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July 7, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter
Alfonso Lopez left Mexico 26 years ago. But he didn't leave behind his passion for the Mexican national soccer team. "It's my country. It's my team," he said Sunday, speaking in Spanish from his seat near midfield at the Rose Bowl, where Mexico met Panama on the opening day of the biennial Gold Cup. "This is a chance to feel close to home, close to my roots. " The game didn't provide much of a chance to celebrate though, with Mexico's young "B" team losing a sloppy and mistake-filled 2-1 decision.
June 17, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
SANDY, Utah - For Juergen Klinsmann, managing a soccer team is a little like building a puzzle. It's about "how to fit all the elements together," says Klinsmann, who is in charge of piecing together the U.S. national team. And when the puzzle doesn't come together properly? Well, that's when a coach mashes the pieces into place. Take the U.S. team. In their World Cup qualifier last week against Panama, the Americans started two natural defenders and a forward in the midfield and two regular midfielders on defense.
June 11, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter
SEATTLE -   Juergen Klinsmann has tried out more combinations than a safecracker is his two years as coach of the U.S. national team, starting 28 lineups in 29 games. Tuesday he found one that worked. With Jozy Altidore scoring late in the first half and Eddie Johnson early in the second, the U.S. beat Panama, 2-0, in a World Cup qualifier before a crowd of 40,847 at CenturyLink Field. With their third win in four games, the Americans took over sole possession of first place in the six-team CONCACAF qualifying table with 10 points, two points ahead of Costa Rica and Mexico halfway through the competition.
June 10, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
SEATTLE  - Juergen Klinsmann went 23 months and 28 matches as coach of the U.S. national soccer team before starting the same lineup in consecutive games. The experiment didn't last long. Klinsmann, who lost midfielders Jermaine Jones and Graham Zusi in last week's win in Jamaica, will go back to the drawing board to find a starting 11 for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against unbeaten Panama at CenturyLink Field (TV: Unimas, ESPN, 7 p.m.). Jones is out with a concussion, while Zusi is suspended a match after picking up two yellow cards.
June 9, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter
U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones, who sustained a concussion in a 2-1 victory over Jamaica on Friday in a World Cup qualifying game, says he will miss the next qualifier against Panama on Tuesday in Seattle. Jones is scheduled to see a neurologist Monday. The U.S. also will be without midfielder Graham Zusi, who drew his second yellow card against Jamaica. Questionable is forward Jozy Altidore, who has scored in his last two games. Altidore hobbled off the field late in the Jamaica game holding his left hamstring.
June 6, 2013 | By Kevin Baxter
The last time the U.S. played a soccer match in Jamaica, it wilted in the heat and lost a 2-1 decision on a ragged field. That was nine months ago. So in an effort to keep that from happening again, U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann brought his team to Kingston three days ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier to get it acclimated to the conditions. A bigger issue, however, is determining which team Klinsmann brought with him. Is it the one that conceded three second-half goals in a one-sided loss to Belgium in an international friendly 10 days ago?
June 6, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
I suppose it has something to do with summertime, these extreme stunt-challenge contests in which people do physically difficult, psychologically intimidating things in the hope of winning big money. Anyway, they're back. Two premiere Thursday on TNT: "72 Hours" drops its players into the wilderness (a new wilderness each week) with only the clothes on their back, a GPS system and a bottle of water to spend three days in search of a briefcase full of cash. Shot in Panama, "The Hero" finds Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shepherding a group of Americans through hair-raising stunts and (what we are to regard as)
April 9, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Travelers heading to Latin America will have a new option for a luxury stay. Waldorf Astoria Panama recently opened near the Calle Uruguay entertainment area in Panama City. Prices start at $159 a night for room only and $219 for a hotel-breakfast package. The deal: The new-build hotel in Panama City has 248 rooms, a spa and fitness center and is within walking distance of the city's Cinta Costera trail overlooking the Pacific. The lowest advance purchase price ($159 a night plus tax)
February 22, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
Port and city officials have called for expediting planned upgrades at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to stave off the threat of losing cargo traffic when the $5.25-billion Panama Canal expansion is completed next year. At a hearing Friday at Los Angeles City Hall, state officials heard testimony from trade economists, shipping line representatives and labor groups on how the state can promote the ports so they keep their share of U.S. cargo traffic, which harbors on the East and Gulf coasts are eager to lure away.
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