- EPL club Norwich City have admitted interest in Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara, who emigrated from Africa to the South Bay and played at Cal State Dominguez Hills before turning pro. Full disclosure: I’m hopelessly biased as a Norwich fan, but seeing him partner Grant Holt up front would no doubt give the goal shy City attack much more substance.
- Here’s an update from the U.S. Men’s National Team in Carson where coach Jurgen Klinsmann is talking beer and um, balls, in revealing it was his choice — not Landon Donovan’s — to keep the Galaxy playmaker out of the U.S. camp while he mulls his future.
- Designated player Shalrie Joseph, who arrived at Chivas last year in mid-season only to see the club promptly collapse defensively, is reportedly on his way out of the club.
- Finally, here’s one I missed: a Hawthorne resident, former South Bay Force player and Galaxy Academy player has joined what is generally regarded as the top team in Guatemala.
Just hours after Galaxy coach Bruce Arena took the unusual step of publicly acknowledging interest in unwanted Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, media reports have suggested the deal is all but done and could be announced shortly.
Arena rarely makes such a statement about an unsigned player, which lends credence to the theory the Galaxy have pretty much wrapped up the deal.
It’s somewhat surprising given that Lampard appears to have more left in the tank than David Beckham did when he arrived and the likes of Manchester United were supposedly also chasing him. Wouldn’t Lampard relish playing for Sir Alex and have the chance of sticking it to his former club, perhaps in the form of bringing another EPL title to Old Trafford?
Mind you given the snow in England today and the mid-70s temperatures in sunny Southern California, what Englishman wouldn’t want the opportunity to dump gray old England for warmer climes?
Perhaps we will find out more when the Galaxy open training camp at 10 a.m. Monday.
Meanwhile, Chivas USA began its preseason today.
Confirming the pre-Christmas rumors, the Galaxy today signed 39-year-old former Chelsea veteran Carlos Cudicini from Tottenham Hotspur, where the 39-year-old was apparently edged out by the likes of the even older Brad Friedel (among others).
“We are delighted to be able to add Carlo Cudicini to our roster,” Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said. “Carlo is an experienced and accomplished goalkeeper who we believe will be a great addition to our team and our defensive unit.”
Slightly curious move for a club habitually close to the salary cap, but you got the feeling the club can’t fully rely upon Josh Saunders (perhaps for more than one reason).
Cudicini hasn’t played a league game for Spurs in over a year and has played sparingly in recent years. Could he handle a full MLS season?
Notable: The two-time EPL champion with Chelsea was the club’s 2002 Player of the Year
Let’s hope the Galaxy have written into his contract that motorcycle riding is banned; he missed most of the 2009-2010 season after falling off his bike.
He still has to pass a medical for the Galaxy.
Here’s the complete lineup of the other televised games:
6:30 a.m. Saturday Everton-Sunderland on Fox Soccer
6:55 a.m. Saturday Arsenal-Fulham on ESPN2
9 a.m. Saturday Aston Villa-Manchester United on Fox Soccer
11:30 a.m. Saturday Southampton-Swansea City on Fox Soccer
1:30 p.m. Saturday Reading-Norwich City on Fox Soccer
Here’s the complete EPL preview and statistical breakdown of all the games courtesy
of sponsor Barclays.
The club future of U.S. international Clint Dempsey remains unresolved just days before the start of the English Premier League season. Dempsey’s current club, Fulham, opens the season Saturday against Norwich live on U.S. TV (Associated Press file photo).
Clint Dempsey’s future is just one of several unresolved questions that could have a huge bearing on the English Premier League season, which begins Saturday.
“I am surprised an Arsenal or a Liverpool haven’t made an offer,” Warren Barton, soccer analyst with Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer told me in an interview Monday. “He will still have a white shirt on to start the season, but don’t be surprised it that changes in 10 to 14 days.”
Despite the failure of the Merseyside club to flash the cash for Dempsey, Barton thinks the team that fired Kenny Dalglish this season will improve greatly under new management.
“If they can keep everybody healthy like Newcastle did last season I think they can compete,” Barton said. “Will they win? I don’t believe so. But they will get back into that top five.”
Which would be a relief for Liverpool fans after recent struggles.
I take an extended look – with Barton – at the EPL in today’s column.
The Galaxy will play Robbie Keane’s former club Tottenham Hotspur July 24 at Home Depot Center, part of Spurs’ U.S. summer tour that also includes a July 31 game against the New York Red Bulls.
Single tickets for the club’s first-ever visit to Southern California have yet to go on sale, with the MLS club hawking packages as usual initially.
The Galaxy-Spurs connections surely didn’t hurt setting up this game.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to open our U.S. tour against the current MLS Cup Champions, LA Galaxy,” said Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy. “With one of our former strikers Robbie Keane and David Beckham, who spent time training with us at Tottenham Hotspur, lining up for the Galaxy, there is a strong relationship between the two Clubs and we are looking forward to the chance to renew old friendships.”
This will be the fourth consecutive season in which the Galaxy host a major international friendly at The Home Depot Center and the second straight season that the club will take on one of the Premier League’s top clubs. Last year, the Galaxy played to a 1-1 draw with Manchester City before falling on penalties as part of the Herbalife World Football Challenge. In 2009, the Galaxy played to a 2-2 draw with AC Milan at The Home Depot Center while they beat Boca Juniors 1-0 there a year later.
Does this mean Spurs are the MLS All-Star game opponents, too, I wonder?
Robbie Keane scores against Newcastle United Sunday, but couldn’t prevent the Birmingham club losing 2-1 on Tyneside (AP Photo).
