Thursday Kicks: Galaxy CONCACAF CL Gameday & more

*The Galaxy play the second game of the CONCACAF Champions League campaign against Costa Rican side Alajuelense. With another small crowd in the offing at Home Depot Center tonight, the Galaxy have offered all those who attend free parking.

Staff Writer Phil Collin has the capsule preview.

Watch the video preview from the Galaxy:

*A Juan Pablo Angel-less (he was rested) Ch-Ch-Chivas ch-ch-choked in Portland Wednesday night losing a proverbial six-pointer to the Timbers.

Watch the winning goal:

Incidentally, the Chivas USA PR staff issued the following English language defying description of the goal (reprinted word for word):

“The first goal of the game came at the 44th minute through a corner kick in favor of Timbers, Chabala cashed it and defender Eric Brunner jumped to meet the ball and softly deflected it with a header, enough to place it to the second post, far from Kennedy who could not do nothing to avoid for the ball to end in the back of his net.”

And Chivas could “not do nothing” to avoid the loss either. The Timbers’ reward: overhauling Chivas USA in the MLS stndings.

Here’s the Portland post-game reaction:

*Finally, with the college season looming here are previews of the challenges facing the Loyola Marymount men and Cal Poly Pomona men.

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Wednesday Kicks: Ochoa’s signing with MLS confirmed & more

*As regular readers of this blog learned here exclusively on Tuesday, Riverside Poly High product Sammy Ochoa has signed with MLS and Chivas USA is in pole position to sign him.

*Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall has been called up to the Trinidad & Tobago National Team for its upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Barbados and Bermuda. The Galaxy, already without Irish international Robbie Keane for the Labor Day contest against Sporting Kansas City, won’t have Birchall for that game either.

He has 36 caps for his national team. Here’s more from the Galaxy press release:

Trinidad and Tobago will open their 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign on Friday, Sept. 2 when they host Bermuda at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. They will be back in action again four days later on Tuesday, Sept. 6 when they take on Barbados in Bridgetown. These are the first of six games that the Soca Warriors will play in Group B of the Second Round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with future games against Barbados and Bermuda to be played in October as well as two games against Guyana in November.

*Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer Channel, already in in negotiations with Glasgow Rangers to televise the club’s games in the U.S now the club employs three Americans, has snatched up the broadcast rights to the Europa League:

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA says Fox Sports has purchased the U.S. broadcast rights for the Europa League in the 2012-15 seasons, replacing DirecTV.

UEFA did not disclose what Fox paid for the three-year deal. Fox recently lost the rights to MLS to NBC.

UEFA says Fox Soccer Channel will broadcast at least two matches live each week that games are scheduled. Fox Soccer Plus will show live matches up the quarterfinals stage.

Fox Sports recently acquired rights to show UEFA’s marquee club competition, the Champions League, in a three-season deal through 2015.

*Finally, are you bored with all the ties in MLS this season? You are not alone.

Personally, I like the idea of awarding teams zero points for scoring zero goals in 0-0 draws as a partial solution.

What say you?

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Chivas USA Wednesday gameday

Chivas USA wrap up a five-game road slog that has so far seen them lose just once, win in New England and tie their last two games with a crucial 8 p.m. game against the Portland Timbers (live on Prime).

Chivas USA remains one point out of a playoff spot and two points ahead of the Timbers

A road win would position them to overhaul struggling Real Salt Lake in the standings Saturday at Home Depot Center.

There’s a viewing party in San Pedro.

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Former Tecos striker Ochoa poised to join MLS

Sammy Ochoa, the former U.S. Under-20 forward, is set to return from Mexico to the U.S. – and could join Chivas USA, 100 Percent Soccer has learned.

Chivas USA remain atop the MLS allocation order and the 24-year-old who is from the Los Angeles area and living in Corona would seem the type of young Latino player that should form the backbone of the club.

“Ochoa will be signing with MLS tomorrow and will be assigned a team on Friday,” said a source close to the player. “We are about 90% there, Sammy is putting pen to paper today and we are sending all documents to MLS.”

Ochoa made more than 20 appearances for Estudiantes Tecos since signing for the club in 2006, but has never quite made the breakthrough to become an established member of the first team.

Money conscious Chivas USA has made developing youngsters from Southern California a club priority and is revamping its youth academy.

Pairing a promising 6-0 prospect with a veteran and mentor like Juan Pablo Angel would seem a logical move for the club.

Ochoa trained with the Seattle Sounders earlier thissummer; he previously played for Seattle Coach Sigi Schmid on the U.S. U-20 team.

