Wednesday Kicks: Galaxy, Chivas USA in action & more

Short on time today, so just have time to note that:

*The struggling Galaxy are in action tonight in Carson against the resurgent San Jose Earthquakes, who are just beginning a stretch of road games that could determine the direction of their season. The Galaxy also learned last night they will face the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks on the road Tuesday in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. The winner hosts the victor of the Chivas USA-Ventura County Fusion contest June 5 in the fourth round.

*Chivas USA are in New York to face a Red Bull team seeking a sixth straight win in a 4 p.m. game (live on Galavision). The Red Bulls could see defender Wilman Conde return, despite his recent arrest for assaulting a police officer.

Chivas USA, which today announced a coaching and player development partnership with Long Beach-based Beach FC, will see defender Ante Jazic (Canada) and midfielder Oswaldo Minda (Ecuador) leave for their respective national teams after the game.

The Goats will play the PDL Ventura County Fusion next Tuesday at Ventura College in the U.S. Open Cup. they learned last night.

The Fusion are one of two amateur teams from Ventura County left in the knockout competition.

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South Bay’s Animo Leadership Charter High claims Galaxy’s Villarreal, Earthquakes’ Baca

We get letters (well, emails).

Sergio Medrano, a teacher and head coach and founder of the boy’s varsity soccer team at Animo Leadership Charter High School, emailed me this week in an effort to make clear the local affiliation of Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal of the Galaxy, below left, and Lawndale’s Rafael Baca, below right, of the San Jose Earthquakes (and Loyola Marymount) ahead of their game Wednesday in Carson.


This is a school proud of its products. And rightly so. Medrano wrote:

In advance of the ‘Quakes and Galaxy game this Wednesday I couldn’t help but set the record straight in regards to Jose Villarreal, the current home grown Galaxy signee, as well as current ‘Quakes midfielder Rafael Baca.

Both hail from the proud local South Bay high school soccer program, Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood.

I know it was reported previously that Jose graduated from Leuzinger High in Lawndale, but he actually never graduated from there and only attended Leuzinger for two months to make up some credits. He actually attended Animo Leadership for 3 1/2 years from his 9-11th grade and part of 12th grade before ultimately receiving his diploma in 2011.

Although Jose never played for Animo Leadership because he participated in the U.S. Development Academy, I felt compelled to set the record straight since I’ve known Jose and his family since 2002 when he was 8-years-old.

Also, Jaime Villarreal Jose’s younger brother and current Galaxy Academy player, is currently an 11th grader at Animo Leadership.

We are very proud to have Jose and Rafael, two professional soccer players in the MLS, come out of Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood.

To have them both present at Home Depot Center this Wednesday as professionals brings great pride to our program and school.

Although Jose will not see time on the first team this game and Rafael Baca most likely will get the start, we are still going to show up and support them both. As a school we have sold over 200 tickets as a fundraiser benefiting the Animo Boy’s Soccer Program in support of both players.

We will be sitting in Sections 118 and 117 cheering on Rafa and Jose.

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Tuesday Kicks: MLS Power Rankings & more


*Sister paper the San Jose Mercury News compiles the rankings, led this week by Chivas USA’s next opponent. Read more here.

*The Galaxy’s next opponent, the San Jose Earthquakes, are missing a couple of starters for Wednesday’s game in Carson in addition to top scorer Chris Wondolowski.

*U.S. military personnel and their families can get half off a $38 ticket for Wednesday’s Galaxy game., BTW.

*Finally, more U.S. TV channels showing soccer games is a good thing, right? Perhaps not always, as this Associated Press report observes:

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Al-Jazeera will launch two sports channels in the United States in August, a move that could cause league games in Spain and Italy to disappear from many cable systems.

The Qatar-based broadcaster said it has obtained rights to Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1 as well as the Copa America and South American qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The launch could set the stage for an attempt to win the rights to the more popular Premier League when it comes on the market this year for the 2013-14 season.

The network will be called beIN Sports USA. Managing director Youssef Mohammad al-Obaidly said the channels will be “a new way of watching sports, a better way.”

