Kick Off: Donovan sounds warning ahead of match vs. KC

Kick Off - Landon Donovan (practice jersey)

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A stretch of nine matches in 30 days couldn’t start against a tougher opponent.

The LA Galaxy get set to kick off the most congested part of their schedule with their first match at the new Livestrong Sporting Park against Sporting Kansas City tonight (6 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer — pregame at 5:30 p.m. ET) and LA midfielder Landon Donovan has already sounded a warning to his teammates: “You could argue they're as good as any team in the league at this time.”

Looks like Donovan has more belief in Kansas City than even Kansas City does. At the end of its preview for tonight’s match, the Kansas City Star predicts a 2-1 win for the league-leading Galaxy.

LA manager Bruce Arena is expected to start Frankie Hejduk tonight at right back, which should prove a welcome boost for the best defensive team in MLS. “It’s good to have him back. With Gregg [Berhalter] being out right now, we needed to have Frankie ready to go,” Arena said.

The right back for Sporting Kansas City? It’ll be regular center back Aurelién Collin, according to this French-language interview, which would lead one to believe that the usual right back Chance Myers will be pushed up into right midfield to cover for Kei Kamara, who is on international duty with Sierra Leone.

Galaxy star David Beckham is in the news back home in England, where Queens Park Rangers are reportedly making a move for the Englishman when his MLS contract expires in November. The Sun cites an insider that the plan “is not a pipe-dream” for QPR under new owner Tony Fernandes.

Meanwhile, shocking news coming from Mexico: former US national team boss Bob Bradley is reportedly in talks with Santos Laguna to become the new manager of the Mexican Primera División side. He was photographed at the airport on Sunday night and reportedly has reserved a 10-night stay at the team hotel in Torreón. (PHOTOS / SPANISH)

This report, which also has quotes from Bradley at the airport, says that he is expected to be announced as the new Santos manager as early as today. It’s worth noting that Santos still have two matches against the Colorado Rapids in CONCACAF Champions League play. (SPANISH)

Bradley’s replacement at the helm of the USA, Jurgen Klinsmann, is beginning to feel some of the heat that his predecessor endured after the 1-0 loss to Costa Rica. This includes criticism from the manager of Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, Jozy Altidore’s club, which did not want to see the American forward called up: “It’s pure self-interest of a man who only one year has been a club coach and immediately fired. That says it all.”

While Klinsmann hopes to come away with his first victory in Europe on Tuesday against Belgium, rivals Mexico defeated Chile 1-0 in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday, led by New York Red Bulls defender Rafa Márquez. Watch the highlights here. (VIDEO)

In the lone MLS league match of the weekend, Real Salt Lake continued to heap on the Philadelphia Union’s recent misery with a 2-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium. The harm done to the Union may go beyond the impact in the standings, however, as reports circulate of a possible broken finger for captain Faryd Mondragón.

And the recent dominance of MLS teams over their Mexican counterparts continued in friendly matches played this weekend. First, FC Dallas won the Rio Grande Plate by downing Tigres UANL on penalty kicks.

Then the other Texas team, the Houston Dynamo, took care of the other Monterrey team with a 3-0 blanking on Sunday night that brought the worst out of the reigning CONCACAF Champions League winners. Brad Davis, who was left with an inch-long gash under one eye says, “It’s a bit embarrassing the way they handled themselves, in all honesty.”

However, the most exciting match played over the weekend may have been the USL-Pro championship match, won by Orlando City over Harrisburg City Islanders on PKs after an entertaining 2-2 draw. Orlando City vow to bring 80 percent of their roster back for 2012 but will likely lose one defender to MLS.

Ahead of the Tuesday slate of qualifiers and friendlies, the Labor Day soccer schedule features a friendly between Ronaldinho’s Brazil and Ghana from London (2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes) and an all-South American friendly match between Bolivia and Peru from La Paz which will represent the return match after Friday’s 2-2 draw between the same nations (8 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes).

We’ll see if Chicago Fire forward Orr Barouch gets into the match between Israel’s Under-21 side and the England U-21s later this afternoon (2 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes).

The international game is complicated. English club Arsenal just splashed out serious cash for Korean Park Chu-Young but it looks like they’ll lose him in 2013 to two years of compulsory military service, according to the player’s own admission.

Lastly, a highlight to get your week off on the right foot: a player scores on a left-footed free kick from his own half. His name is Johnny Black and he plays for Coleraine in Northern Ireland. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Commentary: Welcome to CONCACAF, Mr. Klinsmann

Houston’s Ching: Klinsmann will reinvigorate the US national team

D.C. United’s Andy Najar comes on as a sub in his debut for Honduras


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