CARSON, Calif. – With Saturday’s clash against Seattle Sounders FC quickly approaching, the LA Galaxy are still playing the waiting game when it comes to the status of forward Landon Donovan.
Donovan picked up a left ankle sprain during the first half of LA’s 2-2 draw with D.C. United last week and was not available for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapán. Following the club’s penultimate day of preparation for the Supporters’ Shield leading Sounders, Arena provided a brief update on the 31-year-old forward.
“Donovan’s situation is to be determined at this point,” said Arena. “He was out a little bit [at training] today.” UPDATE: Bruce Arena told a group of Seattle-based reporters that the Galaxy are " planning on him playing” against the Sounders.
However, defender Todd Dunivant is hopeful that Donovan can pass his fitness test as he races to be ready for Saturday’s Western Conference clash.
“He’s always a guy that you can use. He’s a quick healer, I don’t want to jinx him, but I wouldn’t count him out.”
The play of the LA Galaxy’s contingent of young forwards has been a major talking point during the 2013 MLS Regular Season and on Wednesday, another one of those young attackers was honored by MLSsoccer.com.
Gyasi Zardes was named to MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 list, finishing in seventh place. On Wednesday, Zardes’ Galaxy teammate Jose Villarreal was named as the 11th best player in the league’s list of the best 24 under the age of 24.
Thoughts on Zardes over Villarreal?
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CARSON, Calif. – When the LA Galaxy take on C.S. Cartaginés next Wednesday for a chance to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, they’ll have to do so without rookie center back Kofi Opare.
Making his second consecutive CCL start, Opare put forth a solid performance—albeit with a few scattered errors—as LA kept the clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Isidro Metapán. The rookie’s finest moment came in the waning moments of the game when he was able to make a clutch last ditch tackle of Metapán’s Nicolas Munoz as he attempted to get free in the Galaxy penalty area.
But Opare won’t be able to take the field next week in Costa Rica after picking up a yellow card in the 47th minute for a soft tackle that referee Hugo Cruz believed warranted a caution. Although he’ll be unable to participate next week, Opare is allowing the result to give him solace.
“That is tough, but the most important thing is that we got the three points,” said Opare. “I’d do it again if it meant us getting the three points.”
CARSON, Calif. – Laurent Courtois hasn’t made many appearances for the LA Galaxy since being signed by the club in July, but when trusted on Wednesday to help power the LA attack against Isidro Metapán, he came through.
Courtois scored the game-winning goal in the sixth minute of the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Metapán, a win that puts the club in prime position to advance to the quarterfinals of the CCL with a draw against C.S. Cartaginés next week.
The 35-year-old Frenchman was dangerous throughout the match along the left flank, but he put LA ahead just six minutes in on a fine strike that began with a pass from Jose Villarreal. As he looks to continue to fight for more minutes with the first team, Courtois was pleased with his strike.
“I’m really happy with the goal. What was most important for me though was playing collectively with the guys that had to step in for those that had to rest for our upcoming games," said Courtois, who has made just two appearances in league play for LA this season. "We were really happy to step in tonight and we responded positively. We got the early goal that we were looking for and got the three points. Job done.”
CARSON, Calif. – One point in their next match against C.S. Cartaginés and the LA Galaxy are through to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
By virtue of their 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan on Wednesday, the Galaxy moved into first place in Group 8 with six points while second place Cartaginés has three points. Due to the scheduling, the Costa Ricans have just a single game remaining on the CCL docket—against LA. Thus, if LA is able to get at least a draw, they’ll book passage into the quarters.
As for what might we see from LA in a week’s time? Who knows.
“We’re taking this game by itself, so we’ll see what team that we send down there," said goalkeeper Brian Rowe. "I’m sure whoever is down there is going to be ready and we’re going to try and get three points on the road."
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s postgame comments from the team’s 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan.
(On the pluses and minuses of the result…)
ARENA: “Three Points. That’s all that I’m concerned about tonight. We knew that we had to get three points.”
(On getting out the 4-3-3 formation…)
ARENA: For about five minutes, it was a 4-3-3 then it was a 4-4-2, but that’s fine. Jose and Jack were the strikers and Chandler and Courtois were wide.
