International roundup: U.S. ties mesmerizing Messi & Argentina, Mexico wins & more

i-ecf36dbdf9ebc32d8a8dad1f82eeb187-messius.jpg Amazing grace: Lionel Messi throws Jay DeMerit off balance, Michael Bradley is left sprawling and Clint Dempsey can only watch as he slalomed through the U.S. team for much of the game (AP Photos).

U.S. 1 Argentina 1: Game story.

A respectable scoreline for a U.S. team playing a world power led by the incomparable Lionel Messi.

Argentina’s passing, movement, speed and first touch were jaw-dropping at times, but the Americans proved a different proposition once teenage sensation Juan Agudelo replaced Jermaine Jones and impressive debutant Timmy Chandler came in at right back for Jonathan Spector at the half.

Still, goalkeeper Tim Howard yet again kept the U.S. in the game with a string of game-saving saves.

And at the risk of getting overly excited, let’s just say Aguedelo already looks like he’s at a different level than his peers (the disappointing Jozy Altidore, for instance). Foreign scouts must be drooling.


U.S. lineup: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jonathan Spector (21-Timmy Chandler, 46), 15-Jay DeMerit, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 13-Jermaine Jones (9-Juan Agudelo, 46), 4-Michael Bradley, 7-Maurice Edu, 8-Clint Dempsey, 10-Landon Donovan; 17-Jozy Altidore

Subs not used: 6-Tim Ream, 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 14- Edson Buddle, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 23-Marcus Hahnemann

In other games of local interest it was:

i-46c1b472688166d94751b3814a6fdde7-chicharitosalute.jpgChicharito United: Manchester United’s CD Guadalajara import had a brace for Mexico Saturday in the Bay Area.

* Mexico 3 Paraguay 1

Check out his well-taken goals:

* Georgia 1 Croatia 0

* Wales 0 England 2.

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Live: Colorado Rapids (1-0) at Chivas USA (0-1) from Home Depot Center

Final: Chivas USA 0 Colorado Rapids 1

This game has mercifully come to an end after six minutes (!) of stoppage time. A dispiriting performance by Chivas USA who never looked like equalizing in this game; one goal proved just to big of a mountain to climb.

I’m told, for instance, that forward Victor Estupinan touched the ball three times over 90 minutes, not that he had any service whatsoever from the toothless midfield.

There were 13,027 in attendance to watch this one; just 15 more home games to go.

Next for Chivas USA: at Portland Tuesday to play the Timbers in the U.S. Open Cup.


Striker Tristan Bowen comes on for defender Ante Jazic as Chivas USA desperately searches for something resembling an offensive spark.


“Panchito” Mendoza has come in for Marcos Mondaini in the 64th minute, Chivas USA’s first substitution of the night.


Michael Lahoud cleared a Jeff Larentowicz shot from seven yards out off the goal line. Larentowicz received the ball via a Kosuke Kimura back pass at the near post from a Jamie Smith corner in the 54th minute.

Justin Braun was credited with Chivas USA’s first shot on goal two minutes later, his deflected shot just tipped onto the crossbar by Matt Pickens.


Are the Rapids on their way to a fourth consecutive shutout victory over Chivas USA? The Chivas USA scoreless streak against the Rapids has reached 346 minutes. And will the Rapids win their fourth game in the last five against Chivas USA in Carson?

Given the tepid offensive effort by the Goats in the first half I’m not sure anyone would bet against any of the above changing to the advantage of the home team.

Chivas USA didn’t have a shot on target in the first 45 minutes.


Factoid: Chivas USA were 0-17-3 when allowing the first goal last season, the only MLS team not to win when conceding the first goal.


With a half hour gone midfielder Blair Gavin has headed to the locker room with his nagging hamstring issue apparently resurfacing. Mariano Trujillo has come in for him.

Quincy Ararikwa latched onto a Jamie Smith pass that emanated from near the halfway line and caught the entire Chivas USA defense flat-footed as it pushed up and scored in the 32nd minute.


