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?

chivasfri

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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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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SuperClasico Shootout: LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes V. Chivas USA’s Cubo Torres

It’s a match made for MLS: the prolific American starring for his local MLS club that plays in Carson a short South Bay skip from his Hawthorne hometown verses the all-time top Mexican scorer in MLS facing off in one of the biggest soccer markets in the country.

The face-off isn’t perfect.

Both players have cooled off of late.

And Torres, who should be pulling in capacity crowds, plays for a uniquely unpopular club fumbling toward oblivion and is virtually unknown compared to revered Mexican stars he has surpassed such as Carlos Hermosillo, Luis Hernandez and Cuauhtémoc Blanco.

Yet players like these represent the future of MLS.

Beat writer Phil Collin sat down with both of them ahead of Sunday’s last-ever SuperClasico.

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Weekly Soccer Column: With SuperClasico looming at weekend, U.S. Soccer announces LA Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan to make final national team bow Oct. 10

The game in Hartford, Conn., is a friendly against Ecuador and will air live on ESPN.

“For 15 years, Landon has thrilled us with his amazing abilities on the field and impressed us with his gracious approach off the field,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We are looking forward to celebrating his legacy during our next home National Team match and allowing fans the opportunity to thank him for all the memories he’s provided over the years.”

There was no quote from Jurgen Klinsmann in the press release, BTW.

Oh, and for the actual column on the upcoming SuperClasico, click here.

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