No English Premier League this weekend? No problem as European Qualifying action takes center stage

Recommended viewing:

6 p.m. Friday Brazil-Colombia on BeIn Sports
10 a.m. Saturday Ivory Coast-Sierra Leone on BeIn Sports (featuring former MLS player Kei Kamara of Lawndale)
6 p.m. Saturday Mexico-Chile on UniMas
11:30 a.m. Sunday Portugal-Albania on ESPN2
11:30 a.m. Sunday Germany-Scotland on Fox Sports 1
11:30 a.m. Monday Switzerland-England on Fox Sports 1
11:30 a.m. Tuesday Norway-Italy on Fox Sports 1

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LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane and Ireland to face U.S. National Team Nov. 18 in Dublin

The game will kickoff at 11:45 a.m. with TV information to be announced at a later date.

“We are absolutely thrilled to finish our work in 2014 with a game against Ireland,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “They are consistently a difficult team to play against, and we welcome these types of challenges as we continue to move our team forward towards the Gold Cup next year.”

More from the U.S. Soccer press release:

Ireland has been drawn into Group D of qualifying for the 2014 European Championship, along with 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany. The Irish will face Scotland in qualifying action four days prior to hosting the United States. LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane is the team’s captain and its all-time leader in appearances (134) and goals (62).

The USA holds a 2-4-2 record against Ireland in a series dating back to 1924. This is the first meeting since April 17, 2002, in Dublin, where the Irish collected a 2-1 win.

The U.S. will also play the Czech Republic Sept. 3 in Prague in its first post-World Cup game.

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Major League Soccer Monday Video Rewind: Galaxy dominate wooden Timbers in Carson, few see Chivas USA lose again

On a Saturday afternoon when the eyes of most American soccer fans was on Michigan and the spectacle of the largest crowd ever to see a game in this country, the LA Galaxy burnished their MLS Cup credentials with a dominating performance over the Portland Timbers before just a touch over 20,000 at almost exactly the same time in Carson.

In contrast, Chivas USA couldn’t even attract a crowd exceeding 4,000 to the StubHub Center Sunday in a loss to FC Dallas that further underlines the club’s sad slide to irrelevance.

Meanwhile, a crowd of almost 50,000 watched the San Jose Earthquakes do the Galaxy a huge favor by knocking off the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders, tightening the playoff race in the division ahead of Friday’s game in the South Bay against LA.

I’ll take a look at the Galaxy’s season so far in Tuesday’s column as we reach the halfway point of the season with the MLS All-Star Game set for Wednesday in Portland.

Check out the highlights of the Galaxy game:

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World Cup Countdown: LA Galaxy-Chivas USA, USMNT-Nigeria highlight soccer TV weekend

SuperClasicoposter14Who knew there were any skyscrapers in suburban Carson? (I kid; the poster will be on sale at the game Sunday at StubHub Center with proceeds benefiting charity).

The Galaxy will face a Chivas USA team Sunday desperately adrift in MLS before making way for the World Cup for a couple of weeks.  It’s a doubleheader: LA Galaxy II (7-2-3) host the Dayton Dutch Lions (2-6-2) after the main event on the same field.

Other MLS games may offer more exciting options especially since it is a free MLS Live trial weekend. (if you haven’t seen a game on the MLS iPad app, you’re missing a thing of beauty. Check it out).

There’s a trio of international games today I’m watching:

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TV Doubleheader Soccer Sunday Video Preview: USMNT, LA Galaxy

While you’re hanging around the house awaiting game 7 of the Kings series with a Stanley Cup berth at stake (5 p.m. NBCSN), there’s a Sunday soccer doubleheader made for Southern California: at 11 a.m. on ESPN2 the U.S. plays Turkey, followed by the Galaxy renewing acquaintances with Mike Magee and the Chicago Fire at 1 p.m. on TWCSN.

Oh, and reporter Phil Collin watched the latest Chivas USA loss last night in Carson, so we didn’t have to. Boxscore.

