CARSON, Calif. – Three LA Galaxy players are off to train with Swedish side Hammarby, but that doesn’t mean that a certain player currently in Sweden whose rights LA own is on his way to StubHub Center.
The Galaxy obtained the rights to Hammarby midfielder Baggio Hušidić last month from the Colorado Rapids as part of a deal that sent Pablo Mastroeni to LA, in exchange for an international roster spot and a second round draft choice. A former member of the Chicago Fire, Hušidić has made nine appearances for Hammarby this season, but hasn't appeared in a match for the Swedish Superettan club since May.
Technical Director Jovan Kirovski touched on Hušidić's during my interview with him on Tuesday and noted that no move was imminent.
“Right now, the [three players] are going over to train, so no,” said Kirovski when asked if Hušidić could be on his way to LA as part of the training stint. “We have the rights to him, and that could happen in the future, but this is just about these kids.”
CARSON, Calif. – Three LA Galaxy youngsters began a European excursion on Monday.
Bryan Gaul, Charlie Rugg, and Kenney Walker began training with Swedish Superettan side Hammarby this week as they look to gain European experience. The trio has been used sparingly by LA this season and the opportunity to train in Europe provides them with a different type of experience for their young careers. Rugg and Walker have already begun their training and can be seen here training with the club on Tuesday alongside new signing and former New York Red Bulls forward Luke Rodgers.
I spoke to LA Galaxy club President Chris Klein on Sunday prior to the club’s 2-0 victory over FC Dallas about the move. Klein currently sits on the board of directors at Hammarby and also played alongside former Galaxy center back and current Hammarby head coach Gregg Berhalter.
My conversation with Klein is below...
LA GALAXY INSIDER: (On your thoughts on the three players training with Hammarby…)
KLEIN: “I think from a general standpoint, we're always looking to do more with [Hammarby]. We feel that it’s a good place for our players to develop. I think if you look at MLS and you look at where Hammarby is in Sweden, it becomes ripe for someone like Kenney Walker, Bryan Gaul, and Charlie Rugg to get valuable experience. The three of those players are in positions of need for Hammarby, but initially, [they're] going over to train. They’re going over so Gregg can take a look. We're constantly looking to get a better idea of how the level over there compares to the level over here, so we can do more stuff with them in the end.”
LAGI: (Is this a trial?)
KLEIN: “I wouldn't say that it is a trial. It’s a trial for us more than it is specifically for those three players. Gregg knows them, he’s seen film on them, but yeah, in the end, it’s a good opportunity for these players to get a new experience for a couple of weeks and see how they do.”
LAGI: (Would you explore the possibility of a loan…)
KLEIN: “That’s the conversations that we're going to have at the end of two weeks - if there is a possibility possibly to loan one, two or all of those players there where they can get better minutes and move themselves along to further their development. From a Galaxy standpoint, we don’t feel that just playing in MLS Reserve League games as they are right now, is enough to move our players along. Possibly next year if we have a USL team that is playing on a regular basis with a little extra pressure there, but this is a team that is fighting for promotion at Hammarby. There’s pressure there, we feel the level is very high, we know the coach, and we can montior the progress of these players. From Hammarby’s point of view, they need a little bit more quality in the team and [they're] constantly searching for that quality. They signed a forward that used to play in MLS to play at Hammarby [Rodgers], so they're looking to get a little more quality at a few different positions, which specifically Bryan, Kenney, and Charlie play.”
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are just four points out of the lead for the MLS Supporters’ Shield.
Let that sink in just a little bit. Done? Okay.
For all of LA’s struggles—poor results against San Jose, Chivas USA, and New York Red Bulls come to mind right off the bat—they are within striking distance of MLS leaders Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy continued their rise up the standings on Sunday with their victory with a comprehensive win over FC Dallas that sealed their second straight victory and their third in four games.
Following the victory, I asked different members of the Galaxy to reflect on the club’s proximity to the top of the table.
