Real football to air on network TV on Super Bowl Sunday

Not more of the the pointy-ball type.

From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox will televise the first English Premier League match on free television in the United States on Super Bowl Sunday, when Chelsea plays Manchester United.

The match on Feb. 5 is one of four Premier League games the network will show this season. It will begin at 7:30 a.m. PT.

The other three games will be televised on tape delay to complement NFL games over the next three months.

The telecasts will be the first EPL matchup between Man United and Chelsea (Sept.
18); Tottenham against Arsenal on Oct. 2; and Chelsea facing Liverpool on Nov. 20.

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The Return of Freddy Adu

i-8899850c83eca63474f65dc97f7e3c42-aduphilly.jpgFreddy Adu speaks at the Philadelphia Union press conference announcing his signing (AP Photos).

To MLS, not Southern California, although it should be noted that Freddy Adu and the Philadelphia Union will visit Carson Oct. 2 for Chivas USA’s penultimate home game of the season.

It seems like a long time ago now that a “spoiled” Adu was introduced to the media at Home Depot Center the first time he signed to MLS.

Here’s more from AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston:

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Freddy Adu can say it now. He was spoiled.

A pro at just 14, the youngest ever to play for the U.S. two years later, Adu was christened the next Pele — and the petulant teen phenom believed the hype. When he was benched, Adu lashed out at the disciplinarian coach. When he turned 16, Adu drove a 2006 BMW 330i and proclaimed, “everything is me in this car.”

He was billed as the next one-word superstar like Tiger, LeBron, Shaq.

He would win World Cups for the United States and maybe play for Arsenal or Chelsea by his early 20s.

Yet six years after his debut in Major League Soccer, Adu was miles removed from England’s Premier League or even a packed house in Washington roaring in delight, tingling in anticipation of each move by soccer’s boy wonder.

He sat scared in Greece on his team’s bus as it was attacked by overzealous fans.

His own team’s fans.

Hooligans pelted the bus with rocks and shattered windows all because Adu’s Aris FC lost a game in Thessaloniki to its city rival. Waiting for police to clear a lane back to the hotel, Adu’s lone thought was, get me out of here.

“It was one of the craziest things to happen to me,” Adu said. “I’m like, man, this is not
what I envisioned when I wanted to be a pro athlete.”

Few parts of his career have developed the way Adu expected.

Once billed as American soccer’s savior, Adu found himself stuck in Greece last year with his career in shambles. He had bounced around European teams on a series of unsuccessful loans that left him forgotten by the public in the United States and an afterthought for a meaty role on the U.S. national team. Former national team coach Bob Bradley had no use for him on the U.S. roster for last year’s World Cup in South Africa.

On top of the world as a teen, Adu stopped having fun playing the game he loved.

“When I didn’t get called up to the World Cup team, that really hit me,” Adu said. “That’s
always been a goal of mine. When I didn’t get a chance to go, I really sat back. For me, the rest of the year, was the worst time of my career. The worst. When I went back to Aris, the team said my salary was too high and basically tried to bully me into taking a paycut by not allowing me to train with team. Everything was bad.”

He wasn’t the next Pele. Adu wasn’t even the next Preki. Or Landon Donovan. He was a
high-priced globetrotting journeyman, playing ball in Portugal or Greece or Turkey, trying to find a perfect fit before he ran out of time to rediscover the talent that made him such a prodigy and a pro at 14.

Now 22, Adu has returned to MLS and the Philadelphia Union, still dreaming of a career stuffed with national team glory and Premier League uniforms.

But he comes back to the United States a mature and humbled young man. He has reunited with his former D.C. United coach, Peter Nowak — the disciplinarian — with the hope of salvaging his pro career and proving that, yes, he can still blossom into the superstar so many experts and fans pegged him to become.

“Some people might think I came back to MLS because I didn’t have any offers,” Adu said. “This is where I want to be.”

He knew he didn’t want to play in Greece.

After being snubbed for the World Cup roster, Adu found a way to terminate his contract with Aris and chose in January to play for a second-division team, Caykur Rizespor, in Turkey. It’s akin to an NBA lottery pick asking for a spot in the D-League. But all Adu wanted was to play soccer. Turkey offered the best chance for regular playing time, even if the competition didn’t stack up with the world’s elite.

“You had to really swallow your pride to say, I’ll go play in the second division,” he said.
“It’s not where you want to be. But you had to be mature in this decision. I got much better playing in the second division in Turkey because I played every week. I was part of something. I was part of a team making a run to get promoted.”

