CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will match up against some of the world’s best on Thursday when they take on Spanish giants Real Madrid. As LA prepare for their seemingly annual match against Los Blancos, no one is more amped than the Galaxy’s rookies who get their first chance to face off against the players they grew up watching on television.
When asked to reflect on the match, the first name off every Galaxy players tongue is Portuguese international and former FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, who leads the charge for Los Merengues. The Portuguese star is considered one of the top five players in the world and has shined against the Galaxy in past meetings –just take a look at videos from his appearances in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Stopping Ronaldo is a challenge for any defender, but two Galaxy rookies, who may be asked to stop Portuguese attacker or some other Madrid star, take the task in stride.
“For anyone that plays soccer, you know Madrid and you know Ronaldo, [Mesut] Ozil because you you’ve seen these guys on television,” said defender Kofi Opare. “They’re some of the world’s best players and to get a chance to be on the same field with them is definitely something that I’ve penned on the calendar.”
“I just want to contain him. I know that I’m going to be going up against him because a left wing,” said Oscar Sorto. “It’s going to be unbelievable.”
As for their plan is to stop Ronaldo? Both defenders have different tactics.
“I’m just going to look behind me to see if I have help,” said Sorto with a laugh. “I’ll hopefully play well, but it’ll be a good experience.”
“I just know from watching him that he’s quick and quick with his feet. I guess if I can’t get the ball then maybe I can get him a little bit,” said Opare. “It’ll be interesting.”
With a successful Gold Cup in the books, Landon Donovan is enjoying some of his best form of 2013 and with his success comes questions about his future.
Donovan’s contract with MLS concludes at the end of the 2013 season, but the Galaxy forward admits that he’s not focusing on his contract just yet.
“We will see. I’m open to whatever happens,” Donovan told reporters in Kansas City on Tuesday. “I haven’t made any decision yet. If there are offers, I will analyze them and see what happens.”
This season, Donovan has made 12 appearances in MLS regular season play with three goals and six assists. Donovan also shined at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with five goals and seven assists en route to winning the tournament’s Golden Ball (MVP) and a share of the Golden Boot (tournament leading scorer).
However, after his much publicized break from the game earlier in the year, the fact that Donovan is going through life day by day is not surprising.
“I don’t know yet,” Donovan added of his MLS future in 2014. “I’m enjoying every day at this moment. I want to continue like this and when the time comes, I will make a decision. We will see.”
The complete video in Spanish is below…
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have had to make do without their captain Robbie Keane for the past two matches, but once their MLS schedule resumes, they hope to have Irish forward back in the lineup.
Since suffering a left hip flexor strain in the second half of LA’s 2-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers on July 13, Keane has been unavailable, but made his return to the training ground this week. The Irish forward hasn’t begun full training just yet, but took part briefly in Tuesday’s session.
Although appearing in this week’s Guinness International Championship Cup matches seems like a no go for Keane, he’s got his sights on being ready for next Sunday’s match against FC Dallas.
“Hopefully, I can get minutes before [the Dallas game] that. This is just my second day today, so let’s see how it holds up. I wasn’t supposed to do the training with the team, but because I felt good, I wanted to do it,” said Keane. “The trainer’s schedule is a little bit different than my schedule, but I know my own body and I felt good today. As long as I keep going, I’m training again tomorrow with the team and do some extra work afterward, we’ll see how I feel.”
Various international absences and injuries have limited Keane to just 12 games this season, but the forward has contributed plenty when available with team highs in goals (seven) and assists (eight).
Although Keane won’t be on the field for this week’s ICC matches, he will be in attendance and offer a few words of encouragement to the squad’s younger players.
“Just go out and enjoy it. We know that it’s going to be a tough game and the chance to win is probably nil,” said Keane. “We know that it is going to be difficult, but it’s good for [the team] to just go out and enjoy themselves and appreciate how these players play, and also do their best.”
Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez talk about which of their MLS All-Star teammates they'd take back to LA
LA Galaxy players Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are currently in Kansas City ahead of Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, in an interview with MLSsoccer.com, the Galaxy stars talk about who from the all-star roster they would take back to LA -- and who they'd kick off the team.
It's hilarious, so check it out.
The newest section of StubHub Center, "the Champions Lounge" is already one of the more popular areas of the stadium.
Learn a little more about it in this video below.
