MLS-All-Star Game tonight at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Full disclosure; I’m no fan of the artificial MLS All-Star game that frankly is a lot more about marketing than soccer as even Landon Donovan admits:

“I think this year I’m realizing more than ever how important this is,” Donovan said. “When you have the opportunity to promote our game and our league, we want to do it.”

I’m still not convinced a meaningless game like this will convert new fans, but at least the sole LA Galaxy participant sounds excited — for the sponsors. Still, at least soccer-mad Portland sounds up for the event even if the players involved have had little time to prepare.

However, I will follow the lead of selected, but absent Galaxy All-Stars Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane and skip the whole thing with an eye on Friday’s Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes game — just like those missing players from LA.

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Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy poised to take run at MLS Cup again

Galaxy

Could the Galaxy add to their back to back MLS Cup titles of a couple of years ago? Maybe.

But it’s clear after the disappointment of last season, no one is taking anything for granted including rising hotshot Gyasi Zardes who seems to have exactly the right attitude:

“I just take it in by day,” he said after Saturday’s game. “Now this game is over, I don’t look back. I don’t fantasize over all the goals I scored. I start looking at now. When I’m in the game, in that moment, in my head, I’m thinking ‘zero goals, nothing. ‘Prove myself.’”

Read more in this week’s column here.

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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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Major League Soccer Preview: LA Galaxy host Portland Timbers at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on NBC

While the Galaxy reportedly pursue former Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan, they make a rare TV network appearance Saturday almost exactly a month after drawing Portland 2-2 in Carson before a sellout Independence Day crowd.

The Timbers are seeking to move into a playoff spot with a win that would give the club the first three-game winning streak in history against the Galaxy, who have moved up to third in the Western Conference after their road win in Seattle last time out.

In related news, Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal, 20, has returned from his loan stint with Cruz Azul and has joined younger brother Jaime on the LA Galaxy II roster.

The USL Pro team plays the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at 4 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be streamed at the club’s website.

Meanwhile, Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto is heading to a U.S. U-23 camp in the Bahamas along with two Southern California products who are with Mexican clubs.

Saturday Update

Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, but not Landon Donovan, withdrew from Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game roster because the Galaxy plays San Jose in Carson Friday, two days after the annual exhibition game.

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Trade rumors: Who will the LA Galaxy acquire after getting rid of defender Kofi Opare today?

After dealing lightly used defender Kofi Opare to D.C. United the day after Monday’s 3-0 road win over Seattle, coach Bruce Arena admitted on the club’s website he is positioning the club to make an acquisition, prompting a round of speculation on Twitter:

The speculation has begun because despite the dominant win over the Sounders Sunday — which may have more to do with a unexpected Seattle collapse, than anything else — the Galaxy have proven wildly inconsistent so far this season and were actually out of the Western Conference playoff spots in the tight division until the impressive road performance.

But in recent days the Galaxy have jettisoned Opare and his $48,500 salary as well as Brazilian forward Samuel and his $50,000 wage packet.

Could the likes of central defender Leonardo (not a fan favorite, to put it mildly) and his $105,000 salary be next as well as perhaps veteran left back Todd Dunivant, ($160,750) who is seemingly being supplanted because of injuries and age by the younger Robbie Rogers, who has made the Galaxy a greater attacking threat out of the back after switching from a winger role? And, let’s not forget DP Omar Gonzalez, who still harbors European ambitions, despite the World Cup not being quite the shop window he may have envisioned.

The key question: just what will moving up in the allocation order do for the Galaxy.

Thoughts?: Comments? (More) speculation?

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Reaction: Will the 7-0 LA Galaxy mauling by Manchester United help, harm or make no difference to MLS?

Image

Will the lopsided Wednesday night game at the Rose Bowl (and elsewhere in other games between clubs in the two leagues) help or hinder MLS’ efforts to broaden its fan base? Discuss:

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Nationally Televised English Premier League-Major League Soccer Doubleheader today includes 8 p.m. Manchester United-LA Galaxy finale at Rose Bowl

The Sporting-Kansas City-Manchester City game is live at 6 p.m. on ESPN2

More on the Galaxy-United game is here.

Other televised games today include:
4:30 p.m. Liverpoool-Roma on NBCSN from Boston

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Weekly Soccer Column: Rebuilding Manchester United meets LA Galaxy Wednesday in Pasadena

It’s the start of a new era for Manchester United when the club faces the Galaxy Wednesday at the Rose Bowl as I explain in this weeke’s column.

Here’s the perspective of the LA Galaxy and Landon Donovan on the game against the EPL giants.

Meanwhile, would you pay $300 to watch Manchester United train — that’s right, train at 7 p.m. today at the Rose Bowl? Here’s more from the Galaxy press release:

General admission tickets to the open training session, which cost $20, are available for purchase via Ticketmaster. Limited VIP Tickets for Manchester United’s open training are also available for $300, and include field level seating and an autograph session following training. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the LA Galaxy Foundation. Packages for the open training session and the Chevrolet Cup match between Manchester United and LA Galaxy can be purchased by calling 877-3GALAXY (342-5299) or visiting www.lagalaxy.com/manutd.

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60 second Major League Soccer Weekend Wrap: Galaxy, Chivas USA both lose, Manchester United play Wednesday in Pasadena

Need to get caught up after a busy summer weekend? You’ve come to the right place.

Despite goals from top goalscorers Robbie Keane and “Cubo” Torres respectively — both added to the MLS All-Star Game roster incidentally — the Galaxy and Chivas USA both fell to Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United respectively.

Check out the Robbie Keane goal:

Next up for the Galaxy: Manchester United Wednesday at the Rose Bowl who have added a certain Javier Hernandez to its travel roster. I will have more on the humbling fall of Manchester United in Tuesday’s column.

Chivas USA face the Rapids in Colorado Friday.

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