USL: Galaxy II and Orange County Blues FC qualify for playoffs

LA Galaxy II finished fifth in the USL Western Conference and will face the Swope Park Rangers at Children’s Mercy Victory Field, uslFriday, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Galaxy II finished fifth in the conference.

Orange County Blues FC qualified on the final day of the regular season and will face top-seeded Sacramento Republic FC. OC Blues finished eighth.

Here are the Western Conference pairings

No. 8 Orange County Blues FC at No. 1 Sacramento Republic FC

No. 7 OKCEnergy FC at No. 2 Rio Grande Valley FC

No. 6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 at No. 3 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

No. 5 Galaxy II at No. 4 Swope Park Rangers

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James Keston becomes new owner of Orange County Blues FC

Orange County Blues FC of the United Soccer League (USL) has been sold to L.A-based businessman James Keston, the league announced Thursday.

Keston is the Chief Investment Officer of LARO Properties, an investment company.

“We are thrilled to welcome James Keston to the USL and reaffirm one of our key

James Keston

James Keston

tenets of finding local and committed ownership,” USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis said. “James is part of an established Los Angeles family who has passion for soccer and has some very exciting initiatives planned for the team.”

Previous owner Ali Mansouri will remain as a minority investor. Mansouri founded the club in 1998 and became owner in 2010.

“This is a realization of a lifelong dream,” Keston said by phone. “I have a number of plans, starting with a compete rebranding and we will be seeking fan input, a redesign of the logo and improving stadium requirements.”

The OC Blues have played their home games at Anteater Stadium on the campus of UC Irvine since 2014.

“We want to have a fan and game experience that’s greatly enhanced and make the fans feel part of their local team,” Keston said. “The current owner has done a great job and has taken the team to a certain point.

“Our plan is to build out the rest of the team staff, double or triple the front office staff, bring in more sales and marketing and make sure every one knows that Orange County has a local team. The amount of kids and fans playing in Orange County is unparallel to anywhere and we want to be the one team that’s speaking for Orange County.”

All of this work begins once the season is over. The Blues are currently in ninth place in the Western Conference. Last year, the club reached the Western Conference semifinals.

Keston said there are plans to develop an academy system to identify the top talent in Orange County.

“Our focus is winning USL championships and creating a professional environment and give an opportunity to the talented youth to play soccer with men and develop their game,” Keston said. “We understand our place within the (soccer) chain. We’re going to take a look at everything and make a lot of important decisions.”

LARO Properties specializes in investments in real estate, private equity funds, hedge funds, direct equity investments and publicly traded securities. Keston has also served as Chief Restructuring Officer for Larwin Company, during which he led negotiations with banks and creditors on behalf of the company in successfully resolving a distressed portfolio of over $150 million in outstanding loans.

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LA Galaxy II hosts inaugural Pups at the Park Night September 10 at StubHub Center in Carson

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Got a soccer-loving hound?

Then bring Rover or Spot down to StubHub Center 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 when the LA Galaxy II host the Sacramento Republic for the inaugural Pups at the Park Night.

Admission for you is $10 and your dog $5 with the proceeds for the latter going to local animal groups:

At halftime of the match, a “Best In Show” competition will be held to award the biggest K-9 Galaxy fan. The competition is open to all dogs in attendance and the winner will receive a 2016 LA Galaxy Jersey and Galaxy Puppy Pack courtesy of the Galaxy Team Store.

On the East side of the stadium, there will be a dedicated area for dogs and puppies. For safety purposes, dog owners will be required to provide up-to-date shot and vaccination records for their animal to be granted stadium access.

Parking is free and $2 beers and tacos are available.

And if you want your best friend styling for the occasion, click here.

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LA Galaxy to host June 17 U.S. Open Cup game at Stubhub Center in Carson

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Given the Galaxy’s recent form, their fourth round U.S. Open Cup draw announced this afternoon by U.S. Soccer promises either a way to help right the listing ship or foreshadows the possibility of a huge upset. MLS teams enter at this stage of the knockout competition.

The defending MLS Cup champions will play the winner of Wednesday’s third round clash between Irvine-based amateur outfit PSA Elite of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association and the Ventura County Fusion of the PDL.

The Fusion beat the LA Galaxy 2-1 at StubHub Center last night to advance giving the senior side a chance for revenge.

