CARSON, Calif. -- Unlike most MLS teams who took trips to exotic locales like Tucson, Orlando, Charleston or Portland this preseason, the LA Galaxy stayed close to home this year. And according to head coach Bruce Arena, they’ll be all the better for it come March 3.
Aside from a brief trip up Highway 101 to Santa Barbara, the Galaxy were stationed at The Home Depot Center for the entire preseason. Thus allowing players to sleep in their own beds rather than spend considerable time in out-of-town hotel rooms. Although the exceptional Southern California weather played a part in the Galaxy’s decision, so too did last season’s poor start.
After what Arena described as a “messy” start in 2012, the Galaxy boss believes that LA has achieved some continuity ahead of the regular season by staying close to home.
“I think that we’ve had some kind of continuity in training. Last year, with the trip to Tucson, we never got in any kind of rhythm and I think this year, we’ve established a rhythm in our training and the build up with the way that we’ve pieced our games together,” said Arena. “We could slowly build guys in with their minutes and their play and with different guys covering different positions; it’s been a lot easier this year being at home and being able to do that.”
But could preseason trips fit into Arena’s plans for future teams? Possibly.
“I just think that it’s better for us this year to do this,” said Arena. “Maybe next year, it’ll be something different. But we just felt with the overload that we had the last three or four years that we needed to be settled a little bit in preseason and that’s why we did this.”
The LA Galaxy Academy’s Under-18’s and Under-16’s went undefeated this weekend in a pair of matches against Temecula-based Arsenal FC.
The U-18’s roared to a 4-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday with Andrew Murphy, Raul Mendiola, Sebastian Velasquez, and Justin Dhillon bagging goals.
Meanwhile, the U-16’s fought to a 3-3 draw with Arsenal as Christian Chavez notched two goals while Alex Ramos added a third. Jonathan Umana tallied two for Arsenal with Martin Ruiz rounding out for AFC.
Both sides return to action this weekend with both teams taking on their counterparts from De Anza Force at The Home Depot Center on Saturday before ending the week on Sunday at The HDC against Santa Cruz Breakers Academy.
The LA Galaxy's March 3 regular season opener against the Chicago Fire is less than a week away and advertisements are beginning to pop up across Southern California.
On Monday, LA unveiled a 30 second commercial for the match.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – Mike Magee and Tommy Meyer were both absent from LA Galaxy practice on Monday, but the club is optimistic that at least one of them will be ready for the regular season opener against the Chicago Fire on March 3.
Magee started LA’s preseason finale against the Colorado Rapids and went 75 minutes before exiting the match with an apparent knock on his left knee. Following the match, head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that Magee was simply “kicked” and on Monday, he reiterated his diagnosis after stating Magee received a day off from training.
“He’s fine,” Arena said. “He just got kicked the other day.”
Robbie Keane, Magee’s partner up top was just as optimistic about his status for Sunday.
“I think that he’ll be okay. He just got a knock in the game the other day,” Keane told reporters. “He’ll be okay.”
LA may be optimistic about Magee, but Meyer’s case is a little different. The second-year defender has been nursing hamstring strain for two weeks and missed LA’s last three preseason matches.
Hamstring injuries are particularly temperamental and change from day to day, but Arena attests that his condition is improving.
“Tommy is doing fine. He’s moving along. It’s a week to week type of thing so we’ll see how he’s moving along during the week,” said Arena. “If he isn’t [available], life is going to go on and we’re going to have to try to survive. We’ll know a little bit more during the week.”
GOLETA, Calif. –Jack McBean has floated around the periphery of the LA Galaxy lineup for the first two seasons of his professional career, but after a stellar preseason, McBean seems primed for a larger role.
Nine minutes after coming into the match, 18-year-old scored the game winner in the 80th minute as the Galaxy defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 to end the preseason with a 5-1-1 record. McBean was awarded for his efforts, not simply with the game-winning-goal, but also a couple of high-fives from a pair of his former teammates from Corona del Mar High School who rushed the field after the goal.
After a successful preseason that saw him notch four goals in seven games, McBean admits that is confidence is high.
“I knew that I was going to get some opportunities during the last couple of games because some other forwards are out right now,” said McBean. “There’s always room for improvement for sure, but as games have gone on I’ve done better in each game so I’m pretty happy with that.”
Against Colorado, McBean provided a fitting compliment to Keane as his willingness to mix it up with forward allowed the Irish playmaker to open up chances for the youngster. Although the pair are still learning how to play with one another, Keane has been impressed with the young forward.
“He’s looking strong and it’s always nice to get goals when you’re that young as well because it gives you a lot of confidence. He’s certainly done well and it gives us a few different options up top,” said Keane. “These few the last games are the only times that I’ve played with him, but the more that I play with him, the more that I can help him as much as I can.”
If on Sunday, McBean was asked to start or play an important role off the bench, the teenager believes that he’s ready to deliver.
“I’m definitely ready,” said McBean. “I played against an MLS starting back four [on Friday] and I definitely think that I’m ready.”
GOLETA, Calif. – In Friday’s preseason finale, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena got a look a lineup that –aside from defender Omar Gonzalez—could be the club’s starting XI for the MLS regular season opener.
