CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy rookie Rafael Garcia is still learning the right back position and during the club’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, the midfielder turned outside back received the lesson of a lifetime.
In his 45 minute stint against Tottenham, the rookie from Cal-State Northridge was matched up against the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, who orchestrated the Spurs attack as they pushed for the go-ahead goal. Despite having just a handful of appearances at the position under his belt, Garcia did not shy away from the challenge as he helped the Galaxy defense grind out a draw against the English Premier League club.
Garcia's thoughts are below...
(On being out there against top players…)
GARCIA: “It’s a great experience. Going up against Bale was certainly not easy and then going up against Lennon too. It certainly was not easy, but I gave my all and I like to think that I did pretty well.”
(On settling into outside back…)
GARCIA: “It’s not my natural position, but when you get the opportunity, you need to learn how to adapt quickly, but it was good for me. I enjoyed my time there.”
(On what Bruce Arena has told him about playing as an outside back…)
GARCIA: “For me, it’s all about getting minutes. I’ll do it any position so for me it was a good experience and any position that he wants to play me, I’ll be happy to contribute.”
(On how the rookies performed in the second half…)
GARCIA: “You know, I thought we did pretty well at times. They got in behind us a few times, but I thought we defended well overall and we had maybe one or two chances, but against a team like that if you get one or two chances then you take them. One thing about the young guys is that we’re trying to prove ourselves and any chances we get we’re going out there and we’re fighting till the end.”
CARSON, Calif. – Energy is a key part of Michael Stephens' game so it was no surprise that the LA Galaxy midfielder was the only player from the Galaxy to go the full 90 minutes in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
In 90 minutes of action against Spurs, Stephens was able to provide constant pressure on the Tottenham midfield as he helped the Galaxy hold on to the draw. But in the end, it wasn't just Stephens' grit that made an impact as he also played a role in helping Marcelo Sarvas set up David Junior Lopes' game-tying-goal in the 28th minute of play.
Stephens’ post game thoughts are below:
(On his role in Lopes’ goal…)
STEPHENS: “I waited too long. If I had given it to Marcelo earlier, he could have had a better shot. I took too long and I gave it to Marcelo and that was his only choice at that point, but it worked out.”
(On the team’s play in the first half…)
STEPHENS: “I felt like in the first half especially, they had a high line and we did a good job playing some longer balls and ended up getting some breakaways.”
(On Robbie Keane’s confidence level vs. his old team…)
STEPHENS: “I don’t know but I thought that he looked really good. I thought he had a really good game, he was getting a lot of the ball and he was helping us a lot in the first half by being an outlet.”
(On what he learned…)
STEPHENS: “The one thing is when they get the ball; they go forward and they go forward quickly. I think that most of the guys on their team have a lot of pace and they didn’t really take their time to build up, they just went for it as soon as they got the ball."
(On playing against Gareth Bale…)
STEPHENS: “I thought that he was impressive and probably the most impressive player on their team. When he got the ball, he was pretty dangerous.”
CARSON, Calif. -- After a shaky start to his time as a member of the LA Galaxy, David Junior Lopes has begun to find his form in an LA uniform.
Lopes has started the last nine league games for the Galaxy and was in the starting XI on Tuesday for LA's 1-1 draw with Tottenham. To cap off his run of form, Lopes added his first goal in a Galaxy uniform against Spurs netting with a cool finish off a Marcelo Sarvas cross.
Lopes' quotes are below...
(On his first goal with the Galaxy...)
LOPES: "I’m very happy for the team and myself. I’d be a lot happier if it had been in league. Still, against a big club from a big league, overall I’m very happy."
(On his comfort level with the Galaxy...)
LOPES: "Today, I feel very good. Every day I talk to my coaches, I talk to my teammates, things are getting better, and right now they’re really good."
(On if he feels like he belongs on the team...)
LOPES: “The Galaxy, definitely, is my life now. Every day I get to learn more about the club and the club gets to learn more about me. Progressively doing more within the club, that’s probably the best thing."
In an interview with the Associated Press, LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham claims that he will play a role in Friday’s opening ceremonies to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Beckham was not selected for Stuart Pearce’s Great Britain’s soccer team at the Games, but told the AP on Tuesday that he will play an unspecified role in the ceremony.
"It is some kind of role in the opening ceremony which I am honored to be involved in because obviously I was involved in the start process with this seven years ago," Beckham told The Associated Press. "And for Seb (chair of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games Sebastian Coe) to have kept me involved, I'm very proud of that."
