Tickets 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.
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
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
*To say there’s a bit of pressure on Mexico this evening in Seattle is a bit of an understatement give the team’s poor recent run of results. You can watch how this plays out at 7:30 tonight on Fox Soccer.
*Will Chivas USA provide a cure Friday for the wall Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth is worried about?
*Caleb Calvert made history earlier this week when he became the youngest pro in Chivas USA franchise history. Well, today the Wrightwood resident was named the Western Conference U-15/16 National Player of the Year:
“Personally it means I have achieved something I thought I wouldn’t have accomplished in quite a while and I’m just shocked and amazed by it,” Calvert said. “Now I want to use this as stepping stone, move forward and get better.”.
Torres arrives: Chivas USA’s goal shy front line got some badly needed reinforcements today in the form of striker Erick Torres (Photo courtesy Chivas USA).
As expected, Chivas USA’s long-rumored loan move for 22-year-old striker Erik Torres from CD Guadalajara was completed today.
“Cubo,” as he is known, most notably scored a half dozen goals in 15 games in the 2011 Clausura for the mothership. He came up through CD Guadalajara’s youth system and made his professional debut in 2010 at age 17.
“Érick’s arrival is very important to Chivas USA as he will strengthen an area of the team that most needs it,” said Technical Director José Luis Real. “He’s a different and highly experienced player. He’s a young forward who made his debut at age 17 and who has always proven himself to be a player with a very bright future. Mentally he is very strong and positive, and that’s what we need in a center forward at Chivas.”
Torres, who will wear the No. 10 shirt, is awaiting paperwork and it’s unclear whether he will be eligible to play against the Union Friday in Philadelphia.
While I will add links to this blog post when I’m not clutching a cold beverage, posting will be even more spotty than usual on a holiday weekend.
Before I go there’s time to note that:
*Four goals in four MLS games since joining the Chicago Fire has earned former Galaxy cult figure Mike Magee the MLS Player of the Month award. The MLS leading scorer led the Fire to an unbeaten 3-0-1 record in June since joining the club May 25. In contrast the Galaxy lost four games last month and only managed to beat lowly Chivas USA.
*If you’ll be in San Diego for the holiday, check out the free U.S. national team training session open to the public ahead of Friday’s 8 p.m. friendly against Guatemala. Gate H at Qualcomm Stadium opens at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for the public.
*Heading to Pasadena Sunday for the Gold Cup opening doubleheader that includes Mexico? Don’t forget to wave: