The LA Galaxy have landed in Southern California after extending their unbeaten streak to five games with a 1-0 road victory over FC Dallas on Saturday.
Above is a sign that greeted the team upon landing earlier this afternoon.
For more on the Saturday's victory, check out my "Three Points" to the win as well as my sidebar on the forward combination of Mike Magee and Robbie Keane.
FRISCO, Texas -- A enormous weight was lifted off the shoulders of Omar Gonzalez on Saturday night.
In front of more than 100 family and friends, the LA Galaxy center back -- and Texas native -- went a full 90 minutes for the first time since offseason knee surgery. In the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over FC Dallas, Gonzalez was solid while partnered alongside David Junior Lopes in LA's central defense. Amid the triple-digit temperatures at FC Dallas Stadium, Gonzalez repeatedly stifled Dallas' scoring chances and was even able to help create a scoring chance of his own in the first half.
After a difficult six month rehabilitation period, Gonzalez told reporters after the match that the Dallas match was an important -- physical and mental -- step in his recovery.
Gonzalez’s post game thoughts are below…
(On playing the full 90 minutes...)
GONZALEZ: “I didn’t think I’d come back after the first half because it was so hot and I had cotton mouth the whole time, but I’m happy I did get through it. I knew I was fit enough to get through it and we’d already made two subs. I knew that I was going to have to push through it and I’m happy to get through it for the team, I’m happy to get the three points and happy to get the shutout.”
(On playing in his home state with the intense heat...)
GONZALEZ: “I really wanted to play well here, especially because I had so many friends and family here. They were behind me throughout the whole surgery and all the rehab. I’m happy I got to play here, start the game and play well. It was crazy heat here, but I think that it was a good test and this is a good step in the right direction for me.”
(On the play of the defense...)
GONZALEZ: “We had good shape the whole game. We didn’t really sit back. We actually put a lot of pressure on them. We actually got around [David] Ferreira and we got around [Andrew] Jacobson and didn’t really allow them to do much of anything. I thought that we brought the game to them and played really good soccer. If it was a cooler day, I think it would have been even better for us because we would have worked harder and played a little bit faster.”
(On how many friends and family, he had in the stands…)
GONZALEZ: “I don’t know, I’ll see when I get out there, but from what I saw, there was at least a hundred.”
(On if he had doubts that he’d ever reach his peak form after his injury…)
GONZALEZ: “Yeah, sometimes I still think about it. Yesterday during training, I made a boneheaded play and I thought ‘man, what am I doing?’ I got pretty down on myself yesterday, but those are just things that I have to get over and I thought I did a good job here today. Putting it behind me and just focusing on the game.”
When the LA Galaxy take on FC Dallas on Saturday evening, their next opponents, Spanish giants Real Madrid will have already arrived in Southern California.
Boasting a plethora of world-class talent including Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo, the reigning La Liga champions are expected to land in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon in preparation for Thursday's friendly at The Home Depot Center.
Madrid will hold their first training session on Sunday morning at UCLA’s Drake Stadium.
Madrid's roster for the World Football Challenge is below...
GOALKEEPER (3) – Iker Casillas, Antonio Adán, Jesus Fernandez Collado
DEFENDERS (7) – Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeola, Fabio Coentrão, Jose Nacho Fernández, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane
MIDFIELDER (11) – Xabi Alonso, Jose Maria Callejon, Angel Di Maria, Lass Diarra, Alex Fernandez, Esteban Granero, Kaka, Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil, Jese Rodriguez, Nuri Sahin
FORWARD (4) – Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata, Cristiano Ronaldo
HEAD COACH – José Mourinho
David Beckham's role in the Olympic opening ceremonies were shrouded in secrecy, but few could have guessed the part that the LA Galaxy midfielder would play in Friday's festivities in London.
In a move seemingly out of a James Bond film, Beckham piloted a speed boat down the River Thames carrying the Olympic torch which was held by a young British basketball player Amber Charles. Beckham and Charles then passed off the torch to Sir Steven Redgrave, who carried the flame into the Olympic Stadium ahead of the lighting ceremony.
It remains to be seen if Beckham will participate in Saturday's match against FC Dallas as head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Thursday that his status "hadn't been finalized."
The LA Galaxy are back on the road this afternoon as they head to Dallas for Saturday's match against FC Dallas.
I'll have more upon landing including my "Three Points" to the match. Until then, catch up on news from earlier today including Chad Barrett's potential inclusion on Saturday and Bryan Gaul's task having to step up for the injured Todd Dunivant.
WATCH: Galaxy discuss Dallas match
CARSON, Calif. – With Todd Dunivant unlikely to play in Saturday's match against FC Dallas as the veteran defender deals with a right calf injury, rookie Bryan Gaul is poised to step up once again on the left side of the LA Galaxy defense.
After training on Thursday, head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that while Dunivant's injury is "day to day" and could play against Dallas, it was unlikely that he would. The left back is currently listed as questionable with right calf hematoma.
Since Dunivant's injury against Vancouver Whitecaps, Gaul has stepped up and performed well in appearances against Vancouver, Chivas USA and Tottenham Hotspur. Gaul will likely be forced to step up again against Dallas as he is tasked with stopping a motivated Dallas team fresh off a 5-0 thumping of the Portland Timbers.