In the interview, Beckham also specified that he’ll be traveling back and forth between the U.S. and London to fulfill his duties with the Galaxy. Beckham is expected to travel back sometime today so that he can appear in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star game against Chelsea at PPL Park in Chester, PA.
"I'll be going back and forward but I'll definitely be trying to get to a few events," he said.
However, no decision has been made on his status for Saturday’s match against FC Dallas according to head coach Bruce Arena, who said after training on Monday that Beckham will miss “very few” matches to fulfill his Olympic responsibilities.
CARSON, Calif. -- In the span of a week, Jose Villarreal's life has changed significantly.
Villarreal scored his first professional goal last Wednesday, helping the Galaxy salvage a point in a 2-2 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The goal itself was world class -- which is nominated for MLS goal of the week -- and has helped the youngster draw significant media attention since. On Monday, LA-based reporters caught up with Villarreal ahead of Tuesday's clash against Tottenham Hotspur, a match that the 18-year-old midfielder is expected to play a significant role in.
Villarreal's quotes are below...
(On the reception since his goal…)
VILLARREAL: “It was blowing up, my phone was vibrating in the locker room and I was trying to find a way to shut it off. It was good though; all my teammates just hit me in the head and threw socks at me. It was fun.”
(On his goal…)
VILLARREAL: “There are a couple of guys that can do that, but I’ve just been watching Robbie and obviously you pick up some stuff from them. I’m happy that I picked that up.”
(On playing Tottenham...)
VILLARREAL: “If the chance is there then I’ll take advantage of it, but I’m looking forward to having a good time and enjoying it. Playing against Van der V aart, Bale all those players, they’re great players and it’ll be a great time.”
(On what player he'd most like to face on Tottenham...)
VILLARREAL: “Van der Vaart.”
(On his mentality against Vancouver…)
VILLARREAL: “Before I came in, I was telling myself that I couldn’t be nervous because if I was then I was going to play nervous and that wasn’t going to help the team so just be mentally focused and do what you do.”
(On learning from Keane and Donovan…)
VILLARREAL: “When we’re doing finishing or small sided goals, I ask them what type of movements or how to finish and stuff like that. They obviously tell me and even if I don’t ask then they tell me.”
(On the one thing that training with them has taught him…)
VILLARREAL: “Just speed of thought. When you get the ball, you need to know what you’re going to do before you even get it. Just getting into good spots before you even touch the ball then you’re eventually going to get the ball and do what you do.”
(On the praise since his goal…)
VILLARREAL: “It feels good and I’m very happy. All of a sudden, I have a lot of friends now; I don’t know where that came from. I’m very happy and I appreciate the coaches and family for their support and everyone here from the staff everyone…they all supported me before my injury and now that I’m good, I’m just going to keep going from here.
CARSON, Calif. – Forward Chad Barrett was back at LA Galaxy training on Monday morning, but no decision either way about a potential move to Norway’s Vålerenga.
Barrett, who is currently out of contract at the end of the year, returned from Norway last Saturday after a week-long trial with the Oslo-based club and was in attendance during the Galaxy’s 3-1 victory over Chivas USA.
Following training on Monday, the 27-year-old forward did not speak with the media, but head coach Bruce Arena addressed Barrett’s status.
“Chad Barrett is back from an opportunity in Norway and we’re waiting for the club response this week,” the Galaxy coach told reporters.
Arena also left the door open that Barrett could feature in Tuesday’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur, a team that the forward supported as a teenager.
“It’s a possibility,” said Arena. “Nothing is definite at this point.”
Following Tottenham Hotspur’s open training session at the Home Depot Center on Sunday, assembled media got a chance to speak with the Rafael van der Vaart about the upcoming friendly against the LA Galaxy.
Van der Vaart’s thoughts below…
(On new head coach André Villas-Boas…)
VAN DER VAART: “There’s a new coach, I think that [former head coach] Harry [Redknapp] did a great job, but the club decided something else. He’s a young manger and a great manager and he wants to prove something after his few months with Chelsea. We want to win something and I think that we have a great squad and that’s why it’s so important to have a good preseason in LA. “
(On AVB’s approach benefiting his game…)
VAN DER VAART: “It’s always difficult to say and I don’t like to say what is better and what is not. Every manager has his own style and I think that Harry did a fantastic job. [Villas-boas] is an honest man and I think that the team will have to work hard and I think it’s a little bit different when you’re manager of a national team as opposed to a club, but he can do it. He’s a great man.”
(On facing Donovan, Beckham and Keane…)
VAN DER VAART: “They’re great men. I’ve played with Keano of course and he’s a great lad. It’s good that those kind of players play [in MLS] because soccer can become bigger and bigger in America so it’s a good sign.”
