Keane dives to win PK, converts for undeserved LA Galaxy Independence Day win & more

There was no celebratory cartwheel.

No trademark faux six-shooter was brandished in a familiar victory salute in the wake of the winning LA Galaxy goal.

A suddenly businesslike Robbie Keane simply stood to acknowledge the importance of converting the penalty kick for the winning goal – his second from the spot in the final eight minutes of the game for a come from behind Galaxy win – if not the manner in which it was scored.

Because Keane clearly dived to secure the call, as the Columbus Crew pointed out to no avail, while Keane’s muted reaction and words after the goal spoke volumes:

“After the result on [Saturday] it’s important to get a win, no matter which way we did it,” he said. “I’m looking at the ball and someone comes into the back of (me). If someone runs into the back of you without you knowing the fact is you’re going to fall over.”

Look, I’m not necessarily faulting Keane’s professionalism.

As he said, he did what he needed to do to secure a win for a frankly substandard (yet again) Galaxy team that outplayed a poor Crew, but once again failed to put them away until Keane belatedly sealed the victory.

But the reality is, he dived, cheated if you like, because if he hadn’t the Galaxy would have left StubHub Center without a victory.

Next up for the Galaxy, FC Dallas at home Sunday, a team that played to a scoreless draw with Chivas USA on the same night.

Meanwhile, Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan is under the spotlight tonight in San Diego for the U.S. national team in a friendly against Guatemala that will also feature Los Angeles native and former Galaxy player Herculez Gomez.

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Fourth of July holiday weekend kicks: Galaxy, USMNT & more

HDC_FireworksIt’s an incredibly busy long holiday weekend of soccer action in the area, but I will take the Fourth of July and beyond off for what I believe is the first time since the former Home Depot Center opened in 2003, which means no column Tuesday either.

While I will add links to this blog post when I’m not clutching a cold beverage, posting will be even more spotty than usual on a holiday weekend.

Before I go there’s time to note that:

*Four goals in four MLS games since joining the Chicago Fire has earned former Galaxy cult figure Mike Magee the MLS Player of the Month award. The MLS leading scorer led the Fire to an unbeaten 3-0-1 record in June since joining the club May 25. In contrast the Galaxy lost four games last month and only managed to beat lowly Chivas USA.

*The Galaxy have a chance to improve on that record with their annual Independence day game that features opponents the Columbus Crew, the former club of Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers, who replaced Magee on the LA roster.

*If you’ll be in San Diego for the holiday, check out the free U.S. national team training session open to the public ahead of Friday’s 8 p.m. friendly against Guatemala. Gate H at Qualcomm Stadium opens at 4:30 p.m. Thursday for the public.

*Heading to Pasadena Sunday for the Gold Cup opening doubleheader that includes Mexico? Don’t forget to wave:

 

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Weekly Soccer Column: Summer of soccer schedule, Carlos Bocanegra comes home to Southern California with Chivas USA

dodgerstadium

Dodger Stadium will host two soccer games this summer for the first time in the venue’s 51-year-old history (Daily Breeze file photo).

Read the column here.

For the complete Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League schedule mentioned in the column, click here.

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy’s Donovan named to Gold Cup roster & more

*As expected, Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan was named to the 23-player U.S. Gold Cup roster today and will link up with the squad Monday ahead of the July 5 game in San Diego against Guatemala. That means Donovan will miss at least three Galaxy games while he tries to impress with the U.S. “B” squad in an effort to win back his spot on the U.S. starting XI:

“When Landon came back in the end of March after the long break, he needed time to get back in a rhythm, get back in shape and work on his game again,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. I think now the process is on a good roll. He’s getting sharper every game and every week. We’ve watched his games and believe now is a good time to get him back into the National Team and give him the opportunity to prove his point. He knows that the group that played the World Cup Qualifiers is ahead of the curve and have a very strong position right now, and that he’s been observed by us and has to rebuild his case. We have all respect for what he has done in the past, but sports are about the present and about the future, and that’s what we are building on. We are really happy to have him back in the group, and he has the opportunity now to show where he’s at.”

*One player not on the roster who probably should be is former Galaxy striker Mike Magee, the leading MLS goalscorer who can’t stop popping balls in the back of the net now he’s with the Chicago Fire. He now has seven goals in seven Fire games.

