Los Angeles Soccer: Sean Alvarado
Latest report from Britain on David Beckham's will-he-or-won't-he move to, most likely, Paris Saint-Germain says he might stay with the Galaxy after all, all because his wife, Victoria, doesn't want to leave L.A.Daily Star Sunday, a British tabloid, reported Sunday that the former Posh Spice has told her husband she's not willing to move to Paris.
It also says Galaxy owner AEG is preparing an offer to rival the reported $17.9 million deal PSG has proffered to the English superstar.
The paper cited “a source close to” Victoria Beckham, who has built a career in L.A.'s fashion industry since her husband joined the Galaxy in 2007.
“Victoria doesn't want to move to Paris and has told David she doesn't want to live there,” the newspaper quoted the source. “She told him she found it hard enough adjusting to life in L.A. when they first moved, and she is putting her foot down."
The newspaper, citing an “aide,” claims AEG president Tim Leiweke could offer Beckham a vice presidency in the company.
The game will come eight days after L.A. meets Real Madrid at the Coliseum. Man City also is slated to play the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 18. All of these matches are part of the World Football Challenge series of exhibitions this summer in North America.
Man City, which is in renaissance under Italian manager Roberto Mancini and a succession of big-money foreign owners. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and United Arab Emirates-based Abu Dhabi Group took over the club in September 2008 and have lavished millions on top players, spending more than $203 million on the transfer market, most in the English Premier League, heading into this season.
The Blues, who Saturday meet Stoke City in the F.A. Cup final, are led by Argentine forward Carlos Tevez, Ivorian defender Kolo Toure, English midfielder Gareth Barry, Spanish midfielder David Silva, Italian forward Mario Balotelli and Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong.
Man City is fourth in the EPL standings with a 19-9-8 record and this week clinched a berth in next season's UEFA Champions League. Two games remain in the EPL season.
DAVIES SIGNED?: Have the Galaxy signed former U.S. youth international Kyle Davies off waivers from FC Dallas? Reports Wednesday out of New York say yes -- and the Galaxy is listed on his stats page on Major League Soccer's website -- but a club official said negotiations were still ongoing.
When the Galaxy takes on the Philadelphia Union in a critical showdown Wednesday, they'll be without their biggest star. David Beckham was left at home when the Galaxy traveled to Pennsylvania, and head coach Bruce Arena says he's just taking a rest, nothing more.
We'd love to believe him, but who can be sure? Arena has been caught lying to media about injuries on a few occasions this season, so when he told a group of Philadelphia-based reporters Wednesday that Beckham was dealing with "fatigue" and would be back on the field Saturday night at Home Depot Center against Sporting Kansas City, there's no telling if it's true or not.
We'll know come Saturday.
Beckham's absence, Arena acknowledged, is "always difficult," and Galaxy captain Landon Donovan says L.A. (4-2-4), Major League Soccer's Western Conference leader, won't have it easy against the Union (4-2-1) without him.
"It's obviously going to hurt us," Donovan told media Tuesday. "His qualities aren't easily matched by other people. You can't just throw someone in and expect them to play the same way David plays."
Donovan didn't travel east for a three-game swing last month through D.C., Toronto and Chicago because, Arena said, he was fatigued after playing in two late-March games for the U.S. national team and needed to rest. No injury. Turned out Donovan was sidelined with a knee injury that he termed a "minor sprain."
Arena was less than truthful about goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts' injury before the season began and rarely is forthcoming about any player who is ailing. But rather than a "no comment," he seems to prefer to lead media astray.
"We're resting David right now," Arena said Tuesday. "Three games in a week, and we've decided to rest him."
So, he was asked, no injury of any sort? Just resting?
Adam Cristman and Gregg Berhalter returned to action in Tuesday's SuperClasico in miniature, a huge step forward as the Galaxy gets healthier with the thickest part of their schedule just ahead.
Cristman, coming off start-of-the-season knee surgery, played the first half and set up L.A.'s goal in a 3-1 MLS Reserve League defeat to Chivas USA. Berhalter, sidelined two and a half months by a sprained knee, stepped onto the Galaxy backline for the final half-hour.
It was L.A.'s best news out of the midday clash at Home Depot Center's Track and Field Stadium, a fairly even affair swayed by Chivas' superior inventiveness (especially Gerson Mayen) and finishing touch (especially Victor Estupiņan) in front of goal.
Estupiņan scored twice and Mayen set up the Ecuadoran forward's first goal and trialist Chris Cortez's second-half as Chivas improved to 1-1-1 in the reserve league's Western Division. The Galaxy is 0-2-0.
