Chivas USA gameday: Do the Goats have a Sporting chance against Kansas City in MLS opener?

Chivas USA-Sporting Kansas City at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. Prime

i-143c4569160fa4d15116531badefbaea-TN04_Goats_SMc040.jpgThe Goats: Heading off a cliff or on to a new era? (Daily Breeze file photo).

After Chivas USA’s 8-18-4 record last year and just five goals in three victories in nine preseason games these are legitimate questions.

But rookie Coach Robin Fraser is acutely aware of the limitations of his squad and has moved to mitigate (staunch?) the weaknesses.

That means stocking up on midfielders (hello Nick LaBrocca, who joins 11 others on the squad) in a bid to clog up the midfield and slow attackers from even reaching the overhauled defense.

He dispensed with suspect players of questionable quality (Alan Gordon, Dario Delgado, Jesus Padilla) and added wily veteran MLS minds in Jimmy Conrad, Alejandro Moreno and Simon Elliott.

And there are no indications Fraser is yet done reshaping his herd, um roster; young midfielder Cesar Zamora was waived a couple of days ago

Will it be enough?

Can the legs of these veterans hold up over 90 minutes let alone a longer than ever 34-game MLS season.

And who will score for Chivas USA?

“We’re going to find out what kind of club we’re going to be,” Conrad said in a lengthy conversation Friday with three journalists (it’s not often a player just hangs out and riffs on the past, present and future of MLS and the team these days) after a lunchtime press conference previewing the game.

Conrad wasn’t surprised when informed Soccer American had ranked the Chivas USA offense as the third worst in the league, ahead of only Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps:

“That probably goes right in line with how our preseason results have been going so until we prove otherwise we shouldn’t expect anything different. I think we have a better team and offense than people are giving us credit for.

“Every game that we’ve been playing we’ve been creating (scoring) opportunities. .. It will come, I’m not really worried about it. Where I start getting worried as a defender is when you don’t create chances at all. That’s when you’re in ‘oh, shit’ mode. That’s when you start to get worried.”

Conrad said he’s been passing onto Fraser scouting tips about the club he spent eight seasons with:

“I wrote down basic set pieces, how they like to move, where they like to create space, how they like to get at you, where they create numerical advantages,” he said.

Of course, his former teammates may well try to exploit how he tends to play as well:

“I think they know what my strengths and weaknesses are. … I’ve been known as a guy that likes to play out of situations that maybe I shouldn’t so they’ll try to bait me into that kind of stuff. I’ll just take the simple route and go from there.

“The flip side of it is they only know one of me and I know about 11 of them inside and out so I think I would win in the numbers game.”

For more:

*Reporter Phil Collin assesses the season ahead for Chivas USA.

*Here’s the Kansas City perspective.

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Galaxy and Chivas USA ticket prices: A comparison

A Torrance family I know will attend the Chivas USA game Saturday night at Home Depot Center, not because they are huge fans of the lads in red and white, but because they received cheap tickets via AYSO.

Price is important to casual MLS fans, especially given the continuing weak economy.

Given that, I thought it worthwhile to contrast and compare ticket prices between the two Carson-based teams, which both host their respective home openers this weekend on consecutive days.

Chivas USA, as one might expect given the demographics of their primary fan base and the absence of a huge name like David Beckham, offer cheaper tickets than the Galaxy.

The cheapest single game Chivas USA ticket that’s available is $15 compared to $25 for the Galaxy. Buy an 18-game Chivas USA GA season ticket package and the price per ticket drops to $10.

How good a deal is that? The cheapest Galaxy adult ticket was $22 – back in 2003.

Chivas USA has held the line on ticket prices this year – perhaps wisely after their bottom of the Western Conference showing last year – while the MLS championship-contending Galaxy have instituted modest increases over 2010 and, in some limited cases, decreased prices, too. A Galaxy general admission ticket – the section is also larger and now includes some seats on the upper deck – increased by $1.

Price comparisons cannot be made across the board for Chivas USA and Galaxy games since the clubs define some sections a little differently.

For instance, Chivas USA sells “corner” seats for $22; the Galaxy have folded their corner section where tickets were $50 last year into their endline section and priced those tickets at $35 (the Galaxy also eliminated their upper corner section, which sold for $20 last year). But Galaxy officials observe that in a couple of sections in the north end of the stadium, seats that were classified as being in the corner section last year have been reclassified as general admission seating, thus slashing the price of those seats in half to $25.

The Chivas USA price for the end zone, incidentally, is $18.

Other ticket prices for the two clubs include field tickets (those are deck chairs on the turf) that are $100 for Chivas USA, $200 for the Galaxy; sideline tickets for Chivas USA are $38 preferred, $30 for midfield and $24 all others, while the Galaxy price them at $85 preferred, $75 for reserved sideline, $50 for other sideline seats and $40 for an upper sideline seat.

Galaxy officials, by the way, note that the sideline seats priced at $50 cost $75 last year.

Confusing? Well, yes, so it always pays to consult a stadium seating guide to find out exactly where you’re sitting.

And, of course, if you are a wallet-conscious Galaxy fan you just might want to buy tickets to the May 21 game hosted by Chivas USA.

But even paying the above prices is usually unnecessary.

Ticket deals abound whether you’re purchasing from a scalper outside the stadium (buyer beware) or online at a variety of sites, while both clubs generally offer a variety of ticket deals for every game.

For instance, Chivas USA for Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. opener against Kansas City, is selling four tickets plus four hot dogs or four hats or one parking pass starting at $59. The Galaxy have a similar deal for the 5 p.m. Sunday game against the New England Revolution with four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for $96.

So it pays to have friends.

Full ticket details for Galaxy games can be found here and for Chivas USA here.

One other thing: As someone who has sat just about everywhere in the stadium at one time or another, I can tell you there really isn’t a bad seat in what is a relatively intimate stadium by soccer standards.

See you at the games.

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Friday Kicks: Galaxy, Chivas USA home openers this weekend

This weekend’s weather has cloudy skies and possible rain in the forecast for Southern California, but that’s unlikely to put a damper on the plans of local MLS fans who will see both local teams hosting their home openers on consecutive days.

*Chivas USA are up first at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when former CD Guadalajara striker Omar Bravo and the newly-named Sporting Kansas City visit Home Depot Center.

Tickets start at just $15, but there’s also a $60 “Big Game” ticket pack for six games including the May 21 game against the Galaxy.

*The Galaxy play at 5 p.m. Sunday against a New England Revolution team that has the under construction sign out.

Tickets start at $25. The Galaxy will collect donations for the Red Cross for Japan earthquake relief efforts at the game.

Those attending the games will find new recycling containers at the stadium and new menu items:

This weekend, Levy will introduce a Veggie Burger to the Northeast burger stand and a new Specialty Hot Dog Stand near the Southeast corner of the stadium. The stand will offer Chili Cheese Dogs, Pulled Pork Dogs and LA Street Dogs, served with bacon, grilled onions, peppers and mayonnaise.

Incidentally, defender A.J. DeLaGarza will be at Alpine Village near Torrance signing autographs from 6 o’clock until 8 o’clock tonight.

*Soccer America has ranked the Galaxy attack as the third-best in the league (that has more to do with Juan Pablo Angel than Adam Cristman in case you were wondering), while Chivas USA is ranked at No. 16 ahead of only Vancouver and Toronto.

*ML:S unveiled its 10-game reserve team schedule this weekend, but it’s unclear whether fans can attend games (Galaxy games will be played on its practice field that’s shrouded with a green screen). First up: an 11 a.m. April 10 Chivas USA game against the Seattle Sounders (fans will presumably be able to peer over the fence).

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Thursday Kicks: Chivas USA’s Valentin named to U.S. U-20 for CONCACAF Championship & more

*Defender Zarek Valentin, Chivas USA’s top draft pick this year, was one of several players with Southern California connections named to the 24-player roster ahead of the tournament scheduled for next month in Colombia.

Also on the roster: midfielders Moises Orozco (UANL Tigres; Oxnard), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA; Newport Beach) and UCLA product Amobi Okugo, the PAC-10 Freshman of the Year in 2009 who is now with the Philadelphia Union; and forwards Eder Arreola (UCLA; Chino Hills) and Bobby Wood (TSV 1860 Mnchen; Irvine).

Full details here.

*Van Nuys’ Tristan Bowen of Chivas USA will have a different role on the team this year.

*Upland resident Davis Paul, a midfielder out of Cal who was the Chicago Fire’s third round pick in this year’s MLS draft, has signed with the club, officials announced today.

“We’ve been pleased with Davis’ skill, effort and attitude on-and-off the field,” said Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas. “Davis is a creative player and a strong competitor with the ability to play up top and on the wing. We are excited about his future with the club.”

*The U.S. Women’s National Team will play games against Japan May 14 in Columbus, Ohio and May 18 in Cary, N.C.

“Our entire team and staff have great sympathy for the people of Japan following the tragedies that struck their country and we are looking forward to hosting the team here in the United States,” said U.S. Coach Pia Sundhage. “We have tremendous respect for the Japanese players, for the way they play the game and for the heart they show on the field, and we will be expecting two excellent matches.”

The games were in the works before the recent earthquake in Japan.

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Buddle, Bornstein, Donovan among 24 called up for U.S. games against Argentina, Paraguay

i-401edacc770acaef1fd97794dc2a0567-edu.jpgFontana’s Maurice Edu, the Glasgow Rangers midfielder, seen at left in a Europa League game last week, is among 24 players called into a U.S. camp that begins Sunday in Cary, N.C. (AP Photo).

