Weekend rewind: Chivas USA, Galaxy, World Cup

*Chivas USA wilted in the Texas heat today and lost to FC Dallas for their first loss in their last five games. Dallas play the Galaxy next weekend in Carson.


“It was possibly the hottest game I have been a part of in MLS, so it was difficult for both teams,” Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser said. “That type of game out there tonight, the team that capitalizes on their opportunities is going to be the team that wins the game. Dallas capitalized on a chance really early and it was tough to chase the game after that. We fought hard and in the end we came up a bit short.”

Chivas USA lineup: Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud (Alejandro Moreno 59), Simon Elliott (Paulo Nagamura 64), Blair Gavin, Jorge Flores (Ben Zemanski 81), Justin Braun, Nick LaBrocca

Next for Chivas USA: the Revolution in New England Saturday

*What’s the difference between the first-place team in MLS and the last place team? Four goals.

Watch the Galaxy turn it on and win in style – as requested:

Here’s Donovan’s reaction:

Next for the Galaxy: in Portland Wednesday against the Timbers.

MLS Standings

*Just in time for a new USMNT coach and to underline how little time there is before the next World Cup, the preliminary draw for the 2014 tournament was held this weekend.

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Soccer Saturday: Galaxy roadtrip gameday & Alexi Lalas speaks on his former team

This weekend marks the beginning of the road trip of the year for Galaxy fans: Two games in five days against two teams – the Whitecaps and Timbers – in a pair of beautiful coastal cities – Vancouver and Portland.

Even better, these are real soccer strongholds.

Boisterous, knowledgeable fans. Great atmospheres. And plenty of excellent craft beers to wash it all down.

Had family matters not intervened, it’s where I had hoped to be right now.

Alas 4:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel is as close as I’ll get to today’s first game from British Columbia that sees the Galaxy put a 13-game, two-month-long unbeaten streak on the line against a Vancouver team that hasn’t won a game in its last five outings.

There’s no David Beckham on duty for the Galaxy today although Landon Donovan expects to return from a calf sprain that kept him out of last Sunday’s exhibition against Manchester City and the midweek MLS All-Star game.

Incidentally, I chatted with former Galaxy GM and ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas from new Jersey earlier this week and asked him about his opinion of this Galaxy team.

Are the Galaxy a mediocre team atop a mediocre league? Are we asking too much for fewer draws and more entertaining play rather than just doing enough to not lose?

“I don’t think that Bruce Arena is getting enough credit for what he is doing,” Lalas said. “When things have, as they do, break down, he has found ways to continue to grind out results.

“I have to take my hat off to Bruce Arena for getting results, but I also know from having been there that that is not all that’s expected of you. … You have a responsibility to not just win, but win in a certain way. … I still believe it is the way to go even if it might bring unrealistic expectations on the coach or the club.

“We are in the entertainment business and I don’t make any apologies for that. The performance you give is important and you are there to entertain. A lot of these (MLS) teams are very beige, I guess and that’s too bad. I’m not sure it’s a function of the parity (in the league) but it doesn’t help.”

And these are games against expansion teams the Galaxy should not only win, but win in style. We’ll see.

Bonus coverage: Staff Writer Phil Collin looks at the younger Galaxy players who had a chance to play in recent games.

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New USMNT coach: Huntington Beach resident Juergen Klinsmann

i-3bd20357872298094945f3932d14b4a0-jurgenhired.jpgPeople’s choice? Juergen Klinsmann now holds the future of the USMNT in his hands (AFP Photo).

Well, it took a few years longer than first envisioned, but it looks like U.S. Soccer – or should I say U.S. soccer fans – finally got their man. And this time around he was hired with a minimum of fuss:

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Soccer appointed Juergen Klinsmann as its new national coach on Friday, a day after firing Bob Bradley.

The former Germany coach will be a familiar face to American fans, given that he nearly got the job after the 2006 World Cup and then again last year before Bradley was given what turned out to be a short-lived contract extension to 2014.

The former Germany striker’s first game in charge will be a friendly against archrival Mexico in Philadelphia on Aug. 10. Qualifying for the next 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins next year.

