Galaxy Camp Update: “Antsy” Donovan ready to rumble

Today was the first time since the Galaxy camp opened Monday the media was invited to talk to players and coaching staff. Reporter Phil Collin will have more tomorrow, but the Associated Press focused on playmaker Landon Donovan in a story filed today:

CARSON (AP) — Time off from soccer is an entirely new concept for Landon Donovan.

He can’t recall another moment in his career that he was this excited to return to the pitch.

That’s good news for his Galaxy and the team’s quest to capture an elusive title. But it could spell trouble for the rest of the league hoping to take out the revamped and
hungry Galaxy.

“This is the first time I can remember where I had enough time to really get antsy to play
again,” Donovan said following Wednesday’s third session of training camp. “I’m excited to be back, to see new faces and to start up again, and that hasn’t happened in a while.”

Being in camp this time of year is slightly foreign to the Galaxy midfielder. Donovan missed the bulk of last season’s team training while playing on loan with Everton in Europe, returning for one preseason contest before jumping into the grind of the regular season.

This year, instead of pursing another loan and playing throughout the offseason, Donovan decided to take a break from soccer, during which he traveled, rested and did anything he could to keep his mind off the game.

“I’m so used to going all the time, it was almost difficult just to relax,” said Donovan. “You
want to find something to do and you just have to force yourself to relax. But I know it was the right decision.”

Donovan stressed the importance of being with his teammates from the get-go this year as the Galaxy look for redemption after falling just shy of an MLS championship the past two seasons.

One famous face remains absent for the time being.

David Beckham remains with Tottenham in Europe, although he’s not been allowed to see any game action with the Spurs with the Galaxy unable to come to a suitable agreement with the EPL club.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena didn’t shed much light on the situation Wednesday, other than to say, “He’ll be playing for the Galaxy this year.”

The 35-year-old Beckham spent the first half of last season playing on loan for AC Milan, during which time he suffered an Achilles’ tendon injury that cost him an opportunity to play in the World Cup and six months of the season.

Now fully healthy, Beckham is scheduled to return from Europe and report to Los Angeles on Feb. 10.

Beckham is in the final year of his deal with the Galaxy, meaning this season could be his swansong with the team and the league.

Donovan, who knows firsthand what it’s like to arrive at camp late, doesn’t think Beckham’s absence will hinder the team’s ability to come together.

“I would normally say yes, but every year we’ve spent significant time without David, whether it’s been injuries or if he’s been away,” Donovan said. “This team knows how to gel quickly, and David conversely does a really good job of coming into the team.”

The Galaxy will train in Southern California until heading to Arizona for nine days of
training beginning Feb. 14. They open the season March 15 against the Seattle Sounders.

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Wednesday Kicks: Moves & trade rumors

*According to several different sources, former D.C. United Coach Curt Onalfo is replacing Cobi Jones as an assistant coach at the Galaxy. There’s been no confirmation from the Galaxy and no reply to an e-mail inquiry I made this morning.

*Pasadena City College product Yura Movsisyan looks to be headed to a Russian team from his current Danish club.

*Finally, former LA Sol striker Marta has signed a contract with WPS expansion club the Western New York Flash, which is based in Buffalo, the club announced Tuesday.

It’s the third WPS club in three years for the 25-year-old Brazilian striker, the league MVP in its first two years of operation and the reigning and five-time FIFA World Player of the Year. She played last year for FC Gold Pride in the Bay Area, which won the WPS title and promptly ceased operations, following the Sol into oblivion.

So that’s the kiss of death for the Flash then.


Four things from the Galaxy camp today:

1. Onalfo’s hiring was confirmed by Coach Bruce Arena.

2. Jack McBean’s signing (see this earlier post for details) was also confirmed. He will join the Galaxy in camp in mid-February once U-17 World Cup qualifying is completed.

3. A 22-year-old Argentine midfielder named Miguel Lopez, who was a teammate of MLS draft pick Paolo Cardozo at Quilmes, will join the Galaxy in camp next week. Brazilians one year, Argentines the next for the Galaxy, I guess.

4. Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has received his green card, meaning the Galaxy are in compliance with MLS rules regarding international players on the roster (a regular blog reader was fretting about that the other day).

