Wednesday Kicks: Ball drive lacks bounce & more

As you can tell from the above graphic, the Torrance-based Daily Breeze is more than a few balls short ahead of the Friday deadline.

So c’mon all you local soccer clubs, donate a few soccer balls and challenge your peers to match your contribution.

In other soccer news today:

*It appears the Galaxy reportedly have an English rival for the signature of Brazilian Ronaldinho.

*The Galaxy announced Tuesday that Assistant Coach Trevor James is leaving to join the expansion Portland Timbers in a similar capacity. From the Galaxy press release:

The longest tenured member of the coaching staff having joined the club in 2006, James served as an assistant coach for the club for the last four-and-a-half years, while also taking on the role of Director of Player Development since the start of the Galaxy Academy in 2007.

As the club’s Director of Player Development, James oversaw all aspects of the creation and growth of the Galaxy Academy, including developing the club’s first home-grown signing, forward Tristan Bowen of Van Nuys.

*The expansion Vancouver Whitecaps and new signing John Thorrington of the Palos Verdes Peninsula are wrapping up a camp in Ventura.

*The first phase of the Re-Entry Draft ended uneventfully today with just two players picked including former Galaxy striker Joseph Ngwenya, plucked by D.C. United from Houston.

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Galaxy reach end of long season road in Oz loss

Newcastle Jets 2 Galaxy 1

i-8a62b537c831f2e4a6157a09fbe34aa3-becks.jpgBending but not broken: An uncomfortable looking David Beckham grimaced, smiled and mostly walked his way through the game but still thrilled the crowd, especially a buxom blond in the stands brave enough to flaunt a “Bend Me Beckham” sign (AP Photo).

A newly-shorn and clearly tired Galaxy ended the season in Australia early Saturday with a mildly entertaining middle of the night loss for all concerned Down Under.

Familiar defensive frailties were on show yet again (Sean Franklin allowing an attacker to get behind him, A.J. DeLaGarza failing to man up in the middle) on the goals, but this was more occasion than competitive game.

And a terrible mix-up between the Jets’ goalkeeper and a defender was largely the cause of Landon Donovan’s chested in effort on an open goal that gave them an early seventh minute lead.

Juninho should have had a second for the Galaxy when he ripped a ninth minute shot that went pinging off the bar with the whole of the ball clearly coming down over the whole of the line in the Jets net on the TV replay, but came out and was not given.

The Jets also cleared a Galaxy second half effort off the goal line.

But the Galaxy flagged visibly as the game wore on (after an out of the blocks start) and Coach Bruce Arena substituted liberally giving retirees Eddie Lewis and Chris Klein final run outs and a lively looking Bryan Jordan of Temple City some significant minutes.

Game story here.

Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts (Josh Saunders 46′); Sean Franklin (Chris Klein 63′), A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez (Gregg Berhalter 46′), Todd Dunivant (Eddie Lewis 46′); Chris Birchall (Dema Kovalenko 68′), David Beckham, Juninho (Mike Magee 72′), Michael Stephens (Alex Cazumba 57′); Landon Donovan (Bryan Jordan 46′), Edson Buddle (Jovan Kirovski 46′).

*Here’s how the game played in Australia.

*Is Everton in Beckham’s future? Everton could use Landon Donovan, too, after losing 4-1 today to West Bromwich Albion.

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Thursday Kicks: USMNT roster announced & more

i-6df75b6983eff96913e5e023d4ae6dde-Agudelo.jpgTeen seen: Looks like MLS fans weren’t the only ones impressed with the performance of Red Bulls youngster Juan Agudelo, called up by U.S. Coach Bob Bradley for next week’s game in South Africa (AP Photo).

*Former Chivas USA players Brad Guzan and Jonathan Bornstein (who technically remains a Goats player until year’s end when he will then join Tigres) and Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers lead an 18-player U.S. squad to South Africa Wednesday for a friendly (11 a.m. ESPN2).

Among the more intriguing players selected: New York’s 17-year-old striker Juan Agudelo, who impressed in the playoffs for the Red Bulls, his teammate Tim Ream, an MLS Rookie of the Year nominee, and midfielder Mikkel Diskerud, who plays in Norway and like Agudelo and Ream is getting his first national team summons.

U.S. Coach Bob Bradley practiced his undistinguished fill in the blank style of quotes in press releases:

“This game is a good opportunity to look at some different players and assess their place in the pool as we continue to build for the next cycle,” said Bradley. “With our immediate focus on the Gold Cup next summer, this game in many ways is just as much the start of 2011 as it is the end of a great year.”

So that’s why you called in Robbie Findley and Jonathan Spector yet again, then Bob?

Complete roster:

goalkeepers – Dominic Cervi (Celtic), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
defenders – Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril Praia), Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

midfielders – Alejandro Bedoya (rebro), Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

forwards – Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Kansas City Wizards), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

*FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman, who will lead the club Sunday in the Western Conference final against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center, was voted the 2010 MLS Coach of the Year, the league announced today.

