Galaxy’s Angel officially joins Chivas USA

Juan Pablo Angel trained with Chivas USA for the first time on Tuesday and now the deal is sealed.

The Galaxy get a third round 2012 Supplemental Draft pick in exchange for the former EPL star with Aston Villa; Chivas USA get a veteran striker who scored more MLS goals than any other player in the last four seasons with New York, but managed just three for the Galaxy since joining them as a replacement for Edson Buddle.

“I hope the season is better for me compared to how it began,” Angel said. “I now have the opportunity to help a team that has worked very hard to get where it is. Despite certain difficulties in the beginning of the year, this team has, little-by-little, found its best level of play. The coach has communicated his plan and the players understand it. I need to adapt very quickly and try to help the team earn a spot in the playoffs.”

So after three years of saying it wanted a designated player or at least a top scorer, Chivas USA finally has one, albeit a castoff from their closest rivals. Angel’s departure makes room for EPL striker Robbie Keane who has agreed terms with the Galaxy; the former Spurs player could make his debut against San Jose this weekend.

“Juan Pablo is a great pick up for us because he knows how to score goals,” Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser said. “Outside of his experience and ability on the field, he’s a classy person and I think that another experienced classy person in our locker-room is a positive.

“Since the first day I arrived, I’ve been asked, “Who’s going to score goals for you?” Fraser added. “I have said all along that we would score goals by committee and as a group we’ve done a good job of finding opportunities, creating opportunities and finishing some.

Certainly now we have a player who is renowned for scoring goals. If we continue to play well and we incorporate a player who knows his way around the box, it’s going to be a good fit”.

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CONCACAF Champions League: Galaxy-Motagua Post-game

Galaxy 2 Motagua 0

Staff Writer Phil Collin has the game story.

Quotable: “What we were lacking is precision and clarity,” said Motagua coach Ramon Maradiaga after a game in which his team was thoroughly outplayed.

Said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena, underlining his team’s complete domination:

“If there’s anything out there to be critical about there was another goal out there and we didn’t take it.”


In the other game in the Galaxy’s group tonight.

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CONCACAF Champions League Live: CD Motagua at Galaxy from Home Depot Center

Final: Galaxy 2 Motagua 0

That’s it – although the result was never really in doubt in what was a lot easier win for the Galaxy than the final score suggests.

I’ll have some comments from Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena a little later.


Landon Donovan almost made it three in the 90th minute with a quick snapshot.

Tonight’s attendance: 8,196.

Three minutes of stoppage time to go.


Two saves from Josh Saunders within seconds to keep Motagua at bay, including the first from former Galaxy midfielder “Pando” Ramirez from about eight yards out in the 74th minute. That’s as close as the Hondurans have come to a goal all night.

David Beckham has come out in the 76th minute, replaced by Michael Stephens; Ramirez has been subbed out of the game, too.


Motagua are down to 10 men in the 70th minute, former MLS player Ivan Guerrero getting a straight red for a foul on Sean Franklin as both went for a loose ball.


Landon Donovan scored on the hour mark from close range with an open goal yawning in front of him from a David Beckham cross; it didn’t hurt that Sean Franklin took out a Honduran defender at the near post either.


At one point in the first half Galaxy midfielder Juninho blew by the Motagua coach standing on the sidelines, inadvertently knocking his clipboard from his hands.

It was an apt metaphor for the first 45 minutes: the Galaxy were buzzing, moving constantly, probing forward; the Hondurans have looked virtually motionless especially in defense, letting the Galaxy dictate the attacking pace of this game at will.

The Galaxy are firmly in control of this one with six shots on target; their opponents have three.


The Galaxy were unlucky not to extend their lead after 30 minutes. An Omar Gonzalez lob from an acute angle beat the goalkeeper, but was cleared off the line by a defender; Adam Cristman followed up, but couldn’t bundle it over the line and the Galaxy were unable to capitalize from the subsequent corner, too.


An open Mike Magee sent a shot wide left from 25 yards out in the 27th minute after being set up by Landon Donovan. The Galaxy are finding all sorts of time and space in and around Motagua’s back four.


Adam Cristman has given the Galaxy the lead in the 13th minute, sliding home an A.J. DeLaGarza cross unmarked from about seven yards out. Incidentally, Cristman has now scored in every competition he’s played in this season: the reserve league, a friendly against Real Madrid, the U.S. Open Cup, MLS and now the CONCACAF CL, too.


David Beckham looks like he’s been given license to switch wings at will; he’s popped up on the left wing with Landon Donovan in the 12th minute.


Pando Ramirez caught Landon Donovan from behind rather unnecessarily in the ninth minute. Even at this early stage he’s lucky to escape a yellow card for that lazy, blatant foul.


I was told Mike Magee would start in left midfield, but it looks like he’s up front with Cristman, with Landon Donovan tucked in behind the two front runners and playing wide left.


There’s no truth to the rumor that now we’re done with player introductions the fans will introduce themselves to each other. It is a pretty small crowd, however, if you can call it that, so it’s fairly easy to spot former USMNT coach Bob Bradley in the stands. Supposedly, he’s still the favorite to coach Egypt.


First things first: Juan Pablo Angel practiced with Chivas USA for the first time today suggesting a trade for the soon to be displaced striker is imminent.

Tweeted Angel earlier today:

Hi everyone,today I had my first practice as a new member of Chivas USA! Felt really welcome.

Official word on the trade is expected to come down Wednesday.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena’s starting XI: Josh Saunders-A.J. DeLagarza, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant-Sean Franklin, David beckham, Juninho, Mike magee-Landon Donovan, Adam Cristman

Motagua starts former Chivas USA playmaker Amado Guevara, former Galaxy midfielder “Pando” Ramarez and former D.C. United and Chicago defender Ivan Guerrero.

The game is tape delayed at 9:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel, but I’ll have live updates throughout the game.

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MLS changes rules for young designated players

i-ff97a3aded3e2076074ee5764baee71c-mlslogo0001.jpgIt’s a bid to encourage clubs to take a chance on younger prospects.

Here’s more from Associated Press Sports Writer Tim Booth (and will Chivas USA, who took a pass on the likes of Freddy Adu, grab striker Eddie Johnson?):

Major League Soccer is adjusting its designated player rules in the hopes of bringing in more young international talent, an area in which the league has struggled to gain a foothold.

MLS executive vice president Todd Durbin announced Tuesday that the league was lowering the charge against the salary cap for young designated players after hearing from teams about their reluctance to sign young international players at such a high price with no firm idea of whether the player will develop into a star.

“We had two decisions to make. Do we continue to operate how we have historically, or do we make changes to these rules and tear down the last barrier to entry?” Durbin said on a conference call.

MLS teams are currently allowed to have three designated players on their rosters — players whose salaries don’t fully count against the salary cap. But the decision by MLS to adjust the charge for younger players gives teams the latitude to take chances on younger international players where they may have been hesitant in the past.

International designated players age 20 or younger will be charged just $150,000 against the team’s salary cap. Players aged 21 to 23 will count $200,000 against the salary cap. Both of those numbers are down from the $335,000 charge for all other designated players.

“Our designated players are anywhere from their mid to late 20s to their mid-30s. We’re
getting players that are good players, veteran players, but we’ve been out of the market for the most part in young, promising players,” Durbin said. “If we want to continue our growth and continue the improvement of our on-field product, this is an area we have to be in.”

The rule will take effect for the 2012 season, but there are no plans right now to add any
designated player slots. Durbin said the markets most likely to be tapped by the new rule were South America, Central America and Mexico.

The league will also increase its own scouting department to supplement what each individual team already does. Durbin said that would come in the form of more overseas consultants and a technological component at the league headquarters.

“The idea is not to become the scouting network for the teams but to provide a resource for the teams to do their jobs as effectively as they need to,” Durbin said.

