I’ll have more in Tuesday’s column.
*Could you see this one coming? I guess it’s the obvious end game of Chivas USA’s renewed philosophy on its Mexican heritage in a sense: respected former Anglo U.S. internationals and club youth coaches claim racial discrimination by the club and file a lawsuit.
*The U.S. and the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez got stomped by Belgium tonight, but coach Jurgen Klinsmann sounded positively upbeat: “I would rather play Belgium 10 more times than El Salvador 100 times because that is when you learn,” he said. School is in here.
*The LA Galaxy reserves lost tonight, too, in the U.S. Open Cup to the same minor league team that have ousted them before although I’m guessing the absent Bruce Arena doesn’t really care now that he won’t have to worry about midweek distractions and the annoyance of playing Chivas USA in the next round. Come to think of it, that applies to me, too. Game story here.
*Much rumored, but unseen Galaxy midfielder Frank Lampard scored for England to draw 1-1 with actual and oft-seen Ireland-led Galaxy striker Robbie Keane subbed out disappointingly relatively early on. Game story.
*The Galaxy announced today that the first-ever soccer games played at 51-year-old Dodger Stadium are set for Aug. 3 when Real Madrid plays either Everton or Juventus in a doubleheader with the Galaxy, which will take on one of those two latter teams in the second game of the night. The four teams are part of the west region of the previously announced Guinness International Champions Cup.
From the press release: Dodger Stadium has seen many legendary baseball moments through the years, while hosting more than 147 million fans since it opened its doors. Dodger Stadium has also played host to events such as the 1984 Olympic Games baseball competition, the 2009 World Baseball Classic Final, a Mass conducted by Pope John Paul II, concerts by the biggest names in the business like The Beatles, Michael Jackson and U2 as well as a basketball game and championship boxing match. These will be the first professional soccer games played and come January, 2014, the stadium will host its first National Hockey League game between the Kings and Ducks.
*Chivas USA came from behind to beat minor league outfit the LA Blues in Fullerton Tuesday night, but needed goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to help them at both ends of the field to secure the win.
The Goats will face the winner of tonight’s Carolina Railhawks-Galaxy match (live at 4 p.m. on Time Warner Cable) in the next round.
The eight-team tournament, which various sources began to report earlier this week, will also include Italian clubs Inter Milan and Juventus, as well as Real Madrid, while the other four participants will be named May 7.
The tournament opens July 27 in Europe. Los Angeles is scheduled to host a semifinal the weekend of Aug. 3-4.
Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer will televise 11 of the tournament’s 12 games live, including the Aug. 7 final, in one of its final events before folding after losing EPL and MLS broadcast rights in recent months.
“It is an honor for the Galaxy to be able to represent Major League Soccer against some of the world’s top clubs in the inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup,” Galaxy President Chris Klein said, “Our fans are accustomed to seeing their team take on the world’s elite club teams in summer friendlies and we are excited to be able to continue that tradition here in the Southern California as well as in other cities throughout the United States.”
Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl has the heartwarming story of a Southern California man whose special relationship with Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was cultivated over years of volunteering with the world famous club during its now annual training camps at UCLA.
Read it here.
In a document to be assessed by soccer’s rule-makers on Saturday, FIFA has reversed its previous stance that referees could be undermined
if the results from the high-tech aids were revealed.
FIFA will allow leagues, such as Major League Soccer to decide whether to use replays that are shown to fans. However, referees will have the power to ignore the goal-line decisions.
“The question of whether and how replays are shown on TV or on an LED screen in a stadium should be one of the first discussion points when starting the implementation of goal-line technology in a competition,” says a FIFA document on the implementation of goal-line technology.
English FA General Secretary Alex Horne said he would welcome television viewers being able to see how a device ruled on a disputed goal.
Goal-line technology had divided meetings of soccer’s rule-making panel for years until FIFA President Sepp Blatter reversed his opposition and it was officially sanctioned last July.
The big decisions will now center on which goal-line technology systems to use.
As FIFA’s leadership was arriving in Edinburgh, the organization announced on Friday that a fourth system had been licensed. GoalControl-4D, which uses seven high-speed cameras aimed at each goalmouth, joins another camera-based system, Hawk-Eye, and two other projects — GoalRef and Cairos — which use magnetic field technology to judge if the ball crossed the line.
All four systems meet FIFA’s requirement that a signal is transmitted to the referee’s watch within one second if a goal should be awarded.
