LA Galaxy win preseason game, reportedly sign Nigel de Jong

Photo by Victor R. Caivano/AP Photo

Photo by Victor R. Caivano/AP Photo

The L.A. Galaxy opened their preseason with a 2-1 win over Armenian side FC Shirak while officially closing their books, reportedly completing a deal with Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, according to the L.A. Times. 

De Jong reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth less than $1 million that includes targeted allocation money. De Jong would fill the final roster spot for the Galaxy, who also announced the signings of Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme last week. The Times reports that the combined salary of the three players is less than $1.7 million.

The 31-year-old World Cup finalist from 2010 negotiated out of the final two years of his contract with A.C. Milan that was slated to expire in 2018.

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena repeatedly lamented the team’s defensive woes that led to the team’s early playoff exit last season, saying it was necessary to strengthen the defense during the offseason to contend for a sixth MLS Cup. De Jong surely fits the bill in that regard. He is a bruising defensive midfielder known for his physicality. He once kicked Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the chest during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final:

GIF from sbnation

GIF from sbnation

In game news, the Galaxy won their preseason game against FC Shirak with a brace from Jose Villarreal.


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Bruce Arena talks with ExtraTime Radio on offseason changes, Omar Gonzalez, Juninho

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The Galaxy’s longest offseason since the first season of the Bruce Arena era certainly hasn’t been boring. Two weeks after sending two team stalwarts to Liga MX in Omar Gonzalez and Juninho, Arena told ExtraTime Radio that the moves, while personally difficult, were part of a necessary rebuilding process after a disappointing 2015.

“None of it’s easy,” Arena said. “Every year unfortunately we lose players, there’s nothing we can do about it, but it’s all part of the business.” Continue reading

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Video: LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes remains on Reading radar

USA’s Gyasi Zardes, right, scores the 1-1 goal past Netherlands’ Daryl Janmaat during an international soccer match between Netherlands and the US at ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Friday, June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

USA’s Gyasi Zardes, right, scores the 1-1 goal past Netherlands’ Daryl Janmaat during an international soccer match between Netherlands and the US at ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Friday, June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

Gyasi Zardes, who has burst onto the U.S. national Team scene this year and established himself as a regular in the starting XI, could earn himself a lucrative move to England.

The Hawthorne product is one of two Americans that English Championship club Reading remain interested in, team officials confirmed to a local media outlet this week.

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LA Galaxy reportedly close to signing Mexico star Giovani Dos Santos

santosLA-bound: Will the Galaxy finally sign Giovani Dos Santos? (Associated Press)

Staff Writer Jaime Cardenas has more on the possible signing of Giovani Dos Santos with MLS and the Galaxy. (And Dos Santos is apparently buddies with Robbie Keane).

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LA Galaxy trade midfielder Marcelo Sarvas to the Colorado Rapids and draft forward Ignacio Maganto from Iona College

Some fans took to Twitter to relay their displeasure with the move that gives the Galaxy “the third allocation ranking and allocation money” in exchange for the 33-year-old midfielder, but with Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard on the way and rumors again heating up about a possible move for former Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan it isn’t seen as much of a surprise.

Sarvas made 88 appearances for the club since 2011 notching 19 goals and 9 assists.

From the club press release:

Maganto, 23, spent four years at Iona College, where he scored 27 goals and notched 14 assists. Born in Madrid, Spain, Maganto spent time with Getafe CF before attending Iona College. He also was a member of Reading United A.C. in the Premier Development League in 2014.

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Weekly Column: Soccer Spotlight Shines Uncomfortably on Donovan and Rogers

The Galaxy face Club Tijuana tonight under chilly, wet skies in Carson (tickets are just $10, while parking is free) without star Landon Donovan, who could miss up to a third of the Galaxy’s season before he rejoins the team as he struggles with burnout and motivation issues.

That’s a subject I explore in today’s column after this weekend saw two high profile local soccer stars — the other was the South Bay’s Robbie Rogers —  deal with personal issues while in the public spotlight.

Two Brazilian trialists remain with the Galaxy and presumably could see action in a game that’s all about moving toward match fitness with players likely to see about 45 minutes of action apiece, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Monday.

Another player missing is Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal, who along with UCLA’s Javan Torre, got the start for the U.S. Monday in the CONCACAF U-20 championships in Mexico.

It could be worse — the Mexican champions will be missing all their starters, who are playing a Copa Libatadores game on the same evening.

*Updated: Time Warner Cable Deportes announced this morning they would carry the 7:30 p.m. game live with a one-hour pregame show.

Meanwhile, the Frank Lampard to the Galaxy saga — or not — winds on, but despite tabloid claims to the contrary it’s looking increasingly unlikely to me that the Chelsea star will be playing in LA anytime soon. Ah well, at least Frank will be happy goal line technology is finally here.

Finally, while we’re talking about missing players, takes an early (premature?) stab at assessing Chivas USA’s chances this year despite a depth chart as thin as their win column last year.



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Friday Kicks: Fall in France & more

*You know what they say about Paris in the spring, but what about fall in France?:

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. soccer team will play an exhibition at France on Nov. 11, the first meeting between the nations in 32 years.

