CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy opened preseason training camp on Monday and while the status of Landon Donovan may be garnering most of the interest, below are a few notes from LA’s first day of preseason.
*Bruce Arena opened preseason on Monday that consisted of many from the roster including goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini and U.S. national team camp invitees Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza. The two defenders stepped away from U.S. camp briefly to attend the meeting and meet their new teammates.
*Sixteen players participated on the club’s on the field training on Monday that consisted entirely of fitness drills. Kofi Opare, Kenney Walker, and Cudicini were at The HDC, but spent the session downstairs.
*Several players were absent for various reasons: Robbie Keane (training with Tottenham Hotspur), Mike Magee (recovering from wisdom teeth removal), Todd Dunivant (finishing up his honeymoon and is expected to return on Tuesday), Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal (with U.S. Under-20’s), Donovan (extended break), DeLaGarza and Gonzalez (with U.S. national team),
*Among the absent was Brazilian midfielder Juninho, who is awaiting his visa and is expected in camp by the end of the week or the beginning of next.
*According to LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, the Galaxy are hopeful that they will have goalkeeper William Hesmer in camp. Hesmer was selected in stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
*There were several number changes with the team: Bryan Gaul will don No. 17 after wearing 35 last year. Carlo Cudicini has taken over No.1 from Brian Rowe who will now wear No. 12. Meanwhile midfielder Colin Clark will wear No. 11.
*Former LA Galaxy midfielder Kyle Nakazawa, who was expected to enter camp as a non-roster invitee has elected to retire. Nakazawa missed much of the 2012 season due to back spasms.
*LA will be training at The Home Depot Center throughout the preseason. Arena expected the Galaxy to play in eight exhibition or practice games. The first will be a match against the United States Under-17 national team on Feb. 1.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan will play soccer in 2013, but when he’ll play is still being decided.
The Galaxy captain was not at the club’s first practice on Monday, but head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that Donovan will play, but no timetable had been set at the moment.
We’ve given him a little more time off,” Arena said. “He’s definitely playing this year, but we’re just working out a return date that makes sense for all of us…we’re working that out soon.”
Arena met with Donovan over the weekend and stated the he is feeling well, but needs a little more time off. Although speculation has swirled around Donovan’s future, Arena admits that he was always confident that he’d be back in 2013.
“No, I thought he was going to come back. I think he just needs a little bit more of an extended leave of absence. He’s got a couple of years that have taken its toll and he needs a little bit more time.”
With the Galaxy’s first MLS game 41 days away, when Donovan does make his return, he’ll need to build his fitness just like any other player.
“He like any player needs the right time. The longer that he takes off, it’ll take him longer to be ready to play,” said Arena. “Generally, we’d like to see some players get three or four weeks to bring their fitness along.”
The LA Galaxy are “looking forward to perhaps signing another Designated Player” to replace the spot vacated by David Beckham according to club head coach and general manager Bruce Arena, but just who that player might be is still a point of debate.
Two names have risen to the cusp over the last month—English midfielder Frank Lampard and Brazilian playmaker Kaká. In conversations with sources across the league and by reading various reports, I’m getting the impression that Lampard has surpassed the Brazilian as LA’s primary Designated Player target.
“We do not have a deal with Frank Lampard," Carlisle’s source stated. "We continue to speak with him as we have stated, but nothing is done or 'all but done'."
The ESPN FC source within the Galaxy added that, "The [Goal.com] report, in its context, is not accurate. The process is ongoing and we will see where it goes."
However, before you think that this means that Lampard is bound for Los Angeles, there are a few other factors to account for. Primarily, the fact that Lampard has repeatedly said that Chelsea would be his first option due to his extensive history at club where he has scored 195 goals -- he scored on Sunday's victory over Arsenal -- over his 10-year career with the Blues. Even Lampard's own teammates have questioned whether or not Chelsea management would be wise to offer him a contact extension. Also, the 34-year-old midfielder has been linked with teams across Europe including Italian giants AC Milan and Juventus while according to the British tabloid, the Daily Mail, Lampard may put his goal of reaching 100 appearances for England at risk if he does not sign with a team in Europe.
As for Kaká? According to Spain’s Marca, Real Madrid rejected an eight million dollar bid from LA for the Brazilian. Arena admitted that the LA Galaxy have had discussions with the player, who was identified by AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke as the Galaxy’s chief target back in December, but the news comes amid reports that the Brazilian midfielder may be bound for a return to his former club AC Milan.
With Lampard appearing far more likely at this moment, does that mean the longtime Chelsea midfielder will play for LA in 2013? That remains to be seen as this saga is far from over, but he appears to be the Galaxy’s Designated Player target at the moment.
As the LA Galaxy prepare for the opening of preseason, we know of another player who will not be returning once preseason starts up on Monday—midfielder Dan Keat.
