Goalkeeper Gaudette signs with Galaxy, Noble waived

Former Columbus Crew and Puerto Rico Islanders goalkeeper Bill Gaudette was signed by the Galaxy today as a backup to No. 1 Josh Saunders, a move that resulted in the waiver of Nick Noble, who joined the club in preseason after spending two years in Sweden.

Noble had allowed six goals in seven preseason games.

Gaudette, 30, has appeared in parts of three preseason games for the Galaxy, allowing two goals in 129 minutes of action.

He was a former USL Goalkeeper of the Year while with the Islanders, leading them to a shock CONCACAF Champions League win over the Galaxy in July 2010, making seven saves.

He spent the 2011 season with the NASL’s Montreal Impact, appearing in nine games for the club.

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U.S. makes history in win for the ages over Italy

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Hang ‘em High: Clint Dempsey needed a single shot to dispatch the Italians today, the first-ever U.S. win over the European soccer power (AP Photo).

You just knew Clint Dempsey had to score the excellently-worked goal in the 0-1 win, didn’t you?

Check out the reaction via Twitter:

Gringos at the Gate @GringosGate: Is this the true beginning of the “Klinsmann era”?

Landon Donovan @landondonovan: USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nick Green @LAsoccerblog: Magnifico! #USMNT beat Italy @ own game, 1-0, putting D first. History is made w/ first-ever U.S. win over Italy.

JimmyConrad_com @JimmyConrad_com: Full time: 1-0 U.S.! Great result for the Americans! And the best part of this game for me was that the US never looked outclassed.

Chad Barrett @CBarrett19: Inspiring defense, Tim Howard is a beast, Dempsey being Dempsey, Well coached game and great execution by the guys. #ProudAmerican

Robbie Rogers @robbierogers: Great win for @ussoccer tonight! Congrats @clint
dempsey & welcome back my cuz @SachaKljestan !!! I love football it’s always interesting!

Charlie Davies @CharlieDavies9: WOW!! Proud of the boys tonight. Great win in Italy! That’s my boy @clint_dempsey and Michael Bradley was a beast tonight.

GIUSEPPE ROSSI @GiuseppeRossi22: Congrats to USA for the historic win

Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves: Altidore’s 2nd half his best showing since Gold Cup and Mo Edu played his best national team game since 2010 World Cup. Both stepped up

The American Outlaws @AmericanOutlaws: No Donovan and we still took one of the best in the world…at home!

Rob Stone @RobStoneONFOX: Nice win for #USMNT . Cleanly finished only real opportunity & able to finish strong. Momentum slightly returning to the team.

Jozy Altidore @JozyAltidore: Winning feels so good! Huge win! Great goal from @clint_dempsey!!!! #USA #USA

Grant Wahl @GrantWahl: Klinsmann: “Michael [Bradley] had an outstanding game… He made a huge step forward in his career coming here [to Italy].”

Edson Buddle @EdsonBuddle: BIG WIN against Italy in Italy. Congrats to @clint_dempsey on his goal tonight. LAX in the am

And Facebook

Bryan Chenault: Burgers 1, Pasta 0. wasn’t pretty, but it’s a big win. #usmnt #deuce

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Wednesday Kicks: Desert Diamond Cup Gameday & more

*We’re a matter of minutes away from the 11:30 a.m. Italy-U.S. game (ESPN2, Galavision), but there’s plenty other games on TV today:

* At 5 p.m. on KMEX Mexico plays Columbia in Miami, followed by the Under-23 encounter between the U.S. and Mexico. The Americans have the Galaxy’s Michael Stephens, Chivas USA’s Jorge Villafana and Club Tijuana’s striker Joe Corona and left back Greg Garza

*The Galaxy, meanwhile, play their second game of the Desert Diamond Cup against the New York Red Bulls in a contest that can be seen live at 7 p.m. here.

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U.S. striker Clint Dempsey is a most un-English weapon

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Eye on the ball: Clint Dempsey, shown here training with the is rare figure in U.S. soccer – an accomplished, consistent and still improving American striker (AP Photo).

And lets face it, Dempsey has played with a chip on his shoulder, a point to prove, ever since he was growing up in that Texas trailer park, so it’s the ideal environment for him in England. Now he has the opportunity to take it to unsuspecting Italians on Wednesday, too.

AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum has more:

London (AP) – Clint Dempsey jumped high in the air, both arms raised, as a fan in the stands at Fulham unfurled a Lone Star flag.

On this January afternoon in London, Dempsey had become the first American to score a hat trick in the history of the English Premier League. The eyes of English soccer were on the 28-year-old from Nacogdoches.

With 16 goals this season, the Texas trailblazer is destroying the image of the U.S. as a nation still searching for a top scorer.

“Being an American, I think you have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder because there’s a point to prove,” Dempsey said this week as the U.S. national team prepared for Wednesday’s exhibition game at Italy. “I guess you’ll kind of feel that way until maybe you’re doing better as a country as far as going further in World Cups or you have Americans who are playing on the biggest teams in the world.”

Craven Cottage is a quaint, Wrigley Field-type stadium next to the Thames in southwest London. Dempsey walks onto the field before games, turns and blows kisses to his family sitting in the Cottage Pavilion seats, above the locker rooms.

He’s given Fulham, which has never won a major title in its 133 years, reason to cheer. Dempsey has had the best season by an American attacking player in England. His 10 league goals (nearly one-third of Fulham’s 32) raised his total to 43 since he was bought from Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution in January 2007, and eclipsed the 36 by Brian McBride from 2003-08.

It’s smashing no matter the nationality. Only seven players have more EPL goals this season, a starry group that includes Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Demba Ba, Edin Dzeko, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Emmanuel Adebayor.

“I think what he is doing and the attention he is getting is long overdue,” said former U.S. national team forward Eric Wynalda, now a commentator for Fox Soccer. “Not only is he a constant performer, constantly earning his spot in the team, in my opinion, he’s scoring a lot of goals from deep positions. He’s not always playing up front, and that impresses the hell out of me.”

Having never scored more than twice in a professional game, Dempsey had not just one, but a pair of hat tricks last month. First, he scored twice from the run of play and then added a penalty kick Jan. 7 in a 4-0 rout of third-tier Charlton in the FA Cup. Exactly two weeks later, he scored three times – none of them a set piece – against goalkeeper Tim Krul in a 5-2 league win over Newcastle.

“It’s always good to be doing well and to get accolades and stuff like that. But I’m not trying to be the first American to do this,” he said. “I’m just trying to be the best player that I possibly can be.”

Scoring against Ghana in 2006 and England in 2010, Dempsey joined McBride as the only Americans to score in two World Cups (Landon Donovan matched the feat later in the 2010 tournament). A week shy of his 29th birthday, Dempsey hopes to be adding to that total at the 2014 tournament in Brazil. The game in Genoa is a prep for the start of qualifying for the Americans in June.

“It’s a huge weapon that we have with him because his vision on the field, because of his
sharpness, his one against one skills,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, one of the top forwards in World Cup history. “I’m going to push him. I’m going to push him not to be content with anything that happens in the Premier League. I will push him hopefully to another level that he can get to.”

And Dempsey could be a candidate for another U.S. team this summer. If the American Under-23s qualify next month for the Olympics, Dempsey would love to be considered for one of the three overage wild-card spots on coach Caleb Porter’s U.S. team at the London Games.

“That’s something that’s always special. Growing up as a kid, I remember watching the Olympics. So we’ll see if it works out of not,” Dempsey said. “Just have to kind of wait and see. But there’s two things I haven’t done in my career so far. I’ve played in World Cups. I’ve played in the Europa League. I’ve played in the Premier League. It would be something to add to it to play in the Olympics, and also I never got to play Champions League. Those are the highest levels of competition possible.”

Donovan, missing this week’s game because of bronchitis, also would like to play in the Olympics. The U.S. Soccer Federation would have to determine how best to use its wild cards to fill roster gaps.

Fulham pushed Dempsey up to forward for part of the season because of injuries. With the national team, he’s mostly been at midfield under coaches Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley and Klinsmann.

“I think he’s a forward,” Wynalda said. “I’ve watched him enough. My argument is just because he’s willing to do the work in the midfield doesn’t mean that we should cheat ourselves of a good forward. He needs to have a little bit more rest out there. Take a couple miles off of him. Let him get the ball when he’s rested, not when he’s tired, and let’s see how good he is because I’m convinced that he’s a lot more talented than he’s even shown us up to this point.”

