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!
LA Galaxy II forward Ariel Lassiter has earned a call-up to the Costa Rican U-23 team after notching five goals and four assists with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 21 games last year.
Lassiter, who signed with Los Dos ahead of the 2015 season that begins March 22, is the son of former MLS star Roy Lassiter and was born in Costa Rica while his father was playing there.
Costa Rica will play in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic in Bradenton, Fla. Feb. 18-28 against Columbus Crew SC, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC in addition to USL outfit OKC Energy FC, Danish first division team HB Koge and London United, composed of players currently out of contract.
Over the weekend some members of the Galaxy received a tour of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin while they continue to (ahem) build fitness ahead of the March 6 MLS opener in Carson against the Chicago Fire.
The Galaxy will play Shamrock Rovers in Dublin Saturday before returning home from their 11-day European sojurn (no broadcast info available for that game yet).
Striker Clint Dempsey, above, and his USMNT teammates, training Monday in Carson, are seeking a new start to the new year Sunday at StubHub Center after a string of poor results culminated in a road loss last weekend to Chile to begin a pivotal 2015 (Photos by Staff Photographer Robert Casillas).
USMNT Jurgen Klinsmann, despite being taken to task by MLS Commissioner Don Garber for his criticism of the league and how it dovetails with the aspirations of U.S. Soccer, continued Monday to point out the shortcomings of American soccer culture ahead of Sunday’s clash with Panama in Carson.
“The (foreign) teams that have peer pressure in their environment allow themselves to drop 10 or 20 percent not 30 or 40 percent; that is the difference with what we deal with in the aftermath of the World Cup,” he said. “Their club environment puts them back on their toes. … Our players are not there yet educationally or mentally to understand the dynamic so they lose their spots on their European teams or they drop 30 or 40 percent in MLS.”
The heavy-handed LA Galaxy have come down hard on fan group Angel City Brigade for scenes like the picture at top the club believes is disruptive.
That has translated into an ACB ban for the first eight games of the season — four at home and four on the road — on flags, drums and banners and other tifo displays. Streamers are banned for the entire 2015 season.
Here’s how ACB put it in an email today to its members and others on their mailing list:
“It is our unfortunate responsibility to inform you that yesterday the Galaxy FO officially sanctioned us for throwing streamers during the game at last year’s MLS Cup final and what they deemed as a year filled with incidents.
We want to make it clear, that disrupting the field of play by throwing objects on the field is never ok. However we strongly feel that extending the punishment beyond the scope of streamers is truly unjust.
In addition to the streamer issue, much of their rational for these restrictions are from the past; actions that we believed were already sorted and settled (smoke throughout the season for example). Changing the rules midway through the season without notification is simply unethical.
We were already penalized for the smoke incidents last season, and now this “encompassing” punishment is penalizing us again. We are truly shocked and disappointed by the severity of the FO’s actions!
We will be discussing this at our board meeting on Saturday and ask that all supporters come to help us take the best possible course of action.
If you are unable to make it or are not an ACB supporter, but have an opinion, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will read your thoughts and opinions at the meeting.
If you would like to express your displeasure to the Galaxy/MLS please feel free to reach out to Sid Patel, the manager of business development at email@example.com.”
A couple of questions immediately spring to mind:
Why is the club coming down so hard on some of its most loyal and ardent supporters?
Won’t this actually hurt the club on the field by neutralizing this kind of fanatical support?
How would the fan-oriented Seattle Sounders have handled this?
Finally, the above picture of fans throwing streamers was actually taken from the club’s own website. So the club appears to be at once celebrating and drawing attention to this kind of support and then handing out punishment for it. Isn’t that a tad hypocritical? I have emailed this post to Sid Patel. We’ll see if he responds.
Notable: Eight players on the rosater are seeking their first U.S. cap: Steve Birnbaum, Matt Hedges, Jon Kempin, Perry Kitchen, Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna, Wil Trapp and LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes.
At the other end of the spectrum, nine players on the roster were on the USMNT World cup squad last year: Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Nick Rimando, Chris Wondolowski and DeAndre Yedlin