Tuesday Kicks: World Cup ratings, Galaxy land four on MLS All-Star team & more

i-57952a084237b175453496a5eb14e00a-uruguaybus.jpgConquering heroes: Uruguay fans surround the team bus in Montevideo, paying tribute to the third-place fourth-place team at the World Cup (AP Photo).

I’m not the only one going through World Cup withdrawal, I’m guessing:

NEW YORK (AP) — World Cup television viewership rose 41 percent over four years ago for English-language telecasts in the United States, with Spain’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Netherlands setting a record for a men’s soccer game.

Sunday’s game in Johannesburg, which gave the Spanish their first World Cup title, was seen by 15,545,000 viewers on ABC, according to fast national ratings. The previous high was 14,863,000 viewers for the United States’ 2-1 overtime loss to Ghana in the second round on June 26.

An additional 8,821,000 million viewers watched Spanish-language coverage Sunday on Univision, according to Nielsen Media Research, bringing the total to nearly 24.4 million.

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged a 2.1 rating, 2,288,000 households and 3,261,000 viewers for the 64 World Cup games. The rating was up 31 percent from a 1.6 four years ago, while households increased 32 percent from 1,735,000 and viewers rose from 2,316,000.

The increases had been higher while the U.S. remained in the tournament. Through the first 50 games, the rating was up 48 percent, households increased 54 percent and viewers rose 60 percent.

“We always expected that the presence of the U.S. team would provide us with these big
spikes,” John Skipper, ESPN’s executive vice president of content, said Monday. “The TV rating is only a little piece of the story. One of every three people watched on something other than the television at their home, either watched in a bar, or on their phone, or in their office on a computer.”

ESPN paid FIFA $100 million for rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, while Univision spent $325 million.

i-5c1e4a4413ded6233a3dc37653a7365d-canalsoccer.jpgWater under the bridge: Despite finishing second at the World Cup for a third time, Dutch fans gave their returning national team a hero’s welcome today in Amsterdam (AP Photo).

In other news today:

*Four Galaxy players were named to the MLS All-Star team today that will take on Manchester United July 28 in Houston – goalkeeper Donovan Rickets, defender Omar Gonzalez, midfielder Landon Donovan and striker Edson Buddle.

The Coach is the Galaxy’s Bruce Arena.

Here’s the MLS XI announced today, as voted on by players, coaches, media and fans:

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts (Galaxy)*

Defenders: Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy)*, Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)*

Midfielders: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)*, Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire)* Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew)

Forwards: Edson Buddle (Galaxy), Landon Donovan (Galaxy)

*First time All-Star game selections.

Notable: This is Donovan’s 10th consecutive All-Star Game selection.

*There are two international games involving the U.S. the next two days.

First up at 6 o’clock tonight the U.S. women play Sweden on ESPN, the first of two games in five days against the Europeans. The Swedes are ranked fourth in the world by FIFA.

Notable: The two matches mark the first between the two countries in the United States since July 2006 when the Americans defeated Sweden 3-2 in sweltering Minnesota heat on a dramatic late goal from Kristine Lilly.

The U.S. team is preparing for CONCACAF qualifying this fall for the 2011 Women’s World Cup scheduled for June 26-July 17, 2011, in nine German cities.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National team plays the first of its three group games at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup at 9 a.m. Wednesday live on ESPNU.

Locals on the U.S. roster include UCLA midfielders Zakiya Bywaters and Jenna Richmond, as well as UCLA striker Sydney Leroux, who is playing in her third World Cup.

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Friday Football

A grab bag of Southern California-related soccer news this morning:

*The MLS off-season is over (sort of). The league permits teams to open training camp today.

Galaxy players will report to Home Depot Center Monday for physicals and fitness work in the gym, but won’t hit the practice field until Feb. 1. The trio of young Brazilians GM and coach Bruce Arena signed won’t be there Monday though; they’re awaiting visas. Chivas USA opens camp Tuesday.

MLS clubs must be roster (and salary cap) compliant, with 20 senior players and four developmental, by March 1.

Look for the complete MLS schedule to be released in the first week of February. And as of Wednesday, players under contract in other countries may be signed by MLS clubs through April 15.

*U.S. Coach Bob Bradley was asked whether Landon Donovan playing in the EPL against English players the Americans will see in their opening World Cup game is a good thing. Um, yeah.

*Hotshot UCLA striker Sydney Leroux scored a brace and was named player of the game as the U.S. crushed Jamaica 6-0 Thursday in its opening CONCACAF qualifier for the U-20 World Cup. Game details here.