Thoughts from Bruce Arena, Marcelo Sarvas, Hector Jimenez, and Robbie Rogers are below…
ARENA: “I try to tell you guys that you have to be a little bit patient. Hopefully we can position ourselves first of all to be in the playoffs and second of all, to challenge in the conference for the first spot. But there is a lot of soccer ahead, but we need to be patient and grow along the way. Hopefully we're doing this at the right time.”
SARVAS: “That’s our target. When you play for the Galaxy, you have to fight for first position. Our target has been first place and we're going to run for it.”
JIMENEZ: “Hopefully. It’s a long season and some of the teams are dying right now. Hopefully, we can creep up and get back to the top. We talked about this being a six point game and it was really important for us.”
ROGERS: “It’s crazy, isn't it? To think that some of the other games would have gone our way like San Jose or some of the other games, we could have been on top already. You learn your lessons and you grow as a team during the season. I think that builds character.”
Think the Galaxy can reach the league summit?
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After overcoming late fitness test, Robbie Keane takes MLS assist lead with stellar showing against FC Dallas
CARSON, Calif. – Another game and another impressive performance by LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane.
A threat seemingly each time that he touched the ball, Keane notched two assists and set up several more scoring chances as the Galaxy won their second straight on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas. The two assists give Keane eight on the year, which is a league-high. The performance sealed quite a week for Keane, who scored two goals and two assists in two matches last week
However, Keane nearly missed out on LA's clash with Dallas, but passed a late fitness test in order to start on Sunday.
“I had a swollen knee so I had to get fluid taken out yesterday in the hospital,” said Keane. “It was kind of touch-and-go before the game, so I’ve come along way the last two days to get myself fit. Lucky enough I felt 80 percent.”
Although his status was in doubt, Galaxy boss Bruce Arena admits that it would take quite a blow to keep his captain off the field.
“He took a blow in a game against Columbus on Thursday and he was a last minute decision whether he could play tonight and you can see that he’s the last guy that’s not going to play,” said Arena.
He’d have to be in real bad shape not to play. So, his competitiveness, his hunger to play and to win is contagious.”
As for the league assist lead, just what did Keane think when he found out?
“Thanks for telling me. I don’t really sit and look at it to be honest with you,” said Keane. “As long as we win the championship at the end, I don’t care to be honest with you. It’s always nice, I like setting up goals so it’s always pleasant. I think the position where I play I like to score goals but I think certainly I also like to set up goals as well.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Below are LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena's comments from the club's 2-0 victory over FC Dallas.
(Overall thoughts on result…)
ARENA: “Well, it’s close, not quite there. Tonight was one of our better games on the year. I thought we played very well on both ends of the field. Passing was much improved from the previous couple games. Our movement of the ball was very good. I think we again created chances, finished a couple tonight, could have finished a few more. Rock solid on defending restarts against a team that’s outstanding in the area of attacking restarts. So, I think tonight was a real good win for our team and this week was obviously a good week, so hopefully we can continue to get better. We are starting to now have close to our first group together, which has been close to impossible the whole year. So, I think we are beginning to see signs of becoming a better team.”
(On the defensive performance…)
ARENA: “Omar, A.J., Sean, and Todd played very well tonight. Carlo was real solid, made some excellent punches on defending corners, did a good job there. The midfielder defended very well against a good team, they are a very good team not an easy team to play with. So, tonight was a more complete, coordinated effort by our team.”
(On the play of Marcelo Sarvas…)
ARENA: “A great, great goal. You know we’ve gotten more out of Marcelo and [Juninho] over the last three games getting into the attack. [Marcelo and Juninho] played well tonight against an outstanding group in the middle of the field with Jacobson, and Michel, and Ferreira. They are good, and our guys held up well so it was a real good effort there.”
(On Keane becoming the assist leader in MLS and whether he is pleased…)
ARENA: “I’d like to see him score some more goals. I’m pretty greedy. He can get some goals as well. He’s a very good player. He can set up goals and he can score goals.”
