Galaxy update: Saturday’s “big game” against the Philadelphia Union

At least, that’s what Coach Peter Nowak, Philadelphia’s newly-named executive vice president of soccer operations (and owner of the biggest business card in MLS) says of the 2-0 Union’s game Saturday night at Home Depot Center against the 1-1-1 Galaxy who spent Wednesday doing a little soul-searching.

Say, do the standings mean the Galaxy are underdogs in this one?

That might be going overboard because the Union have only managed one goal wins over Houston and the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps.

Still, Galaxy fans will have a chance to see former favorite Carlos Ruiz, who scored last weekend in the win over 10-man Vancouver as well as UCLA product Kyle Nakazawa of Palos Verdes Estates, who is getting a chance to run the midfield the way he did in college.

Check out the highlights of the Union’s win over the Whitecaps:

And if you go the game don’t forget the Galaxy’s annual equipment sale, some of it game-worn, starting at 6 p.m. on the northwest tennis pad. Cash only and customers have a maximum of 15 minutes per pass through to grab as much stuff as they can.

Updated

David Beckham is on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” tonight (well, technically 12:05 a.m. Friday) along with Wes Craven (“Scream 4″) and Sum 41.

I’m sure Becks will give Jimmy a nuanced tactical analysis of Saturday’s game against the Union (ahem).

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Greener Goals: Recycling Chivas USA

i-45186296b2e872c7fbbfeb1708e10283-TN31-Recycle-SV-0132.JPGChivas USA defender Jimmy Conrad addresses kids today at San Pedro’s Point Fermin school as part of the club’s environmental awareness campaign ahead of Earth Day (Photo by Staff Photographer Scott Varley).

In April, that most environmental of months, Chivas USA will clean Torrance beach and launch a recycling competition at local elementary schools.

Daily Breeze environmental reporter Kristin Agostoni was on hand to see the contest kickoff.

Reportedly central defender Jimmy Conrad missed Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup after picking up a concussion against Colorado on the weekend and will miss Saturday’s game in Toronto, too.

But he could apparently handle meeting scores of schoolchildren?

Isn’t that enough to give you a splitting headache?

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Youth Soccer update: The Force is with the Galaxy & more

*The Galaxy and South Bay youth soccer club South Bay Force have formed a “strategic partnership” that will see the Force “become one of the primary sources for developing youth players for the LA Galaxy’s youth teams.”

From the press release:

The LA Galaxy and South Bay Force organizations will share coaching resources and staff and create a common curriculum and methodology for developing young players. Top players from South Bay Force will be able to move onto LA Galaxy Youth Academy teams, and South Bay Force teams will be able to draw from a larger talent pool and prepare players to compete for the Galaxy.

Galaxy Academy and South Bay Force will share administrative resources for player registration, league participation, field inventory, and special events. They will also partner in developing regional training centers and creating community training opportunities for players throughout the Southland.

Galaxy youth teams play in the play in the Southern California Development Soccer League (SCDSL) and the elite U.S. Soccer Development Academy circuit.

Said Chris Klein, director of the Galaxy’s youth academy:

“When we first looked at forming alliances with different clubs around Southern California we immediately reached out to South Bay not just because of its excellent reputation, but more importantly for their focus on developing the next generation of soccer players.”

Said Greg Yorke, president of the Force:

“This is is part of a larger trend, which is the gradual shift away from the traditional American soccer model toward the global norm.”

*Related: Coincidentally, a story about the Galaxy’s youth academy just appeared on a well-known soccer website. Read it here.

*I reported last December about the plans of AYSO to move from its long-time Hawthorne home to a new Harbor Gateway site, just outside Torrance.

Well, the move was formally approved by the AYSO board in January and the move will begin in May and be completed by June 1.

From the AYSO press release:

The new AYSO space is more traditional office space so the converted school rooms will be left behind. But with a more efficient configuration, the new space will continue to include meeting and training facilities as well as work space for its 50 employees.

Communications and service to its national membership will be enhanced as staff will now be located in a single contiguous space, rather than spread among a number of small, unconnected buildings.

The address of the new AYSO offices is 19750 S. Vermont Ave. Suite 200, Torrance, Calif., 90502.

AYSO boats almost 600,000 youth players who play on nearly 65,000 teams.

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Tuesday Results: El Tri, Chivas USA & more

i-0728f9c555cd1fc0a278146ef8cf6fd4-chicposter.jpgWho do you love? In San Diego, there’s only one answer (AP Photo).

