Tuesday Kicks: Former LA Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid on Sounders hot seat and more

There’s no column today since I took advantage of the long weekend to take a few days off, but here are few links to get us caught up:

  • It’s fair to say longtime South Bay resident Sigi Schmid could well be sleepless in Seattle for a few nights at least until his job prospects with the Sounders and their demanding fan base are resolved one way or another.
  • The injured Landon Donovan wasn’t called up for the pair of upcoming U.S. games, but the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez got the call, while Robbie Keane will feature for Ireland despite a longstanding Achilles issue and A.J. DeLaGarza is likely to make his Guam debut despite making two previous appearances for the U.S. in exhibition games.
  • The Galaxy have already made their first signing of the off-season.
  • Meanwhile, Mexico hosts New Zealand at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN with both nations fighting for a final World Cup spot in Brazil next year.
  • The U.S. Women’s National Team completed its 2013 campaign Sunday.
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Halloween Kicks: MLS Playoffs, El Tri and more

A few links for today:

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Club America-Club Tijuana to meet in Carson

xoloslogoclubamericalogoTickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday for a December friendly between the two most recent Mexican league champions at StubHub Center in Carson that’s being billed as the Los Angeles Clasico.

The two Liga MX champions — the upstart Xolos of Tijuana, which won the Apertura, and Mexico City giants Club America, which took the Clausura — will meet for the first time in Southern California when they meet in a 5 p.m. Dec. 28 game, officials announced today.

The contest is a pre-season friendly so the usual restrictions apply when it comes to seeing regular starters for a full 90 minutes (it won’t happen), for instance, but the game is sure to be a hot ticket for local fans.

Southern California-based Mexican Americans will naturally quickly scoop up tickets, but U.S. internationals Herculez Gomez, Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona play regularly for the Xolos, broadening the appeal of the clash . Club America boasts 10 Mexican internationals on its squad.

Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles played the Galaxy earlier this year, while Club America played Atlas in Carson last year.

The Xolos have one title to their credit since their 2007 founding, Club America a league record 11.

Call 888-929-7849 for tickets.

 

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LA Cup tournament involving Chivas USA, Veracruz, New Zealand postponed

No surprise there especially for those who went through the Messi & Friends debacle earlier this year..

Not a single ticket had been sold for the charity tournament scheduled to start Wednesday at Citrus College and continue this weekend at the LA Memorial Coliseum with four games involving Mexico’s Queretero among other teams.

The official reason for the postponement is that it was “due to a combination of logistical and scheduling matters.”

From a Chivas USA press release:

In their attempt to reorganize this event, the organizers will seek to bring the mentioned teams together again in an international tournament at a date and venue yet to be arranged

Uh, huh.

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Commentary: Momentus evening unfolds perfectly for U.S. with win over Mexico, World Cup Qualification

World Cup qualifying results could not have fallen into place better Tuesday for the Americans, which earned the best result over Mexico since the 2002 World Cup and the right scores in two later games that enabled the U.S. to first qualify for Brazil with two games remaining and then leapfrog leaders Costa Rica to go top of the group.

Reinvigorated U.S. stars Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson grabbed the goals and the glory, with only striker Clint Dempsey faltering slightly under the spotlight’s glare, missing a second half stoppage time penalty that would have made the scoreline even more emphatic.

“We’ve always said that Landon is an important part of our team,” Klinsmann said of the Galaxy playmaker. “The things that he went through were his decision. We were totally fine with that, but he also had to understand that he wasn’t getting anything for granted. He had to work his way back, to fight his way back, and that’s what he did. In the Gold Cup to start with, and now coming here, he understands the message that nobody has a spot guaranteed.

The stricken faces of the Mexicans Tuesday said it all, out of ideas tactically and wilting mentally under the pressure and expectations of a rabid nation, while the Americans added grit and determination to bright endeavor and execution. This isn’t a team, it’s a system, with squad members fulfilling role coach Jurgen Klinsmann demands despite the absence of such regulars as Jozy Altidore  and Michael Bradley.

“They were understandably under a lot of pressure,” Donovan said of El Tri. “We knew that if we kept the game at zero or we were ahead, it was going to play into our favor. Once we got the goal, we could see in their eyes it was going to end in a victory for us.”

It was a magnificent evening watched by more viewers in the U.S. on ESPN than any other World Cup qualifying game in history that represented another major step forward for the sport domestically and internationally. And Carlos Bocanegra et al were happy in Upland, too.

Had Mexico staged the game, 110,000 crazed El Tri fans would have crammed into daunting Azteca. Instead the U.S. opponents got a taste of their own medicine, delirious U.S. fans standing the entire game in much modest 25,000-capacity (or so) Columbus Crew Stadium.

