Thursday Kicks: Galaxy Open house, EPL Preview & more

It’s been a busy day for soccer news. Here’s what else has fallen through the cracks lately:

  • openhouse2014The Galaxy’s open house from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday is all about selling fans a season ticket, but there’s lots of cool, free stuff going on, too, including a town hall meeting with Galaxy exec Chris Klein and playmaker Landon Donovan, on field coaching clinics and stadium tours. Full details here.
  • Former AEG president Tim Leiweke, now trying to resurrect Toronto, has returned to his old stomping grounds and scooped up Galaxy Academy U-14 coach Greg Vanney as assistant general manager and Academy defender, replacing former Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen in that post.
  • U.S. Soccer is asking fans to vote on the best male and female players for the  all-time U.S. teams. Details here.
  • There’s some big games in the EPL this weekend with the pick of them seeing league leaders Arsenal visiting Manchester City (4 a.m. NBCSN). A complete preview is here.
  • UniMás’ broadcast of MLS Cup outdrew ESPN by 14 percent, drawing 514,000 total viewers.
  • College seniors with local ties invited to the annual MLS Combine as announced today are UCLA’s Victor Chavez from Fontana and his Bruin teammate midfielder Victor Munoz, who is from Spain.
  • Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra is a guest at 12:30 p.m. Friday on Fox Soccer Daily (Fox Sports 1). He will break down the U.S. World Cup draw with former U.S. forwards Brian McBride and Cobi Jones.
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Chivas USA improve roster by picking up midfielder Rosales from Seattle

maurorosalesSeattle’s Mauro Rosales has joined perennial MLS strugglers Chivas USA (AP Photo).

With the Seattle Sounders dumping Argentine Mauro Rosales and his $225,000 salary, Chivas USA swooped in to immediately upgrade their roster ahead of Thursday’s MLS Re-Entry Draft with the kind of exciting, attacking player needed to signal the seriousness of their ambitions on and off the field.

In exchange for Rosales, Chivas USA gave the Sounders the MLS rights to forward Tristan Bowen and its No. 2 allocation ranking for Seattle’s No. 13 allocation ranking. Bowen earned $156,363.63 last season.

“Chivas is the team that has trusted me to help with what I’ve done in my last club, Seattle,” Rosales said. “Obviously I’m grateful for that confidence, and what the team is giving and betting on for next season.”

Here’s more from the Sounders’ press release on the importance of Rosales to the club:

Rosales, 32, co-leads Sounders FC with 34 career MLS assists and holds the club record with 17 game-winning assists across all competitions. Rosales ranks second in MLS with 34 assists since 2011, and ranks fifth in league history with an average of 0.50 assists per 90 minutes (minimum of 20 assists).

Bowen, a former Galaxy player from Van Nuys, scored two goals for Chivas USA last season.

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Galaxy goalkeeping inconsistency costs coach Ian Feuer his job, former LA goalkeeper Reis to take his place

mattreisThe day after former Galaxy goalkeeper Matt Reis announced his retirement from the New England Revolution he was today named coach in LA, replacing Ian Feuer who had held the post for the past six years.

After the Galaxy’s inconsistency between the posts this year  — EPL import Carlo Cudicini literally played his way out of a starting job after several less than impressive performances, to put it kindly — the move raises suspicions Feur paid the price for the club’s defensive woes.

A Galaxy spokesman merely said today that Feuer was “not retained.”

The year 2013 was a rough one for Reis ,too,  who not only struggled with injuries at the tail end of a lengthy career, but had to deal with the trauma of a close relative being seriously hurt in the Boston Marathon bombing.

But the UCLA product and his wife, who grew up in Torrance, will now be able to move closer to John Odom, while furthering his professional career at the club he spent four years at between 1998 and 2002.

From the Galaxy press release:

A native of Mission Viejo, Calif., Reis played his college soccer at UCLA, helping the Bruins win the 1997 NCAA Championship before being selected by the Galaxy in the third round (26th overall) of the 1998 MLS College Draft. He would spend the first five seasons of his professional career with the Galaxy, making 50 appearances in all competitions for the club, while helping them win the 2000 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2002 MLS Cup.

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Weekly Soccer Column: Kill the World Cup whining about the Group of Death(s) & other chatter

Read it here.

Meanwhile, English newspaper The Guardian is reporting that Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o will head to the Galaxy for next season, snubbing former AEG president Tim Leiweke who wanted him to land in Toronto, although another top name is allegedly not heading to Southern California despite media reports.

Still, the Galaxy appear to be clearing salary cap space for some big off-season signing.

Out the door Monday went the likes of the retiring Pablo Mastroeni, who has unsurprisingly called it quits on a 16-year MLS career that saw him make just a dozen bit part appearances for the Galaxy after leaving the Colorado Rapids, as well as starting defender/midfielder Sean Franklin, mid-season Chivas USA pickup Laurent Courtois and sparingly used veteran Colin Clark.

Franklin, who made $248,333 last season, is one of several big names in Thursday’s annual re-entry draft, although it’s unclear if he really is departing the franchise or the Galaxy simply want to re-work his salary. The Galaxy have yet to respond to my calls seeking more information:

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World Cup Draw Reaction and analysis

2014 World Cup draw: Live updates and analysis

On Friday at 11 a.m., the draws for the 2014 World Cup will be announced. Essentially, what will happen is this: From each of the four pots, one team will be chosen and placed into a group. This will be repeated until the bracket has been filled. Think of it as Selection Sunday for soccer, but live. And you can keep track of what's happening right here. The big question is where the United States will end up, and who …

View “2014 World Cup draw: Live updates and analysis” on Spundge

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Nelson Mandela: Friend of soccer who used the power of sport to change a nation

mandelacupIt seems somehow apt that on the eve of the 2014 World Cup draw that the man who did much to bring the preceding one to his homeland has died at the age of 95.

Mandela, as was pointed out in this eloquent column, understood the positive influence of sport on wider society:

“Sport,” he said, “has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”

Much, it should be said, as Mandela did himself.

RIP, Madiba.

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Ex-LA Galaxy Players Magee and Ricketts Win MLS Awards underscoring importance of their loss to club

mageeapGalaxy guy: Mike Magee, named MLS MVL today, in his days with the LA Galaxy (AP Photo).

With former Galaxy striker Mike Magee winning the MLS MVP award today and former Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts being named the league’s best in his position, the twin announcements beg the question: how much did the absence of these two players affect the team’s chances of winning a third MLS Cup?

Pretty significant you have to say.

The Galaxy had problems not only finding the back of the net, but penetrating opposing back lines period after Magee left for the Chicago Fire last season in the trade that brought Robbie Rogers to the Galaxy.

Magee scored a half dozen goals for the Galaxy before the trade and still ended up as the team’s third highest scorer. He added another 15 with the Fire to end the year with 21 goals, triple his previous career high.

Meanwhile, the absence of the Galaxy’s goal tight defense this season was in large measure attributed to a lack of consistency between the posts since Donovan Ricketts’ 2011 departure to Montreal. Replacement Carlo Cudicini was a failure despite sterling EPL credentials and things were only belatedly shored up by the late-season arrival of Panamanian Jame Penedo.

Now granted the Galaxy won consecutive MLS Cups without Ricketts between the posts, but you could argue that was in spite of not having an outstanding goalkeeper rather than having one and in 2013 things caught up with the Galaxy not only with its loose defense, but because of the loss of Magee up front.

So, does the fact they both won MLS awards grate on Galaxy fans?



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