CARSON, Calif. -- On Saturday, the LA Galaxy will likely be without captain Landon Donovan for a fifth consecutive match, but with LA’s attack rolling as of late, the Galaxy believe that rest rather playing time will be most beneficial for Donovan.
Although Donovan has not played since LA’s 4-0 victory over Chivas USA on August 12th due to international duty and a left hamstring strain suffered on international duty, the Galaxy have had no trouble putting the ball in the back of the net. In Donovan’s absence, the Galaxy have gone 3-0-1 in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play notching 12 goals in that span.
On Friday, following LA’s final training session, head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that while Donovan is on the mend, it is doubtful that he will contribute. If Donovan is unable to go, it is likely that either 18-year-old forward Jose Villarreal or veteran Mike Magee will be partnered alongside Robbie Keane on Saturday’s match. Another option is returning forward Edson Buddle, who made his first appearance since late-May during LA’s CCL win over Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday.
Below are thoughts from David Beckham and Keane on playing without Donovan…
BECKHAM: “Obviously, he’s still struggling with his hamstring, but he’s got to get it right, obviously we want him fit for the rest of the season so there is no point in him rushing back if he’s still feeling it because it’s better that he gets it right before he even steps on the field.”
KEANE: “Jose has done well and Mikey [Magee] has done well up front as well. So it depends on what the manager is going to go with, but either way the two guys are good enough and they’ve shown that in the last game. In the last games, we’ve been doing well and we haven’t been losing too many games.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The Vancouver Whitecaps’ attack may be sputtering as of late, with just one goal in three games, but the LA Galaxy are keenly aware that with their talented midfield, the ‘Caps represent a challenge.
Vancouver’s midfield gave everything that the Galaxy could handle in the first half of their last game in mid-July in BC Place tallying two goals, before LA roared back to earn a 2-2 draw. In the first half of that match, the midfield pair of Barry Robson and Gerson Koffie overwhelmed LA’s midfield early on tallying two quick goals.
However, in the second half, the Galaxy flipped the script and began to dominate possession before scoring a pair of goals en route to a 2-2 draw. Something that the Galaxy are aware that they need to duplicate if they are to defeat Vancouver on Saturday.
Below are thoughts from midfielders’ David Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas…
BECKHAM: “We know that they’ve got players that can go through the team and create chances and cause problems for us. If we play as well as we did in the second half against them in the last game if we play like we did in the first half, then we won’t be. We know that they’re a good team and we know that they’ve got a couple of good players, but as long.”
SARVAS: “We have to play smart, we know that every team that comes here to play against us, they come here with double motivation. They come to steal points and we have to do our game, to keep the ball, to play hard in the attack and keep a tight defense and limit chances.”
CARSON, Calif. -- While the rest of the soccer playing world was focused on the madness of the closing of the summer transfer window, the LA Galaxy were preparing for their game on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Although the Galaxy's day was not without its own moments of intrigue, the Galaxy appear set for Saturday's clash against their Western Conference rivals. It appears likely that the Galaxy will have David Beckham available for selection as the midfielder has recovered from a stomach illness that troubled him during Sunday's victory over FC Dallas.
Below are Beckham's thoughts on his illness, transfer day and the perception of American players in Europe...
(On his health...)
BECKHAM: "I'm feeling a little bit better. I only just felt better over the last couple of days. I'm glad that's out of the way. I think it was just a bug that was running through the family. Romeo's got it now, but I'm better myself, thank goodness."
(On transfer day...)
BECKHAM: "To be honest, playing at Manchester United, we were never really aware of it. I was never part of a countdown so to speak, but it's always exciting. There is always a couple of panic buys right at the end and people trying to rush players through. It's exciting to watch, but I'm sure that it's not too exciting to be part of."
(On the perception of American players in Europe...)
BECKHAM: It's definitely changed in the past five to ten years. When you see a player like Dempsey doing well and scoring the goals that he has at Fulham and obviously when Landon went over to Everton, he did well. I think that people now in Europe take American players a lot more seriously then ten or 15 years ago. I'm not disrespecting that, but I think that the level has definitely gone up. It's due to a manager like Jurgen Klinsmann going into the US team with his experience and bringing young players through. I know that he's only been there a short time, but I think that he's done really well. When you've got young players coming through, people take notice. I spoke about it in the past about big European teams coming to the US and spending their preseasons because the level competes with some of the teams and gives them good physical training. It's definitely changed."
(On whether Europe looked down on American players in the past...)
BECKHAM: "We all knew ten or 15 years ago that soccer wasn't as popular as one of the big sports in the US and I think that's definitely changed. But now you have got big teams like Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid all coming over to the US and wanting to play against teams and looking at players over in the US. And you've got teams in Europe taking US guys...going over to Europe and doing well."
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena stated that it was “doubtful” that LA captain Landon Donovan would play for LA’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
Donovan did not take part in practice on Friday and has missed LA’s last three games since returning from international duty with a left hamstring strain. Following practice, Arena addressed Donovan’s status.
ARENA: “He’s close to returning, but he’ll need a little more time.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy Insider understands that Sweden international midfielder Christian "Chippen" Wilhelmsson trained with the club during their Friday training session.
Wilhelmsson, 32, who is currently out of contract has represented Sweden 78 times and played for numerous clubs including Anderlecht, Roma, Bolton and most recently Middle Eastern clubs Al Hilal and Al Ahli has been linked to the Galaxy according to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.
In terms of the 30 allowed roster spots, LA has 29 spots filled and while the club does have all seven international spots filled, one of those spots is being held by center back Leonardo, who is currently on the disabled list. Thus freeing the club up to make a move should one arise.
