Chivas USA Saturday gameday

A season in which Chivas USA never won two games in a row comes to a merciful conclusion tonight in what will likely be a gloomy, damp evening at Home Depot Center against the Chicago Fire (8 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel).

While the weather will evoke the horrors of this and Chivas USA’s season, MLS will bid farewell to Fire striker Brian McBride and Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein of Los Alamitos.

Lost in the two departures is the retirement of dependable Chicago defender C.J. Brown, 35, a Fire fixture since 1998 and the last remaining player from the club’s inaugural year in the league. He was MLS Defender of the Year in 2006 and won 15 caps with the U.S. national team.

Chivas USA will end its season with a defense looking even more unsteady (if that’s possible) since central defender Dario Delgado is out with a broken foot and both Yamith Cuesta and Michael Umana were hurt in Wednesday’s loss to San Jose.

Alan Gordon returns from a two-game suspension, however.

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Friday College scoreboard

*USC set a new NCAA women’s soccer record attendance in their derby against UCLA. The attendance figure bested a 2006 crowd in College Station, Texas for a Texas A&M-North Carolina match. Loved the name of the goalscorer, too, – Autumn Altamirano.

*Pepperdine (7-5-5, 0-2-2 WCC) drew 0-0 with San Francisco, hitting the crossbar with just seconds to play – for the second consecutive game.

*Despite a fly-over by President Barack Obama in the Marine One helicopter en route to LAX, freshman Tawni Martino scored her fourth game-winning goal of the season as LMU snapped a three-match winless streak with a 1-0 win over visiting Saint Mary’s in a West Coast Conference match at Sullivan Field. It was Martino’s team-leading seventh goal of the season and allowed the Lions (9-5-1, 1-2-1 WCC) to leap over the Gaels (7-6-3, 1-3-0 WCC) in the standings.

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Hundreds to rally Saturday in downtown LA to save state parks – and soccer fields

Los Angeles-area parents and youngsters clad in soccer gear from the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association will hold a save our parks march in support of Proposition 21.

The association relies on the recreational space at Rio de Los Angeles State Park to host games and practices.

Local youth sports leagues nearly lost access to the fields last year because of proposed park closures. Supporters will hold a rally and press conference to highlight the funding problems in the state park system.

Those expected to attend include Raul Macias, president of the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association; Irma Munoz, President of Mujere de las Tierras; Alfredo Gonzalez, The Nature Conservancy; and Arturo Carmona, executive director of Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamerica.

The march beings at 10 a.m. and the rally at 10:30 a.m. at the park, 1900 San Fernando Road.

More information on the campaign is available by clicking here.

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U.S. striker Brian McBride ends iconic career Saturday at Home Depot Center

i-864d5fca00430c3f8577600ddab64a2e-mcbridgealston.jpgBrian McBride, seen at right challenging Kevin Alston, one of the bravest and best American strikers in the nation’s history, will retire after the Chicago Fire plays its final MLS game of the season Saturday night against Chivas USA at Home Depot Center.

Fans may not see much of him – he’s expected to start on the bench – but regardless, a standing ovation at game’s end is not only apt, it should be compulsory.

Associated Press Writer Nancy Armour is the author of this piece summing up his exemplary career:

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) — Brian McBride’s face was covered in blood, and it would take three stitches to close the gash under his eye after an elbow from Italy’s Daniele De Rossi.

Just the sight of him was enough to make soccer fans wince. Yet McBride stayed in the World Cup game and helped the Americans salvage a draw against the eventual champions, just one example of the grit and determination that defined his career.

“He was a complete forward,” said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena, who coached McBride at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. “He’s been a player who excelled on the field and obviously off the field, and he’s been even better in the way he represented American soccer and himself. He’s a first-class guy.”

The Chicago Fire forward will play his final game Saturday in Carson in a career that’s spanned 17 years, two continents, three World Cups, some gruesome injuries and more than 150 goals. Other players have had longer careers than the 38-year-old striker and
scored more. He wasn’t the first American to go to England, and others have had more longevity in Europe.

But his goal-scoring ability, tenacity and spirit helped make the U.S. more competitive in the world’s favorite game, and paved the way for the next generation of players.

“I haven’t looked at it from that standpoint,” McBride said when asked what he wants his
legacy to be. “I hope that I’ve added quality to wherever I’ve been and also done things in the right way, with class. Hopefully I’ve been able to pass on a few words of wisdom.”

The U.S. has produced some world-class midfielders (Landon Donovan, Claudio Reyna, Clint Dempsey) and high-level defenders (Alexi Lalas and Steve Cherundolo), and most countries would be thrilled to have a goalkeeper like Tim Howard, Brad Friedel or Kasey Keller.

But forward is trickier.