Adu’s move paid off and he earned his own personal promotion: Bradley selected Adu for this summer’s Gold Cup.

Adu led the U.S. to the Gold Cup final in June with a long, slanting pass to Donovan for the only goal in the semifinal against Panama. His corner kick in the championship game set up Michael Bradley’s goal in an eventual loss.

“You have to think about starting from scratch and working your way up,” Adu said. “That was my mentality.”

i-233dd3bb1b8372ab34e467708592fbf3-adujuggle.jpgCan Adu juggle fame and soccer the second time around in MLS?

Starting over is tough to imagine for a long-ago budding prospect like Adu.

Soccer was easy as a child. Born in Ghana, he trained with top youth athletes at the IMG
Soccer Academy in Florida before signing with MLS in 2003.

He forged a friendship with IMG’s Trevor Moawad, at the time the program’s mental conditioning coach, a bond that has endured through all of Adu’s travels. Moawad says Adu deserved the spotlight as a child because he was clearing all the benchmarks for soccer players of his age groups. Even if it seemed now a mistake for Adu to turn pro at 14, making him the youngest player on a major U.S. pro team in more than 115 years, Moawad says he believed the precocious teen was ready to handle the rigors of professional soccer.

“We never anticipated that adapting would be a problem for him at the professional level,” Moawad said. “I think that those issues were probably more significant than I would have thought they’d be.”

Moawad tried to prep Adu by arranging him to spend time with superstar athletes like sprinter Michael Johnson and NFL star Anquan Boldin. Even Jaleel White — best-known for his role as Steve Urkel on “Family Matters.”

“People wondered, why are you having him spend time with Urkel,” Moawad said. “Urkel was having to deal with these incredibly complex issues at the age of 13. Who else could (Adu) empathize with and understand what he was going through at a young age?”

While Adu admits having his doses of fun — a student newspaper at the University of Maryland quoted students as saying they witnessed the underaged Adu drinking at various keg parties on campus — he was socially isolated from his older teammates. They went to clubs or home to their families.

Adu spent time with his mother.

“Who are you going to hang out with,” Adu asked, “when you’re 14?”

And when playing time and goals didn’t come as effortlessly as foreseen, it was Nowak who took the brunt of the criticism. Adu wasn’t shy about popping off and going public with his frustration over his role while in Washington.

“There was always a lot of advertisement at the time, ‘Come watch Freddy Adu and D.C. United.’ Then the game comes and I’m on the bench,” Adu said. “Just stuff like that. At the time, I should have handled myself better.

“It’s difficult to not get a little carried away, which is what happened. I admit it. I did get carried away with all that. It was difficult for a 14, 15, 16 year old to handle that.”

His mother, Emelia, was a heavy factor in his decision to turn pro. With his father out of the picture since Adu was 8, Emelia Adu worked two jobs to support her two sons. Adu’s $500,000 rookie salary was the highest in the league and he netted a $1 million endorsement deal from Nike. Emelia Adu hasn’t worked since Freddy turned pro.

“Even if I suffered for it, so be it,” Adu said. “That’s a sacrifice I was going to make for
my family, for sure. I’d do it a million times out of million if I had the same

MLS was eager to take advantage of Adu’s sizable publicity push. Interviews with David
Letterman and “60 Minutes” allowed Adu to flash that megawatt smile and outgoing personality — a trait he claims was often mistaken for not being serious enough about soccer. He put fans in the seats and moved MLS out of the glut of fringe sports to the mainstream.

“I’m not sure looking back on the whole Freddy Adu experience that we managed it as well as we could have,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “But hindsight is 20-20. The league was very different then. Freddy was different then. He was a very young guy with a lot of attention on him and the league needed it. The sport needed it. Freddy needed it. And I’m not sure he was able to handle it. Now that he’s back, at the ripe age of 22, I think he has a lot of soccer ahead of him — and he’s in the right place.”

Adu and Nowak patched up their differences long ago, and Adu stayed in touch with Nowak while he played four years in Europe. Adu, a two-time MLS All-Star, was able to arrange a free transfer from Benfica of the Portuguese first division to MLS, in part, because of his relationship with Nowak.

The pair won an MLS Cup together in 2004. Nowak found a player who can no longer scoot by on hype alone.

“We’ve become closer to each other,” Nowak said. “We’ve understood each other more and more. It’s a great sign he could be part of my team again.”

The Union found footing in a crowded sports market and can fill their sparkling stadium
without Adu’s name value. He wasn’t signed to become the centerpiece of a marketing campaign. The midfielder returned to MLS simply as another valuable member of a team chasing a championship.

