CARSON, Calif. -- The Reserve League win may be considered immaterial to some, but veteran LA Galaxy forward Pat Noonan believes that LA's success could play an important role in LA's playoff chase.
With injuries piling up at the late stages of the season, to players like Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Todd Dunivant and A.J. DeLaGarza among others, LA will need players to step in and play if called upon. This was the case last week as defenders Tommy Meyer and Bryan Gaul played significant minutes in LA's defeat to Real Salt Lake. This may become more common place in the latter stages of the season, as when LA resumes action on Oct. 21 against the San Jose Earthquakes -- and if they play and advance from the MLS Knock Out Round game -- the Galaxy will play in at five matches over a two week span.
Ahaed of that brutal stretch, Noonan understands that the Reserve League players are ready -- both physically and mentally -- to participate.
NOONAN:"[We provide] Depth. Who knows how long some of these guys that are injured are going to be. It's going to take guys to step in and be sharp in games like this so that their fitness is there and their concentration is there and they're coming to play. If not, then you're going to still be there in a reserve role to get late minutes in those playoff games. It's going to be very important because especially with the playoff format where it's a Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday if we're able to advance, we're going to need guys and healthy bodies so everyone is going to need to be contributing."
CARSON, Calif. -- Central to the success of the LA Galaxy in the MLS Reserve League has been Reserve League head coach Curt Onalfo.
Talk to any member of the Galaxy Reserves and all have been immensely complimentary of the role that the Galaxy assistant has played in their success. This appreciation was in full effect at the end of LA's 6-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, which clinched the Reserve League's West Division as the players gave their coach a Gatorade bath.
The Fruit Punch Gatorade drenched Onalfo discusses the importance of the Division title below...
ONALFO: “Any time that you have a game where you need to get a result to win a championship and you come out with that sort of performance, it’s a great thing. It’s a tribute to how hard this group has worked the entire time. We have a very deep roster and this is something that we take this really seriously. I thought we actually started a little bit slow with some nerves, but once we settled down and started playing our game, we took the game to them. I thought our possession was excellent and I thought we created a ton of chances. We scored a great brand of soccer and scored a whole bunch of goals. We’re really pleased with the performance and glad that we won the league.”
(On the role of the Reserve League…)
ONALFO: “There are so many things that the Reserve League represents and that’s the difficult thing to manage as a coach. You have guys that you want to develop so you have times where they’ll play a lot of minutes and make mistakes. You have veterans that sometimes want to play and sometimes don’t want to play so you have to make sure that they’re motivated to play. Then you have a group guys that just want to show—those are the easiest to motivate. And you have guys coming back from injury so you have all these things and you have to look ahead to the future, one week ahead, a couple weeks ahead and down the line. If you look at this game, not only did we want to win it, to win the championship, but we want to get these guys ready to possibly play in El Salvador in a couple weeks. If they’re called upon then we want them to be ready and this is a perfect opportunity for them to show Bruce and the rest of the coaching staff that they belong.”
(On what the Reserve League Division title says about the Academy’s depth…)
ONALFO: “It says a lot. If you look at, we’ve had more than 35 appearances and Home Grown players so that’s what we want to do so it says a lot. Our Academy is growing all the time and there is a huge emphasis since Chris has been in charge of it. My son plays in it so I’m over there a lot. There’s a great correlation and connection with the first team so we’re proud of how that has worked and it’s only getting better.”
(On the play of Pat Noonan…)
ONALFO: “What I told him after the game is to be a sense of calmness for them. Be the brains. That’s what he was. He played a really good game and an intelligent game, scores our first goal and assists on another. He brings leadership poise and composure to the group.”
(On Noonan looking to participate in the playoffs…)
ONALFO: “That’s what his eye is for, he wants to improve his standing and get more playing time. That’s his motivation and to his credit, he takes it with a great attitude and it showed in his performance.”
(On the play of Rafael Garcia…)
ONALFO: “He’s a winner. He’s a hard-working, blue collar guy that can also pass and do some great things with his feet. He’s played in all ten games and always made a difference.”
