Diamond Bar’s Morgan raises the bar


American girl: Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan is emerging as the new face of U.S. women’s soccer (AP Photo).

Staff Writer Larry Morgan headed out to the USMNT camp at Home Depot Center to chat with former WPS top draft pick Alex Morgan, expected to become an ever-more influential figure on a national team that, frankly, needs exciting and photogenic stars. Read the story here.

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Galaxy, Chivas USA select combined 10 players in today’s MLS Re-Entry Draft

Among the notable locals, the Galaxy took Cal State Northridge product Rafael Garcia, who finished his college career with six goals and nine assists in 68 matches for the Matadors, and Chivas USA took UCLA goalkeeper Brian Rowe.

Here’s the complete list of players taken by the Galaxy in the four-round draft:

*Forward/defender (!) Bryan Gaul, Bradley University, 19th overall.

*Midfielder Rafael Garcia, Cal State-Northridge, 38th overall.

*Forward Yuri Gorentzvaig, a Brazilian youth international, 57th overall.

*Midfielder Stephen Posa, San Diego, 62nd overall. Posa had six goals and 10 assists in 75 games during a four-year career with the Toreros.

*Defender Justin Davies, San Diego State, 76th overall.

Here’s the corresponding list for Chivas USA:

*Defender RJ Allen, Monmouth, fifth overall.

*Goalkeeper Brian Rowe, UCLA, 24th overall. He had a dozen shutouts for the Bruins last season.

*Calabasas High product Defender Daniel Steres, San Diego State, 28th overall

*Defender Fabian Kling, Ft. Lewis, 30th overall. He was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America NCAA Division II Player of the Year.

*Defender Kevin Vanegas from Lakewood, Cal State Fullerton, 37th overall

Here’s the complete list.

Noted: Loyola Marymount University products Logan McDaniel of Palmdale and Tyler Krumpe (son of Coach Paul Krumpe) of Torrance were selected by the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes respectively.

I’ll have more from the respective clubs later.

“The challenge for these players short-term is to make our roster,” said Galaxy GM and Coach Bruce Arena. “We return a fair amount of our roster so it’s not going to be easy for anybody. It’s a challenge for anyone so we’ll see what these players do in preseason.”

*Arena said the 6-5 Gaul can play forward or center back — and the Galaxy scouts saw him play both positions at the combine. He finished his college career with 31 goals and 13 assists in 83 games.

“We think he has a chance (of making the team),” Arena said. “That’s why we drafted him.”

*Gorentzvaig, from Sao Paulo, “looked like a player who could be a good second forward,” Arena said.


In addition to Rowe, other UCLA products taken in the draft were English midfielder Andy Rose, an All Pac-12 selection taken sixth overall by Real Salt Lake; defender Shawn Singh, a former walk-on from Bakersfield drafted No. 16 by Sporting Kansas City; and Eder Arreola, taken No. 18 overall by the Houston Dynamo.

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Weekend rewind: No column due to the holiday

*If, like me, you took advantage of the holiday break and headed for areas of the state less traveled this weekend, here’s a quick look at local soccer happenings over the long weekend:

*First off, the MLS Supplemental Draft gets under way at 11 a.m. today.

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan got an assist in an otherwise dreary 2-0 win Everton-Aston Villa 1-1 draw this weekend, in a game that also saw teammate Robbie Keane make his loan debut fo Villa as a sub. Former Galaxy striker Edson Buddle is also joining Donovan at Everton, albeit on a week-long trial.

*The Galaxy also confirmed Friday that defender Omar Gonzalez will miss seven to nine months after undergoing ACL surgery Friday in Santa Monica, an injury sustained in his first training session on loan in Germany.

*Meanwhile, fellow Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza is in camp with the U.S. National Team, which played the senior squqad in a Home Depot center scrimmage this weekend:

*USWNT Coach Pia Sundhage named 19 players from the World Cup squad to the 20-player Olympic qualifying roster announced this weekend, adding WPS top draft pick Sydney Leroux of UCLA to the mix.

*Chivas USA, which begain pre-season training Monday, announced the rest of their pre-season match schedule before heading to Portland for a previously announced tournament Feb. 27 through March 4:

*Friday, Jan. 27 vs. Ventura Fusion, Time TBD, Oxnard.

*Friday, Feb. 3 vs. FC Hasental, Time TBD, Home Depot Center.

*Tuesday, Feb. 7 vs. Colorado Rapids, Time TBD, Location TBD

*Saturday, Feb. 11 vs. Chicago Fire, Time TBD, Location TBD

*Thursday, Feb.16 vs. Galaxy, Time TBD, HDC.

