Thursday Kicks: Galaxy’s Donovan, Gonzalez named to U.S. WCQ squad as expected & more

*U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann today named a 23-man roster for the upcoming pair of World Cup qualifiers, which not surprisingly includes an on fire Landon Donovan who on Wednesday pledged his immediate future to MLS and the Galaxy.

Notable: It’s the first call-up for Donovan since June 2012 and he’s missed the last dozen U.S. games.

A total of 11 players were part of the Gold Cup winning squad, while eight players on the U.S. roster will receive a one-game suspension if they cautioned in the next game: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Brad Evans, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones.

*Check out the UEFA Champions League draw.

*You think Galaxy coach Bruce Arena likes known quantities around him at every level of the Organization? The Academy staff the club announced today will feature seven former MLS players, including four former Galaxy players:

LA Galaxy Academy U-18 Head Coach Ante Razov

LA Galaxy Academy U-16 Head Coach Mike Muñoz

LA Galaxy Academy U-16 (B) Head Coach Andrew Boyens

LA Galaxy Academy U-14 Head Coach Greg Vanney

LA Galaxy Academy U-14 (B) Head Coach Ted Eck

LA Galaxy Academy U-12 North Head Coach Alex Yi

LA Galaxy Academy U-12 South Head Coach Braeden Cloutier

LA Galaxy Academy Technical Coach Mauricio Cienfuegos

LA Galaxy Academy Goalkeeper Coach: Ruben Messina

LA Galaxy Academy Coordinator: Billy Bizzaro

LA Galaxy Academy Head Athletic Trainer: Pablo Chung

LA Galaxy Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jonathan Brooks


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Weekly Soccer Column: Champions League Primer*

For both sides of the Atlantic.

Read the column here.

More on the task ahead for Lionel Messi and Barcelona is here.

Going to Wednesday’s Galaxy game? Essential gameday info is here.


Two historic comebacks in Champions League action Tuesday, one in Barcelona, the other in Seattle.

Count the Galaxy impressed.

I plan to Tweet this evening from the Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League game @lasoccerblog, while MLS beat writer Phil Collin will have a full game wrap here tonight.

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European soccer outdraws NHL, horse racing on U.S. network TV in key demographic groups


And by that read younger viewers, those most prized by advertisers since they represent the future.

It’s always interesting to put TV ratings for soccer in a broader context with other more established American sports.

So why don’t American newspaper editors and producers of sports television shows devote more attention to soccer in line with its ratings than they do?

Beats me. And yet they wonder why newspaper readership and the number of eyeballs glued to TV are steadily eroding.

Here are the details via the Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — Chelsea’s penalty-kicks win over Bayern Munich in last weekend’s Champions League final had a 1.1 rating and 3 share, according to final ratings from Nielsen Media Research, down from 2011 but up over 2010.

Chelsea’s 4-3 shootout victory following a 1-1 tie was seen by 2 million viewers, Nielsen said Thursday, with the audience rising to 2.4 million from 5-5:30 p.m. EDT.

Among men 18-34, the Champions League final averaged a 1.6, between the 0.8 for the New York Rangers’ 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils in the NHL playoffs on NBC and the 1.8 for San Antonio’s 96-86 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA playoffs on ABC. The Preakness on NBC had a 0.6 among men 18-34.

Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Manchester United last year, a game involving teams with bigger U.S. followings, had a 1.4 rating and 4 share, and was watched by 2.6 million.

Inter Milan’s 2-0 win over Bayern in 2010, involving teams more comparable to this year’s
finalists, received a 1.0 rating and 3 share, and was seen by 1.6 million viewers. That was the first Champions League final televised by a U.S. over-the-air network.

The Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer cable channel said it averaged 185,000 viewers for its 118 live Premier League telecasts this season, about the same as 184,000 for 112 matches in 2010-11.

Fox averaged 54,000 for its 96 live Serie A broadcasts this year from Italy and 53,000 for its four Ligue 1 showings from France. Its one live Scottish Premier League match, between Glasgow Celtic and Rangers, had 86,000 viewers.

