All the goals from Santos’ 5-0 trashing of Queretaro in first leg of Liga MX finals

Javier "Chuletita" Orozco celebrates scoring goal in first leg of Liga MX final. (Photo Credit: Club Santos Twitter)

Javier “Chuletita” Orozco celebrates scoring goal in first leg of Liga MX final. (Photo Credit: Club Santos Twitter)

This is how you become an overnight sensation.

Javier “Chuletita” Orozco scored four goals for Club Santos Laguna Thursday night in the first leg of the Liga MX finals. Orozco, who had bagged a hat-trick by halftime, led los guerreros past Queretaro 5-0 at home. Here are all of the game’s goals and highlights.

Orozco’s first goal came five minutes into the final…

His second came in the 26th minute…

The hat-trick came in the 33rd minute..

Queretaro clearly didn’t get the message at halftime to cover this guy…

“El Pulpo” Diego Gonzalez gave Orozco a break and scored the fifth goal…

You can watch all the highlights, courtesy of Azteca America, here…

There is still another game to be played, Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Queretaro’s home stadium. But is this one over or can Queretaro come back?

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Why Ronaldinho may not play in Queretaro’s Liga MX finals against Santos

Queretaro's Ronaldinho warms up on the sidelines during a Mexican soccer league semi-final match against Pachuca in Queretaro, Sunday, May 24, 2015 (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Queretaro’s Ronaldinho warms up on the sidelines during a Mexican soccer league semi-final match against Pachuca in Queretaro, Sunday, May 24, 2015 (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Ronaldinho is a football icon. He’s appeared in Nike commercials, graced the cover of FIFA video games, won the World Cup and has been named FIFA Player of the Year twice.

But that means nada to Queretaro head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich.

Ronaldinho, 35, has been playing for Querataro the past two seasons. Vucetich joined the club midway through this season and lead Los Gallos Blancos to their first Liga MX finals in club history. The former Barcelona man should be a hero in the small state for leading the team to such heights, but he is not.

Ronaldinho, easily the most recognizable name in Mexico’s finals this wek, may not even play Thursday in the first leg of the series against Santos Laguna (6:30 p.m., Azteca America).

That’s because Ronaldinho’s tumultuous time in Mexico hit a boiling point last week during the first leg of the semifinals. After being subbed out just before halftime, Ronaldinho left the stadium before the game was over. He apologized to the club and its fans the next day.

Vucetich called the switch a “tactical” move. “We couldn’t give anything away [down 2-0]. The fact they didn’t score (another goal) allows us to be alive in the series.”

Vucetich, who is in his seventh Liga MX finals, was right.

With Ronaldinho on the bench, Queretaro went on to win the second leg 2-0  to advance to the finals. The series-winning goal was scored by former Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein’s in the second half.

Nicknamed King Midas for taking struggling clubs and turning them into champions, leading Queretaro to the finals could be Vucetich’s best job as a coach to date.

Reports in Mexico indicate Ronaldinho’s time with Queretaro is over and that player and club have agreed to go their separate ways at the end of the season. He did travel with to Torreon, but most soccer pundits south of the border find it unlikely that the two-time player of the year starts tonight’s game.

However the guessing continues: Will he start on the bench or on field?

Throw-Ins About 2015 Clausura Liga MX Final:

– The final features the sixth seed against the eight seed in la liguilla. Santos was the eight seed; Queretaro the sixth.

– Other notable players (not named Ronaldinho) in the finals: Bornstein, Ricardo Osorio and Sinha for Queretaro; Goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin, Carlos Isquierdoz and Javier Orozco for Santos.

– The coaches: Santos’ Pedro Caixinha of Portugal is in his first final with Santos after reaching losing in the semifinals three times; Vucetich, a former head coach of Mexico’s national team, is in his seventh final and has only lost once before, to Santos in 2012.

– If you don’t speak Spanish but want to keep up with the final, follow Santos’ English-language twitter account @ClubSantosEn, which is managed by an American living in Mexico.

– Second leg of finals is Sunday in Queretaro at 6:30 p.m. on Azteca America.

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10 Front Pages about FIFA corruption scandal from around the world

FIFA’s corruption probe is top news all around the world, with some calling it the biggest sports scandal ever.

To give you a sense of what people are saying, here are the covers for 10 newspapers from around the world, including one very dramatic illustration from Uruguay’s El Observador.