The game was announced today and will be played at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, the site of the 1998 World Cup final. The U.S., 1-3-1 under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann, also plans to play in Europe on Nov. 15, the last FIFA fixture date of the year.

The nations played twice in 1979, with France winning 6-0 at East Rutherford, N.J., on May 2 and 3-0 in Paris on Oct. 10.

France is preparing for next year’s European Championship, and the U.S. is getting ready for the start of World Cup qualifying in June.

*Continuing the French theme, it looks like David Beckham’s French pursuers are serious.

*Injury-plagued midfielder John Thorrington of the Palos Verdes Peninsula) is crediting the cold waters of British Columbia for helping him come back and immediately lead the Vancouver Whitecaps to two consecutive wins.

*In terms of crowd size this will be the biggest MLS game of the weekend and coincidentally a game some think is the biggest club game in the world is set for 4:30 a.m. Saturday (live on ESPN2).

Other games I won’t miss this weekend include: Colorado-Real Salt Lake at 7:30 tonight on ESPN2, Red Bull New York at Sporting Kansas City (1 p.m. Saturday Telemundo) and the local Galaxy-Chivas USA derby on Sunday (live at 6 p.m. on ESPN).

I’ll have more on the SuperClasico this weekend.

*If college soccer is your thing the pick of the local games may well be women’s match-up between No. 5 Pepperdine, in the top five nationally for the first time since 2003, and Loyola Marymount in Westchester at noon Sunday. The undefeated Waves are 10-0-4 and sit atop the West Coast Conference standings at 2-0. Loyola Marymount is 6-5-2 overall and 0-1-1 in conference play.

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Third English club – and former coach – try to lure Beckham home

i-aaac545efce9572add9362e8ca8cccff-buffbecksinny.jpgOf course, nothing will be decided until the end of the MLS season, so this may not be the last rumors we’ll hear surrounding Galaxy midfielder David Beckham.

Personally, I’d be less surprised to see beckham end up as a part-owner of the Cosmos than a coach at a second tier club in England. And by the way, French media are reporting Paris Saint-Germain will offer Beckham an 18-month contract at a meeting tonight.

Still, here’s the latest gossip:

LEICESTER, England (AP) — Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson says he has offered David Beckham a chance to join English Championship club Leicester.

Beckham’s MLS contract with the Galaxy is set to expire in November and Eriksson, now in charge at Leicester, says he has discussed a possible linkup with the 36-year-old midfielder.

Eriksson says he has “already had that discussion with him. I spoke to him about Leicester” adding “Beckham, he will never say no to me — he says, ‘Sven, we’ll see. We’ll see.'”

Beckham has also been linked with Premier League clubs Tottenham and Queens Park Rangers, as well as French side Paris Saint-Germain.

Eriksson said the former England captain could combine playing for Leicester with a coaching role.

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Trade rumors: Ze Roberto a Goat?

i-f94161f6fdf782cb9df13025bf5bc511-ze-roberto-2009-7-1-6-51-6.jpgGoat meat? Could former Bayern Munich midfielder Ze Roberto be headed to Chivas USA? (AP Photo).

We’ve heard these Ze Roberto to MLS rumors before of course and just because a player’s agent expresses interest is often meaningless.

Especially in French (ahem) so here is the Google translation:

Out of contract with Hamburg (D1 Germany) in June, Z Roberto could slip in Major League Soccer, and more specifically to Chivas USA. A designated player contract of three years with an additional year was submitted to his agent, Jerome Meary. “He also offers in Qatar in Dubai and Germany. But he is hot to live in the United States and the challenge MLS pleases him enormously, ” he told us exclusively. Brazilian international midfielder of 36 years should meet its leaders by the weekend, and huge severance offers, except-cons, they could mean to his departure in June.

Well, at least he’s allegedly “hot” to be in the U.S.

Would Chivas USA loosen the purse strings and make Ze Roberto a DP, however?

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Wednesday Kicks: New Blues, Galaxy trade talk & more

*The new LA Blues USL Pro club (equivalent to the third tier of American soccer) unveiled its first three players this morning including Mexican league veteran goalkeeper Oscar Dautt and former Galaxy midfielder Josh Tudela. The team will play most of its games in the OC.

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan is allegedly attracting attention from Newcastle United and Fulham, although you’ll notice the stories contain no attribution and no sources. In my book that equates to no journalism either, but maybe that’s just me.

*Meanwhile, could Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena be serious about skipping finding another striker to play alongside Edson Buddle next season and instead stick with LD up front? Let’s hope not since we’ve tried that before with mixed results. Or maybe he’s just sending a message to Ronaldinho’s agent.

*And will Jovan Kirovski play another season with the Galaxy if he agrees to take a pay cut? Maybe.

*Finally, Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer Channel and its related networks announced today a three-year extension to their rights deal to show the UEFA Champions League through 2014-2015.

From the Fox press release:

FOX is currently in the second of a three-season partnership with UEFA through 2011/12, delivering for the first time ever all 146 UEFA Champions League matches from the Play-off Round onward to U.S. viewers.

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