LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski looks back on Champions League triumph with Borussia Dortmund
With their 4-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund appear to have one foot firmly planted in the UEFA Champions League Final.
The Germans victory is a special one for LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, who was on the books at Dortmund during their last victory in the Champions League. Kirovski became the first American to ever win the Champions League when Dortmund knocked off Italian giants Juventus to win the 1996/1997 UEFA Champions League title. To date, Kirovski remains the only American to ever win the Champions League and subsequently the only American to win the Intercontinental Cup, which was the predecessor of the World Club Championship.
Kirovski admits to pulling for his former club despite being close friends with Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who was Kirovski's teammate in 2006 with the Colorado Rapids. Now more than a decade removed from Dortmund's last Champions League triumph, Kirovski looks back on his distinction as the first American to lift the European Cup.
“Back then, I didn’t even think about it, but now when I do, it’s special. I was part of a team that was full world superstars and to be a part of that was special," Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. "Not many people get an opportunity to do that not only with the Champions League, but the World Club Championship and to be a part of something like that as an American, not many get that opportunity and it’s a great experience.”
Might the LA Galaxy be prepared to sign another Homegrown Player?
According to a report by Top Drawer Soccer, the LA Galaxy are set to sign 18-year-old Raul Mendiola, who has spent the last two years with the club’s Under-18 side. Mendiola, who was raised in San Bernardino, would be the club’s sixth Homegrown signing ever.
Mendiola has been a regular with the club’s Reserve side over the past year and participated in the club’s Dallas Cup campaign last month.
LA Galaxy Insider reached out to the club and they did not comment on the report.
What are your thoughts about the report?
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The LA Galaxy Foundation held their annual Reading Garden event this Tuesday at Annalee Avenue Elementary School in Carson.
Several LA Galaxy players participated in the event, but I spoke to midfielder Rafael Garcia about his participation in the video below.
Check it out.
The LA Galaxy finalized their Reserve League match with USL Pro side Los Angeles Blues earlier this week.
LA will take on the Blues on May 7 at The Home Depot Center's U.S. Soccer Field #1 at 7 p.m. Admission and parking for that match is free. The second match between the two clubs will take place at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that match are available through the USL Pro side's website.
CARSON, Calif. –In his third season in MLS, Jack McBean appears to be settling into a role as a regular member in the LA Galaxy starting XI.
McBean has started in four of the Galaxy’s six games in all competitions while amassing two goals and an assist. I wrote this piece about McBean’s rise and his desire to turn his appearances into goals for LAGalaxy.com.
Following practice on Tuesday, McBean touched on a number of topics including his status with the U.S. Under-20’s, how his life is different than other teenagers his age and the rise of Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney.
McBean’s comments are below…
(On his status with the Under-20’s after not being called up to the April training camp…)
MCBEAN: “Not really worrying about it, I’m just focusing on the Galaxy and my role with the team right now. I know that if I do well with this team then it’s up to [U.S. Under-20 head coach] Tab [Ramos]. He’s called me in before and there’s a bunch of good players.”
(On how his life is different than other teenagers…)
MCBEAN: “I had to grow up a lot, but it’s easier to go back home. I’m still living at home and seeing all my best friends every day. My life is different than most people, but at the same time, I’m still doing most normal things that high school kids do.”
(On the rise of young forward Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney…)
MCBEAN: “It’s awesome. He’s been scoring a lot of goals…It’s cool to see another young kid get opportunities and he’s making the most of it.”
CARSON, Calif. – A nagging sports hernia injury sidelined LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk, but now fully recovered, the backup goalkeeper is hungry to get back on the training field.
The Galaxy backup ‘keeper has been sidelined since March 16 after undergoing sports hernia surgery, which allowed LA’s third goalkeeper Brian Rowe to slide into the second spot behind starting ‘keeper Carlo Cudicini. His recovery finally completed, Perk returned to training this week.
“I feel really excited to get back as opposed to when you’ve been training for two months; you take it a little for granted. When you’ve been out for a month and some change, it’s really exciting,” Perk told LA Galaxy Insider. “It’s good to be back with all the guys, I missed them for a good two weeks. It’s not normal and it feels good to get back with everyone.”
First things first, however, as Perk understands that he must impress in training to win back his role as LA’s first choice backup.
“You always have to earn it back,” said Perk. “Brian Rowe obviously looks really good and is playing well as of late. I have to come in and work hard because nothing is given to you and I know that.”
Head coach Bruce Arena, who kept an eagle eye on Perk during his recuperation from surgery, has been impressed thus far.
“He looks good. He looks like he is fully recovered,” Arena said. “He’s done a good job of rehabilitating from surgery and he’s ready to go.”
The 23-year-old will look to make his first appearance since the preseason on Sunday when the Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake in Reserve League play. The match would be Perk’s first appearance since the Galaxy’s 6-2 preseason victory over Club Tijuana on February 19.
“We haven’t talked about it yet [with the coaching staff], we’ll see how the end of the week goes, but I’m going to be pushing for minutes, but those things are up to Bruce so we’ll see,” said Perk.