Durbin also announced that U.S. national team midfielder Eddie Johnson is returning to MLS and will go through allocation and be assigned to a team. Johnson is the third national team player to sign with MLS this season, joining Freddy Adu, who signed with Philadelphia last week, and New England’s Benny Feilhaber. Johnson’s contract with Fulham of the English Premier League expired at the end of last season.

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Poll: What do you think of the Galaxy’s move to sign EPL veteran Robbie Keane?

Good move or bad? Or should the Galaxy have just given Edson Buddle more money in the first place (and, yeah, I should have probably made that an option in the poll)?

Watch the Keane highlight reel (admittedly a few years old):

Then take the poll (keeping in mind the results of a similar poll taken at this blog before the Galaxy signed JPA):

What do you think of the Galaxy’s move to acquire veteran EPL striker Robbie Keane?
Finally! A proven goalscorer who is the final piece of the puzzle to bring the club an MLS Cup this year.
Not again! Enough with the old guys from Europe looking to make a buck off MLS.
I couldn’t care less. I follow the WPS/Chivas USA/ fill in the blank
Free polls from

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Deal done: Galaxy sign striker Robbie Keane

The dance is done.

The Galaxy confirmed today they have signed Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane on a two-year deal ending a weekend (or so) worth of speculation.

Tweeted Galaxy exec Tom Payne:

The Galaxy have acquired Robbie Keane! I hope all Galaxy fans will be excited by this news. We needed a forward and our company came thru!

No confirmation yet on whether Juan Pablo Angel is being shipped to Chivas USA or elsewhere to make room for Keane on the roster.

I’m heading out to Galaxy training this morning and will have more later.


*Terms of Keane’s contract, including duration, were not announced by the Galaxy today.

*The earliest Keane could see action is Saturday’s home game against the San Jose Earthquakes, but that depends on the timing of his paperwork.

*When Keane is added to the roster, the Galaxy will have to make a roster move, but it appears that will happen sooner rather than later anyway; Angel did not train with the Galaxy today. The transfer deadline to move within MLS is Aug. 30.

*The Galaxy agreed contract terms with Keane shortly before the close of the 8:59 p.m. Pacific Sunday close of the transfer window, although just how close it was to the deadline is unclear.

*Staff Writer Larry Morgan will have more on the move for Keane in Tuesday’s editions and I will too in an accompanying column that also previews Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League game.

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Reports: Tottenham striker Robbie Keane headed to Galaxy

i-7c917bcc3125e09f981b800afad7f4d5-keane.jpgGalaxy bound? Fiery Irish striker Robbie Keane is on his way to the Galaxy media reports suggested today – and the Galaxy have not denied the rumors (AP Photo).

Multiple media reports today have linked Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane,31, to the Galaxy with forward Juan Pablo Angel being traded to an East Coast MLS team to make room for a player that would become the latest Los Angeles DP.

The Galaxy have not denied the reports:

“We are always looking to improve our squad and have contacted or been contacted by a host of players during the current transfer window,” said a club statement. “As soon as we have something confirmed in regards to any potential player acquisitions we will be sure to alert you.”

The Galaxy never confirm transfer rumors until the deal is done.

Most commonly cited among the various figures for Kean’s MLS salary: Somewhere around $8 to $9 million over two years.

Keane, who is married to an Irish model, has been linked with the Galaxy in the past. The out-of-favor striker said earlier this week he expected to move from Tottenham before the transfer window closes.

Keane is the all time leading scorer for Ireland with 51 goals in 108 appearances; he spent much of last season on loan to now-relegated EPL side West Ham United.

Angel, who scored more goals than any other MLS player in the last four years before joining the Galaxy in the offseason has been a major bust for LA, scoring just three times this season.

He has become the object of derision among many fans who have seen the failings of the Galaxy to feature a consistent out and out striker in the team as the reason for their failure to capture the MLS Cup despite coming close in the last two years.

“Maybe he’s lost a little confidence because he hasn’t had the kind of start he’s wanted,” Arena said Thursday of Angel.

Arena added that last year fans criticized the club for relying too much on Edson Buddle for goals and this year the club is being faulted for not having a high scoring forward.