*Friendly: Mexico 1 Venezuela 1

Chivas USA’s Alejandro Moreno started for Venezuela.

*U.S. Open Cup:Portland Timbers 2 Chivas USA 0

*Notable: Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made his first start of the season; defenders Seth Owusu and Andrew Boyens both made their Chivas USA debuts.

*Quotable:

“We were down a man, and at that point we were figuring out ways to stay in the game, to be quite honest,” said Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser. “We just talked about battling, and making it difficult for them, and seeing if we could sneak an opportunity. To be honest, I was really proud of the effort in the second half.”

*U.S. 1 0 Paraguay 1 highlights:

*More here.

*Quotable: “They are a very good team defensively and their objective was pretty clear: to come in and defend well and try to counter,” said the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan. “We were at fault for allowing them to score a goal relatively early and it let them execute their game plan the way they wanted.”

* U.S. Under-20 National Team 4 Suriname 0 Irvine’s Bobby Wood got the opener, while UCLA’s Kelywn Rowe of Newport Beach got the fourth in the 81st minute.

* Costa Rica 0 Argentina 0

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Galaxy great Cobi Jones elected to U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame

i-94685b3dddde5b72007fd9c9ae6ceb27-cobijonesmug.jpg

Cobi Jones, who grew up in Westlake Village and spent virtually his entire career with his hometown Galaxy, was elected to the hall in the first year his name was on the ballot.

His full biography is here.

Jones left the Galaxy coaching staff this year to join the New York Cosmos.

Also named to the hall: Eddie Pope, an anchor of the U.S. defense for nearly a decade and winner of three MLS Cups with D.C. United and Earnie Stewart, a three-time World Cup veteran.

From the press release:

Jones, eligible on the player ballot for the first time, was named on 87 percent of the ballots, while Pope earned a spot on 74 percent of the ballots and Stewart on 71 percent of the ballots.

Joining the players in this year’s class are Bruce Murray, a midfielder and forward who was one of the leading stars of the U.S. Men’s National Team in the late 1980s and early 1990s who was elected on the Veteran ballot, and former U.S. Men’s National Team and Kansas City Wizards head coach Bob Gansler, who was elected on the Builder ballot.

The Class of 2011 induction ceremony will likely be scheduled for this summer.

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Tuesday’s Column: Soccer’s version of March Madness

How many soccer games did you watch last weekend?

I watched a half dozen or so, which gave me plenty of time to reflect on the quantity and quality of televised soccer. The result was this column.

In a perfect world, of course, there would be no MLS games on FIFA international fixture dates.

But considering the alternative, I’ll take too many games over not enough or (horrors) none at all.

Still, I wish MLS games would get as much attention on SportsCenter as Chad Ochocinco’s publicity-seeking tryout with Kansas City.

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Chivas USA Tuesday U.S. Open Cup gameday: Goats at Portland Timbers & more

i-3257d1a18bf2e847edfa16b87ece2ede-chivasviewingparty2.jpg*The game Saturday in Toronto is on Prime for those not into bowling.

*When winless Chivas USA plays the winless Portland Timbers Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup in the Pacific Northwest, the Goats will find a young goalkeeper between the opposing posts.

*Quotable:

“Guys are in good spirits – all just getting back from dinner,” Chivas USA Tweeted earlier Monday evening. “They’re excited for the match and eager to get a win.”

*Game coverage: The game kicks off at 7 p.m. There is no TV or radio. The truly dedicated can follow the game on the @Chivas USA Twitter feed. An audio stream of the game is “likely,” the club said. The best place to follow along is here.

*International update: forward Alejandro Moreno scored the second goal in Venezuela’s 2-0 win Friday over Jamaica; defender Michael Umaa played 90 minutes in Costa Rica’s 2-2 draw with China.

*Notable: Former Chivas USA and Galaxy defensive midfielder Kevin Harmse is back with the Vancouver Whitecaps for a second go-around.

*Finally, wondering about that new Chivas USA fan group? Details here.

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MLS All-Stars Vs. Manchester United: The sequel

i-6103a57333c502d255a51037826b89b8-unitedlogojpg.jpgMLS announced the 2011 rematch of the 2010 A-Star game today, although despite the fact Hollywood loves sequels this version will be played July 27 at 25,000-seat Red Bull Arena (not the 82,500-seat New Meadowlands, surprisingly) rather than Southern California.

Last year Javier Hernandez made his debut for United following his transfer from Chivas and the Reds downed an MLS squad before 70,000 in Houston.

