A Brazilian teenager paralyzed from the waist down will be wheeled onto the field then rise from his wheelchair and kick the first ball of the World Cup today at 11 a.m. on Univision.
We’ll leave the talking heads to ESPN and watch the passion and spectacle of the tournament’s start on the Spanish-language network.
The LA Riot Squad does as you can tell from this new Facebook page: “He may not be going to Brazil, but we still have Landon Donovan’s back. Let’s show him!”
Since I don’t have a Donovan Galaxy shirt (but I do have a Beckham one, go figure). I uploaded the above photo on the basis a 2006 Landon Donovan promotional World Cup coaster should suffice (guess there won’t be one this year).
The timing of the Riot Squad effort is apt, too, given tonight’s premier of a Landon Donovan special you can see a video clip of below.
Here’s more from the press release: This Friday at 8:00 p.m. PT, Time Warner Cable SportsNet will debut “Landon Donovan: Galaxy of Goals,” a half-hour special celebrating the LA Galaxy icon’s record-setting 136 career Major League Soccer (MLS) goals. Donovan became the all-time leading scorer in MLS history during this past Sunday’s LA Galaxy game on Time Warner Cable SportsNet when he scored his 135th and 136th career goals.
“Landon Donovan: Galaxy of Goals” features an in-depth, one-on-one interview and exclusive behind-the-scenes moments with the Galaxy forward, special congratulations from his teammates and a recap of all 136 MLS goals in less than four minutes. Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA Galaxy sideline reporter Kelli Tennant hosts the special.
From his facebook page:
To my fans,
It has been an honor and privilege to have represented the US National Team in three World Cups. I was looking forward to playing in Brazil and, as you can imagine, I am very disappointed with today’s decision. Regardless, I will be cheering on my friends and teammates this summer, and I remain committed to helping grow soccer in the US in the years to come.
Thanks for all your support,
Not everyone is that classy:
@soccercanales I’m absolutely rooting for all US opponents. Screw Klinsmann. Personal BS politics.
— GT (@gettinginnyc) May 23, 2014
— Alex Dënning (@AlexDenning10) May 22, 2014
Galaxy 2 FC Dallas 1
Bottom line for the Galaxy: Lively. Dangerous. Minimal dumb errors.
The Galaxy dominated a Dallas team that never looked competitive Wednesday, moving off the Western Conference basement with a much needed win.
Better yet, it was an entertaining game in Carson after some tedious road moments in recent outings that tested the patience of the many fans.
And, the score shouldn’t have been that close, said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena:
“It was a little unfortunate that the linesman missed the offside, which resulted in the Dallas goal, but that’s all part of it. I give our backline credit. They did what they are supposed to do on a play like that. It’s unfortunate that the linesman missed it and we had to scramble over the last 15 minutes.”
Midfielder Kenny Walker, playing his second MLS game two years after playing his first, was solid and the central defensive combination of Tommy Meyers and Kofi Opare received better reviews from some than the error prone Leonardo and substandard Omar Gonzalez.
Stefan Ishizaki was subbed after two bad giveaways that are threatening to become a hallmark of the Galaxy season, but overall it was a more solid, livelier outing than we have seen in recent performances.
Beat writer Phil Collin has the game story.
With Brazil’s World Cup masquerading as a construction zone with only about a month to go until the tournament begins and tales of corruption endemic, watching the tournament in Southern California is looking like a better idea with every passing day.
But where to watch?
Why don’t you tell us? We’ll feature your suggestions on this blog and our newspaper websites in the coming weeks. More details are in this week’s soccer column.
And if you plan a viewing party at a craft brewery, include an invitation, please.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 12, 2014
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 12, 2014
Full details here.
While the rights holders were not much of a surprise after NBC announced weeks ago it was pulling out of the negotiations, there are several notable aspects to the deal announced Monday.
First is a Univision game of the week Fridays and second is a Sunday weekly doubleheader shared by ESPN and Fox at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific.
“We’ve never had (broadcast) consistency on any night of the week,” said MLS Commish Don Garber about the regular weekly programming he hopes will drive ratings.
More than 125 nationally televised games will be shown on the three networks every season. FOX Sports 1 and ESPN will divide MLS playoff games, while MLS Cup and the MLS All-Star games will alternate each year between the two channels.
“We’re buying pork bellies,” said ESPN head honcho John Skipper, who said he believes the “ascendant sport” will see its lagging TV ratings grow in the future along with its live crowds.
From the press release:
Major League Soccer’s out-of-market package, currently serviced through the MLS Live and MLS Direct Kick packages, will be available to a wider audience via ESPN3, ESPN’s live multiscreen sports network currently in more than 92 million homes, and WatchESPN, available to fans who receive their video or Internet subscription from an affiliated provider. Featuring more than 200 MLS matches each year, the MLS out-of-market package will also be available via over-the-top services such as Google Play, iTunes Apple TV, Roku and others.
With national television broadcasts anchored on Fridays and Sundays, MLS clubs will have exclusivity on Saturdays, allowing for additional flexibility to schedule games. All of the Saturday MLS matches will be available via the new out-of-market package on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
All three networks will televise both U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches. ESPN and FOX Sports 1 will split the English-language Men’s National Team broadcast package of approximately 10 games per year, and will share the schedule of Women’s National Team games. Univision Deportes is the exclusive Spanish language home of U.S. Soccer, broadcasting all of the U.S. Men’s National Team games, and a minimum of four Women’s National Team matches each year during the term.
Game story is here.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena’s brief summation of the referee’s game on the Juninho play: “He blew it.”
But then, so did the Galaxy to concede the late equalizer:
“We fell asleep at the end of the game,” Arena said. “A bunch of guys can do better on the play.”