A U.S. forward hasn’t scored since the 2002 World Cup, and Jozy Altidore has only two goals in his last 14 games with the national team. No American forward is getting regular playing time in Europe, and Major League Soccer’s best, Edson Buddle, wasn’t even in the World Cup mix at the beginning of the year. (Donovan and Dempsey are sometimes listed as forwards, but their natural position is midfielder.)

A forward has to be able to play with his back to the goal and outmuscle defenders who want nothing more than to knock him off his feet. He needs cat-quick reflexes and vision, too, able to make something happen within a second, maybe two, of getting the ball.

As a “target” forward, McBride had all that — and more. Tough, physical and supremely gifted in the air, the 6-foot-1 McBride could create goals most other players could only imagine.

“He had an uncanny ability to get at the end of service in the box, whether in the air or on the ground. And he showed great courage in the air,” Arena said. “He was a good goal scorer. He worked hard on finishing and scored in a variety of ways.”

McBride provided one of the lone U.S. highlights at the 1998 World Cup, scoring on a header against Iran. Four years later, his diving header from 6 yards out would prove to be the game-winner in a 3-2 upset of Portugal. The Americans would go all the way to the quarterfinals, a surprising run that showed the rest of the world the United States was no longer part of the lightweight division.

McBride was the first American to score at two World Cups, and finished with 30 goals in a U.S. uniform. Only Donovan (45) and Eric Wynalda (34) have more. He has 79 career MLS goals (he still shares the Crew record for goals scored), and scored another 40 in his 4 seasons at Fulham.

“You’ve been a massive inspiration for all of us,” Donovan said in a tribute video played
after McBride’s final home game last Saturday. “We’re going to miss you.”

McBride wasn’t afraid to shed a little blood, either.

He absorbed so many elbows and arms over the years he has titanium plates in his cheeks. He missed most of the 2007-08 season, his last at Fulham, with a ruptured quadriceps and dislocated kneecap. It was that combination of quality and toughness that endeared McBride to the Fulham faithful. With the Cottagers deep in relegation trouble in 2008, McBride’s return sparked a remarkable turnaround and Fulham won four of its last five games to keep its spot in the Premier League.

A bar at Craven Cottage is now named “McBride’s” in honor of the contributions of “Captain Courageous.”

“Things that stick out are the ’02 World Cup and then my last year at Fulham,” McBride said. “Those are probably two memories that just pop into your head because they were so strong.”

Though Fulham tried to lure him back for one more year, McBride and his wife Dina had already decided it was time to come back home. Both the McBrides are from Arlington Heights, Ill., and family is a big part of their lives (when McBride scores, he kisses his ring finger in honor of Dina). They wanted their three daughters to grow up surrounded by family and close friends as they did.

McBride signed with his hometown Chicago Fire, and has 17 goals in two-plus seasons. The Fire’s leading scorer last year, he is second this season.

“Absolutely amazing player,” said teammate Freddie Ljungberg.

McBride could probably play for another season or two. But his daughters are getting older, and he wants to be around for all of their activities. He wants to take his wife out for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, something he can only do in the offseason now.

But he’s not leaving the game entirely. McBride hopes to start soccer camps for attacking players, teaching them everything from fitness to movement off the ball to what they should do in various game scenarios. He wants the camps to be small enough, 10 to 20 kids, so he can be hands-on and pass along all his knowledge and skills.

Who knows? Maybe one of those kids will play for the U.S. someday.

“He’s the kind of player you point to and tell younger players, ‘Watch him.’ He serves as a great role model,” Arena said. “I don’t for a second take lightly the kind of character he had and how sorely it’s needed in the game and how it moved the game along.
“He’s a rare breed.”

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Friday Kicks: “No worries” Galaxy & more

*Reporter Phil Collin headed out to practice Thursday to record the toll the race for the Supporters’ Shield is taking on the Galaxy heading into the final weekend and the final game of the regular season with everything on the line.

*Will Edson Buddle win the MLS scoring title or will a one hit Wondolowski?

*Meanwhile, a Thierry Henry-less Red Bulls has done the “impossible” and clinched the Eastern Conference crown.

*Long Beach State saw its seven-game unbeaten streak come to an end Thursday against Big West Conference leaders UC Irvine.

*Lastly, the Cal State Northridge women (10-7) defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 2-1, Thursday night at Roadrunner Stadium in Bakersfield on an 83rd minute goal by sophomore Stephanie Galarze.

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USC women’s soccer aims for new NCAA attendance record Friday

Two years ago, the last time USC and UCLA met at the Coliseum, a crowd of 7,804 watched the game, the second highest attendance for a non-NCAA Tournament women’s soccer game.

The record isn’t much more than that – 8,204 – and USC officials are hoping to break the mark at the 7 p.m. game Friday between the No. 23-ranked Trojans (8-4-3, 1-2-1 Pac-10) and the No. 19-ranked Bruins (9-5-1, 2-2).

The game features UCLA striker Sydney Leroux, the U.S. Under-20 star who leads the Bruins in scoring with nine goals. That’s also good for third in the Pac-10.

Admission is free for USC students, $3 for a group of 10 or more and $5 regular admission for adults. The first 2,500 fans through the gates receive a free commemorative scarf. Call 213-740-1244 for tickets.

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Thursday Kicks: MLS Expansion Draft details unveiled & more

*MLS holds the 2010 Expansion Draft 2 p.m. Nov. 24 when the league’s 17th and 18th teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Portland Timbers, each select 10 players during the 10-round draft.

Portland has the first pick.

From the MLS press release:

Each current MLS club will have the opportunity to protect 11 players from their 2010 roster. Generation adidas players (who will not graduate at the end of the 2010 season) and Home Grown players are automatically protected and do not count against a team’s 11 protected roster spots. Designated Players do not have to be protected unless the player has a no trade clause in his contract.

Complete draft rules are here.

Given the number of veterans on the Galaxy roster and fringe players on a Chivas USA squad that should see a massive overhaul next season, the exercise in deciding what players to protect should be relatively easy for both clubs, no?

*Incidentally, if you plan to attend Saturday’s Chivas USA-Chicago game in Carson largely to see veteran Brian McBride play in his last-ever MLS game, you might want to think again. reports McBride missed Wednesday’s practice with a stomach ailment and isn’t expected to start and it’s only a “possiblility” he will get off the bench this weekend.

Designated Players Freddie Ljungberg and Nery Castillo are expected to start up front for the Fire.

*Armchair fans hoping to run the rule over Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls in the event the Galaxy faces them in the playoffs should know the Frenchman is out of tonight’s nationally televised 4:30 p.m. contest on ESPN2 against the New England Revolution.

The Red Bulls don’t want Henry to worsen the knee injury suffered last week in practice. That forced him to miss Saturday’s 2-1 loss in Philadelphia.

The Red Bulls (14-9-6) can clinch the Eastern Conference title and home-field advantage for the playoffs tonight with a win over already eliminated New England.

*By the way, are you excited by the start of the Premier Arena Soccer League season? No, me neither.

*Lastly, I neglected to mention that San Diego Boca FC drew 1-1 with Cuauhtmoc Blanco and second division Mexican team CD Irapuato Tuesday night in a steady drizzle before 1,339 at San Diego’s Balboa Stadium. Blanco lasted until the 71st minute before he was subbed out.

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Wednesday Kicks: Chivas USA, Edu & more

*Chivas USA not only made the San Jose Earthquakes look really good tonight in a 3-0 loss replete with the same old errors (what the hell was that giveaway in your own half that led to a goal, Michael Lahoud?) that have characterized their season to forget, they also handed Chris Wondolowski an easy hat trick and allowed him to pull level with the Galaxy’s Edson Buddle for the MLS scoring title.

BTW, Mr. Buddle you might want to blame the Chivas USA PR staff who led with this item in their game preview:

In order to win the Budweiser Golden Boot, Chris Wondolowski will need to score three goals and add two assists in the Quakes’ last two games – and hope that LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle does not register on the scoresheet against FC Dallas on Sunday.

Reporter Elliott Almond of our sister paper the San Jose Mercury News has the details.

Both of Chivas USA’s starting central defenders, Michael Umaa and Yamith Cuesta, were subbed out with injuries. Cuesta exited in the 62nd minute with a left knee injury and was replaced by Jonathan Bornstein, while Umaa strained his right hamstring four minutes later and was replaced by Sal Zizzo. The Red-and-White finished the game with a back four of Mariano Trujillo, Ante Jazic, Bornstein and Jorge Flores.

Still, I almost felt sorry for MLS pool goalkeeper and Cal State Northridge product Kevin Guppy, deputizing for Zach Thornton in the Chivas USA net, who was rested.

Notable: Midfielder Paulo Nagamura set a record for the most appearances in MLS by a Brazilian. Nagamura has played 145 games in MLS, including 87 appearances for Chivas USA. The remainder came with the Galaxy and Toronto FC.


“The result hurts… but right now what hurts more is losing two guys to injuries,” said Chivas USA Coach Martin Vasquez. “Obviously it’s something that can happen, but it’s a concern…. We were playing against a good team and we were doing well; unfortunately we couldn’t hold on to at least a point.”

