About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!

Weekly Soccer Column: A child’s death prompts LA Galaxy and fans to rally for one of its own

Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza, his wife, Megan, and the rest of their family will hold a memorial service Thursday for Luca DeLaGarza, the couple’s child who died after just a few days after being born, it was announced today.

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

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LA Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant out six weeks after Colorado “wishbone” in injury-plagued season

GalaxyVeteran Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant was making just his fifth start of an injury-wracked season Friday against Colorado when he collided with Rapids midfielder Nick LaBrocca in the first half and could be sidelined the rest of the season.

The former Chivas USA playmaker stepped on one of Dunivant’s feet and caught him in what Dunivant described as a “wishbone-” like challenge that ripped his groin, sending him crashing to the turf in an injury that was obviously extremely painful.

Dunivant had only returned from a lengthy injury-induced lay-off in the 4-1 Aug. 27 win over D.C. United.

“I had the MRI yesterday,” the 33-year-old defender said Sunday. “It was a pretty significant tear.”

“I can’t walk straight,” he added with a grimace, observing he faced another six weeks of rehabilitation. “It sucks.”

Especially because an abdominal stain in April later required abdominal surgery, keeping him out for most of the season so far.

Robbie Rogers, who has switched from ineffective left winger to dangerous overlapping left back in Dunivant’s absence has at times looked his heir apparent, but Rogers, too, has suffered a succession of injuries that have restricted him to just 11 starts this season. He, too, remains sidelined yet again and hopes to return to the starting XI by the time the Galaxy travel to the Bay Area Sep. 14 to face San Jose, although he will travel to Montreal for Wednesday’s game against the Impact.

“I just want to be careful because I’ve had a few hamstring problems over the last few months,” he said Sunday.

“Todd and I were saying we needed to walk the field with incense or a voodoo guy,” he added. “For whatever reason with defenders this year we’ve had a little bit of trouble with injuries. It’s sports. It’s part of the job. But it sucks.”

“I felt really bad for (Todd) to get hurt that early in the game (Friday) after he had been out for a while. We’ve been dealing with it all season with injuries for different guys and the team as done a great job of being able to cover for people.”

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Watch: Free-scoring LA Galaxy pay tribute to defender A.J. DeLaGarza and family in emotional win over Colorado Rapids in Carson

On a night of heartfelt tributes to A.J. DeLaGarza’s new-born son, Luka, who died Thursday after just a handful of days on this earth because of a congenital heart defect, the LA Galaxy gave perhaps the most stirring performance soccer players can give, walloping their opponent in an exuberant 6-0 romp Friday that represented the team’s biggest margin of victory since the high-scoring 1998 season.

“We think the world of A.J. [DeLaGarza] and his family,” coach Bruce Arena said. “It’s a difficult moment, so our thoughts are definitely with them. It was emotional. He’s a person that we all care about. He’s such a great person. Him and his wife. It’s awful difficult to be in that position. We feel his pain, and we will be as supportive as we can be for A.J. and his family. Certainly, our thoughts were with him tonight. It’s certainly it was a game we wanted to win for him.”

“We play a sport for a living that we tend to think is very important, and people I think get carried away with parts of it,” said Landon Donovan. “We try to keep it all in perspective and life is more important. We’re heartbroken for our teammate [A.J. DeLaGarza] and our friend Megan [DeLaGarza] and their family and we do our job and we get on with it, but it doesn’t change what happened yesterday. That’s going to be a part of our season going forward; it doesn’t mean that after tonight we forget about it. It’s still a piece of all of us that we feel is lost and it’s a sad night.”

“Obviously it’s a tough time for A.J. [DeLaGarza] and his family, but obviously for us as well,” said DeLaGarza’s college friend and central defensive partner Omar Gonzalez. “He is part of the family and he is a longtime friend and teammate of mine so I definitely feel for him. There aren’t words to express how I feel and there aren’t words to say to him because I don’t understand. It is really tough so we just want to let him know that we are here for him no matter what. If he needs a shoulder to lean on, we’ll be ready when he is ready to talk about it. Tonight, I just texted him and said, ‘is there something I can do for Luca?’ He said, ‘just get a shutout, and play hard for Luca. That would mean the most.’ And everyone is wearing the black Luca armbands; some of us wore the shirts. Tonight was about something bigger than all of us and playing for his family. It’s just great that there’s so much love here and I’m happy that we could get this win for him tonight.”

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No English Premier League this weekend? No problem as European Qualifying action takes center stage

Recommended viewing:

6 p.m. Friday Brazil-Colombia on BeIn Sports
10 a.m. Saturday Ivory Coast-Sierra Leone on BeIn Sports (featuring former MLS player Kei Kamara of Lawndale)
6 p.m. Saturday Mexico-Chile on UniMas
11:30 a.m. Sunday Portugal-Albania on ESPN2
11:30 a.m. Sunday Germany-Scotland on Fox Sports 1
11:30 a.m. Monday Switzerland-England on Fox Sports 1
11:30 a.m. Tuesday Norway-Italy on Fox Sports 1

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Major League Soccer Preview: LA Galaxy face Colorado Rapids tonight in Carson with heavy hearts after death of defender A.J. DeLaGarza’s newborn son

Phil Collin has the capsule game preview, while here’s the match-up by the numbers. I presume A.J. DeLaGarza, who was not in training Thursday, will also miss tonight’s game. More on his family’s saga is here. Major League Soccer remains a fairly small family and members of the community are using Twitter to express their thoughts. I will retweet them throughout the day so check the rolling feed to the right.

Updated

  • The Galaxy will wear black arm bands with the name LUCA inscribed on them for the match, the club has announced.
  • Before the match there will be a moment of silence for Luca DeLaGarza.
  • Fans in attendance are urged to stand at the 20th minute and celebrate the fight and heart Luca showed.
  • Individuals interested in donating to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome research may donate on AJ and Megan DeLaGarza’s page here.

 

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Former U.S. National Team Captain Carlos Bocanegra to retire at end of Major League Soccer season

Veteran defender Carlos Bocanegra, 35, an Upland native who has made 30 appearances for Chivas USA over the last two seasons, has announced his retirement effective at the end of the MLS season.

Bocanegra has missed the half dozen MLS games because of concussion.

“I’m still hungry for the game and I want to play, but unfortunately you can’t play forever,” he said in a statement released by the club. “I was thinking about this in the offseason, and it took me about six months to come to a final decision.

“The timing is right for me,”added the UCLA product. “I’ve known for a little while now in my mind and in my heart. I’m happy with it, and I’m looking forward to the new challenges.”

Bocanegra did not say what those plans are, but will talk to reporters Friday morning.

A former MLS Rookie of the Year with Chicago in 2000, Bocanegra spent the bulk of his career in Europe playing for Fulham in the EPL before moving to France for four years and then onto Glasgow Rangers.

He played in two World Cups for the U.S., making a total of 110 international appearances, before he was discarded midway through the last World Cup qualifying campaign.

Read more about his career in the link embedded in the Tweet above, read what Bocanegra has to say about it in his own words here or just watch this:

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SuperClasico Labor Day Weekend Rewind: Game over for rivalry as LA Galaxy beat Chivas USA (yet again)


Since losing to Sporting Kansas City July 19, the Galaxy have reeled off six wins, dropping just five points in the eight games and ending with a 13-goal spree over four games in 11 days. Impressive.

No wonder coach Bruce Arena lost track of how many games they have played where. Next up: Colorado Friday in Carson.

Mercifully, this rivalry series is finished.

And no column from me today because of the holiday weekend.

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