Major League Soccer Playoff Preview: LA Galaxy at Real Salt Lake live at 5 p.m. on NBCSN

MLS2014

Los Angeles News Group Galaxy beat writer Phil Collin has the game preview for the playoff opener; the Real Salt Lake perspective is here from our sister newspaper The Salt Lake Tribune.

The match by the numbers is here.

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NBCSN ratings show how far Major League Soccer has to go to catch English Premier League Soccer in popularity

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NBCSN announced today that last Sunday’s game between Chelsea and Manchester United was its top-rated EPL match ever attracting an average of 1.29 million viewers.

From the NBCSN press release:

Sunday’s game, which was NBC’s first BPL match on a Sunday afternoon (and had competition from live NFL games), is the second-most watched live game in the U.S. in Premier League history (Manchester United-Chelsea, 2/5/12 on Fox, 1.38 million).

By comparison, the MLS game the previous evening between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders with the Supporters’ Shield on the line averaged 699,000 viewers. It was the network’s most-watched MLS game ever.

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Watch Live: The unveiling of the new Los Angeles Major League Soccer club

Here are details on the LAFC ownership group via a just-released MLS press release:

LOS ANGELES (October 30, 2014) – A new era for Major League Soccer in Los Angeles began today as MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced that a new team has been awarded to an ownership group led by entrepreneur Henry Nguyen, sports and entertainment leader Peter Guber, and sports veteran Tom Penn. The new club is scheduled to debut in 2017 in a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area built specifically for the team.

“We are thrilled to welcome Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Tom Penn and their owner partners to Major League Soccer,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “This visionary ownership group will chart a course that will further elevate the sport in this great city and, combined with a new state-of-the-art stadium, accelerate us down the path toward becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”

The Managing General Partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, Nguyen is the managing partner of the new MLS club. A native of Vietnam who moved to the United States as a toddler, Nguyen graduated from Harvard University and earned his MD and MBA from Northwestern University Medical School and the Kellogg School of Management.

“We believe this team can become one of the most outstanding clubs in Major League Soccer and a globally-recognized brand,” said Nguyen.

One of the most respected entrepreneurs in the sports and entertainment industry, Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, the owner and co-executive chairman of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and co-owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers. Guber will serve as executive chairman of the new MLS club.

“The business of sports and entertainment is all about winning on the field and providing an exciting product that will develop a passionate and loyal fan base,” said Guber. “The Los Angeles market has millions of soccer supporters, and we know that this new team can fulfill the promise of success on the field and provide a great experience for our fans.”

Along with Nguyen, Guber and Penn, the new team’s ownership group includes: Ruben Gnanalingam, co-owner of the English Premier League’s Queens Park Rangers, Vincent Tan, owner of the Football League Championship’s Cardiff City and FK Sarajevo of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Los Angeles Lakers star, Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises and an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mia Hamm Garciaparra, U.S. women’s soccer great, Tony Robbins, America’s #1 life and business strategist, best-selling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Nomar Garciaparra, former Major League Baseball star and SportsNet LA baseball analyst, Larry Berg, senior partner at Apollo Global Management and a co-owner of AS Roma, Allen Shapiro, CEO of Dick Clark Productions and managing partner of Mosaic Media Investment Partners, Chad Hurley, co-founder and former CEO of YouTube and the founder and CEO of MixBit, Rick Welts, President and COO of the Golden State Warriors Basketball Club, Bennett Rosenthal, co-founder and senior partner of Ares Management and a co-owner of AS Roma, as well as Kirk Lacob, Mark Leschly, Mike Mahan, Irwin Raij, Paul Schaeffer, Brandon Schneider, Jason Sugarman and Harry Tsao. A few additional prominent owners are expected to be added to this list shortly.

“Today is day one and time for us to focus on developing a world-class stadium for the club to play in and for fans to enjoy,” said Nguyen.

The new Los Angeles team’s brand identity, along with the front office, coaching and administrative staff will be announced at later dates.

One of the most fervent soccer fan bases in North America, Los Angeles also is home to the four-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy. An original member of the League, the Galaxy play their home matches at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.

“Los Angeles is a diverse, vibrant market with millions of soccer fans, and we look forward to an intense rivalry between the Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club,” added Garber.

Updated

LANG beat writer Phil Collin has the story and videos of the event.

