Los Angeles Soccer: MLS All-Star Game

Beckham, Donovan make All-Star list

July, 8, 2012
7/08/12
1:57
PM PT

David Beckham and Landon Donovan won the fans' vote for Major League Soccer's All-Star First XI, the first step in selecting the team that will take on European champion Chelsea later this month in Chester, Pa.

MLS on Sunday announced the first 11 players, selected in a 4-4-2 formation, and the list includes New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry, San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski and reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario from D.C. United.

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy lost out to Sporting Kansas City's Jimmy Nielsen for the First XI goalkeeper slot but was among seven players MLS cited as being “close to the leading vote-getters at their positions.”

The First XI is not the starting lineup, merely the first 11 players chosen for the team. Commissioner Don Garber has two selections and D.C. United coach Ben Olsen, who will guide the MLS side in the July 25 match, will fill out the remainder of the 18-man game roster, with the announcement of their picks scheduled for next Sunday. Olsen will determine his starters from the 18.

Fourteen additional players will be announced July 25 as all-stars, per the MLS Players Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league, but none will be eligible to play.

Donovan is a 12-time All-Star selection, and Beckham is making his third appearance on the list. Beckham's availability is uncertain; he might be in London for the Olympics, which begin July 25.

Sporting Kansas City placed three players on the First XI, with defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Graham Zusi joining Nielsen. Former Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce is the second Red Bull on the list, and San Jose also has a second player, defender Steven Beitashour.

Here is the First XI:

GOALKEEPER
Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), Denmark, second All-Star appearance

DEFENDERS
Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), U.S., first
Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), France, first
Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps), U.S., first
Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls), U.S., first

MIDFIELDERS
David Beckham (Galaxy), England, third
Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United, Canada, seventh
Landon Donovan (Galaxy), U.S., 12th
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), U.S., first

FORWARDS
Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), France, second
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), U.S., second

Dunivant makes All-Star list this time

June, 7, 2012
6/07/12
2:03
PM PT

Fan balloting for the July 25 MLS All-Star Game begins Friday morning, and a name missing from last year's list of candidates has found its way onto the ballot: Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant's.

He's one of six L.A. players eligible to make the All-Star First XI, the first group of players for Philadelphia coach Peter Nowak's side for the clash with England's Chelsea at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

The First XI will be determined by fan voting at Major League Soccer's website, via text messaging and, in two weeks, during a two-day Twitter session. Additional players will be selected by Nowak, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and in a players vote.

Midfielders David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Juninho, forward Robbie Keane and goalkeeper Josh Saunders are the other Galaxy players on the ballot. Donovan would make a record 12th appearance is selected; he shares the record with retired defender Eddie Pope.

Chivas' eligible players are goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, defender James Riley, midfielders Nick LaBrocca and Oswaldo Minda, and forwards Juan Pablo Angel and Alejandro Moreno.

A media panel determined the 114 names on the ballot, just six per team, including one goalkeeper from each side. As always, there are omissions, although for the local teams none as wrong-headed as Dunivant's omission last year.

Given the Galaxy's struggles, only a few players -- Beckham chief among them -- are worthy of consideration, although the priority is more about putting together a team that can compete with Chelsea than in rewarding players for their performances in the first half of the season.

The biggest omissions among local players are Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee, one of the few L.A. players who has done well this season, and Chivas USA center backs Danny Califf and Rauwshan McKenzie.

(Read full post)

MLS Power Rankings, Week 20: All-Star slump?

July, 28, 2011
7/28/11
7:28
PM PT
On the heels of Major League Soccer's second successive All-Star Game blowout loss to Manchester United, there's growing sentiment that the game doesn't make a whole lot of sense and should be altered -- or abandoned.

We're not in favor of either idea. The ASG is a lot of fun, even if it doesn't mean anything, and the MLSers looked pretty good on attack in the first half of Wednesday night's 4-0 loss in Harrison, N.J. (They couldn't defend, but that has more to do with Red Bulls coach Hans Backe's flawed tactics.)




