CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy begin their 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs campaign on Saturday evening against Real Salt Lake and if LA will advance past the club that eliminated them a year ago, they’ll need to shutdown RSL’s dynamic attacker Joao Plata.
The speedy and diminutive Ecuadorian led the charge for head coach Jeff Cassar’s side throughout the 2014 season with 13 goals and six assists. In three games against the Galaxy this year, Plata notched a goal and an assist including a goal in RSL’s win over LA in the season opener.
“Plata has been an All-Star quality player this entire season. He’s been scoring goals for club and country and he’s a very dangerous player,” said defender A.J. DeLaGarza. “He’s fast and an incredibly player who is only helped by the influence of Saborio. They create a real threat.”
If the LA can slow down Plata, DeLaGarza believes that the Galaxy will be able to get revenge on RSL for their 2013 playoff exit.
“This year we have home-field advantage, but we’ll see if that means anything,” said DeLaGarza. “It’ll be a great match-up. It’s two teams that really like to play and it’ll be a good challenge for us.”
CARSON, Calif. -- On the date that MLS officially disbanded Chivas USA, the LA Galaxy went along with business as usual.
There was no talk of the fact the Rojiblancos had been officially disbanded earlier that morning or that they will be replaced by a new team at a new location in the greater Los Angeles area in two years’ time. The Galaxy simply went about the task of preparing for their Western Conference Semifinal first leg with Real Salt Lake – who entered the league in 2005 alongside Chivas – on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“The decision to sell Chivas and rebrand it and bring it back in the marketplace can only be a positive,” said Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said of the Chivas USA news. “I’m sure that it will make for an exciting time in the Los Angeles soccer market.”
While the yet unnamed second Los Angeles MLS team will return in 2017, most players who suited up for Chivas USA will be distributed across MLS in a dispersal draft that will take place in December. The only possible exceptions for the draft may be forwards Erick “Cubo” Torres and Felix Borja who may find new teams through other means according to a league conference call on Monday afternoon.
As the players prepare for the dispersal draft, Galaxy right back and longtime leadership member of the MLS Players Union James Riley said that he trusted the league and the union to assure a seamless transition for those affected.
“It’s unfortunate news and I want to thank the fans for supporting the team and I still have a lot of good friends on that team,” said Riley who admitted that he wasn’t surprised by the announcement. “We just hope that the process goes smoothly and the players are taken care of and given options to play elsewhere. Obviously, the players union and the league will do their due diligence in making sure that the process goes smoothly for those players.”
But although the sentimentality of losing the Rojiblancos as a rival was felt, the Galaxy were focused on the ways that Monday’s announcement will affect them in the immediate future. With Chivas USA exiting the league, MLS revealed the realignment of the new 20-team league that will feature Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo moving west while expansion sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC join the Eastern Conference.
"As if the Western Conference wasn't tough enough already," chuckled defender A.J. DeLaGarza upon learning that the last five MLS Cup winners will be in the new Western Conference.
But even amid the loss of a rival and the introduction to a pair of new teams in the Western Conference, DeLaGarza said that the loss of the Rojiblancos will only help the Galaxy truly make the StubHub Center their true home.
"It'll be weird not playing Chivas USA because we looked forward to that rivalry. But now we get to have our own stadium and we can do things for us with our $15 million dollar investment in the stadium. We’ll have a chance to upgrade the facilities for the entire club.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy announced that the club has signed defender A.J. DeLaGarza to a multi-year deal on Wednesday.
DeLaGarza, 26, told reporters on Wednesday that his new deal will keep him with the Galaxy for the next four years. In 2014, the versatile defender has enjoyed yet another strong season that has included him winning the team's Defender of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year honors.
"There's no other place that I'd rather be," DeLaGarza said bluntly after training on Wednesday.
CARSON, Calif. -- After the LA Galaxy's 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC, the club announced their 2014 end of the season award winners.
Robbie Keane took home LA Galaxy Player of the Year while A.J. DeLaGarza earned Defender of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year honors.
DeLaGarza's late son Luca Wyatt DeLaGarza was also honored by the LA Riot Squad supporters group as their "LARS Player of the Year."
CARSON, Calif. -- A.J. DeLaGarza is back with the LA Galaxy.
The club confirmed on Saturday that the defender has rejoined the team after the burial of his infant son Luca earlier in the week. DeLaGarza will be available for selection for the Galaxy's match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The return of DeLaGarza is a major boost for the club's outside back depth as Dan Gargan is suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation while Todd Dunivant remains injured with a groin issue. Both outside backs James Riley and Robbie Rogers are returning from injury.
