Friday Kicks: California Clasico & more

*I don’t mean to degrade the California Clasico set for the Bay Area Saturday as the struggling San Jose Earthquakes host the similarly suddenly struggling Galaxy at Stanford Stadium, but when a San Francisco-based newspaper needs the validation of an English newspaper to put a state rivalry in context, my guess it is not the “most intense rivalry in American soccer.” (These media types have apparently not been to Seattle or Portland of late).

*Also, this newly-signed ‘Quake isn’t available for the contest, but could be for the Chivas USA game next month against San Jose.

*Wondering what’s going on these days with the Palos Verdes Peninsula’s oft-injured John Thorrington at struggling D.C. United? You guessed it.

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy’s Donovan named to Gold Cup roster & more

*As expected, Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan was named to the 23-player U.S. Gold Cup roster today and will link up with the squad Monday ahead of the July 5 game in San Diego against Guatemala. That means Donovan will miss at least three Galaxy games while he tries to impress with the U.S. “B” squad in an effort to win back his spot on the U.S. starting XI:

“When Landon came back in the end of March after the long break, he needed time to get back in a rhythm, get back in shape and work on his game again,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. I think now the process is on a good roll. He’s getting sharper every game and every week. We’ve watched his games and believe now is a good time to get him back into the National Team and give him the opportunity to prove his point. He knows that the group that played the World Cup Qualifiers is ahead of the curve and have a very strong position right now, and that he’s been observed by us and has to rebuild his case. We have all respect for what he has done in the past, but sports are about the present and about the future, and that’s what we are building on. We are really happy to have him back in the group, and he has the opportunity now to show where he’s at.”

*One player not on the roster who probably should be is former Galaxy striker Mike Magee, the leading MLS goalscorer who can’t stop popping balls in the back of the net now he’s with the Chicago Fire. He now has seven goals in seven Fire games.

*Galaxy midfielder Robbie Riogers, who grew up in Rolling Hills Estates, had this reaction to two landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday regarding marriage equality.

*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal and the U.S. Under-20 team were bounced out of the Under-20 World Cup today, losing 4-1 to previously winless Ghana.

*Meanwhile, Chivas USA is also facing the loss of a key player for an extended period of time.

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Weekly Soccer Column: StuporClasico, U-20 World Cup & more

0624_SPO_LDN-L-CHIVAS-GALAXY-MBBowled over? Only hapless Chivas USA  in the latest installment Sunday of the SuperClasico it seems (Photo by Staff Photographer Michael Owen Baker).

Read the column here.

Rumor central update: A Spanish sports daily claims relegated La Liga team Mallorca has publicly acknowledged and rejected a Galaxy offer for a certain Mexican star.

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Less than SuperClasico Preview: LA Galaxy at Chivas USA tonight in Carson

I don’t think I can recall a less anticipated SuperClasico than the one scheduled for 8 o’clock tonight in Carson, for reasons MLS beat writer Phil Collin recounts in today’s game preview.

Of course, this is more than two teams going through an increasingly long poor patch of form.

The hosts of today’s game are more a car wreck than a soccer team, as Phil Collin observes in a lengthy feature piece today that sums up what must be a candidate for one of the most poorly run American sports organizations of all time.

In one respect, the article lets MLS off easy when they clearly must shoulder a great deal of the blame for allowing this debacle to go on as long as it has, exhibiting zero leadership and allowing the league and sport to become a laughing stock in one of the nation’s largest soccer markets. It is, frankly, little short of disgraceful.

Incidentally, I thought this rather clueless article from MLS’ propoganda arm summed up Chivas USA almost insurmountable issues.

Hire Steve Sampson? Make a signing that will raise eyebrows? Get their own stadium? My, my, those are novel ideas.

Given that Chivas USA are in a class by themselves when it comes weird moves (Eric Avila, a player not even a regular in MLS before he signed for Chivas USA is Liga MX material with CD Guadalajara, really?) more are really not needed (just ask Juan Agudelo).

And getting owner Jorge Vergara to actually invest in the future of a clearly flailing and failing franchise is not only unlikely to occur, but is far too late at this stage to rescue a team with no identity and few fans anyway.

Chivas USA are on borrowed time, even while the powers that be don’t seem to accept or grasp that simple concept.

And on that note, enjoy the game.





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Friday Kicks: LA Galaxy players lead U.S. U-20 at World Cup & more

oscarjoseGalaxy players Oscar Sorto of Los Angeles and Jose Villarreal of Inglewood are among the Southern California contingent on the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster that opens today (Photo courtesy LA Galaxy/German Alegria).

More on the opening match against World Cup favorites Spain (who have taken an early 1-0 lead) currently under way on ESPN 2 is here.

In other soccer news:

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Video Highlights: Van Nuys’ Tristan Bowen scores for Chivas USA, Neymar’s wonder move, no LA Galaxy action worth showing

Having sat through the Galaxy’s largely flat and uninteresting 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers Wednesday in Carson it’s perhaps best, if you must know more, to read the account by staff writer Phil Collin and skip the video lowlights.

Not so coincidentally no one had much interesting to say afterward either, coach Bruce Arena conducting a post-game press conference all of two minutes long.

I asked him what his team had discussed in the locker room after the game about their (largely invisible) offense. He said they hadn’t really talked about it. I asked him to elaborate and he said he couldn’t because, well, they hadn’t talked about it.

Seemed reasonable based on the game. One of those games when you look forward more to the beer afterward than a substantive post-game discussion, frankly, or find more than a degree of empathy with this sort of lawsuit (why are soccer fans forced to subsidize the Dodgers and Lakers anyway)?

Let’s hope Passback Pete hides that game video from the kids in the Academy. And not much of an ad for the upcoming less than SuperClasico lately against host Chivas USA at the rather late hour of 8 p.m. on Sunday. Will it be a stinker of a game…?

Speaking of Chivas USA, they lost again so I’m sure most of us from Southern California don’t want to see that, even you hardy, but dwindling number of Goats fans out there. Van Nuys’ Tristan Bowen had a great opener against the Whitecaps in Vancouver though that sadly will become largely a footnote in the loss. Cool goal though by the former Galaxy forward:

And, while we’re on the subject of a play worth seeing again, check out one Neymar today for Brazil against Mexico in the Confederations Cup:

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Wednesday Video Kicks: USMNT highlights, LA Galaxy preview & more

A busy day for Southern California soccer fans no matter what team or nation you support.

So let’s dig in starting with the highlights of the U.S. men’s win over Honduras:

It wasn’t a vintage performance by the U.S. men Tuesday night, but it was enough to see off Honduras, solidify the American position atop the group and all but qualify for the World Cup. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann may have said it best in this game story from sister newspaper The Salt Lake City Tribune: “The big picture is that we are growing,” he said. Quite.


The faltering Galaxy meet the surging Portland Timbers as StubHub Center makes its official game debut tonight and the visitors are eying first place in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, last place Chivas USA have scuttled all the way to Canada for its first game under yet another new coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps promising to #kicksomechivas tonight. The Vancouver perspective is here.


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