*Wednesday, Feb. 22 vs. Club Tijuana Xolos, Time TBD, San Diego.

*Lastly, apologies to those of you who follow me at Twitter.com@LAsoccerblog and were subjected to spam this weekend after my account was hacked. Hopefully that has now subsided.

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Weekly column: EPL and American players

I don’t know about you, but the increasing number of American players playing pivotal roles in the EPL for various clubs is among the reasons my interest in the league has picked up and is the subject of this week’s column.

Incidentally, in case you missed the news, the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane has returned to the EPL on loan with Aston Villa, as expected, in a move formally announced by the club this morning.

From the club’s press release:

The Ireland international, who had been training with his former club, Tottenham Hotspur, since the start of January, began training with Alex McLeish’s squad earlier this week ahead of the completion of the loan. He will be eligible to play for the Birmingham-based club beginning immediately and could make his debut for the club this weekend against Everton, who feature Galaxy captain Landon Donovan.

Keane will be eligible to play in as many as eight games for Aston Villa in the Premier League and the FA Cup before the FIFA international date at the end of February during which Ireland are scheduled to host the Czech Republic for a friendly in Dublin. Following that game, Keane will rejoin the Galaxy ahead of the club’s trip to Toronto for the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Toronto FC at Rogers Centre on Wednesday, March 7.

Aston Villa and Everton clash at 9 a.m. Saturday in a delayed game scheduled to be aired by Fox Soccer, incidentally.


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MLS SuperDraft Update: UCLA’s Rowe goes third, Chivas USA pick Maryland striker Townsend *

*Post updated


MLS Commish Don Garber welcomes Chivas USA SuperDraft pick Casey Townsend out of Maryland to MLS today at the SuperDraft in Kansas City, Mo (AP Photo).

You can follow the MLS SuperDraft here.

The highlights so far:

*Chivas USA, picking fifth, need a goalscorer or two in addition to Juan Pablo Angel, so they picked up a striker who had 17 goals in 22 games last year, Casey Townsend. That’s the entire draft for the Goats – they’re done.

“The kid is unbelievably competitive,” said Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser in a club stattement. “We watched him in the combine, we watched him in college, he’s the kind of kid who wins literally every challenge he has, and it’s all about his attitude. He is a very good finisher, has a good nose for the goal and he completely fits into what it is we are trying to do here. We want to get winners here and we got ourselves a winner today.”

The Terrapin product reports to Carson for his physical this weekend and will start preseason camp Monday with the club at Home Depot Center.

*New England took UCLA’s Kelyn Rowe, who is currently training with the U.S. Under-23 team in Carson, with the third pick.

From UCLA:

Rowe, a midfielder from Federal Way, Wash., had six goals and a Pac-12 leading 10 assists during his sophomore campaign and is the highest UCLA draft pick since Tony Beltran was taken third overall by Real Salt Lake in 2008. Rowe was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year for 2011.

*Los Angeles’ Luis Silva of UCSB went fourth to Toronto FC.

*The Montreal Impact chose Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Wenger with the first pick.


Chandler Hoffman of UCLA will join former Bruin Kyle Nakazawa at the Philadelphia Union, which held the 13th overall pick.


The Galaxy take Indiana’s Tommy Meyer with the 19th and final pick of the first round; they need depth on defense, as Coach Bruce Arena said earlier this week.

“He’s a player that has a good profile to be a center back in this league,” Arena said today in a statement released by the Galaxy. “He has physical size. He’s a good header of the ball. A good defender and a decent passer out of the back. Once we get him into our setting we can learn a little bit more and work with him and try to make him better.”

The Galaxy also have the last pick of the draft today.


And with that pick the club took Louisville’s Kenney Walker.

“I thought that he had a very good Combine,” Arena said. “He is a defensive midfielder, a holding midfielder, an aggressive type of player and a good passer of the ball. I felt over the three days of the Combine he may have been a first round pick so when he was available in the second round we jumped on it and we’re hopeful that he will turn into a good player.”


Here’s a summary of today’s MLS SuperDraft from the Associated Press:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andrew Wenger looked a bit sheepish the moment he was asked what teams and players he followed growing up. He knew his reply wasn’t all that daring.

“Well, Manchester United,” he said. “And, of course, David Beckham.”

Now, Wenger may have a chance to play against him.

The expansion Montreal Impact selected the Duke forward with the first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, choosing the most complete player available in the two-round draft.

The Hermann Trophy winner as the top NCAA player, Wenger was the ACC defensive player of the year last season and offensive player of the year this season, finishing with 17 goals and eight assists.