The network is in “the last stages of negotiation with different providers, having secured two major deals so far that will bring the channel to subscribers’ homes on Aug. 1,” he said.

However, given the short time before the start of next season to strike deals with Multiple
System Operators, La Liga and Serie A may lose much of their U.S. distribution. That would lessen the American visibility of stars such Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Fox Soccer and its second channel, Fox Soccer Plus, had televised the Serie A since the 2007-08 season, when Fox took over rights following a splintered package that had GolTV owning the home games of most teams and Fox owning the rights to home games of Lazio, Lecce, Treviso and Cagliari. Fox’s channels televised Ligue 1 the past two seasons, obtaining the French telecasts without a rights fee.

GolTV has had La Liga rights since the 2004-05 season, when it took over from Fox. It
sublicensed some games to ESPN Deportes and

The loss leaves the German Bundesliga as GolTV’s only major European league under a deal runs through the 2014-15 season. GolTV also has rights to league games in Brazil and Argentina.

Fox retains rights to the two most-watched European football properties. It will televise the UEFA Champions League through 2014-15 after taking over in August 2009 from ESPN, which had held U.S. rights since 1994-95.

Fox has televised the Premier League since 1998, sublicensing some rights to ESPN since August 2009. Fox’s Premier League deal runs through the 2012-13 season, and Al-Jazeera could bid for the next three-year package.

In addition, Fox takes over the second-tier Europa League next season from GolTV under a three-year deal through 2014-15.

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Weekly Column: Galaxy hit bottom


Every week the horror show that is the Galaxy just keeps getting worse.

Would you pay a minimum of $30 to watch the worst team in the Western Conference?

Coach Bruce Arena repeated the enigmatic comment he made last week to The Washington Post again to me Monday, insinuating he knows what’s wrong with the team — but isn’t telling:

“It’s not public infomation, but I have a pretty good feel for it,” he said. “There’s always things behind the scenes that are part of the fabric of teams and you’ve got to find it. We haven’t found the right chemistry yet. We’ve had games where maybe a little better team spirit would have gotten us results.”

Team spirit? Really? Maybe we need a noon pep rally in the quad.

What the Galaxy really needs is a dependable center back and midfielders who need to look more interested in finding space and creating attacks, which as Landon Donovan pointed out after the loss to Chivas USA amounts to the “same old story” so far this season.

And at the risk of me getting repetitive, too, here’s more in this week’s column ahead of Wednesday’s Galaxy-Earthquakes and Chivas USA-Red Bulls games.

By the way, I’m pretty sure Arena said “team spirit” and not “teen spirit,” but that’s not a bad idea either.

Here we are, now, entertain us:

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A newspaper reporter joins Chivas USA’s Black Army


Daily Breeze reporter Sandy Mazza had never seen an MLS game in person.

So what better place to start than Saturday’s Chivas USA-Galaxy SuperClasico. Given the result, she may well have a standing invitation to sit in the stands with Chivas USA fans at every derby.

Here’s her report:

Justin Davies drove from Las Vegas to cheer on Chivas USA Saturday night in Carson with his cousin, Josef Zacher.

The pair viciously booed Galaxy fans and chanted “We believe we can win!” as they stood through the 90-minute game with a contingent of supporters in section 138 of the Home Depot Center.

But, when their beloved team actually won, Davies and other members of Black Army 1850 – a Chivas USA support group – might have been as astonished as they were thrilled. I guess 12 straight losses in five years can’t kill your faith and passion for a thing but it can make you doubt victory. Such is the brutal face of reality and history.

Saturday’s SuperClassico was the first Major League Soccer game I’ve attended, at the invitation of my coworker Nick Green, who is always entertained by my lack of knowledge about such important subjects as soccer and Monty Python films. He was lucky enough to not have me barraging him with stupid questions all night in the press box because I was sitting (actually, standing) with Black Army 1850.

The group is a motley crew that separated two years ago from the larger, more established Chivas USA supporter group Union Ultras.

