LA Galaxy face Club Tijuana tonight in Carson in CONCACAF Champions League

http://youtu.be/jw67cU70GbA

Former Galaxy striker Alan Gordon of Long Beach rose for a late, trademark header Tuesday as the San Jose Earthquakes tied Mexico’s Toluca in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.

That was San Jose’s first competitive game of 2014 and now the Galaxy will face Mexican opposition  — Club Tijuana — in just their second game of the season.

Can you imagine if major European clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City — who meet at 12:30 p.m. today in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 clash on Fox Sports 1 — were asked to do the same thing?

For more, read this week’s column and see what passes for trash talking in CONCACAF here.

 

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Tuesday Kicks: Mexico’s Jorge Campos and other retired greats to play in Los Angeles and more

*Exhibition games involving Latin American clubs and players have a spotty history of actually happening (to put it mildly) in Los Angeles, so buyer beware, but an April 26  indoor game featuring retired stars from Mexico and El Salvador was announced today at a press conference at the Coliseum.

Players will include former Galaxy greats Jorge Campos and Mauricio Cienfuegos, former Chivas USA stars Claudio Suarez and Ramon Ramirez and former D.C. United striker Raul Diaz Arce.

Tickets to ShowGoal Los Angeles, as it’s called, go on sale Thursday starting at $25.

*The Galaxy made their opponents look good this weekend on the field and off it. After Real Salt Lake left Southern California with a 1-0 Saturday, goalscorer Joao Plata earned the top spot in the Castrol Index and RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was ranked third after saving Robbie Keane’s penalty kick.

Chivas USA defender Bobby Burling, who scored the winner over the Chicago Fire Sunday, checked in at No. 6. The Castrol Index is here.

*Finally, Galaxy President Chris Klein was named to the Sports Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list.

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Preview: LA Galaxy faces AC Milan in Miami

guinnessThe Galaxy plays their third and final game of the Guinness International Champions Cup against AC Milan at 3:30 p.m. today on Fox Soccer with third place in the eight-team tournament at stake.

Possible lineups are here.

Real Madrid and Chelsea follow at 6 p.m. on Fox Soccer  in the final before an expected crowd of 70,000.

Inter Milan defeated Juventus last night in Miami.

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Inglewood’s Villarreal has night to remember against Real Madrid

If you’re a young American striker looking to make his mark on the game, there are few better clubs to score against even in a losing effort in a exhibition game. Check out his goal above and his fearless attitude below that speaks volumes for his potential.

In the night’s other Guiness International Champions Cup game, Chelsea disposed of Inter Milan:

 

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International Champions Cup Preview: Real Madrid and Galaxy in Arizona tonight

iccbracket*The Galaxy and Real Madrid are in Arizona tonight (live at 7 o’clock on Fox Soccer) for the Guinness International Champions Cup, while Chelsea and Inter Milan play at 5 p.m. on the same channel in the same competition.

Unless the Galaxy beat the Spanish giants for the first time in five attempts tonight they are likely to play Juventus in the nightcap Saturday at Dodger Stadium based on the result of last night’s game in the Bay Area, while Real Madrid and Everton face off in the earlier game that Fox will air live. Incidentally, a certain Real Madrid player was on hand at Dodger Stadium last night (and no, it wasn’t Gareth Bale just yet) where preparations for Saturday’s game are well under way.

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The last time Real Madrid played at a baseball stadium where the Dodgers once played….

Was at beloved Ebberts Field in Brooklyn in July 1959 at the former home stadium of the Dodgers (who had fled to LA two years earlier), according to the Society for American Baseball Research (scroll to the bottom of the article for a list of the soccer games played at the venue).

It was actually two games a few days apart.

Here’s more from the Real Madrid website:

In 1959 Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento led a history-making squad that had won four consecutive European Cups. They would win their fifth that same season, but the team returned to the United States first. President Santiago Bernabeu’s Real Madrid made history again by playing on the baseball field of the former Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers). The Whites thrashed Austrian team Graker 2-6, following the win with a match against a squad of Austrian-Hungarian exiles living in America. The Whites picked up another win (0-8) in front of 26,000 spectators.