“We have a lot of potential,” said Wenger, who plans to join the new MLS club in a couple weeks, once his responsibilities with the U.S. men’s national under-23 team in Carson are through. “It’s exciting.”

Just as exciting is the chance to potentially play against Beckham. The midfielder’s contract with the Galaxy has expired, but negotiations are ongoing and Beckham reportedly has said he’d rather remain in Los Angeles than return to playing in Europe.

Montreal plays the MLS champion Galaxy May 12.

Akron forward Darren Mattocks was selected second by the Vancouver Whitecaps. UCLA midfielder Kelyn Rowe went third to New England, followed by UC Santa Barbara’s Luis Silva to Toronto FC and Maryland forward Casey Townsend to Chivas USA.

The Impact were expected to choose between Wenger and Mattocks, who many believe has greater long-term potential. Club officials wavered between the two until a couple days ago, ultimately going with Wenger’s versatility over Mattocks’ scoring punch.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Wenger said. “I’ve never lived in a big city. I’ve been watching a lot of the Travel Channel lately, so at least I know of some nice places to eat.”

Montreal coach Jesse Marsch, a longtime MLS star, said he doesn’t know where Wenger will fit on the field. He’s shown ability at forward and midfielder and as a lockdown defender.

“I think he was the best soccer player available,” Marsch said. “We followed him very closely, and we just felt he had the best future, short term and long term, in the draft.”

Mattocks is a speedy Jamaican who wound up at powerhouse Akron because he wanted to acclimate himself to playing in colder weather. He’ll certainly get that opportunity in Vancouver.

“I knew from the get-go that it would be between me and Wenger. They picked Wenger first and that’s OK with me,” said Mattocks, a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and Mid-American Conference player of the year, who scored 39 goals in 47 games during his two years with the Zips.

Vancouver President Bob Lenarduzzi said his decision was easy once Montreal made its pick.

“It’s been the consensus that the top two were Wenger and Mattocks,” Lenarduzzi said. “We just needed Montreal to make up their minds. All along you sort of jokingly ask what they’re going to do, but they never were going to tell me anything.”

Sam Garza became the second player from UC Santa Barbara to be drafted when he went sixth to San Jose. Garza began his career at Denver before scoring 17 goals in two seasons for the Gauchos, helping them to a 15-7-1 record and the third round of the NCAA tournament this season.

Garza’s grandfather, Bill Cross, was a running back for the Chicago Cardinals in the NFL.

Louisville midfielder Nick DeLeon was drafted seventh by D.C. United. His teammate, Austin Berry, went two spots later to Chicago. Connecticut defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste went eighth to Portland and Ethan Finlay of Creighton was chosen by Columbus with the 10th overall pick.

North Carolina’s Matt Hedges went 11th to FC Dallas. Notre Dame defender Aaron Maund went next to Toronto FC, followed by UCLA’s Chandler Hoffman to Philadelphia, UConn’s Tony Cascio to Colorado and Creighton defender Andrew Duran to Seattle.

The biggest roar at the Kansas City Convention Center came when hometown club Sporting Kansas City made South Florida forward Dom Dwyer the No. 16 overall pick. Several hundred fans dressed in blue that had congregated to the side of the expansive ballroom burst into applause.

Dwyer, who is originally from London, began his career at Tyler Junior College in Texas. He was the Big East offensive player of the year after scoring 16 goals in 21 games for the Bulls.

“You hear rumors about teams and where you might go, but I didn’t know anything about Kansas City,” Dwyer said. “I’m excited to be here.”

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U.S. Open Cup to double MLS participation this year

But does anyone, except Seattle – the Sounders are winners of three straight cups – care?

I’m sure Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena is thrilled (not): After all it’s not like the club has much on its plate this year.

Here’s more from AP on the U.S. Soccer decision announced today:

CHICAGO (AP) — All 16 eligible Major League Soccer teams will compete in the U.S. Open Cup, which is expanding from 40 to 64 teams this year.

The tournament will start May 15, with the second round May 22 and the MLS teams from the United States entering in the third round May 29, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Wednesday.

MLS had entered eight teams in recent years, with six qualifying automatically and two emerging from play-in rounds.

MLS teams must win five games in the single-elimination tournament to earn the title. The final will be Aug. 7 or 8.

Seattle will attempt to become the first team to win four years in a row.

The three Canadian-based MLS clubs are ineligible for the competition, in case you were wondering.

Full details here.

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Chivas USA signs second Ecuadorian

He’s attacking midfielder/winger Miller Bolaos, 21, who most recently played for Quito, the club previous signing Oswaldo Minda was with most recently.