Reporter Phil Collin will have more in the dead tree edition tomorrow.

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Tuesday’s (bonus) column: Reckless Ruud?

i-8003899128d924a2787378753e99128b-Gullitgals.jpgClueless? Is Ruud Gullit, who once had a clue about human rights and admired Nelson Mandela, now ignoring similar issues in Eastern Europe all in pursuit of big rubles? (AP Photo)

The second column today isn’t by me, it’s by Associated Press columnist John Leicester. But it certainly holds plenty of interest for Galaxy fans still simmering at the coaching record of Ruud Gullit who was fired after a club-record 12-game winless streak in 2008, a season that ended with the Galaxy’s worst-ever record of 8-13-9. And it begs the question, just how big of a nitwit is Gullit?

PARIS (AP) — The query from my editor had the merit of being blunt: What’s got into former Galaxy Coach Ruud Gullit?

So began a search for clues. How to determine whether one of soccer’s most famous names, an elegant midfielder who led the Netherlands to European Championship glory in 1988, might have shown a colossal lapse in judgment?

Well, taking a coaching job in Chechnya — yes, that Chechnya, of two wars in the past two decades, shocking brutality and Islamic terror — might arguably qualify. The former manager of the Galaxy, as well as Chelsea, Newcastle and Feyenoord has agreed to an 18-month contract with Chechnya’s Terek Grozny team.

Equally questionable: agreeing to work for Ramzan Kadyrov, the bullnecked president of both Chechyna and of Terek.

Kadyrov’s opponents — it’s wise to chose words carefully — have a habit of disappearing and turning up dead. Rights groups have accused his security forces of abducting, torturing and killing civilians. In a particularly chilling portrait of Kadyrov a few years ago, the Los Angeles Times said the Chechen leader smiled, put a knife in his mouth and bit down on it when the term “human rights group” was uttered in his presence. It also described Kadyrov delighting in using his pet tiger to scare his imported swans, pelicans and ducks, saying: “I’m going to make them scream.”

Closer to home for Gullit, Kadyrov in 2008 also said that for Terek, “it’s better to be dead than to be second.”

Perhaps Gullit should have spent more time talking this through during his Christmas vacation in St. Barts. His wife, Estelle, told the Dutch magazine Miljonair that the 1987 European player of the year mulled over the Chechnya job when they mingled on the Caribbean island with Diddy, Demi Moore and Roman Abramovich, the billionaire who knows a thing or two about how soccer glitz can help gloss over the darker sides of his native Russia.

Or perhaps it’s just the money. Maybe the problem, if there is one, is not with Gullit’s
sanity but his moral compass.

“Of course, Ruud is going to be well paid. How much? I’m not saying. But you can assume it’s a question of millions,” Miljonair quoted his wife as saying.

“His budget will be unlimited and his salary is good by any measure,” she reportedly added. “(The alternative was) a 48-year-old man sprawled on the couch. You don’t want that.”

After peace deals are negotiated, the resumption of sport can be a milestone in the return to normality after war. For instance, the Olympic Games — not held in 1940 or 1944 because of World War II — were organized in bomb-ravaged London in 1948, just three years after the conflict ended and despite continued rationing of vitals like gasoline and food.

Likewise, the Chechen capital, Grozny, is no longer the bombed-out moonscape it became when Russian forces and Chechen separatists fought. Gullit, if he ventures out, will discover restaurants, cafes, even sushi, a showcase new mosque, rebuilt schools and universities and, in Putin Avenue, a thoroughfare as nice as any in a provincial Russian city.

Terek, the team Gullit is acquainting himself with this week at a training camp in Turkey,
fell apart in 1994 amid the beginnings of the first Chechen war, its players scattering to
other clubs. Later reformed, it wasn’t able to play at home in Grozny until 2008 because the city was deemed too dangerous. For the moment, while a new 30,000-seat facility is built, Terek plays at Grozny’s Sultan Bilimkhanov stadium.

That is where Kadyrov’s father, Chechnya’s first Moscow-backed president Akhmad Kadyrov, was killed in a 2004 bomb blast.

So perhaps Gullit shouldn’t be knocked for exporting his soccer expertise and big name to Chechnya, not if one also believes that its people should not be deprived of the hope and reconciliation that sport can foster. If nothing else, his appointment is focusing minds on both the good and evil in Chechnya. Another Netherlands great, Johan Cruyff, is among his defenders.