Black Army 1850 President Angel Mendoza said it was formed to be more tolerant of people from various backgrounds, and less tolerant of anything non-Chivas USA. Black is their chosen color because it is both “intimidating and rad,” he said. The army reference is intended to connote their undivided devotion, and 1850 refers to the year Los Angeles was incorporated.

“We’re not Mexican, we’re L.A.,” Mendoza explained. “We’re a melting pot.”

In the stands with the black-clad supporters, there was no time for ignorant girly queries about the meaning of yellow flags, red cards and neon-colored shoes. There was only raw emotion.

And Cerritos College graphic arts major Brian Deres wore his heart on his sleeve. He donned a bushy wig and red-and-white face paint for the game.

“We’re here to support them until they win,” he said during halftime. “We’re like a family, it doesn’t matter (if they win or lose) we’re all together.”

But did Deres really expect Chivas USA to pull out a victory against a team that has spanked them repeatedly and brutally since 2007?


Whatever their fears and uncertainty, the fans put on a brave face as they sang: “Tonight Chivas we’ll set the goal on fire. It’ll burn brighter than the sun. Lalalalala.” And: “Come on Chivas score a goal it’s really (naughty word) simple. Put the ball into the net and we’ll go
(naughty word) mental.”

Seventy-two minutes of running, kicking and head bunting passed before the amazing and shocking moment came when Jose Erick Correa scored a penalty kick goal and the only point of the evening. For all the hoping and screaming and waiting, the goal was a huge payoff for fans – prompting at least one to rip off his shirt and cry in ecstasy. The mirth transformed into disbelief as fans held their breath for the next 18 minutes (plus another agonizing four minutesadded to the clock for stoppages). Could they really pull it off?


Chivas USA fan and Hawthorne police Sgt. Chris Cognac cheered with his wife, Martha, and two sons.

His youngest, Gabe, spent a good portion of the game trying to telepathically distract the Galaxy’s goalkeeper. I believe his rationale was that, if Chivas USA wasn’t going to bring home a victory, Gabe Cognac would have to step in. He waved a pair of colorful sunglasses, twisted a Black Army 1850 sash around his head and made catcalls at the goalee. Who’s to say it didn’t work

Chris Cognac said he takes pride in supporting a team that has won so few games in recent history. It’s easy to cheer on the top dog but it takes real heart to stay faithful to a repeated loser.

For cousins Davies and Zacher, loyalty was a very personal vocation.

Zacher’s father was a devoted member of Union Ultras and a “die-hard Chivas fan” before he died after suffering an aneurism.

Chivas USA rewarded him during his hospitalization with flowers and bedside visits from players. The team sent flowers to his funeral.

So it was only natural to Davies that he drove drove from Las Vegas for the showdown against Galaxy to cheer Chivas USA.

“They were there for my family,” he said.

When the clock finally stopped on Saturday night just before 10 p.m. and fans realized victory was really, truly theirs, they hugged and cheered. One hero of the evening was Chivas USA goalee Dan Kennedy, who thwarted numerous Galaxy-hit balls from the end zone. He stopped by section 138 for some enthusiastic high-fives from Black Army 1850
after the game.

My feet ached, my voice was hoarse and I was exhausted. But I was happy — mostly because I had accidentally sat with fans of the winning team who had so long suffered the pain of defeat. I was relieved they could go home satisfied that their dedication and faith in Chivas USA had paid off.

The future looked a little brighter for fans like John Santos.

“There’s a lot of good feelings. The last time Chivas beat the Galaxy was five years ago.

Does it mean the rivalry’s shifting?

“No, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Santos said. “It’s an explosion of emotion. I’m just really happy.”

For another fan, who declined to give his name, victory was more black-and-white: “It’s beautiful. It feels good to beat those bastards.”

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Galaxy’s Donovan, Chivas USA’s Agudelo and LA native Gomez join USMNT camp

No surprises there.