Nothing more.

He jokes he feels like an old 22 even though he boasts he’s young at heart.

“I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me,” Adu said. “It’s made me a much better person, a much better player.”

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Tuesday’s Column: The Klinsmann Era Begins in Carson

i-34d46419597d88af69121fc049c313f8-carsonlogo.jpgYeah, I though the city of Carson logo was apt for this blog post.

The U.S. Men’s National Team camp is under way in Carson although Clint Dempsey is absent for Friday’s game, Jonathan Spector and Chris Pontius have replaced the injured Zach Loyd and Heath Pearce and newcomer Fabian Johnson is as yet ineligible to play for the U.S.

Staff Writer Phil Collin was among a handful of journalists granted a Monday audience with Herr Klinsmann and given a crash course (I’m told the 90-minute event was more monologue than Q&A) in the Klinsmann philosophy.

Meanwhile, he’s my take on what we learned from the Mexico game and what we should see over the next nine days at the USMNT camp.

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Chivas USA Port-mortem

Teams that make the playoffs find ways to win games; teams that don’t find ways to lose.

At the moment, Chivas USA are the latter.

*Staff Writer Jill Painter has the game story.

Watch (if you can):

The body language said more than the grasping for positives comments after the game:

For Chivas USA the season is threatening to slip away.

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Soccer Saturday: Chivas USA-RSL showdown & more

Good morning on an already sobering day for soccer that saw Chelsea’s Didier Drogba sustain a sickening concussion this morning (he looked unconscious before he hit the ground judging by the way his head grotesquely bounced off the turf) in a nonetheless entertaining televised game against Norwich City that was sadly also marred by a harsh penalty and an even harsher red card to the Canary’s goalkeeper that in my opinion meant the outcome was decided by the ref rather than the players.

Still, my thoughts are with Drogba during a week where I have unfortunately spent far too much time writing about concussions.

The most important game of the season for Chivas USA sees Robin Fraser’s men take on a faltering Real Salt Lake City today, who are five points ahead of the Goats in the standings, at Home Depot Center (live 7:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel).

Van Nuys’ Tristan Bowen of Chivas USA went out on a year-long loan this week, while RSL could see the return of “The Eraser.”

There wasn’t much between the two teams when they played each other earlier this season and another tight match is likely tonight

*In college soccer Friday:

The Loyola Marymount women have opened their season 3-0.

The UCLA women beat Tennessee 2-1

Pepperdine defeated Cal State Fullerton in dramatic come from behind fashion.

Cal State Northridge men’s coach Terry Davila got win No. 100.

The CSUN women lost to Baylor.

USC is an unthinkable 0-3.

Long Beach State suffered their first loss of the season.

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Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League Post-game

Galaxy 2 Alajuelense 0

Game story



“They play a different game – quickness – not the same style of physicality (you see in MLS),” said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena. “It was an important experience for us.”

Mike Magee agreed with that assessment:

They’re more technical than most MLS teams ,” he said. “They have a little bite to them.”

The standings.

Next for the Galaxy in the CONCACAF CL: at Morelia Sept. 13.

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Live CONCACAF Champions League: LD Alajuelense at Galaxy from Home Depot Center

Final: Galaxy 2 Alajuelense 0

The Galaxy have done just what Coach Bruce Arena wanted – gone 2-0 to open their CONCACAF Champions League campaign.

The 9,855 in attendance got value for money tonight.

More later.


Robbie Keane has made the longest run he’s made all night – to the sideline to get subbed out and replaced by Chris Birchall. Four minutes of stoppage remain.


Juninho has been sent off for a high elbow on Jhonny Acosta in the 88th minute; that was an unnecessary – and potentially dangerous – challenge from the Brazilian.


Saunders was needed to save a long-range, but strong shot from at least 30 yards by Pablo Gabas in the 84th minute. May have been the visitors’ best attempt on goal all night.


Fewer than 10 minutes left for Robbie Keane to make an impression; been AWOL much of the night.


Chad Barrett has his fifth goal of the season in the 77th minute. The pretty build up was conjured up by David Beckham, whose vision and right foot found a speeding Sean Franklin on the right wing. Franklin intelligently pulled it back to a waiting Barrett, who side footed it in from seven yards.


Galaxy forward Chad Barrett enters the game in the 74th minute for Adam Cristman; it’s the UCLA product’s first appearance since July 4.