Man United won last year's event, 5-2, and Everton prevailed on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 2009, so that's three in a row MLS has lost, even if Everton's “victory” doesn't really count as one.

Some would like to see a return to the original format, used in 1996-97, 1999-2001 and again in 2004: East vs. West. Or, as , in '98, MLS's Yanks against its foreigners.

Those were ugly games, mostly, with 6-1, 6-4, 9-4 and 6-6 scorelines included. Non-soccer fans want more goals. Real soccer fans know that too many goals usually means bad game. These weren't just bad, they lacked competition -- the highlight of the early ASGs was Landon Donovan stripping off his jersey after scoring one of his four goals in San Jose 10 years ago to reveal a sports bra, a tribute to San Jose's own Brandi Chastain.

The exhibitions against foreign, mostly British (almost entirely English) clubs, have been good ones, with victories over Guadalajara, Fulham, Chelsea, Celtic and West Ham United. Beating Chelsea was a bit of a surprise -- there's some talent in those Blues -- but the other clubs were perfect: second- and third-tier English sides, all very good, but none of them Manchester United.

It makes little sense to bash a format because one of the three or four best clubs on the planet beat a group of MLS players who had never played together before, but that's just us.

This week's rankings:




1. GALAXY (11-2-9, 42 points), Last week: 1
Week 19: Sean Franklin
's first MLS goal beats Columbus, 1-0; a nice Mike Magee strike ties Manchester City, 1-1, but the Englishmen win the friendly on penalties, 7-6
Remark: With 42 points, Galaxy is just four points from a playoff berth last season. With four extra games this year, they probably need 10 more, but it's inevitable
All-Stars: Midfielders Donovan, David Beckham and Juninho, defenders Franklin and Omar Gonzalez
Next:
Saturday at Vancouver, 4:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes)

2. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-4-8, 38 points), Last week: 2
Week 19:
A half-dozen second-half goals surrendered in 7-0 debacle vs. Manchester United; Jeff Parke hand ball costly in 1-0 loss at Panama's San Francisco FC in CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round opener
Remark: Sigi Schmid empties his bench in the second half, uses 26 players against Man U, calls defeat the biggest embarrassment of his career
All-Stars: Goalkeeper Kasey Keller and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso
Next:
Saturday at Houston, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

3. FC DALLAS (11-5-6, 39 points), Last week: 3
Week 19: Brek Shea
's ninth gives the Hoops a 1-0 win at Toronto FC; Marvin Chavez nets a pair in 2-2 draw at New York
Remark: Milton Rodriguez and Peri Marosevic jettisoned. No big loss
All-Stars: Winger Shea
Next: Thursday in a CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round first leg at Alianza (El Salvador), 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel); Sunday vs. Chivas USA, 4 p.m. (Galavision)

(Read full post)

ALL-STARS: Beckham goes all the way

July, 27, 2011
7/27/11
10:28
PM PT
Hans Backe approached David Beckham at halftime of Wednesday night's Major League Soccer All-Star Game in Harrison, N.J., and asked him if he wanted to stay on the field for the second half.

What a stupid question.

Here's the key to the most famous footballer on the planet: Given the option, he'll never leave the field. So he didn't, going the full 90 -- the only MLS player to do so -- in an “emotional” 4-0 loss to Manchester United, the Galaxy star's beloved original club.




Beckham was good, too, very influential over the first 45 minutes, in which the All-Stars played right to the English champions' level, except in the finish. Man United scored twice before halftime and twice more while taking command in the second half for its second successive victory in MLS's midsummer classic.

“It was an honor to play today,” Beckham told ESPN sideline reporter Rob Stone when it was over (see the entire interview in the previous post). “I think in the first 10 minutes we had a couple of really good chances. If we had put those away, that would have settled us down. Man United is a team that performs at the highest level, and if you don't capitalize on good chances, they can kill you. And, obviously, they did once they got the first goal. They played the ball around so well, and it's a pleasure to play them tonight.”

