CARSON, Calif. – The question of who should be the starting striker tandem is one of the main topics among LA Galaxy circles. However, based on the meteoric rise of Gyasi Zardes, it may not be a debate much longer.
The Galaxy won two titles with the strike force of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, but in recent weeks it has been Zardes who has started alongside the Irishman thanks to his torrid scoring run of six goals in five contests. LA’s pairing of Keane and Zardes bore fruit again on Wednesday with both strikers tallying a brace in the team’s 5-1 victory over the New England Revolution.
While Donovan and Zardes have often swapped positions in recent months, Keane told reporters that it may be time stop thinking of the second-year attacker as a midfielder.
"As long as he keeps continuing to learn and keeps continuing to score goals, and understanding how to be a striker and playing with someone else," said Keane. "It’s not about just running in behind, it’s about linking up and playing with people and understanding when you play up front it’s a partnership and understanding when I have the ball he has to run off and understand where he’s going to go.
“Most of the time I’ll find him. If not, I’ll try to find him. I keep telling him just get in behind and I’ll find him."
And it’s Keane’s vocal nature that Zardes attributes to his ability to find spaces behind opposing defenders and create dangerous scoring opportunities.
“I definitely have been listening to Robbie," Zardes told reporters on Wednesday night. "He’s constantly talking to me, even throughout the game. He’s giving me little tips on what he’s going to do, and he told me to pay attention to the first ball once you’re running through. We worked on it in practice, and we did it in the game. When Robbie gets the ball at his feet, I know he’ll find me.”
Who should start up top for the LA Galaxy when they play Sporting Kansas City on Saturday? Do you prefer the tandem of Keane and Donovan or Keane and Zardes?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez has his sights set on returning to the field for the LA Galaxy, but don’t count on him participating in Saturday’s clash with Sporting Kansas City.
The Galaxy center back participated in training on Thursday for the first time since returning from World Cup duty with the U.S. National Team where he endured a right ankle injury during the USMNT’s round of 16 defeat to Belgium.
“The ankle is moving along well,” Gonzalez told reporters. “I practiced today for the first time and it feels good to be back on the field with the team.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena echoed Gonzalez’s optimism stating that the defender is “moving along” in his recovery, but is “unlikely” to play a role in Saturday’s match in Kansas City.
Although Arena did not reveal a timetable on Gonzalez’s return, the defender himself admitted that he is hoping to earn minutes in LA’s match against Manchester United next week before making a potential full-fledged return against Seattle Sounders FC on July 28.
“I think that [Seattle] is the target game. It’ll be a crucial game for us. It’ll our first game at their place and we need points,” he said. “The United game is definitely a good game to get some minutes so that I can get back out there and get ready for Seattle.”
CARSON, Calif. – Stefan Ishizaki has spent plenty of time practicing his free kicks in recent weeks and on Wednesday his hard work paid off.
In the 75th minute after Juninho won a free kick just outside the penalty area, Ishizaki let loose a curling shot that bounced off a defender and into the net for LA’s fourth goal of their 5-1 rout of the New England Revolution. The strike capped a performance that also featured a first half assist of Gyasi Zardes’ goal just before the 20 minute mark.
With his goal, Ishizaki has the distinction of scoring 50 percent of LA’s free kicks since David Beckham left the club as the Galaxy have scored just two goals off free kicks since the Englishman’s departure.
“That’s what I’ve kind of built my career on, my right foot. I have always been taking corners and free kicks,” said Ishizaki. “Recently, I’ve had a couple injuries in the past couple of years that kept me from practicing free kicks and now I feel fit and I feel good. I’ve been making a lot of free kicks in practice, so that gives you the confidence you need when you step up in games.”
The Galaxy will need that confidence heading into Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City, but before the team turns the page to Sporting, Ishizaki admits that the victory was a needed one for LA.
“We’ve been waiting on one of these games to really score a lot of goals,” he said. “We felt a little bit unlucky at times, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t go in you’ve not done well enough. So it was a good feeling today to get a couple in.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters after the team's 5-1 win over the New England Revolution.
His quotes are below.
(On the team’s mistakes...)
ARENA: “I think in the first half when New England had a player sent off, our guys relaxed and I thought our last 15 minutes in the first half were poor.”
(On Robbie Keane...)
ARENA: “He’s picked it up over the last two or three weeks. Robbie is going to score goals and strikers at time get into a bit of a slump, they go scoreless a while, but there is never a doubt in our minds that Robbie will produce goals for us. Whether it’s directly from him, or assisting, we know he is going to be in and around the goal and be dangerous. So it was just a matter of time he hit the back of the net again.”
(On the team’s defense...)
