MLS Cup ready for prime time and USMNT faces Trinidad & Tobago at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports 1 with World Cup place at stake

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UCLA men’s soccer routs top-ranked Akron

Ninth-ranked UCLA (2-1-1) men’s soccer team rolled to a 6-1 victory over top-ranked Akron (2-2), Monday night.

The Bruins also set an NCAA record with three goals in a 32-second span.

Junior forward Abu Danladi scored two goals in 11 seconds and sophomore midfielder Jackson Yueill had four assists, tying a school-record.

Brian Iloski, Seyi Adekova, Blayne Martinez  and Jose Hernandez scored the other goals for the Bruins.

UCLA scored 2-0 at halftime.

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Raul Mendiola draws praise from Bruce Arena after first start

Raul Mendiola was a surprise starter for some in Saturday’s Galaxy-Columbus Crew SC game.

Mendiola was signed as  Homegrown Player in 2014. He made three appearances for first team in 2014, spent all of 2015 with Galaxy II and Saturday night he made his debut in the starting lineup in the Galaxy 2-1 victory.

Photo courtesy of LA Galaxy

Photo courtesy of LA Galaxy

“When I’m on the field, I’m going to work for my teammates,” Mendiola said. “Whatever I got to do. If you have to run back and that’s my mentality to work hard. I was really excited. i wanted to go out there and show what I could to do.”

Mendiola went 80 minutes, before being subbed for Rafael Garcia.

“He’s the kind of player that when you pick sides you’d like to take him because he’s going to battle for you,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. Saturday night. “He’s going to play through the good and bad throughout the game. He’s a real competitor and I like that.

“I decided to play him tonight because I felt we just needed a little bit more energy on the field, a little bit more competitiveness. He brings that. He’s an honest player, can play on both sides of the ball.”

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Galaxy preview: Galaxy hopes to get back on track in September

After a dismal August that the club go winless, the Galaxy hope to kick off September with a coveted and much-needed three points with Columbus Crew SC in town tonight (7:30 p.m.; Time Warner Cable Sports Net).Galaxy-

Columbus is in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Galaxy is in fifth in the Western Conference. Both teams are missing several players due to either international duty or injuries.

Who knows what tonight holds in store. See you there.

Game day links:

Nigel de Jong completes move to Turkey

Injury bug hits Galaxy this week

Struggling Galaxy near must-win mode tonight

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100 Percent Soccer column: U.S. Soccer fans kick back for tropical World Cup qualifying feast this Labor Day weekend

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Read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column here.

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Take the poll: Are the Galaxy and MLS better off without a violent defender like the departed Nigel de Jong?

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When it comes to an opinion about a tough, imposing defender like Nigel de Jong few soccer fans are on the fence.

A player variously known as Nigel “King Kong” de Jong or the “Lawnmower” with a track record for violently injuring opposing players like former U.S. international Stuart Holden is either abhorred for his uncompromising, some would say dangerous style, or lauded for being the linchpin of an effective back four.

But it goes further than that.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has pointed out that de Jong’s qualities go beyond the merely physical; not only did he win 82 percent of his tackles during his brief Galaxy career, but he has completed more passes than any other player on the team so far this season.

“We don’t have an educated public that understands what he does,” Arena lamented earlier this week.

What do you think?

Are the Galaxy and MLS better or worse off for the departure of defender Nigel de Jong

 
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Galaxy’s Nigel de Jong completes move to Galatasaray

Nigel de Jong’s stint with the Galaxy officially ended Wednesday with the midfielder signing a two-year deal with Galatasaray of the Turkish Super League.

De Jong joined the Galaxy this season after leaving AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A. He was signed in February to a one-year deal with a contract “trigger” to become a Designated Player next season.

De Jong’s brief time with the Galaxy was eventful. Known for his rugged and fearless play in the midfield, de Jong, 31, made 18 appearances for the Galaxy, but also suffered a pair of multi-game suspensions for tackles on Portland’s Darlington Nagbe in April and Blas Perez in July.

The move, although it might hurt the Galaxy in the present, could give the team some much-needed flexibility in the off-season as it looks to replace one or possibly two Designated Player slots.

“We have the greatest respect for Nigel,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “He’s been a terrific addition to our team, he’s a great professional, great teammate and when healthy and given a chance to play in this league, he’s been good. He’s a very good player. We don’t have an educated public that understands what he does. He’s been an important member of our team.”

Arena said Tuesday that de Jong was “pursuing an opportunity with our blessing.”

De Jong was making $500,000 this season. It has been reported that his salary with Galatasaray will be close to $3 million a year. He’s signed through 2018. He went through his first training session with his new club Wednesday.

De Jong is a two-time World Cup veteran for the Netherlands. Aside from AC Milan, he’s also played for Ajax, Hamburg and Manchester City.

He joins a Galatasaray club that’s currently off to a 2-0 start this season.

The move comes at a difficult time for the Galaxy with Gyasi Zardes (foot), Steven Gerrard (hamstring) and Jelle Van Damme (knee) all out, either for the season in Zardes’ case or a couple of weeks, for Gerrard and Van Damme.

Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said he will miss de Jong’s toughness on the field.

“He was a great guy in the locker room and I don’t think you need me to tell you that he’s a great player,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said. “He’s a winner. He’s not out there to (nut)meg people and score goals, he’s around there to cover for his teammates and make people around him better.”

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