Gaul's thoughts below...
(On his new starting role…)
GAUL: “It’s great, it’s great to be in the first XI and the guys have given me good support and I’m just glad to be in a left back position.”
(On holding the position for Dunivant…)
GAUL: “Yeah, Todd’s a great player so I’m just playing [left back] until he gets back and it’s been great. It’s been a fun two games.”
(On filling in for Dunivant again Dallas…)
GAUL: “I’m really excited. I think that they play three up top and I know it’s going to be different than when we played Chivas, who play one up top. It’s going to be different and with the humidity and the heat, it’s going to be kind of training, but I’m excited for it.”
(On the help his fellow defenders have provided…)
GAUL: “They take pressure by helping me defend especially against the quick guys that I’ve been playing against lately. It has been easier…You get advice from all the other defenders on when to step and when to drop and when to get on certain guys."
(On how much different the position is than he may have thought…)
GAUL: “It’s a lot different. It’s a lot more mentally draining because you have to be able to think about where you’re supposed to be at all times. And the players that I’ve been facing are much better than those I played against back in college.”
(On his teammates commenting on his 6-foot-5 height…)
GAUL: “Yeah, It’s funny was watching the game against Chivas on TV and the [commentators] were saying ‘Six-five left back, are you serious?’ It doesn’t bug me, but it’s funny that they think that."
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admits that while the club is in “discussions” that could send forward Chad Barrett to Norwegian club Vålerenga, the forward could participate in Saturday’s match against FC Dallas.
Following training on Thursday, Arena told reporters that Barrett remains a “player on our team” and confirmed that the 27-year-old forward was available for selection on Saturday.
Barrett returned to training on Monday following his week-long trial with the Oslo-based club and made a brief stint during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. If Barrett plays against Dallas, he could have a substantial role in the Galaxy’s offense that will be without forward Landon Donovan due to yellow card accumulation and potentially David Beckham due to his Olympic commitments.
CARSON, Calif. – An injury layoff firmly behind him, Mike Magee is ready to play and could return as soon as this Saturday for the LA Galaxy's match against FC Dallas.
Sidelined since the Galaxy’s July 4th match against the Philadelphia Union with right shin hematoma, Magee believes that he is back to full fitness after a 45 minute stint against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday. After training on Thursday, both Magee and Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that the midfielder had returned to full fitness.
Magee’s thoughts below…
(On getting on the field against Tottenham…)
MAGEE: “It was good, I was nervous for the first time in awhile, obviously with the atmosphere. It was a great game so to come into that one was a lot of fun.
(On the status of his injured shin…)
MAGEE: “The leg is good, it’s all better. It was kind of nerve-wracking for a little bit, knowing that every time that I ran, my leg was going a bit numb, but now it’s fine and I’m happy with that.”
(On what the injury was specifically…)
MAGEE: “I had a hematoma on my right shin. Essentially I just took a hard knock and had some blood clots in my leg that were pinching some nerves.”
(On when the injury cleared up…)
MAGEE: “The day before the game. I had to get a full day of training without any tingle before they let me play and the day before I trained and Bruce let me play.”
(On his excitement heading into that first day of training…)
Magee: “I was begging. I think I felt a little tingle at the beginning, but I didn’t say anything because I wanted to make sure that I got out there.”
(On his ability to go 90 minutes against FC Dallas…)
MAGEE: “Yeah, I’m ready. I’m ready for whatever role that Bruce lets me fill.”
David Beckham and Landon Donovan each played a role in creating a goal as the MLS All-Stars defeated Chelsea FC, 3-2 at PPL Park in Chester, PA. on Wednesday night.
Donovan started and went 45 minutes for the All-Stars while also aiding in the build up that led to Chris Wondolowski's opening goal in the 21st minute. Meanwhile, just hours after landing in Philadelphia from his duties in London, Beckham played 74 minutes for the All-Stars and helped set up Chris Pontius' strike in the 73rd minute. Following the game, Beckham immediately returned to London where he is expected to play a role in Friday's Olympic opening ceremonies.
I'll have more after training this morning, but until then, enjoy this interview with Beckham by MLSsoccer.com's Jackie Montgomery.
CARSON, Calif. -- Following the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena offered his seal of approval to the New York Red Bulls rumored signing of Australian midfielder Tim Cahill.
The deal, which reportedly will see the Everton midfielder join New York as a designated player has not yet been announced, but according to Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry, the deal is contingent on Cahill completing a medical. After LA's draw on Tuesday, Arena - who served as the Red Bulls manager from 2006 to 2007 -- pegged the Australian for greatness with New York.
“I know him for years after observing him with Everton and Australia. He’s an excellent player and I was surprised that he made the move to MLS if he did, I don’t know if it’s been finalized," said Arena in his post game press conference. "But he’s a very good player; I’ve obviously seen him a lot because of Landon [Donovan] in particular. I know David Moyes in particular, he’s a great manager and Cahill’s been an excellent player at Everton so one would think that he’s going to be an excellent addition to the New York Red Bulls. He’s a player with a lot of good years in him and I’m sure that he’ll bring a good attitude, energy and experience to that club.”