Friday Kicks: Galaxy sign two Homegrown players, Chivas USA reportedly Snag English forward

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) February 21, 2014
*The Galaxy also signed Mexican native Raul Mendiola, 19, whose hometown is listed as Torrance on the Galaxy website. More on both players here.
*Chivas USA have reportedly come to terms with English striker Luke Moore. At age 28 he’s in the prime of his career; problem is, that career has stalled as his goals have dried up.
*Meanwhile, UCLA is touting its men’s recruiting class as the nation’s best for the second year in a row.

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LA Galaxy, Chivas USA MLS Draft Pickups and Rejects

Took advantage of the long weekend to take a few days off, so let’s play a little MLS draft catch-up.

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy must have put in a good word for former UCSB teammate pick-up Tony Lochhead, 32, a New Zealand international who plays left back and was picked up today by the struggling MLS team from A-League club Wellington Phoenix.

.Lochhead was drafted in 2005 by the New England Revolution, but returned home in 2007 after making 16 appearances for the club. He has made 43 appearances for his national team and is expected to play in this summer’s World Cup.

Chivas USA also made two more additions in the final two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft Tuesday, selecting Houston Baptist University forward Kristopher Tyrpak with the 40th pick and Georgia State University defender Michael Nwiloh 59th.

The latter is a 6-3 center back, the sort of commanding defender Chivas USA needed more of last season.

The Galaxy, which last week had traded away its first round draft pick, passed on its 72nd overall pick  — the only MLS club to do so — which tells you everything you need to know about how coach Bruce Arena regarded the talent pool in this year’s draft.

The 32 players selected in the final two rounds included UCLA forward Victor Chavez, selected 71st by the Portland Timbers right before the Galaxy’s scheduled pick (hmm, did Arena want him?).

By the way, UCLA saw a trio of players picked up by MLS teams in this year’s draft including defender and captain Joe Sofia, a second round pick by San Jose, and Spanish native Victor Munoz, drafted by D.C. United in the second round.

That makes 64 picks in the 19-year history of the draft for the Bruins, far and away the most of any school in the nation.

 

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy Open house, EPL Preview & more

It’s been a busy day for soccer news. Here’s what else has fallen through the cracks lately:

  • openhouse2014The Galaxy’s open house from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday is all about selling fans a season ticket, but there’s lots of cool, free stuff going on, too, including a town hall meeting with Galaxy exec Chris Klein and playmaker Landon Donovan, on field coaching clinics and stadium tours. Full details here.
  • Former AEG president Tim Leiweke, now trying to resurrect Toronto, has returned to his old stomping grounds and scooped up Galaxy Academy U-14 coach Greg Vanney as assistant general manager and Academy defender, replacing former Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen in that post.
  • U.S. Soccer is asking fans to vote on the best male and female players for the  all-time U.S. teams. Details here.
  • There’s some big games in the EPL this weekend with the pick of them seeing league leaders Arsenal visiting Manchester City (4 a.m. NBCSN). A complete preview is here.
  • UniMás’ broadcast of MLS Cup outdrew ESPN by 14 percent, drawing 514,000 total viewers.
  • College seniors with local ties invited to the annual MLS Combine as announced today are UCLA’s Victor Chavez from Fontana and his Bruin teammate midfielder Victor Munoz, who is from Spain.
  • Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra is a guest at 12:30 p.m. Friday on Fox Soccer Daily (Fox Sports 1). He will break down the U.S. World Cup draw with former U.S. forwards Brian McBride and Cobi Jones.
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Tuesday Kicks: U.S. World Cup Qualifying Morass & More

A quick roundup of essential soccer links for the day:

  • A must-read on the USMNT WCQ on-going meltdown.
  • Recall that more than soft Chivas USA red card issued during Sunday’s SuperClasico? It never happened.
  • Also, Chivas USA has re-signed back-up goalkeeper Tim Melia, 26, to an unspecified contract extension, the club announced today.
  • The Galaxy has named their Dallas Cup roster.
  • Former Cal State Northridge soccer standout Devin Del Do, 26, of Valencia has signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League.
  • Mia Hamm’s LA Fest Celebrity Soccer Challenge is set for Sunday at Home Depot Center.
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Wednesday Kicks: Chivas USA Offseason Manoeuvering Begins & More