“We’re delighted to have been invited to play the MLS All-Star Game for the second year running,” said United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “Last year’s game was a special occasion in front of a noisy, passionate crowd. Obviously we’ll be looking to repeat the performance and the scoreline, but it will be a great spectacle for everyone involved.”

I’m guessing David Beckham will manage to show up for this one in perhaps his final year with MLS and the Galaxy to play against the team that gave him his start in professional soccer.

I’m not sure I’d plan a summer trip to New Jersey to see the game in person, however, rather than watch it live on ESPN2 despite MLS’ assertion that “fans from throughout North America and across the globe will travel to the metropolitan New York area to attend the game.”

Red Bulls season ticket holders (as well as those who have 10- and five-game plans) will have the opportunity to buy seats ahead of tickets going on sale to the general public at 11 a.m. June 2 and there may not be many (any?) left.

Something tells me the Red Bulls will sell a bunch more multi-game plans by then.

Full details of United U.S. summer tour will be announced Tuesday by the club.

Presumably we’ll also find out the answer to the question: Why are United looking at hotel rooms in the South Bay and elsewhere in LA?

For now though, take in the sights and sounds of last year’s game:

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Chivas USA-Colorado Rapids MLS post-game (with video lowlights)

Chivas USA 0 Colorado Rapids 1

Just two games into Chivas USA’s season the locker room already felt like a mid-season morgue, with the dispirited club seemingly on a trajectory similar to last season.

There were few hopeful signs in this one and players slumped next to their lockers with vacant looks that suggested they didn’t have any answers.

“This is when you really find out about a team’s character,” said Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser. “It’s not about pointing fingers at ourselves. It’s not about looking at the next guy – it’s about accountability.

Reporter Phil Collin has the game story here.

Lowlights are here:

How bad was it statistically?

Chivas USA had two-thirds of the possession, but were limited to just two shots on goal by the Rapids, who never looked likely to lose control of the game despite the modest one-goal deficit.

Notable: Ben Zemanski played as a central defender for the first time in his pro career.

Fraser sounded annoyed at the likes of Ecuadorian forward Victor Estupinan, who had boasted of his goal scoring prowess in preseason, but has so far showed precious few flashes of it:

“It was an eye-opening experience for him that in this league he can’t just show up and expect to score goals.”

And Fraser suggested, with an air of desperation, he was willing to try different things:

“We’re not married to any system,” he said. “We’ll take any system right now that will not give up goals and will score goals.”

But the U.S. Open Cup game Tuesday against the winless Portland Timbers, the lone team below Chivas USA in the Western Conference, now takes on even greater import, Fraser said:

“For our confidence we need to come out and play well,” he said. “For a young team to grow you need to see the fruits of your labor at some point.”

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Leaderless, rudderless Galaxy crash and burn in Salt Lake City

Real Salt Lake 4 Galaxy 1

i-ed3acee5a698d40164f624f3d0b78259-birchallrsl.jpgTwo to tango: The Galaxy’s Chris Birchall and Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales tangle during Saturday’s game at Rio Tinto Stadium (Photo by Djamila Grossman, Salt Lake Tribune)

Reporter Michael C. Lewis of our sister paper the Salt Lake Tribune has the game story.

RSL may well be patting themselves on their collective back after that display, but let’s be honest – the Galaxy imploded in the first half and the game was all but over at halftime, something no doubt appreciated by those watching the 10:30 p.m. delayed start on TV who got to shuffle off to bed early.

Again, there was yet another will-sapping early goal that came even earlier than the one in the third minute against the New England Revolution Sunday (this one came at the 1:16 mark) caused by players standing around and ball-watching after giving the ball away in midfield. The second was attributed to a stupid, unnecessary and blatant push by goalkeeper Josh Saunders to set up a penalty kick. And just like that that the hosts were up 2-0 within 10 minutes.

Add the excellent Javier Morales third just before halftime that came after the playmaker bolted past a stationery David Beckham (named captain for the day in the absence of Landon Donovan) from a throw in and Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena could only shake his head on the sidelines.

Nothing like providing one of your biggest rivals with a huge morale-boosting victory early in the season.

Oh, and it was Brazilian Paulo Jr., – who had tried out with the Galaxy – who scored the first and drew the PK for the second.

Quotable:

“I know it’s early in the season,” said goalscorer Juan Pablo Angel. “But we’ve got to get it right and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Think you can stomach watching the debacle?

Go for it:

Next for the Galaxy: Verses former striker Carlos Ruiz (who scored today) and the Philadelphia Union Saturday at Home Depot Center.

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