Thursday Kicks: MLS Preseason in SoCal & more

I’m under a directive to burn some vacation hours so will take an extended break through next Tuesday.

That means no column next week, but one of this country’s best soccer writers has stepped in with an apt Galaxy-centric column that breaks down the past and, hopefully, future sucess of the club.

In other local soccer news:

*No fewer than seven – yup, seven – MLS teams including the Portland Timbers, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire (I’ll let you guess the other two) are training at Home Depot Center this week.

Want to see some upcoming scrimmages?

Here’s a (partial) schedule:

*10:30 a.m. Friday HDC Portland-Montreal
*Noon Saturday Oxnard College Chivas USA-Chicago Fire.
*10:30 a.m. Sunday HDC Portland-Houston
*11 a.m. Wednesday HDC Portland-Chicago.

Games involving the Galaxy are open to the media, but remain closed to the general public, BTW (the Galaxy and Dynamo meet at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the HDC).

*Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers reflects on signing for Leeds – and then seeing the coach that signed him promptly getting fired.

*No, Aston Villa you don’t get to keep the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane until a couple of days before the March 7 CONCACAF CL quarterfinal season opener (which isn’t mentioned in this story). Villains, indeed.

*Guess which Galaxy player just got picked for their national team?

*If you only watch one game this weekend…make it Manchester United-Liverpool (4:30 a.m. Saturday ESPN2).

Also of note:

Landon Donovan and Everton against Chelsea (6:30 a.m. Saturday Fox Soccer)
Robbie Keane and Aston Villa against Manchester City ( 8 a.m. Sunday Fox Soccer)

*Finally, The U.S. exhibition game against Brazil will be played May 30 at Landover, Md., U.S. Soccer announced today.

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Galaxy, Chivas USA both fall in scrimmages today

*Despite the presence of watching projected NFL top draft choice Andrew Luck in Carson today, the Galaxy lost 4-1 to the Portland Timbers at Home Depot Center.

Dan Keat had a goal on a bicycle kick in the losing cause.

The Galaxy starting lineup: Saunders; Jordan, Meyer, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Franklin, Beckham, Sarvas, Stephens; Buddle, Cardozo

Second half: Noble; Davies, Boyens, Gaul, Murray; Jimenez, Walker, Keat, Nakazawa; McBean, Cristman


Also: It’s two more EPL games and done for Landon Donovan.

*Chivas USA lost by a lone goal to the Colorado Rapids at the HDC.

Players used (not all at once): 1-Dan Kennedy (GK) Tim Melia (GK), 13-Ante Jazic, 3-Heath Pearce, 5-John Valencia, 7-James Riley, 8-Oswaldo Minda, 6-Peter Vagenas, 11-Michael Lahoud, 15-Alejandro Moreno, 22-Ryan Smith, 9-Juan Pablo Angel. Brian Rowe, RJ Allen, Rauwshan Mckenzie, 19-Jorge Villafaa, Kennedy Chongo, Markie Delgado, 16-Laurent Courtois, 27-Chris Cortez, 59-Cesar Romero, Daniel Steres, Keven Venegas, Mario Ledezma

Tweeted Kyle Martino: “Chivas starting with Moreno & Angel up top. Is there a slower pair of forwards in the league? Sure can finish if they get there though”

Here are the highlights of that one:

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Juninho to return to Galaxy after all

In an unexpected move, the Galaxy announced today that Brazilian midfielder Juninho, who became a fan favorite for his ferocious shot and high workrate, will return to the club after all for a second loan spell.

In addition, the club announced that Brazilian central defender Leonardo will also return to the club, this time on a permanent transfer.

Both players are from Brazilian club Sao Paulo.

The twin announcement comes the day after striker Edson Buddle returned to the club from Germany and back-up midfielder Chris Birchall confirmed via Twitter that he would not be returning to the Galaxy, as widely expected.

Juninho is the big prize here for the club, which hadn’t been expected to re-sign the player. He had signed a contract extension with Sao Paulo and began training with the club’s first team in early January.

