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.


*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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Video Weekend Rewind: David Beckham, Kei Kamara & More

*David Beckham’s first game since leaving the Galaxy was an eventful one this weekend.

Watch here.

*Chivas USA closed out their preseason Saturday with an emphatic win over the LA Blues. Watch here.

*Galaxy striker Jose Villarreal of Inglewood had the winner for the U.S. U-20 team over Costa Rica, scoring the lone goal of Friday’s game. Watch here.

*Did you see Lawndale’s Kei Kamara score his first EPL goal Saturday? Watch here.

*And if you missed how the Galaxy concluded their pre-season Friday in Santa Barbara, watch the highlights here.

MLS starts Saturday. I’ll have more in Tuesday’s column.

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Weekend Preview: Galaxy in Santa Barbara Tonight & more

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Weekly Column: Soccer Spotlight Shines Uncomfortably on Donovan and Rogers

The Galaxy face Club Tijuana tonight under chilly, wet skies in Carson (tickets are just $10, while parking is free) without star Landon Donovan, who could miss up to a third of the Galaxy’s season before he rejoins the team as he struggles with burnout and motivation issues.

That’s a subject I explore in today’s column after this weekend saw two high profile local soccer stars — the other was the South Bay’s Robbie Rogers —  deal with personal issues while in the public spotlight.

Two Brazilian trialists remain with the Galaxy and presumably could see action in a game that’s all about moving toward match fitness with players likely to see about 45 minutes of action apiece, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Monday.

Another player missing is Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal, who along with UCLA’s Javan Torre, got the start for the U.S. Monday in the CONCACAF U-20 championships in Mexico.

It could be worse — the Mexican champions will be missing all their starters, who are playing a Copa Libatadores game on the same evening.

*Updated: Time Warner Cable Deportes announced this morning they would carry the 7:30 p.m. game live with a one-hour pregame show.

Meanwhile, the Frank Lampard to the Galaxy saga — or not — winds on, but despite tabloid claims to the contrary it’s looking increasingly unlikely to me that the Chelsea star will be playing in LA anytime soon. Ah well, at least Frank will be happy goal line technology is finally here.

Finally, while we’re talking about missing players, MLSSoccer.com takes an early (premature?) stab at assessing Chivas USA’s chances this year despite a depth chart as thin as their win column last year.



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Monday Catch-Up: Donovan, Rogers & more

Back from a 10-day vacation ahead of the start of the MLS season, I’m off to Galaxy training in a moment to hear more from coach Bruce Arena about Sunday’s announcement regarding Landon Donovan’s immediate MLS future.

That announcement followed in the wake of the bombshell of an unexpected retirement announcement by Rolling Hills Estates‘ Robbie Rogers, whose considerable promise as a player now looks like it’s going to be unfulfilled. I’ll have more on Donovan and Rogers in Tuesday’s column.

In other news while I’ve been taking a break:

*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal is expected to lead the U-20 U.S. team today against Haiti in the opener of the regional championship with a place in the World Cup later this year in a game that will be shown live at 3:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer.

*The Galaxy played Korea’s Gangwon FC in a recent scrimmage and announced they will play Friday in Santa Barbara against the Colorado Rapids.

*Chivas USA also beat the Colorado Rapids Friday in Las Vegas, while the Goats continue to remake their roster trading midfielder Ben Zemanski to Portland last week in a move that could pave the way for the return of defender Jonathan Bornstein from Mexico.

That departure was followed the next day by that of defender James Riley, who voiced displeasure at the way the trade occurred, and the arrivals of two other players including one familiar name.

More later.




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Friday Name Dropping: Galaxy’s Noonan, Inglewood’s Villarreal & More

  • Seldom-used Galaxy veteran Pat Noonan (10 appearances last year) has officially retired after 10 MLS seasons and was named assistant coach. He won two MLS Cups with the Galaxy and Columbus and made 14 U.S. appearances, all but one coming under then U.S. coach Bruce Arena. He scored 42 goals in 183 regular season games, finishing as the joint top MLS goal scorer in 2004 with 11 goals.
  • That follows on the heels of former midfielder Jovan Kirovski moving from an assistant coach role to become the club’s first-ever technical director, although it sounds a lot like Paul Bravo’s former director of soccer position to me. The Escondido native will also scout for and evaluate Academy players and coaches.
  • A second White House visit is always better with Kings.
  • Homegrown Galaxy youngsters Jose Villarreal and Oscar Sorto as well as Academy player Javan Torre were named to the U.S. Under-20 squad again for two games against Panama in Puebla, Mexico, site of next month’s CONCACAF U-20 Championships. Inglewood’s Villarreal appeared 14 times for the Galaxy last seasopn quickly earning a reputation as an inventive and tricky striker, while Sorto signed professional terms last month.
  • The new National Women’s Soccer League allocated 55 players to its eight clubs including Torrance’s Shannon Boxx to the Chicago Red Stars along with Mexico’s Maribel Dominguez. Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan will play for the Portland Thorns, while I’m guessing Hope Solo will choose to live in Seattle after all since she will play for the aptly named Reign. Rochester native Abby Wambach will play for her hometown Western New York Flash. Pepperdine’s Mexican international Anisa Guajardo will join the Boston Breakers.
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Friday Kicks: LA Galaxy Poised for Pick in Today’s MLS Re-Entry Draft & More

That’s after a trade with Chivas USA, who continue to accumulate international roster spots in advance of their expected influx of Mexicans.

