adam serrano

24 March 2:26 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal has blossomed into one of the bright spots of the LA Galaxy’s 2015 campaign, and now that has placed the midfielder back on the radar of the U.S. National Team’s U-23 squad.

The Galaxy have two representatives on Andres Herzog’s U-23 squad as defender Oscar Sorto and Galaxy II forward Ariel Lassiter made the roster, but Villarreal confirmed that he was initially on that list as well, but declined the opportunity in order to focus on solidifying his role with the Galaxy.

“I spoke to Bruce and said that I just wanted to stay and work with the team because [international call-ups] will come eventually,” Villarreal told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday ahead of the team's D.C. United this weekend. “I personally wanted to stay because I didn’t want to kill the rhythm that I have with the team, and have to come back and need to win my spot again. 

“[International play] will come with the way that I’ve been playing,” he added. “I just have to keep being consistent with the form that I have. The U-23s are a tough group to get into, with a lot of talented players, but I think that if I keep improving then I can make that team.”

After a difficult 2014 season, Villarreal has regained the swagger that made him one of the brightest young talents in MLS just a few seasons ago, even declaring that “there’s no going down from here.”

“There’s nothing that you can ask for other than working hard on the field other than hustling and busting your ass on the field,” said Villarreal. “That’s what most players want from the youngsters so you have to do that no matter what.”

24 March 12:33 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- File this in the news that we never thought we'd see file: LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza was named to USL's team of the week for week one of the 2015 regular season after the first team center back went 90 minutes for Los Dos in the scoreless draw with Real Monarchs SLC. 

A regular for the first team since joining the club in 2009, DeLaGarza was given the stint with Galaxy II as a way to help him return to fitness after a left foot injury caused him to miss much of the preseason. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and the rest of the coaching staff were in attendance to watch DeLaGarza's showing and offered the defender rave reviews. 

"I was the oldest guy on the team," said DeLaGarza to LA Galaxy Insider on Sunda yin a joking manner. "You can see that the speed of play and thought are different, but these are young guys who are really talented and have a bright future on the team."

23 March 5:21 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- A.J. DeLaGarza made a major step forward in his recovery from a left foot injury on Sunday by going 90 minutes for LA Galaxy II in their scoreless draw with Real Monarchs SLC, and now that performance could see him return to the lineup for this weekend's match against D.C. United. 

With Bruce Arena and the rest of the Galaxy staff watching from the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium stands, DeLaGarza put in a confident performance as he helped Los Dos keep the Real Salt Lake USL affiliate off the scoreboard. The action was just DeLaGarza's third in-game stint in 2015 as he played briefly during the club's home opener against Chicago Fire and then again in an small scrimmage between the first team and Los Dos a week later. 

"He played well," Arena  said. "He's coming back and needed to get a game in. I think overall, it was a positive showing." 

LA GALAXY YOUNGSTERS HEAD OUT ON INTERNATIONAL DUTY

The LA Galaxy will have three of their bright young stars join U.S. youth national teams during the upcoming international window. 

LA will have two representatives on the U.S. Under-23 squad as defender Oscar Sorto and Galaxy II striker Ariel Lassiter were named to the head coach Andres Hertzog's European camp that will feature matches against Bosnia & Herzegovina's U-23 squad on March 27 and Denmark's U-23's on March 31. Lassiter will be making his first appearance for the U.S. youth squad while Sorto, who trained with the senior national team in January, is expecting to take a leadership role with the squad. 

"I'm going to ge tthere with confidence. I know what the coach wants from each player. I'm feeling very confident that I know how Hertzog wants to prepare and play," said Sorto. "This camp is going to be tough because I know that there will be a lot of players from around the world fighting for positions, but I think it's going to be a fun experience."

While the U-23's are training on the old continent, Galaxy Homegrown Player Bradford Jamieson IV and the U.S. Under-20's will train for a week in England. During their training camp in London, Jamieson IV and the rest of Tab Ramos' squad will face Tottenham Hotspur’s U-21 team on March 27 in London, and then England’s Under-21 Men’s National Team on March 29

"It feels good to join the squad. It's going to be great facilities and good competition over there with our two games," said Jamieson. "I love playing in England because soccer is a lifestyle there, and everyone loves the game so it makes it a good place to play."

ALAN GORDON ON TAILGATES AND BEING A FACE TO THE GALAXY SUPPORTERS

No LA Galaxy player this side of David Beckham has ever gone from hated foe to reviered hero faster than Alan Gordon. 

