Friday Football: Waiting for the Super Bowl weekend

*Need to see live MLS soccer after the long offseason?

You can (of a sort) when the expansion sorry, new, Portland Timbers play their first-ever scrimmage against the PDL Ventura County Fusion tonight in Ventura.

More from a Portland perspective is here.

The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Rd. Tickets are $12 adults, $6 youth at the gate.

The Fusion also plays D.C. United Feb. 19 at Oxnard College, a game that could take on more import if Charlie Davies is still with the club by then.

*In other big football games this weekend, I’m told there’s a huge one Sunday – Liverpool-Chelsea on Fox Soccer Channel (I’m also told there’s some sort of big pointyball football game on, too, on a different channel).

Anyway, in an effort to give Americans even more time sitting on their butts Sunday, FSC is expanding its coverage of the EPL game to four hours beginning at 7 a.m.

Hosted by Eric Wynalda, Kyle Martino, Warren Barton, Keith Costigan and Christian Miles in the NFL on Fox set, coverage includes an exclusive interview with new Liverpool owner John Henry (who also owns an American rounders team called the Boston Red Sox), while Wynalda will take part in a field goal / penalty kick contest with USC athletes.

There’s also a segment “comparing tailgating in the U.S. and England, and some of the traditional gameday food served in England.” That should be hilarious considering the little problem England has these days. (We Brits usually don’t mess around with the likes of Bud Lite).

Still, what will be more fun? Watching smug Mark Rogondino freeze his butt off in Texas or wondering whether $80 million man Fernando Torres will score against his old club at Stamford Bridge?

A bunch of other great games this weekend with the pick of the bunch from my perspective being – Burnley-Norwich at 2 p.m. 11 a.m. Saturday on Fox Soccer Plus (delayed). Finally, it’s a good time to support the Canaries.

Incidentally, a little team named Manchester United who are playing reasonably well in the EPL this season are playing against lowly Wolves at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on FSC. Do you smell an upset brewing? Well, no, me neither, but you never know, I suppose.

Click at top right for all the rest of the games and enjoy the weekend.

Update

I stand corrected.

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Thursday Kicks (Part Deux): Former defender Suarez joins Chivas USA as advisor & more

i-8c8ef20b65748fee4d5da6b6aa512972-suarez0002.jpgAs I continue to catch up during my enforced break:

*Chivas USA announced Thursday afternoon that former defender and captain Claudio Suarez, one of the most respected figures in Mexican soccer, has rejoined the club he retired from in 2009 in an advisory capacity.

“Claudio is a true legend in the soccer world, and we’re thrilled that he’ll be working with us again at Chivas USA,” said Interim General Manager Jose Domene. “His experience as a player, understanding of the game in both Mexico and the United States, and eye for talent will help us both in the short and long term.”

To get his new role under way, Surez visits Chivas de Guadalajara’s facilities Friday where he will conduct clinics on defensive skills to first team and youth team players.

Suarez, the most capped Mexican National Team player of all-time, made 64 appearances for Chivas USA between 2006 and 2009, following long careers with CD Guadalajara and Tigres.

“This is an exciting new opportunity with a club that I know and love,” said Surez. “It will give me the chance to work both in Los Angeles and Mexico, helping strengthen the club in a number of different areas, especially scouting.”

Chivas USA opens pre-season training Friday in Carson. I’ll have more on that in a subsequent post.

*The likelihood of David Beckham getting on an EPL field for an actual game this season is looking slimmer and slimmer.

*New USL Pro team the LA Blues have signed a couple of MLS castoffs and a couple of other players the club announced Thursday: Striker/midfielder Dane Saintus of SMU, a 2010 Dallas draft pick; Alta Loma’s Cameron Dunn, 26, a defender out of UC Irvine drafted by Chivas USA in the 2007 MLS draft who later played with the Portland Timbers; 25-year-old forward Seyed Hosseini from Iran who played for Saba Battery, the 2007 league champions; and 23-year-old Jaime Chavez from the City of Industry, who was the leading scorer for PDL club Hollywood United last year.

*Speaking of the PDL, the Ventura County Fusion have announced they will play a couple of MLS teams in Ventura County next month.

Expansion team the Portland Timbers are up first with a 7 p.m. Feb. 4 game at Ventura College during a week-long preseason training stint that begins Feb. 1.

Then, D.C. United takes on the Fusion at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Oxnard College, while the MLS club conducts 10 days of preseason training in Southern California.