He is the younger brother of Jesus Ochoa, 29, who is currently with the LA Blues of USL Pro and was previously with the Galaxy and Chivas USA.


It should be noted, however, that while the allocation process is for USMNT “pool players,” it’s unclear whether that term applies to the former U.S. youth international.

MLS often attempts to take the preferences of teams and players into account when assigning players to clubs.

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Galaxy update: Keane named to Ireland squad as expected, free HDC parking for Thursday’s CONCACAF CL game

i-97c7506cd01c7642019c46eb08575d73-232167904c-1.jpgHead over heels: Robbie Keane scored on his Galaxy debut Saturday and retains his place in the Ireland squad as expected for two upcoming European Championship qualifiers (AP Photo).

*I’m guessing Robbie Keane will head to Ireland directly after Sunday’s game in New York, which means he’ll miss the rescheduled Galaxy game in Kansas City on Labor Day.

The tough part will be traveling back from Russia for the home game against the Colorado Rapids Friday, Sept. 9.

Keane has described these games as “massive” and reiterated he’s “100 percent committed to Ireland – when he’s not with the Galaxy:

DUBLIN (AP) — Captain Robbie Keane has retained his place in the Ireland squad for next month’s 2012 European Championship qualifiers despite moving to the Galaxy.

The striker will travel back from the United States for the Sept. 2 home match against
Slovakia and the trip to Moscow to play Russia four days later.

Keane scored in his MLS debut Saturday as the Galaxy beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0.

Ireland tops Group B on goal difference ahead of Russia and Slovakia.

Coach Giovanni Trapattoni expects players to link up with the squad even if they are injured so they can be assessed by Ireland’s medical staff.

*Did you know? According to MLS, “if the LA Galaxy defeat the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening at Red Bull Arena, they will become the first team to clinch a spot in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs this season. No other scenarios exist by which an MLS club can clinch or be eliminated from playoff contention this week. ”

Incidentally, the league also said today that the game will air in more than 100 nations – “the most international distribution of any regular season MLS game this year.”

*From the About Time Department comes word the Galaxy will provide complimentary parking to fans attending Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League group game against Costa Rican champion LD Alajuelense at Home Depot Center. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. with parking lots opening at 5 p.m. for all fans.

Let’s hope fans respond to this and show up in greater numbers than they did for the CONCACAF CL opener against Motagua.

From the Galaxy press release:

Alajuelense are currently tied with the Galaxy for the top spot in Group A with identical 1-0-0 records for three points.

Alajuelense won their Group A opener 1-0 over Mexican side Monarcas Morelia behind a late goal from Jonathan McDonald while the Galaxy defeated CD Motagua of Honduras, 2-0, on August 16 with goals from Adam Cristman and Landon Donovan.

In Costa Rican Primera Division play, Alajuelense are in first place with a 4-0-1 record for 13 points from their first five games of the season.

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Tuesday’s Column: Despite concussion, classy Southern California native Conrad bows out of MLS with sense of humor intact

i-1b0c15f9aa17af5ab69052f13e576701-conradpressersmall.jpgDressed in a black suit for his self-described wake, Chivas USA defender Jimmy Conrad bade farewell to MLS last Thursday (Photo courtesy Chivas USA).

Read about the reasons for Jimmy Conrad’s retirement in today’s column.

Incidentally, MLS sent me a few more details of the enhanced protocols they implemented to deal with concussions, which include:

*Outside consultation – Every team has an independent neuropsychologist who works with the team doctor and head trainer to administer tests and interpret the results.

*New testing methods – League-wide, the same battery of “paper and pencil” tests, which take about an hour to complete, now supplement the computerized baseline tests we’ve been using since 2003.

*Education – Dr. Echemendia, an expert in the field of sports concussions and chair of the new MLS Concussion Program Committee, presented to each of the 18 clubs and a gathering of all referees, coaches and general managers during preseason. Posters are being hung in training facilities and stadium locker rooms with concussion symptoms to watch for. The committee is working on multi-lingual and culturally-sensitive materials to help with ongoing awareness.

*Gradual Return-to-Play – Once an injured player is symptom-free at rest and deemed to be neurocognitively at or above his baseline, he can begin the gradual process of returning to activity – monitored at each step by the team physician for a re-emergence of symptoms. A player should only progress to the next step when symptom free.

*The nine-member MLS Concussion Program Committee – Includes representation from MLS administration, MLS Players Union administration, MLS players, MLS team trainers and MLS team physicians.