Dallas boasted a 19-game unbeaten streak in MLS play at one point this season en route to the club’s first playoff appearance since 2007.

*MLS has announced the timing and procedure for the combine set for Jan. 8-11 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., two days before the SuperDraft in Baltimore.

The list of participating players will be announced in December.

From the MLS press release:

“The 2011 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas will include four rounds and 72 overall selections. Vancouver Whitecaps FC will have the first overall selection in the 2011 SuperDraft while the Portland Timbers will select second. The next eight selections are from teams that did not qualify for the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs beginning with the team with fewest 2010 regular season points (3 points per win, one point per tie). The remaining eight positions are ranked by fewest regular season points among the teams that were eliminated in the same round of the MLS Cup playoffs.”

Finally, your transfer rumor of the day (stop me if you’ve heard this one before). Yawn.

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Tuesday Kicks: The latest Donovan transfer rumor & more

*Those Landon Donovan to Everton rumors just won’t go away.

Donovan had this reponse last week when asked about another European loan in the MLS offseason, BTW:

“If you ask me today, I’m going to say unequivocally no. I’m tired. My body needs a break. But once I’m off for a few weeks it might be a different answer.”

Glad we got that cleared up then.

*Meanwhile, if you’re an MLS fan you’d better set aside even more time for games next season. The league released this brief statement today:

In 2011, each of the 18 MLS clubs will play 34 regular season games, beginning the weekend of March 19. The League will not take any breaks for the CONCACAF Gold Cup or other competitions. The 32-week regular season will conclude on October 22. The format of the regular season and MLS Cup Playoffs are still being reviewed, and the date of MLS Cup will be announced later. MLS clubs will announce their 2011 home openers in the near future.

*In case you were wondering I’ve heard nothing (yet) about any roster moves at either the Galaxy or Chivas USA today ahead of the roster freeze deadline at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Here’s what that means, via MLS:

No changes may be made to a team’s roster from the Roster Freeze Deadline until the day after MLS Cup, including changes to the Disabled List.

All players listed on the Disabled List after 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday will remain unavailable through MLS Cup. If a team believes its player will recover after Wednesday and would like him to be available to play in any remaining MLS Regular Season and Playoff games, he must be removed from the Disabled List prior to the deadline and any necessary moves to maintain roster compliance must be made by the deadline as well.

In the case of incoming players, if a contract has been signed by the deadline and the League is waiting for his Visa or ITC, the player must still be added to the club’s roster and any related roster moves to accommodate that player must take place before the deadline. The player will be listed as unavailable until the necessary documents are received.

Teams may still add short term replacements after the deadline in cases of extreme hardship, as determined by the League. If a team calls up a player during the MLS Playoffs and he plays in a game, he will be tied to that team for the remainder of Playoffs and MLS Cup. If a player was called up but did not play, then he is not tied to that team.


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Sunday Soccer: Galaxy MLS & Chivas USA SuperLiga Gameday

While it is clear Ronaldinho is not leaving Inter AC Milan immediately it is equally clear Galaxy fans should not rule anything out (as club officials have said all along), although a LA arrival in 2011 seems more plausible than 2010, assuming he does not extend his contract in Europe.

Meanwhile, much the same could be said of Landon Donovan (in terms of ruling nothing out) as the Galaxy prepares to meet beleaguered D.C. United at 4:30 p.m. today (live on Fox Soccer Channel). An official viewing party is here that apparently includes a $7.00 “Buddle” Burger w/fries. It’s surprisingly lightweight at just 4 oz, but also includes a “Toasted Bun, Saffron Goat cheese Aioli, Arugala, Pickled onions, and Tomatoes.” Why the need to capitalize the burger toppings is unclear to me as is the connection between Buddle and saffron goat cheese, but I guess it could be worse – how about a $6.5 million Beckham burger, which, I suppose, would come with no meat at all).

Bet we see this notable Mexican striker in LA before Ronaldinho (or for that matter Lucio Emilio).

Chivas USA puts in a televised SuperLiga appearance a half hour later against the Dynamo in Houston (5 p.m. KFTR), part of what tournament organizers undoubtedly hope is an attendance-boosting doubleheader that also features the past and present teams of Herculez Gomez – Puebla and Pachuca – at 7:30 p.m. on the same channel.

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Chivas USA Names Assistant Coaches

Chivas USA today announced the hiring of former San Diego Spirit coach Carlos Juarez, former Bayern Munich assistant coach Nick Theslof and goalkeeper coach Daniel Gonzalez to the club’s coaching staff.

The trio join Carlos Llamosa as assistant coaches to Head Coach Martn Vsquez on the team’s technical staff.

“These three coaches are talented, experienced, and perfectly suited to help this club move forward,” Vsquez said. “Adding Carlos, Nick and Daniel, and with Carlos Llamosa already here, will help all our players, from youth teamers to experienced professionals, learn and develop.”

In addition to formerly coaching the WUSA’s Spirit, Juarez is a former coach of a variety of U.S. international youth teams and also coached the men’s and women’s teams at Cal Poly Pomona. The L.A. native was most recently with the Claremont Stars club as the organization’s technical director.

