Southern California products lead U.S. to World Cup final & more

i-e2fd06a70f434a04c25cdd7a524c076d-Abbyfrance.jpgWinning Wambach: Another Abby Wambach header, another U.S. win. I believe she missed this attempt, but connected on another header and scored in the 3-1 U.S. win (AP Photo).

*Southern California stars shone brightly this morning at the World Cup with UCLA’s Lauren Cheney getting the first U.S. goal and creating the second from a corner kick for Hermosa Beach resident Abby Wambach, while Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan added the third in the 3-1 semifinal win over France at the World Cup.

*The Galaxy and Real Madrid held a press conference Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s friendly at the Coliseum.

*The Galaxy face the Sounders tonight in Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup.

*Chivas USA’s next opponent – the New York Red Bulls – were stunned by Chicago last night in the U.S. Open Cup. The Red Bulls and Chivas USA meet Saturday in Carson.

*A rookie goalkeeper scored a stunning goal for the San Jose Earthquakes against England’s West Bromwich Albion, which plays Sunday in Ventura against the PDL Fusion.

*Club America and Atlas clash tonight at 7:30 at Home Depot Center in Reto Aguila II. Tickets are still available.

*The USL Pro Los Angeles Blues, who have played most of their games in Orange County at Cal State Fullerton, have now edged even further from LA despite their name and will play their three remaining home matches at Norco College’s Mustang Stadium in Riverside County.

From what I’ve heard it’s a money-saving move as the minor league team bleeds red ink.

Updated

The U.S. will face Japan in Sunday’s final. It airs at 11 a.m. on ESPN and Galavision.

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Friday Football: Chivas USA in talks to move from Carson & more

*Chivas USA have confirmed for the first time that the club is studying “three or four” options to move elsewhere in Los Angeles County and out of Home Depot Center.

The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The only way for an MLS club to turn a profit is to have complete control of all revenue streams at the facility it plays in and right now as a tenant of Anschutz Entertainment Group in Carson that’s not the case for Chivas USA.

Chivas USA’s problems at drawing fans were on full display Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes in a game both coaches admitted was pretty terrible to watch at times. Fewer than 10,000 were on hand to watch the mediocre 5-7-6 club and many of them appeared to be kids getting in on discounted tickets offered to AYSO clubs.

Hard-core, dedicated adult Chivas USA fans are very thin on the ground at the HDC these days and a move inland closer to its core Latino fan base would seem likely.

Chivas USA plays Sporting Kansas City at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Galavision. There is no English-language television coverage of the game.

*The Galaxy, meanwhile, plays the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. at the HDC (live on Fox Soccer Channel). I’m finding it hare to work up much enthusiasm for this game either, frankly.

The Fire have been pretty dreary to watch of late and the Galaxy not much better. The Fire’s 1-1 draw with Chivas USA last Saturday – a ghastly game to watch – meant Chicago equalled the all-time franchise record for draws – a dozen.

The Galaxy aren’t too far off that pace themselves – they have nine ties so far this season – and have four draws in their last five games, including two consecutive goalless stalemates.

Yawn.

One reason to go to the game: The Galaxy will collect new or gently used soccer gear before Saturday’s game at booths set up outside each entrance to the stadium.

Donated jerseys, shorts, shoes, balls and shin guards will be distributed to needy children and organizations.

The first 200 donors get a player card signed by defender Sean Franklin and all donors receive a buy one ticket, get one free voucher for the Galaxy’s July 20 game against the Columbus Crew.

*Good thing there are actually some games worth watching on TV this weekend.

At 8:30 a.m. Saturday on ESPN England meets France in the first of the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, followed at 11:15 a.m. by Germany-Japan, while on Sunday at 8 a.m. it’s U.S.-Brazil.

If the Americans lose it will be the worst U.S. showing at a Women’s World Cup ever.

Oh, the truly fanatical can find the other quarterfinal, Sweden-Australia, at 3:30 a.m. Sunday on ESPN.

Prefer Copa America? At 11:30 a.m. Saturday it’s Brazil-Paraguay on KMEX.

