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Friday Kickaround

*Ahead of tonight's MLS Western Conference final (11 p.m., ESPN2), the Los Angeles Times looks at David Beckham's impact since returning from AC Milan and the Houston Chronicle offers a position-by-position breakdown.

*Speaking of the Galaxy, I am beginning to get the sense that Landon Donovan has won the MLS most valuable player award. New England's Shalrie Joseph and Dallas' Jeff Cunningham are the other finalists. The official announcement won't be made until next Thursday in Seattle on ESPNews at around 4:30 p.m. ET.

*Ireland and France are preparing for the first leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff Saturday in Dublin. Though Les Bleus is favored, they've hardly met expectations of late -- might they miss the Cup for the first time since 1994? -- and Coach Raymond Domenech has received much of the criticism.

Domenech was heckled by spectators at the Paris Masters tennis event on Monday and some of his players, also in the crowd, could be seen laughing at his expense.

*Former D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen and suddenly soccer-mad New Zealand brace for the second leg of its playoff against Bahrain (2 a.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel).

*The ACC tournament continues today in Cary, N.C., with fifth-seeded Virginia facing top seed Wake Forest and seventh-seeded North Carolina State playing third seed Boston College. Free live video is available through the ACC Web site. Regardless of the outcomes, all are likely bound for the NCAA tournament, along with Maryland, Duke and North Carolina. ... American is seeking its first Patriot League title since 2004 at the league tournament starting today at Bucknell. ... The Maryland women, a No. 4 seed, begin NCAA tournament play at home today against Monmouth.

*Nigeria will play for the U-17 World Cup title at home against Switzerland on Sunday after defeating Spain, 3-1. The Nigerian players are affiliated with some wonderfully named clubs. Match highlights:

By Steve Goff  |  November 13, 2009; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Beckham , College Soccer , France , Youth soccer  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Preki Out, MLS Ticket Update
Next: Video: Penalty Kick Distractions


Yeah, Thierry Henry was one of those cracking up...

Posted by: Reignking | November 13, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Bruce came in and changed the culture of this franchise," said veteran midfielder Chris Klein. "I'd like to say he changed it back to what it was" in the days when the Galaxy was the MLS flagship.

Interesting how Grahame Jones added that bit of fiction after the closed quotes.

We need finishers like those Nigerian kids. DC should be able to sign some of them, since they all at least 18 :-)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 13, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck to Nelsen and the All Whites.

How many DC United players have played in the World Cup, either before, during, or after their time with the club? Who's handy with the stats in this forum?

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | November 13, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

After the heckling, the crowd started chanting "Bring us Rock-well *Clap-Clap Clap-Clap-Clap*"

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 13, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

On WC rosters: Agoos, Pope, Llamosa, Harkes, Olsen, Sanneh, Etcheverry, Moreno, Stoichov, Albright, Convey, Gallardo, Iroha, John, Vanney, and Nelsen.

Too much time on my hands this morning.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 13, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

A little hometown bias by the Houston Chronicle? I just can't agree with the bench analysis. If I have Eddie Lewis and Jovan Kirovski (and potentially Klein if he isn't in the first XI) coming off the bench, I am feeling really good. Cam Weaver and Luis Angel Landin? Seriously?

And coaching gets an "even"? Really--Bruce Arena vs. Dominic Kinnear? I don't have a dog in this fight but the article feels a little one-sided. Then again, I guess that makes sense from the Houston Chronicle.

Posted by: TwinCity | November 13, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I-270, good list but Nelsen is not on a WC roster just yet.

I'd love to see Ryan Nelsen make it to a World Cup. Unfortunately, that might mean other "stars" like Andrew Boyens and Simon Elliott could be going, too.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 13, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

And for the Nigerians' first names we have Stanley, Fortune, Mohammed, and Aigbe. It's a beautiful game.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | November 13, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Good luck to Nelsen and Co. Oh, to have a center back like him again.