“We are excited to have Juergen as the head coach of our Men’s National Team,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “He is a highly accomplished player and coach with the experience and knowledge to advance the program. Juergen has had success in many different areas of the game, and we look forward to the leadership he will provide on and off the field.”

Klinsmann will be formally introduced Monday at a news conference in New York.

“I am proud and honored to be named the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team,” Klinsmann said. “I would like to thank the U.S. Soccer Federation for the opportunity, and I’m excited about the challenge ahead. I am looking forward to bringing the team together for our upcoming match against Mexico and starting on the road toward qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

Although the U.S. federation discussed the job with Klinsmann in the past, the coach’s desire for extensive authority over the entire U.S. program was considered a point of contention.

Klinsmann, who turns 47 on Saturday, has a considerable World Cup pedigree.

As a player, he scored 11 goals in three World Cups, 1990, 1994 and 1998. That ties him for sixth on the all-time scoring list, just behind Pele.
Klinsmann was a key cog for West Germany’s 1990 World Cup-winning team and the German team’s captain from 1994 to 1998. He retired in 1998 and moved to the United States shortly afterward.

Bradley’s dismissal after five years in charge came as a surprise on Thursday.

He led the U.S. team to considerable success and several big moments. But the U.S. seemed to ake a step backward this summer, and a stinging 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final last month — when the U.S. blew a 2-0 lead — appears to have convinced U.S. Soccer officials it was time to make a change.

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Bradley fired as U.S. coach


U.S. Soccer finally listened to its fans and today fired increasingly isolated U.S. Men’s National Team Coach Bob Bradley, a Manhattan Beach resident, after a meeting at Home Depot Center and in the wake of a poor Gold Cup showing.

Here’s the full press release from U.S. Soccer:

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced today that Bob Bradley has been relieved of his duties as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

“We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years,” said Gulati. “During his time as the head coach of our Men’s National Team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change. It is always hard to make these decisions, especially when it involves someone we respect as much as Bob. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

This announcement comes after a meeting at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., between Gulati, Bradley and U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn.

Bradley was named the head coach of the U.S. MNT in January of 2007 and during his five-year tenure compiled a 43-25-12 record. He led the team to a number of accomplishments, including winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, finishing second in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, winning their World Cup qualifying group and advancing to the Round of 16 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

U.S. Soccer will have a further announcement on Friday.

Slightly curious timing given the games the U.S. has scheduled this summer. The U.S. faces Mexico Aug. 10 in Philadelphia, Costa Rica Sept. 2 in Carson and Belgium Sept. 6 in Brussels.

And will an interim or permanent coach be announced Friday?

Let the speculation begin.

What do you think of this move?

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Galaxy to open CONCACAF Champions League campaign in Carson Aug. 16


In fact, the Galaxy play their first two group games at home 7 p.m. Aug. 16 and Aug 25, CONCACAF announced today.

The club opens against the winner of the preliminary round series between Club Motagua of Honduras and CSD Municipal of Guatemala and then faces Costa Rica’s Alajuelense at Home Depot Center.

Tickets to the opening game are expected to go on sale next week, club officials said.

From the Galaxy press release:

The Galaxy have been placed into Group A of the Champions League along with LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica, the Preliminary Round series winner between Motagua and Municipal, as well as the winner of the series between Mexico’s Monarcas Morelia and Haiti’s Tempete FC. The six-game group stage will conclude in mid-October, with the Galaxy facing each of their fellow teams in Group A once at home and once on the road.

Motagua will host Municipal in the first leg of their series tonight before travelling to Guatemala for the return leg of their aggregate-goal series on Thursday, August 4.

More details on the draw is at the CONCACAF website.

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Told ya so

What a credit to MLS that All-Star game was.

Let’s do that next year, too, so we can add to the 9-2 aggregate score of the last two years.

Can you imagine how many converts to the league there will be because of this game?

Don’t listen to critics like this – they have no clue.

Watch (and learn) – especially you Sean Franklin:

What a showcase!


