Futsal writes the future in Torrance

i-9848d814733e454ea9c75ef65394878f-securedownload.jpegPlayers on the U.S. Futsal National Team scrimmage Thursday at South Coast Soccer City in Torrance (Photo by Staff Photographer Brad Graverson).

When it comes to U.S. national outdoor soccer teams, the South Bay is already home to all but the Under-17 boys national team program (that has its HQ in Bradenton, Fla.), based at the National Training Center at Home Depot Center in Carson.

Now the U.S. Futsal National Team has relocated from Milwaukee, Wisc., to Torrance all because of the presence of what is believed to be the finest indoor soccer facility in the nation, two-year-old South Coast Soccer City.

The futsal team just opened its first camp in two years in preparation for the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.

Here’s more in a story I wrote today for the Daily Breeze.

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Galaxy’s Donovan heads familiar looking USMNT squad to face Honduras and Ecuador

There are in fact only three “newcomers” who haven’t yet been in a Jurgen Klinsmann-led national team camp: veteran defender Oguchi Onyewu, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando and German-born midfielder Danny Williams, 21, who just got his American citizenship.

“We would like to continue seeing our players develop through these initial couple of months,” Klinsmann said. “One important thing is to see continuity in the build-up of our national team and also in the way we work as coaches. We’d like to see new faces as well, but we also don’t want to shake up the core structure of the team too much. The two results with Costa Rica and Belgium didn’t work in our favor but we saw clearly that the team started to understand what we demand from them in terms of pace, playing style and how to play. We are definitely on the right path, and what we now need to focus on in this get together is the eagerness to finish things off up front.”

Here’s the full 22-player roster:

Goalkeepers – Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Timmy Chandler (Nrnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

Forwards Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Landon Donovan (Galaxy)

The U.S. plays Honduras in Miami at 3 p.m. Oct. 8 (Fox Soccer and Univision) and Ecuador 4 p.m. Oct. 11 in New Jersey (ESPN2 and Univision)

Incidentally, I’m hearing rumblings that former U.S. international Thomas Dooley could join the USMNT coaching staff; Dooley visited Soccer City in Torrance today and he sounds almost exactly like Klinsmann in terms of his philosophy when it comes the the game’s development and bringing along young players.

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Wednesday’s “ticket nightmare” for Galaxy fan who missed must-see game

Last night’s CONCACAF Champions League game featured one of the most frenzied endings to a game in Carson I can remember.

But at least one fan didn’t even see the beginning.

I received the following email last night from frustrated reader Antonio Marquez
who saw an apparent ticket screw-up compounded by the largely unpublicized 7,500-spectator limit imposed at Home Depot Center for the game in an agreement with the neighborhoods around the stadium.

Here is my story from tonight:

Last week I called my Galaxy ticket representative, Tiffony Warner, and told her I really wanted to go to the Morelia game. Anyway, I also told her I was interested in MLS Cup tickets. So she said that the best option was to buy a three ticket mini-plan which included the MLS Cup and she would comp me the Morelia game. I said great, because for the same price I could go to the two games I really wanted to see, plus as a bonus get to see RSL and Chivas. So I purchased four ticket packages.

OK, so I am all pumped up all week looking forward to a good game. Pick up my son and wife, and we drive to the HDC from San Dimas. I walk up to the will call window to pick up my tickets, and they said sorry nothing for you. My heart sank, I called Tiffony, but no answer. Ok I think, there was a mistake, so I get in line to buy three tickets. When I walk up they say sorry, we are sold out!!!

I feel like the Galaxy office scammed me and I am really upset. There were many people outside the stadium wondering how the game could be sold out when we could see a nearly empty stadium. Regardless of the result of the game, tonight was a disaster for me. I have been a loyal fan since 1996, and I feel like the Galaxy robbed me tonight.

Incidentally, the Galaxy never (to my knowledge) publicized the severely reduced capacity for the game beyond tweeting a picture of the seating configuration earlier in the day that grouped fans together of just two sides of the stadium (and made it appear from outside the gates that the stadium was half empty, as indeed it was).