And at 12:45 a.m. Sunday on ESPNU, the Brazilian and German stars of the future are on display at the U-17 World Cup third place game; the final between Mexico and Uruguay follows at 3:30 p.m. on the same channel.

*Lastly, the PDL Ventura County Fusion has announced it will host Argentina’s Independiente at 6 p.m. Friday July 22. Tickets are on sale to see the 14-time Argentine champions for $15 adults, $8 children.

Details here.

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Wednesday Kicks: Galaxy discover U.S. Open Cup opponent & more

*The Galaxy will meet new USL pro franchise the LA Blues in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup next week after the team disposed Tuesday of lower level opponent the Ventura County Fusion. The Fusion weren’t helped by the fact their captain Andy Rose is on trial with the Chicago Fire and missed the game.

The Galaxy face the Blues Tuesday at Titan Stadium in Fullerton where the MLS outfit often plays games of this ilk fielding largely reserve squads; somewhat confusingly the stadium is where the Blues plays most of their home games, but the game is apparently a “home” affair for the Galaxy.

Plenty of MLS connections for the Blues, of course, where former Galaxy youngster Izzy Sesay will be among those motivated to prove the club wrong for releasing him.

Incidentally, here’s the full bracket for the competition.

Updated 2:30 p.m.

The Galaxy have just announced that tickets to the game have gone on sale starting at $10. Call 1-877-3GALAXY (342-5299)

*Before the Galaxy (9-2-7) meets the Blues it will face the Earthquakes (5-5-4) in San Jose Saturday where fewer than 500 tickets remained Tuesday afternoon for the game at 10,000-capacity Buckshaw Stadium, presumably on the assumption David Beckham will show up for the occasion.

The Earthquakes beat the Galaxy 1-0 in the corresponding fixture last year, scoring sensation Chris Wondolowski getting the winner with one of his league-leading 18 goals on the season.

The game will be shown at 8 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.

*With the Gold Cup final scheduled to be played in Pasadena Saturday (scroll down for a preview of today’s semifinals), Chivas USA (4-6-5) are similarly on the road Saturday, facing former Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz and the Philadelphia Union (6-4-4) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at PPL Park (live on Prime).

Chivas USA are without forward Alejandro Moreno, away for several weeks on Copa Amrica duty with Venezuela, for a game they fell 3-0 in last year. Concussion victim Jimmy Conrad also remains out for the Goats.

Before the Union meets Chivas USA, however, they will play tonight against Sporting Kansas City.

*The California-heavy U.S. U-17 team plays Uzbekistan at 1 p.m. today in the second game of its World Cup campaign after beating the Czech Republic Sunday.

*Finally, local colleges are releasing their fall schedules thick and fast with the latest to do so being the Cal State Northridge men on Tuesday.

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MLS in Vegas & more

*For most Southern Californians, Las Vegas is the road trip so local soccer fans would undoubtedly welcome an MLS team there. Turns out, so would MLS Commish Don Garber. Party on.

*United Soccer Leagues released a revised schedule for the LA Blues and USL pro in the wake of the early-season demise of three Puerto Rican clubs.

*Did anyone take note that the U.S. women beat Japan over the weekend?

*It’s the Galaxy-Chivas USA derby this weekend (7 p.m. Saturday ESPN2), a game set up perfectly by the two clubs’ excellent results this weekend (scroll down for video highlights and details). I’ll have more on the game in Tuesday’s column.

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Friday football: Galaxy wedding royalty & more

i-a71abc7e206e8e815421150f49b50b68-preggersbecks.jpg Not amused: A pregnant Mrs. Beckham does her best Queen Victoria impression as Galaxy midfielder and hubby David Beckham pats her tummy today before the wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton at London’s Westminster Abbey (AP Photo).

*Before you ask, yes, David Beckham will be in uniform when the Western Conference-leading Galaxy (4-1-3) plays at seventh-place Dallas (2-3-1) Sunday (live 4 p.m. FSN).

