Los Angeles Soccer: Qualcomm Stadium
The anticipated friendly between Guadalajara and Real Madrid is a done deal, set for Wednesday, July 20, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, with kickoff at 8 p.m. The game comes four days after Real meets the Galaxy at the Coliseum.
Guadalajara also will face Barcelona, on Aug. 3 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
The match is part of the 2011 World Football Challenge series of exhibitions this summer in North America. The schedule so far (all times Pacific):
- July 13: New England Revolution vs. Manchester United (England) at Foxborough, Mass., 5 p.m.
- July 16: Galaxy vs. Real Madrid at the Coliseum, Los Angeles, 7 p.m.
- July 18: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Manchester City (England) at Vancouver, British Columbia, 7 p.m.
- July 20: Guadalajara (Mexico) vs. Real Madrid (Spain) at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, 8 p.m.
- July 23: Chicago Fire vs. Manchester United (England) at Chicago, 2 p.m.
- July 24: Galaxy vs. Manchester City (England) at Home Depot Center, 1 p.m.
- July 30: Barcelona (Spain) vs. Manchester United (England) at Landover, Md., 4 p.m.
- Aug. 3: Barcelona (Spain) vs. Guadalajara (Mexico) at Miami Gardens, Fla.
- Aug. 6: Barcelona (Spain) vs. America (Mexico) at Arlington, Texas, 1 p.m.
In addition, Manchester United will meet MLS's best in the league all-star game on July 27 in Harrison, N.J.
Guadalajara, the original Chivas, is one of Mexico's two biggest clubs, seen as an instrument of Mexican loyalty because of its policy of fielding only Mexican players. It's coming off a fine Clausura campaign in which it knocked off top seed UANL Tigres en route to the semifinals.
Real Madrid, one of the world's great clubs, is expected to hold preseason camp in Los Angeles -- it's manager Jose Mourinho's favorite summer venue; he previously brought Chelsea and Inter Milan to train at UCLA, and Real Madrid caused a sensation on campus last year.
Mexico's roster for its end-of-March friendlies, including the March 29 date in San Diego, has been released, and sure enough, Carlos Vela and Efrain Juarez are on it.
No surprise: The pair did their penance following the fallout from their roles in an "unauthorized" party after a victory last September over Colombia in suburban Monterrey.
Vela, a forward who plays for West Bromwich Albion in England on loan from Arsenal, and Juarez, a defender on the books at Celtic FC in Scotland, were tagged with six-month suspensions, which kept them out of only one match, Jose Manuel de la Torre's debut as head coach last month in Atlanta.
Both return just as preparations begin in earnest for the June 5-25 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and that's no coincidence. The suspension, along with fines to other players, sparked a player protest that led to national teams director Nestor de la Torre's resignation; substantial punishment, deserved or not, was never an option.
They're among 23 players, nine based in Europe -- yes, Manchester United's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Racing Santander's Giovani Dos Santos are included -- headed to California for friendlies March 26 against Paraguay in Oakland and March 29 against Venezuela at Qualcomm Stadium.
Also back is defender Ricardo Osorio, from Monterrey, who is aiming for his first appearance since last summer's World Cup. Osorio's gaffe in the round of 16, his last game for Mexico's national team, helped Argentina to a 3-1 victory.
Veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (America), defenders Rafa Marquez (New York Red Bulls) and Francisco Javier Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven), and winger Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruņa) are in their first camp with de la Torre, a former national team midfielder who guided Guadalajara and Toluca to Mexican Primera Division titles.
Mexico's national team is coming to Southern California in March, just not to L.A. El Tri will face Venezuela in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium on March 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday through Ticketmaster.
It's the third date on the team's annual U.S. tour, organized by Soccer United Marketing, the marketing arm of Major League Soccer, and it comes on a FIFA international-fixture date, so, theoretically, Mexico will have access to its biggest stars, such as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos, who play in England.
Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre will make his debut as Mexico coach in the tour opener, Feb. 9 against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Atlanta.
Mexico has played 19 games at Qualcomm since the early 1990s, going 13-2-4 and averaging about 40,000 in attendance, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. El Tri last played in San Diego in June 2009, a 0-0 draw with Guatemala.
Mexico's 2011 U.S. tour (all times Pacific):
Feb. 9 vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina at Atlanta, 5 p.m.
March 26 vs. Paraguay at Oakland, 2 p.m.
March 29 vs. Venezuela at San Diego, 8 p.m.