England, The Independet — “The Shame Game”:
Mexico, La Prensa — “Dirty Game”:
France, Liberation — “FIFA Nostra”
Honduras, El Diez — “FIFA’s wake up call”
U.S. The Washington Post — “The Beautiful Dirty Game”
Austria, Kleine Zeitung — “The corrupt game”
Italy, La Gazzetta dello Sport — “The Raid”
Brazil, Lance — “Goal for FBI”
Venezuela, Lider — “Dirty Game”
Uruguay, El Observador — “Theft in football”

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MLS TV Weekend Video Preview: Faltering LA Galaxy (3-4-5) host hot Houston Dynamo (4-4-4) at 7:30 tonight on Univision Deportes


The Galaxy, winless in five games, meet a Dynamo team seeking their third straight win on a channel many English-speaking MLS fans don’t subscribe to.

And it will likely be a lightly attended game, too, given that LA traditionally clears out for the holiday weekend (maybe they should have held the game in Vegas since that’s where a good many Angelenos will) and tickets were being offered for 50 percent off this week.

Robbie Keane, who should return up front for the Galaxy tonight, has warned the incoming Steven Gerrard that he should not expect to come to Southern California with the attitude he is on summer vacation.

A game preview is here.

Finally, despite the Galaxy’s recent form there will be fireworks — literally — in the form of a post-gme fireworks display.

As for me I’m heading out of the office for a week, so expect light blogging here until I return.

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LA Galaxy to host June 17 U.S. Open Cup game at Stubhub Center in Carson


Given the Galaxy’s recent form, their fourth round U.S. Open Cup draw announced this afternoon by U.S. Soccer promises either a way to help right the listing ship or foreshadows the possibility of a huge upset. MLS teams enter at this stage of the knockout competition.

The defending MLS Cup champions will play the winner of Wednesday’s third round clash between Irvine-based amateur outfit PSA Elite of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association and the Ventura County Fusion of the PDL.

The Fusion beat the LA Galaxy 2-1 at StubHub Center last night to advance giving the senior side a chance for revenge.

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Mia Hamm, USWNT stars put on soccer clinic for girls in East Los Angeles

hamm1Magic Mia: Fashionably dressed retired soccer star Mia Hamm, a Manhattan Beach resident, shows kids she still has some moves Wednesday in East Los Angeles (Photos courtesy Nike).

Dozens of girls were joined by former U.S. striker Mia Hamm and World Cup-bound USWNT stars Christen Press and Amy Rodriguez for a soccer clinic Wednesday in East Los Angeles.

Funded by a grant from Nike and the Mia Hamm Foundation, more than 250 girls from East LA will particpate in a year-long soccer program.

Dubbed Soccer for Success, the program began in 2009 and more than 55,000 kids have participated in the free after-school event.

From the press release:

The Brotherhood Crusade, an organization whose principal mission is to raise funds and resources from within the community and distributes those funds directly back into the community, will operate the program at the Weingart YMCA in East LA.

The event is also part of “She Believes in Her Community,” a week-long celebration where the U.S. Women’s National Team players are giving back to their local communities with special events focuses on young kids. Conceived and developed by the players, the #SheBelieves campaign is a message to young girls that they can accomplish all their goals and dreams.

pressPress Pointers: USWNT striker Christen Press if Palos Verdes Estates chats with girls Wednesday during the soccer clinic.

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Weekly Soccer Column: LAFC hopes to create not just a club, but community through urban renewal

lafcfan2Football fan: LAFC owner Henry Nguyen spoke passionately earlier this week about using the expansion MLS club to help improve the community surrounding Exposition Park.

LAFC’s ambitious plans for its proposed $250 million stadium that will open in 2018 at Exposition Park extend off the site and into the surrounding economically depressed neighborhoods.

“Its a natural next step in the evolution and development and revitalization of the downntown corridor here,” said co-owner Henry Nguyen. “The Figueroa corridor is something that’s been talked about for decades and now we have an opportunity to be one of the southern gateways or landmarks of this corridor.

“No single entity including us can transform a neighborhood,” he added. “It takes a really collaborative effort. I feel like all the elements are here. You can’t avoid an area just because there’s problems. You really have to address it head on. … As many challenges there are to a site like this we can bring some solutions.”