*Injury-plagued Chivas USA, (1-2-3) meanwhile, faces a rapidly-evolving New England Revolution (2-2-3) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Carson.

Goats fans will have a chance to see the player the club decided to take a pass on: Benny Feilhaber.

*The new USL Pro LA Blues (3-0-1) return from a season-opening four-game road trip to the Caribbean to face Antigua Barracuda FC at 5 p.m. Sunday at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium. The first 300 fans in attendance at their first-ever game will receive a free 2011 Los Angeles Blues schedule poster.

The game can also be seen live here.

*Finally, my don’t miss game of the weekend – Arsenal-Manchester United, 6 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel.

For a complete listing of all the games, click the Live Soccer TV link at top right.

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Waiting for the weekend: Canaries, Galaxies, Goats & more

A weekend of soccer beckons:

Thank you Timbers fans and welcome to MLS.

Quotable:

“Even during the warm-up, I thought it was electrifying,” said Timbers coach John Spencer. “Myself and the staff were talking and saying, ‘This doesn’t feel like the U.S.’ No disrespect to anybody, but it felt like you were playing in the [European] Champions League.”

Southern Californians get to take in all the action on television this weekend. For the first time this MLS season both the Galaxy and Chivas USA are on the road:

*MLS announced today that Jovan Kirovskl will receive an additional one game ban for his “verbal abuse” of an official after the game against D.C. United. That tirade initially earned him a red after the final whistle and an automatic one game suspension he served against Toronto Wednesday. He’s also $750 lighter in the wallet, paying a total of $1,000 in fines.

Kirovski joins a growing list of Galaxy (2-1-3) players unavailable for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game in Chicago against the Fire (1-2-1) on Telefutura that potentially includes Landon Donovan.

David Beckham and Juninho are also missing the game for disciplinary reasons.

*The Galaxy Foundation has announced a special “Mother’s Day VIP experience” before the May 7 game against New York.

*Chivas USA (0-2-2) will face some of the most passionate fans in MLS in Vancouver when they pay their first-ever visit to the picturesque home of the Whitecaps (1-2-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday on Prime.

Here’s a video preview from the Vancouver perspective:

It’s already been a great start to the weekend for those of us lucky enough to have had Friday off (and support the Canaries) to watch them go second in the Championship live on Fox Soccer Plus.

Click at top right for a complete run-down of all the soccer action available online and on TV this weekend, but here’s the other games I’ll make sure not to miss:

*Manchester City-Manchester United, FA Cup semifinal, 9 a.m. Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel.

*Barcelona-Real Madrid, 1 p.m. Saturday on GolTV.

*Toronto-D.C. United, 4 p.m. Saturday on FSC.

*Arsenal-Liverpool, 8 a.m. Sunday on FSC.

In other news today:

*The Mexican National team will play a Gold Cup warm-up game June 1 in Denver.

*The Los Angeles Blues announced the signing today of Akeem Priestley, a 2009 Kansas City Wizards draft pick. The Jamaican native played with Azerbaijan Premier League outfit FC Mughan for a season and then almost joined Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers, but couldn’t get a work permit.

Former U-Conn teammate Chucky Chijindu, who is with the Blues on loan from Chivas USA, put him in touch with the new USL Pro team.

“At the time I had a few options in the USL, but he really made me want to come here,” Priestley said. “Chuck told me a lot about the team and got me in touch with the coach, who seemed very nice. Most importantly, the way he wants to play really suits my style. He believes in moving the ball around and keeping possession, which I love. So I jumped at the opportunity.”

In the weirdest start to a season ever by a Southern California soccer team, the Blues travel to the Caribbean (yep, every other team in their division is from the part of the world for reasons that make sense only to the USL) and play four games in a span of nine days so as not to rack up those travel expenses.

First up: Puerto Rico’s Sevilla tonight.

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Friday Kicks: Galaxy update & more

*The Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant can do without frequent flyer miles.

*USL Pro team the LA Blues (of Orange County) have entered a U-23 team in the Premier Development League replacing and assuming the schedule of the Hollywood Hitmen who joined the National Premier Soccer League.

