adam serrano

23 November 6:03 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Injuries forced both A.J. DeLaGarza and Marcelo Sarvas from the start of the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC,  but both players are confident that they’ll be available for next week’s decisive second leg in the Pacific Northwest.

Amid a chippy and physical game that featured a total of 25 fouls, DeLaGarza was forced to make a precautionary exit in the 61st minute with what was described as a left hamstring strain—an injury that DeLaGarza told reporters afterward that he did not remember occurring.

“I don’t remember, but I’ll be fine. We have a week until our next match, so get some rest of whatever my issue is,” said DeLaGarza. “I think I could have [gone the full 90 minutes], but at that point we were winning and obviously they’re going to come at us pretty hard. I thought it was smart to let Gargan come in and have someone track back quicker than me probably.”

Meanwhile, Sarvas who left with an apparent left hip injury less than 10 minutes later also admitted that he is confident of returning to the starting lineup by the time the series shifts to Seattle.

“In that play, I don’t know, I got hit in my muscle very close to the bone. It was hard when I stepped on my left leg I felt the muscle pulling so I had to stop,” said the Brazilian who gave the Galaxy the win with his goal in the 52nd minute of play. “I spoke with the doctor and I think we’re going to have to do an x-ray tomorrow. I don’t think it’s something that would keep me out of the next game.”

Galaxy boss Bruce Arena in his own postgame media availability did not appear too concerned that both players who combined for LA's lone goal of the afternoon will miss the second leg.

“I expect them to be OK,” Arena said. 

23 November 5:41 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was less than pleased following his team's 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in their Western Conference Championship first leg. 

Arena's thoughts are below.

(On the importance of the result...)
 
ARENA: “Of course it was important. There were some chances to get a second. Obviously, they had some good chances. Not conceding a goal is important, so that’s a plus. We know it’s going to be a battle there. As you can see, the officiating in these games is important too. I don’t think we quite understand how to deal with this competition with the rules and cards and everything. It’s been crazy. I think it was a little bit hectic in this game. It is what it is. And now we will have two teams going into the game on Sunday with no one suspended, which I guess was the premise behind some of the decisions today. I will give Seattle credit. Good team. No question about it. Seattle is a good team. It will be a battle on Sunday.”
 
(On Jaime Penedo’s game...)
 
ARENA: “Solid. Wasn’t tested as much, but in the first half, they had a little flurry off that one throw in and he came up big. That’s obviously critical in this series.” 
 
(On next week’s lineup...)
 
ARENA: “We don’t know what we are doing next Sunday at this time. We are going to get through the week, get our guys some rest and healthy and then make decisions.”
 
(On Stefan Ishizaki...)
 
ARENA: “He played well. Obviously when they drop back their numbers the way they do, you got to use the width of the field and we were able to do that.” 
 
22 November 4:26 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- One of the main matchup questions heading into Sunday's Western Conference Championship first leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC is the status of Sounders midfield engine Osvaldo Alonso. 

Despite Seattle boss Sigi Schmid appearing confident that Alonso -- who has made the trip from the Pacific Northwest -- will be ready by gametime, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena had a different opinion according to Matt Pentz of the Seattle Times.

"'He's not going to go," Arena said on Saturday. "I'd bet the house on that."

Well then. 

Alonso's absence will make life considerably easier for LA midfielders Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho as the Brazilians will likely match up against either Michael Ariza -- a like-for-like replacelement -- or more offensive minded Andy Rose. 

But no matter what happens with Alonso's status, Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan says LA want the star midfielder on the field when the game kicks off on Sunday. 

“Ozzie makes them a very good team,” Donovan said. “He is unquestionably their engine, and he's really their leader. When you take him off the field, they're affected pretty severely, we know that.

“We hope he plays,” Donovan added. “We know he hasn't trained all week, so it's looking less and less likely that he will play, but we're going to prepare as if he's playing, and we want him to play. If we're going to win, we want to beat the best team.”

22 November 2:04 pm

In my latest edition of "Insider Breakdown," I look at the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship first leg against Seattle Sounders FC

Check it out above.

21 November 3:39 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are heading into their Western Conference Championship series with Seattle Sounders FC with a boatload of confidence after the way that they dispatched Real Salt Lake, but three players will need to be cautious heading into the first leg.

Landon Donovan, Robbie Rogers, and Omar Gonzalez are both on yellow card watch heading into Sunday’s first leg. Should either of the three earn a caution from referee Kevin Stott, they will miss out on next week’s second leg at CenturyLink Field. It bears mentioning, however, that no player can be suspended for MLS Cup based on yellow card accumulation.