“It reminds me of my choice to play for Barcelona in 1973. Many critics said I was opting to play in the country of the dictator Franco, who was still in power in Spain,” he wrote this week in the Dutch daily De Telegraaf. “Many people underestimate the power of sport — which sometimes gives you the power to change things through play.”

But sport’s ability to capture imaginations, to rouse passions and pride, can make it a tool for savvy dictators, too.

That’s what British lawmaker Lord Frank Judd fears is happening here. He’s long kept a close and critical eye on human rights abuses in Chechnya and last visited the region a year ago. He says Gullit has fallen into a propaganda trap laid by Kadyrov. He also pointedly noted that South Africa was shunned, not embraced, by world sports during its apartheid years.

Gullit is “maybe motivated by a lot of goodwill,” Judd said in a telephone interview. “But it
is exactly the type of endorsement that these tyrants are looking for.

“It is an exploitation of his expertise, prowess and knowledge. That is very sad for him,” he added. “Things are not back to normal. That is exactly what Kadyrov and the Kremlin want us to think.”

So is Gullit a pawn, a pioneer, or just plain ignorant?

In Grozny, he should have plenty to think about.

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Tuesday Kicks: Galaxy announce preseason schedule & more

*The club will play the expansion Portland Timbers Feb. 8 and the San Jose Earthquakes Feb. 10 at Home Depot Center, although there’s no word whether fans will be able to peer over a fence and watch or the games will be behind closed doors.

The Galaxy will also play three games against MLS opponents while training in Arizona from Feb. 13 through Feb. 23.

Also, West Virginia goalkeeper Zach Johnson, the club’s third round pick in the Supplemental Draft, has “elected to pursue other professional opportunities and will not join the club,” officials announced today.

My guess is he saw his first likely MLS wage packet and decided to get a job at McDonald’s instead.

That leads 26 players in camp “vying” for a spot on the expanded 30-player roster, the club said:

In addition to the 17 players who remain with the club from a year ago, the Galaxy have added nine players to their roster ahead of the start of this season. Juan Pablo Angel and Frankie Hejduk were each acquired in Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Process, Chad Barrett and Adam Cristman were added through trades earlier this month. Paolo Cardozo and Hector Jimenez were each selected by the club in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft while Daniel Keat, Dustin McCarty and Ryan Thomas were each added a few days later in the MLS Supplemental Draft.

The full preseason roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3) – Brian Perk, Donovan Ricketts, Josh Saunders

DEFENDERS (8) – Gregg Berhalter, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Frankie Hejduk, Leonardo, Ryan Thomas

MIDFIELDERS (11) – David Beckham, Chris Birchall, Paolo Cardozo, Landon Donovan, Hector Jimenez, Bryan Jordan, Juninho, Daniel Keat, Jovan Kirovski, Dustin McCarty, Michael Stephens

FORWARDS (4) – Juan Pablo Angel, Chad Barrett, Adam Cristman, Mike Magee

Who’s missing?

Per the Galaxy:

Seven players who were with the Galaxy at the end of the 2010 MLS season are no longer with the club. Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis each retired, Edson Buddle signed with FC Ingolstadt of the German 2. Bundesliga, Tristan Bowen was traded to Chivas USA, while Alex Cazumba, Dema Kovalenko and Trinidad & Tobago international Yohance Marshall did not have their options picked up.

Marshall made just two appearances for the Galaxy last season.

*Down the hall at Home Depot Center, Chivas USA announced today a “landmark agreement” that will see Grupo Modelo plaster the name of Corona Extra across the team’s jerseys.

i-b71288fbbe0f16e8f2027ec6bb77b206-andygray.jpgCanned: Sky Sports analyst Andy Gray has been made redundant, as they say in England, for making derogatory statements about a female match official. Shouldn’t this guy worry about his own glass house before mouthing off on how someone else looks? (AP Photo).

*Proving sexist behavior is not limited to ESPN’s American sports analysts, the Brits have got in on the act just to confirm that men are pigs around the globe:

LONDON (AP) — One of British soccer’s leading television commentators was fired Tuesday, a day after being taken off the air and temporarily suspended for making sexist remarks about a female match official.