*Meanwhile, the Blues’ senior team have signed a well-known San Fernando Valley player.

*Chivas USA has a special event at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach tonight that features players Tristan Bowen and Sergio Arias.

*Click on the Live Soccer TV link at top right for a run-down of all the televised soccer action, which includes foul-mouthed Wayne Rooney taking on Clint Dempsey and Fulham at 7 a.m. Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel.

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Friday Kicks: U.S. announces June game against Spain & more

i-49cec0c284ea8695fc077addedd995ec-xavi.jpg

Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez is set to win his 100th cap for Spain today and hopefully U.S. fans will see the midfield maestro up close and personal later this year (AP Photo).

*Spain plays the Czech Republic at 1:55 p.m. today on ESPN2 in a Euro 2012 qualifier and U.S. fans will see the World Cup holders live in on the East Coast in June:

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. men’s soccer team will play World Cup champion Spain in a June 4 exhibition, their first meeting since the Americans upset the world’s No. 1 team in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

The game will be in Foxborough, Mass., and takes place just three days before the U.S. starts play in the Gold Cup, soccer’s championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

It will be just the fifth meeting between the teams, and first in the United States, with Spain winning all but one of their previous games.

The lone U.S. victory came in the semifinals of the 2009 Confederations Cup, when goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey gave the Americans a 2-0 win and ended the European champion’s streaks of 15 wins and 35 unbeaten games.

And for those of you who like to mark their calendars, here’s the full U.S. schedule of games this year announced so far:

Saturday, Jan. 22 — United States 1, Chile 1
Saturday, March 26 vs. Argentina at East Rutherford, N.J., 4:11 p.m.
Tuesday, March 29 vs. Paraguay at Nashville, Tenn., 5:11 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 — vs. Spain at Foxborough, Mass., 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 7 — vs. Canada at Detroit, 5 p.m. (Gold Cup)
Saturday, June 11 — vs. Panama at Tampa, Fla., 5 p.m. (Gold Cup)
Tuesday, June 14 — vs. Guadeloupe at Kansas City, Kan., 6 p.m. (Gold Cup)
Aug. 10 — possible exhibition
Sept. 2 — World Cup qualifier
Sept. 6 — World Cup qualifier
Oct. 7 — World Cup qualifier
Oct. 11 — World Cup qualifier
Nov. 11 — World Cup qualifier
Nov. 15 — World Cup qualifier

*And in another sign of his unwavering commitment to the Galaxy (ahem), David Beckham will wear the captain’s armband for the Galaxy this weekend for the first time in three years:

CARSON (AP) – Coach Bruce Arena decided Beckham will be captain for Saturday’s MLS game at Real Salt Lake, with Landon Donovan away on international duty.

The former England captain took over as L.A. skipper when he joined the team in 2007, but last captained the Galaxy on Oct. 26, 2008. The armband was given to Donovan the following year.

“Bruce has asked me to wear it, and I’ll be proud to wear it,” Beckham said. “It doesn’t change the way I play. It’s something you’re very proud to wear, but you need more that that one leader on the field.”

Donovan will miss the game to be with the U.S. national team for its friendly Saturday against Argentina in East Rutherford, N.J.

*Speaking of scheduling, the PDL, which includes five Southern California teams, has announced its schedule.

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Davies signs for D.C., will play two preseason games in So. Cal.

i-86782ee3b4aaaeced9348d5776ef92ab-daviesdc.jpgCharlie Davies talks with reporters earlier this month in Florida; D.C. United announced today that the former U.S. international will join the club on loan (AP Photo).

The striker will be formally introduced by the team at an 11 a.m. news conference today before flying to D.C. United’s training camp at Oxnard College.

As previously reported here, United is scheduled to play a preseason friendly at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against the PDL Ventura County Fusion and another at noon Feb. 25 against Chivas USA at Home Depot Center.

Tickets are $8 adults and $5 for youths for the Oxnard game. You can purchase them in advance here.

I’m guessing tickets for that game suddenly got a lot more popular.

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