COMMERCE City, Colo. – The LA Galaxy reserves picked up their third straight victory on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids reserves at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Chandler Hoffman provided the goal in the – minute when he finished a square ball provided by Kenney Walker. Hoffman now has five goals with the reserves this season. Colorado threatened late in the first half as well as periodically throughout the second stanza, but could not find the equalizer.
LA is now 4-1-2 this year in MLS Reserve League play. The Galaxy’s next reserve match is on Sept. 1 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
“It was a really fought collective effort. The altitude certainly played a factor, in the first half, we certainly played well and then there was a stretch of about 15 minutes where they were pressing. Those are the times that on the road, you have to have the right mentality and weather the storm—and we did. Fortunately, we got the goal and went up right before halftime,” said Galaxy assistant coach and reserve team head coach Curt Onalfo. “We were really solid in the second half with the exception of a play or two. We showed a lot of character in how we managed the lead and held on. It was a really important three points and well deserved.”
It was a banner Gold Cup tournament for Landon Donovan and one that ended in a championship.
Donovan provided the assist on Brek Shea’s goal in the 68th minute minute to seal the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and the 11th straight victory for the U.S with a 1-0 victory over Panama. For his five goals and seven assists, Donovan was awarded the tournament’s Golden Ball while also tying for the Golden Boot with Panama's Gabriel Torres and U.S. forward Chris Wondolowski.
Omar Gonzalez also made a brief appearance in the match, coming on in the 89th as the U.S. closed out the game.
Donovan and Gonzalez will now head to Kansas City for the MLS All-Star Game before rejoining the Galaxy at sometime next week.
Highlights of the game are below.
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – It was different, it was unique, and it was even a little surreal at times, but Pablo Mastroeni made his return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, not in the burgundy of the Colorado Rapids, but the blue-white-and-gold of the LA Galaxy.
The 36-year-old midfielder went 77 minutes in the 2-0 Galaxy defeat and exited to cheers as well as few standing ovations from the Rapids faithful. It wasn’t the midfielder’s finest performance as LA’s midfield struggled to take charge of the game and Mastroeni picked up a first half yellow card from referee Juan Guzman for dissent.
Mastroeni admitted after the LA defeat that the experience was a strange one, even for a player as experienced as he is.
“After 12 years at this club, it's kind of surreal. I had a hard time sleeping thinking about it. I actually woke up in the middle of the night thinking that I had a game with the Rapids,” said Mastroeni. “It was the most bizarre, surreal kind of experience, but I think when the whistle blows, everything kind of goes out the window. It's all that anticipation stuff that's emotional and unsettling.
“Once the whistle blew, we had a job to do, and I didn't even think about it for a second,” Mastroeni added. “It was good to get out there and get through this process that was inevitable, and move on.”
As he looks ahead to the second half of the season with his new team, Mastroeni has a recommendation on what LA must fix in order to improve.
“We made our own job more difficult [against Colorado]. I think overall the effort was there,” said Mastroeni. “We've just got to clean up a few things and keep working on concentrating on set pieces.”
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- A few notes and links following the LA Galaxy's 2-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids.
Match notes are below...
*The Galaxy are 3-8-1 away from home this season. When you eliminate their match against Chivas USA, they are 2-8-1 away from StubHub Center.
*LA's last win away from StubHub Center came on May 15 against the Philadelphia Union
*LA has conceded seven goals on set pieces this year (Four off indirect free kicks and three off corners).
* Former Colorado Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni faced off against one of his former clubs (Miami Fusion or Colorado Rapids) for the first time in his 16-year MLS career.
*LA are 3-2-0 in their last five games.
*The Galaxy are 2-7-0 when allowing the first goal.
*The Galaxy take on the Rapids reserves on Sunday at 10 a.m. PT.
*LA will now take a two-week break from MLS play due to the Guinness International Championship Cup.
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- There were no smiles in the LA Galaxy locker room after their 2-0 defeat to the Colorado, but following the defeat, LA head coach Bruce Arena took a moment to hand former LA forward Edson Buddle with his 2012 MLS Cup Championship ring.
Buddle performed well against his former club in a 90 minute shift that saw him set up Dillon Powers' goal in the 41st minute. Although Buddle led his current team to victory over his old side, he admitted after the game that facing LA didn't factor into his thinking.
"I take every game seriously. It was good to see familiar faces, but it always feels good to win," said Buddle. "We did what we're supposed to tonight, which is win on our home field. I think that the team is motivated and we're glad to get three points."
A photo with Buddle and his ring is below..
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) July 28, 2013