adam serrano

27 April 1:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY -- We're just hours away from a clash that will see LA Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake in a true battle of Western Conference Powers. 

Below are a series of links, matchups to watch and a predicted lineup to get you going before kick off. 

LINKS

*Bruce Arena spoke to the media in Southern California prior to the Galaxy's departure to Utah

*Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are each trying to complete their fitness test to be fit for Saturday's match.

*Marcelo Sarvas enjoyed a strong game against Sporting KC, but can he repeat his success against RSL

*Omar Gonzalez on the challenges of facing RSL forward Alvaro Saborio

*Are the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake rivals? I asked a few Galaxy players to find out

*LAGalaxy.com Larry Morgan provided a preview of Saturday's clash

*Lastly, my Three Points to the match. 

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

Jack McBean vs. Nat Borchers

McBean's profile has grown in recent weeks as he has become a staple in LA's starting XI, but he'll likely be in for a serious test against Borchers, who is one of the strongest defenders in MLS. 

Omar Gonzalez vs. Alvaro Saborio

A true clash of the titans between the powerhouse forward and the sturdy defender. Expect a physical battle as Gonzalez looks to prevent Saborio from using his speed to get behind LA's defense. 

Marcelo Sarvas/Juninho vs. Kyle Beckerman/Javier Morales

The match may very well turn on this battle of veteran midfielders. Expect LA's Brazilian duo to attempt to sufficate Morales as he looks to lead RSL's attack while also trying to prevent Beckerman from sending in piercing balls into the attacking third. 

PREDICTED LINEUP:

Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Magee, Sarvas, Juninho, Clark; McBean, Keane

27 April 10:56 am

CARSON, Calif. -- Jack McBean is racking up starts and appearances for the LA Galaxy, but whether or not he'll be a member of the U.S. Under-20 team remains a question mark and according to U-20 head coach Tab Ramos, he has plenty of work in front of him.

McBean has made nine appearances in all competitions with four starts -- all in MLS play -- with two goals and one assist. McBean was last named to a U.S. U-20 camp last December in Florida and on Friday, Ramos offered his assement of the 18-year-old forward. 

“Jack is a player that we like a lot. He's a good player. I think he continues to be on our depth chart, but he's not one of the ones that we're looking at right now as we go with the top five or six forwards that we have. He's not one of those," said Ramos. "Now, with the experience that we've had so far with so many injuries. In the end, he could end up on the team as well. But we don't know.”

During this U-20 camp, Ramos called up six forwards: Vancouver Whitecaps FC's Omar Salgado, Santos Laguna's Daniel Cuevas, Chicago Fire's Victor Pineda as well as college players Danny Garcia and Alfred Koroma as well as Seattle Sounders Academy forward Jordan Morris.

Meanwhile, Ramos named forwards Jerome Kiesewetter, Mario Rodriguez and Brandon Allen to the U.S. roster for the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. 

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What are your thoughts on Ramos' comments? Should McBean be named to the squad?

Share your thoughts below. 

27 April 10:22 am

CARSON, Calif. – Saturday’s clash between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake will have no shortage of marquee matchups, but the game may turn on the battle between LA defender Omar Gonzalez and RSL forward Alvaro Saborío.

Although Saborío has terrorized MLS defenses with 43 regular season goals throughout his four year stint in the league, Gonzalez and LA have mostly held the Costa Rican in check as he has tallied just one goal and two assists in six regular season games against the Galaxy. In six games so far in 2013, Saborio has scored three goals with a single assist. 

Gonzalez has had success against the burly Costa Rican in recent matchups including their clash while with their respective national teams in an epic World Cup qualifier at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park that was marred by intense snowfall.

As for how Gonzalez intends to slow down Saborío, it will depend on being able to keep the Costa Rican in front of him.  

“He’s a really good player, talented with a good touch on the ball. He likes to hold the ball and make good runs. You just have to always keep your eye on him, play him hard and just the key thing is to not let him have any open looks.”

27 April 7:30 am

CARSON, Calif. – Marcelo Sarvas enjoyed one of the finest games of his MLS career last Saturday as he tallied a goal and an assist in the LA Galaxy’s 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City.

The Brazilian’s performance was a complete one as he bossed the midfield and frequently provided pressure in the center of the park that overwhelmed Kansas City and helped spark several dangerous chances on the counter attack.