Captain David Beckham led the Galaxy to a 4-1 loss in Salt Lake tonight. Juan Pablo Angel got his first Galaxy goal in the 79th minute, scant consolation for a lopsided loss to a MLS Cup contender that just sent a message to Bruce Arena & co.


Twenty minutes in and the most significant offensive effort so far was a long-range Heath Pearce shot that went wide. At least a defender has the goal on his radar.


Mexico beat Paraguay 3-1, the U.S. drew 1-1 with Argentina, the Galaxy are losing 4-0 at Real Salt Lake and the stands here are sadly very empty for Chivas USA’s second consecutive home game of the season against the defending MLS champions.

Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser is forced to make two changes because of the weekend’s international games.

Michael Lahoud, Blair Gavin and Victor Estupinan come in for the absent Zarek Valentin and Alejandro Moreno, while “Panchito” Mendoza was dropped to the bench.

Chivas USA XI (4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3, take yer pick): Zach Thornton, Heath Pearce, Ben Zemanki, Jimmy Conrad, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud, Nick LaBrocca, Blair Gavin, Justin Braun, Victor Estupinan, Marcos Mondaini.

For the opposition striker Conor Casey is on the bench nursing a calf strain.

The Rapids XI (4-4-2): Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace, Brian Mullan. Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith, Quincy Amarikwa, Caleb Folan

The game is live on KDOC.

Refresh this post for updates throughout the game.

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Galaxy and Chivas USA Saturday gameday

i-c0bb209d4d59909ca3b3ce4695f79927-chivaslogo0001.jpg*Chivas USA (0-1) faces the league champion Colorado Rapids (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. at Home Depot Center (live on KDOC) and will hand out ponchos to fans (the HDC must have had some leftover from last weekend’s Galaxy game) if it rains, although only a slight chance of a shower is in the forecast.

Reporter Phil Collin has the game preview.

Chivas USA midfielder Blair Gavin trained with the team Friday and said he’s ready to play 90 minutes after entering the season opener as a 62nd minute substitute; he missed the second half of the 2010 season with a hamstring injury.

Chivas USA will also miss Andrew Boyens who is on international duty with New Zealand; Colorado is similarly without Omar Cummings and Sanna Nyassi.

The HDC will turn off non-essential event lighting from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in observance of Earth Hour, including the lights in the venues’ 42 luxury suites. The fourth annual event began in Australia to show that even small gestures can help save energy and has spread around the world.

i-0215f0492f1abe13928a5f56b9ee8f97-Galaxylogo0001.jpg*The Galaxy (1-0-1) are at Real Salt Lake (1-0) in a game delayed until 10:30 p.m. on Prime, although the LA Riot Squad will gather to watch at Cheapshots in Long Beach and Alpine Village near Torrance is showing a full slate of games live Saturday that begins at 10 a.m. with Croatia-Georgia, followed at noon by Germany-Kazakstan, USA-Argentina at 4 p.m. and the Galaxy game at 6 p.m.

Reporter Phil Collin has the game basics.

Both teams’ usual starting goalkeepers are doubts for the game with the Galaxy’s Donovan Ricketts having missed the first two contests of the season and Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando already suffering from a chronic problem early on the season that has him planning off-season surgery.

Notable: the Galaxy haven’t won in their last five trips to Utah.

Updated 9:24 a.m. Saturday

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic This is the line for tickets awaiting the 10 a.m. opening of the box office at Rio Tinto as Real Salt Lake fans scoop up the last tickets available for tonight’s Galaxy game. A capacity crowd is expected.

And here’s a well-written tale of soccer and survival surrounding the Brazilian that got away from the Galaxy – and into the clutches of today’s opponents

Check this out:

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A mandatory game for soccer fans to watch: Magical Messi & co to take on U.S. Saturday

i-73b3700b971e5fa6b01dd8b8a4669912-messifullflow.jpgUnstoppable: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi leaves opposing players in his wake during a recent La Liga game. (AP Photos).