There’s been talk that bigger clubs could be interested in Dempsey, whose contract expires after the 2012-13 season. There’s always a danger of going to a team where playing time is scarce, as defender Oguchi Onyewu learned when he got into just one competitive match for AC Milan.

“Some of my best memories are at Fulham,” Dempsey said. “I’m having another good season. Hopefully our team can finish in the top half. After this year I have one year left, and we’ll have to see what happens. But I’ve always been a believer that you’ve got to make the most of where you’re at, and right now I’m at Fulham.”

Two years ago, Dempsey became the first American to appear in a European final — Atletico Madrid beat Fulham for the title of the Europa League, the continent’s No. 2 club tournament. Collecting firsts for American soccer players hasn’t been Dempsey’s goal, but they’ve brought recognition to the Londoner with the East Texas drawl.

“I think everybody tries to go as far as they can,” he said. “And if you do well and set the bar really high, well then, you’re a pioneer.”

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Weekly Column: Klinsmann, USMNT race against time & more

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The Italian Job: U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, right, seen here playing for Chievo, is the lone American national team player in Serie A; Italy hosts the U.S. Wednesday in Genoa (AP Photo).

*Injuries threaten to derail Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s plans to have the U.S. primed and ready for World Cup qualifying this summer; he has just three games left to prepare beginning Wednesday in Italy.

In other soccer news:
*Chivas USA fell to Sweden’s AIK Monday in Portland, where staggering numbers of Timbers fans turned out to watch a pre-season exhibition doubleheader.

Chivas USA lineup: Dan Kennedy, James Riley, John Valencia, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud (Laurent Courtois, 58), Alejandro Moreno (Casey Townsend, 63), Oswaldo Minda, Ryan Smith (Alan Souza, 46), Miller Bolaos (Ben Zemanski, 55), Juan Pablo Angel (Cesar Romero, 71).

Substitutes Not Used: Tim Melia, David Jr. Lopez, Rauwshan McKenzie, Scott Gordon, Jose Najera.

*It looks like the Seattle Sounders Women were always going to have the inside track to sign Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan. Here’s why.

*In what is clearly a money-saving move, more details are emerging of the recent layoffs within Galaxy parent company Anschutz Entertianment Group and the realignment of its management structure to operate its 11 sports entities.

The No. 1 priority for the Galaxy: “dramatically” increasing season ticket sales.

“We are No. 1 in Major League Soccer with our jersey deal, with our naming-rights deal, with our sponsorships, with our premium-seating revenue,” AEG President TimLeiweke told SportsBusiness Daily. “We are No. 1 straight across the board. We are not even top three in season-ticket sales. This is all about season-ticket sales for the Galaxy.”

Leiweke said McGowan has added about 1,000 season tickets over the past month, since joining the Galaxy, to bring the club’s number to around 7,500.

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Weekend soccer schedule: Galaxy in Arizona & more

*The Galaxy play their second game of the Desert Diamond Cup Saturday in Arizona against Real Salt Lake, which will be streamed live here at 5 p.m. (but is apparently not available on iPads and other mobile devices).

Here’s an update on the club’s Arizona camp:

*Injured defender Omar Gonzalez is making four separate appearances over the weekend, starting in San Pedro Saturday morning before heading to the annual Cal South Soccer Expo in the afternoon.

*Chivas USA, meanwhile, announced their television schedule on Friday.

*Lastly, if you watch one game this weekend …. I recommend little Norwich City taking on mighty Manchester United (but then I’m a biased Canaries fan) at 5:23 a.m. Sunday on Fox Soccer Plus, which has a free trial that ends Sunday. Arsenal-Tottenham is on at the same time Sunday over on Fox Soccer.

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Mexican futbol’s biggest losers

CD Guadalajara are often called Southern California’s third biggest sports team (behind the Lakers and Dodgers) and, of course, there’s the little matter of the club having a local offshoot in Chivas USA.

So no doubt fans of the real Chivas are mortified by the display so far this season of the famed club, which seems to keep digging itself a deeper and deeper hole.

Here’s more from Associated Press reporter Carlo Rodriguez:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Chivas hasn’t won in 13 matches, and it’s unlikely to get any better soon for one of Mexico’s most famous football brands.