Following practice, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena deflected questions about Wilhelmsson:
ARENA: “I have no comment. You know when we sign a player, we announce it. We don’t go into the rumor mill; we’ve been pretty accurate in the things that we say so if there is an opportunity to sign a player, you’ll be aware of it.”’
(On whether Wilhelmsson was training with the club…)
ARENA: “I haven’t seen him.”
(On whether he was a player spotted wearing number nine before practice…)
ARENA: “That’s a guy that plays for Virginia Beach Mariners. His name is Joe Butler.”
Good Morning to everyone out there...
A couple of notes to get you going:
*The U.S. Soccer Development Avademy will launch a Under-13/14 program in the Fall of 2013. This includes all current Development Academy teams including the Galaxy.
*Each team in the CONCACAF Champions League has played two games at the moment and going into the final two matchdays, the LA Galaxy would currently be the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals against lowest seed Xelaju. Meanwhile, Santos Laguna would face Honduran club Olimpia, Monterrey would take on city rival Tigres UNAL and the Seattle Sounders would take on Costa Rican club Herediano. Of course, it is still early in the competition so we'll see how this all plays out.
We'll have more from training this afternoon.
It is time for the fifth edition of "Ask the Insider"
After Wednesday's 4-0 LA Galaxy victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders, today's question comes from Christian LA who asks: Out of all the "reserve" players...who was your standout player?"
The LA Galaxy's 4-0 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders was certainly a comprehensive one with several standout players including the likes of Jose Villarreal and Michael Stephens, but for me, the night belonged to rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia.
While Garcia did not get on the score sheet, the 23-year-old rookie midfielder from Cal-State Northridge was integral in the Galaxy's midfield dominance of the Islanders. With Garcia partnered alongside Kenney Walker and Stephens in the midfield, the trio overwhelmed the Islanders through an industrious play and high work ethic which has been forged in Reserve League play. The trio were particularly effective in their distribution as they completed 135 of their 164 total passes for a completion rate of 82%. Much of LA's ability to complete passes came down to the play of Garcia, who controlled the center of the park by repeatedly winning challenges in midfield and then sending passes forward towards goal -- completing 38 of his 46 total passes on the night.
Although, the rookie midfielder faces a stern test to earn a starting role in a stacked Galaxy midfield, with his superior decision making and tenacity on full display during his performance against the Islanders, Garcia may become more of a presence on Galaxy game day rosters during the stretch run.
Thanks Christian, you can get your tickets by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against the Colorado Rapids on September 14th for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.
CARSON, Calif. – Rested after the LA Galaxy reserve squad picked up an important 4-0 victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders, LA’s starters returned to the training field on Thursday to prepare for this Saturday’s clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The club’s traditional starting XI took part in training while players that participated in Wednesday’s match took part in a regeneration session off the field. Midfielder David Beckham was one of the players that took part in the session with Beckham stating as he walked off the field that he “feels better” after suffering through a stomach illness last Sunday’s match against FC Dallas.
Meanwhile, LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan did not take part in the club’s on the field training, but Donovan did work out with the Galaxy’s strength coach in the morning.
Below is a quote from LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena on the importance of keeping the starters fresh ahead of Saturday's key Western Conference match.
ARENA: “It was terrific. I don’t understand baseball that much, but I know that they talk all the time when a starter can pitch a lot of innings, it helps the bullpen…Last night, the bullpen helped the starters and those guys being able to log a lot of minutes really did the job for us.”
CARSON, Calif. – After playing a series of Reserve League matches as an outside back, LA Galaxy rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia was right at home in the center of the park during LA’s 4-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday.
Partnered alongside fellow industrious-minded midfielders Michael Stephens and Kenney Walker, the trio out-worked a veteran Puerto Rico group, dominating possession 58.4 to 41.6% on the night. Despite being tested out at outside back earlier in the season, the rookie from Cal-State Northridge did not miss a beat as he repeatedly disrupted Puerto Rico’s attack allowing Stephens and Walker to contribute to the attack.
Following the match, Garcia told reporters that he was pleased to return to the center of the park.
GARCIA: “It felt like home again. Familiar territory, it was good to get out there and run, break a sweat for 90 minutes and credit to all the guys that played tonight. I think they did a great job.”
(On LA’s control of an experienced Puerto Rico midfield…)
GARCIA: “We talked about I think this team playing in the reserve games, our work ethic is second to none. I thought that collectively we defended well, attacked as a unit so, like I said, credit to all the guys that played tonight and they guys that scored.”
(On the taking pride in winning an important game as youngsters…)
GARCIA: “Absolutely, we all want to show that we belong here and that whenever we get called upon we’re ready, so I thought the group was extremely, extremely well tonight in that sense. We’re just looking to make the best of our opportunities, I know myself, I’m just trying to work hard and make a name for myself and I think everyone that stepped on the field today gave 110% today.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Youth paid off for the LA Galaxy on Wednesday as a lineup that included nine players under the age of 23 and five rookies demolished the Puerto Rico Islanders, 4-0 in CONCACAF Champions League play.
Leading the charge on Wednesday were a pair of teenage Homegrown forwards in Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal. The pair created numerous scoring chances in the first half before McBean helped set up Villarreal's goal just seconds into the second half. Although a collision on the goal ultimately forced Villarreal from the match, McBean would bag his own goal in the 80th minute of play.
Following the victory, both young strikers were pleased with their partnership.
MCBEAN: "I think we kind of work off each other a little bit. I see him running, so I kind of want to help him out. And we’ve played together in then Academy for a year now; it’s always good playing with a really skillful guy under me that I can lay the ball off to him. I know he’s got my back and I’ve got his and well work for each other and work hard."
VILLARREAL: "We played a young team with me and Jack up top, but me and jack played in academy together so we knew each other pretty well and I think we did a good job and we got the win which was good."