Andy Gray, the face of Sky Sports’ soccer coverage for the past 20 years, was dismissed by the broadcaster after “new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behavior” that took place off-air last month.

The former Scotland striker and broadcast colleague Richard Keys had been reprimanded and removed from duty Monday for making derogatory comments about lineswoman Sian Massey, former referee Wendy Toms and West Ham executive Karren Brady.

“Andy Gray’s contract has been terminated for unacceptable behavior,” Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said Tuesday. “After issuing a warning yesterday, we have no hesitation in taking this action after becoming aware of new information today.”

Francis was referring to footage that appears to show Gray making a suggestive comment and gesture toward Sky Sports colleague Charlotte Jackson in the studio.

The outspoken Gray was widely reported to be earning $2.7 million a year from Sky. He worked in studio for Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer Channel during the World Cup last year and was an analyst for ESPN at the 2008 European Championship.

He made a name for himself with his forthright opinions — particularly on referees.

The 55-year-old Gray was broadcasting the Premier League match between Wolverhampton and Liverpool on Saturday when he and Keys make disparaging remarks about Massey, who was officiating the game.

Gray questioned whether Massey knew the offside rule, a basic rule in soccer, and made an abusive reference to Toms, saying she had been “hopeless” as a lineswoman.

The remarks were leaked to a Sunday newspaper. More footage that compromised Gray and another member of Sky Sports’ commentary team — Andy Burton — was also passed to the media. Burton was taken off the air Tuesday.

Burton was talking to Gray off-air on the touchline at Molineux before the kickoff on Saturday and said: “Apparently a female lino today, bit of a looker.”

In another remark on Massey’s appearance, Burton added that another member of the Sky Sports crew said Massey was “all right,” adding: “Now, I don’t know if I should trust his judgment on that?”

Gray then said: “No, I wouldn’t. I definitely wouldn’t … I can see her from here,” before
swearing and adding: “What do women know about the offside rule?”

Gray didn’t publicly apologized for his remarks, unlike Keys, who telephoned Massey on

Sky Sports hasn’t said when or if Keys will return to the air.

Keys and Gray have been widely condemned by media commentators and anti-discrimination groups, with many calling for them to resign or be fired. Others described the exchange between Keys and Gray as tongue-in-cheek banter.

Brady said the comments made her “blood boil,” and England captain Rio Ferdinand said their views were “prehistoric.”

Gray played his club soccer for Aston Villa, Wolves and Everton, among others, in a career that spanned 17 years. After retiring, he was an assistant coach at Villa but soon turned his focus to a career in the media.

The 25-year-old Massey has been withdrawn as a lineswoman for Tuesday’s fourth-tier league match between Crewe and Bradford, the Professional Game Match Officials organization said Tuesday.

“Sian is an excellent professional who has unwittingly found herself in the middle of a story that has nothing to do with her competence as a match official,” PMGO general manager Mike Riley said. “Sian only wants to be notable for her performance as an assistant referee and is keen for things to get back to normal so she can return to officiating as soon as possible.”

And I bet Massey knows that the word “offside” is singular (except when speaking of multiple infractions of the rule), which is more than I can say for some soccer analysts.

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Tuesday’s column: Agudelo could have striking impact

i-d908dc5bda264caf03a2d1d0cf7b588e-agudeloshot.jpgHot shot: Juan Agudelo had the Home Depot center crowd – and U.S. soccer fans – buzzing with his performance Saturday against Chile in Carson (AP Photo).

Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo had an immediate impact on Saturday’s U.S.-Chile game when the pair of youngsters came on as second half substitutes.

It was just the second international ever for both, following up on their debuts last November against South Africa. In that game Agudelo scored; on Saturday Bunbury got the goal, off a penalty kick won by Agudelo.

On the field and off the pair are already developing a close rapport:

“We just try to feed off each other,” Bunbury said. “I love playing with him. We have a special bond on and off the field. We’re really close and it’s only growing.”

“We just started clicking,” he added. “We have the same tendencies a little bit and we’re just trying to make each other better. … Since South Africa we’ve become close friends, we get along really well and it shows on the pitch.”

And it was fun to watch.

Still, it was clear to me, and most other observers I’ve spoken to, that Agudelo exhibits the most potential of the two.

