Vegas bookies: LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders are MLS Cup favorites

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OK, that’s not too much of a stretch considering the finish to the last MLSseason.

Still, here are the complete odds courtesy of Bovada:

LA Galaxy 10/3

Seattle Sounders 5/1

New England Revolution 8/1

DC United 8/1

Real Salt Lake 10/1

New York City FC 14/1

Toronto FC 14/1

New York Red Bulls 14/1

Columbus Crew 16/1

FC Dallas 20/1

Sporting Kansas City 20/1

Orlando City 20/1

Portland Timbers 25/1

Vancouver Whitecaps 28/1

Chicago Fire 40/1

Colorado Rapids 50/1

Houston Dynamo 50/1

Montreal Impact 50/1

Philadelphia Union 50/1

San Jose Earthquakes 50/1

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Weekly soccer column: MLS expansion, new TV rights deal and new DP’s herald 20th season

Assuming there is no player strike, MLS will kick off its 20th season in Southern California Friday at StubHub Center when the Galaxy plays the Chicago Fire.

Read more on the new MLS season in this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column, which you can read online now and in print across the Los Angeles Newspaper Group on Thursdays instead of Tuesdays from now on.

And just to get you in an MLS mood, check out the videos below.

While I don’t yet see a Chicago Fire MLS season preview, check out the higlights of the Fire’s pre-season friendly last weekend against the Vancouver Whitecaps:

Notable: The Fire finished pre-season unbeaten at 1-0-4, including a scoreless draw against Norwich City and a 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers during a tour of England.

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LA Galaxy mark secondary jersey unveiling Tuesday with soccer on the sand and Manhattan Beach happy hour ahead of Friday’s MLS opener

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Major League Soccer’s week-long unveiling of new club jerseys continues from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Simmzy’s in Manhattan Beach with a “Blue on Blue Meetup”:

Open to the public, fans can join Galaxy players for beach soccer and a happy hour at Simmzy’s with appetizer and drink specials.

The Galaxy’s Blue on Blue secondary kit features the club’s various shades of blue on both the jersey and pants, with yellow shown on the kit’s sleeves. During the 2015 MLS Regular Season, the club will wear the secondary kits over the course of their 34-game season.

The calendar is available here.

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Weekly Soccer Column: Plenty of LAFC MLS stadium renderings out there, actual venue sites not so much

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Of all the artist's conceptions for possible LAFC stadium concepts, the one above is my favorite: Southern Californians frolicking at a pool complete with fake beach oblivious to the on-going game that seems to inadvertently sum up just how important the sport itself is to the whole lifestyle/entertainment experience of the event(note that renderings like this have since been removed from the firms' website).

Given that the decision of where in the region to locate the proposed stadium, may just be the most crucial one its cadre of two dozen owners or so will make.

Read more in this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

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Weekend Video Rewind: LA Galaxy have luck of the Irish in win over Shamrock Rovers in Dublin

Bottom line: The Galaxy beat Shamrock Rovers on a fortunate deflection off an opposing defender in the 1-0 win Saturday in the Dublin friendly that was a homecoming for Eire captain Robbie Keane.

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LA Galaxy continued pre-season drinking, um, training in Dublin ahead of today’s 11:30 a.m. friendly against Sweden’s Hammarby that will be streamed live online

GalaxyGuinnessDublin native Robbie Keane welcomes Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Juninho to his hometown by pouring a traditional Irish beverage for his teammates while the Galaxy continue MLS preseason preparations in Europe.

Swedish native Stefan Ishizaki and the Galaxy meet Sweden’s Hammarby, a fellow AEG-owned club, in their first MLS pre-season tune-up that will stream live today beginning at 10 a.m. here.

Over the weekend some members of the Galaxy received a tour of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin while they continue to (ahem) build fitness ahead of the March 6 MLS opener in Carson against the Chicago Fire.

The Galaxy will play Shamrock Rovers in Dublin Saturday before returning home from their 11-day European sojurn (no broadcast info available for that game yet).

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Weekly Soccer Column: Reeling from criticism after string of poor results, U.S. seeks to rebound Sunday in Carson against Panama

clintstubhub Striker Clint Dempsey, above, and his USMNT teammates, training Monday in Carson, are seeking a new start to the new year Sunday at StubHub Center after a string of poor results culminated in a road loss last weekend to Chile to begin a pivotal 2015 (Photos by Staff Photographer Robert Casillas).

USMNT Jurgen Klinsmann, despite being taken to task by MLS Commissioner Don Garber for his criticism of the league and how it dovetails with the aspirations of U.S. Soccer, continued Monday to point out the shortcomings of American soccer culture ahead of Sunday’s clash with Panama in Carson.

“The (foreign) teams that have peer pressure in their environment allow themselves to drop 10 or 20 percent not 30 or 40 percent; that is the difference with what we deal with in the aftermath of the World Cup,” he said. “Their club environment puts them back on their toes. … Our players are not there yet educationally or mentally to understand the dynamic so they lose their spots on their European teams or they drop 30 or 40 percent in MLS.”

For more on Sunday’s U.S.-Chile game Sunday in Carson, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

BradleyStubHub USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley wasn’t interested in talking to all of three reporters Monday at the USMNT training camp in Carson. Will he do his talking on the field?

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LA Galaxy sanctions fan group Angel City Brigade for their conduct

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acbmeetThe heavy-handed LA Galaxy have come down hard on fan group Angel City Brigade for scenes like the picture at top the club believes is disruptive.

That has translated into an ACB ban for the first eight games of the season — four at home and four on the road — on flags, drums and banners and other tifo displays. Streamers are banned for the entire 2015 season.

Here’s how ACB put it in an email today to its members and others on their mailing list:

“It is our unfortunate responsibility to inform you that yesterday the Galaxy FO officially sanctioned us for throwing streamers during the game at last year’s MLS Cup final and what they deemed as a year filled with incidents.

 

We want to make it clear, that disrupting the field of play by throwing objects on the field is never ok. However we strongly feel that extending the punishment beyond the scope of streamers is truly unjust.

 

In addition to the streamer issue, much of their rational for these restrictions are from the past; actions that we believed were already sorted and settled (smoke throughout the season for example). Changing the rules midway through the season without notification is simply unethical.

 

We were already penalized for the smoke incidents last season, and now this “encompassing” punishment is penalizing us again. We are truly shocked and disappointed by the severity of the FO’s actions!

 

We will be discussing this at our board meeting on Saturday and ask that all supporters come to help us take the best possible course of action.

 

If you are unable to make it or are not an ACB supporter, but have an opinion, please write to angelcitybrigade121@gmail.com and we will read your thoughts and opinions at the meeting.

 

If you would like to express your displeasure to the Galaxy/MLS please feel free to reach out to Sid Patel, the manager of business development at spatel@lagalaxy.com.”

A couple of questions immediately spring to mind:

  • Why is the club coming down so hard on some of its most loyal and ardent supporters?
  • Won’t this actually hurt the club on the field by neutralizing this kind of fanatical support?
  • How would the fan-oriented Seattle Sounders have handled this?
  • Finally, the above picture of fans throwing streamers was actually taken from the club’s own website. So the club appears to be at once celebrating and drawing attention to this kind of support and then handing out punishment for it. Isn’t that a tad hypocritical? I have emailed this post to Sid Patel. We’ll see if he responds.
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