Here’s more from the Galaxy:

Juninho, who is scheduled to return to Southern California next week ahead of the Galaxy’s preseason trip to Arizona, was an All-Star for the Galaxy last season and has been an ever-present force in the center of the Galaxy midfield over the past two seasons, starting 55 regular season games as well as six of the club’s seven postseason matches.

One of the breakout stars in MLS last season, the 23-year-old appeared in and started 30 regular season games for the Galaxy, scoring four goals and adding two assists while combining with David Beckham to form one of the best central midfield duos in Major League Soccer.

His impact on the field was even more profound in the CONCACAF Champions League, where he scored the game-winning goal in each of LA’s final two games in group play, giving the Galaxy a 2-1 home win over Morelia and a 1-0 win at Motagua, which gave LA a first place finish in Group A.

Leonardo, who turned 24-years-old on Sunday, was a key figure in the center of the Galaxy defense at the start of both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, but was limited by injures during his first two seasons with the Galaxy, playing in 17 of the club’s 64 regular season games in that time.

After appearing in and starting 10 games for the club in 2010, the six-foot-two Sao Paulo native started each of LA’s first seven games in 2011, helping them go 3-1-3 and keep three clean sheets while even scoring the first goal of his MLS career in the 1-0 home win over Philadelphia on April 2.

However, late in the club’s 2-1 win in Chicago on April 17, Leonardo suffered a severe right knee injury, tearing both the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), which forced him to undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season. He has been continuing his rehabilitation throughout the offseason and will return to Los Angeles tonight in order to move forward with his rehabilitation as he approaches a return to full fitness.

Also, tickets for the home leg of the Galaxy’s 7 p.m. March 14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Toronto FC go on sale Thursday, starting at $30.

That game, which is the second leg of the aggregate goal series against Toronto, has a limited capacity of just 7,500 at Home Depot Center because of a “long standing, mutual agreement” with California State Dominguez Hills to reduce stadium capacity at midweek games during the school year.

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Weekly Column: The Parable of the Galaxy’s Edson Buddle

As the Galaxy’s leading scorer for four consecutive seasons, which was topped off with a career-best 17 goals in 2010 before his departure overseas, Edson Buddle will go down as the best goal poacher to play for the club since Carlo Ruiz.

Well, now Edson Buddle is back – and he only needs 10 more goals to overhaul the Guatemalan on the all-time Galaxy scoring list.

You can read more about Buddle’s return – and learn about Coach Bruce Arena’s regrets over his exit – in today’s column here.

More from Buddle’s press conference and first practice upon his return to Home Depot Center is here:

Also, I spoke Monday to reserve striker Chad Barrett – who is a week or so from returning to full training after recovering from the broken foot that kept him out of MLS Cup – about what Buddle’s return might mean for him. The UCLA product made $225,000 in guranteed salary last year – pretty expensive for a backup, especially on a team with plenty of other big salaries that likely needs a starting center back to replace the injured Omar Gonzalez – and conventional wisdom suggests he could become trade bait.

Here’s what he said:

“Obviously it affects my playing time on this team,” he said of Buddle. “You’ve got a guy who made the national team and did very well in his last three years.

“Obviously I’m not penciled in as a starter any more,” he added. “That’s unfortunate for me, but it makes me fight that much harder to get minutes and try to get playing time.

“For the team you couldn’t have a better situation; they’ve got their top scorer back – he was easily the best forward the last two years before he left.

“It happens that way. You see a lot of people come in – I haven’t heard anything yet (about a trade), but it might happen it might not. That’s something that has to be decided by the coaches, but nobody has come up to me and said anything to me.”


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Weekend Rewind: Keane, Donovan & more


Robbie Keane scores against Newcastle United Sunday, but couldn’t prevent the Birmingham club losing 2-1 on Tyneside (AP Photo).

*An uninvolving Super Bowl Sunday on this side of the Atlantic Ocean (even the commericials were pretty dull, I thought) was saved by a gripping game on the other side of the pond, as Manchester United fought back from 3-0 down to tie Chelsea in a game (among the best we’ve seen in the EPL this season) seen live nationwide on Fox.

*The Galaxy’s Robbie Keane had got things rolling earlier Sunday with his third goal in four games since joining Aston Villa on loan in a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United. Incidentally, the latest unsubstantiated tabloid rumor has Villa’s Stephen Ireland allegedly joining LA on loan.