Theslof, who takes on the new role of technical coach for Chivas USA, was on the staff at Bayern Munich with Vasquez.

He was also scout for the German National team at the 2006 World Cup and was the coach and GM for PDL club Orange County Blue Star from 2002-2007.

As technical coach, Theslof will work with players on various aspects of their performance, and will also help the club in both player and club scouting, Chivas USA officials said.

Gonzalez is an Argentine native who played with Rosario Central in a 16-year pro career and also was on the staff at the Colorado Rapids for three years.

BTW, Theslof is pretty close to Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers, who played for him at Blue Star and had a big influence on him during his formative soccer years. Wonder if that could help Chivas USA lure the U.S. international winger from the Columbus Crew, where Rogers saw his playing time diminish toward the end of last season?

Chivas USA opens preseason training camp Tuesday.

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England’s Everton Pursue Loan Deal for Galaxy’s Donovan & More

The loan deal for Landon Donovan would be of the short-term variety, similar to what he did earlier this year with Bayern Munich.

It would be a good shop window for Donovan as he either seeks a foreign club or strengthen his bargaining position with MLS over an improved contract.

Everton have little money to spend so it’s unlikely to become permanent, but Everton manager David Moyes, who has worked with the likes of Brian McBride at the club level in the past, at least respects Americans more than your average English coach (or knows a good, relatively inexpensive deal when he sees one). Details here.

BTW, I should note Donovan (who is apparently on his way to Hawaii for a vacation as I write this) updated his Facebook page back on Dec. 1 thusly:

Just wanted to send a quick note regarding the Club America rumors. I certainly am interested but haven’t heard anything yet…we’ll see what happens.


*The alumni magazine of the University of Washington catches up with former Galaxy player Ty Harden to talk to him about his unusually selfless career move. The Galaxy’s 2007 Defender of the Year player returned to MLS with the Colorado Rapids this year, playing in seven games.

*Lastly, former Sol defender Martina Franko (she was traded to the expansion Philadelphia Independence in October) and Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc are among nine nominees for the women’s Canadian Player of the Year Award. (The other nominees are forward Christine Sinclair and Candace Chapman of FC Gold Pride, Sky Blue FC midfielder Kelly Parker, Washington Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato – who plays in Italy – and Rhian Wilkinson and Diana Matheson, who both play club soccer in Norway.

There’s also a men’s award with the usual suspects including Julian de Guzman and Dwayne De Rosario of Toronto FC.

Voting began today and runs through Dec. 20.

Vote here.

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No Column Today

I took Monday off to extend the holiday weekend.

The column returns next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, while I take my mother-in-law to the airport this morning (yes!), check out the latest report of someone who was working Monday on the possibility of the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan securing a new long-term MLS contract and potentially doubling his salary.

Again, no attribution given as to the source of the story. A plant by Donovan’s agent as he plays both sides of the fence to extract the best possible deal for his client?

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Saturday Galaxy Gameday (& More)

The Galaxy-Colorado Rapids game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. (delayed until 10 p.m. on Prime) and fans should get there early for a free T-shirt and $1 pregame beers and hot dogs. Cheapo tickets, too.

The basics from the Daily Breeze.

The statistical comparison of the two teams from The Denver Post.

Preview from the Rapids blog From the Couch.

The always detailed MLS breakdown.

The unsubstantiated trade rumor of the week has this guy allegedly joining the Galaxy on loan.

Lastly, the new coach of Mexico is an old coach of Mexico.

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Friday Football: Chivas USA Play in Santa Clarita Sunday & More

And with salary cap and roster size compliance day Monday, a highly-motivated bunch of young players should be on display against the Ventura County Fusion of the PDL (who will likely have former Chivas USA forward Anthony Hamilton in the side).

More on the charity game is here.

And fans will be tailgating.

Meanwhile, a player often mentioned in connection with Chivas USA is on his way home from Europe. And as if on cue, too, since club officials reiterated their desire earlier this week to sign a designated player if available this summer. I have no inside info. I’m just sayin’.

Over in Galaxyland, first round draft pick Omar Gonzalez scored his first goal in a Galaxy uniform in a closed door scrimmage against UCLA. Highlights here:

It appears Seattle and ex-Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid will be giving L.A. a run for its money leading MLS in attendance this season.

The pick of the televised games this weekend includes:
*Arsenal-Fulham 7 a.m. Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel
*Real Madrid-Espanyol 1 p.m. Saturday on GOLTV
*CD Guadalajara-Pachuca 5 p.m.Saturday on KVEA

*Sampdoria-AC Milan 9 a.m. Sunday on FSC (delayed)
*Club America-San Luis 2 p.m. Sunday on KMEX

Finally, congrats to the sports staffers at the Daily News. The section was recently named one of the 10 best in the nation in its circulation category, despite a significant loss of staff in the last few years. My soccer column appears every Tuesday in its pages (as it does in several sister newspapers in Southern California including the Torrance-based Daily Breeze) so I’ll claim a small role in that success.

More here.

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