Why Ronaldinho may not play in Queretaro’s Liga MX finals against Santos

Queretaro's Ronaldinho warms up on the sidelines during a Mexican soccer league semi-final match against Pachuca in Queretaro, Sunday, May 24, 2015 (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Queretaro’s Ronaldinho warms up on the sidelines during a Mexican soccer league semi-final match against Pachuca in Queretaro, Sunday, May 24, 2015 (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

Ronaldinho is a football icon. He’s appeared in Nike commercials, graced the cover of FIFA video games, won the World Cup and has been named FIFA Player of the Year twice.

But that means nada to Queretaro head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich.

Ronaldinho, 35, has been playing for Querataro the past two seasons. Vucetich joined the club midway through this season and lead Los Gallos Blancos to their first Liga MX finals in club history. The former Barcelona man should be a hero in the small state for leading the team to such heights, but he is not.

Ronaldinho, easily the most recognizable name in Mexico’s finals this wek, may not even play Thursday in the first leg of the series against Santos Laguna (6:30 p.m., Azteca America).

That’s because Ronaldinho’s tumultuous time in Mexico hit a boiling point last week during the first leg of the semifinals. After being subbed out just before halftime, Ronaldinho left the stadium before the game was over. He apologized to the club and its fans the next day.

Vucetich called the switch a “tactical” move. “We couldn’t give anything away [down 2-0]. The fact they didn’t score (another goal) allows us to be alive in the series.”

Vucetich, who is in his seventh Liga MX finals, was right.

With Ronaldinho on the bench, Queretaro went on to win the second leg 2-0  to advance to the finals. The series-winning goal was scored by former Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein’s in the second half.

Nicknamed King Midas for taking struggling clubs and turning them into champions, leading Queretaro to the finals could be Vucetich’s best job as a coach to date.

Reports in Mexico indicate Ronaldinho’s time with Queretaro is over and that player and club have agreed to go their separate ways at the end of the season. He did travel with to Torreon, but most soccer pundits south of the border find it unlikely that the two-time player of the year starts tonight’s game.

However the guessing continues: Will he start on the bench or on field?

Throw-Ins About 2015 Clausura Liga MX Final:

– The final features the sixth seed against the eight seed in la liguilla. Santos was the eight seed; Queretaro the sixth.

– Other notable players (not named Ronaldinho) in the finals: Bornstein, Ricardo Osorio and Sinha for Queretaro; Goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin, Carlos Isquierdoz and Javier Orozco for Santos.

– The coaches: Santos’ Pedro Caixinha of Portugal is in his first final with Santos after reaching losing in the semifinals three times; Vucetich, a former head coach of Mexico’s national team, is in his seventh final and has only lost once before, to Santos in 2012.

– If you don’t speak Spanish but want to keep up with the final, follow Santos’ English-language twitter account @ClubSantosEn, which is managed by an American living in Mexico.

– Second leg of finals is Sunday in Queretaro at 6:30 p.m. on Azteca America.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

10 Front Pages about FIFA corruption scandal from around the world

FIFA’s corruption probe is top news all around the world, with some calling it the biggest sports scandal ever.

To give you a sense of what people are saying, here are the covers for 10 newspapers from around the world, including one very dramatic illustration from Uruguay’s El Observador.

England, The Independet — “The Shame Game”:
the_independent.750
Mexico, La Prensa — “Dirty Game”:
PRI28515
France, Liberation — “FIFA Nostra”
liberation.7501
Honduras, El Diez — “FIFA’s wake up call”
CGGZSbaVEAAWvff
U.S. The Washington Post — “The Beautiful Dirty Game”
DC_EXPRESS-1
Austria, Kleine Zeitung — “The corrupt game”
AUT_KZ
Italy, La Gazzetta dello Sport — “The Raid”
CGC5Lb1UIAEFVHM
Brazil, Lance — “Goal for FBI”
BRA_LRJ
Venezuela, Lider — “Dirty Game”
ve_lider.750
Uruguay, El Observador — “Theft in football”
uy_observador.750

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

EPL Weekend TV Preview: Chelsea could clinch the title against Crystal Palace at 5:30 a.m. Sunday live on NBCSN

chelsea

Thirteen points clear of second-place Manchester City, Chelsea could win their fourth EPL title this weekend against Crystal Palace, sitting 12th in the table.

Palace haven’t won at Stamford Bridge in 33 years.

A comprehensive guide to all the EPL games this weekend is here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Hermosa Beach resident and USWNT star Abby Wambach named to 25th annual Time 100

wambachTimeless Performer: Hermosa Beach resident Abby Wambach was named to the Time magazine list of the world’s 100 most influential people (Associated Press Photo).