Posted by: hacksaw | November 13, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Jones has been mercilessly bashing the Galaxy for 13 years now, forgive him for actually hyping the team for once...

Posted by: EricB1 | November 13, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

EARNIE STEWART . . . what does/did that poor guy have to do to get some respect . . .

Posted by: fallschurch1 | November 13, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Good luck to Nelsen and Co. Oh, to have a center back like him again.

Posted by: hacksaw | November 13, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I like Jacovik a lot.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 13, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Delightful video interview has been with Nelsen and the BBC has on their football homepage for a few days. Good Luck to them!

Posted by: Beckster1 | November 13, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

That LA Times column was Graham Jones at his pole-smoking best, folks. What he fails to mention was that the Galaxy had already started to turn their season around, winning four in a row, before Becks returned. Oh, and also how totally useless he was against Chivas in the Galaxy's "away" playoff match. But, yeah, he's been "huge" for the team... oh brudder.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | November 13, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Can this be right? Becks played only 11 games for LA?

Posted by: Reignking | November 13, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"To be honest, the person who's made it work is David," Donovan said. "You guys [the media] see that his attitude and the way he's been playing is the David we know, but off the field he's also been great. He's done a lot of things throughout the year to show that he wants to be here. He took the guys to dinner a couple of weeks ago to celebrate making the playoffs. He's just been fantastic."

Sounds like Becks tried to address each of LD's criticisms.

Posted by: Reignking | November 13, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Becks tried to address each of LD's criticisms.

Posted by: Reignking | November 13, 2009 12:42 PM |


As would be appropriate, if he finds them valid...

Posted by: JkR- | November 13, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"the days when the Galaxy was the MLS flagship" indeed.

Good grief. The Galaxy have a good history, but please.

Anyway, how could the Galaxy have been a flagship of the league when the league was only invented by Sounders fans this year?

Posted by: CDRHoek | November 13, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Nice finish by the Hoosier to put them up 1-0 over Ohio State early in the Big 11 semi-final. Yeah... I'm actually watching the Big 11 Network.

Posted by: sitruc | November 13, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Buckeyes have made it 1-1 in the 15th minute.

Posted by: sitruc | November 13, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

That Spanish U-17 keeper looked pretty weak.

Posted by: edgeonyou | November 13, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh! CDRHoek thanks for the laugh this afternoon.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 13, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

WVU women are up by two against Loyola (Md.) at the half. You can follow all the action around the country at:

If you're really clever, you will figure out how to change one character and follow all the men's conference tournaments (ACC, Big Ten, Patriot, etc.). Speaking of which, someone named Warzycha has scored for Ohio State against Indiana. Also, the Big East semis and championship match take place in morning Morgantown this weekend, although WVU itself was eliminated at an earlier stage of the tournament.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 13, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I like the focus on how bad France is and how the poor ol' Irish just manage along . . . undefeated from their group no less. . .

Go Spuds beat le Frogs!!

For the Irish perspective . .

Posted by: delantero | November 13, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Correction, how the glorified French stars have been playing below themselves and how plucky the Irish are . . . .

It's time for Henry to meet his retirement with the Red Bulls in Harrison, NJ after the crushing sorrow of not making the Cup.

Posted by: delantero | November 13, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: delantero

Does the headline actually read "Dunne Warns Frogs for Croak Park Fight?"

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 13, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Former DC United backliner Ryan Nelson and the Red Bulls' Andy Boyens both featured in the Kiwis' 1-0 FIFA playoff win Saturday over Bahrain in front of a record home crowd in Wellington. The All-Whites, who have now booked their ticket to South Africa, were also boosted by ex-Minnesota Thunder midfielder, Andy Barron, who joined the action at 64 minutes. San Jose's Simon Elliott made the game day 18, but did not come off the bench.

Posted by: bartapest1 | November 14, 2009 4:16 AM | Report abuse

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