Fourth of July holiday weekend kicks: Galaxy, USMNT & more

HDC_FireworksIt’s an incredibly busy long holiday weekend of soccer action in the area, but I will take the Fourth of July and beyond off for what I believe is the first time since the former Home Depot Center opened in 2003, which means no column Tuesday either.

While I will add links to this blog post when I’m not clutching a cold beverage, posting will be even more spotty than usual on a holiday weekend.

Before I go there’s time to note that:

*Four goals in four MLS games since joining the Chicago Fire has earned former Galaxy cult figure Mike Magee the MLS Player of the Month award. The MLS leading scorer led the Fire to an unbeaten 3-0-1 record in June since joining the club May 25. In contrast the Galaxy lost four games last month and only managed to beat lowly Chivas USA.

*The Galaxy have a chance to improve on that record with their annual Independence day game that features opponents the Columbus Crew, the former club of Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers, who replaced Magee on the LA roster.

*If you’ll be in San Diego for the holiday, check out the free U.S. national team training session open to the public ahead of Friday’s 8 p.m. friendly against Guatemala. Gate H at Qualcomm Stadium opens at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for the public.

*Heading to Pasadena Sunday for the Gold Cup opening doubleheader that includes Mexico? Don’t forget to wave:


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Weekly Soccer Column: Summer of soccer schedule, Carlos Bocanegra comes home to Southern California with Chivas USA


Dodger Stadium will host two soccer games this summer for the first time in the venue’s 51-year-old history (Daily Breeze file photo).

Read the column here.

For the complete Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League schedule mentioned in the column, click here.

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy’s Donovan named to Gold Cup roster & more

*As expected, Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan was named to the 23-player U.S. Gold Cup roster today and will link up with the squad Monday ahead of the July 5 game in San Diego against Guatemala. That means Donovan will miss at least three Galaxy games while he tries to impress with the U.S. “B” squad in an effort to win back his spot on the U.S. starting XI:

“When Landon came back in the end of March after the long break, he needed time to get back in a rhythm, get back in shape and work on his game again,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. I think now the process is on a good roll. He’s getting sharper every game and every week. We’ve watched his games and believe now is a good time to get him back into the National Team and give him the opportunity to prove his point. He knows that the group that played the World Cup Qualifiers is ahead of the curve and have a very strong position right now, and that he’s been observed by us and has to rebuild his case. We have all respect for what he has done in the past, but sports are about the present and about the future, and that’s what we are building on. We are really happy to have him back in the group, and he has the opportunity now to show where he’s at.”

*One player not on the roster who probably should be is former Galaxy striker Mike Magee, the leading MLS goalscorer who can’t stop popping balls in the back of the net now he’s with the Chicago Fire. He now has seven goals in seven Fire games.

*Galaxy midfielder Robbie Riogers, who grew up in Rolling Hills Estates, had this reaction to two landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday regarding marriage equality.

*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal and the U.S. Under-20 team were bounced out of the Under-20 World Cup today, losing 4-1 to previously winless Ghana.

*Meanwhile, Chivas USA is also facing the loss of a key player for an extended period of time.

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Former Galaxy striker Herculez Gomez joining Club Tijuana & more

xoloslogoThe Mexican club are expected to formally announce the latest addition to their growing American contingent later today.

If you plan to head to TJ to watch the LA native with the thousands of other Americans who regularly cross the border for games, however, read the last paragraph of the story.

At least Gomez, who like the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan was recently named to the pool of potential players for the Gold Cup, won’t have to travel far for the recently announced July 5 U.S.-Guatemala in San Diego ahead of the tournament.

Gomez, of course, is currently with the U.S. team in Jamaica ahead of Friday’s now even more critical World Cup qualifier for the hosts after last night’s loss to Mexico left them already dangerously adrift in the standings.

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Thursday Kicks: Donovan, Ruiz, Gold Cup & more

A few quick kicks:

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Rose Bowl sold out for Saturday’s Gold Cup final

The first of the two semifinals has not yet ended – U.S.-Panama is still on-going as I write this, – but CONCACAF officials have just announced that all 90,000 tickets have been sold at the Pasadena venue.

I’m guessing most of those buyers are not expecting a Panama-Honduras final, although the U.S. is currently tied 0-0 with about 25 minutes to go in the second half with the Central American nation it lost to earlier in the tournament. Mexico plays Honduras in the second game of today’s doubleheader.

There will be no ticket sales period at the Gold Cup final Saturday and CONCACAF officials are urging fans to arrive “very early” – before 4 p.m. – to ensure they see the opening kickoff. Even picking up previously ordered tickets on game day can be a challenge.

From the CONCACAF press release:

Fans arriving after 4 p.m. can expect a long walk to the stadium and may even possibly be late for the start of the match.

Fans are also encouraged to arrive early to enjoy Futbol Fiesta, a 120,000 sq. ft. interactive fan area featuring live music, interactive elements, giveaways and a beer garden. Futbol Fiesta will open at 2 p.m. in Area H on the South end of the Rose Bowl.

Finally, fans are encouraged to carpool or utilize alternative means of transportation like the Metro Gold Line or the Old Pasadena Shuttle Bus, which is free and begins service at 3 p.m. and runs until 90 minutes after the conclusion of the game.

Parking at the stadium is $20, but unless you’re planning to barbecue on the golf course I’d recommend the free shuttle, which is fast and convenient.

Oh, and temperatures are expected to hit 80 degrees in Pasadena Saturday.

The 6 p.m. game is live on Fox Soccer Channel and Univision.


The U.S. beat Panama 1-0 from a Clint Dempsey goal off a Landon Donovan cross (the Panamanian defender marking Dempsey really should have prevented that ball from reaching Dempsey on the far post).

The U.S. now awaits the winner of the Mexico-Honduras semifinal.

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Gold Cup Preview

Look, the Gold Cup is just another crap tournament (see SuperLiga) clogging up the soccer calendar designed to extract cash from fans’ pockets.

It’s played too often (let’s see it only every four years, please). Some teams, like the U.S., are fielding their B teams. And some players, such as Canadian international Dwayne DeRosario of Toronto FC, have opted to stay with their club teams instead.

If the participants aren’t taking it seriously, why should I? It will be marginally interesting to see if any players emerge as potential World Cup squad members when it comes to the U.S., but that’s about it.

The U.S. is allowed to add seven players to its roster because of the rigors of the Confederations Cup (not sure I get this since there are only four U.S. players named to the squads for both tournaments) and potentially those could be announced today ahead of a scheduled Bob Bradley teleconference with the media.

(Updated 9:15 a.m. And the players are (from the U.S. Soccer press release): Forwards Jozy Altidore and Conor Casey, midfielders Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan, defender Jonathan Bornstein and goalkeeper Brad Guzan will be eligible for selection during the tournament; however, the U.S. will not have all seven players present for each Gold Cup match. The exact schedule for these players will be announced as it becomes available. Only 18 players will be eligible to dress for any given game.).

Locally, we get all of two Gold Cup games on Friday when Canada plays Jamaica at 5 p.m. followed by El Salvador-Costa Rica at Home Depot Center. Tickets range from $20-$75 in advance and go up another $5 the day of the game.

Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who has 72 caps, was belatedly called in Wednesday by Jamaica. It’s possible he could play Friday for his country and Saturday for the Galaxy in their Independence Day game against the New England Revolution.

For more, read about:
* The doping scandal to hit Costa Rica.

The Canadian hopes.

El Salvador’s chances.

And Grenada, the U.S. opponents Saturday in Seattle.

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