CARSON, Calif. – Injuries and international departures have wreaked havoc on the LA Galaxy’s depth this season, but the team received a bit of good news this week about the status of center back Leonardo.
Following the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers, Time Warner Cable Deportes’ Elmur Souza reported that Leonardo suffered a broken finger on his right hand in the match that would require surgery. Following training on Tuesday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena revealed that despite the injury, Leonardo is not expected to miss any time.
“He picked up an injury with his finger, but I think that he’s going to be fine,” said Arena. “We expect him to play [against Houston].”
However, Leonardo was slightly more cautious as he admitted that he was still taking his recovery “day by day” with the hopes of starting against the Dynamo.
“I feel okay, but a little bit sore. After 48 hours, I can feel more pain after the surgery, but it’s nothing crazy,” Leonardo told LA Galaxy Insider. “We’ll see how I feel. I trained [on Wednesday], but the problem is that when I’m defending I use a lot of my hands. I just have to be careful and we’ll give it time.”
Thoughts on Leonardo likely keeping his starting role on Saturday against Houston?
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CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy II forward Chandler Hoffman was named USL PRO's Player of the Week after his two-goal performance last week.
Hoffman tallied two goals in a victory over the Charlotte Eagles and a draw with the Dayton Dutch Lions. The 23-year-old has five goals so far this season with Galaxy II.
“I think being named Player of the Week is a great honor and I keep using it as motivation to move forward,” said Hoffman. “I scored two goals last week, the game winner and the only goal against Dayton.”
In addition to Hoffman, center back Kyle Venter was also named to the team of the week.
Omar Gonzalez excited for the chance to develop more chemistry with Matt Besler ahead of 2014 FIFA World Cup
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez admits that the left knee injury suffered two weeks ago left him a bit nervous, but now that he’s on the U.S. National Team’s 30-man preliminary roster, he’s looking to make the most of his opportunities.
Now that Gonzalez is on the U.S. preliminary squad, he’s expected to contend for a starting role which is a spot that he’s held alongside Sporting Kansas City center back Matt Besler for much of World Cup qualifying. With less than a month before the tournament, Gonzalez is excited about the chance to develop even more chemistry with the Sporting center back.
“In the end, it’s going to be up to Jurgen for who he wants paired up in the back, but my experience with Matt Besler is that I really enjoy playing with him. He’s very confident on the ball and is a great defender,” Gonzalez told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday. “We have a great chemistry on the field and this camp is only going to make things better. We’re going to be around one another every day for a month before the first game and we can really work on things to shore up the back line.
“This camp is very crucial to building relationships all over the field, not just Besler, but with my right back, my left back and Howard,” added Gonzalez. “Increasing all those relationships and know that you know what everyone is going to do so that you don’t have to think about it and can minimize mistakes.”
As for what he believes that the team needs to work on ahead of their June 16 clash with Ghana? Gonzalez believes that there are multiple aspects of the game that the U.S. must tighten up ahead of their trip to Brazil.
“We need to stay compact, we need to stay organize and be louder on the field,” said Gonzalez. “Those are all things that can get a little bit better to make sure that you’re on top of things. Little things like that which can always get better make a big difference.”
Germany unveiled their preliminary squad last week, then on Monday after Ghana released their preliminary roster, and on Tuesday, Portugal released their own pre-World Cup squad.
The Portugal squad is headlined by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as well as his teammate Pepe, Monaco’s João Moutinho, Manchester United’s Nani, and Fenerbahçe’s Raul Meireles. Portugal are led by head coach Paulo Bento.
Check it out below.
GOALKEEPERS: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Sevilha), Eduardo (SC Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
DEFENDERS: André Almeida (Benfica), Antunes (Málaga), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), João Pereira (Valência), Neto (Zenit), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valência), Rolando (Inter)
MIDFIELDERS: André Gomes (Benfica), João Mário (Vitória FC), João Moutinho (Mónaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahçe), Rúben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting)
FORWARDS: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Éder (SC Braga), Hélder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (SC Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburgo)
In the latest edition of Instant Replay, MLSsoccer.com's Simon Borg reviews the controversial plays of the last week including the apparent stoppage time foul on LA Galaxy Juninho that had the Galaxy incensed after the 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers.
Borg begins commenting about the Galaxy match at 5:11 in the video.
Thoughts on his call?
Landon Donovan is heading to the U.S. preliminary camp in Stanford next week and seems a lock to be on the squad, but will he be starting come the Americans opening match with Ghana?