If he does see time in that reserve fixture, it’d be a major boost to Perk’s continued recovery.
“It’d be great, especially so quickly after I got healthy. To get however minutes would be great,” Perk said. “It’d help get the motions back and since we have a lot of games coming up. I’ll do anything to do what I can to get on the field when Bruce sees fit.”
Three players with LA Galaxy connections were called up by U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos for the team's upcoming camp at The Home Depot Center from April 22 to April 29.
Galaxy Homegrown Players Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal were named to the squad along with Galaxy Academy defender Javan Torre. The training camp will likely serve as one of the final proving grounds for players ahead of the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey which takes place from June 21 to July 13.
The camp is an immense opportunity for Sorto who has not been called up since prior to the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup in February. During the training camp, Sorto will be locked into a battle for the contentious the starting right back position along with Seattle Sounders FC's DeAndre Yedlin.
Torre and Villarreal were both regulars for the U-20's during their second-place finish in Puebla.
Another former member of the Galaxy Academy, Jeffrey Payeras who is currently with Guatemalan giants C.S.D Municipal was also called by Ramos.
The complete roster is below...
GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
DEFENDERS: AJ Cochran (Wisconsin; St. Louis, Mo.), Sean Cunningham (Molde FK; Troy, Mich.), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (C.D. Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Jeffrey Payeras (C.S.D. Municipal; Hawthorne, Calif.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marlon Hairston (Louisville; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (Wake Forest; Chevy Chase, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS: Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Alfred Koroma (Akron; Southlake, Texas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy; Mercer Island, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps; El Paso, Texas), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)
CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan had a message for his MLS opponents after notching a goal and an assist in the LA Galaxy's 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City: “Don’t count the old guy out just yet, I still have a little bit left to give.”
Below several of Donovan's teammates talk about his performance:
ROBBIE KEANE: “You have to give people a bit of time. It takes a four or five games to get into the swings of things. It doesn’t matter how much fitness you do away from the team or on the training field, it’s the match sharpness that is the one that is going to get you and that will only come with playing 90 minutes most week. He’s played three or four games now and when you score a goal and set one up it breeds confidence.”
TODD DUNIVANT: "He was great. Definitely his best performance yet. He's gotten better and better, we know that it is still going to take more time for him to get back to his standard, but to have him where he is now is great. It obviously makes a huge difference of opening up the game and getting in behind defenses."
A.J. DELAGARZA: "I told him earlier that he was going to get his first goal tonight and Robbie gave him a peach so it was great for him to get that momentum and confidence and hopefully he can score some more."
MARCELO SARVAS: "He's getting back and back. He missed preseason and, of course, he needs time. We've trained two or three months more than him, but now he's getting his shape back. Just give him time."
What did you think of Donovan's showing? Expect more next week?
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CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy picked up a 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday to move to 3-1-2 on the year.
A few notes are below....
*Marcelo Sarvas' goal snapped LA's streak of 279 minutes and was the first goal since A.J. DeLaGarza scored in the 17th minute of the Galaxy's 2-1 defeat to Monterrey on April 3.
*Sporting Kansas City's shutout streak ended at 545 minutes, which is fifth-best in MLS history and second-best in Kansas City's club history.
*The LA Galaxy snap their winless mark at four games in all competitions.
*LA's 2-0 win over Sporting is the club's fourth shutout of the season and first since March 23.
*The crowd of 25,908 was the largest of crowd of the year to date at The Home Depot Center.
*Landon Donovan's goal was his first in 2013.
Agree with my observations?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening to snap a four-game winless streak, but although the scoreline was flattering, LA had plenty of respect for their dispatched opponent.
Prior to Marcelo Sarvas’ goal in the 27th minute, Sporting had strung together a 545 minute shutout streak, which is the fifth best in MLS history. Even after the goal, the game remained a back-and-forth affair with both sides testing one another until Landon Donovan scored the dagger in the 74th minute of play to put the game out of reach.
While the season may just be in its infancy, based on Saturday’s performance and Sporting’s early success, Donovan admitted that he would not be surprised to see Sporting in the thick of things come playoff time.
“They’re a very good team. I would guess that team would look different if they hadn't played in New York on Wednesday and traveled here,” Donovan told reporters. “There’s no question they didn’t have everything they normally do, but they still put up a good fight. They’re a good team and I wouldn't be surprised if they end up coming out of the East.”
Donovan also had plenty of praise for Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi, who many consider to be the heir apparent to the Galaxy veteran with the U.S. National Team.
“I think Graham has been terrific. Aside from the on the field stuff, I think that he’s handled everything really well,” said Donovan referring to the pressure Zusi has faced. “I know that he gets asked a lot about all this stuff and I said to him after the game that he’s doing a great job of handling it. You could tell tonight that he wasn't completely on his game, but he has moments where he has something special.
“I think that he’s done a great job, he’s someone that deserves to be where he’s at and I look forward to continuing to battle back and forth with him and continue to push each other.”