Preseason Result: Galaxy Lose (and Tie) in Korea.

If you watched the 11:30 p.m. Galaxy-FC Seoul game on Fox Soccer Channel last night you know LA salvaged a rather uninspiring 1-1 tie in regulation time to kick off their Asian Tour.

Yet if you read this story you know the Galaxy actually lost on penalty kicks, something neither alluded to or shown on FSC.

More than a little strange.

Also, preps coverage from the Daily Breeze is here.

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Galaxy Gameday & More

The Galaxy plays live at 11:30 tonight on Fox Soccer Channel against FC Seoul in the first game of their Asia tour.

The Daily Telegraph in England has more on the David Beckham buzz in South Korea.

Galaxy PR folks reminded me that the team has four players (and one coach) who particpated in the 2002 World Cup in Korea: Becks, Landon Donovan (who is back here in the U.S. for treatment and won’t play tonight), Abel Xavier, Celestine Babayaro and now Assistant Coach Cobi Jones. Strangely, they all played against each other in the first round of that World Cup – Jones and Donovan beat Xavier and Portugal 3-2 while Beckham and England drew Babayaro’s Nigeria 1-1.

Here at home, last year’s Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, Galaxy draft pick Charles Alamo (UC Riverside) goes under the knife today, a week after tearing his ACL, a team spokesman e-mailed from Korea. Alamo is out for the year, but remains with the team after the Galaxy offered him a contract the same day the injury happened.

Injured defender Ante Jazic, remains in Korea to continue his rehab work with trainers Armando Rivas and Cecelia Gutierrez, as suspected, team officials confirmed.

Meanwhile, former Galaxy prospect Dan Paladini has resurfaced with Chivas USA. Former Galaxy midfielder Santino Quaranta has returned to D.C. United in an effort to resucitate his career. And, yes, Landon Donovan is the U.S. leading scorer after all FIFA confirmed today.

Finally, there’s preps news from the Daily Breeze here.

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Tuesday’s Column & More

With Fidel Castro stepping down, it seemed like a good time to check in on Chivas USA’s Cuban defector Maykel Galindo who resumes scrimmaging with the team today after off-season sugery.

The column is here.

Galindo had a league-leading five games in which he scored multiple goals last season including these typical strikes against the Galaxy.

Incidentally, while I was out at Home Depot Center Monday chatting with Maykel (the sort of guy it would be fun to hang with for a mojito or two, by the way), former Chivas USA assistant coach Martin Vazquez, who joins Bayern Munich in the same role in July, was spotted heading into the team’s offices. Vazquez, inundated by interview requests from around the world, according to team officials, wisely isn’t talking to the media until he begins work.

Meanwhile, Galaxy goalkeeper Charles Alamo is out for the season.

The Galaxy’s parent company, Anschutz Entertainment Group, looks to make a nice profit by selling an interest in the Houston Dynamo to boxer Oscar de la Hoya. It’s a move that can only be good for MLS, as the league looks to diversify its investor groups.

Finally, it’s Tuesday and that means preps coverage from the Daily Breeze here and the Daily News.

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Galaxy, Chivas USA Saturday Gameday & More


The Galaxy plays the final game of the Pan-Pacific Championship in Hawaii tonight in a game ESPN Classic airs at 8 o’clock (the Houston Dynamo-Gamba Osaka championship game follows immediately after).

The island newspapers are avoiding much mention of the event and even the increasingly secretive Galaxy seem uninterested; no press releases or updates to the club blog. Deep discounts on tickets too.

Here’s a preview (such as it is).

Chivas USA-Crew

Closer to home, Chivas USA takes on the Columbus Crew in Santa Clarita in a charity game that kicks off at 5 p.m.

From the Chivas USA press release:

All proceeds from the match will benefit the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, a non-profit which provides financial and emotional support to children and their families facing childhood cancer in Santa Clarita and the surrounding area.

The match will be played in Cougar Stadium at the College of the Canyons in Valencia, and tickets are available at prices of $20 for adults and $15 for children.

