A few words with new Galaxy signing Chad Barrett

i-86134774f3b4a49fe88efc6571e3101f-frankiechad.jpgBruins return: UCLA products Chad Barrett. left, and Frankie Hejduk practice Monday with the Galaxy, the first time the club hit the turf after a week of work inside Home Depot Center. (Staff Photo by Brad Graverson).

The first time I saw Chad Barrett play he teamed with Matt Taylor as UCLA slaughtered Cal State Fullerton at the Home Depot Center in the first-ever college game played at the venue.

Eight years later, I spoke with the former Chicago Fire and Toronto player as his career came full circle. Barrett had actually expected to be drafted by the Galaxy out of college. It didn’t happen.

Q: What are your goals coming into the season? You’ve been penciled in as the starting striker up front with Juan Pablo Angel.
A: Whether I’m penciled in as a (starting) striker or not isn’t going to change my focus,” he said, adding he has adhered to a more professional lifestyle. “I hope my work rate is contagious around here.

“There’s a lot of talent here challenging for very few spots and that’s what I thrive on,” he added, noting he struggled with injury last year and missed a third of the season. “I’m a forward. I’m paid to score goals. … My goal is to get to double digits.

“First and foremost I want to get back in the playoffs. I haven’t done that in the last three years. I hate sitting on the couch in November.”

Q: Do you like your championship chances?
A: “This team has a lot of veterans and a lot of these veterans are very good and bring a lot of leadership to this team. We have all the tools here this year to make a good push for it this year.”

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Galaxy’s first day of practice on the training field – by the numbers

Here, as promised, is a short gallery by Staff Photographer Brad Graverson from the first day of Galaxy practice on what was a beautiful day at Home Depot Center.

i-ee6d9130b99cffa0f76b0d958b823f7b-Angelheads.jpgLook ma, no eyes (open): Juan Pablo Angel, who has been given the No. 9 jersey (Jovan Kirovski, in a classy move, has given up that number and will wear No. 7, the number he wore from 2004-05 as a member of the Galaxy) uses his head on his first day of training with his new club.

i-884a368af4931fae5c3c4155c7fb149b-angelstretch.jpgMuscle man: Angel was busy stretching, not talking Monday. He will talk to the media for the first time after practice Tuesday.

i-ed947ea199b97e7274e705489fad038b-lopez.jpgThe first day of the rest of his Galaxy career: Miguel Lopez, a 22-year-old Argentine midfielder, who was a teammate of MLS draft pick Paolo Cardozo at Quilmes, also joined practice for the first time today.

Lopez will wear No. 25, Cardozo No. 30.

“We’re hopeful they can add a different dimension to our attack,” Arena said of the pair. “Lopez is a quick, direct, aggessive attacker (who) likes the ball at his feet. (He) can take people on (and) can play as a second forward, perhaps as an attacking midfielder. Cardoza plays wide in midfield.”

In other number moves, defender Gregg Berhalter, who has worn the No. 16 since joining the club in 2009, will now wear No. 3. Additionally, after wearing the No. 28 shirt for his first three years with the club, Sean Franklin will now wear No. 5.

Other number updates:

Chad Barrett #29

Adam Cristman #17

Frankie Hejduk #6

Hector Jimenez #16

Dan Keat #15

Jack McBean #32

Dustin McCarty #21

Ryan Thomas #14

I’ll have a few words with striker Chad Barrett a little later and, of course, Tuesday’s column will focus on the Galaxy.

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Monday Galaxy camp update

Just got back from the sixth day of the Galaxy’s preseason camp out at a sun-drenched Home Depot Center (fresh and crisp after that rain Sunday) and the first for 26 of the 28 players on the roster to hit the practice field after a week of gym work and testing.

Only David Beckham (training in England with Spurs) and newly-signed youngster Jack McBean (who is with the U.S. U-17 team) are absent.

Juninho just got back into town from Brazil, while Juan Pablo Angel trained, but won’t talk to the media until Tuesday.

I chatted with Landon Donovan (who now won’t have to worry about playing Egypt next month – the game was canceled today because of the unrest in the country), new signings Frankie Hejduk and Chad Barrett and, of course, Coach Bruce Arena.

I’ll have more from those folks in Tuesday’s column along with, a little later, some photos of today’s training session.

Meanwhile, MLS Commish Don Garber, Donovan and New York’s Thierry Henry will participate in a conference call Tuesday for a “major soccer announcement.”

It should be, but isn’t, an announcement about the complete regular season schedule, nor is it (but similarly should be) to announce the MLS Supporters Shield winner will host MLS Cup.

“It’s ridiculous,” Arena said of the delay in seeing a season schedule with the competition starting play in just a matter of weeks. “I’d like to know who we’re playing.”

Supposedly, the schedule will be out later this week.

Incidentally, for those of you wondering Bryan Jordan finished fourth in a field of six in a 60m event Friday at the Millrose Games in New York.

More later.

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Galaxy to play TJ in preseason game in San Diego

The Galaxy announced today the club will play Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente of Mexico’s Liga de Ascenso at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 at Torero Stadium on the University of San Diego campus.

Tickets starting at $25 go on sale 10 a.m. Wednesday. Call (619) 260-7550.

“We are very excited to announce this match against Club Tijuana in San Diego, a market that is important to our organization and one where we have wanted to play for quite some time,” said Galaxy President of Business Operations Tom Payne.

It’s the Galaxy’s first-ever game at the 6,000 seat Torero Stadium.