After making a habit of scoring against the Galaxy during his time with Chivas USA and Toronto FC, Gordon morphed into a true villian during his time with the hated San Jose Earthquakes. However, after returning to the club via a trade with San Jose last year, Gordon has endeared himself to LA supporters with five goals in 2014, and another in the early stages of the 2015 season.

Gordon has not only won the hearts of minds of Galaxy fans on the field, however, as he's also displayed a willingness to make his presence felt with supporters by buying pizzas and kegs at Galaxy matches. The 33-year-old was at it again on Sunday when he brought a keg of beer to tailgaters at Galaxy II's season opener. 

For Gordon, who went from enemy to hero faster than any player in Galaxy history, such fan support initatives are incredibly important for him and the team. 

"I was asked to draw some attention to Galaxy II and help bring people to support our young guys. We take a lot of the headlines [with the first team] so we know that we need to have people come out and follow some of our youngest players"

 

23 March 2:29 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy II opened their 2015 USL campaign with a scoreless draw against Real Monarchs, but head coach Curt Onalfo believed that his squad deserved far better had they finished their chances. 

For much of the game, Galaxy II were the better side as they routinely tested the Monarchs defense, and forced visiting goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez to make four stops on the evening. Whether it was Travis Bowen, Adonis Amaya or Ariel Lassiter, Galaxy II’s strikers routinely tested the Monarchs defense, but were unable to tally the winner that Los Dos needed.

Even though his team earned a point in their first match of 2015, Onalfo admitted that he felt his group should have taken all three points. 

"When a team comes in and drops those types of numbers behind the ball, it's an exercise in breaking down low pressure so the chances are few and far between. On the circumstances, we created enough chances but we just rushed it a little bit," Curt Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com. "The field was a little tight so it makes it a little bit more difficult, but having said that, we didn't give much away and we just have to figure out ways be sharper and find ways to break down low pressure."

Although Onalfo was somewhat frustrated about his young forwards inability to break down the Monarchs defensive line, he still had praise for Amaya who was making his first professional start. 

"He’s a solid player and is adjusting to the pace of the game which is normal given where he’s coming from," said Onalfo. "He’s a very smart player though and you can tell that he’s going to continue to progress."

22 March 8:20 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- A.J. DeLaGarza made a major step forward in his injury recovery by going 90 minutes for LA Galaxy II in their scoreless draw with Real Monarchs SLC on Sunday evening at StubHub Center. 

DeLaGarza started in central defense for Los Dos as Galaxy II were rarely tested by the Real Salt Lake affiliate who were playing in their first-ever match.The appearance was DeLaGarza's longest of 2015 as the defender made just a brief cameo for the Galaxy first team in their opening match after missing much of the preseason with a left foot injury. 

Although DeLaGarza was rarely tested, the match nearly turned dark for the defender as he appeared to injury his ankle in stoppage time after a late challenge by a Real Monarchs defender. 

"90 minutes of time as a center back is probably just 45 minutes fitness wise for an outside back, but I felt fine," said A.J. DeLaGarza. They didn't have many chances in our half where we were running too much. I felt like as a group we were organized and we didn't really allow them anything. At the end of the game, one of their young guys tried to make a play as I was going to clear the ball, and he just ran through my ankle. I honestly thought it popped out, but thankfully nothing bad happened and I just jogged off."

21 March 11:18 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media after the club's 1-1 draw to the Houston Dynamo.

Arena's comments are below.

(On what he liked and didn’t like…)

ARENA: “I didn’t like a whole lot on the night. We weren’t very good to be honest with you. We lost too many battles on the night; I think they played harder over 90 minutes than we did. I think that made a difference in the game. We had a chance to win possibly going away if we were a little sharper. We had a mental breakdown on a corner kick. Robbie Rogers loses his man, and it’s a goal. In a game like this where your opponent is sitting back and defending with numbers looking to get at you on the break, or perhaps on a restart, we’ve got to be better than that. To concede a goal shortly after we scored, that’s not good on our part. Just on the night, I don’t think we were sharp, and I give Houston credit. They played real hard.”

(On Mika Vayrynen…)

ARENA: “Well tonight he had 20 minutes; it’s still not enough time. He is a good player, he gets the ball moving quickly, knows how to get his teammates involved in the game. For the most part, he was pretty solid.”

(On Edson Buddle…)

ARENA: “It’s always hard bringing a player in, I believe he came in around the 85 minute. He battled in there. We didn’t get any service to him, but he’ll get more playing time as we move forward.”