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Should former Chivas USA enforcer Jesse Marsch be the coach of the new Los Angeles Major League Soccer franchise?

becksjesseIn your face: David Beckham and Jesse Marsch go nose-to-nose in the heyday of the LA SuperClasico (File photo).

The Golden Age for defunct MLS club Chivas USA was the trio of seasons it advanced to the playoffs back when the likes of hard-nosed Jesse Marsch patrolled the midfield, now EPL goalkeeper Brad Guzan was between the sticks and Cuban defector Maykel Galindo was banging in the goals for the Goats.

Marsch went on to an abbreviated coaching career for the expansion Montreal impact, but didn’t appear to get a fair shake from management.

If the new LA MLS club wants passion and commitment it could do a lot worse than Marsch, who was all about that during his inspirational Chivas USA career.

Full disclosure: Founder of Chivas USA fan group Black Army John Sadante made the suggestion during a conversation we had Sunday ahead of Thursday’s announcement about the MLS replacement for Chivas USA.

Anyone willing to kick a little butt is likely to inspire crowds like Chivas USA once saw back in the club’s Preki-led heyday. What do you think?

C

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Major League Soccer Playoff Preview: Potent LA Galaxy attack focus Saturday for Real Salt Lake

Considering those numbers, it’s no wonder Real Salt Lake will focus on Landon Donovan Saturday in the opening playoff game. But then, they have plenty of other attacking worries from their Southern California opponents, too.

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Video: New in-depth Landon Donovan interview premieres Tuesday night on Time Warner Cable ahead of start of Major League Soccer playoffs

If you haven’t yet had enough of Landon Donovan interviews, then you will want to catch Cobi Jones sitting down for an extended 30-minute conversation with the LA Galaxy playmaker in the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet series “Connected With…”

Donovan will talk about his impending retirement and, of course, his omission from the World Cup squad:

“Of course I was hurt…And the part that I haven’t talked a lot about is that it was painful for my family…They had this amazing trip planned, this amazing life journey…Not only are they devastated for their son, uncle, nephew…but it was a really difficult time for us as a family.”

 

See an excerpt from the interview here. The show premieres at 7:30 p.m,.

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Major League Soccer announces Chivas USA to cease operations immediately, new Los Angeles club announcement set for Thursday

finaltifoGoats Gone: Chivas USA fans showed their true colors one final time Sunday before MLS announced today the team was no more (Photo by Nick Green)

Here’s the press release in full that was just released by MLS:

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced today a new strategy for the Los Angeles market. Effective immediately, Chivas USA will cease operations. On Thursday, Oct. 30, the League will announce a new MLS Los Angeles club and ownership group. The new club will begin play in 2017.

The decision on Chivas USA was made unanimously by the MLS Board of Governors, after a comprehensive review of the League’s strategy for the Los Angeles market. As a result of this decision, the League will play with 20 clubs in the 2015 season.

“As part of our new strategy for Southern California — a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support — we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

With the addition of Orlando City SC and New York City FC in 2015, MLS will have 20 clubs for the league’s 20th season and will feature a new conference alignment. Most notably, the Houston Dynamo and 2013 MLS Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City will move to the Western Conference, creating two 10-team conferences.

Here’s the reaction from MLS Players Union Executive Director Bob Foose:

“Real change has been needed for many years with respect to the Chivas franchise. Therefore, we are not surprised by today’s announcement.

The cessation of operations presents obvious challenges for the former Chivas players, and we are working with the league to make their transition to other teams as smooth as possible. Fortunately, with two new teams starting league play next
year, there will be more opportunities for these players to continue to showcase their talents in MLS.

We look forward to working with the new franchise when it re-enters MLS. The Los Angeles market can and will successfully support two MLS teams, and we are confident that the new franchise will learn from the mistakes made by Chivas, and will be successful in every way.”

More reaction:

Updated

LANG MLS beat writer Phil Collin has more here, while this week’s soccer column on the demise of Chivas USA is here.

The MLS launch of the new Los Angeles team and ownership group is set for 11 a.m. Thursday in Hollywood.

 

 

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Major League Soccer Playoff Bracket: LA Galaxy open post-season Saturday against Real Salt Lake in Utah

Kickoff is at 5 p.m. live on NBCSN with the return leg in Carson 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9.

