Los Angeles Soccer: Kellyn Rowe

Galaxy ready after beating UCLA

March, 9, 2011
The Galaxy wrapped up preseason Wednesday with another victory, their sixth in 10 matches, and declared themselves ready -- or as ready as they can be -- for the start of the Major League Soccer season, which arrives Tuesday night in Seattle.

Juninho and Landon Donovan scored for L.A. in a 2-1 triumph over UCLA on the club's Home Depot Center training fields southeast of the main stadium. Coach Bruce Arena began with what likely will be his starting XI against the Sounders, with every starter getting at least 50 minutes and most 70 or more.

The only first-choice players missing were Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who suffered a "knock," Arena said, in last week's game against Club Tijuana in San Diego and is "day-to-day," and defender Gregg Berhalter, who sustained a knee injury during the team's Arizona trip and says he's probably three weeks from being ready.

Josh Saunders, the No. 2 keeper, was in the nets; Brazilian backliner Leonardo, who started six preseason games and went the full 90 minutes in his last two, teamed with Omar Gonzalez in central defense. The outside backs (Sean Franklin on the right, Todd Dunivant on the left) and midfield (from right, David Beckham, Juninho, Chris Birchall and Donovan) are holdovers from last year, with newcomers Juan Pablo Angel and Chad Barrett up top.

That lineup put on an impressive first-half performance, subpar finishing aside, pinning the Bruins -- an NCAA title favorite, for sure, next fall -- deep in their end for most of the half.

"It was good," said Angel, who scored only one goal -- in the first game, a 7-1 rout of Loyola Marymount -- during preseason. "The majority of players played more than 60, 65 minutes, which is important. The first half I think we played well. We were well-organized, created chances, and the second half we lost the rhythm a little bit."

Arena was happiest with how the game helped his team's fitness, especially playing in temperatures at or near 80, and that UCLA "pushed us physically, and that's what we wanted."

Are the Galaxy ready for Seattle?

"We're going to have to be," said Dunivant, who limped off in the 61st minute after taking a charley horse in a collision with Bruins sophomore Matt Wiet -- he declared himself fine afterward. "I think all the team at this point in the season are kind of up in the air, but we have a veteran team, and we've had a good preseason. We have a big game against Seattle, so whether we're ready of not, we really don't have a choice."

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SOCCER 2011: 10 things to watch for

January, 1, 2011

Landon DonovanOtto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesAnything less than a championship would be considered a failure in the eyes of Landon Donovan.


U.S. Soccer has avoided scheduling against Mexico's national team in Southern California for obvious reasons, but the federation has no (reasonable) choice this year. Circle June 25 on the calendar: If all follows form, the Yanks and El Tri will renew the region's best rivalry in a packed Rose Bowl with the CONCACAF Gold Cup title on the line. A young version of the U.S. will face Chile at Home Depot Center on Jan. 22, and we're hearing talk of Mexico at the Rose Bowl in March. And the HDC gets a Gold Cup date June 6, but no idea who will play in the doubleheader.


The Galaxy might have answered its biggest need in Major League Soccer's re-entry draft, selecting aging but gifted Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel. Now they've got to sign him -- and hope Edson Buddle doesn't bolt for England or Scotland. L.A. has come close to After coming close to MLS Cup titles the past two years, losing in the 2009 final and in the 2010 Western Conference title game, and anything other than a trophy in 2011 will disappoint (although getting through the CONCACAF Champions League's group phase might mitigate somewhat). Landon Donovan is nearing 30, David Beckham's contract ends next December, and Angel is a quick-fix kind of addition. The backline is getting younger (and better, it seems), and if Bruce Arena can find a little more speed, L.A. will be tough to beat. But so will Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls, and maybe reigning champ Colorado if it can keep Omar Cummings from bolting to Europe. Our expectation: a terrific MLS race.


The U.S. women haven't won a Women's World Cup title since that delightful summer of '99, and they've since lost the American public's attention, mostly because Mia Hamm (and others) retired and Nike stopped contributing millions to the team's marketing campaign. This group of Yanks will try to restore some of the glitz, but it's not going to be easy. They'll certainly among the teams to beat at the WWC in Germany next summer -- and they might pull it off, if Abby Wambach and Hope Solo are at their best -- but if anyone other than the Germans are celebrating come July 17 in Frankfurt, it's a massive upset.

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2010: Fantastic frosh ... and the coach's son

December, 24, 2010
Our countdown of 2010's top 10 soccer stories and newsmakers -- from a Southern California slant -- continues.
  • Stories/No. 8: UCLA's fabulous freshmen

It was an odd (and some might say off) year for college soccer in the Southland:
  • UCLA's women didn't come close to an eighth straight trip to the NCAA College Cup final four (USC's disappointed, too)
  • UC Santa Barbara's men never got a chance to try to win a championship at home (deserving Akron celebrated on the Gauchos' field)
  • UC Irvine's stirring fall finished just short (what a run by the Anteaters' women) and with a stunning snub (how did their men, top 10 all year, not get an NCAA Tournament bid?)
  • Let's not even mention the lower divisions, Azusa Pacific's women (NAIA semifinalists) aside.

