adam serrano

24 August 3:15 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Make no mistake, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is not stressing over Thursday night's wild 5-2 LA Galaxy victory over Isidro Metapan in CONCACAF Champions League play. But that does not mean that the head coach is pleased with the way the match was run.

Following the game, Arena was vocal with his displeasure about the decisions by referee Alfredo Peñaloza to award a red card to Robbie Keane in the 70th minute and then a yellow card to Michael Stephens in the 80th minute as the midfielder was stepping on the field.  Just hours later, reporters caught up with the Galaxy head coach following LA's training session and Arena admitted that the team will have no problem getting over the wild result.

"Get over it? It wasn’t a funeral. Just a classic CONCACAF game. It really doesn’t change, we probably could have written that script a week ago. Every game looks like that in CONCACAF."

(On perhaps getting a Canadian referee in CCL?)

ARENA: “They should give us a Canadian referee or an English speaking referee, a Jamaica or anyone in those kind of games. We’ve opened up with Mexican referees in the last two years of the competition and it’s been very bizarre. Very bizarre.”

24 August 1:35 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Much of the publicity from last night’s wild finish to the LA Galaxy’s 5-2 victory over Isidro Metapán will revolve around the controversial red card given to forward Robbie Keane, but midfielder Michael Stephens had a bit of a bizarre moment of his own.

In the 80th minute, as Stephens prepared to come on for David Beckham, the young midfielder was awarded a yellow card—seemingly— for time wasting. The moment was a strange one for the midfielder, but Stephens was able to shake it off quickly as he helped set up Juninho’s second goal capping off a five goal performance for LA.

Below are Stephens' thoughts from the match. 

(On what the referee said to him as he awarded a yellow…

STEPHENS: “Nothing. He didn’t even say anything to me; he just gave it and kept on going, but who knows.”

(On the game’s emotional end…)

STEPHENS: “I think that the referee let the game get away from him for a bit and things got out of control there for a second. I thought that overall, we responded pretty well. Obviously, it’s unfortunate that Robbie got the red card, but we scored two goals after and I think that even once we conceded, we scored again so we responded well.”

(On whether the Galaxy were facing the refs and Metapán…)

STEPHENS: "You could say that definitely. There were some bizarre calls, but what are you going to do. We knew that coming into it, but I thought that we got on with it fine.”

(On facing Dallas…)

STEPHENS: “Obviously, we have a game this weekend, a really big game. I don’t think that[the Metapán] game was too physically demanding so I think that we will recover well.” 

23 August 11:12 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Following the LA Galaxy's 5-2 victory over Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League, LA Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant was dumbfounded by the events surrounding the last 20 minutes of the match. 

Below are Dunivant's thoughts postgame...

(On the emotions at the end of the game…)

DUNIVANT: “Yeah it was emotional. I think that we felt unjustly given a PK against us and strange sequence on the red card. It’s frustrating when people try and take over the game like that, and don’t let the playing do the talking. So we had a three goal lead, and goal difference is important in this tournament, so getting that fifth goal to put us up three goals was huge. We had a lot of emotion with that.”

(On his perspective of the Keane red card…)

DUNIVANT:  “Your guess is as good as mine. First he gives a yellow card for diving, and then compounds that mistake by giving him a red card. But a lot of times referees like to be bigger than the game and that was the case tonight.”

(On whether or not the referee was a typical CCL moment…)

DUNIVANT: "It was strange. You’d have to ask him. It’s crazy that a professional referee would come out and want to take over a game like that. It’s about the guys on the field; it’s not about the guys in the stripes. It blows your mind when things like that happen. There was a lot of frustration on our part with that, and we’ve got to learn from it and on move on.”

(On whether referees were a topic pre-game…)

DUNIVANT: “Absolutely it is. That was said. Robbie’s our captain; he should be allowed to talk to the referee. That’s part of how that relationship works. The captain is the guy that’s able to talk and to be a professional referee and have skin that thin is remarkable to me. You’ve got to have thicker skin than that.”

(On his perspective on Metapan’s first goal…)

DUNIVANT: “I don’t particularly remember the play leading up to it. I remember the ball kind of started to loop to the back post over Josh and I got a little piece of it, kept it out initially and then there was a scramble in front and I don’t know if David hit it or if their guy hit it. But it went off the post, across the goal and in, so kind of a fluky weird play. There was a little stretch in the first half where we kind of lost our composure a little bit but we responded well and got a goal back pretty quickly.”

(On whether or not he could hear what Robbie said…)

DUNIVANT: “I did not, no.”

(On whether Keane was simply frustrated…)

DUNIVANT: “Yeah, understandably so. That’s part of the game, to not know that as a referee is crazy to me.”

(On scoring five goals…)

DUNIVANT: “Yeah for sure it’s a positive. I mean, we won the game by three goals tonight and that’s huge. Goal differential is going to be big and there’s a chance that, last year there was a tie breaker with three teams and we won the group on it, so goal differential is big and we used that to our advantage last year and we started off well again in this tournament.”

23 August 10:55 pm

CARSON, Calif. – It was without doubt an emotional game for all of the LA Galaxy players and defender Sean Franklin was no different. 

Franklin found himself targeted for wide stretches of the match by Metapán’s left sided midfielders—particularly Paolo Suarez—but the right back did not budge as he by and large prevented the Salvadorans from exploiting the flanks.

Below are Franklin’s thoughts on the match. On the emotional end to the match…) FRANKLIN: “It was pretty crazy. There was a lot of calls that obviously were a little unfair. It’s part of the game, there’s going 
to be bad calls and at times, you’ll have to play with a man down and I thought our team did well and handled that over the last 20 minutes of the game.”  