Similarly, Landon Donovan was unable to prevent Everton gaining only a 1-1 draw with lowly Wigan Athletic this past weekend.

*Former Galaxy and Chivas USA midfielder Marcelo Saragosa has joined D.C. United, his fourth MLS, the club announced today, after spending two seasons in the Azerbaijan first division.

*Looking ahead this week, several MLS teams are heading to Ventura County to train where they will be hosted by the PDL Fusion.

*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal, who signed for the Galaxy just days ago, has surgery today for what appears to be a long-standing medical issue, while the process of winnowing draft picks has begun at the club.

*I’ll have more in Tuesday’s column about Edson Buddle rejoining the Galaxy; I’m off this morning to his first training session/press conference with the club in a year.

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A super Buddle welcome at LAX


Even though he arrived early, about 30 Galaxy fans were on hand when Edson Buddle returned to Southern California Friday night, stepping off a flight from Europe (Photo courtesy LA Galaxy).

Past and future Galaxy striker Edson Buddle will hold a press conference Monday at Home Depot Center after his first practice upon his treturn to the club after a year hiatus. I’ll have more in Tuesday’s column.

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Galaxy, Chivas USA roll to easy wins Friday in preseason games

The Galaxy scored seven goals in their win at Home Depot Center, while Chivas USA managed five goals.

Both wins came over minor league opposition.

More on the Galaxy game is here.


Chivas USA beat Conejo Valley-based FC Hasental 5-0 with goals coming from Michael Lahoud in the 22nd minute and Juan Pablo Angel coverting a spot kick two minutes later for the second. English newcomer Ryan Smith got the third five minutes before halftime with forward Chris Cortez and Tijuana native Cesar Romero rounding out the scoring in the second half.

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Late Thursday Kicks: Angel City Brigade to welcome Buddle back to Galaxy at LAX & more

Will you be there?


Class move by the ACB.

*Chivas USA and presumably Blair Gavin play their second preseason game of the season at 11 a.m. Friday at Home Depot Center against FC Hasental. Fans are welcome to attend.

Here’s an updated Chivas USA preseason schedule.

*It’s the Yanks verses the Canucks.

*Rolling Hills Estates’ Whitney Engen has been called into the upcoming U.S. Women’s National Team camp in Texas.

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Ready for the big football game Sunday?

Chelsea-Manchester United is live on Fox at 7:30 a.m.

A preview is here.

The “game before the game” marks the second live Barclays Premier League game in two weeks on Fox. On Jan. 22, Fox drew 1.3 million viewers nationwide for Arsenal’s 1-2 loss to Manchester United, making it the most watched live EPL match ever on U.S. television.

Rob Stone, Eric Wynalda and the insufferable Piers Morgan host.

Arsenal-Blackburn Rovers is at 4:55 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2
Norwich City-Bolton Wanderers is at 11 a.m. Saturday (delayed) on Fox Soccer Plus.

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Buddle back with Galaxy


Buddle returns: The forward Galaxy fans never wanted to leave has returned to the club (Daily Breeze file photo).

The rumors were true.

Edson Buddle has returned to the Galaxy after spending a year in Germany where he scored 10 goals for second tier Ingolstadt.

“I am thrilled to be able to return to MLS and a club that has meant so much to me in my career,” Buddle said. “When I left for Germany last winter, I said that I hoped to be able to one day return to the Galaxy and help lead the club to an MLS Cup championship. That day is today and I look forward to the challenges that now lie ahead.”

Here’s more from the club press release:

A fan favorite during his time with the Galaxy, Buddle was the club’s top scorer or second leading scorer every year from 2007-2010, averaging nearly a goal every two games after being acquired in a trade with Toronto FC in exchange for Tyrone Marshall in June 2007.

He had his best season as a professional in 2010, scoring 17 goals and helping the Galaxy win their first Supporters’ Shield since 2002.

The only player in MLS history to score 40 or more goals for two different clubs, Buddle has scored 90 goals in 231 regular season games during the first 10 years of his MLS career, making him the eighth leading scorer in League history.

Relive Buddle’s 2010 goals here:

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