And yes, it appears that Real Madrid got the name of their Austrian opponent incorrect in the article, which was likely Sturm Graz.

For those who may not know, Real Madrid will play at Dodgers Stadium Saturday in the opening game of a doubleheader that will be aired live on Fox.

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Rosters released for Guinness International Champions Cup

The big names are all there from the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus, Everton and the Galaxy (and the other participants, too, but these are the four teams that will play an Aug. 3 doubleheader at Dodger Stadium as part of the tournament): Alonso, Ozil, Ronaldo, Buffon, Howard, Donovan, Keane (if you need these players’ first names, I’m guessing you won’t be rushing to buy a ticket).

Of course, expect to see many of these stars for 45 minutes or so per game as they work themselves into shape for the new European season.

For the complete rosters and more information on the tournament, click here.

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Golden Kicks: Gold Cup, Golden State Kickabout & more

saccanaryFanboy: Why the 100 Percent Soccer blog was on hiatus.

Before I was a journalist, I was a soccer fan.

Still am as this photograph taken last Thursday in front of the Capitol Building in Sacramento indicates.

I grew up supporting modest EPL team Norwich City and despite moving multiple times to different states and countries, I’ve remained loyal.

Last season was difficult to watch, as City struggled to remain in the EPL, with a long run of discouraging results not helping matters (Chivas USA fans, I know how you feel, in a sense).

Still, I hadn’t seen City play live since the club visited Seattle back in the mid-1980s, so I jumped at the chance for a little soccer and craft brewery road trip, mixing in a Thursday game in front of a capacity crowd at Sacramento’s Raley Field against Mexican second tier opposition and one the following Saturday in San Jose against the Earthquakes at one of my favorite venues, Buckshaw Stadium.

In truth, the experience was much better than the actual quality of play on the field with City slow and out of shape, while clearly coming to grips with an influx of new players.

It’s precisely why preseason games are strictly for hardcore fans.

While I was roving the state, the Galaxy got back on the winning track (conceding an early goal is always better than conceding a late one), Chivas USA actually won a game against a team even worse than they are and Landon Donovan was drawing rave reviews for his play with the the U.S. at the Gold Cup.

Oh, and the Galaxy signed a 30-something French player from Chivas USA, which smacks of grasping at straws to me to deal with on-going midfield issues Robbie Rogers has yet to solve, but coach Bruce Arena likes known, veteran quantities he hopes to squeeze a little more out of.

Gold Cup action resumes tonight in Texas with both the U.S. and Mexico in action.

Me? I’ll be watching my Canaries take on the Timbers in Portland in the final game of their U.S. tour.

 

 

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Keane dives to win PK, converts for undeserved LA Galaxy Independence Day win & more

There was no celebratory cartwheel.

No trademark faux six-shooter was brandished in a familiar victory salute in the wake of the winning LA Galaxy goal.

A suddenly businesslike Robbie Keane simply stood to acknowledge the importance of converting the penalty kick for the winning goal – his second from the spot in the final eight minutes of the game for a come from behind Galaxy win – if not the manner in which it was scored.

Because Keane clearly dived to secure the call, as the Columbus Crew pointed out to no avail, while Keane’s muted reaction and words after the goal spoke volumes:

“After the result on [Saturday] it’s important to get a win, no matter which way we did it,” he said. “I’m looking at the ball and someone comes into the back of (me). If someone runs into the back of you without you knowing the fact is you’re going to fall over.”

Look, I’m not necessarily faulting Keane’s professionalism.

As he said, he did what he needed to do to secure a win for a frankly substandard (yet again) Galaxy team that outplayed a poor Crew, but once again failed to put them away until Keane belatedly sealed the victory.

But the reality is, he dived, cheated if you like, because if he hadn’t the Galaxy would have left StubHub Center without a victory.

Next up for the Galaxy, FC Dallas at home Sunday, a team that played to a scoreless draw with Chivas USA on the same night.

Meanwhile, Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan is under the spotlight tonight in San Diego for the U.S. national team in a friendly against Guatemala that will also feature Los Angeles native and former Galaxy player Herculez Gomez.

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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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