Combined with a proposed soccer museum as part of 100,000-square-feet of redevelopment that will includes retail and offices, Nguyen hopes the stadium will become a tourist attraction. Go see the Space Shuttle next door at the California Science Center, then check out the soccer facility will become the message it seems.

“We have over seven million visitors to this great city every year and we hope this is one of the great landmarks they are going to want to see,” Nguyen said. “This is going to be an intimidating, tight, urban soundbox stadium.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber hopes that LAFC will do for south Los Angeles what the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers did for their neighborhoods.

“We’ve seen what Seattle has been able to do to drive development in and around that building,” he said. “As the commissioner of a major sports league I believe stadiums drive development, drive opportunity and drive hope.”

And drive catchphrases apparently.

It all sounds good, but I suggest in this week’s column that a huge challenge lies ahead for LAFC in part because of the relatively insular campus they sit on that makes the area different from downtown Seattle or Portland (in part because it is not in a downtown, for instance).

For more, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

LAFCoutLAFC Fans: Will the LAFC crowd mirror the demographics of the neighborhood it calls home?

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Improbable Liga MX playoffs reaches semifinals

Pachuca's German Cano heads the ball alongside America's Rubens Sambueza at a Mexican soccer league match in Mexico City, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Pachuca’s German Cano heads the ball alongside America’s Rubens Sambueza at a Mexican soccer league match in Mexico City, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Improbable is a good word to use to describe what happened in Mexico’s Liga MX this past weekend in the first round round of the playoffs, a.k.a, la liguilla.

The fact that no club really took a commanding hold of the league during the regular season– the top 12 teams were separated in the standings by only five points— should have been an indicator that things could get crazy in the playoffs. But no one could have anticipated a Liga MX semifinals without any the top four seeds in the playoffs. None. No Tigres, no Club America, no Veracruz and no Atlas.

Improbable is not bad, though.

I’m certainly not complaining about being witness to some amazing soccer, and one supporters group’s very angry reaction. Passion, which can not be manufactured with clever marketing, was on clear display during the first round of “la liguilla” and I hope it continues to be present in the semifinals.

No. 5 Chivas vs. No. 8 Santos: The safe bet is to pick Chivas to move on to the finals, but don’t overlook Santos– and nothing has been safe, so far, anyway. Santos is 5-1-3, including playoffs, since losing to Club America on March 14. Before Sunday’s 4-1 win over Atlas, Chivas had just one win in its previous seven contests. The first leg of the series is Thursday at Santos’ TSM Corona stadium Thursday at 8 p.m.

No. 6 Chiapas vs. No. 7 Pachuca: While Chiapas’ is not a household brand in the U.S., their roster features a few familiar names– most notably, Brazil’s Ronadinho. Former Vancouver forward Camilo Sanvezzo and ex Chivas USA defender Johnny Bornstein (Los Alamitos H.S.) are also part of the club. Chiapas benefited from a bit of Roanldinho magic, and a goalkeeping error, to beat Veracruz and advance to the semifinals. They’ve only lost once in their last nine games. Pachuca is no stranger to this stage of the tournament, they’re one of the winningest clubs in Mexico of the last two decades, but not many gave them a chance after receiving a seventh seed. They advanced to the semifinals by beating America with an aggregate score of 7-5. The first leg of the semifinals is Thursday at 6 p.m. at Pachuca’s Estadio Miguel Hidalgo.

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Three things you didn’t know about the new LAFC franchise and its MLS stadium proposal


You may not find these little nuggets in most news stories today about LAFC unveiling its stadium plans, but it’s offhand comments that often provide the most interesting factoids you might never have considered:

*The stadium site already has a nickname, according to owner Henry Nguyen, who, incidentally knows which English stadiums contain the Kop and Stretford End (do you?).

“The property is shaped like a boot and we’re probably going to end up calling it the boot,” he said. Sounds better than the cleat to me.

*For really big games, expect LAFC to use the next door LA Memorial Coliseum.

“I do expect our Classicos (with the Galaxy) to one day draw 80,000-90,000 people and we can go right next door,” he said.

*LAFC is not yet the club’s official name and is kind of sounding a tad repetitive in MLS these days, but given that this is Tinseltown don’t be surprised if that does indeed become the official club brand.

“Working titles tend to stick,” Nguyen said.

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