*An uninvolving Super Bowl Sunday on this side of the Atlantic Ocean (even the commericials were pretty dull, I thought) was saved by a gripping game on the other side of the pond, as Manchester United fought back from 3-0 down to tie Chelsea in a game (among the best we’ve seen in the EPL this season) seen live nationwide on Fox.
*The Galaxy’s Robbie Keane had got things rolling earlier Sunday with his third goal in four games since joining Aston Villa on loan in a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United. Incidentally, the latest unsubstantiated tabloid rumor has Villa’s Stephen Ireland allegedly joining LA on loan.
Similarly, Landon Donovan was unable to prevent Everton gaining only a 1-1 draw with lowly Wigan Athletic this past weekend.
*Former Galaxy and Chivas USA midfielder Marcelo Saragosa has joined D.C. United, his fourth MLS, the club announced today, after spending two seasons in the Azerbaijan first division.
*Looking ahead this week, several MLS teams are heading to Ventura County to train where they will be hosted by the PDL Fusion.
*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal, who signed for the Galaxy just days ago, has surgery today for what appears to be a long-standing medical issue, while the process of winnowing draft picks has begun at the club.
*I’ll have more in Tuesday’s column about Edson Buddle rejoining the Galaxy; I’m off this morning to his first training session/press conference with the club in a year.
Chelsea-Manchester United is live on Fox at 7:30 a.m.
A preview is here.
The “game before the game” marks the second live Barclays Premier League game in two weeks on Fox. On Jan. 22, Fox drew 1.3 million viewers nationwide for Arsenal’s 1-2 loss to Manchester United, making it the most watched live EPL match ever on U.S. television.
Rob Stone, Eric Wynalda and the insufferable Piers Morgan host.
Arsenal-Blackburn Rovers is at 4:55 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2
Norwich City-Bolton Wanderers is at 11 a.m. Saturday (delayed) on Fox Soccer Plus.
Dempsey vs. Donovan: The two Americans faced off today in the FA Cup (AP Photo). Wonder if they exchanged jerseys.
Landon Donovan continues to excel for Everton with a headline-grabbing game today. Associated Press sports writer Stuart Condie has the story:
LONDON (AP) — On-loan forward Landon Donovan led Everton to its first ever FA Cup win over Fulham and a place in the fifth round on Friday, setting up both goals in his team’s 2-1 win at Goodison.
Fulham had progressed in the FA Cup on all four previous occasions it had been drawn against Everton, and led again against the Toffees through Danny Murphy’s 14th-minute penalty.
But Donovan, in the sixth game of his second loan spell from the Galaxy set up a 27th-minute equalizer for Denis Stracqualursi and then provided the assist for Marouane Fellaini’s 73rd-minute winner.
“Landon’s been great since he’s been here,” Everton assistant manager Steve Round said. “He’s a real diamond of a guy, he’s a very intelligent footballer and the lads all like him. You’ve seen the quality of his end product, whether it be from crosses or set plays. “He’s a top player.”
Rafael van der Vaart scored a 42nd-minute goal for Tottenham in a 1-0 win at League Championship side Watford in Friday’s other fourth-round match.
But Donovan provided arguably the day’s standout performance, helping his side to victory over a Fulham side containing his United States teammate, Clint Dempsey.
Teammates on the last two U.S. World Cup teams, Donovan and Dempsey had not faced each other since May 2006, when Dempsey’s New England Revolution beat the Galaxy 4-0.
This was only the seventh time they had played against each other overall.
After Murphy scored a penalty awarded for a handball by Netherlands defender John Heitinga, Donovan crossed for Stracqualursi to head firmly past Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale.
Dempsey, who has scored two hat tricks in his last three games for Fulham, headed over the bar at the start of the second half following a cross by Bryan Ruiz before Donovan went close with a shot across goal from distance.
Donovan set up the decisive goal with a deep cross to the far post, from where Fellaini guided a header back across Stockdale and into the top corner.
Fulham beat Everton on its way to the 1975 FA Cup final — one of only two finals the west London club has ever reached — and edged out the Toffees in a replay in the teams’ most recent tournament meeting in 2004.
Maybe. Which is a little curious because Robbie Keane had previously publicly said he would not seek a MLS offseason loan to ensure he was fresh for Euro 2012. Here’s the Associated Press story:
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Teammates with Landon Donovan on the Galaxy, Robbie Keane could soon be playing against the American in an English Premier League match.
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish said Thursday that his club has opened talks with Keane with a view to signing the 31-year-old forward on loan until March, when the Major League Soccer season begins.
If the Ireland captain completes his move to Villa Park over the next few days, his debut could come on Jan. 14 against Everton — the team Donovan has just joined on loan for the same period.
“We are certainly pursuing it and, at the moment, both parties are keen,” said McLeish, who wants the move concluded by Monday.
Keane is currently training with his former club, Tottenham. He scored three goals for the
Galaxy in the 2011 season and helped Ireland qualify for this year’s European Championship.
“Robbie has got massive experience as a striker. That’s first and foremost. He is a great
character as well,” McLeish said. “Players can enlighten the dressing room as well, and these factors are all so important in this professional game.
“He is capable of hurting other teams with his team play. But, as it just so happens, he is also one of the brighter guys around football and has been for a long, long time.”
Keane has also played for Liverpool, Leeds, Coventry and West Ham in the Premier League, and also had a spell with Italian team Inter Milan in the 2000/01 season.
Thierry Henry is also trying to secure a move back to the Premier League during the MLS
offseason, with Arsenal set to confirm the signing of its former captain once an insurance
agreement is reached with the New York Red Bulls.