Tickets to the games are $8 for adults and $5 for youths in advance, increasing to $12 and $6 respectively the day of the game. Order here.

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy get their scoring Angel & more

Back from an enforced vacation and a voluntary trip to a (very) soggy Seattle it’s time to play a little catch-up and note that:

*On Wednesday the Galaxy announced the signing of their third designated player, former Aston Villa and New York Red Bull striker Juan Pablo Angel, with the presence of the man who brought the Colombian to MLS – Coach Bruce Arena – proving pivotal to LA getting their replacement for the now departed Edson Buddle. Reporter Phil Collin has the full details with a story in today’s newspaper.

The Galaxy observe that no MLS player scored more goals than Angel during his four-year New York tenure. And scoring at a clip of more than a goal every other game over that length of time – 58 goals in 102 regular season games – is no mean feat no matter what league we’re talking about.

Regular readers of this blog should be happy considering the overwhelming result of this poll.

*Meanwhile, the Galaxy picked up four players and Chivas USA two in Tuesday’s Supplemental Draft.

The Galaxy got New Zealand Olympian and Dartmouth midfielder Daniel Keat with the third overall pick; Stanford defender Ryan Thomas of Claremont; North Carolina midfielder Dustin McCarty, brother of D. C. United midfielder Dax McCarty; and goalkeeper Zach Johnson out of West Virginia.

Chivas USA picked up midfielder/forward Ernesto Carranza from Sacramento State and Canadian defender Curtis Ushedo out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

*Former Chivas USA defender Carey Talley has retired after 13 MLS seasons and 315 appearances with five different clubs, the New York Red Bulls announced Wednesday. I for one will miss Talley, a class act, a great quote and a tenacious defender who as fun to talk to as he was to watch.

*LA Blues, the new local team that will play in the USL’s Pro league, announced their 2011 schedule. The club’s first home game at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton is on May 1 against Antigua Barracuda FC.

If you’d rather be on the field than in the stands for the opener, here’s your chance: the club will host open tryout this weekend in Norco. Full details are here.

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Tuesday Kicks

*I have 10 words: Chivas USA’s Justin Braun is in a national team camp.

* No European loan for Beckham?

*The Los Angeles Blues of USL Pro signed center back Gareth Evans Tuesday as their fourth player in preparation for their 2011 debut season. Evans, 23, has played for Wales’ Wrexham, as well as the Austin Aztex and, most recently, Real Maryland Monarchs of the USL2.

Updated

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan isn’t going anywhere either. More here.

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Thursday kicks: MLS transfer rumors & more

Yup, it’s that time of year:

*The Galaxy and Chivas USA have supposedly both made inquiries about Newcastle Jets’ out of contract former Australian international central defender Ljubo Milicevic. So Gregg Berhalter is retiring then?

*David Beckham has reportedly turned down the chance to join England’s Leicester City.

*New USL Pro team LA Blues, which will play most of its games in the OC, unveils their first player Tuesday – an unnamed veteran of Mexico’s top division (and two other new signings).

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Chivas USA striker Galindo joins Division 2 FC Tampa Bay on loan

But the door apparently remains open for Maykel Galindo, who has one goal in six games this season, to return to the club, Chivas USA announced today.

“This move allows Maykel to get first team matches as he works toward regaining his form,” said Chivas USA Coach Martn Vsquez. “The opportunity exists for him to return to our team this season or next.”

From the Chivas USA press release:

Since joining Chivas USA in 2007 from then-USL side Seattle Sounders, Galindo has played in 67 matches (48 starts), with 18 goals and 9 assists. The native of Villa Clara, Cuba, had a stellar 2007 campaign for the Red-and-White, in which he scored 12 goals in 28 games (24 starts), but has had three up-and-down seasons since, often due to injuries.

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Sunday Soccer: World Cup podcast & more

i-285a8b09b13c0b01eee901c8df6a26e4-mohawk.jpgTen-year-old Tylo Kenneth wears a colored mohawk wig while walking through the spectator zone on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (AP Photo).

*”The People’s Game” latest podcast from KPFK that includes me talking about the U.S.-England game the morning after the night before is here.

*Univision said today about four million viewers – double the 2006 figures despite the time similarity – watched the opening game of the World Cup Friday. Almost 5.4 million watched the Mexico-South Africa opener on Univision, making it the No. 1 program of the day, while about 2.6 million watched on ESPN.