(On Leonardo’s play…)

ARENA: “I think he had a solid night. I think [Giles] Barnes is a hard guy to play against, and he was matched up with him a lot during the night and for the most part, did well. He has had a good start to the season for us.”

(On the midfield creating chances…)

ARENA: “I think they did okay. Obviously our passing on the night wasn’t good. I think it’s a tribute to all the lines. I think our back line didn’t pass the ball very well. I think that impacted the ability for the midfielders to have a better impact on the game.”

(On the Dynamo…)

ARENA: “They play well. It’s not surprising that that’s how they play coming on the road, trying to get a point and all of that. Give them credit, they did a good job. We’re still not sharp enough at this point, still not fit enough, no question about that. I think their goalkeeper did a good job, their backline was pretty solid, didn’t let anything get behind them. Overall, on the night I think they defended pretty well.”

(On Jaime Penedo’s performance…)

ARENA: “He did a good job. He wasn’t tested a whole lot. I’d like to see his kicking game a little better, but he wasn’t called on to make a whole lot of saves tonight. It was a quite game in terms of shot blocking. I think he did fine.” 

21 March 3:53 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will put their 20 game home unbeaten streak on the line on Saturday when they take on the Houston Dynamo in a rematch of the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup finals.

Not only are the Galaxy unbeaten in 20 games, but LA have lost only three of their last 43 matches in all MLS competitions at StubHub Center. 

Below is a collection of links to read, questions to answer, and a predicted lineup ahead of Saturday's match. 

LINKS:

*A migraine prevented Jaime Penedo from starting in goal against the Portland Timbers last week, which allowed Brian Rowe to earn his second consecutive start. Could Penedo make his first start in goal on Saturday
 
 
*A.J. DeLaGarza says that he's ready to return to the lineup after overcoming a foot injury, but will he start against Houston?
 

*Lastly, in the latest edition of "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's recent struggles against the Dynamo

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:

WILL BRIAN ROWE OR JAIME PENEDO START IN GOAL?

Jaime Penedo appears set to return to the lineup on Saturday, but how will the Panamanian perform after spending the last two matches on the bench?

COULD MIKA VAYRYNEN START ALONGSIDE JUNINHO?

Kenney Walker and Baggio Husidic earned starts alongside Juninho in the club's first two matches, but Vayrynen's strong cameo against the Timbers could allow him to start against the Dynamo

CAN JOSE VILLARREAL KEEP UP HIS RUN OF GOOD FORM?

Jose Villarreal has been one of the stars of the LA Galaxy's season to date with two confident performances along the left side of midfield, but can he keep up his stellar form on Saturday?

PREDICTED LINEUP:

Penedo; Gargan, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Rogers; Ishizaki, Juninho, Husidic, Villarreal; Keane, Zardes 

20 March 12:25 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy host the Houston Dynamo this Saturday in their third match of the 2015 MLS regular season. 

In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we take a look at the club's recent struggles against the Dynamo.

Check it out below. 

19 March 3:01 pm

Former Los Angeles Lakers fan favorite Metta World Peace is an LA Galaxy fan?

Who knew. 

In a video for the website "Funny or Die" World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest, and occassionally referred to as 'The Pandas Friend) gives his selections for the 2015 March Madness Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, and he includes a special shoutout to the five-time MLS Cup champions. 

Check it out below.

19 March 1:35 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Amigraine prevented Jaime Penedo from starting the LA Galaxy’s clash with the Portland Timbers last week, but the Panamanian goalkeeper admits that he is fit and ready to start if called upon to face the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Migraines have been a sporadic ailment for Penedo over the past 10 years, but last Sunday’s game was the first time that the Panamanian had missed out on a match due to the issue. However, it’s not the migraine itself that rendered Penedo unable to play, but the pain medication that the 33-year-old takes that caused him to miss out on the game in Portland.

“I take a medicine to relieve the migraines but the medicine knocks me out. On Sunday, the problem was that I didn’t know if I should or shouldn’t take it [or not],” Penedo said. “I didn’t take it in the beginning and I was hoping an Aleeve would help me with the pain but it didn’t. My head was in pain so I had to take the medication, and 45 minutes later, my migraine was gone, but I felt woozy and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to play. I feel good now though.”

Although Penedo felt some migraine symptoms earlier in the week, the Panamanian says that he has practiced for three days without any lingering effects which could mean that he returns to the starting XI this weekend.

“I feel ready. I trained very well over the last few days, but now I’m ready. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t start; especially considering that Bruce Arena gave me the opportunity but it was taken away due to the migraine. I’m ready and I need to play so I await the coach’s decision.”