Do you remember where you were on November 20th, 2011? Well, if you answered correctly, you’ll have said that you were at The Home Depot Center for the 2011 MLS Cup watching the LA Galaxy defeat the Houston Dynamo to win their third league championship.
I was in attendance for that rainy night in Carson—writing for my former outlet Soccer by Ives— with a prime seat in the auxiliary press box located on the south roof of the stadium. Like most of the fans, media and players in attendance, I left the match drenched, but it was well worth it for a highly entertaining match that saw Houston give the Galaxy a run for their money until a beautiful sequence in the 72nd minute that led to Landon Donovan’s goal. That game also saw the real emergence of the partnership of Donovan and Robbie Keane as forward partners, which is something that has remained a fixture for the Galaxy throughout the 2013 season.
As we look back on the second anniversary of LA’s third MLS title, check out the highlights from the match below as well as the locker room celebration and interviews courtesy of LAGalaxy.com.
Locker room celebration
"Road to the Championship" interviews
What are your memories of the game? Do you remember when they played "Beautiful People" by Chris Brown at the end of the game? Cause I do.
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – Major League Soccer announced their end of the season awards on Wednesday which were headlined by Robbie Keane earning a place as a finalist for the Most Valuable Player award.
Keane tallied 16 goals and 11 assists while starting 22 of his 23 appearances with the LA Galaxy en route to his first finalist nod. The Galaxy captain was joined by Montreal forward Marco Di Vaio and former LA Galaxy forward and current Chicago Fire player Mike Magee. The award will be announced on Dec. 5 at the MLS Cup venue site.
Omar Gonzalez was also selected as finalist for MLS Defender of the Year. Gonzalez, who won the award in 2011 made 27 appearances tallying a goal and two assists. The Galaxy defender was joined by Matt Besler of Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution’s Jose Goncalves. Defender of the Year will be presented on Nov. 26
LA was also nominated as a finalist for the “Xbox Team Fair Play” award which is given based on fewest fouls committed, cards received, and on a subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior. The fair play award will be issued on Nov. 25.
MLS also announced that their 2013 MLS Best XI will be announced on Dec. 3. Both Keane and Gonzalez are contenders for inclusion for that award.
Thoughts on the honors? Think Keane will win MVP?
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CARSON, Calif. – Laurent Courtois had a brief stint with the LA Galaxy in 2013, but he’s hopeful that he can remain with the club for yet another season.
In my latest LA Galaxy Year in Review, I discuss Courtois’ season that he split between LA and Chivas USA. During this time with the Galaxy, the 35-year-old Courtois tallied two goals and one assist while making 10 appearances in his more than four months with the team.
Although Courtois admitted that he would have liked to have done more for LA, he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to latch on with the Galaxy for another season as he looks to prolong his career.
“I’m hopeful that there will be more. I don’t know, but I know that we’ll have some meetings to discuss. I hope to be a part of [the team next year],” said Courtois. “I have an option, but hopefully we’ll find an agreement. I still want to play and I think that I can help. …I still enjoy the feeling of playing and really think that I can do well.”
Omar Gonzalez and the United States dropped their final match of the year on Tuesday as they fell 1-0 to Austria in Vienna.
Gonzalez started and went 90 minutes in a losing effort as Marc Janko scored the lone goal for the Austrians in the 33rd minute that held up as the game winning goal. Gonzalez ends a successful 2013 with the U.S. that saw him start 13 of his 14 appearances for Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad.
Meanwhile, Robbie Keane was not on the game day roster for Ireland as they played Poland to a scoreless draw in Poznan. Earlier in the week, Keane stated that he was planning to see a specialist next week to evaluate his nagging Achilles injury.
International Update: Omar Gonzalez to face Austria, Robbie Keane out of Ireland starting XI due to injury
The LA Galaxy have already had one of their three internationals take the field for the final international period of the year, but two more matches featuring LA players remain on Tuesday.
A.J. DeLaGarza’s Guam earned a 2-0 victory over Cambodia early Tuesday morning, but Omar Gonzalez (U.S.) and Robbie Keane (Ireland) have yet to play.
Gonzalez and the U.S. National Team will end their year against Austria in Vienna off the heels of a mundane scoreless draw with Scotland last week. The Galaxy center back is once again expected to be in the starting XI for Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad after being one of the lone standouts against Scotland.
Meanwhile, Ireland head coach Martin O’Neill revealed on Monday that Keane will not be in the starting XI for the match against Poland in Poznan, but is expected to be available for selection. According to O’Neill, the Galaxy captain’s chronic Achilles injury is to blame for the drop from the starting XI. In an interview with reporters prior to the match, Keane stated that he’ll be seeing a specialist next Monday to evaluate the injury and determine if surgery is needed.
We’ll have plenty of coverage on the two matches on LA Galaxy Insider after their conclusion.
Thoughts on the matches?
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A.J. DeLaGarza was given his second consecutive start for Guam as the Matao defeated Cambodia 2-0 in Phnom Penh.
New England Revolution attacker Ryan Guy gave Guam the lead before they doubled their advantage on an own goal from the home side. The match was DeLaGarza’s first victory for the Matao.