*PDL team the Ventura County Fusion will play against the Mexican Under-21 team at 7:30 tonight at Buena High School in Ventura, 5670 Telegraph Rd. Tickets are $20 adults, $10 kids under age 12. Kids under the age of six get in free.

*As always, click the link at top right for an exhaustive run-down of the weekend’s games, but I’ll be paying special attention to:

Chelsea-Preston North End 4:30 a.m. Saturday (FA Cup fourth round) Fox Soccer Channel

Fulham-Accrington Stanley 7 a.m. Saturday FSC (giant killing possibility?)

Leeds United-Tottenham Hotspur 9 a.m. Saturday FSC (the leaders of League 1 play an EPL outfit)

Tigres-CD Guadalajara 5 p.m. Saturday KVEA

U.S.-Honduras 6 p.m. Saturday FSC

And there’s two big derbies Sunday: Inter Milan-AC Milan 11:30 a.m. on FSC and River Plate-Boca Juniors at 5 p.m. for those of you who get Fox Sports Espanol.

I’ll blog from the U.S.-Honduras game Saturday so check back in then (or better yet if you’re local, come on down; I suspect the U.S. could use the support).

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Goal! Ball Drive Scores

While we await the expected noon announcement of Landon Donovan’s likely move to Everton and perhaps vastly improved contract terms to ensure he actually returns to MLS (would the Galaxy schedule a press conference just to announce his loan move away from the club?), it’s good to note that the dreams of a group of local kids are certain to come true this year thanks to Daily Breeze readers.

The annual Daily Breeze ball drive reached the goal of 1,400 balls collected for children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor thanks to a late influx of donations.

Special appreciation to all the 100 Percent Soccer readers who responded to the request for donations in a down economy and especially the Galaxy whose late contribution of 100 goals pushed the Breeze over its goal. Who knows whether one of those kids getting a ball turns out to be the next Donovan or Shannon Boxx?

BTW, a 36-man U.S. Under-20 camp gets under way today at Home Depot Center. Locals involved include defender Cesar Zamora (Chivas USA; Sylmar), midfielder Carlos Martinez (Wilmington Jrs.; San Pedro) and strikers Tristan Bowen (Galaxy; Van Nuys) and Victor Chavez (Real So Cal; Fontana).

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Thursday Kicks


*The MLS playoffs begin tonight and Seattle Sounders fans will demonstrate the right way to support a team – by going freaking nuts in the stands. Hope Galaxy and Chivas USA fans are taking note. The Dynamo-Sounders game is on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Game preview here.

*Incidentally, the U.S. is playing Malawi at the U-17 World Cup live on ESPNU right now. It’s 0-0 at the half. You can also follow along on Matchtracker. Updated: The U.S. win 1-0 on an Alex Shinsky goal

*The U.S. women are in Germany for a sold out friendly that starts at 10 a.m. The Sol’s Brittany Bock is a doubt because of a knock. Sounds like her participation is a game time decision.

*Belated congratulations to former Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan who saved four penalties (!) deputizing for regular starter Brad Friedel for Aston Villa the other night. More here.

Finally, the Cal State Northridge men (7-7-2, 2-4-1 BWC) lost 2-0 to UC Santa Barbara Wednesday. Next: hosting UC Riverside at 3 p.m. Saturday at Matador Field. Take along three cans of food as a contribution to the food drive being held and you’ll get in free.

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Tuesday’s Column: MLS Playoff Preview – The Hallway Series

Read it here.

Oh, and the Becks to AC Milan deal is done, say the Italian club.

BTW, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team predictably lost 2-1 to a technically (and creatively) superior Spain Monday in Ghana Nigeria at the World Cup for that age category.

San Pedro’s Carlos Martinez was an unused sub; Fontana’s Victor Chavez played the second half.

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Tuesday’s ChivaClasico Column & More

I previewed Wednesday’s Chivas USA-CD Guadalajara game Wednesday at the Rose Bowl. Read the column here.

BTW, two Chivas USA players – Gerson Mayen and Jorge Flores – won’t play because they, along with UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk and midfielder Michael Stevens, are in Egypt preparing for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup that starts Thursday.

ESPN will show all 52 games from the tournament, most on ESPN 360.com.

All three of the U.S. group games will be on TV, however:

*6:55 a.m. Saturday ESPN Classic U.S.-Germany
*9:40 a.m. Tuesday ESPN2 U.S.-Cameroon
*9:40 a.m. Oct. 2 ESPN2 U.S.-Korea

ESPN will also show the final Oct. 16.

A tournament preview is here.