From the Galaxy press release:

Club Tijuana is coached by former Club America and Mexican National Team midfielder Joaqun Del Olmo, who in his first season with the club guided the Xoloitzcuintles to their first title last December, winning the Liga de Ascenso Apertura Season. Led by their captain Javier Gandolfi, goalkeeper Adrian Zermeno and forward Ral Enrquez, Club Tijuana posted an impressive 11-1-5 record last season. Gandolfi, a defender from Argentina, and Zermeno, who spent eight seasons at Toluca, spearhead their defense, which conceded only seven goals in 21 games last season.

This season, Club Tijuana is 0-1-1 in the Clausura Season. The Xoloitzcuintles play their first home game of the season this Sunday, when the club hosts Len, which is currently in fourth place in the table with a 2-1-0 record.

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Houston moves east as MLS realigns conferences

Well, not literally, but the Dynamo have joined the Eastern Conference giving the league two nine-team conferences this season with the addition of expansion franchises in Vancouver and Portland.

Here’s the alignment:


Chicago Fire

Columbus Crew

D.C. United

Houston Dynamo

Sporting Kansas City

New England Revolution

New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia Union

Toronto FC


Chivas USA

Colorado Rapids

FC Dallas


Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake

San Jose Earthquakes

Seattle Sounders FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Here’s the reason for MLS “moving” Houston:

Upon joining MLS in 2006, Houston became the easternmost club in the Western Conference. The two-time MLS Cup Champions are now the westernmost team in the Eastern Conference. Houston’s average distance from its Eastern Conference foes is 194.6 miles shorter than its average distance to the nine Western Conference clubs.

This year, every team will play each of the other 17 clubs once at home, once away, for a balanced, 34-game regular season.

The League’s 16th season begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15 with the Seattle Sounders hosting the Galaxy.

The full league schedule is expected to be released within a matter of days.

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Galaxy’s Jordan gets on track

i-68cd4f3ff6115d9e9d1131cbb274f75f-GalaxyvsHollywoodFC.jpgFlying high: Air Bryan Jordan will represent Friday at the Millrose Games (Photo courtesy LA Galaxy).

Galaxy midfielder Bryan Jordan, the pride of Temple City, will represent the Galaxy and MLS in the Super 60 II Friday at the 104th Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City (live 5 p.m. ESPN2).

Jordan faces Super 60 champion and former NFL star Anthony Dorsett Jr.; Houston Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones, a former track athlete; former NBA star Jay Williams; former MLB All-Star Junior Spivey; and Olympic bobsled gold medalist Steve Mesler, a former decathlete.

Apparently Jordan got involved after meeting hurdler Lolo Jones at the ESPN the Magazine “The Body Issue” launch party. Can you blame him?

Jordan ran track until his freshman year in high school and said he ran a 4.3 40-yard-dash, Galaxy officials relayed.

“He has not run 60 meters ever, actually,” the Galaxy spokesman said.

Ulp. Good luck, Bryan.

Jordan, 25, has made eight starts in the last three seasons for the Galaxy, scoring two goals.

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El Tri schedules March game in San Diego

The game was announced today:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico will play Venezuela in an exhibition game March 29 in San Diego.

Mexico plays Bosnia-Herzegovina on Feb. 9 in Atlanta and Paraguay on March 26 in Oakland.

All three are FIFA fixture dates, making it possible for the teams to bring in top players from European clubs.

Mexico was eliminated from last year’s World Cup in the second round by Argentina and is
rebuilding under new coach Jose Manuel de la Torre. De la Torre, who replaced Javier Aguirre, who makes his debut against Bosnia.

Tickets go on sale at 1 p.m. Friday at the usual outlets.

Here’s a little more on the history between the two teams, from the Soccer United Marketing press release:

Historically, Mexico and Venezuela have faced off nine times, with a 8-1-0 record in favor of “El Tri.” They last met on U.S. soil in June 2009, when Mexico won 4-0 in Atlanta in front of more than 50,000 fans. Four days later, Mexico tied Guatemala in a scoreless match at Qualcomm Stadium, which marked “El Tri’s” most recent visit to San Diego. The most recent match between Mexico and Venezuela took place on October 12, 2010 in Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, resulting in a 2-2 draw.

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2011 Galaxy: Stability, depth=MLS title?

The likes of David Beckham and Juan Pablo Angel have yet to join the Galaxy’s preseason camp, which opened Monday, but reporter Phil Collin headed out to assess the projected starters on the first media availability of the year Wednesday.

He filed this story for today’s newspaper.

I’ll have more in Tuesday’s column when the Galaxy hit the practice fields for the first time Monday after a week of gym work and physical testing.

Angel reports Monday although whether he’ll stay inside for some physical evaluation is unclear at this time. Still, I’m told he will chat with the media.

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Chivas USA Camp Update

i-b2725ce3e313f7cc3267994052197f38-PasoRobles_final.jpgFar from home: Chivas USA train in stunning Central California (Photo courtesy Chivas USA).

Chivas USA is training this week in the bucolic surroundings of the Central Coast community of Templeton.

In their honor I cracked an excellent Zinfandel from Castoro Cellers this evening paired with a skinless chicken breast and mushroom risotto.

What else gets better with age?

Former Galaxy striker Alejandro Moreno. Yummy.

Update to the update (really)

*Mexican veterans Joaqun Beltrn, 33, and goalkeeper Dmitri Gonzalez are no longer in camp with the team.

*However, both CD Guadalajara goalkeeper Sergio Arias, 22, and former Chivas USA favorite Panchito Mendoza continue to attempt to earn MLS contracts.

*Neither striker Justin Braun nor goalkeeper Dan Kennedy are in camp. Both are recovering from injury. Braun sustained an injury during the recent USMNT camp at Home Depot Center; Kennedy is recovering from off-season surgery.

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