Weekly Soccer Column: Champions League Primer*

For both sides of the Atlantic.

Read the column here.

More on the task ahead for Lionel Messi and Barcelona is here.

Going to Wednesday’s Galaxy game? Essential gameday info is here.


Two historic comebacks in Champions League action Tuesday, one in Barcelona, the other in Seattle.

Count the Galaxy impressed.

I plan to Tweet this evening from the Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League game @lasoccerblog, while MLS beat writer Phil Collin will have a full game wrap here tonight.

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Weekly Soccer Column: Pray for Chivas USA

Hello, anyone home? Home Depot Center Saturday a little over 10 minutes before the kickoff of Chivas USA’s MLS season opener.

It’s hard to believe just how big a debacle Chivas USA has become for this market, this league and this sport.

Nevertheless, things appear to be coming to a head if we are to believe what MLS Commissioner Don Garber had to say this weekend.

Chivas USA is down to its last few loyal troops in the stands — the long-suffering likes of the Black Army and Union Ultras are still commendably hanging in there, even if few others are.

Fans who bought club seats at the HDC and get tickets to every event are unwilling to sit through Chivas USA games. You can get the best seats in the house for the game Sunday on Stubhub for as little as just over $10 apiece, so why anyone would want to buy a game ticket that starts at $17 this year directly from the club is beyond me.

And that’s not going to help the club’s sagging attendance at all.

For more read this week’s column here.

For possible solutions, read this column (sent to me by the folks at the Black Army) in the wake of the column’s publication. Worth trying or smacking of desperation?

Sound off in the column section below.



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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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Weekly Soccer Column: Honduras-U.S. WCQ Preview & more

Four years ago the U.S. finished World Cup qualifying in Honduras and now it will start the final round of qualifying there with Omar Gonzalez the lone Galaxy player on the roster. Read more in today’s column and learn more about the possible Honduran starting XI in the video above.

In other local soccer news this morning:

  • Chivas USA will play ts third preseason scrimmage against the Chicago Fire at 11:30 a.m. today at Field 6 at Home Depot Center. Fans are welcome to attend. Enter through Gate A.
  • Underlining the increasing importance of its youth academy — four players have signed pro contracts out of the set-up in the last two years — the Galaxy has today announced the formation of the LA Galaxy Academy Alliance with youth club partners the South Bay Force and West Coast Futbol Club. The two clubs will form Under-12 teams funded by the Galaxy that will allow the best players to then join the Galaxy Academy. The move will allow the club to “create a central coaching philosophy and curriculum” so players learn to “play the Galaxy” way, said Galaxy President Chris Klein.



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Weekly Soccer Column: Chivas USA Coach Chelis Ready to Conduct MLS Campaign

The Galaxy train quietly and privately on one side of the Home Depot Center stadium, their every move hidden behind a screened fence, a legacy of the David Beckham era.

With music blaring Chivas USA practices on the other side of the stadium on a sunken pitch that affords the fans they encourage to attend training (currently scheduled for 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays) a perfect view of proceedings .

Two different clubs, two distinct cultures.

And in this week’s column I explore how the unconventional ideas of new Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola — who led the club to its first preseason victory in a scrimmage against a college team over the weekend — will fit within MLS and American soccer. Read the column here and let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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Weekly Soccer Column: 2012 in Review

Clint Dempsey’s attacking skills petrified defenders in 2012 as the American had his finest year yet — and with the World Cup looming is the best yet to come? (Associated Press file photo).

Messi, Donovan, Dempsey, Beckham, Gonzalez, Morgan figured prominently in the world of soccer in 2012.

Read more here and I’ll return in 2013 with World Cup qualifying, the earliest start to an MLS season ever, new eras for the Galaxy and Chivas USA and much more in what’s already shaping up to be a busy and compelling year.

Thanks for reading and see you in 2013.

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Weekly Column: LA Galaxy Gets Breather Before Final MLS Games

At least Galaxy fans hope — and expect — that’s plural games with only a possible pair left in the 2012 season.

Of course, that depends what happens Sunday in Seattle.

But the Galaxy held serve in Carson, if you will, and need only to ensure they don’t spectacularly implode in the Pacific Northwest.

For more, read today’s column here.

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