(On starting reserve players…)
ARENA: “They did alright, they worked hard, but you could see their inexperience at times. Our passing in the last 20 minutes of the game wasn’t very good, and it did pick up once we had Juninho, Sarvas and Gyasi on the field. But we need to pass better and that would be a criticism of our team tonight. A positive is the three points and the clean sheet. We’ve played much better this year as a team and last game. And in this competition, it was about advantage and tonight, the most important aspect of this game was getting three points. That was accomplished. So we’re in good position to advance, we’ve still got to earn at least a point to advance, so we’ve got a lot of work ahead.”
(On the importance getting a result against Cartaginés and qualifying before the fourth game…)
ARENA: “I think that it is important.”
(On whether he was prepared to use Keane…)
ARENA: “Yes, we really could have played, but we’d rather have him fully rested for Saturday. He had a difficult couple of weeks with the internationals in Europe, the travel back, and the game against D.C. United. I just felt it was in his best interests, you know, if we could avoid using him. I wanted to do that.”
CARSON, Calif. – It wasn’t pretty, but the LA Galaxy got the job done on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapán.
Laurent Courtois scored the only goal in the sixth minute while Brian Rowe made four saves for the Galaxy, who relied on a reserve-laden lineup to defeat the Salvadorian club. Although LA controlled the early stages of the match, Metapan had numerous chances to equalize, but poor finishing and timely saves by Rowe kept them off the board.
The Galaxy return to CCL play next Wednesday against C.S. Cartaginés in Costa Rica. A victory or a draw at San Jose’s Estadio Nacional and LA will punch their ticket to the quarterfinals. LA will have to do so though without defender Kofi Opare, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
When MLSsoccer.com revealed their annual 24 Under 24 list, there was no doubt that the LA Galaxy would have a presence and on Wednesday, Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal was named as No. 11 on the list.
MLSsoccer.com also produced a highlight video of Villarreal's accomplishments which can be seen below...
CARSON, Calif. – Chandler Hoffman admits that things haven’t quite worked out the way that he wanted when he first joined the LA Galaxy back in March , however, things may be looking up for the 23-year-old forward.
Hoffman has not seen the field in MLS or CONCACAF Champions League play, but he expects that to change when LA takes on Isidro Metapán. The former UCLA striker has lit up the MLS Reserve League with six goals in nine appearances—seven of those being starts and is excited about the chance of contributing against Metapan.
“This could be a big week for me especially with the important game against Seattle this weekend and it might be a chance for me to make an impact so I’m preparing mentally like I’m going to be a part of the game on Wednesday,” said Hoffman, who made his lone appearance for LA this season as a substitute in their U.S. Open Cup defeat in May. “I’ve just been trying to learn and play well in the reserve games to show that I can score goals so I’m hoping that it translates. “
Although the minutes have come in reserve league or in training, Galaxy associate head coach Dave Sarachan admits that the team is noticing positive growth from the young striker.
“Chandler has progressed since he’s been with us. Everything about his game has improved. The only thing that he lacks is really game minutes this year, but in training, we’ve seen a guy that finds himself in the right spots quite often,” said Sarachan. “He’s got a good brain for the game and an ability to play underneath, play wide and he’s a guy that when gets looks at the goal, his percentage is pretty good in terms of making plays that are on frame and in the back of net in training.”
If Hoffman gets an opportunity in the feature or come off the bench against Metapán, he is confident that he can adapt to the style of play.
“It’s a different style than MLS,” said Hoffman, who got a firsthand taste of soccer in Latin America when he trained with three time defending CCL champion C.F. Monterrey’s youth team in his teens. “They like to slow the game down and play technical while it’s faster paced and physical.”
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Academy players Malcolm Jones and Elijah Martin were among the 36 players called up by U.S. Under-18 National Team head coach Javier Perez for his week-long training camp at StubHub Center on Tuesday.
The camp will run from Sept. 22 to Sept. 29 with the U.S. team taking part in an intrasquad scrimmage on Sept. 25 and a pair of matches against local club teams on the penultimate day of the camp on Sept. 28. Jones has already made a pair of appearances for the Galaxy reserves while both players have prior experience with the U.S. youth set up.
The LA Galaxy Under-18’s start their U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy season with games against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and against the Portland Timbers on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.