Highly-paid, low-scoring Galaxy striker Barrett heads to Norway on loan

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The Galaxy today loaned forward Chad Barrett and his $250,000 salary to Norway’s Vlerenga through the end of their 2012 season, which concludes in November.

The 27-year-old has just one goal and three assists in 18 games with the Galaxy this season.

“The guys were on fire here and we’re really deep at forward,” Barrett told the Galaxy’s website. “I was approached by my agent, who said there was interest overseas and it was a team that I almost went with when I was with Toronto.

“Obviously, I didn’t produce as well as I should of, so there are a lot of factors that go into it,” he added, observing that he is in the final year of his MLS contract. “Ultimately, this is probably what is best for me at this particular juncture. Like I said, I hate bringing politics into this locker [room], but that’s why we have agents and sometimes you got to do it.”

Barrett, who trained with Vlerenga for a week earlier this month, travels to Oslo on Wednesday to link up with the club, which lies sixth in the league with a 7-6-4 record.

In total, Barrett has eight goals and eight assists in 45 regular season games for the Galaxy since joining the club from Toronto in January 2011.

He missed last year’s MLS Cup with an injury.

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Hermosa Beach’s Wambach scores in USWNT Olympic win

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Slinky celebration? Hermosa Beach’s Abby Wambach, second right, celebrates with teammates after scoring the lone goal of the game in a U.S. win over North Korea as group play concludes in the women’s tournament at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London (Associated Press).

Not a great game or a particularly outstanding performance by the U.S., but mission accomplished as the quarterfinals beckon.

Also, U.S. Soccer said today the USWNT will play its first post-Olympic game Sept. 1 in Rochester, N.Y. against Costa Rica. Rochester is the hometown of forward Abby Wambach, who lives in Hermosa Beach.

international goals.

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Weekly Column: The Olympic Soccer Stage

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Gay for soccer: Rising U.S. star Megan Rapinoe, who came out just before the start of the Olympics and is pictured here scoring against Colombia, is one of several emerging young American stars (AP Photo).

Hard to believe we’re almost a week in to the Olympic soccer competition.

I explored the highlights — and lowlights — we’ve seen so far in this week’s column.

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Weekend Video MLS Rewind: Galaxy and Chivas USA highlights

While I was off sampling the charms of San Diego for a few days (ahem), the Galaxy were busy beating an awful Dallas team in ghastly weather conditions and Chivas USA defeated a dreadful Portland Timbers side that are a walking ad for changing the MLS schedule (does anybody outside their wonderful fan base really need to see this bunch again this season?).

Watch:

As a result, the Galaxy are in a playoff spot — but Chivas USA aren’t far behind and have games in hand. See the standings.

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David Beckham’s Olympic role unveiled

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Besides making commercials for his sponsors. Do you get the impression they don’t want him anywhere near the Great Britain soccer team?

Associated Press Sports Writer Rob Harris explains what Beckham will be up to during the Olympics:

LONDON (AP) — David Beckham will have a role in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

The 37-year-old Galaxy midfielder had hoped to play for Britain’s football team at
the games, but he was not included in the squad by coach Stuart Pearce. But there will still be a spot for Beckham on Friday at the Olympic Stadium.

“It is some kind of role in the opening ceremony which I am honored to be involved in because obviously I was involved in the start process with this seven years ago,” Beckham told The Associated Press. “And for Seb (Sebastian Coe) to have kept me involved, I’m very proud of that.”

But in keeping with the national “save the surprise” campaign, Beckham wouldn’t divulge any further details about his role.

There is speculation that boxing great Muhammad Ali could also play a role in the opening ceremony after he came to London to appear Tuesday alongside Beckham at an event in London.

“He stood for so many amazing things throughout his life, whether it’s what he did in the ring or outside of the ring,” Beckham said at the Beyond Sport conference. “His life and his career was all about survival and he is an amazing man.”

During the games, Beckham plans to watch some sports while fulfilling his Major League Soccer duties in the United States.

“I’ll be going back and forward but I’ll definitely be trying to get to a few events,” he
said.

Beckham has sensed Olympic fever gripping London with just three days until the opening ceremony.

“I was at the stadium yesterday and the park yesterday and you can feel the kind of atmosphere building, the excitement building,” Beckham said. “I was brought up around this side of London and, you know, to actually see the changes that have happened and the excitement that’s going on is a proud moment.”

But Beckham is saddened that he won’t get to play in Britain’s first Olympic football team since the 1960 Games despite making 115 appearances for England, a record for an outfield player.

The former England captain still hasn’t given up hope of representing his country again.

“I’ll always have ambitions in football as long as I am playing,” Beckham said. “I might be 37 years old but I still want to continue to win championships, I still want to continue to be the best that I can be and continue to represent my country in any way, shape or form.”

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Weekly Column: Galaxy marketing gets ahead of reality (again)

Friendlies between MLS and foreign clubs are always just as much about marketing as they are soccer.

The video above, for instance, is as close as the local media got to American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who was inexplicably not made available for interviews by Tottenham Hotspur ahead of tonight’s game against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center.

He’s not the only player “missing” for this game in one sense or another, of course.

Spurs’ Croatian midfielder Luka Modric belatedly crept back to training Monday in London after going AWOL in an effort to force a lucrative transfer elsewhere, but was instead reportedly hit by huge club fines.

Midfielder Scott Parker is out with likely Achilles surgery on the horizon.

And more tickets would have sold had Spurs’ Mexican midfielder Giovani Dos Santos not been on Olympic duty.

Still, fans knew ahead of time most of these players were missing for tonight’s game (live at 7:30 on KDOC and KWHY).

Other absences?

Well, the Galaxy carefully kept under wraps that two very high profile players would miss the game, presumably so as not to hurt ticket sales, as I observed in today’s column.

Classy.

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Beckham and Donovan skip Tuesday’s Spurs match for MLS All-Star Game

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If you bought tickets to Tuesday’s Galaxy-Tottenham Hotspur game in part to see David Beckham and Landon Donovan take on EPL opposition, you’re out of luck.

Despite using Donovan’s pic to sell tickets to that game (the ad above remains on the Galaxy’s website as of this writing) the pair will miss the friendly to participate in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

“Beckham and Donovan were voted to the MLS All-Star First XI on July 8 and were confirmed for head coach Ben Olsen’s 18-man Gameday roster a week later,” the Galaxy said in a statement released this morning.

Funny how they didn’t tell fans that at the same time, before they bought their expensive tickets.

Isn’t bait and switch advertising illegal?

I’ll have much more to say about this in Tuesday’s column.

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Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena: “We made a big mistake”

It was the most candidly I have heard Galaxy coach Bruce Arena talk yet about the issue of allowing the likes of loanees Landon Donovan (Everton) and Robbie Keane (Aston Villa) to return just days before the MLS season opener.

That issue was a topic of conversation at the time among fans and media, but Arena himself shrugged off. Then the Galaxy opened the season with three losses in its its first four games, which set off an even longer trend of poor results.

Well, Arena isn’t shrugging that off now.

“We made a big mistake in having players loaned out right until the start of the season,” he said after today’s SuperClasico win over Chivas USA. “Although they played together in the last year they still needed time together. We started with a group of players that hadn’t had preseason together, which was a mistake — I accept the responsibility for that.

“Now we’re building into the second half of the season, they’re much more familiar with each other and we’re playing well.”

Of course, when you’ve unbeaten in four of your last five games, the admission is a little easier to make.

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Tottenham Hotspur Arrives in LA — without Croatian Luka Modric

The Galaxy’s next opponents, England’s Tottenham Hotspur, touched down at LAX this afternoon with what 100 Percent Soccer’s exclusive TMZ-like airport-stationed spy (ahem — actually my buddy Paul from the Red Car Brewery in Torrance) said was about 130 “Pottaham” fans (he’s not big on soccer) awaiting them at the gate ahead of Tuesday’s match in Carson.

The 24-player roster is coming off a 2-0 win over Stevenage Wednesday, where new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was among the goalscorers in their first preseason game.

Spurs traveled without want-away Croatian midfielder Luka Modric — his name was not on the traveling roster released by the Galaxy at the derby with Chivas USA Saturday night, despite what the English paper reported.

Here’s the squad:

Goalkeepers – Jordan Archer, Carlo Cudicini, Brad Friedel, Heurelho Gomes
Defenders -Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Sebastien Bassong, Michael Dawson (captain), William Gallas, Younes Kaboul, Kyle Naughton, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker
MidfieldersGareth Bale, David Bentley, Tom Carroll, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Aaron Lennon, Jake Livermore, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andros Townsend, Rafael Van der Vaart
Forwards – Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane

Manager - Andre Villas-Boas

Note Spurs are without the newly-retired Ledley King after a injury-filled career, while several other players including striker Louis Saha have recently left the club.

Tottenham players will make their first public appearance in Carson today at a training session about 1,000 to 1,500 Spurs fanatics — a lot of these guys I’m guessing – who will have paid $50 to watch and mingle with, um, Hotspur hotties.

Ticket sales for Tuesday’s game — they start at $52.50 (although the Galaxy mentioned $40 tickets in their press release) — appear to be lagging a little judging by the number of free tickets being given away by various sources.

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