From the Galaxy: The Galaxy announced today that the club has completed a trade with Chivas USA ahead of the start of today’s Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Process. The Galaxy now hold the No. 2 position in the Re-Entry Process, moving up from their natural No. 19 position in the selection order. In exchange for the No. 2 position, the Galaxy have sent their natural first round pick in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft, an international roster slot for the 2013 season and the No. 19 position in today’s Re-Entry Process to Chivas USA.

*A trio of Galaxy homegrown players — Jack McBean of Newport Beach, newly-signed Oscar Sorto of Los Angeles and Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal — were all named to the U.S. Under-20 National Team roster for a week-long training camp that begins Saturday in Florida.

In addition, Galaxy Academy defender Javan Torre, who plays at UCLA, was also named to the 19-man roster by head coach Tab Ramos.

From the South Bay Force, the club team Torre (and Villarreal and Sorto) played for: Torre, a native of Santa Monica, Calif., played in 12 matches for the Bruins in 2012, making five starts and helping the team earn six shutouts.

*Finally, beIN SPORT, the new soccer network that carries La Liga, Serie A and U.S. away games during World Cup qualifying was added Thursday to Time Warner Cable’s HD lineup.





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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy’s Keane under fire for shooting blanks for Ireland & more

*Let’s welcome the Irish to the world of Galaxy fans. Striker Robbie Keane, part of a misfiring Galaxy attack, is now being criticised by Irish fans for a lack of goal production ahead of today’s crucial, daunting second group game against Spain (live at 11:45 a.m. on ESPN2). Ireland are on the brink of elimination after losing to Croatia, who are down 1-0 to Italy as I write this on ESPN2.

*It’s worth noting that the train wreck that was Peter Nowak’s tenure with the Philadelphia Union has come to a close, but not before gutting a promising team sending ther likes of popular defender Danny Califf to Chivas USA and allowing former UCLA midfielder Kyle Nakazawa of Palos Verdes Estates to return to Southern California with the Galaxy.

*Meanwhile, a struggling Galaxy meet a struggling Portland Timbers club Sunday at Home Depot Center in what could be an ugly Father’s Day clash. What are the odds dad will get a tie (and a scoreless one at that) after all on his special day?

*Three Southern Californians were named to the U.S. Under-15 team that will begin play Monday against Spain in the Copa Mexico de Naciones tournament in Mexico City.

They are goalkeeper Abraham Romero (Galaxy Academy; Altadena); defender Malcolm Jones (Chivas USA Academy; Chino Hills); and Alejandro Vergara (Galaxy Academy; Long Beach).

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Tuesday Kicks: Chivas USA sign local 16-year-old to pro contract & more

A quick round-up of local soccer news:

*Chivas USA has signed Glendora resident Marco Antonio “Marky” Delgado, 16, as a homegrown player, the club announced today.

“I am really excited to have Marky Delgado become part of our first team. He is a player who has done so well for our youth team since he has been with us,” said Chivas USA Coach, Robin Fraser. “He is a player who immediately stood out as a very solid player and we’ve had him training with us for quite a while now and you can even see over the last couple of months how much he has developed. He has great ideas on the ball, a very soft first touch, and he has really picked up the pace at this level quickly. He is definitely one that we expect a bright future from.”

The midfielder has apparently always been ahead of his peers: At age 13 he was a member of the U.S. Under-15 team. He was also a member of the Under-17 residency program in Bradenton., Fla.

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan is listed as questionable for Saturday’s visit to league leaders Sporting Kansas City with left quad tightness, as is Mike Magee, who has a tight right adductor.

*The UCLA women play China’s Under-20 Women’s National Team at 6 p.m. Thursday on Field No. 3 at Home Depot Center in Carson. Admission is free and fans who attend will receive a free voucher for an upcoming future UCLA women’s game.

*China is in the U. S. preparing for this summer’s U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan and will play matches Monday and April 15 at the HDC against their U.S. counterparts that are also open to the public. The games are at either noon or 3 p.m. (a Monday U.S. Soccer press release gave both times) and I’ll confirm the start times as soon as can.

The U.S. roster includes defenders Caprice Dydasco (UCLA; Honolulu) and Lauren Lindstrom (Fresno State; Newbury Park) and midfielder Sarah Killion (UCLA; Fort Wayne, Ind.)

*Tab Ramos, the U.S. Under-20 coach on the men’s side, has called 24 players into a camp that begins Monday in Oregon. Locals involved include goalkeeper Jake McGuire (Chivas USA Academy; Pomona); defenders Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside), Jeffrey Payeras (Galaxy Academy; Hawthorne) and Derek Vogel (Pateadores; Long Beach); and striker Jack McBean (Galaxy; Newport Beach)

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