Chivas USA lineup: Kevin Guppy, Mariano Trujillo, Michael Umaa (Sal Zizzo 66), Yamith Cuesta (Jonathan Bornstein 62), Ante Jazic, Marcelo Saragosa (Jess Padilla 46), Michael Lahoud, Paulo Nagamura, Rodolfo Espinoza, Jorge Flores, Justin Braun

*Fontana’s Maurice Edu had an eventful night at either end of the field for Glasgow Rangers in their UEFA Champions League game Tuesday against Valencia.

i-b7c6d306f9e7c3da01d6c074b64a0c18-eduwinner.jpg First, he scored a first half goal at the right end of the field to make it 1-0 Rangers (AP Photo).

i-1a8fe76dff8c6b054128d922b6d66e4a-eduloser.jpgThen he scored a second half goal at the wrong end of the field to make it 1-1 (AFP Photo).

Edu sounded bemused by both goals.

*The No. 8-ranked UC Irvine men came from behind to beat Cal State Northridge (2-10-2, 1-4-1 BWC) 2-1 Wednesday at Matador Field.

Matadors Coach Terry Davila had this to say after the game:

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Chivas USA Wednesday Gameday

Chivas USA and defender Jonathan Bornstein play the penultimate game of their season and his MLS career against the Earthquakes in San Jose (7 p.m. Prime) in a contest that means a lot more to the home side than the visitors.

Chivas USA striker Alan Gordon is serving the second game of his two-game suspension so will miss the game, but fellow forward Justin Braun trained with the full squad Monday for the first time since being diagnosed with a concussion last week and could see action tonight.

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Galaxy’s Chris Klein to retire at season’s end

i-ff42d8f36ab664197a81317f17cbe13d-Klein&Ugo.jpgChris Klein, left, and Ugo Ihemelu vie for the ball during a 2009 U.S. Open Cup clash (AP Photo).

The club made the announcement today that the 34-year-old midfielder who has found it difficult to break into the team this season will hang up his cleats at the end of the season, joining fellow veteran midfielder Eddie Lewis who made a similar announcement earlier this year.

Klein joined the club in June 2007 and ranks fifth in MLS history with 332 career regular season games played, scoring 49 goals and another 69 assists with three different clubs.

“The decision to step away from the game after 13 years is a difficult one, but one that I am ready for,” Klein said. “I have had an amazing journey in MLS. I’ve had the ability to play with hundreds of teammates and for some of the best coaches that this league has ever produced, and I was able to forge relationships with them that extend beyond the soccer field. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to play in front of some incredible fans in Kansas City, Salt Lake and now here with the Galaxy; and those are the people that I will really miss.”

Klein was a fourth round draft pick for the Kansas City Wizards and then spent a season and a half with Real Salt Lake after he was traded just before the start of the 2006 season.

From the Galaxy press release:

One of the most consistent players in the history of MLS, Klein owns the league record for most consecutive games played at 141 and consecutive games started at 118. From June 11, 2005 until April 11, 2009, Klein started every regular season game in which his teams played. On April 18, 2009, he came off the bench in the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw at San Jose, ending his consecutive games started streak, but continuing his consecutive games played streak. That run ended at 141 games on September 26, 2009 when he was an unused substitute in a 2-0 loss at Columbus.

A two-time MLS Comeback Player of the Year, winning the award in 2002 and 2005 after coming back from a torn ACL that he suffered in each of the previous seasons, Klein was capped 22 times by the U.S. National Team after making his international debut in a 2-0 win over Mexico on October 25, 2000. He had five goals and three assists in his international career, including a goal and two assists in a 4-0 win over Guatemala at Pizza Hut Park in February 2006.

His most memorable moment with the Galaxy?

The bicycle kick in the final seconds of regulation in the inaugural SuperLiga final that tied the score at 1-1 and sent the match to overtime. The Galaxy eventually lost to Pachuca on penalty kicks.

“Chris has established an outstanding legacy in MLS as an All-Star performer, an MLS Cup champion and a key figure in a historic collective bargaining agreement,” sdaid Galaxy Coach and GM Bruce Arena. “Through these endeavors, Chris has always exhibited the character and professionalism that he has become synonymous with and we wish him the very best as he moves forward to the next step of his career.”

Incidentally, Lewis publicly announced his retirement weeks ago, but the Galaxy decided to ignore that and re-announced his retirement today.

Kinda weird, but at least that gave Arena the chance to gush:

“Eddie Lewis is arguably the finest left-sided midfielder in the history of U.S. Soccer. “His play in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, MLS and English football secures his place in the Hall of Fame.”

I would actually argue with Arena on that one, but there’s no doubt Lewis was a fine player in his day.

He started out with the old San Jose Clash, but his best years came in the almost 10 years he spent in England with Preston North End, Fulham, Leeds United and Derby County.

He played almost 50 times with the Galaxy and scored three times after joining the club in August 2008.


Here’s more from the players themselves:

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