Every available MLS All-Star made it onto the field, even goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who had initially withdrawn from the game because Seattle had a CONCACAF Champions League match Tuesday night in Panama. The American legend raced from Central America to New Jersey afterward, arrived in Newark about 4˝ hours before game time and came on to loud applause in the 82nd minute.

Here's our quick take on the four local players who participated:

DAVID BECKHAM (Galaxy): Forced two big saves from starting Man United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard and repeatedly showed off his renowned abilities passing and crossing the ball. A solid performance in a game that meant more to him than to anyone else in Red Bull Arena.

SEAN FRANKLIN (Galaxy): Got the start at right back and was all right, although Park Ji-Sung, the MVP, turned him something fierce while scoring the second goal.

NICK LABROCCA (Chivas USA): The New Jersey boy's homecoming was terrific -- he brought tremendous energy to the field, made plays at both ends, and came so close to scoring twice -- and would have had the goal of the game had his first-time strike from Jack Jewsbury's feed in the 78th minute been a tad lower and a little bit to the left.

HEATH PEARCE (Chivas USA): Pearce has evolved into the Goats' leader in central defense, but he was back at right back -- the spot he played last season at FC Dallas and started in this season for Chivas -- and was victim to all the space in midfield that United exploited, product of Red Bulls coach Backe's misguided 4-3-3 system. Should have closed down a little better on Danny Welback's strike for the fourth goal.

(Read full post)

The best of MLS's No-Stars

July, 26, 2011
7/26/11
10:59
PM PT
A Major League Soccer player of some distinction was musing about the league's selections for Wednesday's All-Star Game against Manchester United in Harrison, N.J. (ESPN2 and TeleFutura, 5:30 p.m. PT).

“What'd you think about it?” he asked, then turned his thumb down, toward the ground. “Four guys from Houston?”




The analysis is spot on. How do four players from a mediocre Dynamo side that has underachieved make it to the All-Star Game? Only New York, a very fine side that has underachieved even more violently than Houston, has as many players available to Red Bulls coach Hans Backe, who will guide the MLS side.

In all, 32 players have been accorded All-Star status, and 21 of them will play, or at least be available to play, against Man United. (Five pulled out because of injury or conflict; six were non-roster selections required in the collective bargaining agreement.)

There were a lot of very good players enjoying very good seasons left out. Here's our MLS No-Star XI, the best of those who were snubbed:

GOALKEEPER
Stefan Frei (Toronto FC):
We thought Frei could have been the starter for MLS, although there are other very good options (including expected starter Faryd Mondragon from Philadelphia) and, really, Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando ought to be on the field rather than on the CBA list. Nobody sees as much action as Frei, whose sensational saves have kept Toronto from losing, 8-0, every week.

(Read full post)

Juninho, RSL's Rimando make All-Star list

July, 25, 2011
7/25/11
1:56
PM PT

Galaxy midfielder Juninho is a Major League Soccer All-Star. So is Montclair's Nick Rimando, the goalkeeper for Real Salt Lake. Don't bother looking for either Wednesday.


They were among a half-dozen players selected in a vote among their colleagues for the final slots on the official All-Star list, but none of them are on the game-day roster for the clash with Manchester United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the MLS Players Union mandates 32 all-stars, proportioned by position to resemble a realistic roster, but Red Bulls coach Hans Backe will take only 21 players into Wednesday night's game, which will be televised on ESPN2 and TeleFutura (KFTR/Channel 46). Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. PT.

Backe was allowed a 22-man roster, but Landon Donovan pulled out Sunday with a calf strain, and the coach said Monday he would not replace the Galaxy captain on the roster.

Four others previously chosen for the game-day roster -- Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, New York defender Rafa Marquez, Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller and FC Dallas winger Brek Shea -- pulled out previously with injuries or CONCACAF Champions League conflicts.

The others added to the list Monday were Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, Vancouver forward Eric Hassli and New York winger Joel Lindpere.