In my latest story for LAGalaxy.com, Donovan talks about how he feels like he is entering his best form of the year after a strong showing against the Portland Timbers as he looks to head off to join the rest of the 30-man preliminary squad at Stanford University later this week.
Although Donovan earned the call as expected, many were surprised that U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann opted to slot Donovan in among the roster's forwards despite playing predominantly at midfield over the past year. During a conference call with reporters after the roster announcement, Klinsmann explained himself.
The way we put the 30-man roster together, we see Landon as a forward because we saw also competition in midfield,” said Klinsmann. “You always have these kind of options...but in putting these 30 players together, we just think that’s where we want to see them compete in the first place, as a first option.”
Klinsmann also chimed in on Omar Gonzalez, who missed LA's match with the Timbers last weekend due to a left knee injury by stating that he is confident that he'll be back to full fitness shortly.
"It's very short period of time that he can't go 100 percent," Klinsmann said. "By the end of the week he actually should be at 100 percent already. So he'll be just a few days late, which is alright. We'll have him from the beginning of next week going full speed with the group. Thankfully the injury was not that bad and it didn't take him out for much longer. Obviously the first moment we got the information [of the injury], we were a little bit worried."
On the same day that the United States released their preliminary roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, frequent World Cup nemesis Ghana also revealed their pre-tournament group of 26 players.
Headlining the group is 2010 World Cup star forward Asamoah Gyan, Schalke’s Kevin-Prince Boateng as well as wily veterans Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari. The group is nearly entirely made up of foreign-based players with goalkeeper Stephen Adams being the only player who is based in Ghana’s professional league.
Ghana open the tournament against Group G rivals the United States on June 16 in Natal.
The roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars)
DEFENDERS: Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Harrison Afful (Esperance), Jeffrey Schullp (Leicester City), John Boye (Rennes), Jonathan Mensah (Evian), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns)
MIDFIELDERS: Michael Essien (AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Agyemang Badu (Udinese), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Albert Adomah (Middlesborough), Wakasu Mubarak (Rubin Kazan), Christian Atsu (Vitesse), David Accam (Helsingborg), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Afriyie Acquah (Parma)
FORWARDS: Asamoah Gyan (Al-Ain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux)
LA Galaxy right back Dan Gargan has been one of the standouts of the 2014 MLS regular season and on Monday, he was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week for his role in LA's 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
Throughout the afternoon, Gargan was able to silence speedy left winger Steve Zakuani, but his finest moment came in stoppage time as Gargan's throw-in led to Robbie Keane's header that appeared to seal three points for LA before Diego Valeri's equalizer moments later.
Following the match, Gargan admitted that he was pleased with his performance.
"[Zakuani] is quick and I think that I may have underestimated his speed a little bit in the first half, but I didn't think he could keep up with me in the second half," said Gargan. "I thought it was tough on the turf and I could have had better quality in the final third."
The two LA Galaxy stalwarts were named to U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's 30-man preliminary roster ahead of next month's 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The group will convene at Stanford University on Wednesday for a two-week training camp where Klinsmann will reduce his group to the 23-man squad that will head to Brazil.
The complete roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (11): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Thoughts on the squad?
Juninho and Robbie Keane left frustrated after questionable call late in LA Galaxy draw with Portland Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The LA Galaxy could not hide their disgust at referee Armando Villarreal after their 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers.
Villarreal's decision to not award a foul after Juninho was brought down by Portland's Darlington Nagbe after an uncontested run through the field gave life to the Timbers who scored on a Diego Valeri finish two minutes later. Following the match, the Brazilian midfielder confirmed that he was taken down by Nagbe.
"I felt like that he pushed me in the back," said Juninho. "[The referee] made a real mistake."
Galaxy captain Robbie Keane agreed that it was clear that Juninho was brought down, but he told reporters after the game that the Galaxy must perform better in the closing moments of matches if they are to improve upon a frustrating result.
“We can stand there and make excuses, but we cannot concede the goal at the end there’s no questions about that. In the last few seconds, we have to be stronger," said Keane. "The linesman has to see that [Juninho foul] because he’s right there while the head referee is chasing the game like the rest of us. There were some poor decisions, but we have to accept and take responsibility ourselves because in the last minutes, we can’t allow goals like that.”
Watch the foul below and comment on whether or not you believe the call was correct