Fans should note that, due to the Tour of California cycling race, there will be a number of road closures and detours in the area near the College of the Canyons. These will occur mostly prior to game-time, but full information can be found on the City of Santa Claritas Web site.

Striker Alecko Eskandarian may make his first appearance in a Chivas USA shirt, while Swiss defender Raphael Wicky has resumed training this week, but isn’t expected to play, team officials said. Also unlikely to get on the field: Jonathan Bornstein, Francisco Mendoza and Lawson Vaughn.

The Crew played Friday night against the San Jose Earthquakes in San Luis Obispo and so are likely to rest Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers and Argentine Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Columbus Coach Sigi Schmid said via e-mail. He expects to mix and match different combinations tonight.

Sigi recommends fans keep an eye out for newcomer Nigerian attacking midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo who is on trial with the club.

The long-time South Bay resident and former Galaxy coach has also offered to blog occasionally this season and so I thought I’d get that into print and hold him to it.

The Crew also plays the Ventura County Fusion Monday in Ventura.

Preps Update

Finally, the Daily Breeze has high school soccer coverage here, the Daily News here, and the Long Beach Press-Telegram here.

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Friday Football: USC-Mexico & More

The USC women play Mexico tonight at the Coliseum, while up the coast in San Luis Obispo the Earthquakes play the Columbus Crew in the MLS Central Coast Showcase.

Mexico also plays Cal State Long Beach Sunday.

Swiss international Raphal Wicky has started training with Chivas USA after off-season ankle surgery, while they’re down to the last 60 players for Sueo MLS: The Dream Continues.

Plenty of high school soccer on tap from the Daily Breeze here and here, the Daily News and Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Finally, if you’ve got $10,000 (or so) to burn all this could be yours. Bucks for Becks, I guess.

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Wednesday Galaxy Gameday & More

It’s only a preseason tournament with a grand name, but both games of the Pan-Pacific Championship are live on ESPN Classic tonight (the Galaxy game against Japanese team Gamba Osaka airs at 8 o’clock) and it’s the first chance to see what a Ruud Gullit Galaxy team looks like.

Landon Donovan is out with an (achilles?) tendon injury according to the preview on the tournament’s Web site and, of course, midfielder Kyle Martino was left off the Galaxy roster.

Gamba Osaka is reportedly missing seven players through injury, but Gullit conceded last weekend he knows nothing about the Japanese team. Still, he said a win is not the most important thing about the game anyway.

I spoke with Donovan and a couple of other players last weekend before the team left the state.

Donovan said that at least the attacking half of the team looked good in scrimmages last week against two college teams even without striker Carlos Ruiz:

“Attacking-wise we look pretty good because we have a lot of talented players,” Donovan said. “We still dont have Fish on the field and thats going to help too (when he returns). Defensively is where were going to need to get better and thats just because you dont know the guy next to you. You dont know how he moves. Its a new coach so you don t know completely what style he wants to play. Those things you have to figure out. And unfortunately, you can get away with a lot playing against college teams.”

Newly-anointed starting goalkeeper Steve Cronin sounded eager to get between the posts, too:

“Since I’ve been with the national team I’ve basically been practicing, doing fitness and stuff like that for a month and a half now so I’m real anxious to play a competitive game,” he said. “I want to solidify my spot on the team, gain the players’ confidence.”

It’s a tough game so early in preseason, but midfielder Pete Vagenas welcomes the challenge:

“They’re quality opponents so theres going to be tough matches,” he said. “It’s important we schedule games in preseason where you’re going to face adversity. Its a waste of time where you go out and face college teams all the time and dont face any type of adversity, dont even lose. Sometimes it’s good to see your team and players struggle to see how they come out of that because we all know MLS is a grueling season and everything is not going to always go great. So for me the most important thing is to schedule the toughest games you can. And if that means you’re going to have to lose and take something in the behind because your team is not exactly ready, so be it. I think in the long run it benefits us.”

