As for the FA Cup, at 4:30 a.m. Saturday there’s Arsenal-Everton on Fox Sports 1, while at 9 a.m. Sunday the Manchester City-Wigan Athletic clash is on Fox Sports 2.
A rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinal that saw Real Salt Lake eliminate the Galaxy from the playoffs gets the 2014 MLS season under way Saturday in Southern California (live at 7:30 p.m. on Time Warner Cable Sports). For full details on the game and 2014 MLS season, check out the following links:
- Los Angeles News Group MLS beat reporter Phil Collin has the season and game preview.
- Our sister newspaper, The Salt Lake City Tribune, previews the game from the perspective of Real Salt Lake.
- For more, check out the match-up by the numbers.
- Orange County’s Luis Gil, an increasingly influential presence in midfield for RSL, is a player to watch in Saturday’s game and the season.
- Earlier in the week, I took a look at five MLS teams to keep an eye on as the season begins.
- Finally, Galaxy hotshot Robbie Keane has signed a new contract with the club.
- And late Friday, the Galaxy signed veteran MLS defender Dan Gargan, 31, who made more than 130 appearances over eight seasons with Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids and the San Jose Earthquakes.
Good thing Greg Cochrane wasn’t in the above video.
The 2013 SuperDraft pick was shipped to the Chicago Fire after making a dozen MLS appearances last year. In return, the Galaxy got a conditional draft pick.
Given that coach Bruce Arena isn’t a huge fan of the draft the move suggests the Galaxy simply wanted to get a young defender they didn’t rate highly off the roster and payroll.
Incidentally, the video did feature Galaxy stars Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan; LA Galaxy II player Elijiah Martin; retired Galaxy greats Cobi Jones and Mauricio Cienfuegos; Academy player Ryan Lane; fans Aly and Elise Lane; Angel City Brigade member Ethan Ruiz; LA Riot Squad representative Andrew Alesana; and longtime Galaxians stalwart Carlissa Perdomo.
And about that jersey design, from the Galaxy press release:
The new kit features an updated sash that showcases the energy and nonstop motion of LA. The sash is composed of 11 individual stripes, which symbolize the Starting XI players and completes the traditional sash. The kit’s neck tape displays the traditional LA quasar, also featured in the lenticular crest. “This Is LA”, a supporter-inspired team slogan, appears on the jock tag.
Could under the radar Chivas USA quietly put together a surprising final season before MLS sells the club off to the highest bidder with a veteran league executive joining a seasoned MLS coach and the club gradually getting rid of the influx of sub-par players seen in recent seasons with seldom-used young Peruvian midfielder Carlo Chueca being shown the door today.
Meanwhile, Chivas USA drew 0-0 with the Colorado Rapids Wednesday at the Desert Diamond Cup:
Chivas USA is embarking on one final MLS season before dissolving even as new coach Wilmer Cabrera, above, has the team firmly set on course for a solid pre-season.
What will it take for Chivas USA’s successor to win over fans? Read today’s column here.
*Chivas USA today finally confirmed the signing today of English forward Luke Moore, a player that judging by the above video is not accorded universal respect from some fans of his previous clubs, to put it mildly.
Chivas USA rescued the former West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City forward from exile in Turkey with Sanica Boru Elazığspor, where his career had stalled apparently much like his finishing touch in front of goal.
Not surprisingly, Chivas USA sees Moore’s signing in a somewhat different light:
“Moore is a very talented player who has proven his scoring ability at the international level by playing in one of the biggest leagues in the world,” said Chivas USA coach Wilmer Cabrera. “He’s going to be a very important addition to our team in terms of competition, depth, and possibilities up front to create scoring opportunities and goals.”
*Robbie Keane has been rehabbing his Achilles since offseason surgery, but showed he’s not far off the pace anyway with this prescient strike in the Galaxy’s comfortable 3-0 win over the Galaxy II Saturday in Carson:
Said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena:
“Robbie Keane needs to work hard in the next couple of weeks to be ready and he is getting there. He did a good job tonight. The first goal was unbelievable. I don’t know how he quite saw that, it was ridiculous. That’s why we are paying him the big bucks.”
*Don’t look now, but the downtrodden Goats are unbeaten in preseason and capable of a gutsy three-goal spurt while trailing by two in the kind of come from behind win that instills belief, even in preseason:
*Finally, former Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley and a couple of other players you may have heard from were inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame as the 2014 inductees:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 21, 2014
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 21, 2014
*The Galaxy also signed Mexican native Raul Mendiola, 19, whose hometown is listed as Torrance on the Galaxy website. More on both players here.
*Chivas USA have reportedly come to terms with English striker Luke Moore. At age 28 he’s in the prime of his career; problem is, that career has stalled as his goals have dried up.
*Meanwhile, UCLA is touting its men’s recruiting class as the nation’s best for the second year in a row.
And that, in a nutshell, is what MLS announced today and Commissioner Don Garber expanded on in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.
The Chivas USA experiment is mercifully over and few local soccer fans will weep at the club’s demise.
The search for local owners is on, but Garber said neither David Beckham nor Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, who recently bought land in Inglewood for a rumored NFL stadium, will be involved.
MLS beat reporter Phil Collin will have more later (as will I), but for now here are a few key Garber quotes from the teleconference.
On whether it was an issue with the market in Southern California or the suburban South Bay:
“We absolutely believe Los Angeles and Southern California can support two (MLS) teams,” he said. “I don’t think it is a market issue at all, it was an execution issue. We’ve learned a lot.”
On how quickly MLS hopes to find new owners for the club:
“This is a heavy lift. We bought this team at market price. We didn’t assume it. We had to convince the Vergaras to sell it to us as opposed to others,” he said. “Our goal is to get a new owner by the end of the year. I think that’s ambitious, but that’s our goal.
“There is no rush,” he added. “We want to get this right. You can only relaunch (a club) once. And we’ve got to get it right the second time around.”
On whether MLS was involved in trademarking Los Angeles FC and other potential team names recently or (now former) Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara and his wife:
“My guess is they were thinking about whether they would rebrand,” he said. “It’s not really relevant to what were talking about here.”