Juninho, a 22-year-old Brazilian in his second season on loan from Sao Paulo, has been pivotal in central midfield for the Galaxy, which have the league's best record (11-2-9) heading into the All-Star break.

Rimando (Montclair HS/UCLA), 32, is in the top tier of MLS goalkeepers -- arguably at the top of that tier -- and his exclusion from the game-day roster was one of Backe's more shocking decisions. Rimando hasn't spoken publicly about the snub, but RSL head coach Jason Kreis last week told The Salt Lake Tribune that his star netminder was “deeply hurt.”

(Read full post)

GALAXY: Donovan out of All-Star Game

July, 24, 2011
7/24/11
5:22
PM PT

Landon Donovan missed the Galaxy's friendly Sunday afternoon against Manchester City with a strained right calf. Turns out it'll keep him out of Major League Soccer's All-Star Game, too.


The Galaxy captain withdrew from Wednesday's midsummer classic after the Man City game because of injury, a lingering ailment that was bothering him a little more than usual this week.

New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe, who will guide the MLS All-Stars against Manchester United in the game in Harrison, N.J., likely will decide by Monday who will replace Donovan on the 22-man game roster.

Six players, chosen in a vote of MLS players, will be added to the 32-man All-Star list, per the collective bargaining agreement. Backe almost certainly will have to make his selection from that list.

Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, who played the second half of the 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Home Depot Center, pulled out of the All-Star Game last week with a fractured nose. He played Sunday in a mask.

David Beckham and Sean Franklin will represent L.A. against Man United.

Donovan, who was an All-Star First XI selection in a fan vote, had made 10 successive All-Star Game appearances. He might make an appearance in New York -- that has not been determined, the Galaxy said -- but first has an appearance Monday in Ohio at the Amputee Coalition's Paddy Rossbach youth camp. Donovan's former wife, actress Bianca Kajlich, and her brother, Andre, who lost his legs in an accident eight years ago, are volunteer counselors at the camp.

CHIVAS USA: LaBrocca, Pearce wait, hope

July, 17, 2011
7/17/11
10:42
PM PT

Their supporters believe Nick LaBrocca and Heath Pearce, the chief on-field figures in Chivas USA's renaissance, belong on the team that will take on Manchester United in Major League Soccer's July 27 All-Star Game.


Both would like to be in Harrison, N.J., for the game, and we'll know if they're going by late Monday morning, when New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe unveils the final six to nine names for the league's 20-man game-day roster.

There are plenty of deserving players for those few slots, so it's a long shot either of the Goats' standouts will receive an invitation, and if they don't, well, that's OK, too.

“If it happens, I'll be very honored,” said LaBrocca, 26, who plays atop Chivas' midfield diamond and has scored six goals after netting just five in four seasons with Colorado and Toronto FC. “But right now, it's all business. We have to pick up points, and that's really the only thing that's on my mind.”

Pearce, 26, a U.S. national team veteran at left back who started the campaign at right back and then moved into the middle after injuries sapped the Goats' backline depth, has been the pivotal defensive figure for Chivas, which has flustered foes with an organized defensive scheme that plays into its possession game.

“I'm hoping, but, you know, I don't [choose] the All-Star team,” Pearce said. “I'm just trying to focus right now on getting results for the team.”

Both players were picked up in preseason trades, with LaBrocca arriving from Toronto and Pearce from FC Dallas.

Fourteen players already are on the All-Star roster, including Galaxy midfielders David Beckham and Landon Donovan and defenders Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez, but Backe will have additional picks because not everyone from the fan-chosen First XI will be available.

(Read full post)

MLS All-Star adds: Agudelo and Bravo

July, 16, 2011
7/16/11
2:41
PM PT
Chivas USA fans hoping to see Nick LaBrocca or Heath Pearce on Major League Soccer's All-Star team are going to have to wait another couple of days. So will Galaxy supporters who want Juninho or Todd Dunivant on the roster.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber opted for frontline firepower with his two selections for the July 27 All-Star Game against Manchester United in Harrison, N.J., which were announced Saturday afternoon.