Hawk-Eye and GoalRef were approved last year and used at the Club World Cup in Japan in December. FIFA has invited tenders for selection to be used at the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June and the 2014 World Cup.
Domestic competitions are also racing to introduce technology, with the English Premier League on course for systems to be installed by the new season in August.
Horne said the Community Shield, the season curtain raiser at Wembley in August between the FA Cup winners and Premier League champions, will be the first time technology is used officially in a match in England.
But FIFA also disclosed in its latest document that referees harboring doubts about the accuracy of technology in a particular stadium can decide up to 45 minutes before kickoff to switch it off.
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar has more:
GENEVA (AP) — Lionel Messi can break another soccer record on Monday by being selected the world’s best player for an unprecedented fourth time.
The Barcelona and Argentina forward, who scored 91 goals in 2012, is the favorite to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or prize ahead of club teammate Andres Iniesta and rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.
A fourth straight title would lift Messi above FIFA World Player of the Year three-time winners Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo of Brazil.
Since the original Ballon d’Or was launched in 1956 as a European award, Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten also earned a hat trick of titles.
The U.S. gold medal-winning team at the London Olympics could dominate the women’s awards at FIFA’s annual gala ceremony.
Forwards Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan are competing with five-time winner Marta of Brazil for best player, and former coach Pia Sundhage is favored to be selected best coach of a women’s team ahead of two male rivals: Norio Sasaki of silver-medalist Japan and Bruno Bini of France.
Wambach, who finished third in the FIFA voting last year, and Morgan seek to become the first American winner since Mia Hamm got the 2002 award. Wambach scored five goals at the Olympics and Morgan got three as the U.S. took its third straight gold medal. Marta’s Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Japan.
Sundhage, who has since returned home to coach Sweden’s women’s national team, is favored after losing out on the award last year to Sasaki after Japan won the World Cup.
Victory for Messi would fuel renewed debate over how his talent compares with Pele and Diego Maradona, whose careers were over or peaked before FIFA started its award in 1991. The South American greats were never eligible for the old Ballon d’Or run by France Football magazine. The awards merged in 2010.
“(Michael) Jordan dominated his sport and Messi dominates this one,” former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said last year, in comparing his protege to the basketball icon.
Iniesta starred at the European Championship last summer as Spain’s relentless passing game won a third straight major tournament title.
Ronaldo, the 2008 FIFA award winner and twice runner-up to Messi, impressed with prolific scoring to help Madrid take away Barcelona’s Spanish league title, then carried Portugal to the Euro 2012 semifinals.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is a candidate for the men’s coaching award, along with the Madrid-Barcelona duo of Jose Mourinho and Guardiola, who left the Catalan club in May.
The four main awards were voted on by coaches and captains of national teams worldwide, plus invited journalists. The votes were filed in November before Messi gained yet more praise in his successful pursuit of Gerd Mueller’s milestone of 85 goals in a calendar year.
Messi’s total included 79 for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina, to overtake Mueller’s tally for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.
“I’m delighted for him,” Mueller said. “He is an incredible player, gigantic. He’s such a nice and modest professional.”
Messi also answered criticism that he underachieves for Argentina with five goals in five World Cup qualifiers and impressive hat-tricks in exhibitions against Brazil and Switzerland.
Ronaldo scored 46 goals in Madrid’s title march and would have boosted his Ballon d’Or claim by leading Portugal to win Euro 2012, where opposing fans often taunted him by chanting Messi’s name.
Iniesta excelled in the final as Spain silenced critics of its possession play to beat Italy 4-0 in the most lop-sided result of any World Cup or European Championship final.
All three Ballon d’Or nominees will likely be named in a World XI lineup chosen by the FIFPro group of players’ unions comprising around 50,000 members worldwide.
Brazil star Neymar seeks a repeat victory in the Puskas Award given to the best goal of the year, offering consolation for again missing out on the Ballon d’Or shortlist. FIFA President Sepp Blatter acknowledged that it is difficult for players based outside Europe to attract voters’ attention.
Neymar is nominated on a three-goal shortlist for a spectacular solo effort for Santos, dribbling past several Internacional opponents in March.
Radamel Falcao scored an acrobatic volley for Atletico Madrid against America de Cali in an exhibition in May, and Miroslav Stoch of Fenerbahce struck with a volley in a Turkish league game against Genclerbirligi in March. Fans voted online from 10 candidates proposed by FIFA.