Wednesday Kicks: LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLagarza signs multi-year contract extension and more

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  • As incredible as it sounds for a team with just eight wins all season, Chivas USA is not only seeking to sweep Real Salt Lake tonight in the club’s penultimate game of the season, but with two wins in its last two games the team can claim a four-game win streak to end the season and register its best year since 2009.
  • With a crowd over 60,000 against the Galaxy in Seattle Saturday, the Sounders will set a new record MLS mark fior the sixth consecutive season.
  • Versatile Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza, 26, has signed a new multi-year contract with the club he has so far made more than 155 appearances for since being drafted in 2009. DeLaGarza is earning $157,500 with the club this year and was named its Defender of the Year last weekend for a second time. The Guam international (who also made a couple of appearances for the U.S.) has played every position this season on a Galaxy back line that has conceded the fewest goals in MLS.
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Major League Soccer Sunday: Landon Donovan and LA Galaxy face FC Dallas in Texas at 4 p.m. on ESPN2

Fresh off a triumphant finale to his U.S. career, Landon Donovan and the Galaxy are in Dallas as the run-in to the MLS playoffs continues ahead of two crunch games at Seattle that will shape the playoffs.

Finally, guess who won their second straight game?

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Watch: Monday Major League Soccer rewind, Landon Donovan’s last U.S. game and more

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The image above was included by U.S. Soccer this morning as they announced the 21-player roster for Friday’s game against Ecuador that included the LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez in addition to Landon Donovan, set to make his 157th and final U.S. appearance in the wake of Saturday’s latest Galaxy victory.

I’ll have more on Donovan in Tuesday’s column, in addition to today’s USWNT roster announcement for the beginning of World Cup qualification, which begins against a backdrop of litigation and other legal action over the turf in Canada and goalkeeper Hope Solo’s alleged domestic violence issues.

Meanwhile, the Goats are almost extinct it appears even as they finally post a win Sunday in Carson

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Reports of a Chivas USA hiatus gather steam

chivasusaReports that Chivas USA could go on hiatus for as long as two years while a stadium is built in the Los Angeles area have gained more credence with ESPNFC expanding upon an earlier Sports Illustrated story that had much the same theme.

The club is certainly weakening the MLS brand overall, while boring most soccer fans to tears year after pathetic year.

Personally, I’m not convinced any club can find a suitable site it will find successful unless that’s in downtown LA, but at least we could all be rid of the perennial embarrassment that is Chivas USA once and for all.

Experienced heads will be needed and I’m not sure if that description fits Alexi Lalas, who almost wrecked the Galaxy when he was in charge of the MLS flagship.

Good luck, guys:

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LA Galaxy Major League Soccer rivals Seattle Sounders suddenly look vulnerable, will Chivas USA be the cure?

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The Seattle Sounders, tied for the MLS lead with the Galaxy, have collapsed defensively in their last two games, including a loss last night to Dallas, which presumably would give Bruce Arena’s team motivation to pounce when it plays Sunday in Carson against the New York Red Bulls.

But Seattle meets lowly Chivas USA at home the day before, allowing them to take the initiative in the Western Conference against a club that seemingly is incapable of scoring despite having striker “Cubo” Torres called up by Mexico for a second time earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy are trying to figure out how to replace the retiring Landon Donovan and big names — older than him — are cropping up in trade rumors.

Check out the Seattle swoon below:

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Monday Major League Soccer Rewind: Galaxy clinch playoff spot as Long Beach supersub Alan Gordon scores winner

Busy weekend?

Here’s your Monday cheat sheet to get you caught up on the MLS action: Striker Alan Gordon scored yet again for the Galaxy Saturday in Carson with an 83rd minute goal that beat Dallas, clinched a playoff spot and moved the club into a tie with Seattle for the MLS lead.

Next for the Galaxy: %:30 p.m. Sunday at StubHub Center against the New York Red Bulls.

The LA Galaxy II saw their season come to a close before a sold-out crowd in MLS-hungry Sacramento, while Chivas USA lost yet again before a capacity crowd in Toronto. The Goats didn’t even manage a shot on goal until the last 10 minutes of the game.

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Major League Soccer Preview: LA Galaxy can clinch playoff spot tonight with win over Dallas in Carson

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Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber speaks on possible Chivas USA hiatus, Bruce Arena fine and more

mlsgarber MLS Commish Don Garber unveiled the league’s new logo and addressed Chivas USA’s status at a press conference today (Associated Press photo).

NEW YORK (AP) — Chivas USA might not play in 2015 and perhaps longer, a decision that won’t be made until a new owner takes over the Major League Soccer team.