So, while I tried to avoid ramping up the hype too much, Agudelo was the focus of today’s column.

Also, the USWNT beat host China today to win the Four Nations Tournament on goal difference.

Notable: The U.S. took 11 shots in the game, while China managed just four.


“It’s so much more fun to win,” said U.S. Coach Pia Sundhage. “We took some good things from the loss to Sweden, and that’s one of the reasons we stepped up a little bit against Canada. We took certain things from the 2-1 win against Canada and I think today we ended up controlling the game.”

The U.S. lineup: Nicole Barnhart, Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy LePeilbet (Stephanie Cox, 42), Christie Rampone (capt.), Rachel Buehler (Meghan Klingenberg, 82); Tobin Heath, Shannon Boxx (Yael Averbuch, 46), Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly; Lauren Cheney (Megan Rapinoe, 46), Amy Rodriguez (Alex Morgan, 71)

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Monday Kicks: Galaxy close to signing OC 16-year-old to pro contract & more

*Just a month after turning 16, Newport Beach Galaxy Youth Academy product Jack McBean, currently in his first semester at the U.S. U-17 academy in Bradenton, Fl., is reportedly
poised to sign a professional contract with the Galaxy.

McBean scored nine goals in 10 games for the Galaxy’s U-15/U-16 team last season, which is coached by Kenny Arena, son of Galaxy coach and GM Bruce Arena.

Signing a pro contract with the Galaxy would put McBean in the same company as Van Nuys striker Tristan Bowen (now with Chivas USA, of course), who became the first academy product to sign a pro contract with the team in November 2008 and midfielder Memo Gonzalez, who became one of the youngest players in MLS history when the Galaxy drafted him in 2003 at age 16 to a lucrative contract. Gonzalez is now out of the pro game at age 25, a cautionary tale if there ever was one.

*Chivas USA, meanwhile, will soon find out how much former player Panchito Mendoza has left in the tank after a couple of years in Mexico.

*Lastly, the U.S. women have everything to play for Tuesday against China at the Four Nations Tournament after beating Canada 1-0 Sunday. Coach Pia Sundhage swung the axe after the opening U.S. loss to Sweden Friday with Torrance’s Shannon Boxx, virtually an ever-present at defensive midfielder since 2003, one of the victims. In contrast, Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan was a beneficiary, getting her first international start.

The U.S. lineup: Nicole Barnhart, Brittany Taylor, Becky Sauerbrunn, Christie Rampone (capt.), (Rachel Buehler, 46), Stephanie Cox; Kelley O’Hara (Meghan Klingenberg, 78) Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd (Yael Averbuch, 66), Megan Rapinoe (Lindsay Tarpley, 31); Amy Rodriguez (Lauren Cheney, 46), Alex Morgan

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U.S.-Chile postgame wrap

U.S. 1 Chile 1

i-5323dde81a51ac44858f1578f08cd863-sweetmovestealjuan.jpgGood friends off the field, good partnership on it: USMNT camp roommates Teal Bunbury, right, and Juan Agudelo, who drew the foul for the PK, celebrates Bunbury’s penalty kick conversion at Home Depot Center Saturday that tied the game with Chile (AP Photo).

Reporter Phil Collin has the game story and more on the game’s most enduring impression – Juan Agudelo.

The first experimental game of the year is part of a “big puzzle” said U.S. Coach Bob Bradley, a “snapshot” that tells him “where guys are” but in the overall scheme of things doesn’t change much since “we saw a lot of what we know.”


“From the start of this camp we talked about how international games are faster so our movement needs to be better and things need to be cleaner,” Bradley said. “For the past few weeks we tried to establish an idea of what that’s like and today that’s exactly what we got. We had seven guys get their first cap tonight, so that’s always positive. When you have a young group of guys in camp, at the end of everything you want to put it to the test and it gives you a good picture of where these guys are, and I think that part was excellent.”

Notable: The seven Bradley mentioned were starters Sean Franklin, Jeff Larentowicz, Zach Loyd and Chris Wondolowski, and substitutes Sean Johnson, Anthony Wallace and Eric Alexander.

The U.S. goal:

Next up for the U.S.: Egypt in Cairo Feb. 9, then Argentina March 26 in New York and Paraguay March 29 in Nashville.

