And the award is: most searched soccer player name of the year.
Yup, Landon Donovan beat out the likes of Clint Dempsey, Wayne Rooney, Tim Howard, Luis Suarez, David Villa, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard and John Terry, who all rounded out the top 10.
Oh, and the most searched soccer team? Manchester United, but then you probably guessed that. The Galaxy didn’t make the top 10 of that list, however, with the Portland Timber’s the top-ranked MLS team at No. 4.
It’s been a busy day for soccer news. Here’s what else has fallen through the cracks lately:
The Galaxy’s open house from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday is all about selling fans a season ticket, but there’s lots of cool, free stuff going on, too, including a town hall meeting with Galaxy exec Chris Klein and playmaker Landon Donovan, on field coaching clinics and stadium tours. Full details here.
Former AEG president Tim Leiweke, now trying to resurrect Toronto, has returned to his old stomping grounds and scooped up Galaxy Academy U-14 coach Greg Vanney as assistant general manager and Academy defender, replacing former Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen in that post.
U.S. Soccer is asking fans to vote on the best male and female players for the all-time U.S. teams. Details here.
There’s some big games in the EPL this weekend with the pick of them seeing league leaders Arsenal visiting Manchester City (4 a.m. NBCSN). A complete preview is here.
UniMás’ broadcast of MLS Cup outdrew ESPN by 14 percent, drawing 514,000 total viewers.
College seniors with local ties invited to the annual MLS Combine as announced today are UCLA’s Victor Chavez from Fontana and his Bruin teammate midfielder Victor Munoz, who is from Spain.
Former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra is a guest at 12:30 p.m. Friday on Fox Soccer Daily (Fox Sports 1). He will break down the U.S. World Cup draw with former U.S. forwards Brian McBride and Cobi Jones.
EPL ratings, led by the 852,000 viewers who watched Sunday’s Manchester United-Manchester City derby on NBCSN — making it the second most-watched EPL game on cable television ever, — are again fast outpacing MLS.
Still, MLS games, Soccer America reported, are getting a modest lift from EPL coverage and are now averaging 142,000 per game, up 60 percent.
The bottom line for NBC, according to a news release today:
The 27 English-language games on NBC, NBCSN and CNBC drew a total of 9.1 million viewers – up 92% from the 4.8 million total for the first five weeks of live action on ESPN and Fox Soccer last year. In addition, NBCSN’s Premier League telecasts are averaging 391,000 viewers – a 70% jump over the average posted by ESPN, ESPN2 and Fox Soccer after five weeks last year (230,000).
*To mark Landon Donovan re-upping his MLS contract today, the Galaxy are offering fans $10 grass berm tickets for Saturday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes (well, that and the fact LA clears out of a long holiday weekend, so the club has to figure out a way to goose attendance). Call 877-3GALAXY (342-5299).
*Irish striker Robbie Keane and Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo received call-ups from their respective nations today for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, meaning the pair will miss the Galaxy’s Sept. 7 contest at home against the Colorado Rapids. The two will leave after Saturday’s game, which not so coincidentally is Robbie Keane bobblehead night. Presumably they will rejoin the club in time for the Sept. 14 road game against D.C. United.
*Chivas USA (5-14-6) have belatedly found TV stations willing to televise seven of their remaining, yet totally meaningless games. Spanish-language KHY-TV (Channel 22) and English-language KDOC-TV (Channel 56) have stepped up.
*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan had a goal and two assists in the U.S. Gold Cup opener Tuesday, but wasn’t the biggest star for the Americans on the night.
*The inaugural Steve Nash Foundation Showdown LA is set for 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Salvation Army Red Shield Community Center, 1532 West 11th St. Participating past and present Southern California soccer stars in the pick-up style charity soccer game include Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini, Robbie Rogers, John O’Brien and Kyle Martino. General admission is free.
“I’m working on a project right now for an immensely talented commercial director named Randy Krallman,” Dohl said in an email. “He has me looking for a charismatic coach of an underdog boys soccer team possibly best described as a “turn-around team” or a “worst-to-first place team”. Or, if you like movie references, maybe a team like The Bad News Bears or in the 2012 Oscar Award-wining documentary Undefeated. Essentially, a team that wasn’t picked to do anything but surprised everyone at the end of the season or tournament due to great coaching and hard work. We’re mainly looking in the tri-county (LA, OC, Ventura) area but will definitely go farther for the right story.”
The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan reacts to my question today in the Tout video above about what he thinks of the U.S. progress in World Cup qualifying given his absence (and yeah, what do you expect him to say?).
Those of you who read my column this week know that I was musing about the ESPN World Cup qualifying doubleheader from a ratings perspective, especially with the U.S. game receiving a strong lead-in from the preceding Mexico game.
Well, the Mexico-Costa Rica contest earned an average rating of 0.3 meaning it was seen by 540,000 viewers. Plenty of them likely stuck around to watch the U.S. beat Panama, which was the second-most viewed international game ever on ESPN, beaten only by the Mexico-U.S. showdown in March (1.4 rating).
U.S.-Panama came in with a 0.8 rating and was watched by an estimated audience of 1,436,000. The San Diego market was tops in the U.S., pulling in a 2.5 rating.
The Spanish language coverage of the two games on UniMas delivered 2.8 million viewers for Mexico-Costa Rica and 1.2 million for U.S-Panama/
Next for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying: Tuesday in Salt Lake City verses Honduras (live on ESPN and UniMas)