 

“We expect to be able to close an agreement by the end of the season,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Thursday after a news conference to launch the league’s new logo.

 

“Once we get an ownership group in place, we’ll sit down with them and make a decision as to whether or not we’re going to keep that team operating in 2015 and beyond.”

 

The league hopes to have a schedule by late fall. With the addition of New York City and Orlando, MLS will have 20 or 21 teams next year, depending on whether Chivas USA plays.

 

Chivas USA was formed in 2004, and MLS announced in February it had assumed operation of the team from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, who have controlled the Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara since 2002.

 

Chivas USA is last in the Western Conference at 6-16-6 and is averaging 6,942 for home games this season, less than half the figure of the team with the second-lowest average.

 

Chivas USA shares the StubHub Center with the Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, California, and Garber has said the new ownership group must intend to build a new stadium, perhaps at the site of the L.A. Sports Arena.

 

Garber also said the league had fined Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena $20,000 for criticizing MLS over the uncompleted deal to acquire American midfielder Sacha Kljestan from the Belgian club Anderlecht.

 

During an Aug. 25 interview with The Washington Post, Arena was quoted as saying: “We had all of our ducks in a row. We were positioned to sign a player. I won’t go into detail, and just say forces within the league worked real hard to make sure that didn’t happen. … because they are children and there have to be adults in the process, and we didn’t have enough of them. I think we are back into the old days in the league when the rules are somewhat arbitrary.”

 

Garber said “it was a deal that did not come to the league for approval, and had it we would have not approved it.”

 

He differentiated Kljestan from goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who spent the early part of this season on loan to Toronto from Queens Park Rangers, by saying “we had certain rights in the Julio Cesar deal that we didn’t have in this deal.”

 

“All of our employees, whether they are league executives or they are club executives, even going so far as to including our owners, are bound by an agreement that we will not criticize the system that our ownership is fully committed to,” Garber said. “It pains me to have to fine him for making comments that he obviously feels strongly about but which he is required by league rules to keep to himself.”

 

Garber also said the league is reviewing criticism by Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley of Canadian referee David Gantar who called a foul and disallowed what would have been a go-ahead goal in the 90th minute by Gilberto in a 1-1 tie against Chicago last weekend.

 

“That referee did not get it right in that game, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of saying that,” Garber said. “I feel for Toronto FC.”

 

The league’s new logo, replacing the ball-and-cleat image in use since MLS started play in 1996, has a shield with a slash that extends on the lower side in a tail. It will be used in various colors to match different teams.

 

“If you look around at all the league logos around the world, they all have a ball in it. The shield represents an identity that we think is very soccer- or football-oriented,” Garber said. “We don’t believe that we need to take elements of the game to tell the world or our fans that we’re a soccer league.”

 

The logo is part of an “MLS Next” rebrand that was announced at a venue in New York’s Meatpacking District, an area where Garber said “many of the millennials and those that are supporters of our league live and hang out. The new logo represents our commitment to what’s next.”

 

On other topics, Garber said:

 

  • He is back at work following prostate cancer surgery that was successful.
  • MLS hopes to volunteer for video review experiments FIFA may authorize “so that we can ensure that games are not determined by calls that in retrospect can be looked at as being wrong.” However, goal line technology such as the systems used by the Premier League and FIFA “is incredibly expensive, and for the amount of times that that’s an issue throughout the year, we don’t believe that it’s an expense that should be a priority for us.”
  • David Beckham’s group continues to seek a site for a downtown stadium in Miami and is not considering the suburbs: “Right now we’re really focused on having a downtown stadium. We’ve seen how that has worked for us in so many other markets.”

 

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Monday Major League Soccer Rewind: Robbie Keane misses penalty, LA Galaxy miss opportunity to win in San Jose

Busy weekend? Let’s play catch-up.

The Galaxy dropped valuable road points for a second consecutive game in a foul-ridden game in the Bay Area, striker Robbie Keane missing a penalty in the 1-1 draw against the Earthquakes Sunday and the chance to win the game on a weekend that saw rivals Seattle become the first MLS team to clinch a post-season berth.

Next for the Galaxy: FC Dallas at StubHub Center 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, does anyone — even the people who work there — still care about Chivas USA anymore as their futile winless streak hits double digits?

We’ll spare you the video on that one.

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Who will draw the most fans to StubHub Center this weekend: the LA Galaxy reserves or Chivas USA?

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The question in the headline of this post is somewhat tongue in cheek, but worth asking given Chivas USA’s deteriorating fan base and the free admission and parking to the Galaxy II’s first-ever home playoff game on Saturday.

MLS beat writer Phil Collin has the game basics for tonight’s game against Sporting Kansas City.

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