ARENA: “Just working with those players since preseason, getting them organized and getting them enough games. So tonight, obviously the first half we start with A.J. [DeLaGarza] at left back and match up Leonardo and Tommy [Meyer], which we probably haven’t done a whole lot. With Dan getting sent off, it was a good exercise playing with three in the back, so I thought that was good. They’ve reacted in a positive way all year. As you know, we’ve lost Omar [Gonzalez] for a while, Todd Dunivant really most of the season, James Riley. Yet when a player’s name is called, they step up so I’m really pleased with the group. Kofi [Opare] was ready to go tonight as well. We’ve got good depth in our back line, and I think as we get into the second half of the season, I think it’s going to pay dividends for our group.”
(On Kenney Walker...)
ARENA: “Good job, Kenney [Walker] has played a fair amount for us over the last couple of months and did a good job. I thought he got a little tired in the second half and made the change. I thought Marcelo Sarvas was brilliant in his 20 minutes; did exactly what we needed him to do.”
(On Gyasi Zardes...)
ARENA: “He’s grown as a player, more confident. We put him in a difficult position in the second half, having to play out on the right and I thought he was excellent. He played on both sides of the ball so we’re real pleased with him. He is getting a lot more confident, and he has been a really good player over the last couple of months.
With Omar Gonzalez likely absent, Leonardo targeting return to action against New England Revolution
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s 2014 regular season campaign is complete with several players who are enduring stop start seasons, and one of the names on that list is Brazilian center back Leonardo.
The 26-year-old Brazilian has been much maligned among Galaxy fans for his inconsistent play throughout the campaign, which has seen him make nine starts across 11 appearances. A start at the beginning of the year alongside Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo has not started since early June as Tommy Meyer has begun to cement his place along the back four.
However, Leonardo may be given a lifeline back into the starting XI on Wednesday with the Galaxy’s match against the New England Revolution which will be the team’s second match in a two week; five game swing.
“I think it’d be good for the group to rotate players. We want to have a full squad so that we can change if we need to. You don’t want players who are not playing over a long period and you want them to fight for an opportunity,” said Leonardo. “I feel good and Bruce [Arena] has told me that when I have an opportunity that I need to take it. I think that this will be my time to take the opportunity and show what I can do.”
CARSON, Calif. -- In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers' we look at the LA Galaxy's match with the New England Revolution.
Check it out below.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is over, but before we turn the page to the tournament in Russia in four years, take a gander at this stunning animation by Richard Swarbrick.
The short film by the British artist and filmmaker recaps the entire month-long tournament in less than two minutes and is a must see.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy Homegrown stalwart Bradford Jamieson IV is making strides with the Galaxy first team and it appears that success will cost him an appearance for the U.S. Under-20 side in the upcoming NTC invitational tournament at StubHub Center.
Jamieson has been of the main offensive weapons for Galaxy II this year with five goals in 13 games with Los Dos and made his first career LA Galaxy gameday roster during Saturday's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. The 17-year-old had been called up by U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos last week for the four day tournament, but Jamieson told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday that his success with the first team will prevent him from suiting up for U-20's.
"I'm pretty confident that I'll get called into the next camp. I had a good chat with [Bruce Arena] and Tab Ramos about the fact of the matter that they're trying to keep me in the loop with the guys. I met with the players and the coaches and they're all really good," said Jamieson. "They know that I'm training with the [LA Galaxy] first team and know that my level won't be dropping. In fact, it's almost better that I'm playing with guys above my age and at a higher pace than I am."
CARSON, Calif. -- Stefan Ishizaki knows that the last few weeks haven't been his best and now the LA Galaxy's Swedish midfielder is looking to get back on the scoresheet.
The Swedish midfielder saw his four-game starting streak snapped on Saturday when he came on as a late substitute in the LA Galaxy's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. Despite making four consecutive starts, Ishizaki has seen his production decline after a strong start to the 2014 season with just one assist in his last five games and no goals since his tally against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 19.
Despite his recent frustrations, Ishizaki admits that he feels that things are starting to come together ahead of Wednesday's match against the New England Revolution.
"I feel really good," said Ishizaki. "I got to rest last game and I only played 15 minutes so I'm fresh and ready to go if Bruce wants me on Wednesday."
Thoughts on Ishizaki's start to the season?
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The 2014 FIFA World Cup has finally concluded, but as the old saying goes: we’ll always have the memories of a thrilling month of action in Brazil.
On Sunday night, I nominated my two breakout stars of the tournament on Twitter, but ESPN FC went into greater depths to offer the best moments of the month-long tournament in this stunning montage.
Just an FYI: the video may not be available abroad, but if you click this link then you should be able to see the clip.