Among individual English clubs, Manchester United averaged 266,000 viewers for 20 live games, Manchester City 218,000 for 22, Arsenal 215,000 for 16, Liverpool 208,000 for 11, Chelsea 194,000 for 21 and Tottenham 185,000 for 18.

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Who knew the last two days would answer the question…

What do Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kaka and Sergio Ramos have in common? (Answer below)


Ronaldo Rubbish: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a penalty against Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League (AP Photo).

All of these undoubtedly brilliant players capable of changing a game did just that in the last two days — by missing a penalty apiece. Ramos in particular deserves a special mention for his stupendously abysmal attempt (kids, please do not try that at home).

And now neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid will play for the UEFA Champions League title next month.


So does this kill Jose Mourinho’s chances of managing Chelsea again then, huh?

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Weekly Column: UEFA Champions League Preview


Two days, two of the biggest club games this year: Bayern Munich-Real Madrid today, Chelsea-Barcelona Wednesday on Fox Soccer and FX respectively.

Wherever you’re going to watch — and a list of soccer friendly Los Angeles-area bars, pubs and restauarants origtinally compiled for the World Cup are at top right on this blog — enjoy the games.

And before you go get primed for all the action in today’s column.

Who do you like? Is an all-Spanish final likely? Or will Bayern Munich or Chelsea (or both) crash the Messi-Ronaldo party?

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Tuesday’s column: To see Messi play is to see greatness

i-6ed99765b417bfe7dfbfa4465e192983-magicmessi.jpgAll that jazz: Lionel Messi blows past Real Madrid’s Marcelo last month in the Spanish Cup final (AP Photo).

Well, OK this was as much a homage to Lionel Messi as it is a column, but, well, I make no apologies for it: He’s that good.

It might seem incredible to soccer fans, but there are plenty of Americans who don’t know who Messi is or why they should care.

The newsroom’s resident Lakers fanatic was heading out the door to get home in plenty of time for their playoff game last night when I asked him if he knew who Lionel Messi was.

“Jazz singer?” he said only half-joking.

I wrote today’s column for the likes of him.


* Barcelona are through to the UEFA Champions League final.

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Tuesday Kicks: Today’s column & more

i-869a73a9d50999011215c7a2e54d9d6b-rooneybicycle.jpgBiker boy: Wayne Rooney scored Saturday what he described as the best goal of his career. Let’s hope the highlight reels shift into OT when the round of 16 begins today in the UEFA Champions League (AP Photo).

*Dema Kovalenko, who finished a 13-year career with just over 20 appearances for the Galaxy in the last couple of seasons, has confirmed what most of us had already assumed – his retirement.

One of those polarizing players who always had a reckless – some might say downright dangerous – streak, Kovalenko was also a genuine, down to earth locker room presence who was always quick with a joke and a smile with reporters he knew.

*David Beckham’s libel lawsuit against a tabloid gossip sheet who alleged he scored with a $10,000 a night hooker was thrown out by a Los Angeles judge.

*Finally, I think you can make a case that the best soccer tournament on the face of the planet is not the World Cup, but the UEFA Champions League. I certainly remember more great moments and great games from that tournament in recent years than the World Cup.

So will you be planted in front of a TV set at 11:30 a.m. today when Tottenham and AC Milan open the knockout round of the UEFA Champions League on Fox Soccer Channel? Me too. Read more here.

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Tuesday’s Column: American TV viewers’ choice for soccer is overseas

Read the column here.

UEFA Champions League games this week include:


BSC Young Boys (SUI) vs. Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG) FSN
FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) vs. AFC Ajax (NED) Fox Soccer Channel
Rosenborg BK (NOR) vs. FC Kbenhavn (DEN) Fox Soccer Plus


Werder Bremen (GER) vs. Sampdoria (ITA) Fox Soccer Channel
FK Partizan (SRB) vs. RSC Anderlecht (BE Fox Soccer Plus

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