The groups and official schedule will be announced once the four Mexican entrants are known, following the upcoming Clausura playoffs, but the dates and sites announced Wednesday make it clear Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo will be in one four-team group and the Chicago Fire and New England Revolution will be in the other. Mexican playoffs: The Clausura (or "Bicentenario") quarterfinals in Mexico's Primera Division begin this weekend with first-leg action. Ballouchy scored one sizzling goal in Saturday's victory at New England, a 30-yard blast on the run that skipped past Revolution goalkeeper Preston Burpo en route to the net's lower-left corner, and he almost had another, better one. This week's scores (home teams listed first): Saturday FC Gold Pride 2 (Milbrett 11, Dew 89), Atlanta 1 (Ocampo 25)Sunday Saint Louis 1 (Blank 28), Boston 1 (Moore 22) Chicago 0, Sky Blue FC 1 (Kai 52) Philadelphia 3 (Rodriguez 55, Falk 58, Sanderson 68), Washington 1 (De Vanna 52)Standings: FC Gold Pride 6 points, Sky Blue FC 6, Philadelphia 5, Saint Louis 5, Boston 5, Washington 3, Chicago 1, Atlanta 1. Morelia nonetheless qualified, and Pachuca got through as Edgar Benitez converted two penalty kicks in a 2-1 triumph at UANL Tigres.Chivas' home games would be against the Mexican clubs in its group. is off to an 0-4-0 start after drastically reducing its payroll in reaction to its difficulties in reaching a deal to build a stadium in the district or suburban Maryland. Apertura champ Monterrey looks like the team to beat, but don't count out stingy Pumas UNAM. A.'s attention, of course, will be on Guadalajara -- "Chivas" -- and Club America. Omar Cummings, hemmed in by three defenders high in the Revs' box, dished a beauty of a chip to Ballouchy, whose looping bicycle kick struck the top of the left post and caromed off Burpo, who made a fine save on Conor Casey's rebound. Next week Saturday Chicago at Boston Atlanta at Philadelphia FC Gold Pride at Sky Blue FC Saint Louis at Washington Read comments or leave a comment Club America struck early and held on at the end to beat Santos on Sunday and claim the final available berth in the Mexican Primera Division's "Bicentenario" playoffs. Cruz Azul's downfall was an Edcarlos Conceicao own goal in the 78th minute, the first tally for Chivas in four games and only its second since March 27.
Theslof, a former UCLA standout, was Blue Star's coach. was held goalless in a draw last weekend at Kansas City. Bosnian-born, Chicago-raised, UIC-educated Baggio Husidic, as hometown as any Fire player can be, scored in first-half stoppage of a 2-0 triumph over visiting Houston, Chicago's first win over the Dynamo at Toyota Park. Henderson was Le Blanc's backup with the Sol last year.
Read comments or leave a comment Galaxy striker Edson Buddle's phenomental start to the Major League Soccer season has been recognized with the league's Player of the Month award. Y., scored seven goals -- all seven Galaxy goals -- in the first four games, all victories. Buddle, who was MLS's Player of the Week two weeks ago, after scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake, previously won the monthly honor in August 2002, when he played for the Columbus Crew. The game featured 10 yellow cards and two reds, one to the Fire's Krzysztof Krol for head-butting Luis Angel Landin. As a child, he was entranced with the Italian striker, endlessly repeating his name. Other first strikes were scored by Salou Ibrahim in New York's win, by Marko Perovic in New England's 2-1 loss to visiting Colorado, and by Steven Beitashour to pull San Jose within a goal of Chivas USA deep in stoppage. Marta was ineffective for Gold Pride, limping on an injured ankle sustained a week earlier. Pachuca (7-6-4, 25) A quick look at the past weekend in Mexico: America qualifies: The Aguilas needed some help to be in position to qualify, and they got it Saturday when hated rival Guadalajara rallied to tie Cruz Azul, 1-1, Atlas was held to a 1-1 draw by Jaguares, and Morelia managed only a 1-1 draw at home against Monterrey.