New York Red Bulls teen forward Juan Agudelo and Sporting Kansas City veteran Omar Bravo were added to the MLS roster, which stands at 14 -- with three of those players uncertain or unlikely to make the game.

Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller is expected to be in action in Panama the night before the All-Star Game, leading the Sounders against San Francisco FC in a first-leg preliminary-round clash in the CONCACAF Champions League. FC Dallas winger Brek Shea has a game in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the night after the midseason exhibition, a Champions League opener against Municipal.

New York coach Hans Backe, who will guide the All-Stars, last week ruled out his Mexican defender, Rafa Marquez, who has been sidelined since the CONCACAF Goldb Cup final because of a hamstring strain.

Keller, Shea and Marquez were on the First XI, selected in a fan vote. So were Galaxy stars Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin.

Garber told Fox Soccer Channel his reasons for choosing the Colombia-born Agudelo, a rising star with the U.S. national team, and Bravo, a Mexican star.

“I thought Juan was a no-brainer ...,” he said. “Great young player and really an exemplary product of our MLS academy system, so, you know, here's the guy that's proving the system is working. Sitting where we sit, this is an opportunity for Juan to continue his development ... allow him to get into a big-time game and hopefully learn from that experience.”

Of Bravo, he said: “What we really need to do here is play well against Man U, and Omar's a guy that has a lot of big-time experience. He's been there before. This is not a guy that's going to to get flustered. He's playing in games where there have been superclubs, and Omar has performed in those competitions. ... It doesn't hurt that Omar has a real ability to impress this audience of ours, which is increasingly Hispanic.”

Backe and the league will announce the rest of the team Monday.

GALAXY: 'Emotional' Beckham takes on old clubs

July, 15, 2011
7/15/11
6:20
PM PT

David BeckhamKevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesDavid Beckham says it will be emotional to play his old clubs, Real Madrid and Manchester United, in exhibitions over the next few weeks.


CARSON -- David Beckham was talking about the first time -- the only time -- he has stepped on a field against Manchester United, the club where he grew up, first found his footing and became a star.

It was only 16 months or so ago, when he was on loan to AC Milan, and it was twice, three weeks apart, in each leg of a UEFA Champions League round-of-16 clash. The second leg, in his old stamping grounds at United's Old Trafford, is the game that resonates with Beckham, and it has nothing to do with the game itself, a 4-0 Man United rout.

It was the experience of being the enemy at home.

“It was very emotional,” said Beckham, who was warmly received by Man United's fans that evening. “It was a real emotional moment to be back at Manchester United for the first time in seven years. It was an emotional time. I was glad I got that one out of the way.”

He'll revisit those passions in not quite a couple of weeks, at Major League Soccer's July 27 All-Star Game in Harrison, N.J., where MLS's best will battle Manchester United. And he's expecting something similar Saturday night when the Galaxy takes on Real Madrid -- another of Beckham's former clubs -- in a World Football Challenge friendly at the Coliseum.

Beckham has a keen sense of his sport's history and the importance of its greatest institutions, and he's humbled that he has had the fortune of playing for (and becoming part of the identity of) two of the world's legendary clubs. Taking them on stirs the emotions.

“I spent four amazing years at Real Madrid ...,” Beckham said earlier this week. “To be facing Real Madrid for the first time since I left, it's emotional. You get attached to a club, you get attached to people at a club.”

On Friday he spoke about his four seasons in Madrid, from 2003 through 2007 -- bridging his time with Manchester United with his Galaxy tenure -- and how exciting it will be to play against another club that resides deep within his heart.

“It's exciting for the fans to see great players like Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Iker [Casillas] and Kaká, the players they've got,” said Beckham, who missed last year's Galaxy-Real Madrid game while rehabilitating a torn Achilles' tendon. “It's going to be a competitive game, I'm sure. Real Madrid don't come over and Jose Mourinho doesn't put a team out that's going to [mess] around. It's going to be a good game.