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Soccer for the masses: New MLS TV deal should help sport reach beyond core audience

i-daee5747f4dab311ca465d55e29a9be6-NBC-Sports-Network-Logo_bla.standard.jpgAmerican sporting public: meet MLS.

It’s one of the truths hard-core soccer fans like us don’t want to face: Major League Soccer is closer to Minor League Soccer for most casual sports fans in this country.

That’s why Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer Channel’s loss will be the sports’ gain when it switches to be the soon to be something other than Verses next year:

AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen has the details:

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Soccer games will be televised by NBC’s networks starting next season, doubling the number of homes that dozens of games will be available in.

The package currently on Fox Soccer Channel will move mainly to the NBC Sports Network, Versus’ new name beginning Jan. 2. The cable channel will air 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two U.S. men’s national team matches each year.

NBC will broadcast two regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two national team appearances under the three-year contract announced Wednesday.

“It shows our sport is ready for prime time,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber told The Associated Press.

The deal became possible after Comcast, Versus’ parent company, officially took over NBCUniversal in January. Not only will a handful of games be available to a broader
audience on NBC, but Garber is confident soccer will get invaluable exposure through
advertising during the network’s coverage of other sports, from “Sunday Night Football” to the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Olympics.

“NBC is really famous for promoting their partners, and that’s a big driver in our decision to
do a deal with them,” Garber said.

Hockey, shown on both NBC and Versus since before the Comcast merger, has seen significant ratings growth in recent years.

“What they’ve done for the NHL I think is remarkable,” Garber said.

Garber was quick to note the league was approached by NBC.

“This was not an ask, it was an offer,” he said.

The cable games will go from being available in nearly 40 million households on Fox Soccer to almost 80 million on NBC Sports Network, which is in about two-thirds of American homes with televisions. Five regional Comcast sports networks also already broadcast games for their local MLS teams, adding to the opportunities for cross-promotion.

“Connecting the dots between all of their assets will ensure a broader audience for MLS and U.S. Soccer, and that’s really what this sport needs today,” Garber said. “If you look at the popularity of the World Cup and the almost ubiquity of the sport in America today, it’s a natural step we would evolve from what was a great relationship with Fox Soccer Channel, albeit a niche network, to broader broadcast, cable and digital platforms.”

ESPN will continue to broadcast its package of MLS games. Its strong ratings for last year’s World Cup are among many signs that the sport is becoming more of a force in American television.

“I don’t think the NBC deal is done if they didn’t believe MLS was ready to step further into
the mainstream,” Garber said.

Jon Miller, the president of programming of NBC Sports and Versus, said the networks are
committed to pregame and postgame shows and would like to find one day to serve as a showcase “Game of the Week” date.

He said the network found MLS appealing because it reaches a young, affluent demographic, ratings are growing, and that soccer is the “fastest growing sport in America.” He said the MLS reaches “blue chip” sponsors that can only help grow a sport that has struggled to find its footing in a crowded sports landscape.

“We’re proud to be along and hopefully we can accelerate the ride further,” Miller said.

I’ve seen the deal variously reported as $10 million a year (Sports Business Journal) or $12 million over three years (LA Times). By comparison, FSC supposedly paid $6.25 million this year on a one-year broadcast rights deal.

Still, it’s exposure that is the key here. (Incidentally, these national deals affect little the regional TV agreements the Galaxy and Chivas USA have).

Now, NBC has little soccer broadcast history.

But after the way ESPN, which supposedly does, treated the U.S.-Mexico game – refusing to cut away from an already decided Little League game, for crying out loud, – it’s time for a different approach.

I asked Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena about the deal today at a club media luncheon in Manhattan Beach ahead of next week’s CONCACAF Champions League opener (more on that in Tuesday’s column).

“It’s a major plus,” he said, adding that Anschutz Entertainment Group execs, the parent company of both the Galaxy and NHL Kings, have raved about the benefits Verses has brought to the club.

“This is an important part of the process,” Arena added, “to become identified more at the national level.”

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