*ESPN, BTW, said today the U.S.-England game was the most-watched World Cup game since 1994 and the fifth highest all-time. Through the first five games, ESPN and ABC ratings are up 95% and 108% respectively. ESPN’s most-watched game: Argentina-Nigeria.

*The Ventura County Fusion plays at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday against the Arizona Sahuaros in the U.S. Open Cup first round at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road. The Fusion beat Fresno 2-1 Thursday in PDL play.

*After playing 90 scoreless minutes the San Jose Earthquakes won 6-5 in a penalty-kick shootout win over Chivas USA Saturday in the ultra-prestigious and inaugural Sacramento Cup. Chivas USA managed all of one shot on goal during the 90 minutes. No word yet if Chivas USA will play in the upcoming Jersey Jockstrap.

Chivas USA lineup: Zach Thornton (Dan Kennedy 46), Mariano Trujillo (Jorge Flores 46), Michael Umaa, Daro Delgado, Carlos Borja, Michael Lahoud (Marcelo Saragosa 46), Osael Romero (Jose Macotelo 46), Blair Gaven (Ben Zemanski 46), Jess Padilla (Gerson Mayn 46), Justin Braun (Maicon Santos 46), Maykel Galindo (Chukwudi Chijindu 46).

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Weekend Rewind: Canaries, Fusion & More

Indulge me.

It has been a traumatic weekend for those of us who are fans of Norwich City, perhaps the worst in club history.

This weekend City suffered its worst home defeat of all time, occurring on the opening weekend of play in inaccurately-named League One, the lowest level of English football Norwich have seen in 50 years.

For some it was too much.

As my mother said:”Colchester? I didn’t know they had a team.” Thanks, mum.

It’s no consolation to know there have been worse moments in club history – barely (this is from 1972):

Fortunately, the Ventura County Fusion – a team I had never seen live until Saturday – provided a partial antidote with a heart-stopping 2-1 triumph over the Chicago Fire in the PDL final with the winner coming two minutes into second half stoppage time. The gutsy Fusion were down to 10 men at the time after a (very) harsh first half straight red and also had two coaches sent off.

What they were playing fori-569b2e7a58d420845641e2717a8b688a-zChampionsTrphy_sml.jpg

Game story.

It was a memorable night on a cool evening with a waning amber moon and cars carving through the darkness just over the high school fence on Highway 126. After the game, the Ventura County Fair provided literal fireworks.

i-3687c0917e8e7c1b01001b6e133b2df8-champsmoon0002.jpg

Also:
* Chivas USA lost their fifth straight. It was a nightmare MLS debut by Chivas USA goalkeeper Lance Parker that began after just 25 seconds; Chivas USA were down by two within four minutes.

*A cracker from Landon Donovan paved the way to the Galaxy’s fifth win in six games.

Highlights:

* The Sol won. Next: WPS title game 1 p.m. Aug. 22 Home Depot Center, opponent TBD.

*Finally, with a goal and an assist, Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers led the Columbus Crew past the inept Earthquakes:

MLS Standings

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Fusion Midfielder Peterlin EPL-Bound With Everton

The current and former teams of midfielder Anton Peterlin – the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs, the Ventura County Fusion of the Premier Development League – and now England’s Everton.

“I’m not sure how often such miracles happen, but I will not squander this opportunity,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

He’s 22-years-old.

It helps to have Danish-Slovenian parents and hold an EU passport, but still.

Official club site.

What they’re saying in Liverpool.

What they’re saying in San Luis Obispo.

What they’re saying at Cal Poly.

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Waiting for the Weekend & the Galaxy Curse Continues

The games that matter:

1:30 p.m. Saturday ESPN2 Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes
5 p.m. Saturday KFTR San Luis at Chicago Fire
7 p.m. Saturday Tigres at Chivas USA
11 a.m. Sunday ESPN Brazil-Italy
11:25 a.m. Sunday ESPN2 Egypt-U.S.
3 p.m. Sunday Fox Soccer Channel FC Gold Pride at Sol

Meanwhile, the Galaxy tradition of shipping out apparently subpar players only to see them become reborn elsewhere continues in Portland with former goalkeeper Steve Cronin and in the nation’s capital where Josh Wicks is supplanting Louis Crayton.

But former Chivas USA midfielder Panchito Mendoza has seen his time at the mothership come to an end.

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