SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Some might say that the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapan is of little importance beyond the seeding for the CCL Quarterfinals -- but don't tell that to rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia.
The rookie midfielder is expected to play an important role in marshalling the Galaxy midfield that is expected to contain fellow youngsters Michael Stephens and Kenney Walker on Thursday. During LA's CCL matches with the Puerto Rico Islanders earlier in the tournament, Garcia enjoyed extensive success as his calmer style complements the energetic Stephens and Walker to a tee.
LA will need this order on Thursday as they hope to lock down a dynamic Metapan midfield that uses the wide field at Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez to spread out the opposition through the play of wide players like Pablo Suarez and Eliseo Quintanilla. During the last meeting between the two clubs, the pair enjoyed some success as Metapan jumped out to an early one goal lead, before LA's physical play proved too much for the Salvadorans as the Galaxy cruised to 5-2 victory.
For the Galaxy to be the first team to win in Metapan in more than a year, Garcia knows his teammates must be in for a fight.
'It’s going to be a battle from the beginning and a war. We know that they’re not going to want to lose to us on their home field," said Garcia. "It’s hard to say [what to expect from them], I want to think that we got all the travel out of us in the session, it took a while for us to get going. We’re expecting a battle from them and we’re expecting to play good soccer tomorrow, we wouldn’t have it any other way. I know that the coaches have high expectation on the whole team and we need to come out and do our best...We have to be alert on restarts, set pieces and everything. We know that they’re not going to give us anything on the field so we’re expecting to battle."
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- The LA Galaxy trained on Wednesday at the Estadio Jorge "El Magico" Gonzalez in San Salvador in preparation for Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League clash against Isidro Metapán.
Above is a shot of a Pyramid that occupies the Stadium's north end. The "El Magico" is currently without a tenant, but was the former home of Salvadoran Primera Division club Atletico Marte.
As has been stated throughout the week, the Galaxy have taken a Reserve squad and half of the coaching staff --including assistant coach Curt Onalfo -- to El Salvador. The complete roster is below:
Goalkeepers: Brian Perk, Brian Rowe
Defenders: Andrew Boyens, Bryan Gaul, Bryan Jordan, Tommy Meyer
Midfielders: Rafael Garcia, Hector Jimenez, Dan Keat, Marcelo Sarvas, Michael Stephens, Kenney Walker
Forwards: Jack McBean, Pat Noonan, Jose Villarreal
During the training, head coach Bruce Arena met with U.S. ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte and presented her with an autographed Galaxy uniform. That wasn't all that occured as Galaxy legend and longtime Salvadoran International Mauricio Cienfuegos also met with Aponte as well as a group of Salvadoran children to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Photos from those moments below:
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) October 24, 2012
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) October 24, 2012
Thoughts from several Galaxy players, the Three Points to the game and more coming later...
A new name has been added to the LA Galaxy injury list.
Galaxy defender David Junior Lopes, who is listed as out with a left facial fracture. Lopes joins DeLaGarza, Leonardo and Nakazawa, who are also listed as out. Joining Lopes on the list are David Beckham and Landon Donovan, the pair are listed as questionable on the sheet with left ankle soreness and a left knee bone bruise, respectively.
OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); DF David Junior Lopes (L facial fracture); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (L ankle soreness); MF Landon Donovan (L knee bone bruise)
The LA Galaxy have arrived in El Salvador ahead of Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League Group 5 finale against Isidro Metapan. Above is a photo snapped at sunset as the club landed in San Salvador.
As head coach Bruce Arena and Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday, the club has split its squads and the coaching staff with half traveling to El Salvador, while the others -- like David Beckham and Landon Donovan -- stayed behind. LA train on Wednesday morning in San Salvador.
Meanwhile, in other CONCACAF Champions League action, the Houston Dynamo qualified for the CCL quarterfinals from Group 3, after a 1-1 draw with Honduran club Olimpia. Real Salt Lake was not so lucky as RSL played to a scoreless draw with C.S. Herediano advancing from Group 2. In the third game of the night, defending CCL champions Monterrey crushed Panamaian side Chorrillo, 6-0.
It’s time for one of the final “Ask the Insider” segments of the season.
Today’s question comes from Dennyz Hernandez, who asks: “Since we’ll be 4th place regardless of the score on Sunday’s game…do you think it would be a good idea to sit and rest all the starters for the wild card game.
With the LA Galaxy’s playoff destiny set, the Galaxy coaching staff are expected to limit the minutes for their first team regulars in Sunday’s contest against the Seattle Sounders as they look ahead to next week’s First Knockout Round game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but don’t expect the entire squad to rest.
In particular, Landon Donovan and David Beckham, who are still returning from injuries could use in-game minutes against Seattle as they look to improve their sharpness ahead of the unforgiving postseason schedule. Both players took part in training on Monday and are expected to be evaluated throughout the week by Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan, who has stayed behind with half of LA's coaching staff. While getting minutes for the likes of Donovan and Beckham is important, so is providing time forward Edson Buddle and midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson, each in need additional minutes as they continue to round back into form.
But there is another wrinkle for the Galaxy to navigate in balancing the squads as head coach Bruce Arena has sent his Reserve squad to El Salvador for Thursday’s match against Isidro Metapán.This match will serve as a valuable learning experience for Arena’s youngsters, but could limit their availability for Sunday’s contest as even those that do not play 90 minutes, will return on short rest from El Salvador.
Taking all these factors into account, expect Arena to use a mix of first team players and reserves on Sunday.
Thanks Dennyz, you can get your tickets by emailing 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 Isidro Metapán on Oct. 24 for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to LA's regular season finale against the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 28.
