Striker Clint Dempsey, above, and his USMNT teammates, training Monday in Carson, are seeking a new start to the new year Sunday at StubHub Center after a string of poor results culminated in a road loss last weekend to Chile to begin a pivotal 2015 (Photos by Staff Photographer Robert Casillas).
USMNT Jurgen Klinsmann, despite being taken to task by MLS Commissioner Don Garber for his criticism of the league and how it dovetails with the aspirations of U.S. Soccer, continued Monday to point out the shortcomings of American soccer culture ahead of Sunday’s clash with Panama in Carson.
“The (foreign) teams that have peer pressure in their environment allow themselves to drop 10 or 20 percent not 30 or 40 percent; that is the difference with what we deal with in the aftermath of the World Cup,” he said. “Their club environment puts them back on their toes. … Our players are not there yet educationally or mentally to understand the dynamic so they lose their spots on their European teams or they drop 30 or 40 percent in MLS.”
The heavy-handed LA Galaxy have come down hard on fan group Angel City Brigade for scenes like the picture at top the club believes is disruptive.
That has translated into an ACB ban for the first eight games of the season — four at home and four on the road — on flags, drums and banners and other tifo displays. Streamers are banned for the entire 2015 season.
Here’s how ACB put it in an email today to its members and others on their mailing list:
“It is our unfortunate responsibility to inform you that yesterday the Galaxy FO officially sanctioned us for throwing streamers during the game at last year’s MLS Cup final and what they deemed as a year filled with incidents.
We want to make it clear, that disrupting the field of play by throwing objects on the field is never ok. However we strongly feel that extending the punishment beyond the scope of streamers is truly unjust.
In addition to the streamer issue, much of their rational for these restrictions are from the past; actions that we believed were already sorted and settled (smoke throughout the season for example). Changing the rules midway through the season without notification is simply unethical.
We were already penalized for the smoke incidents last season, and now this “encompassing” punishment is penalizing us again. We are truly shocked and disappointed by the severity of the FO’s actions!
We will be discussing this at our board meeting on Saturday and ask that all supporters come to help us take the best possible course of action.
If you are unable to make it or are not an ACB supporter, but have an opinion, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will read your thoughts and opinions at the meeting.
If you would like to express your displeasure to the Galaxy/MLS please feel free to reach out to Sid Patel, the manager of business development at email@example.com.”
A couple of questions immediately spring to mind:
Why is the club coming down so hard on some of its most loyal and ardent supporters?
Won’t this actually hurt the club on the field by neutralizing this kind of fanatical support?
How would the fan-oriented Seattle Sounders have handled this?
Finally, the above picture of fans throwing streamers was actually taken from the club’s own website. So the club appears to be at once celebrating and drawing attention to this kind of support and then handing out punishment for it. Isn’t that a tad hypocritical? I have emailed this post to Sid Patel. We’ll see if he responds.
The Galaxy opened their exhibition season with a 2-0 victory over Ventura County Fusion on Wednesday at StubHub Center. Reigning MLS MVP Robbie Keane scored in the first half and Edson Buddle scored in the second half for the Galaxy.
Buddle is still not under contract, but pairing with Keane for a goal won’t hurt his cause.
Coach Bruce Arena used a number of younger players mixed in with the regulars. Forward Charlie Rugg, who played all of last year with the Galaxy II, played a midfield wing position.
The Galaxy are also taking a long look at undrafted free agent Ramon Martin Del Campo, a central defender who shined at UC Davis, took part in the MLS combine but was not selected.
“It was motivating,” Del Campo said of not being drafted. “Approaching it I had my hopes up, obviously it didn’t work out. It’s fine. That’s life and you’ve got to face adversity. A successful career is impossible without minor setbacks so I just saw it was motivation to get back out there to get back training harder and we’ll see what the future takes.”
Del Campo said he was sick right before the combine but took the risk of going through the tryouts anyway.
“I had strep throat going in,” he said. “I didn’t want to tell anybody because I wanted to prove to coaches that I was stronger than it, that tiny things won’t hold me back. Obviously it was a very difficult thing.
“I don’t regret anything. I just see it as a learning lesson. There’s no point in regretting, it doesn’t make me a better player, doesn’t help my status.”
Del Campo was born in Mexico but grew up in Chula Vista (Bonita Vista High) and is a U.S. citizen.
Notable: Eight players on the rosater are seeking their first U.S. cap: Steve Birnbaum, Matt Hedges, Jon Kempin, Perry Kitchen, Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna, Wil Trapp and LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes.
At the other end of the spectrum, nine players on the roster were on the USMNT World cup squad last year: Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Nick Rimando, Chris Wondolowski and DeAndre Yedlin