Landon Donovan got a 68th minute yellow card for flinging an opponent to the ground.


The Costa Ricans had a goal disallowed for offside in the 65th minute. Y’know, this looks like a team without its leading scorer; the visitors, for instance, have had several fast breaks on the Galaxy defense, but seem to run out of ideas in the final third.

The Galaxy do not have the same affliction; Mike Magee just had a 66th minute shot stopped by the Costa Rican goalkeeper.


The Galaxy outplayed Alajuelense for the most part in the opening 45 minutes. In fact, Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders may have had the most trouble from three sluggish back passes from his defenders.

The Galaxy were especially prolific on corner kicks; they had five to their opponents’ one and, of course, the goal came from a Beckham corner.

The second half is about to start.


The injury to Gregg Berhalter in the first half had to do with his right foot, incidentally, although the severity is unknown.


Unremitting Galaxy pressure paid off when Omar Gonzlez outjumped – bowled over is more like it – Costa Rican defender Geancarlo Gonzalez at the near post in the 38th minute for the goal from another David Beckham corner kick. Arena pumps his fists in approval on the touchline.


David Beckham picked up a yellow card in the 31st minute although it’s not at all clear why. It appears the ref believed he was delaying the game, but it looked like Beckham was waiting for the go ahead to take the set piece from the assistant referee.

Quite weird. But the small knot of fans of the Costa Rican club near that side of the field near the corner post thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.


David Beckham is signaling the bench that the Galaxy need a sub. It’s Gregg Berhalter coming out, I believe, in the 26th minute. It looks like a foot issue.

Sean Franklin is preparing to come in. Franklin has slotted into the right back spot, with DeLaGarza moving into the middle with former Maryland central defensive partner Omar Gonzalez.


A.J. DeLaGarza began the most promising Galaxy attack of the night in the 11th minute with a long pass upfield that beat Robbie Keane’s lone marker. The Irishman crossed to Adam Cristman who headed over the bar from close range.


With Sunday’s game in New York against the Red Bulls postponed because of Hurricane Irene, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena goes with what is pretty much a first choice starting lineup tonight.

A.J. DeLaGarza returns in defense to replace Frankie Hejduk and Mike Magee takes over from Sean Franklin in midfield, but otherwise it’s fairly close to the same starting lineup that beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 in Robbie Keane’s debut last weekend.

Also available for the first time in several weeks is striker Chad Barrett, who is on the bench tonight.

The Galaxy XI: Josh Saunders-Todd Dunivant, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLagarza-Landon Donovan, Juninho, David Beckham, Mike Magee-Adam Cristman, Robbie Keane

Jonathan McDonald, Alajuelense’s leading scorer and the player who scored last week to beat Morelia 1-0 in the opening CONCACAF Champions League fixture, will not play tonight because of injury.

It’s a clash of the two leaders of their respective leagues tonight: the visitors lead the Costa Rican league with four wins and one draw having scored a dozen coals and conceding just five.

The game is on Fox Soccer Channel.

Refresh this post for updates throughout the game

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Hurricane Irene prompts postponement of Sunday’s NYRB-Galaxy game

The sold-out, nationally televised game in New York was rescheduled to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Also postponed: Sunday’s Philadelphia Union-New England Revolution until Sept. 7, while Saturday’s D.C. United-Portland contest was brought forward to 2 p.m. from 7 p.m.

“With the safety of our fans and clubs top of mind, and thanks to the cooperation of our clubs and broadcast partners, Major League Soccer has rescheduled two games that were originally set for this weekend,” said Nelson Rodriguez, Executive Vice President of Competition and Game Operations. “We expect that Hurricane Irene will likely cause hazardous travel and unplayable conditions throughout the Northeast. We appreciate our fans’ understanding of these decisions and the media’s assistance in communicating the message.”

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USMNT roster for Sept. 2 friendly in Carson announced

The 24-player roster, which includes Chivas USA’s Heath Pearce, Rolling Hills Estates Robbie Rogers and former Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan is here.

Note there is no place for Freddy Adu, who was on the roster, but didn’t play against Mexico earlier this month or American-born Joe Corona, the former San Diego State player who now plays in Tijuana and was called up to Mexico’s U-22 team.

Tickets are on sale starting at $20.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will hold a public training session from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at Home Depot Center. Admission and parking are free.

Fans who plan on attending are requested to register by emailing

Also, Chivas USA defender Ante Jazic, 35, was called up by Canada for the World cup qualifiers against St. Lucia Sept. 2 and Puerto Rico Sept. 6.

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