The Guadalajara club was humiliated 3-0 by Velez Sarsfield of Argentina on Wednesday in the Copa Libertadores, meaning Chivas has failed to win a match in four months and forcing new coach Ignacio Ambriz to simply say that “faith is needed.”

Chivas sporting director Rafael Ortega says new players may have to be signed in the offseason, a change of course for a club that has tried for several seasons to win with young, unproven talent.

“The team is down from what is expected, but I still have faith,” said Ambriz, who replaced Fernando Quirarte several weeks ago. “Although they are young players, they know what it means to wear the Chivas shirt and I have faith we are going to move forward.”

It will not be easy for the most successful club in Mexico football history.

In the Clausura tournament — the second half of Mexico’s split season — Chivas has only two points from seven matches. Ten league games remain and they all look difficult.

Chivas must play Santos and defending champion Tigres, which share the lead this season. There is also a showdown with archrival America and a Guadalajara derby against Atlas.

“Our finishing has not been good,” Ambriz said. “We have created some chances but we have not followed through in attack. We can’t do anything but keep working.”

Chivas owner Jorge Vergara and wife Angelica Fuentes, who serves as executive president of the team, have been criticized for failing to spend money on talented players. Vergara owns the Omnilife company, which sells health supplements throughout the Americas and in Spain.

A large void was left when Javier Hernandez moved to Manchester United
almost two years ago.

Ortega, the sporting director, says that problem will be addressed. “There will have to be a few changes made,” Ortega said. “One could say it’s a necessity.”

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy, Xolos video highlights & more

*If, like me, you were unable to watch the Desert Diamond Cup opener Wednesday between the Galaxy and Revolution on your iPad/smartphone because the MLS stream apparently doesn’t support mobile devices, check out the highlights below.

Benny Feilhaber’s smooth bicycle kick just 90 seconds in got things started, while Edson Buddle also scored to get his second Galaxy stint rolling:

Here’s the Galaxy lineup: Josh Saunders, Todd Dunivant, A.J. DeLaGarza, Tommy Meyer, Dan Keat, Mike Magee (Paolo Cardozo 46), David Beckham , Marcelo Sarvas, Pat Noonan (Hector Jimenez 57), Adam Cristman (Juninho 46), Edson Buddle (Jack McBean 79)

Here’s the Galaxy reaction to the game:

*Chivas USA came off second best in San Diego last night, losing to Club Tijuana’s reserves.

Here’s the Chivas USA lineup: Dan Kennedy, James Riley, John Valencia, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Oswaldo Minda, Nick LaBrocca, Michael Lahoud (Casey Townsend, 69), Miler Bolaos, Ryan Smith (Alejandro Moreno, 69), Juan Pablo Angel (Cesar Romero, 69).

Substitutes Not Used: David Jr. Lopez, Rauwshan McKenzie, Patrick Mclain, Ben Zemanski.

*Former Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan has been playing more regularly in England so he is duly recalled (for the first time since late 2010) to the U.S. squad announced today for the upcoming game against Italy, along with Galaxy pair Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle. More here.

*Former Galaxy midfierlder Chris Birchall has rejoined lower division Port Vale in England.

*Finally, here’s an update on how former Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is enjoying the weather in Montreal.

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Chivas USA announce three signings – including former Galaxy midfielder Pete Vagenas

Which is about time because Pasadena native Pete Vagenas has only been in camp a month or so – and has already seemed an integral part of the Goats’ squad.

The other signings: San Diego striker Cesar Romero, 22, who most recently played for Murcielagos FC de Guamuchil in Mexico’s second division, and defender Rauwshan McKenzie, 25, who Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser was familiar with from his stint at Real Salt Lake where he made nine starts over the last two seasons.

Romero is perhaps the biggest prize of the three.

“He is a young player who has come in and done quite well in pre-season,” Fraser said. “He’s got good pace, he’s got a good nose for the goal, he has proven to make himself difficult to be marked by opposing defenses and we think that he has a bright future.”

Romero most recently played indoor soccer with Revolucion Tijuana where he scored 33 goals in four games, including a nine-goal outburst in one game.

Chivas USA play an exhibition game in San Diego tonight against Mexican top tier team Club Tijuana.

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