Here’s Klinsmann on Juan Agudelo:

“We have Juan Agudelo coming in after a difficult first part of the season for him, not qualifying for the Olympics, struggling with an injury, and now with the trade to Chivas USA that we hope gives him a lift because he couldn’t pass by Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper at the Red Bulls. He has an opportunity now, and we want him to grab it and make clear to everyone that he deserves to be a starter no matter where he plays.”

Details and complete roster here.

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SuperClasico Saturday Shocker: Galaxy become Goats Grub

Chivas USA 1 Galaxy 0

It hasn’t happened often in the history of the — hey, Landon Donovan is this a rivalry, now? – derby, but it did tonight: Chivas USA won and deserved to do so even if the goal came on a PK that left the Galaxy a man down for the remainder of the game.

Staff Writer Phil Collin explains in the game story why Chivas USA are a dozen and done in SuperClasicos.

Man of the Match

Chivas USA defender Danny Califf

Yes, 19-year-old Jose Correa got his second goal in as many MLS games in his career.

Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy looked confident yet again in getting the shutout.

But Califf, an Orange County native returning home (if he can get the renters out), was simply magnificent. A player who had joined the team the day before organized and communicated with the back four, becoming the fulcrum of the superbly marshaled defense. Califf looked like he had been a fixture in the position for years rather than hours.

And it came against a tumultuous backdrop where Califf clearly feels betrayed and hurt by what occurred in Philadelphia. I’ll have more on the circumstances surrounding his departure from Philadelphia later, but doesn’t it sound like Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser understood the significance of that experience on Califf’s psyche and went out of his way to reassure the veteran his qualities were valued?

“We had a great conversation the first day,” Fraser said. “We talked about some of the things this team needs and above all we said don’t think you need to come in here and be anything, but be you.

“I’ve known Danny for a long time (they played on the same Galaxy defence back in 2000). I’ve seen him grow, I’ve seen him mature. I’ve seen him play in some big arenas and his decision making has gotten to be very good with the experience that he’s had.

“Really, it was just come in here and be you; you’re here because you’re you. Don’t try to take on any other different kind of personality or do something different than what you do.

“It was great to see him step in and look extremely comfortable as you’d like to see an experienced center back come in. I thought he really did what we needed him to do tonight”.

If that was Fraser’s intent, I’d say it worked:

“I didn’t feel uncomfortable,” Califf said. “I was worried going in. I tried to concentrate on doing my job well and trying to be a good communicator and be aware of all the guys around me. It just seemed to click into place. My first win in 2012 so I’m overjoyed.

Meanwhile, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena acknowledged the game was pretty indicative of the team’s season so far:

Yeah, I would say that. … I think we’ve played a little better than our record indicates. But tonight the difference in the game was taking a chance. We didn’t do it and give them credit.”

And if Portland beats Chicago Sunday, the Galaxy would sink to the Western Conference basement. Standings.

Galaxy striker Chad Barrett, who reportedly declined to talk to the media after the game, Tweeted instead: “So sick of this.” #lossforwords.

Which for the Galaxy pretty much sums things up.

Next for Chivas USA: in New York Wednesday.

Next for the Galaxy: hosting San Jose Wednesday

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SuperClasico Saturday: Galaxy at Chivas USA


Yeah, I know it’s not the most important football match of the day, even here in LA.

You can’t even call it a rivalry, as Staff Writer Phil Collin pointed out in today’s preview (did he pocket that $20 I wonder? We’ll never know).

And yes, I crapped all over this year’s game because, so far, these have been two bad teams.

But this is what we’ve got – and at least it has been an eventful run-up for Chivas USA, who you could argue significantly improved (on paper) on Friday.

I’m told it should be a 18,800 capacity crowd, at the slimmed down Home Depot Center, which would be a Chivas USA first in who knows how long no matter the size of the stadium.

And Daily Breeze Staff Writer Sandy Mazza, who has barely seen a soccer game, let alone an MLS one will presumably Tweet and then blog here about the experience.

Let’s hear from the protagonists involved:

Finally, is it worth reliving the (ahem) rivalry over the years?

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