(On Robbie Rogers’ showing…)
ARENA: “It takes a while, his fitness looked really good and his last 60 minutes were really good. A little unlucky [in front of goal]…He’s in good position. His width at times is really good. And Hector [Jimenez], I thought that he had an outstanding performance as well.”
(On the Galaxy being four points out of the Supporters’ Shield…)
“I try to tell you guys that you have to be a little bit patient. A lot of games ahead. There’s 15 important games left and two more at home than away. It’s going to be important. Hopefully we can position ourselves, first of all, to be in the playoffs and second of all, to challenge in the conference for the first spot. But there is a lot of soccer ahead, but we need to be patient and grow along the way. Hopefully we’re doing this at the right time.”
(On Charlie Rugg, Kenney Walker, Bryan Gaul training in Sweden and whether it could turn into a loan…)
ARENA: “It’s good experience for those players…Sure, that’s a club that we know very well.”
(On Robbie Keane’s role with this team…)
ARENA: “Robbie is the leader of our team, he is our captain. He is arguably our best player. Robbie has a great head on his shoulders; he’s a very competitive person. He took a blow in a game against Columbus on Thursday and he was a last minute decision whether he could play tonight and you can see that he’s the last guy that’s not going to play. He’d have to be in real bad shape not to play. So, his competitiveness, his hunger to play and to win is contagious. Besides, his quality, his leadership is critical. Tonight he showed the team that this game was important and he wanted to win and he was there.”
CARSON, Calif. – We’re just a few hours away from tonight’s LA Galaxy match against FC Dallas.
My match look ahead is below…
LINKS TO READ:
Robbie Keane’s status is in question for Sunday after the Irish forward was not seen during the final 15 minutes of practice on Saturday. If he’s unable to go, look for Jose Villarreal to earn the start.
Omar Gonzalez bobbleheads will be given out tonight to the first 10,000 fans at StubHub Center. Gonzalez will need to impress on Sunday if LA is to be successful as he matches up against FC Dallas forward Blas Perez.
For a match preview, here’s LAGalaxy.com Larry Morgan’s view of the game.
Lastly, my Three Points to the game.
“They’ve got some big forwards. They’re a team with a lot of height, so we have to limit their chances especially because we have two or three guys over 6 foot and they’ve about six. It’s going to be a big part of this game. We have to limit their chances because they have quick guys who can whip balls in and big guys who can hold balls up front. It’s going to be a good battle for it.
- LA Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
OMAR GONZALEZ vs. Blas Perez
A true battle of the titans. Expect a physical battle between the two hulking players, who are likely to battle in the final third on every foray forward. Gonzalez will need to keep the Panamanian in front of him at all times, if he is to prevent him from testing the Galaxy net.
MARCELO SARVAS vs. David Ferreira
Expect the Brazilian to pressure the Colombian playmaker early and often as he looks to prevent the 2010 MLS MVP from creating opportunities for Dallas in the attacking third. If Sarvas can put the clamps on Ferreira then FCD will lose a major weapon in the offense.
GYASI ZARDES vs. FC DALLAS DEFENSE
Zardes has piled up the scoring chances over the past four games and he’s sure to get plenty against the shaky Keel. FCD conceded 18 attempts on goal to an inconsistent Chivas side earlier in the week, and are likely to allow plenty of room for the Galaxy to operate on Sunday. However, if Zardes gets past the Dallas back four, he’ll still need to beat FCD’s stellar goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Jimenez, Sarvas, Juninho, Rogers; Zardes, Keane
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane makes the LA Galaxy offense go, but LA may be without the Irish forward for Sunday’s clash against FC Dallas.
Keane was not present during the final 15 minutes of training on Saturday as the club wrapped up preparations for their match against FCD on Sunday. If Keane is unable to start his third match in nine days, then head coach Bruce Arena is likely to turn to either Jack McBean or Jose Villarreal to start alongside Gyasi Zardes.