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LA Galaxy II to host Ventura County Fusion Wednesday in second round of U.S. Open Cup

Galaxy2logoThe Ventura County Fusion’s penalty kick victory Wednesday over amateur Thousand Oaks-based Cal FC has earned them a 7:30 p.m. matchup against the Galaxy’s reserve team.

On the same night the Galaxy II beat the Tulsa Roughnecks 2-0 behind goals from Jack McBean and Ariel Lassiter for their fourth straight win.

The winner meets the victor of the Orange County Blues FC-PSA Elite clash on May 27.

Tickets are $10, while parking is free, beer and tacos are $2 apiece and kids 12 and under get in free.

Here’s a summary of the Fusion win from U.S. Soccer:

Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 3, Cal FC (USASA) 3 (Ventura County Fusion wins 6-5 on penalty kicks)

In another wild affair, Ventura County Fusion struck first through Carlos Martinez in the 14th minute.

Playing against his former team, Danny Barrera equalized from distance on the hour mark, but Javier Castro’s 39th minute strike would take the Fusion into halftime up 2-1. Just five minutes into the second frame, Chris Cummings again equalized for Cal FC; however, just a minute after entering the match, Ventura County substitute Julian Zamora would put the home side ahead 3-2 in the 63rd minute.

Cal FC continued to press for one more equalizer and found it through Edgar Espinoza, whose 89th minute tally sent the match to extra time. The teams traded chances in the additional frame, but penalty kicks would be required. Cal FC’s Bryan Hill stood tall to turn away two shots, while Ventura County’s Justin Vom Steeg saved one, but as the tiebreaker extended to sudden death, Espinoza put his eighth round penalty high, giving the Fusion a 6-5 penalty kick decision.

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MLS Weekend Television Preview: LA Galaxy faces D.C. United at 4 p.m. today on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet

LANG MLS beat writer Phil Collin has the game preview.

Here’s the D.C. United perspective.

The game will be streamed live at lagalaxy.com with Christian Miles calling the action and former Galaxy and USMNT defender Paul Caligiuri providing the analysis.

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LA Galaxy II striker Ariel Lassiter called in to Costa Rican U-23 team

Galaxy2logoLA Galaxy II forward Ariel Lassiter has earned a call-up to the Costa Rican U-23 team after notching five goals and four assists with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 21 games last year.

Lassiter, who signed with Los Dos ahead of the 2015 season that begins March 22, is the son of former MLS star Roy Lassiter and was born in Costa Rica while his father was playing there.

Costa Rica will play in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic in Bradenton, Fla. Feb. 18-28 against Columbus Crew SC, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC in addition to USL outfit OKC Energy FC, Danish first division team HB Koge and London United, composed of players currently out of contract.

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LA Galaxy II sign 15-year-old Westminster goalkeeper Eric Lopez to USL Pro contract

Galaxy2logoThe LA Galaxy reserve team made USL Pro history today by signing the youngest player in league history — 15-year-old Eric Lopez.

Lopez has progressed through the Academy ranks, making his debut for the club at age 13 and received his first U.S. call-up to the U-17 squad earlier this year.

“Eric is another example of the fully-realized player developmental system that the Galaxy have implemented,” said LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski. “We are excited to complete this deal and keep talented prospects like Eric within the Galaxy organization as their careers progress.”

Inglewood’s Jaime Villarreal is the only other homegrown player to sign a USL Pro contract with the LA Galaxy II.

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Monday Major League Soccer Rewind: Galaxy clinch playoff spot as Long Beach supersub Alan Gordon scores winner

Busy weekend?

Here’s your Monday cheat sheet to get you caught up on the MLS action: Striker Alan Gordon scored yet again for the Galaxy Saturday in Carson with an 83rd minute goal that beat Dallas, clinched a playoff spot and moved the club into a tie with Seattle for the MLS lead.

Next for the Galaxy: %:30 p.m. Sunday at StubHub Center against the New York Red Bulls.

The LA Galaxy II saw their season come to a close before a sold-out crowd in MLS-hungry Sacramento, while Chivas USA lost yet again before a capacity crowd in Toronto. The Goats didn’t even manage a shot on goal until the last 10 minutes of the game.

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