(On the play of McBean…)
ONALFO: “He’s a goal scorer. He’s the leading scorer of the Reserve League and he’s played less than 300 minutes. This is his [eighth] game in limited minuets, but he always finds a way to score goals. That’s something that you can’t teach, that’s something that you have to keep an eye on and watch them develop. He had a great week of training and in moments are difficult because you have Edson Buddle, who is an older and veteran player is getting the minutes more than jack where there is time that you want Jack to be in there to get those minutes to develop. But those are all a part of the juggle. We want Edson sharp for the playoffs and at the same time, we want Jack to be sharp and continue to develop so I think that it was a win, win getting both of those guys 45 minutes."
(On McBean’s growth…)
ONALFO: "He came to us as a really young 16-year-old…Remember, when you were 16, I do. I remember it like it was yesterday, those were fun times…he’s maturing physically and mentally and that’s all part of his development."
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Reserves clinched the MLS Reserve League West Division with a 6-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps Reserves on Friday.
Jack McBean scored two goals in the second half as Rafael Garcia, Tommy Meyer, Andrew Boyens and Pat Noonan each added goals of their own in the convincing romp that set a club record for goals in a Reserve League match. Noonan opened the scoring in the fourth minute of play, but the Galaxy added five in the second half from Meyer in the 55th, Garcia in the 63rd Boyens in the 70th and a pair from McBean in the 88th and 91st. McBean's brace gives the 17-year-old the Reserve League lead in goals scored with five.
With the win, LA seal the West Division title with a 6-3-1 record, a year after finishing in dead last in the West with a record of 1-6-2.
A few notes and thoughts from the match:
*With three assists: Raul Mendiola, Pat Noonan, Michael Stephens and Kyle Nakazawa tie for the Galaxy Reserve lead.
*Seven former Galaxy Academy players took part in the match: Galaxy Under-20s: Rafael Garcia, Michael Stephens and Brian Perk, Galaxy Under-18s: Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto, Raul Mendiola and Drew Murphy. At the final whistle, six of the 11 Galaxy players on the field were former Academy players.
*Several Galaxy First team players were in attendance including Landon Donovan, Juninho, Todd Dunivant and others.
*The win was an important confidence builder for this group, who are likely to play during LA's CONCACAF Champions League match in El Salvador against Isidro Metapán on October 25th.
As part of my commitment to longer form writing on this website as well as the humanization of the members of the team, I spoke to Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo about his battle with Hodgkin's disease.
Following today's Reserve League finale, I'll have even more on Onalfo as well as his thoughts on how his battles have empowered his son, Galaxy Under-16 player Christian Onalfo.
Jose Villarreal enjoyed a big day on Friday as the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player helped United States Under-20's earn a 2-0 victory over the Scotland Under-21's on Friday at the Marbella Cup.
Villarreal scored twice in the span of ten minutes with a pair of goals in the 20th and 30th minute off throw-ins from fellow Galaxy youth product and UCLA freshman defender Javan Torre.
The U.S. is now 1-1 during the tournament and will take on Azerbaijan on Tuesday.
Apologies for the lean post amount today to everyone.
But it is important that you get this update...The LA Galaxy Reserves will go for the West Division title against the Vancouver Whitecaps Reserve squad at 10 am on Friday. A victory against the Whitecaps and LA will clinch the title.
The will take place at U.S. Soccer field #3, which is near the main entrance of the stadium and is free to the public.
Robbie Keane will not be suiting up for Ireland in their World Cup Qualifer against Germany on Friday due to an Achillies injury, the Irish Federation announced on Thursday. According to the release, Keane will remain with the squad and "will hopefully" be available for Ireland's next qualifier against the Faroe Islands next Tuesday.
Ireland are currently in third place in Group C, tied on points with Sweden with three, but trailing on goal differential. Germany lead the group with six points, having played one more match than both Sweden and Ireland.
There was no "Ask the Insider" question this week so we're mixing it up a little bit.
I'm taking questions on every topic relating to the Galaxy and those that are interested in asking questions can respond here or on the club's Facebook page.
If your question is selected to be answered, it will not only get a blog post response, but the winning question will also get a pair of tickets to the Galaxy's Regular Season finale on Oct. 28 against the Seattle Sounders.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant tested himself for the first time on Wednesday as he looks to return from a hip pointer injury that prevented him from appearing in last Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake.