 

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World Cup Countdown: Tournament TV Tune-ups a plenty


Croatia-Mali is on live as I write this for those of you with GOLTV, while other viewing options this weekend include:

  • 11:30 a.m. Saturday ESPN Deportes Portugal-Greece
  • Noon Saturday BeIN Sports Italy-Ireland
  • Noon Saturday Univision and ESPN News Mexico-Ecuador
  • 11 a.m. Sunday ESPN2 USA-Turkey
  • 11:30 a.m. Sunday Univision Deportes and ESPN3 Germany-Cameroon
  • 2 p.m. Sunday Univision Deportes and ESPN3 France-Paraguay
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Weekly Soccer Column: “Next Goal Wins”

An independently-produced documentary called “Next Goal Wins” opens Friday in Los Angeles.

Ostensibly, it is about a ragtag team of lovable losers seeking to attain their collective dream of actually winning a game after a decade of losses including a world record 31-0 World Cup qualifying loss four years earlier.

But there is a larger story in play here in this sweet modest movie as I write in this week’s column.

Also, local soccer clubs and other groups can organize fundraising screenings of the movie. For more information, click here.

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Manchester United return to Southern California in July to play the LA Galaxy in Pasadena

The Galaxy will face England’s most storied club, Manchester United, at 7:30 p.m. July 23 at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl for the first time ever in the club’s inaugural game of its U.S. tour, the club’s announced today.

“The club has been visiting Los Angeles since 1950 and this match provides a great opportunity for us to engage with our fans in this region,” said Manchester United Group Managing Director Richard Arnold. “The popularity of soccer in the US continues to strengthen and Major League Soccer and LA Galaxy have been fundamental to this.”

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. April 22.

United last visited the LA area in 2003 (was it really that long ago?) when two goals by Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan and another by Ruud van Nistelrooy was enough to see off Club America 3-1 at the Coliseum.

The club will also play Roma July 26 in Denver, Inter Milan July 29 in Washington D.C. and Real Madrid Aug. 2 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Galaxy haven’t played at their old home since 2010 when they played Real Madrid.

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CONCACAF Champions League Video Highlights: LA Galaxy go to the dogs in Tijuana against Xolos

The Galaxy’s failure to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday in Tijuana was magnified by the manner of the 4-2 aggregate loss: LA conceded two goals inside nine minutes and a third inside the opening half hour.

That quick 3-1 turnaround from a 1-0 lead going into the game meant the Galaxy were never likely to overcome such a deadly opening salvo against class opposition even if on paper the away goals rule meant progression in the tournament was as tantalizingly close as just one more goal.

In practice however that was never likely with Club Tijuana clearly superior to the Galaxy on their familiar fake field before zealous fans even if Galaxy coach Bruce Arena sounded unwilling to publicly proclaim how much better the hosts were than the MLS outfit.

“It wasn’t our intention to make this game entertaining but it certainly became an entertaining game — our first half play was awful right from the start,” Arena said. “We didn’t win a tackle, our backline was very poor. Let’s be fair, we weren’t good. How good they were I don’t know. They were certainly better than we were.”

Landon Donovan was far more honest about just how shocked the Galaxy were at the opening turn of events that blew their game plan out of the water right away:

“It’s hard to explain,” he said of what occurred. “I don’t know what happened to be honest. We seemed ready, we seemed prepared and we spoke about how we wanted to approach the game, but then one ball bounce around in the box and we weren’t alert, then the next thing you know, we were down a goal. Then we didn’t pay well and we’re okay for a minutes, but they got the second goal and it became more and more difficult. It took us till halftime to recuperate and get ourselves going again. We gave it a good effort, but it wasn’t enough.”

Perhaps Robbie Keane summed it up best: the Galaxy were simply DOA, quickly letting down the sizable contingent of traveling fans:

“The game was over in the first 10 minutes,” keane said. “It’s as simple as that. We started off slow and when you concede a goal in the space of 57 seconds, you can’t start away from home like that especially in a game like this and go on and expect that everything is going to be okay.”

No, you can’t.

Next up for the Galaxy: Real Salt Lake Saturday in Utah.

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