During his time in South East Asia, DeLaGarza received a firsthand look at the LA Galaxy’s presence abroad after he spotted a pair of Galaxy uniforms during his time in Phnom Penh. That wasn't the only lesson that DeLaGarza received as he also got a taste of the customs of his new national team. Check out DeLaGarza performing Guam’s answer to the New Zealand Haka “the Inifresi” a native pledge to the country that the Matao perform before each game.
Finished the trip off with a 2-0 win. Looking forward to visiting Guam and seeing my family now..
— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) November 19, 2013
CARSON, Calif. – Charlie Rugg showed a few flashes of being the player that warranted the LA Galaxy’s selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, but as the forward heads into his second year in MLS, he’s eager to become a stable force for LA.
I evaluated Rugg’s season in the one of the latest LA Galaxy Insider Year in Reviews. One of the highlights of Rugg’s year was his 10 day training spell in Sweden where the rookie was given an opportunity to train with Swedish club Hammarby. Although Rugg didn’t latch on in Sweden, the forward believes that the experience benefited him in the long term.
“I don’t think that did anything to me mentally to hurt me. I think that whole trip was good to get away and see another professional level is to see where I am,” Rugg told LA Galaxy Insider. “I feel like after I came back, I played a little better. I don’t know exactly why, but going away was good for me, even though it was just 10 days not signing anything.”
After an up and down rookie season, Rugg is already chomping at the bit to return next year.
“I’m already looking forward to preseason next year and hitting the ground running,” said Rugg. “We might see that kind of same thing when I come back in preseason. I’m going to be pretty explosive at the beginning of next year. I’m already feeling more confident and energetic for next year.
CARSON, Calif. – There are a number of personnel decisions that the LA Galaxy will need to make in the offseason including two that surround a pair of high profile names.
After both players appeared in all but one game for the Galaxy, Sean Franklin and Marcelo Sarvas are each waiting to hear if the club will be picking up their options for the 2014 season.
During the club’s final media availability of the year, head coach and general manager Bruce Arena noted that no decisions have been made regarding any of the team’s players and while Associate head coach Dave Sarachan noted that the club “plan on” bringing Sarvas back, but there is still much consideration to be done.
“All of that's going to be looked at closely over the next few weeks, to be honest. What moves we need to make and where we need to add or delete, and at this point, it's still all up in the air,” said Associate head coach Dave Sarachan. “In terms of Sean or Marcelo or any of these guys, those discussions will happen and decisions will be made.”
CARSON, Calif. – Chandler Hoffman didn’t receive the type of minutes that he expected up top in 2013, but after his “internship” like his first season with the LA Galaxy, he expects to contend for minutes next season.
Hoffman made just three appearances for the Galaxy in all competitions in 2013 scoring once in LA’s CONCACAF Champions League victory over C.S. Cartaginés in September. Although he was unable to earn consistent minutes for the first team, Hoffman made 10 appearances for the reserves scoring six goals and one assist.
Even though Hoffman impressed in reserve play, he found himself behind LA’s other young forwards like Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes who dominated the playing time among the Galaxy’s youthful contingent.
“We have a loaded group of attacking players, but it could also be frustrating when you’re not getting the looks that you feel like you deserve,” Hoffman admitted. “There a time that I was scored in three straight reserve games, but those guys have been here for a long time and they were given the benefit of that doubt this year which is understandable. [The competition] just makes you want to work harder because every day you have young guys that are chomping at the bit to get on the field.”
The 23-year-old striker believes that his ability to return and continue to learn from the likes of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan is contingent on him retaining his status as a Generation Adidas player. As a GA player, Hoffman’s salary does not count against LA’s salary cap nor does he count against their senior roster, but if he graduates from the status, LA would need to use a senior spot to keep him.
Although whether Hoffman graduates is “up in the air” at the moment, Hoffman is hopeful that he’ll be able to stay with LA next season.”
“It makes a huge difference because you go from not counting against the salary cap and not counting against the roster to counting against the salary cap. It definitely does make a difference,” said Hoffman. “I spoke with Bruce and told him that this is where I want to play and hopefully we’ll make that happen.”
CARSON, Calif. – Oscar Sorto received plenty of on the job training in his first season with the LA Galaxy, but next season the real work begins.
After being signed by the Galaxy as the team’s fourth-ever Homegrown Player in December, Sorto made two appearances in 2013 across all competitions, all of which came during CONCACAF Champions League play. During his two appearances, Sorto showed flashes of becoming a viable defensive option for LA, but at times, he struggled to deal with the pace and physicality of the professional game.
However, as he looks ahead to a pivotal 2014, Sorto believes that he’ll have to find a way to improve to hold his spot on the Galaxy roster.
“It’s going to be more serious for me next year because my contract ends in 2014 and for me to get another contract, I’m going to have to show that I can improve and do my work,” Sorto told reporters. “I feel confident about my abilities, but I still have to show the coaches that they can trust me,” said Sorto. “It’s going to be hard for me either way because A.J. is one of the top defenders in MLS and it’s going to be a challenge.”
Look back on Sorto’s season in the latest edition of LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review.