EPL Weekend Preview: Emotional final game live at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on NBCSN for Liverpool veteran Steven Gerrard before he heads to the LA Galaxy

stevieLiverpool have created a “digital tribute” to LA Galaxy-bound Gerrard on the club’s website (Photo Courtesy Liverpool FC).

A Google search this morning yielded almost 1,000 hits for articles about Steven Gerrard, one reason why tickets are going for big prices in England this week for his final game at storied Anfield.

Here’s a sampling:

Read more about the weekend’s EPL games here.

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LA Galaxy II to host Ventura County Fusion Wednesday in second round of U.S. Open Cup

Galaxy2logoThe Ventura County Fusion’s penalty kick victory Wednesday over amateur Thousand Oaks-based Cal FC has earned them a 7:30 p.m. matchup against the Galaxy’s reserve team.

On the same night the Galaxy II beat the Tulsa Roughnecks 2-0 behind goals from Jack McBean and Ariel Lassiter for their fourth straight win.

The winner meets the victor of the Orange County Blues FC-PSA Elite clash on May 27.

Tickets are $10, while parking is free, beer and tacos are $2 apiece and kids 12 and under get in free.

Here’s a summary of the Fusion win from U.S. Soccer:

Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 3, Cal FC (USASA) 3 (Ventura County Fusion wins 6-5 on penalty kicks)

In another wild affair, Ventura County Fusion struck first through Carlos Martinez in the 14th minute.

Playing against his former team, Danny Barrera equalized from distance on the hour mark, but Javier Castro’s 39th minute strike would take the Fusion into halftime up 2-1. Just five minutes into the second frame, Chris Cummings again equalized for Cal FC; however, just a minute after entering the match, Ventura County substitute Julian Zamora would put the home side ahead 3-2 in the 63rd minute.

Cal FC continued to press for one more equalizer and found it through Edgar Espinoza, whose 89th minute tally sent the match to extra time. The teams traded chances in the additional frame, but penalty kicks would be required. Cal FC’s Bryan Hill stood tall to turn away two shots, while Ventura County’s Justin Vom Steeg saved one, but as the tiebreaker extended to sudden death, Espinoza put his eighth round penalty high, giving the Fusion a 6-5 penalty kick decision.

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New Los Angeles MLS club hires chief operating officer Carl Schloessman

lafc

Actual news from LAFC — the working title of the expansion MLS team announced last year after the demise of Chivas USA — has been a little thin on the ground, but the franchise announced today it had hired Carl Schloessman as chief operating officer.

Schloessman has spent more than six years as executive vice president of sales and marketing with LA-based Live Nation Entertainment, the parent company of Ticketmaster and Live Nation Concerts.

From the press release:

Schloessman will be responsible for all revenue and operations for the new Major League Soccer club, including all income generating initiatives, such as sponsorships and naming rights, as well product development, team merchandising, marketing, sales, ticket pricing and other revenue fulfillment programs.

Schloessman apparently isn’t the face of the franchise that still has no official name, colors or stadium site — no picture of him accompanied the press release — but is the first high-profile executive hired outside by its large ownership group.

Nor is he being hired for his knowledge of soccer.

“Carl is a world-class leader and expert in live entertainment and sports,” said Tom Penn, LAFC president and owner. “His extensive knowledge and experience in the Los Angeles market will be invaluable to LAFC as we near a decision on our new stadium.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said recently a stadium site should be announced within the next few months, although it appears USC is the favored site for the club that will begin play in 2017.

“The opportunity to build a top-tier MLS Club in Los Angeles from the ground up is unparalleled,” Schloessman said.

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Video Weekend Rewind: U.S. Women’s National Team Mother’s Day Surprise, Big D for LA Galaxy in Dallas

moms(Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer)

The result was not surprising, the occasion was Sunday for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team in the Bay Area.

Next for the USWNT: Against Mexico 6 p.m. Sunday at StubHub Center in Carson. I will have more on the game in Thursday’s weekly soccer column.

Meanwhile, a disappointing week came to a disappointing end for the Galaxy in Dallas Saturday, where they surrendered a late goal and all three points.

Coach Bruce Arena took the blame:

“We didn’t do well at the end of the game, the last 15 minutes or so, and that’s my responsibility,” he said. “When a team plays that poorly on the road, they’re not well coached. We blew a lot of points this week. We could have walked away with maybe six points this week, instead we walk away with one, and that’s my responsibility. I have not done a good job with this team to get them tactically right at the end of games.”

That’s a dozen road games without a win now. Robbie Keane has missed the last six games through injury, while Arena made five changes to the starting XI. Is it too early in the year to look at the MLS standings?

Next for the Galaxy: Against Orlando at 2 p.m. Sunday in Florida live on ESPN.

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LA Galaxy sign West Ham United “flop” and San Francisco native Sebastian Lletget

seb

Sebastian Lletget, a U.S. youth international who managed all of one FA Cup appearance with England’s West Ham United signed with the LA Galaxy today as rumored for the last couple of days.

The 22-year-old midfielder cost the Galaxy $50,000 in allocation money to buy his rights from the New England Revolution; no word on whether the London club wanted to move him off the payroll as the end of the English season nears or received transfer money, too.

The Sun, one of England’s most sensational tabloids, branded Lletget “a flop” after his lone appearance for the Hammers, a 5-0 loss.

“Sebastian is a young, talented attacking player who we think can find success in our team,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said.

(Translation: Especially given the lack of creativity in the center of the park for the Galaxy so far this season).

He joined West Ham way back in 2009 and has also played for the U.S. USMNT U-17, U-20 and U-23 teams.

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MLS Rewind: LA Galaxy miss PK in stoppage time and fail to punish Real Salt Lake in drab 0-0 draw


Game story.

The Galaxy extended their unbeaten streak to five despite missing a stoppage time penalty on the road gifted to them by two atrocious Real Salt Lake errors in yet another “ugly” game (if I hear or see that one more time I am going to….fill in the blank).

Quotable:

“It wasn’t very good,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said for the umpteenth time this season. “But it wasn’t crazy.”

Notable:

Forward Robbie Keane missed his fifth-straight match with an injury.

Tweet Time:

Bottom Line:

“We’ll take the point and get out of here,” Arena said.

Next for the Galaxy: FC Dallas at 5:30 p.m. Saturday live on 5:30 p.m. PT broadcast live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

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Weekly Soccer Column: Ghastly LA Galaxy overshadowed by magic of Lionel Messi and other high-quality events on sports landscape

messigoalBarca Bombs Bayern: Lionel Messi and Barcelona were rampant Wednesday in all but gutting Bayern Munich’s UEFA Champions League hopes with a masterful 3-0 win over a quality opponent that left the jaws of even cynical soccer reporters dropping (Associated Press photo).

I’d like to thank Lionel Messi and Barcelona for eloquently making the case for my weekly 100 Percent Soccer column in today’s UEFA Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich where the quality of soccer on display was quite simply stunning.

Next up later today: Lowly Real Salt lake against a LA Galaxy team nowhere near firing on all cylinders.

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