Friday Kicks: Chivas USA beats Whitecaps & more

*An 89th minute winner by Jesus Padilla gave Chivas USA a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps today in a scrimmage in Arizona. The club heads back to Southern California today.

Defender Heath Pearce made his Chivas USA debut at right back.

Chivas USA lineup: Zach Thornton (Sergio Arias 68′), Zarek Valentin (Andrew Boyens 68′), Ante Jazic (Jorge Flores 46′), Jimmy Conrad (Jimmy Asprilla 68′), Heath Pearce (Michael Umaa 31′), Michael Lahoud (Tristan Bowen 68′), Blair Gavin (Gerson Mayn 38′), Francisco Mendoza (Ben Zemanski 68′), Mariano Trujillo (Guillermo Torres 68′), Alan Gordon (Jess Padilla 68′), Alejandro Moreno (Victor Estupian 68′)

*The Galaxy and Vancouver will play out in Arizona Sunday. Here’s a behind the scenes look at the Galaxy camp:

*MLS and Fox, reportedly millions apart in negotiations over a new TV deal, have struck a one-year stopgap agreement that includes a whole bunch of Friday – yes, Friday – night games:

The Galaxy are on seven times including two Friday games at Home Depot Center, which has necessitated moving the game against D.C. United game ahead one day to June 3. Chivas USA are featured just once.

*Incidentally, I’ve updated and streamlined the links at right so the new and updated 2011 schedules for both local clubs and MLS as a whole are all there.

*Voting has begun for the 2011 National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot; the Galaxy’s Cobi Jones is eligible for the first time this year. Full details here.

*My pick for the game of the weekend? Manchester United verses non-league Crawley Town in the FA Cup set for 9 a.m. Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel (all the weekend action is at the Live Soccer TV link at top right).

Here’s a preview:

CRAWLEY, England (AP) — They both are nicknamed the Red Devils and both have fiery Scotsmen as their managers. That’s where the similarities end between Manchester United and Crawley Town.

The gulf between the clubs could hardly be bigger ahead of their meeting Saturday in the FACup’s fifth round, a game billed as among the biggest mismatches in the competition’s history.

United, a world power with three European titles and famous players such as Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs (who just signed a new one-year contract at age 37), has a four-point lead in the Premier League as it tries for a record 19th English title.

Crawley has never played above the fifth tier of English soccer and, until this year,
struggled to attract crowds of more than 500 to its non-league matches. The tiny southeast club would become a household name if it wins Saturday at Old Trafford.

“It’s a dream come true for the club,” Crawley chairman Victor Marley told The Associated Press. “The opportunity to perform in front of 75,000 people is something that every player, every manager aspires to do. It’s also a fantastic moment for the people of Crawley, to go and see their team play the future champions of England. It’s what any non-league club would ever have wished or hoped for.”

Crawley became only the sixth non-league team since the end of World War II — and the first in 17 years — to reach this stage in the FA Cup after beating league clubs Swindon, Derby and Torquay.

It stands to receive “in excess of 1 million pounds ($1.6 million),” according to Marley, in
gate receipts, television revenue and other add-ons from the United match.

The club was about to fold in 2006 under the tenure of brothers Chas and Azwar Majeed, then was rescued by a group of local businessmen.

Debts of more than 1 million pounds were wiped clear and new investors pumped more cash into Crawley to help build a squad of relative quality and depth, costing a reported 500,000 pounds ($800,000).

Crawley is now second in its division of the Football Conference, on track for promotion to League 2 (the old fourth division) next season — and league status for the first time since it was formed in 1896.

Crawley’s manager is Steve Evans, who hails from Glasgow, Scotland, and is known for having a short temper — just like Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Gone are the days when non-league giant killers had a construction worker at left back and a mechanic in central midfield. Unlike most other clubs at its level, Crawley has a roster of professional players, many with extensive league experience.

Players such as Argentine midfielder Sergio Torres, brought in from third-tier side Peterborough, and prolific lower-level forwards Richard Brodie and Matt Tubbs were signed for a combined fee of 270,000 pounds ($434,000) by Evans, helping improve the average attendance at 5,000-capacity Broadfield Stadium by 75 percent to about 2,000 this season.

“We have new investment in and that’s enabled the manager to purchase the players that have pushed us to the forefront,” Marley said. “But you can spend money and still not win the league, as has been seen in the past with other clubs.”

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!