While Donovan and Rogers are at risk, Gonzalez faces a particular challenge as he looks to avoid a yellow card and mark dynamic strikers Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey.

“I have to be very smart with how I defend and how aggressive I am,” said Gonzalez. “But having said that, I have to leave it all on the field and not worry about the referees or about anything out of my control. I have to worry about how I show up, how I approach the game and how focused I am over 90 minutes."

21 November 2:20 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes took MLS by storm with 16 goals in his second season with the LA Galaxy, but since finding the back of the net on Sept. 28, the forward has been silent.

Recently, Zardes has seen his amount of chances dwindle from an average of just over a shot on goal per game after the New York Red Bulls match to just two chances in the entirety of his six-game scoring drought.

Although the 23-year-old forward has failed to bury his chances as of late, his strike partner, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane says Zardes must get back to basics if he’s going to find the back of the net against Seattle Sounders FC this weekend.

“He has to get back to understanding what got him here in the first place. The most important thing that he has to understand is to be a team player first. If you’re a team player first then everything else will take care of itself,” Keane said after training earlier this week. “He needs to get back to what he’s good at, which is getting behind the defense and creating opportunities. But when he gets those opportunities then he has to take them and in the last few games, he hasn’t. He needs to get back to that.

“Like any striker, you always go through stages where you don’t score and it plays in your mind. The most important thing is that he has to get that out of his head fairly quickly, because when you’re going into games thinking that you haven’t scored for a while, it’ll work against you. One thing that I would say is that when you get an opportunity, rather than be clever and try to place it, sometimes just put your foot through and try to smash it. Usually that has worked for me over the years when I haven’t scored in a few games.”

To his credit, Zardes agrees that if he’s going to find the back of the net in LA’s Western Conference Championship series, he has to be sharper in front of the net

“To be honest, I’m working extremely hard and there are numerous opportunities, but I'm just going to keep doing the same things that I've been doing. I've been unlucky, but the [chances] are there,” said Zardes. “I just think that I have to get on the end of crosses because if you look at my goals, they typically come with solid link-up play with Robbie.”

21 November 1:36 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will renew their rivalry with Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship. 

In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, I take a look at the club's record in Conference Championship games. 

Check it out below.

20 November 7:22 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Way back in July, the LA Galaxy were walloped 7-0 by Manchester United in the Chevrolet FC Cup at the Rose Bowl. Although the match meant nothing in the MLS regular season standings, a certain segment of the Galaxy believe that the "embarrassment" from that win helped propel the club to the Western Conference Championship. 

In front of droves of fans at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy fell flat to a fierce United side that made quick work of LA's defense, particularly once the home side's first team was off the field. But since that defeat, LA has been a much different squad

Starting with a 3-0 domination of the very same Seattle Sounders FC team that they'll face on Sunday, the Galaxy have gone an impressive 10-3-4 since their defeat to the English Premier League club.

"It was embarrassing and we just turned a corner," said A.J. DeLaGarza. "Every year there is a game that turns everything around...it happened to Omar [Gonzalez] and I in college, it happens to us here." 

Added Landon Donovan, "We don't put much stock into the final score, but we didn't play well. When we play well and lose then we can live with that and Bruce [Arena] can live with that. But when we lose and don't play well then that is unacceptable."

But Robbie Keane, who famously said that the defeat to Manchester United was a "kick in the ass" for the Galaxy, said that the match had no impact on his own thinking about LA's season. 

"I literally haven't thought about Manchester United since that game," said Keane. "I don't pay any mind to preseason games, and it's even less when it's not our own preseason." 

20 November 1:19 pm

In the latest edition of the LA Galaxy TV's Top Five, I look at the best Galaxy postseason performances. 

Check it out above and comment in the section below. 

19 November 5:03 pm

By advancing to the Conference Championship this season, the  LA Galaxy will be returning to the Conference Final for the 13th time since the league's inception in 1996.  While that is a record in MLS, just where does it stack up in other leagues? Well, according to Elias Sports Bureau, it measures quite favorably.

Since 1996, the Galaxy's mark is highest among the top U.S. professional sports leagues ranking higher than the MLB's New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals' mark with 10, the NFL's New England Patriots record of nine, the NBA's San Antonio Spurs' total of nine, and the NHL's Detroit Red Wings' record of six. 

In addition to stacking up well nationally, the Galaxy's conference finals appearances are the highest marks locally, eclipsing the Los Angeles Lakers' record of eight "final four" appearances since 1996.