Vacationing Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan will return to the club the week of March 24, coach Bruce Arena confirmed Monday — albeit somewhat reluctantly.
Citing burnout, Donovan had requested additional time off and used it to head to Cambodia for a vacation as the MLS season began. The club had said the last week of March was his projected return date, but this is the first time a specific date was mentioned. Since the Galaxy customarily take the Sunday following a game off, Donovan is expected back on Monday, March 25, Arena indicated.
“He’s filed for social security benefits and discovered he’s too young for them at the moment,” quipped Arena.
The announcement came as the Galaxy prepared for their second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Costa Rican team Herediano. The teams played to a 0-0 tie in the first leg last Thursday in the Central American country.
Capacity for Wednesday’s game at 24,500-seat Home Depot Center has been capped at 12,500, Galaxy President Chris Klein said today (it’s a school night for Cal State Dominguez Hlls, so attendace is limited to ensure students have parking available).
Arena also confirmed today that injured reserve central defender Tommy Meyer has returned to training.
I’ll have more on this week’s CCL game and Sunday’s SuperClasico in this week’s column on Tuesday.
Incidentally, it appears empathy for Donovan is wearing thin among the ranks of some fans:
Staff Writer Phil Collin has the game story and quotes from the colorful Chivas USA coach Chelis, who reminds me of former U.S. national team coach Bora Milutinović (incomprehensible in all of the multiple languages he spoke, was the joke).
In just two press conferences the metaphorical and regionally colloquial Chelis has spoken of dandruff, rifles and now a barrel of you know what in press conferences that have baffled even native Spanish speakers attempting to translate.
To wit: “In this team we are all obligated to play soccer, but nobody is obligated to do the impossible. However, this team today got to the edge of the impossible.”
In the battle of quotes that is Chelis verses Schellas, Dallas coach Hyndman had this to say:
“The first two goals, I think, were defensive errors which are going to happen, and the third goal we put everything forward. I think we played well enough to win the game, we just did not play smart enough. ”
The Dallas goal was a comedy of defending with two Chivas USA players left eating dust and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy seeing the effort go between his legs.
Dallas had nothing to laugh about, however. The defensive lapses that led to the first two Chivas USA goals were inexcusable, but to Chivas USA’s credit they punished the Dallas back line mercilessly.
I’m not convinced Chivas USA won the game as much as Dallas lost it, but at least it has set up a more interesting SuperClasico next Sunday that will have a larger audience than Sunday’s game:
Officially, there are 6,801 at the #ChivasUSA game in #Carson. Unofficially, I’d say its closer to half that.
It will be interesting to see just how many people show up in Carson today given that the second game of the season is always a tougher sell than the home opener, especially on a blustery late winter afternoon and with Chivas USA’s well-documented problems.
The contest is not a particularly evocative one for the casual fan either. These are two unimpressive teams.
Chivas USA, which finished at the bottom of the Western Conference last year and was comprehensively outclassed in its home opener 3-0 by the Columbus Crew, hasn’t beaten FC Dallas in its last seven attempts, a stretch dating back to 2009.
The two teams played to three ties last year.
Dallas sneaked by a pretty poor Colorado Rapids team 1-0 in their MLS opener last weekend with a flukey goal, but finished last season with four consecutive losses.
AYSO, founded in Torrance, is raising money for a soccer-themed city of Torrance Rose Float entry. Read more here.
Both starting American goalkeepers for the men’s and women’s national teams have gone down with injuries within 24 hours of each other. Hope Solo will be sidelined up to four months following surgery to repair torn cartilage in her left wrist, U.S. Soccer said Thursday, while today Everton’s Tim Howard went down with a back injury that’s expected to rule him out of the World Cup qualifiers later this month against Costa Rica and Mexico. Former Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan is Howard’s usual backup.
ESPN kicks off its English-language coverage of Liga MX at 5:25 p.m. today on ESPNews when Morelia plays Club America. Also, Cruz Azul faces Jaguares at 2:55 p.m. Saturday on ESPNews, while Puebla and Pumas clash at the same time on the same channel Sunday.
MLS embarks on its second slate of weekend games, although the Galaxy, between midweek CONCACAF Champions League games, are among three teams with the weekend off. Chivas USA is at home at 2 p.m. Sunday against FC Dallas (live on UniMas).
Finally, the Manchester United-Real Madrid UEFA Champions League game earlier this week was the third most watched game ever on Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer. An estimated 520,000 viewers watched the Red Devils get dumped out of the competition in controversial circumstances. The most watched games on Fox Soccer are the 2011 Gold Cup final between the U.S. and Mexico (1.1 million) and the Chelsea-Liverpool clash in 2011 (579,000).
Hello, anyone home? Home Depot Center Saturday a little over 10 minutes before the kickoff of Chivas USA’s MLS season opener.
It’s hard to believe just how big a debacle Chivas USA has become for this market, this league and this sport.
Nevertheless, things appear to be coming to a head if we are to believe what MLS Commissioner Don Garber had to say this weekend.
Chivas USA is down to its last few loyal troops in the stands — the long-suffering likes of the Black Army and Union Ultras are still commendably hanging in there, even if few others are.
Fans who bought club seats at the HDC and get tickets to every event are unwilling to sit through Chivas USA games. You can get the best seats in the house for the game Sunday on Stubhub for as little as just over $10 apiece, so why anyone would want to buy a game ticket that starts at $17 this year directly from the club is beyond me.
And that’s not going to help the club’s sagging attendance at all.