Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes of Hawthorne emerging as quality offensive threat for USMNT, while Steven Gerrard makes MLS debut Friday

GerrarddiffDifference maker: New Galaxy signing Steven Gerrard, seen here at an adidas event in Los Angeles, is expected to make his MLS debut Friday against San Jose in Carson (Photo courtesy adidas).

Read the weekly column here.

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Gold Cup Video Highlights: New LA Galaxy signing Giovani Dos Santos injured in 4-4 Mexico-Trinidad & Tobago thriller

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It figures. Hours after the LA Galaxy confirmed the worst-kept secret in MLS — the signing of Giovani Dos Santos — their expensive new Mexican acquisition comes out of last night’s heart-stopping 4-4 draw with T&T and is expected to miss the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.

Here’s why the Galaxy won’t want him sidelined for too long.

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Video Preview: Steven Gerrard debuts for the LA Galaxy against Club America live at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

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I had the pleasure Friday to sit down and chat with an engaging, but self-effacing Steven Gerrard in an exclusive interview at SubHub Center.

He has a healthy, inquisitive attitude about MLS, the Galaxy and his family’s new life in Southern California that was refreshing.

While today’s front page is, shall we say, attention-grabbing, it does get the point of the profile across. Read more about Gerrard and his early impression of Southern California here in the Los Angeles Daily News.

A telling anecdote, I think, also sums up the kind of person Gerrard is.

As we chatted briefly before the interview, he learned I grew up in Norwich, England and was concerned about the survival prospects of newly-prompted Norwich City in an increasingly high-stakes EPL. As I walked to my car after the interview, a white Chevy Tahoe pulled up to me in the parking lot, the window rolled down and a smiling Gerrard said “Good luck to your Norwich City this season.”

A small gesture perhaps, but not one most players of his stature would have bothered with after a grueling day of training and no fewer than five sit down 1 on 1 interviews (more than he had done, he conceded, in quite a while in England where the media just does not get that level of access to players).

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Gold Cup Video: LA Galaxy rising star Gyasi Zardes creates Clint Dempsey goal in 1-0 U.S. win over Panama

zardesUSA star is born: The LA Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes, who seems to improve with every game, was the creator of the USA’s winning goal Friday against Haiti (Associated Press).

This is the U.S. benefiting from Hawthorne youngster Gyasi Zardes playing with the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane.

Marvelous to watch.

So what did Dempsey say to Zardes in the victory celebration do you think?

Game story:

By JIMMY GOLEN

The Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. —

Gyasi Zardes didn’t wait long to make an impact for the United States in its Gold Cup match against Haiti on Friday night.

The 23-year-old forward entered at the start of the second half for Jozy Altidore, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Less than two minutes later, the forward with the blond-streaked Mohawk turned a pass from Greg Garza into a perfect setup for Clint Dempsey’s goal, sending the Americans to a 1-0 win that clinched their group title.

“Gyasi has the special talent to take people on,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said, calling Zardes curious and eager to learn. “He has a lot of talent and a lot of potential. We just want to tell him every day, ‘One step at a time.’ … It’s a real joy to work with him.”

Dempsey scored in the 47th minute and Brad Guzan made a pair of point-blank saves in the second half for the defending champions, who improved to 2-0 in the opening round and clinched a spot in a July 18 quarterfinal in Baltimore.

The Americans have won six in a row, are 30-1-2 in Gold Cup group play and have reached the knockout stage of all 13 Gold Cup tournaments. They have one game remaining in the group stage, against Panama on Monday in Kansas City, Kansas.

“It’s a nice feeling, knowing that we are already in. But we are not slowing down,” Klinsmann said. “We know we have an influence on who’s going through. … So we will not take our foot off the pedal.”

Zardes started in the Gold Cup opener against Honduras, which the U.S. won 2-1. But Klinsmann shuffled his lineup liberally — including the whole back line — to keep his players fresh after the three-day turnaround.

On Friday, the coach came out of his office at halftime and told Zardes to warm up. “I just prepared myself to step on the field and try to make a difference,” said Zardes, who is in his third year with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The goal didn’t need so much as a word.

Zardes said he made eye contact with Garza, then gave the defender a head nod before he lofted the ball toward the penalty area. Zardas ran onto the ball and cut a pass backward, knowing that one of the forwards would be cutting toward the goal.

It turned out to be Dempsey, who scored with a right-footed shot from about 12 yards.

Dempsey has scored in the last four games he’s played for the U.S. national team, one shy of the record Altidore set two years ago. Dempsey’s 44 international goals are 13 shy of Landon Donovan’s American record.

“I love being with this group of guys; they’re top players,” Zardes said. “I’m just trying to pursue my career and hopefully be like them.”

Haiti, which is 0-1-1, will play Honduras on Monday, with the loser finishing last in the group. Klinsmann said he will try to balance the need to keep the team’s momentum going with his players’ need for rest.

Chief among those will be Altidore, who injured his hamstring on May 16 and is trying to get back into game shape.

“He will get stronger still. I’m not worried about it,” Klinsmann said. “He’s still in the process of becoming Jozy Altidore. We know he’s going to score some goals.”

The U.S. nearly went ahead in the 34th minute, when Aron Johannsson beat goalkeeper Johny Placide. Johannsson was ruled offside, but replays showed he was onside when Altidore passed the ball to him.

Copyright The Associated Press

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Video: USWNT celebrates FIFA World Cup at LA Live in Los Angeles

The 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion United States Women’s National Team make their first public championship celebration at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)

The 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion United States Women’s National Team make their first public championship celebration at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, CA. Tuesday July 7, 2015. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)

Complete reaction from today’s rally including a photo gallery is here.

Rachel Marquez and Marissa Martin, both of Carson, with painted faces come to support the 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion United States Women’s National Team as they make their first public championship celebration at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, CA. Tuesday July 7, 2015. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)

Rachel Marquez and Marissa Martin, both of Carson, with painted faces come to support the 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion United States Women’s National Team as they make their first public championship celebration at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, CA. Tuesday July 7, 2015. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)

Reporter David Montero has more on the scene at the victory rally here.

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Real Salt Lake hosts LA Galaxy July 14 in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals

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After dispatching the San Jose Earthquakes 0-1 on the road in a U.S. Open Cup game Wednesday night — something they haven’t done in 16 MLS games and counting — the Galaxy will face Real Salt lake July 14 in the quarterfinals of the knockout tournament.

From the Galaxy press release:

The Galaxy have reached the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals stage for the first time since 2011 and were the only road team to advance past the Round of 16 in this year’s tournament.

On Wednesday night, the Galaxy defeated the Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium behind a first-half goal from forward Jose Villarreal, his third goal of the season for the Galaxy in all competitions. In the tournament’s fourth round, the Galaxy earned a 6-1 victory over PSA Elite at StubHub Center behind a hat trick from Robbie Keane and goals from Sebastian Lletget, Gyasi Zardes and Baggio Husidic.

The Galaxy are 25-12-1 all-time in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. They have entered the Open Cup every year since 1999, winning the tournament in 2001 and 2005 while reaching the Open Cup Final on two other occasions.

Should the Galaxy advance, they would face the Central bracket winner between Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City in the Open Cup Semifinals on Aug. 11 or Aug. 12.

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Video: FIFA Women’s World Cup final is set between USA and Japan after England lose on a spectacular last-minute own goal

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The goal came in the 92nd minute with OT looming.

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