On Saturday, Sarvas will look to duplicate his performance against in a talented RSL side led by Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman, who form the spine of the club’s midfield diamond.

“Everyone knows that it’s hard to play [in Salt Lake],” Sarvas told LA Galaxy Insider. “They have a good team and it’s a team that is very confident with the ball so they keep it and pass it around. We expect a very difficult game like always.”

As for maintaining the same high-pressure defense that enjoyed success against Sporting, Sarvas is quick to note that LA must keep their guard up against an RSL side that will be eager to dictate the tempo.  

“We have to be smart,” said Sarvas. “We’re playing away from home. We can’t give them the space that they like in the center because they build a lot of plays from the center so we can’t give them that space. Also, of course, try to steal the ball and go fast on the counter.”

26 April 4:09 pm

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to the media on Friday in the club’s final training session before departing for their match against Real Salt Lake.

Arena’s thoughts are below…

(On what he expects in Salt Lake…)

ARENA: “I expect to see a beautiful scenery, lovely mountains, great stadium, and nice fan base. Hopefully, two good teams playing a good game.”

(On what he expects to see from Real Salt Lake’s team…)

ARENA: “They’ve had a good start to the season…they had to redesign their team a little bit and now they’re getting their veteran players back so over the last couple of weeks they’ve played better. Obviously, everyone targets the Galaxy game so we expect them to have a good group of experienced players on the field, probably [Kyle] Beckerman returning, possibly [Chris] Wingert, but a good team.”

(On how RSL is different…)

ARENA: “They’re a good team, they have good centerbacks, they’ve had to rbuild with [Chris] Schuler in place of [Jamison] Olave. Wingert has missed the whole season to date, Beckerman has looked rusty a little bit, [Javier] Morales came in late, so the difference is that they’ve had a few injuries…they still have good players who can step in for them and have stepped in for them so they haven’t missed a beat at all.”

(On whether he expected Landon Donovan to play on Saturday…)

ARENA: “We haven’t made any final decisions at this point. With our lineup with our anything. We will decide that in the next hour or so.”

(On Robbie Keane’s status and the fact he was not out at training during media availability…)

ARENA: “Robbie, we’re expecting him to play…Frequently especially the older players, we’ll keep them in at different times during the week and we’ve chosen to do that with Robbie.”

(On whether Keane’s ankle has been bothering him…)

ARENA: “Among other things. He’s 32-years-old, everything is always bothering him.”

(On whether he could see a situation where neither Keane nor Donovan is available…)

ARENA: “That always happens. It’s happened already this year…We have no comments on our lineup or on our injury status at this point.”

(On whether Jose Villarreal could travel to Real Salt Lake…)

ARENA: “Haven’t made that decision yet. In the next hour, we’ll figure out the team that is traveling, but all our guys are probably going to be in Salt Lake because we have a reserve game anyway. It’s likely we’ll have a full complement of players.”

26 April 4:07 pm

LAGalaxy.com's Paolo Ferrari has provided a video preview for this Saturday's clash against Real Salt Lake.

Check out the interviews of LA Galaxy Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan, defender Sean Franklin and midfielder Mike Magee below.

26 April 4:03 pm

The LA Galaxy are off to Utah for their match against Real Salt Lake.

Ahead of Saturday's match check out my Three Points to the game. 

Three Points: LA Galaxy look to build a winning streak against Real Salt Lake

25 April 6:04 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will take on fellow Western Conference foe Real Salt Lake this weekend at Rio Tinto Stadium in a match that is always a competitive one. 

So competitive that RealSaltLake.com has provided this nifty infographic that offers a breakdown on the series between the two Western Conference powers. Whether it is the 2009 MLS Cup or 2011 Western Conference Championship or just regular season clashes, matches between the two teams are always intriguing, but does that make them rivals?

I asked several Galaxy about their view of RSL and whether or not they consider them to be a rival.

Their thoughts are below...

SEAN FRANKLIN: "They are. I feel like they've been a rival since we lost to them in MLS Cup in 2009. Our games are always hectic against them. We've played them a couple times now in the playoffs and in the regular season, it's tough against them. Last year, we went [to Rio Tinto Stadium] and got a big come from behind win against them. It's always a tough game against those guys and they're a good team, a smart team that is well-coached. We're looking forward to the challenge this weekend."