Villarreal is the frontrunner as the forward drew a penalty in 29 minutes of action during LA’s 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew on Thursday. If he does step into Keane’s boots on Sunday, the 19-year-old forward insists that he won’t allow the pressure get to him.
“I wouldn’t take [playing in place of Keane] as pressure," said Villarreal. "[I just have to] what I’ve been doing lately and what the coaches know that I can do. Just play well and provide as much for the team as I can."
As for what makes his pairing with Zardes different then when he partners up with Keane or Landon Donovan, Villarreal has a simple answer—pure youthful exuberance.
“It’s just a bunch of energy,” said Villarreal. “[You know that if] you’re not running then the other guy is running for you. It’s good to have that. That doesn’t happen a lot. It’s good to have people that you know and people that you grew up playing with.”
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was announced among the top 10 vote-getters in the 2013 MLS All-Star Fan Best XI on Sunday afternoon.
The All-Star selection is the third of Gonzalez’s career as the 24-year-old center back was selected for the squad in 2010 and 2011. Joining him on the list is former Galaxy and current Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee, who has scored 11 goals this season.
Those players selected for the Fan XI received the most votes through three platforms—online at MLSsoccer.com, via text message, and via Twitter. Only 10 players were named to the team as an 11th player—a forward—will be selected as part of the AT&T MLS All-Star ‘In the Game’ Challenge. The player will be chosen based on the number of goals that fans score with that player in FIFA Soccer 13, with one goal equaling one vote. That forward will be announced on July 11.
The MLS All-Stars will face Italian club AS Roma at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. on Wednesday July 31 in the 2013 MLS All-Star Game. It is worth noting that just because a player is selected to the Fan Best XI, he is not necessarily included in the game day roster for the game. Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes will select players based on his own considerations and individual availability, but all players selected by the fans count as All-Stars.
The complete list of players is below.
2013 MLS All-Star Fan XI
Goalkeeper: Raul Fernández (FC Dallas)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Midfielders: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), AT&T ‘In the Game’ forward (TBA – July 11)
CARSON, Calif. – Every time that Omar Gonzalez takes on FC Dallas, the spotlight on the LA Galaxy center back shines just a little brighter.
After all, as a Dallas native, he draws considerable attention from the media in Texas for his success with the Galaxy and the U.S. National Team. But on Sunday, he'll have plenty of attention on him for a totally different reason as he's immortalized in a bobblehead that will be given to the first 10,000 fans at StubHub Center.
However, Gonzalez isn’t too worried about the goings-on off the field; he’s simply focused on stopping a strong Dallas team that sits four points ahead of LA in the Western Conference standings.
“Dallas has had a pretty good first half of the season. They’re a team that’s really hard to beat. Their goalkeeper [Raul Fernandez] is playing really great and saving them in a lot of games. They’ve had a couple comeback wins so they have a lot of character and a lot of fight,” said Gonzalez. “This is a game where we have to have a lot of focus for 90 minutes plus. If we do have the lead, we have to keep them from scoring and play good football.”
For LA to keep Dallas off the scoreboard, Gonzalez must stop FCD’s ultra-physical Panamanian forward Blas Perez, who currently leads the club in goals with six.
“Blas Perez is a typical goal scorer. He likes to be in the box waiting for crosses and he’ll do anything to get his head on the ball,” said Gonzalez. “I think he’s very cheeky in box; he likes to make those little smart runs, so you just have to be aware. Make sure that he doesn’t get in behind and attack the ball before he does.”
As for that bobblehead of his, when asked about the figurine on Thursday, Gonzalez said that he had yet to see his own little-mini Omar.
But now that a few days have passed, what are his impressions?
“I’ve seen it maybe once. I didn’t really get a chance to exam it fully to make sure everything is correct,” said Gonzalez with a smirk. “It’s pretty funny to have a bobblehead…maybe I’ll give the guys from Dallas a bobblehead of their own.”
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 7, 2013
CARSON, Calif. -- In the latest edition of View from the Booth, Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones preview the LA Galaxy's match against FC Dallas.
Check it out below...