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!

English Premier League Weekly Preview: Liverpool-Chelsea at 4:45 a.m. Saturday on NBCSN is the game of the weekend

Here’s the weekly interactive run-down on all the stats and Barclays Premier League games this weekend.

The game of the weekend is undoubtedly the Liverpool-Chelsea contest at 4:45 a.m. Saturday on NBCSN.

Programming note: The first MLS Eastern Conference semifinal second leg between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls is on at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on NBC, right after the Queens Park Rangers-Manchester City game that kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on NBCSN.

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Major League Soccer Video Playoff Preview: LA Galaxy hosts Real Salt Lake in Western Conference Semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Sunday live on ESPN2

With the away goals rule in effect for the MLS playoffs for the first time, Real Salt Lake knows an early goal would put pressure on the Galaxy — who would then have to score twice to advance — on Sunday in Carson.

The winner will meet Seattle or Dallas in the conference final; the two teams are tied 1-1 ahead of the sold-out clash the Sounders will host at 7:30 p.m. Monday:

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Major League Soccer Playoff Preview: Is Southern California’s Luis Gil Real Salt Lake’s key to beating the LA Galaxy Sunday in Carson?

Read more about Luis Gil in this profile from our sister newspaper The Salt Lake Tribune.

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LA Galaxy II sign 15-year-old Westminster goalkeeper Eric Lopez to USL Pro contract

Galaxy2logoThe LA Galaxy reserve team made USL Pro history today by signing the youngest player in league history — 15-year-old Eric Lopez.

Lopez has progressed through the Academy ranks, making his debut for the club at age 13 and received his first U.S. call-up to the U-17 squad earlier this year.

“Eric is another example of the fully-realized player developmental system that the Galaxy have implemented,” said LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski. “We are excited to complete this deal and keep talented prospects like Eric within the Galaxy organization as their careers progress.”

Inglewood’s Jaime Villarreal is the only other homegrown player to sign a USL Pro contract with the LA Galaxy II.

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Major League Soccer Playoff Video: Real Salt Lake 0 Los Angeles Galaxy 0

Our sister newspaper The Salt Lake Tribune has the game story and video.

Another unwatchable playoff opener with two teams unwilling to give anything away ahead of the second leg, which is set for 4:30 p.m. Sunday live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

Quotable:

“Ugly game,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “Lopsided in calls. The fouls were over two to one in our favor. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. It made for one crappy game for sure. … Next week, the game’s going to look a lot different.”

Let’s hope so.

Notable: The Galaxy are now winless in the last four games.

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Major League Soccer Playoff Preview: LA Galaxy at Real Salt Lake live at 5 p.m. on NBCSN

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Los Angeles News Group Galaxy beat writer Phil Collin has the game preview for the playoff opener; the Real Salt Lake perspective is here from our sister newspaper The Salt Lake Tribune.

The match by the numbers is here.

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NBCSN ratings show how far Major League Soccer has to go to catch English Premier League Soccer in popularity

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NBCSN announced today that last Sunday’s game between Chelsea and Manchester United was its top-rated EPL match ever attracting an average of 1.29 million viewers.

From the NBCSN press release:

Sunday’s game, which was NBC’s first BPL match on a Sunday afternoon (and had competition from live NFL games), is the second-most watched live game in the U.S. in Premier League history (Manchester United-Chelsea, 2/5/12 on Fox, 1.38 million).

By comparison, the MLS game the previous evening between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders with the Supporters’ Shield on the line averaged 699,000 viewers. It was the network’s most-watched MLS game ever.

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Watch Live: The unveiling of the new Los Angeles Major League Soccer club

Here are details on the LAFC ownership group via a just-released MLS press release:

LOS ANGELES (October 30, 2014) – A new era for Major League Soccer in Los Angeles began today as MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced that a new team has been awarded to an ownership group led by entrepreneur Henry Nguyen, sports and entertainment leader Peter Guber, and sports veteran Tom Penn. The new club is scheduled to debut in 2017 in a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area built specifically for the team.

“We are thrilled to welcome Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Tom Penn and their owner partners to Major League Soccer,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “This visionary ownership group will chart a course that will further elevate the sport in this great city and, combined with a new state-of-the-art stadium, accelerate us down the path toward becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”

The Managing General Partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, Nguyen is the managing partner of the new MLS club. A native of Vietnam who moved to the United States as a toddler, Nguyen graduated from Harvard University and earned his MD and MBA from Northwestern University Medical School and the Kellogg School of Management.

“We believe this team can become one of the most outstanding clubs in Major League Soccer and a globally-recognized brand,” said Nguyen.

One of the most respected entrepreneurs in the sports and entertainment industry, Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, the owner and co-executive chairman of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and co-owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers. Guber will serve as executive chairman of the new MLS club.

“The business of sports and entertainment is all about winning on the field and providing an exciting product that will develop a passionate and loyal fan base,” said Guber. “The Los Angeles market has millions of soccer supporters, and we know that this new team can fulfill the promise of success on the field and provide a great experience for our fans.”

Along with Nguyen, Guber and Penn, the new team’s ownership group includes: Ruben Gnanalingam, co-owner of the English Premier League’s Queens Park Rangers, Vincent Tan, owner of the Football League Championship’s Cardiff City and FK Sarajevo of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Los Angeles Lakers star, Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises and an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mia Hamm Garciaparra, U.S. women’s soccer great, Tony Robbins, America’s #1 life and business strategist, best-selling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Nomar Garciaparra, former Major League Baseball star and SportsNet LA baseball analyst, Larry Berg, senior partner at Apollo Global Management and a co-owner of AS Roma, Allen Shapiro, CEO of Dick Clark Productions and managing partner of Mosaic Media Investment Partners, Chad Hurley, co-founder and former CEO of YouTube and the founder and CEO of MixBit, Rick Welts, President and COO of the Golden State Warriors Basketball Club, Bennett Rosenthal, co-founder and senior partner of Ares Management and a co-owner of AS Roma, as well as Kirk Lacob, Mark Leschly, Mike Mahan, Irwin Raij, Paul Schaeffer, Brandon Schneider, Jason Sugarman and Harry Tsao. A few additional prominent owners are expected to be added to this list shortly.

“Today is day one and time for us to focus on developing a world-class stadium for the club to play in and for fans to enjoy,” said Nguyen.

The new Los Angeles team’s brand identity, along with the front office, coaching and administrative staff will be announced at later dates.

One of the most fervent soccer fan bases in North America, Los Angeles also is home to the four-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy. An original member of the League, the Galaxy play their home matches at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.

“Los Angeles is a diverse, vibrant market with millions of soccer fans, and we look forward to an intense rivalry between the Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club,” added Garber.

Updated

LANG beat writer Phil Collin has the story and videos of the event.

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