(On dealing with the referees…)

FRANKLIN: “It’s all part of the game, it’s all about our character and how we handle it and I thought our team did well. I think we got two goals after we were down a man and we got to do the same thing next week when we play against Puerto Rico. We don’t know how the refs are going to be, we don’t know how the games are going to go. It’s all about adjusting to it and making sure that we do our part.”

(On getting a result…)

FRANKLIN: “It’s big, we got to win the games at home. We don’t want to drop points here and we knew that they were going to come in and play for a point. I thought that we did well at attacking them and I think the score could have been even higher if we finished our chances. They had some great chances too, but at the end of the day, we got three points.”

(On Metapán’s targeting of his side of the field…)

FRANKLIN: “They threw a lot of numbers on their left side. They had some good chances with a lot of crosses and they’re a little bit dangerous. But once we settled down and started playing our soccer, we showed why we won the game 5-2.”

23 August 10:24 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy may have picked up a 5-2 victory over Isidro Metapan in their CONCACAF Champions League opener, but the story of the match was referee Alfredo Penaloza's decision to send off Galaxy forward Robbie Keane in the 70th minute of play.

Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was particularly vocal about the way that the match was officiated and his comments are below...

ARENA: "Making a transition into this circus sometimes is unbelievable. It's very difficult on MLS teams. I sometimes wonder why we spend all the resources and time we do in this competition when sometimes it looks really bizarre. But we've had enough time to be ready for this game. Maybe little bit of the layoff affected us. But there's no excuses on our part, it should be -- that game should be five or six goal margin playing with 11 players. Period.

(On Robbie Keane's red card...)

ARENA: "I don't know. The ref missed the call and typical, we've seen in these competitions, the referees think they're bigger than the game itself and they've got to put themselves ahead of everything, I guess he felt he should not be, I don't know.  Robbie spoke, said something, whatever, but when a referee misses a call like that, he's got to be big enough to kind of ignore it and let the game go on. So a player gets a yellow card for diving when he's fouled and then obviously a red card for, I don't even know. They didn't explain anything to us."

(On Stephens' yellow...)

ARENA: "I've never seen a player like Mike Stephens come into a game and get a yellow card like that so that's a mystery in itself. Its something that's part of the CONCACAF experience and there's no excuses for it. At this time in this competition, after all these years, it's got to be better."

23 August 2:02 pm

We're just hours away from tonight's CONCACAF Champions League match between the LA Galaxy and Isidro Metapán.

For a little bit of pregame reading, check out LAGalaxy.com staff writer Larry Morgan's preview of the match as well as MLSsoccer.com's Scott French's own take on the important CCL game. 

Lastly, be sure to read the Three Points to the match and consult the match report for all of the other pieces ahead of tonight's game. 

PREDICTED LA GALAXY LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant; Sarvas, Beckham, Juninho, Jimenez, Magee, Keane 

23 August 10:32 am

A good gameday morning to everyone out there. 

As we inch closer to tonight's CONCACAF Champions League match between the LA Galaxy and Salvadoran club Isidro Metapán, be sure to check out my Three Points to the match before heading out to The Home Depot Center

I'll have a few more updates as we get closer to tonight's 7pm kick off time.

22 August 3:23 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- For MLS clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League, dealing with highly defensive opponents is part of the game and the LA Galaxy expect it to be no different when they host Salvadoran club Isidro Metapán on Thursday at The Home Depot Center. 

Although Metapán are considered to be one of the most dynamic offensive clubs in their native land, even the most offensive clubs often opt for a defense first approach or "bunkering" when playing in MLS or Mexican opposition in CCL play. Expected to drop as many as ten players back, the Salvadorans will likely look to clog the midfield and limit the Galaxy from creating scoring chances due to their added numbers in the back. This approach places the onus on forwards Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane as well as the Galaxy midfield to break a group that is expected to be highly compact and organized in front of goal. 

Below are thoughts from Keane and Donovan on facing a Metapán side expected to be highly defensive on Thursday: 

KEANE: "I certainly think that probably will be the case tomorrow, but its a good test for the players, because we're going to come up against teams like that also in the league. It's good that we know how to deal with that, how to break teams down."

DONOVAN: "That would be the expectation. If that changes, we will be surprised I think, but we deal with that a lot here and having to break teams down, and tomorrow will be the same."

22 August 2:24 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy may be dealing with injury issues heading into Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapán, but they are not alone. 

According to El Gráfico, El Salvador's largest sports daily newspaper, four Metapán players did not make the trip to the United States due to visa issues including starting center back Ernesto Aquino. Also according to the Salvadoran daily , Metapán trained with the following formation before coming to Southern California: GK Fidel Mondragón; RB: Luis Perla, CB: Ricardo Alvarado, CB: Milton Molina, LB: Alfredo Pacheco; RM: Cristian Sanchez, CM: Omar Mejia, CM: Ramon Sanchez, LM: Paolo Suarez; FWD: Eliseo Quintanilla, FWD: Nicolas Muñoz.

Below is a thought from Galaxy midfielder David Beckham on the Salvadoran club:

"We've always respected teams like we'll be playing tomorrow. It doesn't matter if we've heard too much about them. They've still got a very good team unit and we know enough about them to know that we have to play well to win the game. We're well aware of the players, and well aware of individual players that they have, its about our own game and If we play our own game, then we're difficult to stop. But we've got to do that."

22 August 12:00 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- In preparation for the LA Galaxy's stiff test on Thursday in the CONCACAF Champions League against Isidro Metapán, LAGalaxy.com has provided another fun refresher for those learning to learn a bit more about the CCL.

On the heels of the informative "CCL 101" video, the Galaxy offered this Pop Quiz for those looking to learn about the competition: