Oh, and hybrids get in cheap, too. From the Galaxy press release:
All fans that drive up to Home Depot Center in hybrid vehicles on game day will receive Preferred Parking (normally $30) for the price of General Parking, for $15. Season Ticket Holders with pre-paid parking in hybrid vehicles will automatically be upgraded to Preferred Parking.
*Bowl in Torrance to rebuild schools in Sierra Leone with Chivas USA and Michael Lahoud:
Cheer and beer: The Galaxy will welcome Portland Timbers fans to Home Depot Center next weekend for the first time. The Timbers won their first-ever MLS home game Thursday against the Chicago Fire (AP Photo).
Observation and speculation to get the week under way:
*Was that the Galaxy unexpectedly playing its most complete game of the season Sunday in the road win over Chicago without David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Juninho? Yes, it was.
The stand-ins followed the script. Oft-maligned forward Chad Barrett scored (although, in truth, he was set-up so beautifully it would have been a criminal miss) and central defender Omar Gonzalez proved he is a still evolving offensive threat from set pieces.
But will any Galaxy fans miss central defender Leonardo if indeed he is out for the season (we should know more later today or Tuesday). The Brazilian yet again played a pivotal role in conceding the Fire goal and never looked comfortable on the ball (yet again).
Next for the Galaxy: at home at 8 p.m. Saturday against the expansion Portland Timbers.
*Local USL Pro team the LA Blues picked up a victory in their first-ever competitive game Saturday in a 3-0 win over Sevilla FC in Puerto Rico.
The opening goal came just after halftime when Cesar Rivera hit the target from all of 40 yards out, veteran Argentine star Walter Gaitn created the second for Gerardo Bravo-Benavides 10 minutes from the end of regulation and then added the third himself in the 88th minute.
Next for the Blues: Antigua Barracuda FC Sunday in Antigua and Barbuda.
Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers scored to give the struggling Columbus Crew a much-needed 1-0 win (he now has two on the year, producing half the team’s scoring output) over Sporting Kansas City.
Charlie Davies scored his league-leading fifth goal of the season as D.C. United swept past Toronto, 3-0.
Thierry Henry recovered from a supposedly “chronic” Achilles injury to score New York’s third and final goal just before the final whistle as the Red Bulls downed San Jose, 3-0, and gave his “best performance so far for Red Bull,” said Coach Hans Backe.
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy picked up his second consecutive shutout for Chivas USA in their 0-0 tie with Vancouver.
“It’s important because we had five of our first seven goals… on the road. Whenever you can get points on the road, it’s important,” Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said to MLSSoccer.com. “The three points were critically important. At this stage of the season, with what we’ve dealt with – with injuries and the road games and the situations we’ve had to deal with – and to… have 12 points after seven games isn’t bad.”
Notable: Leonardo’s injury will likely end his season, Arena said.
Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts (Capt.); Frankie Hejduk (Bryan Jordan 79′), Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant; Chris Birchall, Michael Stephens, Paolo Cardozo (Sean Franklin 68′), Mike Magee; Chad Barrett (Juan Pablo Angel 77′), Miguel Lopez
Under normal circumstances a team like the Galaxy would be expected to quickly dispose of the lowly Fire to underscore their title-contending credentials, even on the road.
But considering their recent uninspired form, without many of their best players and in the final game of the season’s longest road trip, this might not be the relatively easy assignment it might appear at first glance for the Galaxy.
“Even during the warm-up, I thought it was electrifying,” said Timbers coach John Spencer. “Myself and the staff were talking and saying, ‘This doesn’t feel like the U.S.’ No disrespect to anybody, but it felt like you were playing in the [European] Champions League.”
Southern Californians get to take in all the action on television this weekend. For the first time this MLS season both the Galaxy and Chivas USA are on the road:
*MLS announced today that Jovan Kirovskl will receive an additional one game ban for his “verbal abuse” of an official after the game against D.C. United. That tirade initially earned him a red after the final whistle and an automatic one game suspension he served against Toronto Wednesday. He’s also $750 lighter in the wallet, paying a total of $1,000 in fines.
Kirovski joins a growing list of Galaxy (2-1-3) players unavailable for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game in Chicago against the Fire (1-2-1) on Telefutura that potentially includes Landon Donovan.
David Beckham and Juninho are also missing the game for disciplinary reasons.
Click at top right for a complete run-down of all the soccer action available online and on TV this weekend, but here’s the other games I’ll make sure not to miss:
*Manchester City-Manchester United, FA Cup semifinal, 9 a.m. Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel.
*Barcelona-Real Madrid, 1 p.m. Saturday on GolTV.
*Toronto-D.C. United, 4 p.m. Saturday on FSC.
*Arsenal-Liverpool, 8 a.m. Sunday on FSC.
In other news today:
*The Mexican National team will play a Gold Cup warm-up game June 1 in Denver.
*The Los Angeles Blues announced the signing today of Akeem Priestley, a 2009 Kansas City Wizards draft pick. The Jamaican native played with Azerbaijan Premier League outfit FC Mughan for a season and then almost joined Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers, but couldn’t get a work permit.
Former U-Conn teammate Chucky Chijindu, who is with the Blues on loan from Chivas USA, put him in touch with the new USL Pro team.
“At the time I had a few options in the USL, but he really made me want to come here,” Priestley said. “Chuck told me a lot about the team and got me in touch with the coach, who seemed very nice. Most importantly, the way he wants to play really suits my style. He believes in moving the ball around and keeping possession, which I love. So I jumped at the opportunity.”
In the weirdest start to a season ever by a Southern California soccer team, the Blues travel to the Caribbean (yep, every other team in their division is from the part of the world for reasons that make sense only to the USL) and play four games in a span of nine days so as not to rack up those travel expenses.
*FIFA has appointed a panel that will recommend “ways to improve soccer” before the 2014 World Cup. I’m guessing the “pet project” of FIFA president Sepp Blatter won’t recommend getting rid of the corrupt fogey.
Among the members of the 22-member Task Force Football 2014: Pele, Bobby Charlton, Cafu and Christian Karembeu.
“This vastly experienced team will address every facet of the game, tackling any challenges related to the game and coming up with appropriate solutions,” Blatter said Thursday in a statement.
*Now this is potentially scary: the USWNT plays Mexico just before leaving for the World Cup; let’s hope they don’t lose again:
CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. women’s soccer team will play Mexico in a June 5 exhibition at Red Bull Arena, its final game before the team leaves for the Women’s World Cup in Germany.
The game will be the first against Mexico since El Tri upset the Americans in World Cup
qualifying last November, forcing the two-time World Cup champions into a playoff against Italy for a spot in this summer’s tournament. The U.S. has a 49-game unbeaten streak at home, its last loss coming Nov. 6, 2004, against Denmark in Philadelphia.
“There’s nothing better than having a World Cup send-off game at an amazing venue against a very good opponent in front of a great crowd,” U.S. captain Christie Rampone said. “It will be an emotional game and a great test for us before we head over to Europe to begin our final preparations.”
Kristine Lilly, whose 352 appearances is an international record, will be honored before the game. Lilly, who retired in January, is the only player to play in all five Women’s World Cups. She also played on three Olympic teams, winning gold medals in 1996 and 2004.
The United States will leave for training camp in Austria after the game. The Americans begin group play June 28 against North Korea in Dresden, followed by a July 2 game against Colombia in Sinsheim. The Americans close out Group C against Sweden on July 6.
Beckham will miss Sunday’s game in Chicago because of his league-leading accumulation of yellow cards.
“It is what it always is,” said Arena of the officiating. “It’s not going to change. I think maybe David’s yellow card was warranted but the judgment at the end of the game by the officiating (crew) wasn’t good.”
Beckham blamed the refs for his rash of yellow cards, rather than looking at some of the rash decisions he’s made lately:
“To be honest, over the last few games, I’ve spoke too much about referees,” he said. “They are becoming the stars of the MLS and that’s obviously not what team’s want and clubs want. You want the players to be playing out there; you want it to be fair. I just don’t think the consistency is there. I think there are bad calls and we’ve had the majority of bad calls over the last few games. It’s ruining games, it’s ruining our preparation for games. I’ll probably get in trouble but it’s gone on too long now. We want that consistency to be there and we want to keep our players on the field.”
Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin (Paolo Cardozo 88′), David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan 75′), Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez 84′).
Good crowd at Alpine Village in Torrance though. They expected 30 and got around 100 fans.