Imagine it’s 1958 and you just watched a 17-year-old Pele burst upon the global soccer scene.

Or it’s 1968 and you get to see George Best and Manchester United win the European Cup over Benfica.

Well, Saturday could be one of those unforgettable moments in time even if it is an exhibition rather than a competitive game.

The player to watch when the U.S. plays Argentina live at 4 p.m. on ESPN2 is not (with all due respect to Bob Bradley’s boys) the likes of Jermaine Jones.

No, we have a rare chance to see one of the greatest soccer players ever at the height of his powers, who is perhaps having the defining season of an already brilliant career – Lionel Messi.

Associated Press Sports Writer Ronald Blum explains:

NEW YORK (AP) — Most of the 80,000 fans in Camp Nou rose to their feet, again astonished by what they had just witnessed.

The slow singsong reverberated around the steep, smoke-filled stands of Europe’s largest stadium on this November night, getting louder and louder with each chorus.

Many raised both arms and repeatedly took deep bows in homage.

“Messsss-iiiiii! Messsss-iiiiii!” they chanted over and over.

Lionel Messi ran to the edge of the stands, cupped his left hand to his ear and raised his right quickly a few times, urging the spectators to let him hear the noise. After his
teammates mobbed him, he walked back toward the center stripe, and pointed the index fingers of each hand to the sky, in tribute to his grandmother. He raised both outstretched arms to shoulder level a few times, causing the singing to get more intense.

This scene at the match against Villarreal is repeated in Barcelona week after week, goal after goal after goal after goal, at a rate not seen in more than 60 years.

Far from his adoring fans in Catalonia, the world’s greatest player comes to the United States on Saturday night to lead Argentina in an exhibition against the American national team at the Meadowlands — a few hundred feet from the old stadium where Pele once played. If Messi keeps it up for a few more years, he will end the debate over whether Pele or Maradona is soccer’s greatest player ever. Messi will raise himself above both.

“His ball control is perfect. And his vision is just something else. It seems like he can kind
of see 360 degrees,” former German great Juergen Klinsmann said. “He has that God-given talent that he knows exactly where the goal is, no matter how is he positioned.”

At 23, he already is a two-time FIFA player of the year, a member of two Champions League winners. He has 173 goals in 256 games for Barcelona since making his competitive debut in 2004. He has 16 goals in 54 appearances for Argentina.

Still, don’t proclaim Messi the best around Pele — not just yet.

“Since I started my career, after 1958 when Brazil won the World Cup, every time they have someone to compare to Pele,” the Brazilian great said last month. “The first one was Puskas, then Di Stefano, then Platini, then Maradona, then Beckenbauer, then Francescoli, then Zico.

But no doubt Messi today is one of the best players. He’s skillful and he deserves to be the best player at the moment.”

Having won the FIFA player of the year award in 2009 and 2010 — joining Brazil’s Ronaldo and Ronaldinho as the only back-to-back winners — Messi has put together an even better season.

With 45 goals in 42 games for Barcelona, he has the Blaugrana on course for a third straight La Liga title for the first time since the Dream Team won four in a row from 1991-94.

Barcelona has a five-point lead over second-place Real Madrid with nine league games left, is in the Copa del Rey final on April 20 and reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League, which the club won in 2006 and 2009.

Messi’s first goal against Arsenal on March 8, in which he flicked up and over onrushing
goalkeeper Manuel Almunia before volleying the ball into the net, had Barcelona faithful
discussing whether it was his best ever. The consensus was while it was among the top 10, the best came against Getafe in April 2007 in which he picked up the ball in his own half, accelerated past four defenders and rounded the goalkeeper — similar to Diego Maradona’s score against England in the 1986 World Cup.