“It certainly was good to get [Adam and Gregg] out,” said Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo, who is in charge of L.A.'s reserve side. “Obviously, that's part of what these games are for.”
The idea is to get both back with the first team as soon as possible, with a six-games-in-22-days span starting with Saturday's showdown at HDC against the New York Red Bulls.
The Galaxy's dominance of the Portland Timbers extended into Sunday afternoon's MLS Reserve League meeting, but it lasted less than a half-hour.
Once Michael Stephens, the most influential player to begin the match, was sent off for a last-man foul in the 28th minute, the Timbers found their legs, started linking passes and took advantage of their opportunities for a 3-1 victory in a league opener at Home Depot Center's Track and Field Stadium.
Rookie forward Spencer Thompson, out of UC Irvine, scored two of the Timbers' goals, and former Santa Barbara High School standout Rodrigo Lopez assisted a pair.
Jovan Kirovski, the Galaxy captain, slotted into central defense, his “first real game” he's played at the position.
“I think I can play there,” he said. “We're short on central defenders, and I can do the job there. So it's fun. I had fun playing there.”
Both teams used experienced lineups, each with at least a half-dozen players who wouldn't look out of place in the first teams. Included: Galaxy Designated Player Juan Pablo Angel, who faded after an energetic first 25 minutes and departed at halftime.
SEEING RED: Stephens, teamed with Paolo Cardozo in central midfield, was outstanding both ways and provided a foundation to the Galaxy's possession game. Until he was red-carded, for dragging down Ryan Pore just outside L.A.'s box while trying to make up for a give-away, the game had been played overwhelmingly between the midfield line and Portland's box.
AEG chief Leiweke was expressing his hope that L.A. would capture the MLS Cup title this season after falling just short the last two seasons, when acknowledged it would be nice to win the trophy at home.
“It is set up well where we might happen to have a certain championship in a certain city we all know and love,” Leiweke told a gathering in ESPN Zone at L.A. Live. “So it would certainly be a good Cup, that we have a chance to finish [a championship season] here.”
Leiweke did not say so, but the game, which will be played in November, would almost certainly be staged at AEG-owned Home Depot Center in Carson, site of the 2003, 2004 and 2008 MLS Cup title games. The 1998 final was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Leiweke acknowledged that Commissioner Don Garber might not be pleased he was divulging the news, prefacing it: “Have we announced it yet?” And, told no: “Then I can't announce it. … I can do anything I want, because then the commissioner can yell at me, right?”
Garber, through a spokesman, declined to comment on the substance of Leiweke's remarks, but MLS director of communications Will Kuhns said the league was “close to finalizing a site for MLS Cup … and hope to announce the details in the near future.”
A league official said an announcement was expected in the next month.
Tom Payne, the Galaxy's president of business operations, told the audience: “I think [Leiweke] might have leaked a bit of information, and it's something we hope we can announce here in the coming weeks.”
Leiweke had not been expected to attend the luncheon, and Payne wasn't anticipating he'd talk about the site for the 16th MLS Cup.
“I don't know that it's been finalized,” Payne later told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “Our staff doesn't even know. … But if he says it, I guess it has to happen.”
The 16-year-old phenom from Newport Beach, who trained with L.A. for the first time Thursday, had several decent chances in a 25-minute stint at the end of the Galaxy's 4-0 rout of Canada's under-23 team on one of the club's training fields southeast of Home Depot Center's main stadium.
"It was cool," said McBean, a Corona del Mar High School sophomore who signed a "Home Grown Player" contract with L.A. in January. "All the guys were really supportive. It's really cool to know the guys want me to score.
"Adam was trying to set me up twice, and then he finally took one for himself and put it in the side net, so got to learn from that. It was a lot of fun."
Cristman's 85th-minute goal, his third strike of the preseason, completed the romp. Bryan Jordan had assists on goals by Miguel Lopez in the 15th minute and Mike Magee in the 38th, and Jovan Kirovski scored in the 52nd. Magee's goal also was his third; Chris Birchall has three, too.
McBean might have had three goal opportunities, and he was rued one miss, slipping the ball just past the left post in the 76th minute. Cristman tried to play him into space in the 70th minutes -- McBean failed to make the run -- and fed him two minutes later for a shot that was blocked. McBean took a touch before shooting; had he hit it first time, he might have had his first goal.
"He's good," said Cristman, a fifth-year forward acquired Jan. 11 from D.C. United. "He's a big kid. Moves well. He's fast. He did well holding the ball up a few times and getting in the box and getting in good spots. I tried to set him up twice, but it got caught out."