According to Dunivant, the injury first surfaced during LA's 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids last month as he experienced a large welt after the match. Although the left back admitted to being sore, it was not until the beginning of the Galaxy's training session last Thursday that Dunivant experienced an issue in his oblique muscles that he described as feeling like "someone was stabbing me in the gut." The injury ultimately forced him from action against RSL -- as Bryan Gaul got the nod at left back -- but even though the injury sounds severe, Dunivant was back on the training ground on Wednesday as he looks to return to full fitness ahead of LA's next match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 21.
Following his first real soccer fitness work out, Dunivant admitted that it is still "day to day" before he engages in full training as he has been limited to predominantly gym work as he works through his injury. After training on Wednesday, head coach Bruce Arena sounded optimistic stating that he believed Dunivant would be on the field very shortly" as he is "moving along fine."
Even though the left back believes that he will not be ready for Friday's Reserve League match, he is optimistic about this recovery.
DUNIVANT: “I’m progressing. It’s only really been about a week now, a week as of tomorrow. It’s still been a pretty short amount of time, but today, I started doing more dynamic stuff. I’ve done straight forward jogging till now, so to do more dynamic stuff like weaves and more explosive stuff. I still don’t have full range so it’s not fully there yet, but it’s getting there so I’m definitely optimistic to be available for next week."
(On how the injury first occurred...)
DUNIVANT: "It was a play in the Colorado game; I had a huge welt on the side of my hip. I didn’t know where it came from, but I remember being sore, but sometimes that happens and your adrenaline is going and you don’t realize it. I was able to train the next day, but with the swelling, it was actually deep enough that it pulled on my oblique and I ended up straining that so it’s all in the same area. Kind of two things to deal with at once, a nice weird injury, but fortunately, we have a bye this week so that gives me a little extra time."
(On his experience during last Thursday's training session...)
"I trained Wednesday and I felt the hip pointer, which obviously was a little sore, but I was able to get through training fine and the first thing on Thursday, the first real soccer movement, the oblique went because it was so tight and there was a lot of swelling and bleeding in there, that pulled that muscle and threw everything of balance. It’s one of those weird freak things, but something that I can deal with."
(On how a schedule to return to full training...)
DUNIVANT: "It’s going to be day to day, today was our first day of really pushing any sort of dynamic stuff and it went fairly well. I could tell that I don’t have the full range yet, but it’ll be ready soon and we’ll try again tomorrow and see how that goes and see how it responds to today because it was quite a bit of a big load on it today so we’ll take it day by day now, and we’ll take it from there. Fortunately, it’s still early in this week and we’ve obviously got all of next week. I want to get back as soon as possible so I can get fit and get back in the rhythm."
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Reserves will play their final Reserve League game of the season on Friday against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reserves for a chance to win the West Division championship, but while a title will be a nice reward for the club's reserve squad, their true reward has been measured in the development that they have experienced this season.
Among those that has developed immensely this season has been rookie midfielder Kenny Walker. Drafted with the second round of the MLS SuperDraft with the 38th overall pick, the 23-year-old rookie from the University of Louisville has seen considerable time for the club's reserves this season appearing in all nine games this season. The Reserve League showings have been a boon for Walker, who has also made one start for the first team as well as two appearances in CONCACAF Champions League play.
During his time with the Galaxy Reserves, Walker has formed a solid midfield partnership with rookie Rafael Garcia, whose ability to go forward at times, balances Walker's defensive abilties.
Although his career is still in its beginning stages, Walker admits it has been a "blast" and a "dream come true" playing with the Reserve League squad.
WALKER: "Development wise, learning the speed of play and from the first team guys and building a team with the second team guys has been a blast and a dream come true pretty much...I've grown in the speed of play, it's a lot different from college because you have to know what you're going to do before you get the ball and your first touch has to be 10 times better than it was in college and even thought you work on it everyday, it takes a little bit to develop it. So getting into [Reserve] games as well as going against the first team everyday and comparing yourself against some of the best players in the world-- guys like David [Beckham], Robbie [Keane] and Landon [Donovan] is good."
(On the chance to win a Reserve League West Division title...)
WALKER: "It's been a long couple weeks, just training so it's nice to have a game to look forward to so it's just fun being able to get ready for something and play for a championship. It's just the Reserve League, but it's big to us so it's going to be fun...it's been excellent coming out here and playing with these guys in training and building up with the Reserve team. We've done very well so we'd like to cap it off with a win.