Given that the previous two Champions league games at the stadium this season drew announced crowds of 8,196 and 9,855 you would have thought the Galaxy could have sensed a possible PR debacle brewing (unless, of course, those figures were inflated as they often are and the Galaxy thought there was no reason for concern).

Anyone else locked out of the game?

I’ll see if I can get a response from the Galaxy front office.


I heard Friday from Tom Payne, Galaxy president of business operations, who observed that the Galaxy opened up another 100 or so seats before the game when they realised they had fans who couldn’t get in.

He said only a few fans suffered the experience the letter writer above did and couldn’t get in at all. And he acknowledged the club should have done a better job of letting fans know about the small capacity for the game in advance, which by the way is exactly what Antonio wanted.

A larger than expected walkup from Morelia fans caught the club by surprise, Payne said.

The 7,500 stadium capacity was imposed by Cal State Dominguz Hills to ensure students attending night classes had parking available, incidentally.

Let’s hope the school doesn’t make a similar request to limit the the stadium capacity during the playoffs; the Galaxy are likely to host a midweek game.

As for Antonio, the club gave him playoff tickets for his trouble. Hopefully they’ll mail them out to him in advance so he doesn’t have to take any chances at will call before the game again.

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Golden goal lifts Galaxy to Champions League win

The Galaxy keep finding ways to win when conventional wisdom suggests otherwise.

Missing key players, down to the last few seconds, a tie that was really a loss staring them in the face and then the Galaxy score via the talismanic Juninho – he of the usually spectacular and now golden of goals – in the final fading seconds to get the win they needed to stay in the competition.

The game wasn’t sudden death (technically), but for the Galaxy it felt like it would have been.

Staff Writer Phil Collin has the game story.


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CONCACAF Champions League Live: Morelia at Galaxy from Home Depot Center

Final: Galaxy 2 Monarcas Morelia 1

The Galaxy have snatched an unlikely win, constant pressure paying off with Juninho scoring the stoppage time goal from 12 yards out. Chad Barrett had glanced on a corner kick to provide the service.

It was a scrambled finish to this game, but the Galaxy never gave up. Morelia appeared to have got away with a draw and even could have won in the 87th minute when sub Aldo Ramirez toe-poked the ball wide around the Galaxy goal with only Josh Saunders to beat.

The last-ditch victory has given the Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League campaign renewed vigor.

Next up for the Galaxy: Motagua in Honduras Oct. 20.

Notable: The two teams finished dead even on total shots (12) and shots on target (3); it doesn’t get much closer than that statistically.

Quotable: “The game was there for us for the taking; we could have won the game,” said Morelia Coach Tomas Boy, adding that the Galaxy won on their strong suit – a set piece.


Morelia are really searching for the winner now, pushing men forward – but it’s the Galaxy who need the win more.


Morelia’s Manso, given a ridiculous amount of time in the Galaxy penalty area to tee the ball up, lashed a shot off the crossbar in the 81st minute. The Galaxy were lucky to escape without conceding a second goal.


Now Paulo Cardozo has flashed his studs in a challenge and earned a yellow card in the 71st minute. It’s a 7,500-capacity crowd, BTW, – a sell-out says the Galaxy based on the reduced capacity that Cal State Dominguz Hills requested tonight to keep the neighbors (relatively) happy.

Magee went off as a precaution with tightness in his hamstring.


Morelia are growing in confidence and beginning to stretch the Galaxy’s defence; Yasser Corona could have done better with a 69th minute header that went wide.


Chad Barrett has replaced Adam Cristman and A.J. DeLaGarza has gone into the ref’s book; it’s the 68th minute.


Morelia pulled level in the 60th minute when Bryan Jordan redirected a Damian Manso cross/pass into the path of Marquez who beat an advancing Saunders to the ball.

That makes Dunivant’s miss even worse; a tie is no good to the Galaxy, remember.


Ooof! Todd Dunivant blazed the ball over the bar in the 56th minute with only the goalkeeper to beast after Omar Gonzalez had set him up a few yards from Morelia’s net.


Bryan Jordan has replaced Mike Magee at halftime – a straight switch, with no other tactical adjustments. No word why the change.


For those of you looking ahead to Saturday when the Galaxy could clinch the Supporters’ Shield here in Carson, opponents Real Salt Lake have lost to Chicago 3-0 tonight – and influential playmaker Kyle Beckerman was sent off, so that means he’ll miss the game. And, of course, that follows a 4-1 rout of RSL by D.C. United on Saturday. Ouch.

Back to the matter at hand – tonight’s game – where the Galaxy and Morelia are even with six shots apiece, but the Galaxy so far have the game’s only goal and are so far coping surprisingly well with Morelia.

I would be delighted to be proved wrong if the result stands.


Landon Donovan went past Morelia defender Luis Noriega like he wasn’t even there and got off a quick snap shot in the 39th minute, but it failed to trouble the goal or the goalkeeper.

Adam Cristman headed wide from a cross in the 41st minute.


The goal has amped up the pace on the field; Angel Sepulveda, the most dangerous Morelia attacking threat so far, nodded a ball past the near post at close range in the 28th minute – and he was virtually unchallenged.


Well, the goal has shut the Morelia fans up, who are now sitting down quietly.


The Galaxy have taken an unexpected lead in the 21st minute, the goal coming from a seemingly innocuous Todd Dunivant cross. Mike Magee slotted the ball home from inside the box, Adam Cristman perhaps playing a role in getting in the way of the Morelia goalkeeper.


The goal came seconds after Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens smashed the ball wide of the Morelia goal in the 19th minute after Adam Cristman set him.


On the plus side, a long-range shot and an easily collected cross from a corner is about all Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders has had to contend with over the first 15 minutes; on the other hand, the Galaxy haven’t done much at the other end either, a weak Landon Donovan shot after a fairly good buildup is about all the Galaxy has produced so far.

Still, a pretty good atmoshphere here as opposing fans seek to drown each other out; don’t see – or hear – enough of this at the HDC.


More Morelia than Galaxy fans in the stands tonight – a bit of a sad commentary on Los Angeles soccer fans, I’m afraid and half the stands are literally off limits to fans anyway – but at least the majority of fans here are likely to go home happy.

No goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, striker Robbie Keane (um, apparently resting for Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualifiers next week) or fragrance salesman David Beckham (he’s suspended) for the Galaxy tonight so, no chance of LA beating a top tier Mexican team and staying in the CCL I’d wager.

Galaxy XI: Josh Saunders-Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Frankie Hejduk-Landon Donovan, Mike Magee, Juninho, Michael Stephens-Adam Cristman, Paulo Cardozo

The game is live on Galavision and Fox Soccer.

Refresh this post for updates throughout the game

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Galaxy may play biggest game of season tonight without key players

57373-ccllogo.jpgThree points behind co-group leaders Morelia and Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions League play, the Galaxy face a must-win game at 7 o’clock tonight at Home Depot Center against the Mexicans (live on Fox Soccer and Telefutura).

Realistically, if the Galaxy don’t win – a tie wouldn’t help them much – their international campaign is all but over, but they may have to play Morelia without three of their key players.

The Galaxy may be able to defeat the likes of Columbus without those players in the line-up, but the Mexican club is a tougher proposition and despite the lurid shutout stats goalkeeper Josh Saunders is throwing up this season – he has nine total in all competitions – I still think regular starter Donovan Ricketts has the edge over him and his absence, especially in a game like this, remains a big loss.

There are, sadly, plenty of seats (and free parking, too) available for a crucial game in a competition many fans don’t understand.

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Tuesday’s Column: Chivas USA sees ray of light

I’ve largely been ignoring a largely terrible Chivas USA this season.

Last weekend I checked in on them expecting to write their season obituary. Instead the club is alive and kicking and building for next season with renewed hope and expectatation.

There’s a long way to go, but Coach Robin Fraser has a vision and he’s sticking with it.

Off the field the club has its issues – a lack of a fan base, stadium and revenue stream – but on it there is indeed a flicker of hope.