“To talk about if it’s one of Messi’s best goals, there’s no point,” Barcelona coach Pep
Guardiola said after the Arsenal game. “He scores such great goals they become normal.”

i-2f5d2a2ae892488d608116a347abcd31-messisalute.jpgAnd that wasn’t even Messi’s best game against the Gunners. Last April 6 in the quarterfinals, he became only the sixth player to score four goals in a Champions League game.

“He’s a PlayStation,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that night. “For me, he is the best player in the world — and by a distance. Once he’s on the run with the ball, he’s unstoppable. He’s the only player who can change direction at such a pace.”

With Barcelona, he’s surrounded by many of the world’s top players. Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta are the Scylla and Charybdis of the Barcelona midfield, obstacles opponents rarely canget the ball past.

But even Messi’s heralded teammates are amazed by what they see each match.

“It’s hard to explain about Messi. What he is doing isn’t normal but we’re all starting to see it as something regular,” Javier Mascherano said. “He’s making history, and let’s hope hecontinues to do so for many years for us and for everyone.”

Messi has had less success with Argentina, eliminated by Germany in the World Cup
quarterfinals in both 2006 and last year. While he led his nation to titles at the 2005 FIFAWorld Youth Championship (for players under 20) and the 2008 Olympics, he hasn’t won any championships with the senior national team. The Copa America in July is especially important because Argentina is the host.

“He’s done OK for Argentina, but he hasn’t taken the world apart like he’s taken Europe apart with his club side,” Sky Sports broadcaster Martin Tyler said. “I think if you’re an attacking player you’re dependent on the strength of the side around you, and he’s perfectly placed. (Barcelona’s) passing game is just perfect for him. He’s got so many players on his wavelength. He’s sublime. It’s as good as you could wish to see.”

Messi left the youth program of Newell’s Old Boys, his hometown team in Rosario, and arrived at Barcelona in September 2000 at the age of 13 because the club agreed to pay for treatment for his growth hormone deficiency. He was 16 when he made his first appearance for the senior team in an exhibition against Porto in November 2003, and made his league debut the following October against Espanyol. He was 17 when he scored his first competitive goal for Barca, against Albacete in May 2005.

His left foot is lethal — 135 goals for Barcelona have come off his favored foot, with 29 from the right, seven on headers, one off his chest and one off a hand. He trails only Cesar Rodriguez (235), Laszlo Kubala (196) and Josep Samitier (178) on the club career scoring list. With up to 15 games left this season, he has an outside chance to reach the European record of 66 goals in a club season, set by Ferenc Deak for Hungary’s Ferencvaros in 1948-49.

At 5 foot-5, Messi is proof that size isn’t the determining factor in soccer that it can be
in other sports.

“The fact that he’s built very slight — I mean his nickname’s The Flea, isn’t’ it? — that
helps him because he doesn’t seem to get injured, which is an art form in itself,” said former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Steve McManaman, now an analyst for ESPN. “Every time he gets kicked, he just bounces up off people, gets up and carries on, doesn’t he? His temperament, as well, for the game I think is astonishing.”

American defenders expect a difficult night. Messi hasn’t scored in two games against the U.S., although he did have the assist for the first goal when the teams met at the 2007 Copa America.

“He’s the best player in the world, so it’s always a wonderful challenge to put yourself
against those types of players,” central defender Jay DeMerit said. “He’s as fast with the
ball as he is without it. He always seems to be a step ahead.”

The New Meadowlands Stadium will be sold out or close to it on a cool early spring night, with Messi the reason many bought tickets for an interesting but meaningless match.

“I can’t think of a negative to say about him, with the possible exception that he hasn’t yet taken Argentina to win the World Cup like Maradona did,” Tyler said. “And that’s only an achievement, it’s not a negative of character. He just picks himself up. He gets kicked. Yet somebody comes again. He doesn’t get disheartened. He’s not a prima donna.

“On this planet, at this time, he’s the greatest.”

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Friday Kicks: U.S. announces June game against Spain & more


Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez is set to win his 100th cap for Spain today and hopefully U.S. fans will see the midfield maestro up close and personal later this year (AP Photo).