“Personally, I've got a lot of great memories for playing for Real Madrid, and this is the first time I've played them since I left.”

The best of those memories?

“In the first year, playing with the likes of [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldo, Raul, Roberto Carlos, [Luis] Figo -- all these great players. Being able to play with them in the same team. It doesn't get any better than that.”

(Read full post)

Galaxy quartet in All-Star First XI

July, 10, 2011
7/10/11
4:36
PM PT

Landon Donovan, David Beckham and the right side of the Galaxy's backline is headed to Major League Soccer's All-Star Game.


Defenders Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin will join L.A.'s superstars in Harrison, N.J., for the July 27 match against Manchester United after their selections to the First XI in balloting by fans. The league announced the list Sunday afternoon.

It's the 11th straight selection for Donovan, the second for Beckham and Gonzalez, and Franklin's first.

Donovan was asked after Saturday's victory over Chicago about what his expected selection would mean, but he appeared unaware of a shift this season from a player/coach/media/fan ballot to strictly fan voting via MLS's website, Twitter and through text messaging.

“For me, it's an honor because the players and coaches vote on it, too,” he said. “If it was fan voting, which it partially is, but if it was only fan voting, it's a little different. Sometimes, more popular teams with bigger fan bases get players in.

“It is something that means a lot to us, and I think we have a lot of guys here who are deserving.”

Donovan is correct about popularity. MLS's two biggest clubs -- the Galaxy and New York Red Bulls -- dominate the First XI, and fan favorites Jack Jewsbury, the Portland Timbers' captain, and retiring goalkeeping legend Kasey Keller, from the Seattle Sounders, also made the list.

The Red Bulls are represented by French forward Thierry Henry, Mexican defender Rafa Marquez and second-year defender Tim Ream. The others are San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski, last year's Golden Boot winner, and FC Dallas winger Brek Shea, who is having an enormous year.

A 12th player -- Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler -- was the 12th selection, based on receiving the most text votes.

New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe, who will guide the All-Stars, is not bound by the vote when he chooses his starting lineup -- these are, true to their name, the first XI chosen for the team. Commissioner Don Garber's two selections will be announced Saturday, and the remainder of the team will be announced July 18. The starters will be determined from the full roster.

(Read full post)

MLS: First XI choices coming Sunday

July, 9, 2011
7/09/11
2:21
PM PT

Major League Soccer will unveil the All-Star First XI at halftime of ESPN's coverage of Sunday afternoon's Portland Timbers-Seattle Sounders game (1 p.m. kickoff), and we expect to hear a few names we know: Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and maybe Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin, too.


This isn't the starting lineup for the MLS side that will take on Manchester United on July 27 in Harrison, N.J., just the “First XI” as chosen in a fan vote. New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe can choose his lineup from any player on the roster, which he with help from Commissioner Don Garber will fill, to be announced July 18.

Here's who we'd have in our First XI:

GOALKEEPER
Stefan Frei (Toronto FC):
Montclair's Nick Rimando (with Real Salt Lake), Palos Verdes' Kevin Hartman (with FC Dallas) or Colombian Faryd Mondragon (with Philly) are likelier -- and deserving -- choices, but what Swissman Frei, 25, has done under nearly constant siege deserves reward.

DEFENDERS
Jan Gunnar Solli (New York Red Bulls):
Norwegian newcomer is solid defensively, exceptional going forward. Solli, 30, has quickly become the league's premier right back.

Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake): Big Colombian center back was MLS's Defender of the Year last season, when we would have opted for his partner, Nat Borchers. Olave, 30, has been better even this year.

(Read full post)

MLS All-Star ballot missing Angel

June, 8, 2011
6/08/11
8:18
PM PT
Major League Soccer's All-Star Game fan ballot was released Wednesday, and the name of its best striker over the last five years is nowhere to be found.

Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Angel, who frankly hasn't played to an all-star standard in the season's first three months, was the biggest omission on the list of those eligible for the July 27 clash against Manchester United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

Also not on the list, and most deserving, is Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant.