The best team in these parts, and that wasn't clear until season's end, was UCLA's men, who needed nearly half the season to figure things out, then came up just shy of the program's 13th final-four appearance.

Courtesy of UCLA Athletics
UCLA coach Jorge Salcedo has one of the most talented collection of young players in the nation.

No surprise they needed time to find their feet: The Bruins had the finest collection of freshmen in the country, and their sophomores were pretty good, too. They might be the NCAA's No. 1 team when the season opens next fall, but their window for winning a title ought to be short: The players Bruins coach (and former Galaxy and UCLA midfielder) Jorge Salcedo brings to Westwood are so good, they rarely last more than a couple of years before going pro.

And this year's youngsters might be the Bruins' best. Included were an All-American midfielder (Kellyn Rowe), a forward who turned down pro offers to come to UCLA (Fontana's Victor Chavez) and another forward coveted by top programs everywhere (Newport Beach's Reed Williams). Two top defenders (Dove Canyon's Joe Sofia and Laguna Niguel's Patrick Matchett) sneaked in under the radar. And maybe the best of the lot (goalkeeper Earl Edwards) saw no action, sitting behind a top veteran (junior Brian Rowe).

Seven freshmen played considerably and the class accounted for most of the goals (23 of 40, with Chavez's 10 tops on the team) and assists (27 of 52, with Rowe's 10 tops on the team).

UCLA went 16-5-1, absorbing a big loss early (5-1 to Indiana) and another defeat in front of the biggest crowd ever to watch a soccer game at a university field (2-0 to UC Santa Barbara in front of 15,896), then taking off on a 14-2 spree into the NCAA quarterfinals. They held two two-goal leads before succumbing, 5-4, to No. 1 Louisville in the snow.

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COLLEGE: Christen Press, Alex Morgan are Hermann finalists

December, 10, 2010

Stanford's Christen Press and Cal's Alex Morgan, both of them So Cal products, are finalists for the MAC Hermann Award, college soccer's most prestigious player-of-the-year honor.

Also announced Friday: North Carolina midfielder Michael Farfan, a Cal State Fullerton transfer from Wildomar in Riverside County, is among five local players on the NCAA Division I men's All-America team.

Press (Palos Verdes Estates/Chadwick School), a massive favorite for the honor, scored an NCAA-best 26 goals with eight assists to lead No. 1 Stanford to its second successive NCAA title-game appearance. Morgan (Diamond Bar/Diamond Bar HS), the only college player regularly featured with the U.S. women's national team, scored 14 goals in just 12 games for Cal, her time curtailed by international duty.

The other finalist is Melissa Henderson, who scored 17 goals with 11 assists to lead Notre Dame to a national championship. Men's finalists are Indiana's Will Bruin, Akron's Darlington Nagbe and Louisville's Colin Rolfe.

Locals joining Farfan on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America team are four third-teamers:
  • Loyola Marmount senior midfielder Rafael Baca (Lawndale/Animo Leadership HS)
  • Cal senior forward Davis Paul (Upland/Damien HS)
  • UCLA freshman midfielder Kellyn Rowe
  • UC Santa Barbara senior defender Michael Boxall

COLLEGE: Wild loss knocks out UCLA

December, 4, 2010
UCLA was on target for the NCAA Division I College Cup men's final four after twice taking two-goal leads Saturday night at top-ranked Louisville, but the Bruins' start was better than their finish in a cold, snowy quarterfinal clash.

The Cardinals (19-0-3) claimed their first final-four appearance with a wild 5-4 triumph captured on Aaron Hester's goal with just 52 seconds to play.

Louisville, which will face fourth-seeded North Carolina (16-3-2) on Friday at UC Santa Barbara's Harder Stadium, overcame 2-0 and 3-1 first-half deficits to end UCLA's run toward what it hoped would be a fifth NCAA soccer crown.

Eder Arreola (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS) and Kellyn Rowe provided the Bruins (16-5-1) a two-goal advantage by the 18th minute, and Chandler Hoffman's breakaway in the 33rd restored the cushion after Colin Rolfe got Louisville on the board with a free kick in the 29th.

But the Cardinals surged ahead with three goals in 17 minutes: a penalty kick near the end of the first half, Rolfe's second goal -- a header from a free kick -- just three minutes into the second half, and Nick DeLeon's finish from Rolfe in the 56th.

Victor Chavez (Fontana/A.B. Miller HS) scored from a throw-in by Joe Sofia (Dove Canyon/Mission Viejo HS) to even it, 4-4, in the 81st minute, but Hester dribbled through UCLA's defense to score the winner in the 90th.

The other semifinal will pit third-seeded Akron (20-1-2) against 10th-seeded Michigan (17-4-3).

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