The Galaxy Web site has pictures of the players working out Monday and tonight’s weather looks ideal for a soccer game, which could encourage reportedly tepid ticket sales (only 10,000 or so sold was the word Tuesday). All sorts of discounts are on offer.

Here at home Chivas USA continue to prepare for Saturday’s benefit game in Santa Clarita against the Columbus Crew.

Finally, high school playoffs are in full swing and there’s prep news from the Daily Breeze here, the Daily News here and the Long Beach Press-Telegram here.

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Sunday Soccer Wrap

Quickly: Chivas USA lost 4-0 to the Japanese Under-23 team Saturday at Home Depot Center and supposedly had 13 players missing because of injury. Sounds like a great way to start the season.

Chivas USA line-ups: (first half; 4-4-2): Brad Guzan, Omar Becerra, Alex Zotinca, Jorge Flores, Jim Curtin, Keith Savage, John Cunliffe, Jesse Marsch, Sasha Kljestan, Arnolfo Salazar, Atiba Harris.

(second half; 4-4-2): Brad Guzan, Omar Becerra, Gerson Mayen, Trey Lee, Darren Spicer, Chukwudi Chinjiju, Kraig Chiles, Dan Paladini, Steven Kaufman, Eric Ebert, Justin Braun.

Chivas USA plays D.C. United Monday at Home Depot Center in a game I plan to attend.

Also: Fontana’s Maurice Edu put two shots past Kansas City goalkeeper Kevin Hartman (Peninsula High) as Toronto FC disposed of the Wizards 2-0 over the weekend.

Long Beach State women’s soccer hosts the Mexican National Team Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. at George Allen Field, two days after the Mexicans play USC at the Coliseum. Tickets are $7 adults, $5 kids.

Plenty of prep soccer from the Daily Breeze is here and here; from the Daily News here and here; and the Long Beach Press-Telegram here.

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Chivas USA Goalkeeper Guzan Denied U.K. Work Permit & More

U.S. international Brad Guzan is a world-class goalkeeper, but British bureaucrats pulled the plug today on his imminent $4 million move to Aston Villa.

From the (edited) Chivas USA press release:

Club Deportivo Chivas USA of Major League Soccer today announced that 2007 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and Chivas USA Original Brad Guzan will return to the club for the 2008 season. The announcement comes following the denial of Guzans British work permit application this afternoon, London time. The 23-year-old U.S. international had been set to join storied English Premier League club Aston Villa in a record transfer for an MLS goalkeeper.

It has been my privilege to represent the Chivas colors for the past three years and I look forward to returning to Chivas USA this season, said Guzan in a statement from England. I have always appreciated the support of Chivas USA and its passionate fans and shall continue wear the colors with pride as we strive for great things in MLS and beyond in 2008.

Brad is a world-class goalkeeper who has attracted the interest of some of the worlds best clubs, and Chivas USA is happy to have him back for another season. Although we share in his disappointment at the denial of his British work permit, we know that Brad, like the true professional he is, will continue to work hard to improve every day on and off the field with Chivas USA, said Chivas USA Head Coach Preki Radosavljevic.

Major League Soccers reigning Goalkeeper of the Year, Brad Guzan was selected by Chivas USA with its first pick in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft (No. 2 overall) out of the University of South Carolina, prior to the clubs first season as an expansion team in Major League Soccer, making the then-20-year-old the highest-picked goalkeeper in MLS draft history. After playing 24 games for Chivas USA in his rookie season and earning the distinction of 2005 Chivas USA Defender of the Year, the fan favorite known as El Guzano would go on to make his first of five appearances to date for the U.S. National Team in 2006. In 2007, Guzan recorded 13 clean sheets for a Chivas USA side that finished first in MLSs Western Conference.

Wonder if Jurgen Klinsmann, now with Bayern Munich, is monitoring developments?

In other Chivas USA-related news, the club announced today the 2,000 spots for tryouts with the team via a Spanish-language reality show have been filled. Applicants came from 39 different states and 17 foreign countries.