And another thing: while it is lovely everyone is handing out plaudits to the only MLS player to go the full 90 I’m sure Galaxy fans will wonder just how effective Beckham will be against the Whitecaps in Vancouver and against Portland the following Wednesday given not only the game, but the travel involved in criss-crossing the continent. (Well, he would have been had he not ben suspended for the game as a commenter pointed out below).

And yeah, I know he’s suspended for the game (see comments).

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Tuesday’s Column: Does the All-Star game and international friendlies help grow the game in the U.S.?

i-553dd0f4cc913ad4c4a659a81abc81da-972255000c.jpgFun and games at the All-Star Game: David Beckham and Thierry Henry share a laugh Monday while practicing for Wednesday’s game (AP Photo).

Regular readers know I’m no fan of the MLS All-Star Game, an American sporting tradition that has no place in a global game. And after some of the antics and overall performances we’ve seen recently at games between MLS clubs and foreign opposition, combining the All-Star game with an exhibition against Manchester United is just combining two bad ideas.

Even worse (and something I neglected to mention in the column), international friendlies involving MLS clubs are being scheduled at the same time as regular season games, meaning soccer is essentially competing with itself for attention

How does that help MLS?

What do you think?

Do these games help grow soccer in this country or are they just about making money for those who are part of the soccer establishment here?

Read the column here and post your comments below.

Interestingly, I already received an e-mail this morning from someone who said they disagree with me, but several paragraphs of the e-mail seem to support the points I was trying to make in the column:

Not only is the MLS inferior, and boring with all the draws and scoreless draws, it also shoots itself by insisting to play while the best players are away on international duty too.

Sadly the display Saturday (actually, Sunday) showed how little the MLS cares as the kids that came for LA in the second half had energy and played well versus what was still a world class side from City. Too bad the MLS regulars don’t put out an effort like that on a 45 or 90 minute basis.

Personally, I only attend the international friendlies so I can see the best players in the world even if they are just in pre season shape.

Last year, I let me guard down and allowed a friend to persuade me into going to the Galaxy – Red Bull game since Henry would also be there. Instead it proved my point. It was by far the worst football game I have ever attended. Henry did not play, Beckham spent most of the night flailing his arms in the are clearly not interested in actually playing and my friend ultimately apologized to me as the horrid level of play had proven me right.

Doesn’t sound like someone who will be converted to MLS by watching these types of exhibition games does it? And isn’t that the point in scheduling them?


The Galaxy’s Juninho was added Monday to the inactive roster of six players for the MLS All-Star game.

The honor is presumably based largely on financial considerations.

The MLS Players Union labor agreement with the league calls for 32 players to be named to the All-Star team. Players usually receive a performance bonus for being named an All-Star.

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FIFA bribery probe hits CONCACAF

i-f5174658b19849eede752668a0bdc7fa-concacaf.jpgAnother reason to dissolve CONCACAF?:

ZURICH (AP) — Caribbean soccer leaders were given 48 hours by FIFA to explain their part in a Trinidad meeting where Mohamed bin Hammam allegedly offered them bribes or face life bans from the sport.

Caribbean Football Union members have been asked for their “truthful and complete” versions of events, FIFA said Tuesday. Soccer’s scandal-hit governing body sent letters Monday setting a Wednesday deadline to provide explanations and confessions.

“Any person who has relevant information but does not come forward during this 48-hour period will be subject to the full range of sanctions,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA’s ethics committee banned Qatar’s bin Hammam for life on Saturday after ruling he offered $40,000 cash bribes to Caribbean officials to back his later-abandoned presidential bid to unseat Sepp Blatter.

In its letter to all 25 CFU members, FIFA asked “the associations, their presidents and any of their members … (for) knowledge of anything that transpired” in Trinidad at a May 10-11 conference, which bin Hammam acknowledges he paid for.

“Following this 48-hour period, the ethics committee will be asked to open the necessary
ethics proceedings,” FIFA said. “Truthful and complete reporting will be considered in
mitigation by the ethics committee when deciding on potential sanctions.”

At least nine Caribbean countries have cooperated with FIFA’s investigation into the bribery claims, and a tenth — Cuba — was not present in Trinidad.

Of the 15 remaining CFU members, 12 wrote testimony denying the allegations and supporting bin Hammam and Caribbean soccer powerbroker Jack Warner when they first appeared before FIFA’s ethics panel in May.

Those supporters were targeted in recent weeks by FIFA investigators, led by former FBI
director Louis Freeh, but some did not cooperate or did not accept invitations to be quizzed in Miami and the Bahamas last month.

The sanctions threatened by FIFA could potentially remove the Caribbean’s most experienced soccer leaders.

Most are longtime allies of Warner, who avoided the ethics panel’s scrutiny by resigning from all soccer positions last month, including his 28-year seat on FIFA’s executive committee, and his presidencies of the CONCACAF regional confederation and the CFU.

FIFA said Warner maintained a “presumption of innocence” as he returned to his job as a government minister in Trinidad and Tobago.

Bin Hammam denies wrongdoing and has pledged to appeal his lifetime ban.

Two CFU staffers, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, got one-year bans from FIFA on Saturday for their part distributing the cash payments.

Whistleblowers told FIFA the money was handed over in four piles of $100 bills stuffed into a brown envelope.

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Galaxy-Manchester City post-game quotes

i-ed0803b7a6cad9c95e0059f90a11d5fd-beckhamdzeko.jpgManchester past and present: Former United midfielder David Beckham takes on City’s Edin Dzeko Sunday at Home Depot Center (AP Photo).

The Galaxy and Manchester City drew 1-1 in regulation; the EPL team prevailed on penalty kicks.

City finished with 17 shots, the Galaxy had eight.

City also had the edge in possession over the Galaxy 60:40 and had 557 total passes (88 percent accuracy); in comparison the Galaxy had 368 completed passes (79.9 percent accuracy).

Quotable: “

This was the most difficult game we played in this tournament,” said City Coach Roberto Mancini.

Here’s Mancini on why he subbed Mario Balotelli prematurely after the striker’s banal effort in front of goal in the first half:

“We need to be always serious, always professional and in this case Mario was not professional. … He knows better – he made a mistake. In football you should be serious always. And if you have a chance to score you should finish it off.

“For me it is finished now,” Mancini added of the incident. “I hope Mario learned his lesson.”

Watch the incident here:

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena was pleased with the effort of goalscorer Mike Magee today who showed not only can he stop goals – he played for the Galaxy in goal recently, you’ll recall, – but can score them, too.

“It was a fabulous goal against a fabulous goalkeeper,” Arena said, adding that Magee’s hamstring has hindered his mobility for about six weeks.

“We’ve had a bad run of injuries over the last two months,” he added. “It slowed us down a lot.”

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Live: Manchester City at Galaxy from Home Depot Center

Final: Galaxy 6 Manchester City 7

i-b5cdbe4ae3add56553f1ed49f6460767-jordan PK call.jpgSpot on? The Galaxy’s Bryan Jordan gets a PK call against him in the first half as Micah Richards goes down (AP Photo).

Attendance was 24,897 for this fairly entertaining affair that ended 1-1 in regulation and was decided on penalty kicks.

More later.


Dan Keat scored with a blast up the middle for the Galaxy on the first kick.

James Milner replied successfully for the Galaxy.

Chris Birchall put the second Galaxy PK in the left corner of the net.

Vladimir Weiss scored City’s second PK.

Juninho’s PK hit the post for the Galaxy.

Denis Suarez has put City ahead.

Todd Dunivant converted the Galaxy’s fourth PK.

Alexander Kolarov’s kick was successful

McBean missed his attempt.

Lescott missed.

De Jong and the Galaxy’s McCarty missed their respective efforts.

Wright-Phillips made his, while DeLaGarza missed from the spot.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart scored the winner from the spot for City.


John Guidetti’s stabbing shot from close range was denied by Josh Saunders just before the final whistle. We’re going to penalty kicks.


Jack McBean, 16, made his Galaxy debut ,coming on as a 65th minute sub for Lopez. He immediately won a dangerous free kick in the 67th minute, Stefan Savic getting booked in the process. The set piece was hammered straight at the wall, however.