  • Modestly, one should note, with Portland and Chivas USA swapping spots in the player allocation rankings, with the Timbers receiving Chivas USA’s second overall spot and the Goats taking the third overall position. Chivas USA will also receive either a 2013 international roster spot or a second-round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft should the Timbers acquire one. Translation: Chivas USA want to load up on international spots ahead of a likely influx of Mexicans, while Portland has a specific player they want to acquire from overseas.
  • U.S. international forward Clint Dempsey, was chosen by 183 US journalists as the “212 Player of the Year Award presented by Fútbol de Primera. It’s the third time Dempsey has won the award, which either he or the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan have won ten times in the last eleven years. Dempsey scored six goals in nine U.S. games this year.
  • The 54 college seniors invited to the increasingly unimportant MLS Combine next month in Florida include defenders Joe Franco (Cal State Northridge); and midfielders Carlos Alvarez (University of Connecticut) of Los Angeles, Kory Kindle of (California State Bakersfield of Ventura; and Ryan Hollingshead and Fernando Monge (UCLA).

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Thursday Kicks: U.S. schedules friendly in Mexico & more

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*U.S. Soccer has scheduled an Aug. 15 exhibition game against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the first friendly between the two nations south of the border since 1984.

“Mexico has proven to be one of the top teams in the world in the moment, so for us this is a huge opportunity,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “The U.S. and Mexico have a very special rivalry, and the chance to be challenged in an environment like Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will be another important experience for the development of our players.”

The game is a designated FIFA fixture date, which means the U.S. should have its top players available in an effort to beat Mexico for the first time ever on its own soil. The U.S. record in Mexico: 0-23-1.

*In other local, yet internationally-oriented soccer news, Zachary DeVille, a sophomore forward from San Diego who made nine appearances for Cal State Northridge last season, is spending his summer with Team Guam in a series of international matches in the Philippines in preparation for the East Asian Football Championships in July.

*The new Pac-12 network means 58 live televised soccer games from the conference are on tap later this year, brinding unprecedented visibility to college soccer. The USC women’s program, for instance, will have nine games on TV, five at home and four on the road.

“It’s really exciting to see that our sport and our conference will be on TV for all to see this season,” USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin. “It’s an opportunity for our athletes to get exposure, so we can really show the strength of our programs and the Pac-12 as a whole.”

The UCLA men’s program will have a dozen games televised on the new channel.

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MLS SuperDraft Update: UCLA’s Rowe goes third, Chivas USA pick Maryland striker Townsend *

*Post updated

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MLS Commish Don Garber welcomes Chivas USA SuperDraft pick Casey Townsend out of Maryland to MLS today at the SuperDraft in Kansas City, Mo (AP Photo).

You can follow the MLS SuperDraft here.

The highlights so far:

*Chivas USA, picking fifth, need a goalscorer or two in addition to Juan Pablo Angel, so they picked up a striker who had 17 goals in 22 games last year, Casey Townsend. That’s the entire draft for the Goats – they’re done.

“The kid is unbelievably competitive,” said Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser in a club stattement. “We watched him in the combine, we watched him in college, he’s the kind of kid who wins literally every challenge he has, and it’s all about his attitude. He is a very good finisher, has a good nose for the goal and he completely fits into what it is we are trying to do here. We want to get winners here and we got ourselves a winner today.”

The Terrapin product reports to Carson for his physical this weekend and will start preseason camp Monday with the club at Home Depot Center.

*New England took UCLA’s Kelyn Rowe, who is currently training with the U.S. Under-23 team in Carson, with the third pick.

From UCLA:

Rowe, a midfielder from Federal Way, Wash., had six goals and a Pac-12 leading 10 assists during his sophomore campaign and is the highest UCLA draft pick since Tony Beltran was taken third overall by Real Salt Lake in 2008. Rowe was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year for 2011.

*Los Angeles’ Luis Silva of UCSB went fourth to Toronto FC.

*The Montreal Impact chose Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Wenger with the first pick.

Update

Chandler Hoffman of UCLA will join former Bruin Kyle Nakazawa at the Philadelphia Union, which held the 13th overall pick.

Update

The Galaxy take Indiana’s Tommy Meyer with the 19th and final pick of the first round; they need depth on defense, as Coach Bruce Arena said earlier this week.

“He’s a player that has a good profile to be a center back in this league,” Arena said today in a statement released by the Galaxy. “He has physical size. He’s a good header of the ball. A good defender and a decent passer out of the back. Once we get him into our setting we can learn a little bit more and work with him and try to make him better.”

The Galaxy also have the last pick of the draft today.