From the Galaxy press release:

The winner of the Western Conference Semifinal series will advance to the two-leg Western Conference Championship round, with the conference champions advancing to the MLS Cup match. With a better record than any Eastern Conference team, the Galaxy would host the MLS Cup should the team advance.

Led by first-year head coach Jeff Cassar, Real Salt Lake finished season in third place in the Western Conference with a 15-8-11 record and 56 points. The series marks the second-straight season that the Galaxy face Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Galaxy finished the 2014 MLS Regular Season in second place overall in the MLS standings with an 17-7-10 record and 61 points, scoring 69 goals scored while allowing just 37. LA’s +32 goal differential is the second-highest in MLS history, trailing only the 1998 Galaxy side that recorded a +41 goal differential. The team ends the year with just seven losses in their 34 matches, the fewest in MLS this season.

The Galaxy lost out on the Supporters’ Shield Saturday in Seattle, falling 2-0 to the Sounders.

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Major League Soccer and Chivas USA have more drama in front of them after win in last-ever game (probably) in Carson

What we do know is that the 10-year era of Chivas USA in Major League Soccer is over.

It ended with a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon, which nudged Chivas into 7th place in the Western Conference standings, which means no matter what the Goats went through this year, they finished ahead of former MLS Cup winners San Jose and Colorado.

What we don’t know is what will become of Chivas USA. The club’s lease with StubHub Center expires at the end of this year, basically the same time frame MLS outlined to have the club under new ownership. With a new stadium. With a new name. With an entirely new focus on the future of a two-team Los Angeles market.

MLS has been tight-lipped on the subject and Chivas president Nelson Rodriguez, appointed by the league to run the franchise for the 2014 season, insists he can’t shed any new light on the state of the franchise.

He met the media at halftime of Sunday’s game against San Jose. He was engaging and on point. Trouble is, there apparently is no point.

“Do you expect to hear from the league when the club is sold?”
“Yes,” Rodriguez said.
“When?”
“I don’t know.”

OK. Both Rodriguez and Coach Wilmer Cabrera said that they will continue to function as usual until told to do otherwise. The players, on the other hand, are left to wonder what their fate will be in any kind of dispersal draft. To a man, they acknowledge they’ve been auditioning for their MLS futures for a couple of months now.

Midfielder Eric Avila, by the way, has few concerns since he struck a deal with Santos Laguna in Mexico. Ecuadorian Felix Borja, who scored his third goal on Sunday, might be headed back to Quito. MLS holds the option rights to Erick “Cubo” Torres, who scored a club-record 15 goals this season and has earned some street cred in Mexico for scoring for El Tri in an exhibition game.

But what do you do with a cast of characters who have no idea what tomorrow, next week or next month will bring to do?

“It’s difficult, especially considering the circumstances, that it would almost be unfair to ask them to continue to train so we’ve developed off-season programs for each individual player,” Rodriguez said. “We’ll start with conducting what we call off-season meetings as early as (Monday).

“Wilmer and the coaching staff and I have been having discussions about our player pool here currently and other players that we might like to acquire. We still have the responsibility to prepare as if we’re playing next year.. We’ve had those discussions, we’ve formulated a plan, we haven’t finalized that plan because we wanted to see how the rest of the year played out.”

It’s played out. The rest is on MLS.

Now, what do you do if you’re a first-year head coach?

“Since the start of the season we were living like ‘Who’s the owner? What’s going to happen? It’s going to be no more franchise, no more team.’ That’s not easy to deal with,” Cabrera said. “When you have to deal with that every day, you get burned (out) and you have to come every day to motivate players.

“Soccer is not only running and kicking the ball, soccer is a mental game and when you have to say it’s going to be it’s fine, it’s going to be OK, let’s do our job, you have to be creative. In this case my coaching staff, I have to give every credit to them to keep all those players motivated that’s something fantastic and I really appreciate that. And obviously the president himself was unbelievable.”

At the same time, Cabrera wasn’t rushing to circle the wagons around whatever becomes of this club.

don’t know what’s going to happen with me, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be involved in this sport that I love and the things that I do best – soccer,” Cabrera said. “Today I’m more prepared than one year ago, or the beginning of the year, from this learning process that we had to go through.”

Whatever lessons were learned on that scale, it can only be hoped that MLS learned from it as well.

Wherever it leads.

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Major League Soccer: Seattle Sounders win washes away Galaxy’s Supporters’ Shield hopes

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