“Kovalenko did what he’s known for,” said Crew Coach Robert Warzycha. “He tackled everybody, he grabbed everybody and the ref let him do it. That was the difference.”

Or was it a determination not to play badly yet again?

“We’ve been disappointed with how we played and that more than anything pushed us tonight,” said Landon Donovan.

Or was it just a matter of guts (and other intangibles)?

“I’ve been telling you guys for the last few weeks we haven’t been competitive and tonight we were very competitive,” said Donovan “Most of the 50/50 plays we came on top of. We had more desire than they did and that makes a difference.”

Take your pick.

Take a look at the highlights:

Here’s Kovalenko’s reaction to his contribution that so enthralled Warzycha:

“It’s nice to hear, but that’s what I do, that’s why I’m here, that’s why Bruce and coaches have brought me in, to disrupt plays. I love games like that. I look forward to playing games like that. That’s what makes you better. That’s what makes you compete. That makes a difference y’know? My job today was to watch Schelotto because he’s the guy that can make a difference. I love that. I like (a) challenge. He said to me ‘it’s not a war.’ … And I said, ‘my friend, it’s a war.’ To me, it’s a war. He’s a good player. He makes a difference.”

Arena said the goal of Beckham’s continuing rehab was trying to get him playing 90 minutes by the end of the regular season.

So, the daftest question of the night came from an over-reaching English journalist who asked Beckham whether he would be fit enough for England’s Euro 2012 qualifier next month against Montenegro.

And, of course, it deserved a daft answer:

“I’ve always said I’ll always be available for England,” Beckham said. “And I’m sure the manager will consider me.”

I’m sure he won’t (thankfully).

Most unlikely locker room visitor (I wish I had taken my camera): former Galaxy defender Abel Xavier. He wore incredibly shiny black shoes, white jeans, a black cardigan over a white shirt and a black and white tie. Oh, and he had black and white hair.

Next for the Galaxy: D.C. United Saturday at Home Depot Center.

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Columbus Crew (13-5-5) at the Galaxy (13-5-5)

The Galaxy have been hyping a David Beckham appearance off the bench in this game on their official website all week.

Fox Soccer Channel analysts repeated this conventional wisdom today during MLS games despite a doubtful sounding Coach Bruce Arena on Thursday.

But I just learned from Galaxy officials that Becks is indeed on the bench.

While Beckham did not practice with the rest of the team Thursday after playing in a scrimmage the day before, he trained Friday, apparently overcoming Arena’s reservations.

Still, only a crowd of about 20,000 is expected today so it doesn’t appear the paying public was buying into Beckham playing.

The Galaxy will seek to avoid a third successive home loss – and their fourth in their last six games – in this critical encounter with the Eastern Conference-leading Crew. Arena will also want to put three points between his team and Real Salt Lake, who could only manage a 0-0 draw Thursday against Seattle.

I’ll be back with the lineups in a few minutes.

The Galaxy have made two changes to their starting lineup. Brazilian Juninho returns in midfield after missing the last two games to attend to issues back home, so Jovan Kirovski is moved up front in place of the dropped Tristan Bowen.

The Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko, Alex Cazumba, Edson Buddle, Jovan Kirovski.

Rookie Michael Stephens misses a second consecutive start after playing every game before that this season, but is on the bench, while Chris Birchall, Mike Magee and Eddie Lewis are other options Arena has available.

Here’s the Crew lineup: William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk, Andy Iro, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Dilly Duka, Brian Carroll, Adam Moffat, Eddie Gaven, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Steven Lenhart.

There’s no live TV for this one, so follow along here.


Edson Buddle saw his fourth-minute header from 12 yards out just tipped past the post by Crew goalkeeper Hesmer in the first real attacking chance for either side.


Edson Buddle scored his league-leading 14th goal of the season, tapping home a Sean Franklin cross from six yards out in the 13th minute. Landon Donovan was also credited with an assist on the play, his MLS-best 13th on the year.

The Galaxy haven’t lost a game this season when they have scored the first goal of a game.


The Galaxy went up by two in the 36th minute, Dema Kovalenko finishing a nice sequence of passes that started with Juninho on the left wing. The Brazilian passed to Kovalenko, who tapped the ball on to Donovan, who intelligently gave Kovalenko the ball back to finish from about 10 yards.


Galaxy 2 Crew 0

The Galaxy played a disciplined, attractive opening 45 minutes, passing the ball around efficiently while the Crew were guilty of ball-watching on the goals.

The Crew’s best chance came after 20 minutes when Steven Lenhart beat Omar Gonzalez to the ball. Donovan Ricketts saved the defender’s blushes however, denying Lenhart in a one on one.

Each team has three shots on target.

Edson Buddle has come off at the half and replaced by Chris Birchall. We’re trying to find out why. We’re told it was a “precautionary move.” No other details available. It was due to cramping.


Jovan Kirovski has scored the Galaxy’s third from a far post header off an Alex Cazumba free kick in the 55th minute. Does that mean we’ll see Beckham?


Looks like the Crew are giving up on this one – Lenhart and Schelotto come off in the 63rd minute. The Galaxy meanwhile have one sub remaining. Hmmm.


Becks has his tracksuit off and his game jersey on in the 70th minute. He’s coming onto screams from the crowd in place of Juninho.


Becks got a yellow card for a tackle on Emmanuel Ekpo; he’s been on the field five minutes. (He also had a shot blocked by Chad Marshall).

The Crew have pulled one back in the 86th minute after Leonardo lazily allowed the ball to slip under his foot – and sub Andres Mendoza scored from the Brazilian’s assist Andy Iro’s pass


Galaxy 3 Crew 1

Beckham was interviewed on the field after the game:

“It feels amazing (to play again),” he said. “Doing rehab is kind of tough. It’s good to be back on the field with the guys – it was a big game. I was itching to get on.”

More later.

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