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Live: U.S.-Chile at Home Depot Center

Well, let’s hope so: the floodlights went out at 6:42 p.m. as the players were warming up and haven’t come back on yet.

They’re “rebooting” the lights now – they take a while to come back on after what was described as a Southern California Edison power outage. It’s now 7 p.m. and the lights are back on.

Back with the starting lineups in a couple of minutes.

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando gets the start in goal.

The back four has the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez and Red Bull Tim Ream presumably starting in the middle with the Galaxy’s Sean Franklin the right back and Zach Loyd of FC Dallas out left.

A five-man midfield features captain Dax McCarty (D.C. United), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek, Norway), Brek Shea (Dallas) and Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro, Sweden).

MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski is listed as the lone frontman.

Here’s the Chile XI: Paulo Garces-Eugenio Mena, Juan Abaca, Sebastian Toro, Paulo Magalhaes-Francisco Silva, Fernando Meneses (capt)-Estaban Paredes, Daud Gazale, Edson Puch, Luis Pedro Figueroa.

Yes, you read that right, Chile has four forwards (!) and two midfielders, although I’m pretty sure they won’t take the field in that formation.

The game is live on Telefutura.

Refresh this post for regular updates.

Franklin brought down Puch in the fifth minute, which Mexican referee gave as a direct free kick; Franklin was a bit fortunate to get away with that one.

Rimando bobbled the ensuing direct shot, but recovered to collect the ball safely.

McCarty unleashed a 40-yard drive out of nowhere in the 12th minute that required a fingertips save from Garces to prevent a stunning goal. A wide-open Wondolowski followed that up with a stinging effort of his own a couple of minutes later that brought a diving save from Garces.

Good spell of offensive pressure from the U.S.

An assistant The Chilean fitness coach was red-carded in the 18th minute, presumably for protesting too much after Silva was booked for a tackle from behind on Shea.

Loyd was booked in the 23rd minute for a very late tackle on Silva. Bit of payback there perhaps?

Chile started out fast, but the U.S. has gradually exerted a degree of dominance on this game as we just pass the half hour mark.

The stadium is ringing with chants of “USA, USA.” Always good to hear when the U.S. faces a Latin American opponent in Southern California.

Halftime: U.S. 0 Chile 0

The Chicago Fire’s Sean Johnson has come in at halftime for Rimando; Marvell Wynne of the Colorado Rapids is in for Gonzalez.

Midfielder Felipe Seymour came in at the half for Chile, with Gazale departing.

U.S. 0 Chile 1

Wynn allowed Paredes to find space behind him in the six-yard box and Bedoya couldn’t pick up the slack fast enough to shut the Chilean forward down in the 53rd minute before he scored. It was a nice combination move by Seymour and Meneses that produced the build-up, the pair managing to get behind left back Zach Loyd.

The Chileans have seen most of their best success attacking Loyd and Shea.

Just before the goal I about to write that Bradley’s conservative five-man midfield had worked as he anticipated so far for the most part, clogging up the middle of the park and limiting the opportunities for the speedy Chileans to find space. Scratch that.

At the hour mark Wondolowski has made way fort Teal Bunbury of Kansas City; Shea was replaced at the same time by Juan Agudelo of the New York Red Bulls.

The crowd is buzzing every time the flashy Agudelo gets near the ball and he’s only been on the field three minutes or so. But those who saw him score in his debut against South Africa in November knows what he’s capable of already. He’s a game-changer, that’s for sure even at age 18.

U.S. 1 Chile 1

The speedy Agudelo was tripped just inside the box in the 73rd minute by Toro after a give and go with Bedoya. Teal Bunbury converted the PK, slotting the ball just inside the far post for his first USMNT goal in his second appearance.

What did I say about Agudelo?

Incidentally, Anthony Wallace of the Rapids replaced Loyd in the 72nd minute.

Chile had a goal disallowed for an obvious offside in the 80th minute.

Tonight’s attendance: 18,580, the largest crowd to see a U.S. friendly at Home Depot Center.

Chile’s Toro just received a yellow for an obvious dive in the penalty area right in front of the referee.

Eric Alexander of FC Dallas was subbed in for Bedoya in the 83rd minute.