Mike Magee scored a beauty that’s worthy of being a winning goal let alone an equalizer in the 53rd minute, the ball sitting up for him beautifully as he clobbered it from 25 yards out to give a grasping Joe Hart no chance. Chris Birchall had set him up after Keat had sent over a long ranging ball to him on the right wing.

A couple of minutes later both Todd Dunivant and Keat could have scored a second for the Galaxy, but Joe Hart saved both opportunities.


As expected, City had the vast amount of the possession at the half- it was supposedly 60:40 although I think that’s being generous to the MLS team – against a Galaxy with several young starters and several less than mobile veterans.

The penalty kick that led to the goal may have been dispute, but the overwhelming superiority of the EPL team was not.

City strung together 289 total passes, the Galaxy 194; City had 10 shots on target, the Galaxy two.

Other unusual stats we don’t usually see for MLS games: the Galaxy supposedly won 61.9 percent of the “duels” – presumably challenges between players – to City’s 39.1 percent, while City 88.9 percent passing accuracy to the Galaxy’s 80.9 percent.

Kyle Davies, making his first Galaxy start on the back four, didn’t embarrass himself though.

There were eight subs for the Galaxy at the half with only Saunders, Franklin, Stephens and Lopez remaining on the field from among the starters; City made two changes bringing on Shaun Wright-Phillips for David Silva and Aleksander Kolarov for Gael Clichy.


A City soap opera unfolded in the 32nd minute when Manager Roberto Mancini, visibly upset with a Mario Balotelli showboating miss a couple of minutes earlier, pulled the striker from the game for James Milner.

When Balotelli came off he confronted Mancini on the bench and clearly said something he shouldn’t judging by the Italian coach’s reaction.

While on a 2 v. 1 breakaway, Balotelli had inexplicably tried to spin around and back heel the ball past Saunders when he had Edin Dzeko wide open on the play in support. Disrespectful.


Chant from the Angel City Brigade in the 23rd minute: “You’ll never beat United.”


Mario Balotelli scored from a 20th minute spot kick after referee Ricardo Salazar ruled Bryan Jordan pulled down Micah Richards on the right wing. From the replays it didn’t appear the Temple City native touched him, although Richards made a meal of it and may have hurt a knee as he went down.

City’s David Silva just sent a daisy cutter past the far post from inside the box in the 12th minute after a fluent move prised open the Galaxy defense.


The Galaxy’s Hector Jiminez, who is getting his first Galaxy start this afternoon, just clashed heads with City left back Gael Clichy in the sixth minute. Clichy came off worst: He attempted to get up, but staggered woozily and needed treatment before coming back on.


He’s came back in the gamer, though.

Lovely afternoon at Home Depot Center – not too hot – for a rare 1 p.m. start to a Galaxy game, the St. George’s Cross flying proudly at the berm end of the stadium for the visit by the EPL giants.

Landon Donovan has a slight right calf strain and will miss today’s game in a precautionary move. The similarly injured Juan Pablo Angfel is also absent, while Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena is disinclined to risk Omar Gonzalez and his broken nose in a meaningless friendly. (Correction, Gonzalez is on the bench).

Not that he isn’t looking forward to the game:

“I love any game that I can either watch or coach in that we don’t have to win,” he said earlier this week. “And I don’t get many of them in my life so I enjoy that.”

In fact there’s a very different lineup for the Galaxy with a bunch of unfamiliar starters.

Here’s the Galaxy XI: Saunders; Franklin, Davies (as in Kyle), Berhalter, Jordan; Jimenez, Beckham, Stephens, Kirovski; Cristman, Lopez

On the bench: Perk, Guppy, Dunivant, Hejduk, Thomas, Gonzalez, Juninho, McCarty, McBean, Birchall, DeLaGarza, Keat, Magee

Manchester City field a far stronger starting XI: Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Gael Clichy, Micah Richards, David Silva, Gareth Barry, Adam Johnson, Nigel de Jong, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko

Options for City off the bench include James Milner and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

The game is live on ESPN.

Refresh this post for updates.

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