Kick Off: JPA speaks out on his Galaxy departure
Stay tuned. Multiple reports this morning claim that an official announcement regarding the future of LA Galaxy designated player Juan Pablo Ángel is coming down later today.
But the Colombian is not waiting for a queue.
With the Galaxy now focused on integrating new DP Robbie Keane, Ángel tells ESPN Deportes Los Angeles that “the opportunity arose to be with Chivas USA. … I had other options in MLS. … I have not enjoyed this season at all.” He also tweeted out confirmation of his first practice with Chivas USA yesterday.
While one forward makes his exit from Galaxy camp, another is just getting comfortable. Adam Cristman scored the Galaxy’s opening goal in a 2-0 blanking of Honduran champions Motagua in their opening CONCACAF Champions League group match last night. “He’s reliable and he’s dependable,” says teammate Landon Donovan, who had the other goal.
If it’s CONCACAF Champions League, then it’s time for Michael Fucito to shine. The diminutive forward scored two goals and showed himself to be a set piece specialist as the Seattle Sounders came back from an early 1-0 deficit to win 4-1 in their Group D opener. That’s now five goals in Fucito's last five CCL matches dating back to last year. “I’m just trying to make the most of opportunities,” he said.
Seattle’s Brad Evans made a return as a starter and also sported the captain’s armband. He had a confession to make after the match: His equalizing goal “100-percent came off the shoulder. … If it would've come off my head the guy would've saved it.”
The CONCACAF Champions League action continues with two more MLS teams playing tonight. The Colorado Rapids host El Salvador’s Isidro Metapán (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), while the big match sees FC Dallas traveling to Mexico City to take on Pumas UNAM as they try to become the first MLS team to win on Mexican soil (10 p.m. ET, Galavisión tape delayed at 11 p.m. ET).
This is all you need to know about the Rapids’ approach to the game in the words of manager Gary Smith: “Come [tonight], I'll try to put out the most aggressive team possible to win a game of football."
While the Rapids saw their Mexican opposition in Group B, Santos Laguna, grab a late winner against Honduran club Real España for a 3-2 win, the Galaxy received some good news in Group A. Alajuelense surprised slumping Mexican side Monarcas Morelia for a surprise 1-0 win in Costa Rica. Watch the goalkeeper gaffe that led the lone goal here. (VIDEO)
Two MLS matches will serve as appetizers ahead of the Champions League debuts for the 2010 MLS Cup finalists tonight. First the New England Revolution host a hard-charging Houston Dynamo side that is on a positive run over its last three matches (8 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live).
The mention of Dynamo vs. Revolution immediately conjures up MLS Cup memories but New England defender and ex-Dynamo player Ryan Cochrane says there’s no bad blood: “I think there’s a lot of history but not so much a rivalry.”
Also, Portland Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury gets his first peek at Livestrong Sporting Park and surging Sporting Kansas City (8:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live) after being traded to the expansion side following eight seasons in a KC jersey. Timbers manager John Spencer reveals that Sporting “up until the last minute, didn’t want to let him go.”
The sense of urgency is growing for the Timbers. Spencer warns his crew: “The window for playoff opportunity is getting smaller and smaller. We need to start picking up some points or we're going to leave ourselves with too much to do and not enough games."
In other league news, Real Salt Lake made a “fortuitous move,” according to manager Jason Kreis, when they landed a new left-footed defender.
Plans are already beginning in earnest for the offseason and the Galaxy are reportedly in talks to play a match in Australia this November.
Speaking of the exporting of soccer brands, the recent report that Manchester United were going public with a share offering seems to have legs. This article indicates that Singapore’s stock exchange will host the IPO which could raise $1 billion.
There’s an update on Rangers’ pursuit of US national team captain Carlos Bocanegra. His St. Étienne coach says he’s not interested in transferring him to the Scottish champs.
Arsenal’s narrow 1-0 win over Udinese highlighted the first set of playoff matches for the final UEFA Champions League berths yesterday, Germany’s Bayern Munich will be involved in the big one today as the German giants host FC Zürich (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer). Giuseppe Rossi’s Villarreal are in action in Denmark against Odense BK (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Deportes).
The first title in Spain will be handed out today as Barcelona host Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa second leg (5 p.m. ET, GolTV and ESPN Deportes), following their thrilling 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday.
On a very busy Wednesday, the semifinals of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup will also take place today from Colombia as Mexico face Brazil (8:45 p.m. ET, Galavision and ESPNU) and France meet Portugal (5:45 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
Lastly in Pachuca, Mexico, they’ve opened a Soccer Hall of Fame with the induction of the first 15 members taking place yesterday. The names include all the big ones as they look to make the place one of its kind in the world. (SPANISH)
Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop: “We don’t do DPs at the moment”
Surprise GK selection highlights MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week for Week 22
Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak joins Twitter
Get the The Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.