Agudelo and Bunbury combined in a two on three attack in the 85th minute that ended with Agudelo firing off a shot that was not quite strong enough to beat Garces. They are certainly giving the Chilean defense fits, however.

Final: U.S. 1 Chile 1

Fun game to watch that got better as it wore on with the quantity and quality of attacks gradually increasing.

Let the hype begin for Juan Agudelo, though.

I haven’t seen a young striker make such an impact with the USMNT since the days of Eddie Johnson. Perhaps one shouldn’t make that comparison considering what happened to Johnson’s career in subsequent years, but Agudelo has flair, is comfortable on the ball and has a confidence beyond his years.

Let’s see what Bradley has to say (he is loathe to praise players publicly, so don’t expect much) in the post-game press conference.

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U.S. young ‘uns take on Chile in Carson tonight

About 15,000 tickets – yes, many of them to Chileans – have been sold for tonight’s annual January Home Depot Center international friendly that features a very young American squad, as reporter Phil Collin observes.

The result of this game, perhaps, matters even less than it has in the past seven years, but to me it still boasts several compelling features.

Are we likely to see the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez and last year’s Red Bull rookie sensation Tim Bream Ream (thanks, Doug) line up in central defense together, a partnership we could potentially see at the 2014 World Cup?

Will New York’s quicksilver Juan Agudelo follow up the flashes of form we saw in last year’s MLS playoffs with more glimpses of what a confident, talented American attacker unafraid to take on defenders looks like?

And will Alejandro Bedoya – the veteran with all of six U.S. caps on a squad with an average age of just 23.4 years old – use the venue to stake his claim for a Gold Cup squad spot later in the year?

With Coach Bob Bradley publicly musing over whether he will coach at next year’s Olympics, I’m guessing we will see quite a bit of the squad’s age-eligible potential Olympians – Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Mikkel Diskerud, Sean Johnson, Brek Shea and Anthony Wallace.

A total of 18 of the 23-player camp roster can dress tonight against what is also a young Chile team.

It should be an intriguing evening and with no English-language TV scheduled for the 7 p.m. game (it’s available only in Spanish) and plenty of tickets available, locals have every opportunity to stop by the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson and take in the action.

For those who can’t, stop by this blog tonight for periodic updates as events warrant.

That includes you Landon Donovan, who sounds a little bored judging by this tweet:

Just realized this is the first time in 12 years that I won’t play a game in the month of January #somethingiswronghere

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Galindo out, Panchito returns as Chivas USA opens preseason training

It was a case of “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” for Chivas USA as the club opened preseason training today in Carson under the new coaching staff of Robin Fraser and Greg Vanney.

The old was Francisco “Panchito” Mendoza, a Chivas USA original who played more minutes for the club than any other player before heading back to the mothership in 2009.

Now, after playing sparingly in such relative Mexican soccer backwaters as Indios and Tijuana on loan, the hard-working fan favorite is back on trial with Chivas USA.

The new includes CD Guadalajara goalkeeper Sergio Arias, 22, who was in goal when the Mexicans won the Under-17 World Cup in 2005.

Other trialists include Joaqun Beltrn, 33, a veteran of the Mexican first division who was last with Queretaro FC, but is best known for a decade-long stretch with Pumas as well as Mexican goalkeeper Dmitri Gonzalez and Riverside Poly product Norberto Ochoa, 20.

The borrowed would be MLS pool goalkeeper Kevin Guppy of Chino Hills who was with the club last year and is back in camp.

The blue? Out of contract forward Maykel Galindo who was not invited to camp (and said on Facebook yesterday that he needed a little love, so now we know why).

The Cuban defector was the team’s leading scorer in 2007 with a dozen goals, but a succession of injuries has derailed his career and if memory serves he was loaned out last year to USL team Miami FC.

Also out: midfielder Rodolfo Espinoza, who was on loan with the club last year and made 15 appearances, and central defender Dario Delgado, whose loan was similarly not renewed.

Striker Alan Gordon was also absent, but he was out sick.

Chivas USA leaves town for a little team-bonding Saturday, heading to the Central California community of Templeton (population 4,687) for nine days of training.

I’ll have more on the massive rebuilding job facing Chivas USA in Tuesday’s column.

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