There is no question that the season-ending 3-0 defeat to FC Dallas will leave a very bitter taste in the mouths of the Los Angeles Galaxy for weeks on end, at least until next season starts.
"It would have been nice if we were leaving from Toronto," Galaxy forward Mike Magee said with a grin.
But it can also be seen as a blessing in some ways, since the loss gave Bruce Arena's men about two weeks to rest and prepare for the final match on their calendar, the 2010 Qantas Challenge against the Newcastle United Jets.
"A few years ago when (former Galaxy coach) Ruud (Gullit) was here, it was almost like preseason at the end of the season," Donovan recalled. "He put guys through really difficult training sessions and it was a really difficult trip."
"This time I think its going to be a lot of fun. (Current Galaxy head coach) Bruce (Arena) obviously understands what the trip is about. We want to go and be entertaining and enjoy the game."
"I'm actually excited about it. It will be a fun game to play in. We're going to go over, have fun and put on a good show, hopefully."
The Galaxy will be making a flight on Tuesday to Newcastle for this match, which will take place on Saturday, November 27 at 7:30 p.m. AEST/12:30 a.m. PT/3:30 a.m. ET.
Saturday will mark Los Angeles' second trip to Australia in the last four years, with the club also playing Sydney FC in front of more than 80,000 fans at Etihad Stadium (formerly Telstra Dome) in November 2007.
"I think it will be good for an MLS team to go to Australia and play an exhibition game," defender Gregg Berhalter said. "On the other side of the coin, it's nice for us to unwind, recap the season and get ready to go on vacation."
"You'd rather have it be a celebratory trip," defender Todd Dunivant said, "but at the end of the day it's not the worst trip in the world going to Australia and going for a game."
This match marks the curtain call for Eddie Lewis and Chris Klein, who will call it a career after the match.
"It's just an added bonus to spend time with those guys," defender Omar Gonzalez said.
"We're getting a chance to go to Australia and celebrate a couple of guys' careers," Magee said, "and we're celebrating a good season even though it didn't end the way we wanted to.
"It's going to be fun. This is a great group of guys and I enjoy being around them."
The Newcastle Jets won 2008 Hyundai A-League Grand Final championship. Newcastle, who are led by former England international forwards Michael Bridges and Francis Jeffers, currently sit in ninth place in the A-League with a 2-5-6 record for 12 points from their first 13 games of the season.
The Jets currently sit five points out of the sixth and final playoff spot in the A-League, currently held by Melbourne Victory FC. However, they have played the second fewest games in the league and have as many as three games in hand on the teams that they are chasing.
Under the leadership of head coach Branko Culina, Newcastle has allowed just 11 goals in their 13 league games and have taken four points from their last two games, both against the top two teams in the league while claiming their best result of the season on Saturday, a 3-1 win over second place Adelaide, which saw Australian forward Marko Jesic score his first two goals of the season, with Jeffers setting up one in his debut for the club. On Wednesday, the Jets held first place Brisbane Roar to a 1-1 draw at home.
The Galaxy can win this game, but it will be a matter of whether or not they want to win this match. Obviously, it's never a nice feeling to come up short in your quest to win the MLS Cup. But I think Los Angeles will be ready and win this contest and finish their season on the right note.
The match will be covered by Fox Soccer Channel and via tape delay on Fox Sports en Español.
US bid sends the House...literally
In a last ditch attempt to convince FIFA that the United States' bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was strong as steel, the House of Representatives passed a resolution expressing its full commitment to hosting a successful World Cup.
Representatives Chris Van Hollen (MD), Dave Reichert (WA), George Miller (CA) and Mary Bono Mack (CA) first introduced the bill, which was co-sponsored by more than 40 members of Congress, in late September.
“We welcome today’s House resolution as another example of the overwhelming endorsement our bid effort has received from all levels of government throughout the process,” Sunil Gulati, Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer, said in a statement announcing the news. “This resolution further reinforces our country’s commitment to FIFA that we will meet all requirements for a World Cup hosted in the United States.”
Too little, too late? Stay tuned...
Donovan impressed by the new order
Galaxy team captain Landon Donovan was impressed by the USA men's national team, composed of young players, in their 1-0 victory over South Africa earlier this week.
“Given the travel that everybody had to endure, the lack of familiarity not only the players but with the coaching staff and then guys who just don’t have a lot of experience,” Donovan said, “I thought it was a great result.”
Juan Agudelo of the New York Red Bulls, via Mikkel Diskerud, earned his first-ever goal for the Stars and Stripes in the 85th minute. At 17 years old, he is the youngest player to ever score for the States.
“They played well,” Donovan said. “It’s difficult when you have a few new players in a team, much less… 12, 13, 14 and a lot playing on the field at the same time.”
Diskerud, Gale Agbossoumonde, New York's Tim Ream and Teal Bunbury of the Kansas City Wizards also earned their first caps, along with Agudelo.
“I was very impressed with a lot of different players,” Donovan said. “The kid (Eric) Lichaj has done very well in the two games I’ve seen him. I though Diskerud in his few minutes did well. I thought Agudelo did well, great goal, really good goal. For a kid that age to score a goal like that, I was very impressed. As a whole our backline did real well and (Brad) Guzan did good. I was encouraged.”
The future looks bright for the States. Let's see if we will see them make a splash in, perhaps, Brazil not too far down the road.
Midnight train to Georgia for Tristan
Young Galaxy forward Tristan Bowen was called up to the U.S. Under-20 National Team, and will b e participating in the Torneo de las Americas at the Atlanta Beat-KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Bowen and the rest of Thomas Rongen’s team is scheduled to report to camp starting on Sunday, November 21 before opening the three-team, round robin tournament against Colombia on Friday, November, 26 and then facing Mexico on Sunday, November 28.
Bowen, who has also played for the U.S. Under-18 National Team, played in 17 regular season games for the Galaxy in 2010 while also playing in both of the club’s CONCACAF Champions League games and the U.S. Open Cup Third Round win over AC St. Louis. Bowen had two goals and two assists in the regular season while also adding a goal in the friendly win over Boca Juniors.
He last appeared in a game with the U.S. U-20’s in November 2008 when the team played three games in Spain against Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid and Rayo Vallencano. Bowen started all three of those games and scored in the friendly against Real Madrid.
Bowen is one of seven current MLS players included on the roster.
The Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy Under-14 squads qualified for the post season in their first season of play. They tied with Cosmos Academy West 96s in terms of record (8-1-0), but the Cosmos won the regular season title due to goal difference.
In the semifinals, the Galaxy Under-14 A and B squads faced each other, and the A squad prevailed 5-2. They will take on the Cosmos for the 2010 L.A. Futbol Circuit league crown.
As for the Under-16 and Under-18 sides, they will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 20 when they face off against the California Development Academy. This will be the only match this month for the Under-16s and Under-18s.