The U.S. National Team is returning to Southern California.
U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that the U.S. will face Korea Republic on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center concluding their annual winter training camp. The match will be the first game for the U.S. in a busy 2014 that will see them -- and Korea Republic -- complete in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“As a team that has qualified for Brazil, the Korea Republic will be another great benchmark for us,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a statement. “They bring a different style of play than we have seen in the last two years, and that gives us a chance to grow. With only two or three games left before May, this will be an important opportunity for the players who will be finishing off the January camp. The message will be the same one we start with every time we get together: we are here to win.”
Both LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are likely to be called up for the January training camp. According to Steve Davis at ProSoccerTalk, the U.S. will open up training camp on Jan. 6 at StubHub Center before departing for Brazil on Jan. 12 where they will train in Sao Paulo at their base for the World Cup until Jan. 25 before returning to Southern California.
The match will be first game between the two countries since their 1-1 draw at the 2002 FIFA World Cup when former Galaxy attacker Clint Mathis scored a stunning goal in the tie.
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MLS continued to hand out their year-end awards on Monday as Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter earned the MLS coach of the Year award while New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston won the MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
Porter led the Portland Timbers to a 14-5-15 record in his first season after departing from his post at the University of Akron. The Timbers advanced to the Western Conference Championship, but were knocked off by MLS Cup finalist Real Salt Lake. New York Red Bulls boss Mike Petke finished second, RSL head coach Jason Kreis finished third while Colorado Rapids manager Oscar Pareja finished fourth in the voting.
Alston won the Comeback Player of the Year award by a landslide after returning from being diagnosised with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a rare but treatable form of leukemia. Alston made nine appearances for the Revolution in 2013. Conor Casey, Lamar Negale and Donovan Ricketts finished second, third, and forth in the voting respectively.
A touching video is making the rounds this weekend of LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane meeting a young Irish soccer fan named Domhnall on Ireland's annual holiday institution The Late Late Toy Show.
Keane, who was still on crutches after his surgery earlier in the week, met with the child -- who is hoping that the Galaxy captain gets well soon in time to lead Ireland in their 2016 Euro campaign -- and presenter Ryan Tubridy in the video below.
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CARSON, Calif. – Michael Stephens believes that he needs playing time to progress professionally, but whether he’ll receive that as a member of the LA Galaxy in 2014 is “up in the air” according to the midfielder.
“It was up and down, there were games that played well and then others where I didn't do so good,” Stephens told reporters earlier this month. “Part of that comes with playing time, but they go both hand in hand because if you don’t produce then the playing time won’t be there and it’s hard to produce when the playing time isn't there. It’s a tough balance. ”
During his final media availability, Stephens told reporters that he is out of contract, but he remains in communication with the Galaxy about returning in 2014. Wherever Stephens is playing next season, the 24-year-old knows that he’ll need playing time.
I personally, I want more playing time, but I’m not a guy that is going to be naïve to think that I was in a position where I definitely deserved more playing time. That’s just the way it is and it is something that I want more of going into next year.”
The LA Galaxy are going full speed ahead with their plans for a USL team in 2014.
During his interview on Joe Tutino’s LA Galaxy All-Access Podcast, Arena stated that the club is “anticipating” having a USL squad in the coming season that will help them develop existing rostered players, but also add further pieces in the Galaxy Academy.
“We’re going ahead full speed. We anticipate having a USL team. That will serve our academy players who were moving up to the major league roster. It will serve our players who are not playing on a regular basis for the first team as well,” Arena told Tutino. “We’re going to have obviously other players involved in the [USL] roster. Between the first team, which is now 30 to 29 players in MLS, and [the USL] roster we’ll likely have another 15 players who are involved in the USL and complemented by our roster. We should have 45 players here on a daily basis, two teams and a number of opportunities to give players game experience and to continue to move forward.
“We’re hopeful that we can discover a couple of players through the USL team but also develop our academy players that need playing time,” Arena continued. “You’re going to see players like Oscar Sorto, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola, perhaps, Jose Villarreal; all those young players that if they’re not playing on a regular basis with us, they will be playing with the USL team.”
In addition to the USL team and a myriad of other topics, Arena addressed the topic of LA Galaxy players going on offseason loans stating that “our players aren't going anywhere” noting that Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are expected to join U.S. National Team’s annual January camp. The Galaxy manager also stated that Robbie Keane should be back in comission after four to six weeks following his "procedure" earlier in the week.
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On this day for giving thanks, I'd like to wish all of the readers of the LA Galaxy Insider a Happy Thanksgiving.
This year has been quite an exciting ride and I'm looking forward to many more.
Below is a special Thanksgiving video from members of the LA Galaxy.
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CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane underwent surgery in London on Wednesday to repair nagging injuries in both of his Achilles.
According to a Galaxy spokesman, the surgery was a success and the LA captain is expected be ready to go by the preseason. Keane is expected to complete his rehabilitation in Ireland before returning to Southern California in January.
During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Keane revealed that once the procedure takes place, he’ll be focusing solely on returning to fitness in time for the start of preseason.
“I'll get that done, and then it’s rest and a lot of rehab, so that's mainly what I'll be doing [this offseason],” said Keane.
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Three members of the LA Galaxy have been nominated for the first annual CONCACAF year-end awards.
Landon Donovan has been nominated for Player of the Year for his stellar 2013 that saw him take home the Golden Ball (tournament's MVP) and the Golden Boot (tournament's top scorer) at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup in addition to a 10 goal and nine assist performance for the Galaxy. LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo is nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year after a stellar 2013 that saw him lead the Panamanian national team to the final of the Gold Cup while winning the Golden Gloves award for the tournament's best goalkeeper. Penedo also led Panama to within minutes of qualifying for a berth in a World Cup playoff.
Finally, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has been nominated for Coach of the Year.
CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez as one of the MLS-based U.S. National Team players unlikely to head on an offseason loan this winter.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has stated that he’d like his MLS-based players to head on loan this January as the nation prepares for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but while Gonzalez admitted that he is “pretty much open to anything” at the moment, he is expecting to take a breather for the next few weeks before he begins preparation for the U.S.’ annual January camp.
“I'm still dealing with a little pain from my groin,” Gonzalez admitted during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “I just recently got done with the [U.S. national team's final 2013] games, and so right now I'm just relaxing, trying to let this groin heal up, and when it gets closer to January, got to start getting fit and whether I'm here in California with the national team for January camp or something else comes along, we'll figure that out. But as of right now, I'm just planning on the January camp.”
The groin injury that Gonzalez mentioned has plagued him since the 2012 MLS Cup and flared up at times during the Galaxy’s 2013 campaign. Gonzalez has experience with offseason loans after going on loan in January 2012 with German Bundesliga club FC Nurnberg where he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his first training session with the team.
That experience did not sour Gonzalez to the prospect of an offseason loan, but for now, he’s simply waiting to see what types of offers emerge.
“Once it gets closer to January, once these club teams start actually asking about certain players, and whether or not these opportunities are real,” said Gonzalez. “As of right now, my plan is just to go to January camp. At the end of the day, it's also the Galaxy and the league's decision whether they want me to go, as well.”