Read the column here.

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Monday Kicks: Galaxy injury list grows & more

*Add Chris Birchall (left hamstring strain) to the growing Galaxy injury list released today. The midfielder, who has made 21 appearances for the Galaxy this season, is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against Morelia, along with the same players who remain in that category from Friday’s update: David Beckham (back spasms), Robbie Keane (right gluteus tightness) and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts (right quad tightness).

All the latter three skipped the Galaxy’s 1-0 last-gasp win in Columbus last weekend; Beckham is suspended for Wednesday’s must-win CONCACAF Champions league game against Morelia.

Sean Franklin remains out with an inflamed knee.

The strain of this stretch of the season, with a game every three or four days – the Galaxy have played nine games in the last month – is showing.

The end is in sight, but it’s another busy and crucial week for the Galaxy with three games in the next eight days inluding next Tuesday’s weather-rearranged game in New York, which Keane will miss to play for Ireland; the Galaxy could clinch their second consecutive Supporters’ Shield with a win over Salt Lake in Utah Carson and a Seattle loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

*Things that make you go hmmm: Juan Pablo Angel now has nine MLS goals so far this season, the Galaxy’s second highest scorers, Mike Magee and Chad Barrett, have five apiece (and six apiece total in all competitions). Landon Donovan is the Galaxy’s top scorer with 12.

I’ll have more on Chivas USA in Tuesday’s column.

*The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team will host a “unique” camp in Carson at Home Depot Center beginning Sunday. Notable locals participating include WPS Rookie of the year Christen Press of Palos Verdes Estates (she can see The Hill, as the Palos Verdes Peninsula is known locally, from the HDC) and Sidney Leroux (UCLA).

Perhaps dangling in front of some players: an opportunity to play for the full USWNT against Sweden Nov. 19 in Arizona in an Olympic qualifying tune-up.

*But that’s not the only national team camp in the South Bay; the U.S. Futsal team have begun a week-long camp at Torrance’s Soccer City.

No fewer than four players who play at Soccer City are on the U.S. Roster: goalkeeper Ryan Oster (North Torrance High); midfielder Alex Robles (Lynwood); and strikers Caio Gesualdi (North Torrance High) and Irvine resident Casey Macias (Pateadores).

You didn’t read this here, but the team trains most days at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. While down there, you can sign up to play yourself, BTW. If you have’t checked the facility out, it’s worth a look.

I plan on writing a story later this week about this first-ever camp in Torrance.

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Chivas USA-Toronto Post-game

Chivas USA 3 Toronto 0

I came to this game to write Chivas USA’s season obituary; I may have seen the start of an unlikely resurrection.

“I feel like I haven’t smiled in a long time,” said a beaming Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser in the locker room afterward.

Staff Writer Elliott Teaford took a break from the Lakers beat and has the game story.

Toronto Coach Aron Winter made the understatement of the evening when he said after the game that his player were “a little flat.”

D’ya think?

This was a horrendous performance by Toronto whose self-belief appeared completely shredded from the outset and was in total retreat all night long.

Every time Chivas USA playmaker Nick LaBrocca surged forward with the ball, Toronto’s back-pedaling players seemed on the verge of fleeing for the dressing room.

Still, Chivas USA took full advantage and now sit just four points behind New York for the final wild card spot with three games remaining – and all at Home Depot Center.

No fatal errors, no bad mistakes, no hurting themselves and a Chivas USA win was the worthy result.


“To see us start a game well and finish a game well, it’s what we need at this point in the season,” Fraser said. “To win convincingly is good for our confidence because we have a very tall hill to climb.”

Notable: Juan Pablo Angel has six goals in six games for Chivas USA and is only two behind top scorer Justin Braun, who also scored tonight.

Fraser is impressed by Angel since he came over from the Galaxy:

“He came here and looked at it as a challenge. We needed help. Big-time players like big-time challenges. His leadership has been invaluable to us.”

Watch that leadership on display here:

Next for Chivas USA: hosting Philadelphia Oct. 2.

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