It was an environment that at once exemplified the game’s gulf in popularity in the two nations, but also the spirit and emerging skill of the upstart, underdog Americans who once again proved it has Mexico’s number in games that really count.

Notable: The U.S. is 12-5-4 against Mexico since 2000.

Quotable:

“Step-by-step, we’re getting closer to taking the game to the opponents,” Klinsmann said. “We’re not sitting back and reacting to what happens. We want to take it into their half. Every game is different. We know that, too, but I think we’ve made big progress in terms of tactical variation and in terms of commitment both ways of the game offensively and defensively.

 

“The players know what we expect tactically. The players know there’s another guy behind them in every position, that if he doesn’t give everything he has the next one comes in and steals his spot. Therefore, there’s more competition and I think if you look at the entire picture they can be really proud of themselves.”

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Mexico faces U.S. tonight in biggest game for both nations since last World Cup

posterThe U.S. could qualify for Brazil if thing go right for the Americans in Columbus, Ohio tonight, while Mexico’s World Cup hopes hang in the balance.

The American team features Galaxy teammates Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez.

Game essentials are here, while more facts and figures are here.

Want to watch with other fans?

Former U.S. international defender Carlos Bocanegra hosts a viewing party in Upland at The Arena, while there’s another in Long Beach at Shannon’s on Pine.

 

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Red-hot Landon Donovan continues plundering Gold Cup with two goals to lead U.S. to Sunday’s final

Landon Donovan has three goals and six assists in 13 appearances for the Galaxy in 2013.

But for the U.S. Donovan has seven Gold Cup assists and a team-leading seven goals in six games since rejoining the national team set-up after scoring twice and creating the opener in a 3-1 win over Honduras Wednesday to send the U.S. through to a 1 p.m. Sunday Gold Cup final (live on Fox and Univision) against Panama, who upset Mexico for a second time in the tournament in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

Donovan’s seven assists increased his national team record total to 55 career assists in 150 games, while his record-setting U.S. goal total jumped to 56 career goals.

The likely upshot of Wednesday’s results: Donovan will rejoin the U.S. World Cup qualifying campaign, while El Tri will seek a new coach.

Notable: The Gold Cup winner qualifies for a playoff against the winner of the 2015 tournament to determine the CONCACAF entrant in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

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Golden Kicks: Gold Cup, Golden State Kickabout & more

saccanaryFanboy: Why the 100 Percent Soccer blog was on hiatus.

Before I was a journalist, I was a soccer fan.

Still am as this photograph taken last Thursday in front of the Capitol Building in Sacramento indicates.

I grew up supporting modest EPL team Norwich City and despite moving multiple times to different states and countries, I’ve remained loyal.

Last season was difficult to watch, as City struggled to remain in the EPL, with a long run of discouraging results not helping matters (Chivas USA fans, I know how you feel, in a sense).

Still, I hadn’t seen City play live since the club visited Seattle back in the mid-1980s, so I jumped at the chance for a little soccer and craft brewery road trip, mixing in a Thursday game in front of a capacity crowd at Sacramento’s Raley Field against Mexican second tier opposition and one the following Saturday in San Jose against the Earthquakes at one of my favorite venues, Buckshaw Stadium.

In truth, the experience was much better than the actual quality of play on the field with City slow and out of shape, while clearly coming to grips with an influx of new players.

It’s precisely why preseason games are strictly for hardcore fans.

While I was roving the state, the Galaxy got back on the winning track (conceding an early goal is always better than conceding a late one), Chivas USA actually won a game against a team even worse than they are and Landon Donovan was drawing rave reviews for his play with the the U.S. at the Gold Cup.

Oh, and the Galaxy signed a 30-something French player from Chivas USA, which smacks of grasping at straws to me to deal with on-going midfield issues Robbie Rogers has yet to solve, but coach Bruce Arena likes known, veteran quantities he hopes to squeeze a little more out of.

Gold Cup action resumes tonight in Texas with both the U.S. and Mexico in action.

Me? I’ll be watching my Canaries take on the Timbers in Portland in the final game of their U.S. tour.

 

 

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Weekly Soccer Column: Galaxy and Gold Cup

MLS parity is forgiving.

While the inconsistent Galaxy currently occupy the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot, they are also only three points out of second spot.

Still, given their current form, explored in today’s column, who knows what their chances are of seeing those heights again.

Read more in today’s column, which also includes a brief preview of today’s U.S. Gold Cup game.

Our sister newspaper The Denver Post has more on Mexico’s Gold Cup campaign.

Also: will this former Chivas USA import catch on with the Galaxy?

One clarification to the column about who the U.S. will face in the quarterfinals, according to U.S. Soccer:

The United States needs only a draw to secure a first-place finish in the group, which would mean a match against the third-place team from either Group A or Group B in the quarterfinal.
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