Incidentally, just as one local defender exits MLS another – a Torrance native – has returned to the league.

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Weekend rewind: Highlight reel goal from Lawndale’s Kamara & more

Catching up on the weekend highlights:

*Lawndale’s Kei Kamara is now just three goals away from last year’s career high of 10 when he scored a cooly taken winner for Kansas City Saturday in the 1-0 win over D.C. United.


*And while I didn’t see a Daily Mail reporter in the press box Saturday in Carson watching the action on the field between the Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes highlighted by the perfectly written script of one Robert Kean, the English tabloid was moved to check out what was going on off the field in today’s edition.

*College programs have begun play and the Loyola Marymount women got off to a promising start in Texas, beating Texas State 1-0 Sunday, following up on Friday’s 3-1 defeat of No. 19-ranked Texas.

*In contrast, No. 25-ranked USC dropped two home games on the same weekend for the first time ever, a 3-1 Sunday loss to San Diego coming on the heels of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Long Beach State.

*Long Beach State is 2-0 after a 3-0 victory over Sacramento State in the 49ers’ home opener Sunday afternoon at George Allen Field and the win over USC.

*Pepperdine is similarly 2-0, defeating Arizona 2-0 at Tari Frahm Rokus Field Sunday and beating Cal 2-1 in Berkeley Friday.

*The Cal State Northridge men walloped Cal State Dominguez Hills 5-0 Saturday; the CSUN women lost 2-0 to No. 9 UCLA Friday night at Matador Field.

Lastly, ESPN2 features the Tottenham Hotspur-Manchester United game at noon today.

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Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes Post-game

Galaxy 2 San Jose Earthquakes 0

i-268a9496c0db3230086ac8c9d9d62c57-keanefiring.jpgSixgun Keane: Robbie Keane came out firing on all cylinders with the opening goal on his MLS debut Saturday in the Galaxy’s win over the Earthquakes (AP Photos).

Staff Writer Phil Collin has the game story.

If you haven’t seen Robbie Keane’s goal yet, be sure and check it out below.

It was, frankly, a thing of minimalist beauty its success hinging as much on what Keane didn’t do as did do. Patience and timing did justice to an exquisitely delivered Beckham long ball and paid dividends.

“It’s great to have a player who knows when to run and can get on the end of a ball when you play it,” Beckham said.

“He made it look easy,” said Landon Donovan. “It was not an easy goal. He made (goalkeeper) Jon Busch look foolish.

“His quality is pretty evident,” Donovan added. “And on a night we play better he’s going to get a lot more chances.”

i-9c6944f4905e886f1013cf9f6075ffaa-greenwithenvy.jpgGreen with envy: Fans celebrate the arrival of Irishman Robbie Keane, mean green goal scoring machine.

The result was pretty harsh on San Jose, which didn’t look like a team on a club-record dozen game winless streak. They looked better going forward than the Galaxy much of the night, but lacked the finishing touch.

Josh Saunders played a critical role in preserving the shutout with five saves; Busch didn’t make any (which was part of San Jose’s problem).

We’ll give the last word of the night to Mike Magee who went from preventing San Jose from scoring – he was in goal the last time these two teams met – to scoring with his 90th minute goal in this game:

“We had actually texted earlier today,” he said of Landon Donovan who he celebrated the goal with after receiving the “peach” of a Sean Franklin pass. “We were just joking around and I told him I’d meet him at the corner flag (for a goal celebration) in the 80th minute. He came over (after Magee’s goal) and said I was nine minutes late.”

Ba boom.


Next up for the Galaxy (the only MLS team who remain unbeaten at home): LD Alajuelense Thursday in the second group game of the CONCACAF Champions League at Home Depot Center, then it’s off to a sold-out Red Bull Arena for a Sunday contest against New York.

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Video highlights: Chivas USA at Colorado Rapids

Game story.

But Chivas USA ended the day the way they started it – one point out of a playoff place.


“I’m really happy for Juan,” David Beckham said of his former teammates’ goal on his Chivas USA debut. “I was sad to see him go. It didn’t work out for him here, but I hope it works out for him at Chivas.”

Said Bruce Arena of Angel’s performance: “Both of our local teams have benefited this week from the acquisition of players.”

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Live: San Jose Earthquakes (5-9-10) at Galaxy (13-3-9) from Home Depot Center

Final: Galaxy 2 San Jose Earthquakes 0

The Galaxy won 2-0 in exactly the manner Robbie Keane would have wanted to write the script.

“It’s always nice to score in your home debut,” Keane said in a TV interview as he left the field.