See the complete Time 100 here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Dismally disjointed LA Galaxy lay egg in Vancouver as Whitecaps top MLS with 2-0 win

With the 2-0 road loss to Vancouver Saturday, the Galaxy are now winless in their last three games and are already beginning to lose touch with the leading MLS teams in the young season. Next for the Galaxy: 4 p.m. Sunday against the Seattle Sounders at StubHub Center.

Quotable:

“They were the better team all night, they outplayed us the entire match,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “Personally every player can look at their performance and make sure it doesn’t happen again…We didn’t do anything well tonight, no excuses.”

Notable:

Despite making five changes to the starting XI, the Galaxy lost their ninth straight road game.

Tweet Time:

Bottom Line:

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Video: Robbie Keane of LA Galaxy gives a passionate explanation of his MLS fine for “unprofessional conduct.”

You watch Robbie Keane on the soccer field and you’re not going to find a more intense competitor.

His goading of teammates, his pleading to referees, his eagerness to get in the face of opponents rubs more than a few the wrong way.

He must have been itching to start the season last week because the Galaxy’s 2-0 win over Chicago, Keane was in midseason form. It culminated in his celebration after scoring the second goal and the MLS lip-readers were on the spot to fine him for “unprofessional conduct.”

Keane explained it all Thursday after practice:

“Ah, nothing. Passion. I’m a passionate guy,” Keane said. “I like to win all the time.”

Earlier in the game, he appeared to upbraid teammate Stefan Ishizaki for a build-up gone awry.

“If you don’t play with passion, which I’ve always done since I’ve been here, that’s the way I play,” Keane said. “That’s the way I get the best out of myself and get the best out of players.
“One million percent it wasn’t (directed) at the fans. You can’t just speculate if you don’t know. It’s not a big deal. I’m expecting a fine. It’s no problem.”

It’s what helped drive Keane to score 19 goals, dish out 14 assists and win the MLS MVP award in 2014. Oh, and help his club capture its third MLS Cup in four years.

“Passion,” Keane said. “I want to win all the time. I want to be better. I do a lot of things to get people going in a different way. It’s my way of doing things. I do it on the training field, I do it on the field. I’ll always continue to do it. There’s other things you won’t see that I do all the time. Sometimes it’s to get people going, to get a reaction from other people. It’s about caring about what you do.
“If it’s going to make us a better team, than the job’s done.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Video: Bruce Arena after Galaxy exhibition win plus Ramon Martin Del Campo update

The Galaxy opened their exhibition season with a 2-0 victory over Ventura County Fusion on Wednesday at StubHub Center. Reigning MLS MVP Robbie Keane scored in the first half and Edson Buddle scored in the second half for the Galaxy.
Buddle is still not under contract, but pairing with Keane for a goal won’t hurt his cause.
Coach Bruce Arena used a number of younger players mixed in with the regulars. Forward Charlie Rugg, who played all of last year with the Galaxy II, played a midfield wing position.
The Galaxy are also taking a long look at undrafted free agent Ramon Martin Del Campo, a central defender who shined at UC Davis, took part in the MLS combine but was not selected.

“It was motivating,” Del Campo said of not being drafted. “Approaching it I had my hopes up, obviously it didn’t work out. It’s fine. That’s life and you’ve got to face adversity. A successful career is impossible without minor setbacks so I just saw it was motivation to get back out there to get back training harder and we’ll see what the future takes.”

Del Campo said he was sick right before the combine but took the risk of going through the tryouts anyway.

“I had strep throat going in,” he said. “I didn’t want to tell anybody because I wanted to prove to coaches that I was stronger than it, that tiny things won’t hold me back. Obviously it was a very difficult thing.
“I don’t regret anything. I just see it as a learning lesson. There’s no point in regretting, it doesn’t make me a better player, doesn’t help my status.”

Del Campo was born in Mexico but grew up in Chula Vista (Bonita Vista High) and is a U.S. citizen.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

UCLA midfielder Leo Stoltz named nation’s best college soccer player

The UCLA Leo Stolz was named the winner of the 2014 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy today after winning the most votes cast by the nation’s college coaches. He joins former Galaxy player Sasha Victorine and U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Friedel as UCLA winners of the trophy.

Next up: a trip to the MLS College Combine.

Here’s more from the UCLA press release:

The two-year team captain started all 24 games for the Bruins, leading the team in goals (9) and points (24), while tying for the lead in assists (6). A native of Munich, Germany, Stolz logged 2,054 minutes and recorded points in 11 of his 24 matches.

Stolz finishes his three-year UCLA career with 20 goals, 22 assists and 62 points in 63 appearances (60 starts). The senior led the Bruins to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the College Cup Finals in 2014.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email