*Spain plays the Czech Republic at 1:55 p.m. today on ESPN2 in a Euro 2012 qualifier and U.S. fans will see the World Cup holders live in on the East Coast in June:

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. men’s soccer team will play World Cup champion Spain in a June 4 exhibition, their first meeting since the Americans upset the world’s No. 1 team in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

The game will be in Foxborough, Mass., and takes place just three days before the U.S. starts play in the Gold Cup, soccer’s championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

It will be just the fifth meeting between the teams, and first in the United States, with Spain winning all but one of their previous games.

The lone U.S. victory came in the semifinals of the 2009 Confederations Cup, when goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey gave the Americans a 2-0 win and ended the European champion’s streaks of 15 wins and 35 unbeaten games.

And for those of you who like to mark their calendars, here’s the full U.S. schedule of games this year announced so far:

Saturday, Jan. 22 — United States 1, Chile 1
Saturday, March 26 vs. Argentina at East Rutherford, N.J., 4:11 p.m.
Tuesday, March 29 vs. Paraguay at Nashville, Tenn., 5:11 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 — vs. Spain at Foxborough, Mass., 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 7 — vs. Canada at Detroit, 5 p.m. (Gold Cup)
Saturday, June 11 — vs. Panama at Tampa, Fla., 5 p.m. (Gold Cup)
Tuesday, June 14 — vs. Guadeloupe at Kansas City, Kan., 6 p.m. (Gold Cup)
Aug. 10 — possible exhibition
Sept. 2 — World Cup qualifier
Sept. 6 — World Cup qualifier
Oct. 7 — World Cup qualifier
Oct. 11 — World Cup qualifier
Nov. 11 — World Cup qualifier
Nov. 15 — World Cup qualifier

*And in another sign of his unwavering commitment to the Galaxy (ahem), David Beckham will wear the captain’s armband for the Galaxy this weekend for the first time in three years:

CARSON (AP) – Coach Bruce Arena decided Beckham will be captain for Saturday’s MLS game at Real Salt Lake, with Landon Donovan away on international duty.

The former England captain took over as L.A. skipper when he joined the team in 2007, but last captained the Galaxy on Oct. 26, 2008. The armband was given to Donovan the following year.

“Bruce has asked me to wear it, and I’ll be proud to wear it,” Beckham said. “It doesn’t change the way I play. It’s something you’re very proud to wear, but you need more that that one leader on the field.”

Donovan will miss the game to be with the U.S. national team for its friendly Saturday against Argentina in East Rutherford, N.J.

*Speaking of scheduling, the PDL, which includes five Southern California teams, has announced its schedule.

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The U.S. “Double Deutsche” (and a TV schedule for international games this weekend)

With the likes of Lionel Messi playing in the U.S., MLS was always going to take a back seat this weekend even if the season has just started (and Seattle faces Houston at 6:30 p.m. Friday on Fox Soccer channel in the first of the season’s Friday night games).

Saturday’s Galaxy-Real Salt Lake game, for instance, isn’t quite the marquee match-up envisioned even though David Beckham will actually play in Utah (gasp) for the first time in his five years in MLS.

A full list of international games on TV and on line are available by clicking to the top right.

My best bets:

*Spain-Czech Republic, 2 p.m. Friday, ESPN2
*Euro 2012 Qualifier: Wales-England, 8 a.m. Saturday, ESPN2
*Mexico-Uruguay 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Univision
*U.S.-Argentina 4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2, Univision
*Scotland-Brazil 6 a.m. Sunday, ESPN2

*Associated Press Sports Writer Joedy McCready tells us more about the pair of German-Americans (there are three in all on the roster along with Jermaine Jones) who could their make debuts for the U.S. this weekend:

CARY, N.C. (AP) — They’re called the “Double Deutsche” of the U.S. national soccer team.