U.S. Coach Bob Bradley also called up Norwich City defender Zak Whitbread in his first national team call-up for the pair of friendlies later this month.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Tim Howard (Everton), David Yelldell (Duisburg)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne), Jonathan Bornstein (UANL Tigres), Timothy Chandler (Nuremberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver), Oguchi Onyewu (FC Twente), Tim Ream (New York), Jonathan Spector (West Ham), Zak Whitbread (Norwich)

Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Aston Villa), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Mikkel Diskeruud (Stabaek), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jermaine Jones (Blackburn), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York), Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor), Edson Buddle (Ingolstadt)

Details on the complete squad is here.

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Wednesday Kicks: Ruiz returns & more

*The Galaxy MLS opener is done – next up, Chivas USA-Sporting Kansas City at Home Depot Center Saturday:

*Former Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz has returned to MLS.

*LMU women’s soccer has added three freshmen to its 2011 recruiting class including midfielder Brianne Medved of Los Gatos, who is the daughter of former San Jose Clash defender Shawn Medved, and Amanda Dudley, a 5-6 midfielder from Mater Dei High School in Newport Beach.

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Final: Galaxy at Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders 0 Galaxy 1

i-17d71ed43eb44996f530de067ad776e0-juninhoshoots.jpgSure shot: A mature, perfectly struck shot by Juninho provided the goal that gave the Galaxy a fifth successive win Tuesday over Seattle. This attempt came later in the half (AP Photos).

The Galaxy have Seattle’s number.

Game story.

*Seattle never seriously challenged the make-shift central defensive duo of Leonardo and A.J. DeLaGarza.

*David Beckham had a largely terrible game including hoofing a shot amateurishly over the bar, straining to make any significant impact beyond unimaginative passes and generally spending the game whining on the wing.

*Reserve goalkeeper Josh Saunders kept the Sounders at bay filling in admirably and competently for the injured Donovan Ricketts.


Tweeted the missing Omar Gonzalez:

Doing everything I can o get back as soon as possible… Wish I could of been out there battling with my teammates! Job well done Galaxy!!

Here’s the Seattle perspective on the game and their “boogey-team.”

i-56bb46bfbb38db96df9f8f8039a8a0fa-japantribute.jpgJapan tribute: Sounders fans remembered the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

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MLS First Kick: Galaxy at Seattle on now

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Galaxy XI: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Dunivant; Birchall, Beckham, Juninho, Donovan; Barrett, Magee

Subs: Perk, Hejduk, Stephens, Kirovski, Cardozo, Lopez, Jordan.

Donovan Ricketts (R Hamstring Strain), Juan Pablo Angel (Illness) and Omar Gonzalez (R Shoulder Sprain) did not travel.

Sounders XI: Keller, Riley, Parke, Hurtado, Gonzalez, Fernandez, Alonso, Friberg, Zakuani, Montero, White.

Gotta love those Seattle fans and their March to the Match:

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Report: Sounders DP Nkufo no longer with club, won’t play against Galaxy tonight

Injury problems reported for both the Sounders and Galaxy (see earlier posts today) and now this report concerning Swiss striker Blaise Nkufu.


The Sounders have apparently just made this official – that the player and club have parted ways – via a press release (must be handing them out at Qwest Field – still awaiting the e-mail arrival of my copy).

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Tuesday Kicks: Gold Cup tickets on sale Wednesday & more

*CONCACAF announced today that tickets for Gold Cup games go on sale at 10 a.m. (I’m assuming that’s Eastern time although the press release didn’t say) Wednesday.

There are three games in Southern California – the June 25 final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and a June 6 doubleheader at Home Depot Center between Jamaica and Grenada (6 p.m.) and Honduras vs. Guatemala (9 p.m.). The 25 games will be held in 13 U.S. venues starting June 5 when defending champion Mexico faces El Salvador and Cuba takes on Costa Rica in Dallas.
Details here.

*U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Pia Sundhage announced her squad to play England April 2 (live at noon on ESPN2). A total of 22 of the 24 players on the Algarve Cup roster made the squad, a notable exception being defender Whitney Engen of Rolling Hills Estates.

Details here.

*EA Sports has predicted the Galaxy will repeat as the MLS regular season champion based on the results from FIFA Soccer 11.

From the press release:

EA simulated the entire 2011 MLS regular season, testing all 18 clubs under the same conditions they will face in the months ahead, and determined that the LA Galaxy will finish first overall in the 34-game regular season with a league record 79 points, posting a 24-7-3 win-draw-loss record. The 24 victories would equal the MLS record for wins in a season set by the Galaxy in 1998.

So that’s settled then. See how simple life is when you lock a bunch of 10-year-olds in a room with a video game?

*Finally, check out tonight’s soggy weather forecast for the MLS opener in Seattle. Brrr. Advantage Sounders?

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