1
Dec

Cole the latest Chelsea star linked with Major League Soccer

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Jermain Defoe’s protracted move to Toronto seems to be the continuation of a new trend in soccer transfers - with players being linked to moves between the Premier League and MLS almost constantly.

LA Galaxy stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane have recently been linked to loan moves to the so-called ‘biggest league in the world’, as has Seattle Sounders midfielder Clint Dempsey.

This next rumor is a biggy, though. According to one of the Sunday newspapers over in the UK, Champions League winner and England and Chelsea star Ashley Cole is being eyed up by two MLS sides for a summer switch.

Find out who and take a look at the rest of the day’s rumors in today’s Paper Chase.

3
Aug

The ICC came, saw, and conquered Dodger Stadium

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Think back to a time when there were no preseason tournaments, no trophies to play for on baseball fields, and clubs simply resorted to friendlies against cupcake opponents as way to get ready for the season. How dull!

Thanks to the International Champions Cup (ICC), Los Angeles became the latest of US cities to host the newest — and really the most compelling — of preseason competitions. On Saturday night, it did not disappoint.

Four teams from four countries — Real Madrid, Juventus, Everton, and the hometown LA Galaxy — offered fans an entertaining night of soccer and, more importantly, the unique opportunity to see their favorite players in the flesh. While some preseason fixtures fall flat due to teams’ unwillingness to trot out their best sides, the International Champions Cup delivered.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Tim Howard, Andrea Pirlo and Landon Donovan all played at least one half to the clear approval of the fans. Every Ronaldo step-over was greeted with a rising ensemble of “ooh’s” and “aah’s.” USA chants rang out every time Howard touched the ball, and ladies in every section fainted at the sight of Pirlo’s herculean beard (okay, that last part was made up. Maybe. You really can’t be sure.)

The fans’ enthusiasm at Dodger Stadium was heard and felt throughout the night, and the players returned the favor with some fine showmanship. Ronaldo’s bravado was on full display, Howard made some truly outstanding saves, and the late consolation match between Juventus and LA was a high-energy affair thanks to LA taking the play to the Italian champions. In other words: the fans most definitely got their money’s worth.

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The tournament also provided some unintentionally funny moments;  Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez celebrating his goal against Gigi Buffon as if it was a World Cup final; the referee getting booed mercilessly for cutting a half 30 seconds short; Real Madrid’s Kaka — merely a rotation player now — receiving by far the loudest cheers of the night. It were those quirky moments within the competition that reminded us it’s still the preseason (well, except for LA). Yet, they also added to the charm of the International Champions Cup.

In the end, there will be one champion lifting up a trophy. But to the fans, the media, and maybe even some of the players, Saturday night could be summed up by one thought: is the preseason supposed to be this much fun?

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4
Mar

Ode to Robbie Keane

When Mike Magee scored his third goal of the match for the LA Galaxy on Sunday, completing his hat trick, he added a little extra to his celebration.

The unstoppable forward did a somersault and put his index fingers to the sky, seeming to imitate the post-goal antics of teammate Robbie Keane. It turns out that Magee attempted the celebration to give thanks to his strike partner.

“[Keane] had a part in all three of my goals. That was my makeshift, last-second try to do a Robbie Keane celebration. I had no idea what I was doing. It was a little bit of a thank you to him for having something to do with all three of them,” Magee said after the 4-0 Galaxy win.

It wasn’t pretty, but certainly a fun moment to cap a dominant performance from the forward. Clearly his efforts with his feet were stellar in the match, but he didn’t rate his own ode to Keane well.

“It felt terrible. It felt absolutely terrible. That’ll be the last time I do it. That’ll be all the thanks he’ll get,” Magee said. “Won’t say it verbally though.”

When asked how he thought Magee did in his copy-cat attempt, the Irish striker didn’t hesitate in his reply.

“Terrible,” Keane said. “He obviously saw the real one after.”

And Magee, along with his teammates and the crowd at the Home Depot Center, did indeed see the flawless execution of Keane’s trademark celebration.

2
Nov

As part of our “Best of MLS 2012” week, we count down the best goals of the year. After sifting though dozens of spectacular finishes, we’ll share our favorite seven, one each day, until revealing the Goal of the Year next Thursday. Enjoy!

Starting things off at No. 7: LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane with a superb volley against Real Salt Lake, his 15th goal of the season.