The Cementeros lost to fellow Mexicans Atlante in last year's CONCACAF Champions League final and to Monterrey in the Mexican Apertura final last fall. The other big European club competition, the Europa League, could have an all-England final in the works. Weekend in Europe: Chelsea looks to hold off Manchester United in the English Premier League, but that's not the only big race across the Atlantic. The tightest race is in Germany's Bundesliga, where Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 are even on points with two games to go.
They were eliminated from Clausura playoff contention with a draw last week with Guadalajara. Universidad de Chile (Chile) at Alianza Lima (Peru). Liverpool needs to overcome a 1-0 deficit in a second-leg match at Anfield. The Spanish La Liga leaders, like those in England, are separated by just a point, with Barcelona on top, and Inter Milan is trying to hold off AS Roma in Italy's Serie A. TV: TBA, noon Saturday: Werder Bremen at Schalke 04.
Read comments or leave a comment Chivas USA knows where and when it will play in the fourth edition of the Super Liga -- and one opponent seems clear, too. Play it again, Sam: Moroccan-born Mehdi Ballouchy, who played in Raja Casablanca's youth system before moving to the Bay Area when he was 16, has long been admired for his skill but less so for what he accomplishes with it. A few numbers: Abby Wambach picked up her league-best fourth assist in Washington's defeat. & Chicago has been shut out in 13 of its past 21 matches. Francisco Estrada/Latin Content/Getty Images Fernando Lopez of Club America jumps in the air in a battle for the ball with Fernando Arce of Santos Laguna on Sunday.
Major League Soccer's annual get-together with Mexican clubs is slated for mid-July, and Chivas USA will stage home games Thursday, July 15, and Wednesday, July 21. The former Santa Clara University All-American rarely approached his potential in his first four MLS campaigns, but he seems to be maturing, and that's one of the reasons the Colorado Rapids are off to a 3-1-1 start. The Red Stars are 0-5-1 against Sky Blue with no goals in the six games. Club America got the help it needed to reach the Mexican league playoffs. 6 seed and will meet third-seeded Toluca in the quarterfinals, would have been eliminated had Cruz Azul, Atlas and Morelia won.
Bayern Munich will take on Inter Milan in the European club final, the most significant club tournament on the planet, bigger, yes, than the Club World Cup the winner will qualify for. A penalty kick was decisive again as the Red Bulls improved to 3-0-0 at their new Red Bull Arena, by all accounts the most spectacular soccer-specific venue in America, and four wins in five matches has given them the kind of lead in the Eastern Conference the Galaxy had in the West before Saturday's scoreless draw at Kansas City.
Arena, who has done a bit of studio work before, and who served as a color commentator on Kansas City Wizards broadcasts before he took charge of the Galaxy in August 2008, is certainly knowledgeable about the game -- he has won championships with the U. national team, which he guided at the 20 World Cups, in MLS with D. United and collegiately at the University of Virginia -- but isn't the most fluid analyst on the TV screen. TV: Fox Soccer Channel, p.m.; Fox Sports en Espaol, delayed, p.m. The West is much tougher division than the East, with at least four quality sides and maybe more, if Colorado is for real and FC Dallas can live up to expectations.
A lot of big names have worn the blue and gold, none bigger than Diego Maradona, who played for Boca early in his career, just before going to Europe, and at the finish, in the mid-1990s.
Los Xeneizes (the most prominent of the club's nicknames; our favorite: Los Bosteros, "the Manure Handlers") have one legitimate superstar, central midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme, whom Maradona has controversially left out of Argentina's national team the past year or so.
Cruz Azul, a Mexico City club that has won five club titles in CONCACAF, the region covering North and Central America and the Caribbean, last won a trophy in December 1997. 45), Monterrey 1 (Cardozo 23) UANL Tigres 1 (Molina 83), Pachuca 2 (Benitez pen. Group 3: Pumas UNAM 28, Santos 28, Cruz Azul 25, Estudiantes Tecos 19, UANL Tigres 19, Atlante 16.