They were left out in a new voting format, in which only 108 players -- and no more than six from any club -- were tabbed for the First XI ballot by a committee of media. Fans may cast their votes at MLS's website.

The Galaxy's ballot sextet is goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, defenders Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez, midfielders David Beckham and Juninho, and forward/midfielder Landon Donovan.

Chivas' six: goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, defenders Ante Jazic and Heath Pearce, midfielder Nick LaBrocca, and forwards Justin Braun and Alejandro Moreno. The biggest Goats omission is forward Marcos Mondaini; would-be finalists Jimmy Conrad, Blair Gavin and Paulo Nagamura have missed almost all of the campaign through injury.

In addition to Franklin (Palmdale/Highland HS and Cal State Northridge), Donovan (Redlands/Redlands East Valley HS) and Kennedy (Yorba Linda/El Dorado HS and UC Santa Barbara), nine players from the L.A. area and another who attended college here are on the ballot:
  • FC Dallas goalkeepers Kevin Hartman (Palos Verdes/Peninsula HS and Cal State Dominguez Hills/UCLA)
  • New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and UCLA) and midfielder Benny Feilhaber (Irvine/Northwood HS and UCLA)
  • Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (Montclair/Montclair HS and UCLA)
  • Philadelphia defender Danny Califf (Orange/Orange HS)
  • Columbus defender Chad Marshall (Riverside/Rubidoux HS) and midfielder Robbie Rogers (Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS)
  • D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius (Yorba Linda/Servite HS and UC Santa Barbara)
  • Sporting Kansas City forward/midfielder Kei Kamara (Lawndale/Leuzinger HS and Cal State Dominguez Hills)
  • Seattle midfielder Brad Evans (UC Irvine)

(Read full post)

MLS ASG in N.Y.? Well, N.J. will do

February, 1, 2011
2/01/11
10:06
AM PT

Major League Soccer's “major” announcement turned out to be that this year's All-Star Game is, indeed, headed to New York. Or, rather, New Jersey.


The New York Red Bulls will stage the annual showdown with a foreign club to be named on July 27 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The market was the site for the first two MLS All-Star Games, both East vs. West affairs.

The league's top players have battled foreign clubs seven of the last eight years -- British clubs the past six, all but one of them from England -- with MLS winning the first five before falling to Everton on penalties following a 1-1 draw in 2009 (in Sandy, Utah) and losing to Manchester United (in Houston) last year.

QUICK BITS: Discarded Chivas USA striker Maykel Galindo is on trial with FC Dallas. … Juan Carlos Osorio, the Colombian coach who turned down Chivas USA, says he has a verbal agreement to become Honduras' next national team head coach. Osorio is in charge of Colombian champion Once Caldas.

Chivas USA sets scrimmage vs. San Jose

January, 31, 2011
1/31/11
4:26
PM PT

Chivas USA will get a test next Monday, taking on the San Jose Earthquakes in a scrimmage at Home Depot Center -- the only Southern California preseason match on the Goats' schedule so far.


The 2 p.m. game will be played on Field 6, Chivas' practice field southwest of the main stadium. Fans may watch from the sidewalk and bluff overlooking the field, but space is at a premium.

The Goats play their first preseason scrimmage Tuesday in Templeton, in San Luis Obispo County, against USL Premier Development League club Fresno Fuego. The 10 a.m. game will be played on a private ranch (717 Marguita Ave.) and is open to the public.

Chivas returns to L.A. after Tuesday's game and resumes training Friday. The team Feb. 11 heads to Casa Grande, Ariz. -- assistant coach Greg Vanney's headquarters -- for a week of work, with games slated (but not yet scheduled) against other MLS clubs working out in Arizona.

A COUPLE MORE THINGS: MLS says the full regular-season schedule will be announced the second week of February. … The league plans a “major soccer announcement” Tuesday and has scheduled a conference call that will include Galaxy captain Landon Donovan and New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry. We hear it's an All-Star Game announcement and anticipate it will be played in New York or New Jersey.

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