Major League Soccer Preview: LA Galaxy host Portland Timbers at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on NBC

While the Galaxy reportedly pursue former Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan, they make a rare TV network appearance Saturday almost exactly a month after drawing Portland 2-2 in Carson before a sellout Independence Day crowd.

The Timbers are seeking to move into a playoff spot with a win that would give the club the first three-game winning streak in history against the Galaxy, who have moved up to third in the Western Conference after their road win in Seattle last time out.

In related news, Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal, 20, has returned from his loan stint with Cruz Azul and has joined younger brother Jaime on the LA Galaxy II roster.

The USL Pro team plays the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at 4 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be streamed at the club’s website.

Meanwhile, Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto is heading to a U.S. U-23 camp in the Bahamas along with two Southern California products who are with Mexican clubs.

Saturday Update

Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, but not Landon Donovan, withdrew from Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game roster because the Galaxy plays San Jose in Carson Friday, two days after the annual exhibition game.

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Friday Kicks: Weekend Games on TV and more

*Torrance’s Anika Rodriguez scored a goal along with six other Americans in the 8-0 U.S. rout of Trinidad & Tobago Thursday at the U-17 championships.

*The compliments and the mind games have begun ahead of Sunday’s Galaxy-RSL playoff game in Carson (live at 6 p.m. on ESPN).

*Here’s your comprehensive EPL weekend preview.

My picks for the weekend’s EPL and MLS playoff games not to miss:

10:30 a.m. Saturday NBC Arsenal-Liverpool

7 p.m. Saturday NBCSN Seattle-Portland

 

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Halloween Kicks: MLS Playoffs, El Tri and more

A few links for today:

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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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Friday Kicks: LA Galaxy players lead U.S. U-20 at World Cup & more

oscarjoseGalaxy players Oscar Sorto of Los Angeles and Jose Villarreal of Inglewood are among the Southern California contingent on the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster that opens today (Photo courtesy LA Galaxy/German Alegria).

More on the opening match against World Cup favorites Spain (who have taken an early 1-0 lead) currently under way on ESPN 2 is here.

In other soccer news:

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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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Soccer Saturday: Downtown Los Angeles seeks soccer stadium & more

  • It doesn’t sound like Chivas USA know a thing about it, but that didn’t stop LA city officials from dropping the club’s name in connection with a rather pie in the sky plan for a downtown soccer stadium.
  • The U.S. Women’s Team is back in action tonight with Hermosa Beach resident Abby Wambach closing in on a famous Mia Hamm mark.
  • The Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal was on target in the U-20′s final game before the World Cup gets underway.
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World Cup Preview: U.S., Mexico & more

With Japan becoming the first nation to qualify for the World Cup this week, winners and losers are beginning to emerge along the long road to Brazil.

Hexagonal basement dwellers Jamaica, led by former Galaxy netminder Donovan Ricketts, will face the U.S. tonight (6:30 BeIN Sport) with the knowledge they could soon join the ranks of the losers, but are nonetheless exuding confidence publicly.

Other televised CONCACAF games include:

*Panama-Mexico, (7 p.m. Telemundo), where first place in the group is up for grabs.

*Costa Rica-Honduras (9 p.m. BeIN Sport)

BTW, Tuesday’s games are back on ESPN, which has a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. with Mexico-Costa Rica followed by U.S.-Panama.

Meanwhile, ESPN has announced it will show all 52 games from the Under-20 World Cup that kicks off June 21 with all three U.S. group games on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. As expected, the U.S. squad has a large Southern California contingent.

 

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Weekly Soccer Column: Crooks, heroes and up and comers

Which pretty much covers the topics in this week’s column.

One omission from the list of locals called in to upcoming U-20 camps: Chivas USA’s Glendale-born forward Julio Morales was called into Mexico’s U-20 camp Monday (the information arrived from the club too late for inclusion in the column).

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Monday Kicks: LA Galaxy Video Highlights & More

MLS beat writer Phil Collin (who you will notice has started blogging here) has the game story.

Also:

*Carson’s Home Depot Center will soon become Stub Hub Center.

*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal of the Galaxy and the U.S. U-20 team fell to Mexico Sunday, but still qualified for the World Cup later this year.

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