ICYMI | MLS: Galaxy's Lletget is ready for homecoming

The LA Galaxy's Sebastian Lletget, the hottest first-year American in MLS, is looking forward to his Northern California return. FC Dallas showed its commitment to three young players by signing them to long-term deals. New York City FC has bolstered its back line by retaining Shay Facey.

1. Lletget ready for NorCal homecoming.

If he plays against the Quakes -- which is quite likely -- Saturday at Stanford Stadium, Sebastian Lletget will come back very close to his Northern California roots.

The San Francisco native played his youth soccer for Sporting Santa Clara and since the Quakes play the Galaxy again Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup at Avaya Stadium, he could do a NorCal double of 1994 World Cup venue and the latest addition in the MLS array of facilities.

“I can't wait till the next one. I can't wait till San Jose,” Lletget said Wednesday after notching a goal and two assists in a 5-0 rout of Portland. “I know it's my hometown, so it's a little special one for me. I'll have a lot of friends, family. Everybody's going to be there, I promise you: My three sisters, my two parents and about 20 friends. Honestly, it's going to be nuts.”

Rather than attend college or sign with MLS, Lletget instead opted for West Ham United after club scouts spotted him playing for SSC in a youth tournament. He signed in 2010 and came through the club’s famed youth development system. A bout with mononucleosis impaired his progress and he played just one match for the first team, an FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest in January 2014. West Ham released him in May.

To get his rights, the Galaxy had to compensate the New England Revolution, which held a Discovery claim on his rights even though he spent time the Galaxy in February during its preseason tour of Ireland and England. The Galaxy reportedly swapped his rights for $50,000 in allocation money.

2. FC Dallas shows commitment with contract extensions.

By signing three players younger than 25 to long-term deals, FC Dallas has indicated a commitment to the vision of head coach Oscar Pareja as well as the abilities of Tesho Akindele, Mauro Diaz and Moises Hernandez.

Diaz, 24, and Hernandez, 23, signed deals that bond their rights to MLS until the end of the 2019 season. Akindele, 23, won Rookie of the Year honors last year and under terms of his new contract MLS keeps his rights until 2018.

Akindele has been named to Canada’s roster for the upcoming Gold Cup and his first two competitive appearances has scored two goals. Hernandez, a former U.S. U-20, has played four times this season for Guatemala, which plays the USA in a Gold Cup warmup game July 3. He is also on his country’s Gold Cup squad of 23.

3. Jamieson resumes training with Galaxy.

Two weeks after being injured playing for the USA at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, Galaxy attacker Bradford Jamieson IV has resumed training.

He is being closely monitored by coaching and medical staff for signs of post-concussion complications. He fell heavily in a match against Colombia June 10 and is going through the MLS concussion protocol so he can be cleared to participate in all drills and activities.

This is the third concussion he’s suffered in the past year and a half. He wasn’t cleared to play against the Timbers Wednesday and probably won’t be ready in time for the California Clasico match against San Jose Saturday. In six games (five starts) this season for the Galaxy he’s scored one goal.

4. Newest derby shakes up the Rivalry Rankings.

For California fans, the most intense MLS rivalry is Galaxy-Quakes. For the Barra Brava, it’s obviously D.C. United-Red Bulls. The Northwest simmers every time there’s a Cascadia Cup clash, but the Timbers-Sounders animosity is especially edgy. Toronto and Montreal are doing an excellent job of maintaining the bitterness forged by decades of competition by their NHL and CFL teams.

Texas rivals Houston and FC Dallas renew their tradition on Friday, the California Clasico is Saturday, and Portland hosts Seattle Sunday after the newest entry on the rivalry list takes over Yankee Stadium.

Red Bulls-NYCFC ticked off all the boxes May 10 at Red Bull Arena, where the home team rebounded from a red card to prevail, 2-1. The first rematch is expected to ratchet up the rivalry and roil both fan bases.

“The derby game against New York City FC was awesome from a fans’ perspective,” says midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who left Anderlecht in January after five years abroad. “The stadium was sold out and they brought a lot of noise. The game had a great feel to it. We battled down a man with the red card.

“Crazy things happen in those derby games. I’ve played in a lot of them against Standard Liege and Club Brugge, who were our biggest rivals. Those games mean a little bit more to the fans and crazy stuff always happens. You have to be prepared for it.”

5. New York City FC extends Facey deal

The recent buzz swirling around New York City FC is good. It snapped an 11-game winless streak by winning three in a row and is hoping for a sellout crowd Sunday when it hosts the Red Bulls in the second Empire State derby, and there’s great expectation about what the midfield will look like once Frank Lampard and, presumably, Andrea Pirlo come aboard.

Team management has addressed the status of another vital component. NYCFC announced Thursday that the loan of defender Shay Facey, who has played nine games since leaving Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad (EDS), has been extended from its original expiration date of June 30 to the end of the MLS season.

Facey, 20, has started seven of his nine appearances at right back and center back. In his seven starts, NYCFC is 3-2-2, with all three of those victories coinciding with NYCFC’s current streak. Facey signed with City as a youth player in 2007 and came to MLS without making an appearance for the first team.

“I couldn’t be more pleased that Shay will continue to be an integral part of our club for the remainder of the season,” head coach Jason Kreis said a team statement announcing the deal. “Shay has put in some really strong performances, especially in the last three or four games. He’s a young player, and it’s a testament to his talent that he’s adjusted so quickly to MLS.”

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