Landon Donovan has been incredibly introspective in recent months and on Tuesday; the LA Galaxy captain gave another intuitive interview, this time with ESPN FC’s Roger Bennett.
During his conversation with Bennett, the 30-year-old Donovan discussed his role with the U.S. National Team, his diminished presence on social media as well as his stints with English Premier League side Everton. When asked about his expectations to suit up for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Donovan provided an honest response.
"I don't have the answer to that," Donovan told Bennett. "There are a lot of moving pieces: Will I be playing, period? Will I be part of the team? Will I be good enough to be wanted?" he continued. "If I had to guess I would say it is 50-50. I will have more clarity after I take a break."
Donovan is currently working his way back from a bone bruise on his left knee that has prevented him from playing in LA’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last Sunday.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy have a busy week ahead -- a busy 10 days really -- and to balance the responsibilities of Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League clash against Isidro Metapán as well as Sunday's final MLS regular season against Seattle Sounders FC, head coach Bruce Arena is splitting his squad.
The LA Galaxy seem poised to send a Reserve squad to El Salvador for Thursday's match against Metapán, similar to the one that took part in LA's last CCL match against Puerto Rico Islanders as they look to solidify their seed ahead of the Quarterfinal stage. This means that it is likely the Galaxy will leave behind its first team, including DP's David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, to prepare for Sunday's game against Seattle and LA's postseason run, which begins with the Knockout round match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 1.
While Arena -- and likely assistant coach Curt Onalfo, who led the Reserve League squad to a West Division title -- is in Central America for the CCL fixture, Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan will remain in Southern California to work with the first team.
"We have a whole group this week training, as well as a group going to El Salvador," head coach Bruce Arena told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday. "They're in training every day with our guys..half our staff will be here and half will be in El Salvador."
"We wanted to minimize the group that travels. What that does, it allows us to work with our first team that is generally regenerating," said Sarachan. "The idea is to make sure that we're covering our bases, both in Metapán and here."
Sarachan also admitted that it will be vital for him, to help in the process of getting both Donovan and Beckham back to full fitness.
"It's monumental in terms of putting our puzzle together," said Sarachan. "We have the depth this year and as we've shown, and showed yesterday in San Jose, not only can guys step in and compete, but keep the level where we're imposing ourselves on other teams. I thought yesterday was a good example, I thought the first 45 minutes were as good a 45 minutes collectively as we've played, and we were missing Landon and David. It doesn't mean that we don't want them back so I think that it's crucial that we use this period of time to get those guys ready."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Sunday's 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes was a knock-down-drag-out brawl, but according to Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, that may be just what his team needs as they look to the playoffs.
Wearing the captain's armband in place of the injured Landon Donovan, Keane was dynamic throughout Sunday's match tallying the Galaxy's first-ever goal at Buck Shaw Stadium in the 2-2 tie. During the match, Keane was clearly emboldened by the armband as he was seen repeatedly attempting to break up scrums between the two sides, in order to calm nerves during heated moments.
But with those moments likely to get more and more frequent as the MLS Cup Playoffs set to start, Keane believes that Sunday's battle was a valuable character builder for the Galaxy.
“I thought we all showed a lot of character," said Keane. "You have to in these games, we’ve seen the way that they play all you want to do is get the ball and hit as far up front to the big guy up front. That was our main objective is to get that second ball and I think that the lads played very well."
More thoughts from Keane below...
(On the play of Edson Buddle...)
KEANE: "I thought we played well, full credit to Edson, he’s had a long injury and has come back so it was nice for him to get the goal today. He’s a good player and he’s very, very strong, and I think that he’ll be a vital player for us in the coming weeks…I’m sure that goal will do him a world of good."
(On the tie and only gaining one point...)
“I think we left two points on the pitch to be honest with you. I think we were the better team, we can’t be conceding goals from set pieces, it’s not good. But apart from that, I think you have to give up credit. We played tough against 12 men and that includes the referee, so it was quite tough. The lads showed a lot of character, we weren’t getting decisions that we thought we should have and I think as captain, I had to ask the ref to speak to me when I was asking questions, but it was okay, when the lads from their team were speaking in Spanish to him, he would speak back to them. Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish.”
(On whether LA must try to figure out the San Jose...)
KEANE: No, you saw it today. We can play the way that we play today then we’ve got no worries."
(On whether or not, he enjoys playing San Jose...)
KEANE: "Of course, it’s always an exciting game, and I’m sure the fan enjoyed it. I think that if we play the way that we play, especially in the first half, I think we can beat anybody."
CARSON, Calif. -- David Beckham and Landon Donovan were present and active during the LA Galaxy's training session on Monday.
Monday's session marked the first time since last Thursday that Beckham trained with the squad on the training ground after dealing with left ankle soreness late last week. Meanwhile, Donovan, who is still recovering from a bone bruise on his left knee was active during a brief small-sided scrimmage during the portion of training that was open to the media.
With 10 days remaining until the club's First Round Knockout match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 1, Beckham and Donovan could participate in Sunday's clash against Seattle Sounders FC as they look to return to full fitness. However, after training head coach Bruce Arena stated that no decisions have been made regarding the pair's availability for the Seattle match.
"It's like anybody else, get a good week of training, and it'll help," Arena told LA Galaxy Insider. "We'll see as we get through the week, but it's only Monday right now."
There is no doubt about it, Sunday's match between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes was a heated contest both on and off the field.
However, before we turn the page to Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League tie against Isidro Metapán or Sunday's final Regular Season clash against the Seattle Sounders, check out my Three Points to the 2-2 draw.
More on Sunday's match as well as a few other interesting pieces coming up today.
Agree or disagree with my observations?
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