Meanwhile, Mexico Coach Hugo Sanchez today announced the roster for the Feb. 6 game against the U.S. in Houston. The full roster:

Goalkeepers Guillermo Ochoa (Club Amrica), Lus Ernesto Michel (CD Guadalajara), Moiss Muoz (Morelia); defenders Rafael Mrquez (FC Barcelona / SPA), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven / HOL), Johnny Magalln (CD Guadalajara), Fausto Pinto (Pachuca), Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), Oscar Rojas (Amrica); midfielders Pavel Pardo (VFB Stuttgart / GER), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Francisco Arce (Santos Laguna), Andrs Guardado (Deportivo la Coruna / SPA), Antonio Naelson (Toluca); forwards Giovani Dos Santos (FC Barcelona / SPA), Carlos Vela (Osasuna), Juan Carlos Cacho (Pachuca), Adolfo Bautista (Jaguares de Chiapas), Antonio de Nigris (Ankaraspor / TUR).

ESPN confirmed today that outspoken analyst Eric Wynalda was punted from the commentary booth in favor of the presumably less controversial John Harkes. It’s another defeat for those who love color and strong opinions and a victory for those who value the bland and safe. Wynalda, of course, has been on the outs with the network ever since he publicly criticized well-known soccer-hater (and loud mouth) Jim Rome a few months back.

At least soccer fans got rid of Dave O’Brien, though.

From the (edited) ESPN press release:

ESPN and ABC will kick off its 13th straight season of Major League Soccer coverage with a new line-up of in-booth commentators veteran soccer television announcer JP Dellacamera and former U.S. Mens National Team captain John Harkes for MLS Primetime Thursday and U.S. Soccer telecasts including, the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

Dellacamera and Harkes will lead ESPNs new on-air crew for U.S. domestic soccer telecasts with sideline reporter Allen Hopkins returning for the second year on select MLS and U.S. Soccer telecasts. Rob Stone, who has been involved with soccer at ESPN since 1997, will continue his role as on-site studio host and play-by-play commentator for select MLS matches, with former U.S. Womens National Team captain and soccer Hall of Famer Julie Foudy as studio analyst.

JP and John will enhance our overall soccer presentation and offer consistency throughout our second season of MLS Primetime Thursday and in our coverage of the U.S. Mens National Team, including upcoming qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, said Tim Scanlan, ESPN vice president for remote productions.

Dellacamera, who has called ten straight FIFA World Cups (six mens and four womens), will take over the play-by-play duties previously held by Dave OBrien, who will focus on his prominent role with ESPNs Major League Baseball and NCAA Mens Basketball telecasts (OBrien also handles radio play-by-play for Boston Red Sox games). Harkes, who paired with Dellacamera to call 2006 FIFA World Cup matches from Germany, will occupy the lead booth analyst role previously held by Eric Wynalda, who has been reassigned to ESPN in-studio soccer duties.

ESPNs new commentator team will debut at 6 p.m. Wednesday during the networks live telecast of the U.S. Mens National Team vs. Mexico match from Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Finally, prep coverage from the Daily Breeze is here

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Christmas Eve Santa Soccer: Becks on Capello & More

The Galaxy’s David Beckham makes nice with new England manager Fabio Capello, his former coach at Real Madrid, in a BBC radio interview scheduled to air Christmas Day (right after the Queen’s annual address just in case you didn’t think Becks is treated like royalty in England). Details here.

And the latest rumor involving a new Galaxy striker names Darren Huckerby of England Championship team Norwich City as a potential target.

The reliability of the original unnamed source is always open to question when it comes to the English press, but the Galaxy’s need for a striker will be the subject of my Christmas Day column in the Daily News and Daily Breeze.

Down the hall at Home Depot Center, Chivas USA has given local soccer players another reason not to over-indulge during the holidays by holding open tryouts next month. The cost: $15 a player.

Meanwhile, Loyola Marymount University Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach Michelle Myers has apparently been named the new coach of expansion W-League franchise the Ventura County Fusion. Details here.

Finally, the weekend’s prep action from the Daily Breeze is here and here.

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