Thursday Kicks: Galaxy’s Donovan, Gonzalez named to U.S. WCQ squad as expected & more

*U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann today named a 23-man roster for the upcoming pair of World Cup qualifiers, which not surprisingly includes an on fire Landon Donovan who on Wednesday pledged his immediate future to MLS and the Galaxy.

Notable: It’s the first call-up for Donovan since June 2012 and he’s missed the last dozen U.S. games.

A total of 11 players were part of the Gold Cup winning squad, while eight players on the U.S. roster will receive a one-game suspension if they cautioned in the next game: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones.

*Check out the UEFA Champions League draw.

*You think Galaxy coach Bruce Arena likes known quantities around him at every level of the Organization? The Academy staff the club announced today will feature seven former MLS players, including four former Galaxy players:

LA Galaxy Academy U-18 Head Coach Ante Razov

LA Galaxy Academy U-16 Head Coach Mike Muñoz

LA Galaxy Academy U-16 (B) Head Coach Andrew Boyens

LA Galaxy Academy U-14 Head Coach Greg Vanney

LA Galaxy Academy U-14 (B) Head Coach Ted Eck

LA Galaxy Academy U-12 North Head Coach Alex Yi

LA Galaxy Academy U-12 South Head Coach Braeden Cloutier

LA Galaxy Academy Technical Coach Mauricio Cienfuegos

LA Galaxy Academy Goalkeeper Coach: Ruben Messina

LA Galaxy Academy Coordinator: Billy Bizzaro

LA Galaxy Academy Head Athletic Trainer: Pablo Chung

LA Galaxy Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jonathan Brooks


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Wednesday Kicks: Cheap Galaxy tickets, Chivas USA TV deal, WCQ call-ups

*To mark Landon Donovan re-upping his MLS contract today, the Galaxy are offering fans $10 grass berm tickets for Saturday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes (well, that and the fact LA clears out of a long holiday weekend, so the club has to figure out a way to goose attendance). Call 877-3GALAXY (342-5299).

*Irish striker Robbie Keane and Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo received call-ups from their respective nations today for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, meaning the pair will miss the Galaxy’s Sept. 7 contest at home against the Colorado Rapids. The two will leave after Saturday’s game, which not so coincidentally is Robbie Keane bobblehead night. Presumably they will rejoin the club in time for the Sept. 14 road game against D.C. United.

*Chivas USA (5-14-6) have belatedly found TV stations willing to televise seven of their remaining, yet totally meaningless games. Spanish-language KHY-TV (Channel 22) and English-language KDOC-TV (Channel 56) have stepped up.

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Chivas USA Sign Young Peruvian Midfielder

chivasusaCarlo Chueca, 20, will join Chivas USA from Belgian club Mons, where he failed to crack the starting lineup, although he did appear for that team’s reserves over the last two seasons, the Goats said in a news release today.

Here’s how Chivas USA described Chueca in the press release:

During his stint in European soccer, the 20-year-old  left-footed attacker stood out with his high performance on the attacking end and his possession skills. Chueca is also known for his talents on set pieces, as he demonstrates a powerful and accurate strike. In addition, Chivas’ new signing has the ability to distribute the ball from long distances and change the run of play across the field.

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Weekly Soccer Column: Donovan and Peneda are LA Galaxy Gold**


Will Landon Donovan stay in MLS or go?

What does the future hold for deposed Galaxy starting goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini?

And are the Galaxy poised yet again too peak at exactly the right time of the MLS season?

All that and more in this week’s column.

*As if on cue, Sports Illustrated is reporting this morning we now have the answers to those questions and the Galaxy are reportedly set to announce a new contract for Donovan on Wednesday.

That’s a little sooner than I anticipated, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a relatively short-term deal through next year’s World Cup that still allows Donovan to keep his post-tournament options open.

What do you think of the new Donovan deal and its implications for the national team?

**The Galaxy confirmed this morning that the club will “make a major announcement regarding the future of forward Landon Donovan” at a noon Wednesday press conference.



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“Save of Season” Preserves Galaxy win over Whitecaps

But don’t take my word for it.

Here’s how goal scorer Landon Donovan saw the remarkable save from Jaimie Penedo to allow his early goal to stand for the 1-0 victory Saturday evening over the Vancouver Whitecaps:

“The save could potentially be save of the year.” Donovan said. “Other than that he was really solid. He came off his line, he was aggressive, he made solid saves when he needed to, he came and got the ball off crosses when he needed to. You can’t ask more of a goalie in a game like this, and I thought he was excellent.”

Especially in contrast to predecessor Carlo Cudicini, who didn’t even make the trip north, but who’s less than desirable play before Penedo’s arrival earned him an oblique reference from coach Bruce Arena:

“Great save! What more can you say? We’ve not had a lot of these opportunities this year where we can close out a game but we got it done tonight.”

Wonder how many more times we’re going to read a column like this about Landon Donovan before season’s end?

And with nine games left, the win pulled the Galaxy into second place in the Western Conference standings.

Next: verses the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday in Carson.

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Weekend Television Preview: EPL, MLS

The Galaxy will face the Vancouver Whitecaps at 6 p.m. Saturday at sold-out B.C. Place  live on Time Warner Cable with the Canadian team acutely aware of their opponents’ propensity for scoring lots of goals — and giving up plenty, too.

Chivas USA plays joint Eastern Conference leaders Red Bull New York at 2 p.m. Sunday at StubHub Center (live on Unimas), but the MLS game of the weekend is undoubtedly the Pacific Northwest derby between Portland and the Sounders (live at 7 p.m. on ESPN2) with a capacity 67,000-plus crowd on hand in Seattle for Clint Dempsey’s home debut against their regional rivals.

A full run-down of the weekend’s EPL action on NBC is here. The pick of the games though is Monday when Manchester United faces Chelsea at noon live on NBCSN

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MLS Western Conference playoff race tightens with Dallas win over Chivas USA

It’s fair to say the come from behind Dallas win over Chivas USA in Carson Wednesday may have more significance for Galaxy fans than fans of the Goats at this stage of the season. With the win Dallas pulled within a point of the Galaxy in the incredibly tight division.

It was typical Chivas USA, getting a goal in front on a storybook restart to an MLS career by the re-signed Brian de la Fuente and then caving in to Dallas pressure with an evaporating defense that had goalkeeper Dan Kennedy looking appalled (and rightfully so).

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Is Chivas USA’s game in Carson tonight the most irrelevant of the year in MLS?

chivasusaIt must be close.

The game between the two worst clubs in the Western Conference has all the makings of stinker.

Dallas haven’t won in 11 games and have failed to beat Chivas USA on the last five occasions the teams have met.

Chivas USA, however, have nothing to crow about either.

The only teams Chivas USA have managed to beat since March 30 are hapless Toronto, which has as many victories — four — on the season as the Goats, and minor league LA Blues.

So the club is reduced to promoting this game by issuing a press release that observes Chivas USA “will try to extend their current solid run at home, as they have come away with points in three consecutive games at the StubHub Center under Head Coach Jose Luis Real.”

Yes, fans you could be treated to a scoreless draw and Chivas USA will consider that an extension of its “solid” home form of late.

Oh boy. Jorge Vergara interviews are more exciting than that.

Your alternative: live coverage of Chicago Fire (9-10-4, 31 points) vs. Sporting Kansas City (11-8-6, 39 points), which kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on NBCSN.

Mercifully, Chivas USA still doesn’t have a local TV contract.

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