The nationally televised clash between Seattle and Toronto kicks the weekend off at 1:30 p.m. today on NBCSN with fans perhaps about to see the MLS debuts of big money signings Jermaine Defoe and Michael Bradley for the Canadian outfit, although both have battled injury problems recently. And who would have thought former goal-shy Galaxy striker Chad Barrett would immediately benefit from the presence of Clint Dempsey for the Sounders last weekend, picking up his scraps with a dramatic winner from a rebound in second half stoppage time to beat Sporting Kansas City?
The Galaxy’s week 2 encounter with D.C. United was postponed because it was sandwiched between midweek CONCACAF Champions League games against the Xolos, but Chivas USA meets Vancouver at 4 p.m. Sunday in Carson in the only game of the weekend between MLS clubs that both won their first outing of the season. Check out those standings, Chivas USA fans.
I’ll have more on that later, but here are the predictions of Southern California soccer scribes for this round of games.
The U.S. is not expected to win the World Cup in Brazil this summer, but its fans rank tops in several aspects of travel to the tournament, according to online travel company Webjet.com, which created the nifty graphic below.
And if you’re not one of them (yet), check out this link for a chance to win tickets to World Cup games.
The pick of the EPL games this weekend are both on Sunday, making for an engrossing morning doubleheader on NBCSN: at 6:30 a.m. its Manchester United-Liverpool and at 9 a.m. it’s the north London derby between Spurs and Arsenal.
Former Galaxy striker Alan Gordon of Long Beach rose for a late, trademark header Tuesday as the San Jose Earthquakes tied Mexico’s Toluca in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
That was San Jose’s first competitive game of 2014 and now the Galaxy will face Mexican opposition — Club Tijuana — in just their second game of the season.
Can you imagine if major European clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City — who meet at 12:30 p.m. today in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 clash on Fox Sports 1 — were asked to do the same thing?
For more, read this week’s column and see what passes for trash talking in CONCACAF here.
*Exhibition games involving Latin American clubs and players have a spotty history of actually happening (to put it mildly) in Los Angeles, so buyer beware, but an April 26 indoor game featuring retired stars from Mexico and El Salvador was announced today at a press conference at the Coliseum.
Players will include former Galaxy greats Jorge Campos and Mauricio Cienfuegos, former Chivas USA stars Claudio Suarez and Ramon Ramirez and former D.C. United striker Raul Diaz Arce.
Tickets to ShowGoal Los Angeles, as it’s called, go on sale Thursday starting at $25.
*The Galaxy made their opponents look good this weekend on the field and off it. After Real Salt Lake left Southern California with a 1-0 Saturday, goalscorer Joao Plata earned the top spot in the Castrol Index and RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was ranked third after saving Robbie Keane’s penalty kick.
Chivas USA defender Bobby Burling, who scored the winner over the Chicago Fire Sunday, checked in at No. 6. The Castrol Index is here.