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Chivas USA’s Flores, UCLA’s Perk, Stephens Named to U-20 World Cup Roster

Here’s the full squad:

goalkeepers – Sean Johnson (Central Florida; Lilburn , Ga. ), Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis. ), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita)

defenders – Gale Agbossoumonde ( Miami FC; Syracuse, N.Y. ), Kyle Davies (FC Dallas; Danville, Calif. ), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest; Durham , N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (Unattached; Boston)

midfielders – Danny Cruz ( Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz. ), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabak; Oslo, Norway ), Dilly Duka (Rutgers; Montville, N.J.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA ; Anaheim), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas ), Brian Ownby (Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Michael Stephens (UCLA; Naperville, Ill.)

forwards – Sam Garza (Denver; Highland Village, Texas), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; College Station, Texas), Tony Taylor (Jacksonville; Jacksonville , Fla.)

There’s no room for Chivas USA’s Gerson Mayen though.

Every game of the tournament from Egypt will be shown on an ESPN-branded channel.

The U.S. opens against Germany Sept. 26, faces Cameroon Sept. 29 and finishes group play against South Korea Oct. 2.

The best U.S. finish: fourth in 1989 with Kasey Keller in goal.

Tournament home page.

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Spreading Swine Flu Forces Soccer Postponements in Mexico

AP Photo

Azteca Stadium in Mexico City sat eerily empty Sunday during the game between Club America and Tecos because of the swine flu outbreak.


CONCACAF today canceled the remainder of the Under-17 championships in Tijuana and postponed the second leg of the Champions League final because of escalating fears of a swine flu pandemic.

The U.S. Under-17 team, which includes midfielder Carlos Martinez of San Pedro, is returning to its home base in Florida.

The U.S. is advising residents not to travel south of the border.

Professional games in Mexico City were played behind closed doors over the weekend.

Here’s the (edited) CONCACAF press release:

Due to the growing concerns about the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer announced Monday that the remainder of the confederation’s Under-17 Championship in Tijuana has been canceled and the second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals has been postponed.

Mexican authorities previously had closed schools in Mexico City and on Monday extended that decision nationwide. Based on the actions of the Mexican government, CONCACAF responded to safeguard the health of players, officials and fans.

Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the USA all had clinched berths the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2009, and were to play the semifinals on Wednesday with the championship and third-place match scheduled for Saturday. The four semifinalists will advance to the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria from 24 October – 15 November.

The second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals between CD SC Cruz Azul (MEX) and Atlante FC (MEX) was to be played Wednesday in Cancun, but that game now will be delayed until Tuesday, 12 May at 9 p.m. local (10 p.m. EDT). Atlante leads the two-game title series 2-0 from its opening win in Mexico City last Wednesday.

The CONCACAF Beach Championship in Puerto Vallarta, scheduled to begin Wednesday and continue through Sunday, is under review with a final decision expected Tuesday.

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Friday Football: Quakes Quit & More


* The San Fernando Valley Quakes of the Premier Development League announced today that they are the latest casualty of the economy. The team lasted three years. The 2009 season was scheduled to begin May 1.

* MLS gets its Becks bucks.

* Manhattan Beach resident Amy Massey, a defender with the USC soccer team, will attend Oxford on a NCAA scholarship. Massey played her final season for USC last year.

*The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team, which includes Carlos Martinez of San Pedro, has qualified for the World Cup this fall. The team beat Canada 4-2 Thursday to clinch qualification.

*Sol striker Camille Abily scored in France’s 2-0 win over Switzerland Wednesday in Dijon; the teams meet again Saturday.

*First-place Chivas USA (4-1-1) hosts FC Dallas (1-3-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Home Depot Center in a game that’s live on KAZA and tape-delayed at 9 p.m. on Prime. Kids 16 and under get in free with every adult ticket purchased. The Galaxy are on the road in Colorado Saturday, (the game will be shown on tape-delay at 10 p.m. on Fox Sports West) as are the Sol who face Saint Louis Athletica.

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Monday Night Football Eye Candy & More


*MLS “eye candy” Robbie Rogers of Rolling Hills Estates (and others) here. Also featured: Chivas USA ‘s ‘sexy” Sacha Kljestan and rookie Galaxy defender A.J. ‘the hunk” DeLaGarza.

*The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team plays Cuba at 4 p.m. Tuesday in its opening game of the regional championships in Tijuana. No TV.

*The U.S. Women’s National Team will play Canada July 19 iin Rochester, N.Y., and July 22 Charleston, S.C., it was announced today. From U.S. Soccer:

“The matches will be the last for the U.S. Women’s National Team at home in 2009, but the team is scheduled to gather for training camps and a European tour following the completion of the inaugural WPS campaign.”

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