Defender Timmy Chandler and goalkeeper David Yelldell, right, are two of the Americans’ newest team members, and they have plenty in common: Both were raised in Germany as the sons of American servicemen and German mothers, and now they’re fitting in with the veteran members of the U.S. team.

“The guys are making it easy for me and the new guys to come in,” Yelldell said Thursday. “I only saw them on TV until (this week), but they’re all nice guys.”

The Americans wrapped up four days of practice in North Carolina on Thursday before their exhibition game Saturday against Argentina in New Jersey, marking the red, white and blue debut for Yelldell and Chandler.

Chandler a 20-year-old native of Frankfurt and defender for FC Nuremberg, could have played internationally for Germany but said he has always preferred to represent the U.S.

“It comes from my head and my heart,” Chandler said.

i-9f579a7ba9b6ebe8829fcbc4c4cb1d43-timothychandler.jpgHaving a pair of teammates with similar German backgrounds — Yelldell and midfielder Jermaine Jones — has made things easier for Chandler, left, because he said they can speak German and help with some unfamiliar English phrases.

Yelldell, a 29-year-old who was born in Stuttgart, Germany, took a longer path to the U.S. team.

He was on the Americans’ radar for their Olympic team in 2004, but they failed to qualify for the Athens Games. Yelldell, who played in England and moved to MSV Duisburg in Germany’s second division, was added to the U.S. team last week.

“It’s very hard to go to the (German) national team because I played second division in Germany, so when I heard about the call-up for this training camp, I was very excited and very happy to be here,” Yelldell said.

Their new teammates insisted they’ve already proven they belong with a U.S. team that will follow its game against Argentina with one three days later against Paraguay in Nashville, Tenn.

“They show that they deserve to be here,” defender Jay Demerit said, adding that coach Bob Bradley has always done a good job of bringing in new faces and trying to add to the group. “They seem to fit in really well, which I think has a lot to do with the way we all are as a group, and we welcome new players in.

“As long as they’re doing the right things, then that’s fantastic for this squad. That’s what it’s all about, and they’ve done that.”

Yelldell is an acrobatic shot-blocker who teams with 32-year-old Tim Howard and 38-year-old Marcus Hahnemann as goalkeepers on the roster.

“The first time I’m here, I just want to show what I can do and make myself better and fit in with the team,” Yelldell said. “And the rest, time will tell.”

Now it’s up to Bradley to figure out how to best use them. Bradley says Chandler has more responsibilities at his defensive position than he did with his German club.

“Timmy, physically, is a talented young player (and) we get a good sense, just having him in a camp like this, of just where he fits in,” Bradley said. “He’s starting to get more
comfortable every day. Defensively, we do things a little bit differently than Nuremberg, so there’s a little more that he has to keep track of. Just having a chance to talk to him about some of those things, it’s been good.

“David … as a goalkeeper, often times, you also need to see guys play in games,” he added. “He’s athletic, a good shot-blocker and now, we’ll look to, at some point, see where that all fits in.”

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Manchester United to play Galaxy this summer in Southern California?*

*Updated below

It looks like it.

Officials with the English club where Galaxy midfielder David Beckham got his start were in the South Bay this week conducting site visits at local hotels, 100 Percent Soccer has learned.

Among those hotels was the Torrance Marriott, which hosted Manchester United representatives this week, officials with the hotel confirmed today.

The hotel hosts MLS teams that play against the Galaxy and Chivas USA at Carson’s Home Depot Center.

I happened to be walking through the hotel Wednesday, which sits next door to the Daily Breeze offices where I work, and saw a slide projected onto a screen welcoming officials with the club to the hotel.

I’m just assuming United would play against Beckham’s current club and not Chivas USA. And hopefully any game would be at the HDC.

Manchester United are expected to tour the U.S. this year, playing games in Seattle, Chicago and Washington D.C., the blog EPL talk has previously reported.

United last played in LA in 2003 when they played a friendly against Club America at the Coliseum.

Updated 10:53 a.m.

Or perhaps not.