CARSON, Calif. - It was an emotional night at StubHub Center.
The LA Galaxy honored the memory of A.J. DeLaGarza's departed son Luca with a 6-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids. The largest victory for the club since 1996.
Relive the emotional night through the great photos of Mora Photography.
A.J. DeLaGarza insists that staying on the road could benefit the LA Galaxy as they look to overcome Crew loss
COLUMBUS, Ohio— Typically after a road match, the LA Galaxy immediately return to Southern California, but this time around the script has been flipped.
The Galaxy fell 4-1 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday in their worst defeat of the 2014 regular season. LA suffered their biggest margin of defeat, but rather than fly cross-country to return home, the club will remain in Columbus for two days before heading to Colorado for Wednesday’s clash with the Rapids.
Following the team’s crushing defeat, there was understandable concern that the loss may put a damper on the Galaxy’s week-long road trip, but defender A.J. DeLaGarza insists that the opposite is true.
“We can’t let this loss linger. We have a game in a couple of days and it might be good for us all to be together. We get to all go through this together and not just head home [separately],” he said. “We’re going to go have dinner together and do whatever we can to get the morale back up so that we don’t let this game affect us for the rest of the season.”
Galaxy captain Robbie Keane agreed that LA will need to put the loss behind them quickly ahead of Wednesday’s match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“The good thing about the season is that there is always a game around the corner,” Keane said. “We have a game on Wednesday and have to pick ourselves up fairly quickly…let’s see what we’re made of [against the Rapids].”
Bruce Arena rules out Todd Dunivant for Vancouver Whitecaps FC as A.J. DeLaGarza returns to training
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will have to make due without defender Todd Dunivant for their upcoming match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena confirmed to reporters on Wednesday that Dunivant will be unavailable for their upcoming match after suffering an injury during LA's 3-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday. Dunivant was forced to exit late in the second half of LA's victory with an abdomenal ailment.
After training on Wednesday, Arena ruled the defender out for this weekend's match.
"He's got a little bit of strain. He's not available this week," Arena told reporters. "The following week, we'll wait and see."
With Dunivant unavailable, the Galaxy have several options as A.J. DeLaGarza returned to full training on Wednesday after missing last week's match due to a contusion. Although DeLaGarza admits that he feels better as he looks ahead for Saturday's match.
"I feel better than I did last week. Obviously with guys going out and me feeling better it is an option," said DeLaGarza. "I played center left back and left back is a different spot, but it's on the same side of the field. It's no where that I haven't played before and I'd feel relatively comfortable with it."
CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza is in a race to be fit for Sunday’s SuperClasico match between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA as he looks to recover from a left ankle contusion suffered a week ago against Real Salt Lake.
While his teammates began preparations for Sunday’s SuperClasico, DeLaGarza was lightly jogging around the training ground, still feeling the aftereffects of a harsh tackle from RSL forward Alvaro Saborio more than a week earlier. Although LA head coach Bruce Arena stated that it was “too early” to declare his defender ready for Sunday, DeLaGarza is optimistic that he can be back to game fitness in time to contribute against the Rojblancos—but not at the expense of a potential win.
“I'm being optimistic. Hopefully, I can get out there and help the team. At the same time, I'm not going to put the team out there and not be able to perform 100 percent,” said DeLaGarza. “Someone else can go there and do the job, and be healthy, but my goal is to be on the field any way possible.”
Expect DeLaGarza to participate against Chivas?
Share thoughts below.
Bruce Arena encouraged by injury status of A.J. DeLaGarza, but states James Riley "will probably require surgery"
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy received some mixed news regarding their injured defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and James Riley on Tuesday.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters following the team’s training session on Tuesday that DeLaGarza “will be all right” and require a week to get over a left ankle “contusion” that was suffered after a hard challenge from Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio during the 62nd minute of LA’s 1-1 draw in Salt Lake last week.
However veteran outside back James Riley was not so lucky as Arena stated that the 31-year-old will probably “miss some time” due to a left meniscus injury that will likely require surgery according to the Galaxy boss. The recovery time for a meniscus injury ranges from weeks to several months. Riley went down in the 29th minute of Saturday’s draw while evading a challenge from RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy.
With Riley injured, the responsibility of filling in at outside back will fall to veteran Dan Gargan, who was solid in relief duty on Saturday.