*Galaxy midfielder Robbie Riogers, who grew up in Rolling Hills Estates, had this reaction to two landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday regarding marriage equality.

*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal and the U.S. Under-20 team were bounced out of the Under-20 World Cup today, losing 4-1 to previously winless Ghana.

*Meanwhile, Chivas USA is also facing the loss of a key player for an extended period of time.

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Wednesday Video Kicks: USMNT highlights, LA Galaxy preview & more

A busy day for Southern California soccer fans no matter what team or nation you support.

So let’s dig in starting with the highlights of the U.S. men’s win over Honduras:

It wasn’t a vintage performance by the U.S. men Tuesday night, but it was enough to see off Honduras, solidify the American position atop the group and all but qualify for the World Cup. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann may have said it best in this game story from sister newspaper The Salt Lake City Tribune: “The big picture is that we are growing,” he said. Quite.

MLS

The faltering Galaxy meet the surging Portland Timbers as StubHub Center makes its official game debut tonight and the visitors are eying first place in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, last place Chivas USA have scuttled all the way to Canada for its first game under yet another new coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps promising to #kicksomechivas tonight. The Vancouver perspective is here.

Also:

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World Cup qualifying TV ratings (and Landon Donovan speaks on missing the U.S. game)

The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan reacts to my question today in the Tout video above about what he thinks of the U.S. progress in World Cup qualifying given his absence (and yeah, what do you expect him to say?).

Those of you who read my column this week know that I was musing about the ESPN World Cup qualifying doubleheader from a ratings perspective, especially with the U.S. game receiving a strong lead-in from the preceding Mexico game.

Well, the Mexico-Costa Rica contest earned an average rating of 0.3 meaning it was seen by 540,000 viewers. Plenty of them likely stuck around to watch the U.S. beat Panama, which was the second-most viewed international game ever on ESPN, beaten only by the Mexico-U.S. showdown in March (1.4 rating).

U.S.-Panama came in with a 0.8 rating and was watched by an estimated audience of 1,436,000. The San Diego market was tops in the U.S., pulling in a 2.5 rating.

The Spanish language coverage of the two games on UniMas delivered 2.8 million viewers for Mexico-Costa Rica and 1.2 million for U.S-Panama/

Next for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying: Tuesday in Salt Lake City verses Honduras (live on ESPN and UniMas)

 

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Wednesday Kicks: U.S. World Cup qualifying video highlights & more

With arch rivals Mexico stumbling to another World Cup qualifying draw Tuesday night, the U.S. took command of the Hexagonal with its best performance of the year so far defeating Panama 2-0 before an energized Seattle crowd that may just have been the best ever to cheer on the Americans.

It was a feel-good night all around for the U.S. with Sounder Eddie Johnson sealing his return to national team glory before what is now his home crowd, Jozy Altidore still clicking with yet another goal and a midfield that controlled the game from start to finish.

And if Seattle ever gets a grass field, it should immediately become the favored U.S. home field don’t you think? Who wouldn’t like to turn the daunting Azteca tables on El Tri?

In other soccer news:

 

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Weekly Soccer Column: ESPN scores with tonight’s World Cup Qualifying Doubleheader

seattleposterWhich, along with a short piece on the Galaxy’s goalkeeping issues, is the subject of my column today.

Incidentally, the cool poster above, produced for tonight’s game in Seattle, is available for purchase. More details here.

A game preview is here.

Is Seattle the best soccer town in the country? This story would suggest it is.

Incidentally, guess who the top performing U.S. player is, according to this measurement (hint, it’s not Clint Dempsey)? Answer here.

Meanwhile, Rancho Cucamonga’s Carlos Bocanegra is not in the U.S. squad for the game, but will be inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame later this year.

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Soccer Saturday: USMNT video highlights, Galaxy preview

Old Torrance’s Tortilla Cantina wasn’t showing the Jamaica-U.S. game when I walked through the door Friday night and asked them to turn on BeIN Sports

By the time the game ended, many people in the bar were cheering the Americans’ dramatic win.

Wach the highlights and you will know why.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy are in Salt Lake City today as part of a reduced MLS slate (live at 6:30 p.m. Time Warner Cable). Sister paper The Salt Lake City Tribune has the game preview.

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