Dallas’ 1-0 loss to Seattle means the Galaxy have extended their lead in MLS to six points.

Josh Saunders got his fifth shutout and the Galaxy roll on with a second consecutive win; they’ve now lost just once since May.

More later.

Mike Magee added a second from close range for the Galaxy in the 90th minute that all but seals the victory and exchanging his goal keeping exploits the last time these two teams met for a goal-scoring role this time.

Sean Franklin had the cross and assist.

Steven Beitashour has received a straight red in the 82nd minute after he was tackled by Landon Donovan; he came down unnecessarily on the Galaxy playmaker afterward with a sort of stamp on Donovan’s knee. Why he did that is unclear.


An announced sell-out crowd of 27,000 paid tribute to Robbie Keane in the 71st minute with sustained applause after he came out to make way for Mike Magee. Will Keane’s goal stand up as the winner?


Keane fired over the bar from seven yards out in the 64th minute after getting on the end of a long Omar Gonzalez pass from deep in his own half; good vision by the central defender.

USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann is among the spectators here tonight, incidentally.


Rafael Baca got a yellow card for diving in the 55th minute. To me it just looked like he was off balance and hit the ground; call seemed more than a little harsh.


This is an open, entertaining game so far with both teams unafraid to move forward.

San Jose actually has the advantage in possession (52 percent) and the edge in total shots (8-6) and those on target, too (5-1). Busch has yet to be credited with a save; Saunders has five.

The second half is about to start.


Trivia: Robbie Keane just became Galaxy player No. 18 to score on his debut with the club. Alecko Eskandarian was the last one before Keane, scoring the winner against New England on July 4, 2009.

“So far, so good,” Keane said in a TV interview at the half.


Well, you can’t say San Jose isn’t getting opportunities to score: Saunders was forced into another diving save in the 42nd minute and got a hand to the ball to prevent Rafael Baca scoring on his debut with a low shot.


Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders made a diving one-handed save in the 34th minute to deny Joey Gjertsen a goal after the ball fell to him and he picked up a clearance off a long San Jose free kick.


It’s a final in Colorado: Chivas USA has tied 2-2 with the Rapids with the two Goats’ most recent signings Juan Pablo Angel and Frenchman Laurent Courtois getting the goals.


Robbie Keane took 21 minutes to make an impact collecting a long Galaxy free kick from David Beckham with a quick re-start that beat the defense, taking one touch to put the ball past goalkeeper Jon Busch and then slotting home the easy tap-in.

The crowd went nuts; Keane was exultant, and rightfully so.

Moments before Keane, standing right on the penalty spot, was just unable to get on the end of a Frankie Hejduk cross Adam Cristman redirected toward Keane


Robbie Keane took his first touches in the fifth minute just outside the Earthquakes’ penalty box — and immediately drew the attention of three San Jose defenders. Think they’ve heard of this guy?


Inside the first minute Adam Cristman hit the Earthquakes’ far post after recieiving a through ball from Juninho


Green $19.99 Galaxy T-shirts (Keane, Beckham or Donovan available) are on sale at the stadium souvenir stands tonight for the first time.

The grass berm at one end of the stadium features a clover leaf (and is open if you’d like to come on down and spread a blanket on a lovely evening).

And there’s a Robbie Keane article in tonight’s program.

The stage, as they say, is set.

With all that, you just know Robbie Keane has to start, right?

I’ll be back with the lineups in a few minutes.

It’s official, Robbie Keane is indeed starting. And so is Lawndale’s Rafael Baca in his first professional start in front of a considerable number of family and friends so congratulations and welcome home to the Loyola Marymount product.

The Galaxy have made one change to their usual back four with Frankie Hejduk making his second Galaxy start and A.J. DeLaGarza dropping to the bench at right back.

Here’s the full Galaxy lineup: Josh Saunders-Frankie Hejduk, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin-David beckham, Juninho, Landon Donovan-Adam Cristman, Robbie Keane.

Earthquakes Coach Frank Yallop has new Ecuadorian signing Edmundo Zura on the bench with Chris Wondolowski listed as the lone striker up top.

Former LMU defender Bobby Burling anchors the defense, while Bobby Convey is in midfield.

The game is live on Prime.

Refresh this post for updates throughout the game.

Incidentally, it’s worth pointing out that Chivas USA and the Colorado Rapids are tied 1-1 with about 30 minutes to play and Juan Pablo Angel has the equalizing goal on his Goats debut. It was a nice one too, I was told, with playmaker Nick LaBrocca setting up Angel’s laser-like shot.

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