The Galaxy face Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, July 24 at The Home Depot Center. Tickets for that match are still available, starting at $40, at www.lagalaxy.com/tottenham
In an interview with Fox Soccer’s Mark Rogondino, longtime US International goalkeeper Brad Friedel spoke about playing in the United States and facing the LA Galaxy with Tottenham Hotspur in Tuesday’s friendly. A former UCLA Bruin and native of Ohio, Friedel has spent one season with Tottenham after stints at Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool among others.
Friedel also amassed 82 caps with the US national team and was the goalkeeper for the US during their run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
Friedel’s quotes from the interview below...
(On coming back to America…)
FRIEDEL: “It’s strange, the only time that we’d come to the States when I was with Blackburn, I’d always seem to miss out so it’s nice to come back especially to LA. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen some of my old friends and I’ll see a couple of them tonight so it’s good.”
(On his preparations for the upcoming season with Tottenham…)
FRIEDEL: “Personally, I just get through preseason and make sure that I don’t have any injuries. I think that mainly what the boys do is that you just want to pick up fitness. Having a league that’s in the middle of the season also helps us because their fitness levels are a lot higher than ours are. Having a new manager, he’s going to want to use this game to see all the players, which is very important for him as well. All in all, coming in on tours like this are a good bonding experience with the new staff and the new players so these are very good.
(On facing the LA Galaxy and the rising standard of MLS…)
FRIEDEL: “For many years, many people were asking about MLS and they were always asking about the [contract] figures that they saw in the paper with Beckham so they’d ask me, ‘can you get me there? can you get me there?’ But the notoriety of MLS has come on incredible amounts especially with Thierry Henry and [Robbie Keane] coming over here and David Beckham of course. Also the likes of Landon Donovan when he comes over and does really well at Everton and that picks it up and Keano did really well with Aston Villa when he came back. All those things help the league. We have take our hat off to all the financial people who have kept in the game with MLS because there were a couple of times where it was on really shaky ground and they’ve stuck with it and put a really good product on the field now.”
CARSON, Calif. – A number of reasons were bandied about during the LA Galaxy’s slow start to the 2012 season. But following the club’s 3-1 victory over Chivas USA, head coach Bruce Arena was candid in the role that offseason loan deals played in LA’s struggles at the beginning of the season.
This season, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane each headed off to Europe to ply their trade with Everton, Nuremberg and Aston Villa respectfully. The loan deals caused all three players to miss large stretches of the preseason and in Gonzalez’s case, suffer a torn ACL injury from which he is still recovering.
With his team unbeaten in four matches and seemingly finding their form, Arena openly admitted that the lack of a full preseason hurt the Galaxy.
“We made a big mistake in having players loaned out right until the start of the season,” said Arena. “Although they played together at the end of last year, they still needed time together and we started with a group of players that hadn’t had a pre-season together, which was a major mistake; I accept the responsibility for that. Now we’re building into the second half of the season, they’re much more familiar with each other and they’re playing better.”
Robbie Keane has come alive lately and shined once again during the LA Galaxy's 3-1 victory over Chivas USA.
Keane added a goal and an assist against Chivas to bring his total to nine goals and five assists on the year. Since returning from the European Championship with Ireland, Keane has tallied six goals and three assists in seven games.
Keane's postgame thoughts below...
(On combining with Landon Donovan…)
KEANE: “Yeah, I think that we combined quite well, we made it difficult for their defenders with our movement and the way that we were linking up. Overall it was a good night for us.”
(On the improvement of his connection with Donovan…)
KEANE: “That’s not what it’s about me, it’s about the team. We weren’t good enough before the European Championships and as a group; we weren’t good enough so it was simple as that. It was always going to come around that were going to pick things up and start getting results and that’s been the case.”
(On being nervous before Euros…)
KEANE: “No. I didn’t have one chance in six games before I left for the European Championships. The team wasn’t playing well.”
(On the reason for his five goal month of July…)
KEANE: “The team is performing better as a team. It’s simple as that really. We have the same team that we had last year and we weren’t playing well. For some reason or another before the break, we weren’t playing well as a team, but we’re doing that now.
(On his loan spell in the offseason setting him back…)
KEANE: “Maybe so. But I think that the players know each other enough now and if we don’t know each other now then we shouldn’t be playing together. It doesn’t have anything to do with breaks, the players know each other and we just went through a bad spell, which every team usually goes through. Thankfully, we’ve picked up and we can see that we’re a threat to anything.”