“No truth to that at all,” said Tom Payne, president of business operations for the Galaxy, who just e-mailed me from his Blackberry. “I don’t know of them doing anything out in LA.”

Perhaps United are just looking to train in the area.

Still, as this Chicago Tribune story from Wednesday points out, when it comes to United and their as yet publicly unconfirmed summer plans denials are certainly in vogue.

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The diverse face of MLS


Although not about soccer in LA per se, it seems apt to post this MLS-generated map that celebrate’s the league’s diversity on a blog that celebrates soccer in one of the nation’s most diverse cities.

From MLS:

“The total number of countries represented by place of birth – 57 – is the most of any of the “Big Five” sports leagues. The NBA, with players from 40 countries, is next. About 38 percent of current MLS players were born outside the U.S. and Canada; Major League Baseball is next at 26 percent.

Of the current MLS players born outside the U.S. and Canada, approximately 39 percent are from Central and South America, 25 percent are from Europe, 19 percent are from Africa, and 14 percent are from Caribbean nations.

Incidentally, I can’t vouch for the complete accuracy of the map.

Cuba’s Maykel Galindo, for instance, is no longer with Chivas USA despite what the map claims.


MLS officials observe Galindo remains under contract to Chivas USA through April, which is why he was included on the map even though he is no longer on the club’s roster.

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Wednesday Kicks: Former Chivas USA defender Cuesta on Fire & more

*Former Chivas USA central defender Yamith Cuesta, released by the club in preseason after making 15 appearances since joining them on loan from a Colombian team in 2009, has been picked up by the Chicago Fire, the club announced today.

“Yamith is a gifted defender with size, speed and strong defensive skills,” said Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas. “Our defense will benefit from bringing in a young player with experience both in MLS and his native Colombia.”

Chivas USA received a 2012 Supplemental Draft selection from the Chicago Fire in exchange for the rights to Cuesta.

*Chivas USA has loaned Fontana’s Chukwudi Chijindu, 25, to new USL Pro team L.A. Blues, which adds him to a roster that also includes former Galaxy players Josh Tudela, Mike Randolph and Izzy Sesay.

The Blues, who despite their name will play most games in Orange County, also announced today that they had signed former Galaxy defender Leonard Griffin, 28, on loan from Orlando City of USL Pro.

“Both players have MLS experience which will be invaluable,” said Blues Coach Charlie Naimo. “Leonard is the final piece we have been looking for in our back line, while Chuk can provide electricity up top.”

*Meanwhile, Chivas USA sported a pair of new (well, newish) defenders Tuesday in a reserve team scrimmage against Loyola Marymount College: Coach Robin Fraser and his assistant Greg Vanney. The pair played part of the 5-0 win because Chivas USA has three center backs on international duty.

Rookie Victor Estupian, the Ecuadorian forward who bragged he would score 25 to 30 goals in his first MLS season, bagged a hat trick in the game. Mariano Trujillo and Van Nuys Tristan Bowen also scored.

Chivas USA lineup (4-1-4-1): Dan Kennedy (Sergio Arias 60); Michael Lahoud, Greg Vanney, Seth Owusu, Jorge Flores; Mariano Trujillo; Gerson Mayen, Blair Gavin (Artur Aghasyan 46), Tristan Bowen, Jess Padilla; Victor Estupian (Robin Fraser 67)

*Rolling Hills Estates Robbie Rogers, the 23-year-old Columbus Crew midfielder shaping up to have a make or break season with the club, was benched, then came on as a sub and scored from the penalty spot in his club’s season opening loss against D.C. United on the weekend. Will he stay with the club or head elsewhere?.

*Lawndale’s Rafael Baca, the former Loyola Marymount College playmaker, played 90 minutes Tuesday for San Jose in the Earthquakes’ reserve league opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps. San Jose, who also had former LMU and Chivas USA defender Bobby Burling in their XI, put two goals past former Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon to defeat the Whitecaps, 2-1.

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