One potential starting partnership for the match against the Chicago Fire places Sean Franklin at right back and Michael Stephens in right midfield. Throughout the preseason, Mike Magee was pressed up top alongside Robbie Keane allowing Stephens to slot into a starting role with Franklin directly behind him.
Against the Rapids, Franklin and Stephens started strong, repeatedly putting Rapids’ left back Brian Mullan under pressure. However, as the match wore on, Colorado’s left flank accounted for the Galaxy pair and limited their effectiveness, but LA still ended the preseason on a winning note with a 2-1 victory.
With the regular season opener a week away, Franklin believes that establishing a solid partnership with Stephens is “all about repetition.”
“We’ve played a couple games together like that. It’s all about just talking and making sure that I’m putting him in the right spots. [Against Colorado], it worked well. If he comes in then I take the space and get behind him,” said Franklin. “It worked pretty well in the first half as we got behind their left back. He found me in good spots and it’s good to work with different players out there because sometimes it is Hector [Jimenez] or Mikey. It’s good that whoever is in that position that we’re able to talk and work well together.”
GOLETA, Calif. -- The connection is there between central midfield partners Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho. The two Brazilians are best friends off the field and have an uncanny connection on the field, but whether they can drive the Galaxy attack for an entire season still remains to be seen.
The pair were tested greatly in LA's preseason finale on Friday as the Galaxy notched a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids. LA's midfield duo battled with Colorado's Pablo Mastroeni and Hendry Thomas who clogged the midfield at times, making it difficult for the Brazilians to move the offense along. However as the match wore on, Sarvas and Juninho began to take charge as the Galaxy began controlling possession and finding spaces behind the Rapids defense.
"I think we did pretty well [against Colorado], of course there are moments in the game that you lose position or you lose your spot, but generally, I think we did very well. We gave our players chances to go forward and create some space and win balls in midfield. Also we kept the shape pretty well," said Sarvas. "We spoke before the game today and said that today was important to see where we are. I think we are confident and ready to start and of course, we’re not 100 percent because that comes with games and during the season. But we are in a good position to start the season."
On Friday, LA Galaxy Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal scored the game-winning-goal as the U.S. Under-20's defeated Costa Rica 1-0 to win Group A in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
U.S. will now face Canada in the quarterfinals with a berth in the U-20 World Cup on the the line. A recap of the match from Fox Soccer is below.
Reaction from Villarreal, Luis Gil, Danny Garcia, and head coach Tab Ramos courtesy of U.S. Soccer is below..
GOLETA, Calif. –The LA Galaxy ended their preseason with a victory as they defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at Harder Stadium on the campus of U.C. Santa Barbara.
The Rapids took the lead in the 12th minute off a goal from defender Drew Moor after a defensive miscue from the Galaxy, but LA roared back. Marcelo Sarvas tallied the equalizer in the 35th as he slotted a rebound off a Steward Ceus save on Robbie Keane into the back of the net. LA went ahead for good in the 80th minute when Jack McBean cleaned up a scramble in the box to give LA the win.
The Galaxy ended the preseason with a 5-1-1 record.
LA started the match in the following lineup:
*Odds are if you insert Omar Gonzalez into the lineup for Leonardo that will most likely be the Galaxy’s opening day lineup on March 3.
*Gonzalez and assistant coach Curt Onalfo did not make the trip as they are currently at a Herbalife event in Colombia with former Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Angel and the MLS Cup trophy. The pair returns to the U.S. on Saturday.
*Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho seemed to have an issue in the center of midfield with Pablo Mastroeni, but as the game wore on, the two midfielders found space to create scoring opportunities.
*Mike Magee took a knock and came off in the 71st minute after a kick in the left leg. Following the match, Bruce Arena affirmed that it was just a knock and nothing serious.
*After McBean’s goal in the 80th minute, a few of McBean’s friends from Corona del Mar High School charged the field. Could McBean have earned himself a larger spot in the Galaxy rotation this preseason?
*LA ended the match with the following lineup
*Franklin offered the following thoughts on the exercise: “It was good. This was our last game in prep for Mar 3…I think it helps builds our confident going into our home opener.”
*Keane offered the following on the preseason: It’s been good. We’ve done well. It’s always nice to get the result, but for me the most important thing is fitness. Today I was trying to run as hard as I can because that’s the last game before next week. Tonight was more about your fitness than quality, obviously the field didn’t help as well, which is why there wasn’t much quality out there.”
Was LA’s preseason a success? What lineup do you expect for March 3?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have arrived at their final preseason match of the year and starting goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini is hoping to see further improvement from his squad.
Since joining the club, Cudicini has earned rave reviews from his teammates for his experience and leadership that he has shown throughout the preseason.
After sitting out Tuesday’s preseason victory over Club Tijuana, Cudicini admits that he expects to go 90 minutes against the Colorado Rapids.
“We’re feeling pretty good. We have our final match tomorrow against MLS and then we have a week to prepare ourselves for the opener. But we’re still working. I think that it’d be wrong to have a team ready 100% now because the season is long, “said Cudicini. “It’s not a short process. It takes a bit more three weeks, but I’ve been doing this job for 20 years so of course that helps, but it takes time to know the players and the style, but the more we play together, then the better it will be.”