MIKE MAGEE: "This is my fifth year here and every [year], you get the feeling that if you want to win an [MLS Cup] or [Supporters' Shield], you're going to have to play Salt Lake. It's obviously good to try and get in their heads early and win one at their place because you know that there's a decent chance that if you want to win a Cup then you're going to have to play a game in Salt Lake so that's the feeling." 

A.J. DELAGARZA: “I think so. The last few years, there’s been some pretty good games between us two. Obviously losing in the MLS Cup final left a bitter taste so that’s why it makes them a rival for me, I guess.”

LANDON DONOVAN: "I guess, yeah, every team is a rival...We’ve had some really good games with them over the years and I guess you create rivalries by playing important games against teams that mean something and we’ve had a lot of that over the last few years,” said Donovan. “All that says to me is that we’re two teams that are consistently very good and that comes down to the stability of the organizations, the stability of the coaches and having good players and leaders on the field, which I think both of our teams have.”

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Is Real Salt Lake a rival of the LA Galaxy? 

Share your thoughts below.

25 April 5:22 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is not the only question mark for the LA Galaxy heading into this Saturday’s match against Real Salt Lake as Robbie Keane’s status appears up in the air due to a left ankle issue.

Keane was spotted walking off the club’s training field prior to the opening of media availability on Friday, but when asked about the matter, Galaxy Associate head coach Dave Sarachan stated that the move was purely precautionary.

“We’re still sort of getting our legs back from a number of games and travel and Robbie has a little bit of an issue with his [left] ankle,” said Sarachan. “He was just being a little bit precautionary in terms of making sure that he didn’t push it too much. He may have tweaked it a little bit, but I think he’ll probably be fine.”

Donovan, who is dealing with an injury of his own after suffering a strained right leg against Sporting Kansas City last Saturday, is confident that Keane can return to action.

“He’s been iffy for a long time with his ankle and played through it,” said Donovan. “He’s a tough guy and this is the same as any week and hopefully he’s okay to go.”

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Expect Keane to participate? Who should start if Donovan and Keane are unable to go?

Share your thoughts below. 

25 April 1:18 pm

CARSON, Calif. – In an interview with reporters in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stated that Landon Donovan still has a ways to go before he earns his way back into the U.S. setup and on Thursday, the LA Galaxy attacker agreed.

Klinsmann talked to reporters at length on Wednesday about Donovan’s status with the National Team stating that there are “players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan in how we see things.”

The Galaxy forward is coming off a stellar game in which he notched a goal and an assist in LA’s 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City with Klinsmann in attendance at The Home Depot Center. However, he is clearly aware that he’ll have to have more than just one solid game to work his way back into the national team.

“I agree with him. Just because you score a goal and have a good game doesn’t mean that you’re a National Team player. I’ve said from the beginning that I have to earn my way back and playing one good game doesn’t earn your way back. I still have a long way to go.”

Donovan has made just eight appearances for the National Team in their last 25 fixtures and during his conversation with reporters, Klinsmann touched on concerns about Donovan mixing into the team’s chemistry, forged during their recent World Cup Qualifying campaign.

“[Chemistry] is important. That’s been in the staple of our national team all the years that I’ve been there,” said Donovan. “What makes us able to compete with the best teams in the world is that we have this strong bond and this strong group and chemistry that I don’t think other teams have. So when you’re away from the team for a time, you’re a bit of an outsider. I want to get back in; I want to get back involved so that I can be a part of it.

“I don’t worry about fitting in, but I need to be there to be able to gel with everybody.”

Following his strong performance in his fifth game since his absence from the club, Donovan believes that the answer to earning his spot is simple. He’s got to play well.

“I have to continue to build on what I did last weekend, but after that there’s still no guarantee,” said Donovan. “Like Jurgen said, I’m well behind the group in a lot of ways and I’m aware of that. All I want is a chance to prove that I belong and I’m going to have to work hard just to get that chance.”

But do Klinsmann’s comments provide any extra motivation or incentive for Donovan? Not at all.

“I know how to motivate myself now. Listen, Jurgen was asked a question and he was answering honestly. I would answer the same way if I was in his position,” asserted Donovan. “I don’t need extra incentive. I’m motivated and I want to get back there. If it doesn't happen, it doesn’t happen, but I’m going to try my best.”