INDIANAPOLIS – Gyasi Zardes may have signed a Homegrown deal with the LA Galaxy in December, but he still got his SuperDraft moment in January as two other Homegrown players were presented at Thursday’s 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
One of the top goal scorers in college soccer, Zardes notched 33 goals in 37 games with the Roadrunners over his four seasons at CSU Bakersfield. Although his Homegrown status prevented him from taking part in the draft day festivities, Zardes believes that he was far better off signing a deal for LA.
“It was a great decision to sign a Homegrown because I knew which club I was going to play for and prepare for,” Zardes said, “as opposed to these guys [in the SuperDraft] – they’re waiting and waiting. It just helped me prepare sooner than these guys"
When the Galaxy begin their preseason on Monday, Zardes is expected to challenge for a forward spot alongside LA’s leading goal scorer from 2012, Robbie Keane. As he prepares to play alongside the talented Irishman, Zardes – who is proud of the “flair and style” in his game— admits that he’s been taking notes on how he could fit alongside Keane.
“I’m excited to play alongside Robbie Keane and just learn as much as I possibly can,” said Zardes. “I watch how many guys cram and defend Robbie Keane and I think to myself that I can make those kinds of runs to be open for the future.”
But can Zardes step in during his first rookie season? Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena seems to think so.
"We sense that he's going to be able to help us a little bit this year,” said Arena. "He's a very bright, articulate, confident kid and hopefully that translates a little bit on the field, where it counts."
And where does Zardes believe that he would have gone if he entered the draft?
“In my eyes, I think I would’ve gone No. 1,” said Zardes with a smile.
INDIANAPOLIS — The LA Galaxy’s focus was turned to the 2012 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday as LA made three selections, but head coach and general manager Bruce Arena commented about the speculation surrounding a potential Designated Player signing as well as Landon Donovan.
Over the past few months, LA has been linked with countless targets to fill the Designated Player spot vacated by David Beckham and after the SuperDraft, Arena was asked about LA’s links to Brazilian midfielder Kaka and English midfielder Frank Lampard.
When asked if Lampard was bound for the Galaxy, Arena stated that “we wouldn’t rule that out, it’s always a possibility.” When asked if Kaka was also a target, Arena told reporters that LA had “spoken to” both about a potential move. But don’t expect a decision to come any time soon.
“I wouldn't be surprised if over the next week or so, we have some kind of decision that we’re going to make on a designated player,” said Arena.
Meanwhile, Arena also addressed speculation surrounding Donovan’s future stating that he had spoken to the Galaxy captain recently and he would prefer if he knew of his plans after this weekend.
“I’m hopeful that we have a good feel of where he is headed after this weekend,” said Arena.
The LA Galaxy ended their day at the 2013 MLS SuperDraft by selecting Louisville defender Greg Cochrane.
Cochrane spent the past two seasons with the Cardinals after transfering from Virginia Tech after the 2010 season. The Pennsylvania native also spent time on the left side of midfield and left back during his time with the Cardinals.
View his highlights below..
The LA Galaxy bolstered their backline with the selection of Michigan defender Kofi Opare with the 24th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft.
Opare spent four years at Michigan where he was a staple at center back for the University. The 22-year-old is a former member of the United States' Under-20 squad and helped Michigan reach the College Cup final in 2010.
More on Opare can be found here and a video of his highlights is below.
The LA Galaxy selected Boston College forward Charlie Rugg with the 19th overall pick in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.
More on the forward can be found here.
The Galaxy have two selections in the second round with the 24th and 38th overall picks.
Highlights of Rugg from the MLS Combine are below...
The LA Galaxy hold three selections in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft and there is no shortage of speculation surrounding who head coach Bruce Arena and his coaching staff may select.
LA have the 19th pick in the first round of the SuperDraft and two selections -- the 24th and the 38th -- in the second round. Typically these positions do not offer the same freedom as say, the New England Revoultion have the first overall pick -- The Revs obtained the pick after trading with Toronto FC -- because LA must react to the decisions of 18 other clubs before making their first choice.
I've compiled a few must see sites and articles that you must read before you settle in to watch the draft at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
*Soccer By Ives has complied their own mock draft while Sports Illustrated's Avi Creditor outlined what he believes LA will be looking for in the Superdraft
*Prominent youth soccer website Top Drawer Soccer provided their own Mock Draft as a complete big board on all players available for selection.
Meanwhile, MLSsoccer.com has provided a mock draft of their own.
But the draft wasn't the only news that occured on Wednesday as Real Salt Lake announced the return of forward Robbie Findley while the Chicago Fire acquired Jeff Larentowicz from Colorado. Meanwhile, former LA Galaxy Academy product Jeffery Payeras has signed with Guatemalan side Municipal.
Who do you want to see the Galaxy select? Any positions that you want to see Arena focus on?
Share your thoughts below.