Update

And with that pick the club took Louisville’s Kenney Walker.

“I thought that he had a very good Combine,” Arena said. “He is a defensive midfielder, a holding midfielder, an aggressive type of player and a good passer of the ball. I felt over the three days of the Combine he may have been a first round pick so when he was available in the second round we jumped on it and we’re hopeful that he will turn into a good player.”

Update

Here’s a summary of today’s MLS SuperDraft from the Associated Press:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andrew Wenger looked a bit sheepish the moment he was asked what teams and players he followed growing up. He knew his reply wasn’t all that daring.

“Well, Manchester United,” he said. “And, of course, David Beckham.”

Now, Wenger may have a chance to play against him.

The expansion Montreal Impact selected the Duke forward with the first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, choosing the most complete player available in the two-round draft.

The Hermann Trophy winner as the top NCAA player, Wenger was the ACC defensive player of the year last season and offensive player of the year this season, finishing with 17 goals and eight assists.

“We have a lot of potential,” said Wenger, who plans to join the new MLS club in a couple weeks, once his responsibilities with the U.S. men’s national under-23 team in Carson are through. “It’s exciting.”

Just as exciting is the chance to potentially play against Beckham. The midfielder’s contract with the Galaxy has expired, but negotiations are ongoing and Beckham reportedly has said he’d rather remain in Los Angeles than return to playing in Europe.

Montreal plays the MLS champion Galaxy May 12.

Akron forward Darren Mattocks was selected second by the Vancouver Whitecaps. UCLA midfielder Kelyn Rowe went third to New England, followed by UC Santa Barbara’s Luis Silva to Toronto FC and Maryland forward Casey Townsend to Chivas USA.

The Impact were expected to choose between Wenger and Mattocks, who many believe has greater long-term potential. Club officials wavered between the two until a couple days ago, ultimately going with Wenger’s versatility over Mattocks’ scoring punch.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Wenger said. “I’ve never lived in a big city. I’ve been watching a lot of the Travel Channel lately, so at least I know of some nice places to eat.”

Montreal coach Jesse Marsch, a longtime MLS star, said he doesn’t know where Wenger will fit on the field. He’s shown ability at forward and midfielder and as a lockdown defender.

“I think he was the best soccer player available,” Marsch said. “We followed him very closely, and we just felt he had the best future, short term and long term, in the draft.”

Mattocks is a speedy Jamaican who wound up at powerhouse Akron because he wanted to acclimate himself to playing in colder weather. He’ll certainly get that opportunity in Vancouver.

“I knew from the get-go that it would be between me and Wenger. They picked Wenger first and that’s OK with me,” said Mattocks, a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and Mid-American Conference player of the year, who scored 39 goals in 47 games during his two years with the Zips.

Vancouver President Bob Lenarduzzi said his decision was easy once Montreal made its pick.

“It’s been the consensus that the top two were Wenger and Mattocks,” Lenarduzzi said. “We just needed Montreal to make up their minds. All along you sort of jokingly ask what they’re going to do, but they never were going to tell me anything.”

Sam Garza became the second player from UC Santa Barbara to be drafted when he went sixth to San Jose. Garza began his career at Denver before scoring 17 goals in two seasons for the Gauchos, helping them to a 15-7-1 record and the third round of the NCAA tournament this season.

Garza’s grandfather, Bill Cross, was a running back for the Chicago Cardinals in the NFL.

Louisville midfielder Nick DeLeon was drafted seventh by D.C. United. His teammate, Austin Berry, went two spots later to Chicago. Connecticut defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste went eighth to Portland and Ethan Finlay of Creighton was chosen by Columbus with the 10th overall pick.

North Carolina’s Matt Hedges went 11th to FC Dallas. Notre Dame defender Aaron Maund went next to Toronto FC, followed by UCLA’s Chandler Hoffman to Philadelphia, UConn’s Tony Cascio to Colorado and Creighton defender Andrew Duran to Seattle.

The biggest roar at the Kansas City Convention Center came when hometown club Sporting Kansas City made South Florida forward Dom Dwyer the No. 16 overall pick. Several hundred fans dressed in blue that had congregated to the side of the expansive ballroom burst into applause.

Dwyer, who is originally from London, began his career at Tyler Junior College in Texas. He was the Big East offensive player of the year after scoring 16 goals in 21 games for the Bulls.

“You hear rumors about teams and where you might go, but I didn’t know anything about Kansas City,” Dwyer said. “I’m excited to be here.”

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