Midweek Kicks: U.S. Men’s National Team to play Panama Feb. 8 in Carson and more

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  • U.S. Soccer announced a schedule of seven USMNT games in the first half of 2015 including the Feb. 8 contest in Southern California and a home game against Mexico April 15 at a venue to be determined. Tickets for USA-Panama go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. More details are here.
  • The Univision Deportes telecast of MLS Cup Sunday was watched by 678,000 viewers making it the channel’s top-rated finale to an MLS season ever. The Galaxy-New England game beat six live EPL games on NBCSN last week. When combined with the audience watching on UniMas, a combined 923,000 Spanish-language soccer fans watched the game. Another 964,000 viewers watched on ESPN, making it the third most watched MLS Cup final on the channel.
  • The Chicago Fire today signed Illinois native and former Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens, who had played for the last year in Norway.
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Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane sits out national team duty to ready for MLS Western Conference Final Sunday against Seattle Sounders FC

Sometimes it’s actually instructive when you don’t get around posting your column until after an event occurs that is included in the column.

Which is how it went today with the U.S.-Ireland game that sent the Americans scuttling back home across the Atlantic 4-1 losers.

Frankly, we didn’t learn much from a youbng, make-shift team: the U.S. ships goals in the second half and can’t score either, although to be fair they hit the woodwork twice.

Oh, and the Galaxy’s robbie keane, if fully fit, would have ripped apart the U.S. back line of left back Timmy Chandler, right back Fabian Johnson and the due of Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron in the middle.

That’s it for this year for the USMNT: their record was 6-5-4.

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Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber slams U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for “inexcusable” treatment of Landon Donovan, criticism of league

MLS-LogoIn an unprecedented teleconference with journalists today, MLS Commissioner Don Garber publicly nailed U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for not only his recent comments about Michael Bradley and MLS, but his treatment of LA Galaxy icon Landon Donovan before the World Cup last summer.

“I believe Landon should have been in Brazil,” said Garber, adding that his recent treatment for cancer prevented him from speaking out before on the issue. “His performance dictated it. … His treatment was inexcusable. I have concerns that his criticism, particularly of Michael, is following that pattern.”

Garber, who was clearly infuriated by Klinsmann’s comments and said as much. didn’t hold back in an unusually candid press conference that gave a peek into the relationships between those who hold the reins of power in MLS and U.S. soccer.

“I’m demanding that he refrain from making comments that are critical of our players and damaging to our league,” Garber said.

“Jurgen’s comments are very, very detrimental to the league, they’re detrimental to the sport of soccer in America,” Garber added. “Not only are they detrimental, they’re wrong.”

“Sending a message to any player and obviously to U.S. players that signing to Major League Soccer is not going to be good to their career or good to their form is detrimental to Major League Soccer.”

Garber said Klinsmann’s comments were “incredibly damaging” to the relationship MLS has with sponsors, fans and the signing of international players. He said he would send a “very strong” letter to U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, but declined to say whether he would take the matter further as a board member of U.S. soccer.

What do you think? Was Klinsmann telling it like it is or was he just flat out wrong?

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Watch “Landon Donovan: Phenom”

A six-part documentary series documenting Landon Donovan’s career will be released daily through Sunday’s showdown with the Seattle Sounders by MLS and Copper Pot Pictures (makers of “Kei,” the documentary about Sierra Leone refugee Kei Kamara who moved to Lawndale) as told by the likes of Bruce Arena, Tim Cahill, Todd Dunivant, John Ellinger, Julie Foudy, Chris Klein, David Moyes, Richard Motzkin, Paul Pabst, Rob Stone, Taylor Twellman and Grant Wahl.

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Major League Soccer Sunday: Landon Donovan and LA Galaxy face FC Dallas in Texas at 4 p.m. on ESPN2

Fresh off a triumphant finale to his U.S. career, Landon Donovan and the Galaxy are in Dallas as the run-in to the MLS playoffs continues ahead of two crunch games at Seattle that will shape the playoffs.

Finally, guess who won their second straight game?

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Weekly Soccer Column: Landon Donovan named U.S. National Team Captain for final game Friday

Read more about the conclusion of Landon Donovan’s U.S. career on Friday in this week’s column.

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Watch: Monday Major League Soccer rewind, Landon Donovan’s last U.S. game and more

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The image above was included by U.S. Soccer this morning as they announced the 21-player roster for Friday’s game against Ecuador that included the LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez in addition to Landon Donovan, set to make his 157th and final U.S. appearance in the wake of Saturday’s latest Galaxy victory.

I’ll have more on Donovan in Tuesday’s column, in addition to today’s USWNT roster announcement for the beginning of World Cup qualification, which begins against a backdrop of litigation and other legal action over the turf in Canada and goalkeeper Hope Solo’s alleged domestic violence issues.

Meanwhile, the Goats are almost extinct it appears even as they finally post a win Sunday in Carson

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Weekly Soccer Column: With SuperClasico looming at weekend, U.S. Soccer announces LA Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan to make final national team bow Oct. 10

The game in Hartford, Conn., is a friendly against Ecuador and will air live on ESPN.

“For 15 years, Landon has thrilled us with his amazing abilities on the field and impressed us with his gracious approach off the field,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “We are looking forward to celebrating his legacy during our next home National Team match and allowing fans the opportunity to thank him for all the memories he’s provided over the years.”

There was no quote from Jurgen Klinsmann in the press release, BTW.

Oh, and for the actual column on the upcoming SuperClasico, click here.

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