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This Is One Way to Make Title Ring Loud, Clear

Times Staff Writer

Fresh off a two-week suspension for slugging it out with his New England Revolution teammate Joe Franchino, the “Nacogdoches Kid” is ready to take on all-comers.

Fiery Texan Clint Dempsey doesn’t like it that the Galaxy players will be receiving their 2005 championship rings tonight at Home Depot Center before playing the Revolution at 8 p.m. in the Major League Soccer season opener for both teams.

“They’re going to pass out the rings in front of us, which is not classy,” Dempsey told the Boston Globe.

“But, at the same time, they deserve the rings they’re getting.”

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The Galaxy, which edged the Revolution, 1-0, in the MLS Cup final at Frisco, Texas, in November, had two replies to that Friday.

“Hey, we earned it, right?” Landon Donovan said. “They had their chance and they didn’t do it.

“I’m sure he [Dempsey] will be more than motivated after having a couple of weeks off. But this is our home field and this is our day of celebration, and we intend to keep it that way.”

Galaxy Coach Steve Sampson was more circumspect.

“I’m personally not a fan of it because it does, I think, motivate the opponent and leave a bad taste in the opponent’s mouth,” he said. “However, this apparently is tradition in the U.S.

“It’s more of a marketing issue for the league, and the league has insisted on it. But I want it to be clear -- and I’ve been very clear from the beginning -- that I was not happy with the decision for us to hand out our rings -- regardless of who the opponent is, but especially since it’s New England.

“From a technical standpoint, I just don’t think it serves us.”

TONIGHT

vs. New England, 8, ESPN2

Site -- Home Depot Center.

Radio -- 1700, 830.

Records (2005) -- Galaxy 13-13-6, Revolution 17-7-8.

Record vs. Revolution (2005) -- 0-0-2 regular season, 1-0 playoffs.

Update -- Rookie Nathan Sturgis will start at left back for the Galaxy in place of Todd Dunivant, who has a left calf injury. Los Angeles also will be without forward Joseph Ngwenya (groin strain). For New England, goalkeeper Matt Reiss is sidelined because of a right hamstring strain, defender Michael Parkhurst (right thigh strain) is questionable, and winger Pat Noonan (right hamstring strain) is probable.

Tickets -- 877-342-5299.


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