“Miller is an exciting young attacking player,” Chivas USA Coach, Robin Fraser said. “He’s a good passer, good finisher, and good at running at people. (He’s) definitely a special attacking talent and we certainly look forward to having him.”

Here’s more from the club press release:

Bolaos began his professional career at the age of 16 with Barcelona Sporting Club of Guayaquil. In 2009 he transferred to LDU Quito where he appeared in 93 matches, including 65 as a starter, and scored 22 goals. Miller also played in the U-17 South American Championship for Ecuador in 2007.

“He is a versatile player that was sought out by other international clubs. He really wanted to play here and we got it done,” said Chivas USA General Manager Jose Domene. “He will be a great addition to Chivas USA because he is a different type of player that is not afraid to take on people.”

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Wednesday Kicks: South Bay soccer players abroad & more

*Where are you going to watch the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan and his U.S. international teammate Tim Howard face Spurs and U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel? Kickoff is at 11:30 a.m. on Fox Soccer. A preview is here.

Tweeted LD: “Getting excited for the Tottenham game Wednesday! Won’t be easy…3rd game in 7 days. Time to dig deep and #WinFromWithin”

*The Euro dreams of Robbie Rogers, who grew up in Rolling Hills Estates, could come true. Rogers, who previously played in Holland as a teen before returning home a bit homesick, has signed for second tier Leeds United – providing he gets a work permit.

Tweeted Rogers: “Excited to be joining Leeds United! Really hoping my work permit gets sorted!”

*Yesterday we took a look at the Galaxy’s MLS SuperDraft prospects (which are really straightforward — wait to see what other teams do).

Chivas USA has an even simpler task: Pick fifth. That’s it.

Guess who the club plucked from the fifth spot back in 2006? Rogers’ good friend, with whom he played in Huntington Beach, Sacha Kljestan, now of Anderlecht.

Chivas USA also has four picks in Tuesday’s Supplemental Draft.

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Galaxy roster update & MLS SuperDraft preview

Galaxy GM and Coach Bruce Arena gave a handful of reporters an update this afternoon ahead of Thursday’s MLS draft (9 a.m. live on ESPN2).

First, let’s talk roster since that’s likely to have more of a bearing on the coming season:

*Robbie Keane’s pending loan to Aston Villa is a virtual certainty.

*Miguel Lopez has returned to Argentine club Quilmes, but Paolo Cardozo is expected to return to LA in 2012.

*The Galaxy have signed former Chivas USA defender Andrew Boyens and defender Chris Leitch, both picked in the Re-Entry Draft.

*Defender Leonardo has not yet recovered from injury, but is expected to stay with club this season, assuming the Galaxy can come to loan terms with his Brazilian club.

*Contract negotiations are on-going with an out of contract Chris Birchall, while nothing is finalized with Frankie Hejduk, Dasan Robinson and Jovan Kirovski.

Lastly, Arena said he should know more about the status of Omar Gonzalez later today, but at this point the club are just hoping he returns before the end of what could be a very long 2012 season.

As for the draft, Arena said given the Galaxy’s two picks at the end of the first and second rounds, (19th and 38th overall) the team will simply hope to add depth to their roster.

“I don’t anticipate the fact we’ll trade up,” Arena said. “We’ll be reacting off the 18 picks ahead of us, it’s really that simple. We’re a bit handcuffed at that position. As we get closer to our picks we’ll have to react to where we think the draft is going.

“I don’t think we can draft a player to replace Omar. – we’re aware of the fact we need to bolster our back line, but we’re not going to be making up for the loss of Omar (via the draft) – that will have to come in other ways.”

“Maybe there’s a few less players at the top of the draft than previous years, but I think it’s a little deeper than it has been over the last couple of years.”

Here’s more on the mechanics of this year’s Supplemental Draft set for Tuesday from a Galaxy press release sent out earlier today:

The Galaxy also have five picks in the four-round, 76-pick MLS Supplemental Draft, which will be held on Tuesday via conference call. The Galaxy have all four of their natural selections (19, 38, 57 and 76) in the Supplemental Draft, as well as an additional fourth round pick (62nd overall) that they received from Chivas USA in August as part of the trade that sent Juan Pablo Angel to Chivas USA.

And here’s a reminder how the Galaxy did in last year’s drafts, again via the club:

In 2011, the Galaxy made two selections in the SuperDraft and four in the Supplemental Draft. Of the six players that the club selected, five were a part of the team that won MLS Cup in November, with four of them making at least one appearance in the regular season, led by first round SuperDraft pick Paolo Cardozo, who saw action in half of the club’s 34 regular season matches and made eight starts.

Also, reserve Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk has joined the Under-23 team currently training at Home Depot Center.

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