CARSON, Calif. -- Gyasi Zardes returned to the LA Galaxy before the team's trip to Europe loaded with confidence after his successful stint with the U.S. National Team.
During the USMNT's annual Winter camp, Zardes made his first two appearances for the national side including an influential start during their 2-0 victory over Panama last Sunday. Following two days off after a month-long training camp, Zardes rejoined the Galaxy where he admitted that he was feeling an extra pep in his step.
"This preseason has been wonderful for me. Just jumping in a new environment [with the USMNT]," said Zardes. "You always gain confidence the more you play, no matter what team you play on. Being with the camp helped me grow. My method is once you find rhythm try to keep it. Bring that to a new atmosphere. I’m just trying to get better and take advantage of every opportunity I get. Stay humble and level-headed. That’s how I grow."
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will have an opportunity to meet with new Designated Player Steven Gerrard for the first time during the club’s trip through Europe.
The Galaxy head coach and general manager will meet with Gerrard for the first time during the Galaxy trip to Europe and also attend Liverpool’s Europa League knockout round match against Beşiktaş on Feb. 19 at Anfield. Gerrard is unlikely to suit up as he is expected to miss the next three weeks due to a hamstring injury.
“Yes, I will meet with him,” Arena said. “We’ll just have an opportunity to talk, about our club and expectations, those types of things.”
Arena and the rest of the Galaxy brass famously signed Gerrard without a face-to-face meet as the club needed just phone conversations to secure Gerrard's signature.
Jair Marrufo was named the head referee for the LA Galaxy's MLS regular season opener against Chicago Fire on March 6 at StubHub Center.
The Professional Referee Organization made the announcement official on Tuesday that El Paso, Texas native will ref the league's 2015 season opener. Marrufo will be joined by assistant referees Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell, and fourth official Alejandro Mariscal.
Maurrfo presided over 16 MLS regular season games in 2014 and two LA Galaxy MLS Cup Playoff games including their 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinal and their Western Conference Championship second leg match against Seattle Sounders FC.
Preseason Notes: Foot injury likely to keep A.J. DeLaGarza from playing in European trip, Ryo Fujii talks LA Galaxy II deal
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza has yet to play a minute for the club during their 2015 preseason preparations, and it appears that a nagging foot injury will keep him on the shelf at least through the team’s trip to Europe.
A mainstay in 2014, DeLaGarza has been hampered by a bone bruise on his left foot since the beginning of the preseason which has kept him from participating in full training this preseason. Although DeLaGarza is eager to return to action, he admits that it is best to err on the side of caution with the MLS regular season opener looming in less than a month.
“It’s best to let it rest and get ready for the season to start,” DeLaGarza said. “If I go out here now and have a misstep, I could have to start all over again so it’s about being patient and know what [I] can handle right now.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as we first thought so I’m happy to miss a couple weeks rather than a couple of months. “
The Galaxy defender told reporters on Tuesday that he will be part of the team’s traveling party, but he admits that he is unlikely to suit up in either of the club’s two games in Europe.
“If it gets better and I can take a pass and trap with no pain or kick the ball with no pain then I’d play,” he said. “There’s no time table. You never know with these types of things. It just takes time."
ARENA: EUROPEAN TRAVEL ROSTER NOT YET FINALIZED
The Galaxy depart for an 11-day, two game European trip on Wednesday, but LA head coach Bruce Arena has yet to decide which of his trialists will join the club in Europe.
LA currently have five players not under contract in camp (draft picks Ignacio Maganto and Daniel Keller as well as preseason invitees Andre Auras, Edson Buddle and Ramon Martin Del Campo) who have each logged minutes during the club’s preseason slate. When asked of their status after training on Tuesday, Arena shed light on the travel situation of only one of his four trialists.
“I haven’t finalized our travel roster,” Arena said. “But Buddle is going.”
RYO FUJII SPEAKS ON NEW LA GALAXY II DEAL
LA Galaxy II bolstered their squad on Tuesday with the signing of LA Galaxy Academy product Ryo Fujii.
The 18-year-old midfielder spent 2014 with U.C. Santa Barbara where he made 19 appearances tallying two assists in his first and only season with the Gauchos. In addition to signing a deal with Galaxy II, the Galaxy will also provide the midfielder with the resources to continue his education at neighboring Cal-State Dominguez Hills.
“It’s a big step for me because as such a young age, I have the opportunity to play at a professional club,” Fujii told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “It’s my dream to become a professional soccer player, but I want to be more than that. It’s a big step for me in general.”
Fujii joins forward Jaime Villarreal and goalkeeper Eric Lopez as one of three Academy products who have signed directly with Los Dos.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Academy Under-18's will participate in the Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group for a third consecutive year, the Academy announced on Twitter on Tuesday.
LA participated in the Super Group during both the 2013 and 2014 campaigns with such players as Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, Bradford Jamieson IV, Raul Mendiola, and Oscar Sorto taking part. Representatives with Dallas Cup and the LA Galaxy confirmed the tweets validity.
This year, the Galaxy will join two Brazilian clubs (Coritiba and Corinthians), a pair of Liga MX sides (Monterrey and Tigres UNAL), English Premier League side Everton, and Argentine giants River Plate.
— LA Galaxy Academy (@LAGalaxyAcademy) February 11, 2015
Bradford Jamieson IV pleased with the U.S. Under-20's draw for the upcoming U-20 World Cup in New Zealand
CARSON, Calif. – Bradford Jamieson IV and the U.S. Under-20’s learned their opponents for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in New Zealand late Monday night.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A alongside hosts New Zealand as well as Myanmar and Ukraine. Tab Ramos’ squad will open the tournament against Myanmar in Whangarei on May 30 before facing the Kiwis on June 2 in Auckland. They'll end the group stage just three days later against Ukraine.
“It was a good draw for us,” Jamieson told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “We’re going to be playing against the hosts so obviously it’ll be a good game with a great turnout. We know that no team can be taken lightly and if we are considered the favorites then we have to prove everyone right and top the group.”
Heading into a tournament as favorites is nothing new for the U.S. U-20’s as they entered into the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championship as top favorites to not only advance but win the group. However, the competition hardly went according to plan as the U.S. needed to defeat El Salvador in a playoff match to lock down a World Cup berth.
According to Jamieson that experience should aid the U.S. side as they look to make a name for themselves in New Zealand.
“[That tournament] just goes to show that anything can happen in these tournaments,” said Jamieson who scored two goals in six appearances at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. “Those teams came from smaller countries like some of the teams in our World Cup group so they’re coming to prove themselves. It’ll be a place where our players can showcase our talents to the world.”
Soon after returning from Jamaica, the 18-year-old quickly put himself in the conversation for the Galaxy’s left midfield role with strong shift against Seattle Sounders FC in a preseason scrimmage. But despite his recent success, Jamieson understands that there is still plenty of work to be done before he locks down a spot on Ramos’ final roster for New Zealand.
“My mentality has to be on point and my physicality has to be as close to 100 percent as possible,” said Jamieson. “I just need to keep working hard and stick to what I know and do what I’ve been doing to get to where I am now.
“It gives me confidence that Bruce has been giving me time in the [left midfield position] because obviously I want to continue to prove them right and give back to the team and the club. I just want to keep working so that I can solidify my spot in that position.”
Landon Donovan is certainly keeping busy in his retirement as the LA Galaxy and U.S. Soccer legend dropped a retirement update on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
Major League Soccer's all-time scoring king who had the league's Most Valuable Player trophy named after him less than a month ago has been traveling across the world in recent weeks including trips to India and the Maldives after returning from the Galaxy's Herbalife promotion trip of South America last December. The 32-year-old who retired after helping the LA Galaxy win MLS Cup in December also announced that he's intending to enroll in college as he seeks to complete a long stated goal of a college degree.
But the biggest news of the post was that Donovan has announced his engagement to his long term girlfiend Hannah.
"I'm in the process of enrolling in college and have started many other exciting ventures that I've always been passionate about," he said in the Facebook update. "Lastly, and most importantly, I recently got engaged to the love of my life, Hannah. I have never been this happy and I'm excited for our future together!"
Congratulate Donovan and see the full post below.
Bradford Jamieson IV and the rest of the U.S. Under-20's are smiling on Monday after the U.S. youth side was drawn a favorable draw at this summer's U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. U-20's were drawn into Group A alongside host nation New Zealand, Myanmar and Ukraine. Tab Ramos' squad will open the tournament against Myanmar in Whangarei on May 30 before facing the Kiwis on June 2 in Auckland. They'll wrap up the group stage just three days later against Ukraine.
While the Americans were left celebrating their group, their arch rivals Mexico were likely frustrated as they were drawn into Group D along with Uruguay, Serbia and an African nation yet to be decided.
The complete list of groups are below.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 10, 2015
CARSON, Calif. -- Gyasi Zardes made American soccer fans take notice with a stellar performance in the United States' 2-0 victory over Panama on Sunday, but LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena preached caution when discussing his showing a day later.
Zardes shined against Panama with an assist across in 90 minutes in front of his home crowd leading to considerable praise across the nation's soccer media and stars like Michael Bradley. Although many were abuzz with Zardes' showing throughout the USMNT winter camp, Arena took a far more measured approach when discussing his speedster's success on Sunday.
"He had one of the better games, but I think that you have to look at things in the big picture and you can't be too hasty in your judgments on players in a game like that. The game was not of high quality. The one concern is who didn't play well as opposed to who did play well," said Arena. "You don't use a January camp or a game against Panama to see where everyone is at. You wait until you play some quality teams.
"You have to be smart not to get caught in the [hype]. You say to the player, 'good game and now we'll see where you stand when we play some better teams.'" added Bruce. "I'm not surprised how he played... However, I'm pretty sure that he is not walking on water yet. Now we'll hear all of that for awhile."
CARSON, Calif. –Jaime Penedo reached a career milestone with his 100th appearance for Panama on Sunday, but the honor was bittersweet for the LA Galaxy goalkeeper after Los Canaleros dropped a 2-0 defeat to the United States on his home field at StubHub Center.
Penedo was honored pregame by the Panamanian federation with a special Penedo No. 100 jersey to honor his 100 caps for his nation. The 33-year-old goalkeeper is one of only two players to reach the century mark for the Central American country in their nearly 90 year history in international soccer.
Once the game began, however, the smiles quickly left as Penedo and Panama struggled as the U.S. dominated, scoring two goals on the goalkeeper including a Michael Bradley olimpico goal off a corner kick.
“I’m very happy and blessed to receive this honor from my national team, but I know that I still have plenty of work to do,” Penedo told LA Galaxy Insider afterward. “We still have much that we want to accomplish and I want to continue to keep getting better and better.”
Perhaps the most awkward moment of the game came before a ball was kicked however, as Penedo was met with a boos when he entered the net pregame and USMNT goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who is the starter for Galaxy rival Real Salt Lake, was the one cheered by the 20,170 in attendance.
“It was different, but he deserves a lot of cheers here,” Rimando told reporters of Penedo afterward. “He’s done great with the Galaxy and he should be proud, but it felt good to be cheered [at StubHub Center].”
But when asked about the hometown jeers, the Galaxy’s goalkeeper brushed aside any thoughts of frustration. He understood why they came.
“Some people applauded. I heard a few cheers,” Penedo said with a wide smile. “Everyone is rooting for the country though. That reaction is understandable.”