The LA Galaxy have arrived in El Salvador ahead of Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League Group 5 finale against Isidro Metapan. Above is a photo snapped at sunset as the club landed in San Salvador.
As head coach Bruce Arena and Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday, the club has split its squads and the coaching staff with half traveling to El Salvador, while the others -- like David Beckham and Landon Donovan -- stayed behind. LA train on Wednesday morning in San Salvador.
Meanwhile, in other CONCACAF Champions League action, the Houston Dynamo qualified for the CCL quarterfinals from Group 3, after a 1-1 draw with Honduran club Olimpia. Real Salt Lake was not so lucky as RSL played to a scoreless draw with C.S. Herediano advancing from Group 2. In the third game of the night, defending CCL champions Monterrey crushed Panamaian side Chorrillo, 6-0.
It’s time for one of the final “Ask the Insider” segments of the season.
Today’s question comes from Dennyz Hernandez, who asks: “Since we’ll be 4th place regardless of the score on Sunday’s game…do you think it would be a good idea to sit and rest all the starters for the wild card game.
With the LA Galaxy’s playoff destiny set, the Galaxy coaching staff are expected to limit the minutes for their first team regulars in Sunday’s contest against the Seattle Sounders as they look ahead to next week’s First Knockout Round game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but don’t expect the entire squad to rest.
In particular, Landon Donovan and David Beckham, who are still returning from injuries could use in-game minutes against Seattle as they look to improve their sharpness ahead of the unforgiving postseason schedule. Both players took part in training on Monday and are expected to be evaluated throughout the week by Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan, who has stayed behind with half of LA's coaching staff. While getting minutes for the likes of Donovan and Beckham is important, so is providing time forward Edson Buddle and midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson, each in need additional minutes as they continue to round back into form.
But there is another wrinkle for the Galaxy to navigate in balancing the squads as head coach Bruce Arena has sent his Reserve squad to El Salvador for Thursday’s match against Isidro Metapán.This match will serve as a valuable learning experience for Arena’s youngsters, but could limit their availability for Sunday’s contest as even those that do not play 90 minutes, will return on short rest from El Salvador.
Taking all these factors into account, expect Arena to use a mix of first team players and reserves on Sunday.
Thanks Dennyz, you can get your tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against Isidro Metapán on Oct. 24 for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to LA's regular season finale against the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 28.
Landon Donovan has been incredibly introspective in recent months and on Tuesday; the LA Galaxy captain gave another intuitive interview, this time with ESPN FC’s Roger Bennett.
During his conversation with Bennett, the 30-year-old Donovan discussed his role with the U.S. National Team, his diminished presence on social media as well as his stints with English Premier League side Everton. When asked about his expectations to suit up for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Donovan provided an honest response.
"I don't have the answer to that," Donovan told Bennett. "There are a lot of moving pieces: Will I be playing, period? Will I be part of the team? Will I be good enough to be wanted?" he continued. "If I had to guess I would say it is 50-50. I will have more clarity after I take a break."
Donovan is currently working his way back from a bone bruise on his left knee that has prevented him from playing in LA’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last Sunday.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy have a busy week ahead -- a busy 10 days really -- and to balance the responsibilities of Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League clash against Isidro Metapán as well as Sunday's final MLS regular season against Seattle Sounders FC, head coach Bruce Arena is splitting his squad.
The LA Galaxy seem poised to send a Reserve squad to El Salvador for Thursday's match against Metapán, similar to the one that took part in LA's last CCL match against Puerto Rico Islanders as they look to solidify their seed ahead of the Quarterfinal stage. This means that it is likely the Galaxy will leave behind its first team, including DP's David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, to prepare for Sunday's game against Seattle and LA's postseason run, which begins with the Knockout round match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 1.
While Arena -- and likely assistant coach Curt Onalfo, who led the Reserve League squad to a West Division title -- is in Central America for the CCL fixture, Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan will remain in Southern California to work with the first team.
"We have a whole group this week training, as well as a group going to El Salvador," head coach Bruce Arena told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday. "They're in training every day with our guys..half our staff will be here and half will be in El Salvador."
"We wanted to minimize the group that travels. What that does, it allows us to work with our first team that is generally regenerating," said Sarachan. "The idea is to make sure that we're covering our bases, both in Metapán and here."
Sarachan also admitted that it will be vital for him, to help in the process of getting both Donovan and Beckham back to full fitness.
"It's monumental in terms of putting our puzzle together," said Sarachan. "We have the depth this year and as we've shown, and showed yesterday in San Jose, not only can guys step in and compete, but keep the level where we're imposing ourselves on other teams. I thought yesterday was a good example, I thought the first 45 minutes were as good a 45 minutes collectively as we've played, and we were missing Landon and David. It doesn't mean that we don't want them back so I think that it's crucial that we use this period of time to get those guys ready."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Sunday's 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes was a knock-down-drag-out brawl, but according to Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, that may be just what his team needs as they look to the playoffs.
Wearing the captain's armband in place of the injured Landon Donovan, Keane was dynamic throughout Sunday's match tallying the Galaxy's first-ever goal at Buck Shaw Stadium in the 2-2 tie. During the match, Keane was clearly emboldened by the armband as he was seen repeatedly attempting to break up scrums between the two sides, in order to calm nerves during heated moments.
But with those moments likely to get more and more frequent as the MLS Cup Playoffs set to start, Keane believes that Sunday's battle was a valuable character builder for the Galaxy.
“I thought we all showed a lot of character," said Keane. "You have to in these games, we’ve seen the way that they play all you want to do is get the ball and hit as far up front to the big guy up front. That was our main objective is to get that second ball and I think that the lads played very well."
More thoughts from Keane below...
(On the play of Edson Buddle...)
KEANE: "I thought we played well, full credit to Edson, he’s had a long injury and has come back so it was nice for him to get the goal today. He’s a good player and he’s very, very strong, and I think that he’ll be a vital player for us in the coming weeks…I’m sure that goal will do him a world of good."
(On the tie and only gaining one point...)
“I think we left two points on the pitch to be honest with you. I think we were the better team, we can’t be conceding goals from set pieces, it’s not good. But apart from that, I think you have to give up credit. We played tough against 12 men and that includes the referee, so it was quite tough. The lads showed a lot of character, we weren’t getting decisions that we thought we should have and I think as captain, I had to ask the ref to speak to me when I was asking questions, but it was okay, when the lads from their team were speaking in Spanish to him, he would speak back to them. Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish.”
(On whether LA must try to figure out the San Jose...)
KEANE: No, you saw it today. We can play the way that we play today then we’ve got no worries."
(On whether or not, he enjoys playing San Jose...)
KEANE: "Of course, it’s always an exciting game, and I’m sure the fan enjoyed it. I think that if we play the way that we play, especially in the first half, I think we can beat anybody."
CARSON, Calif. -- David Beckham and Landon Donovan were present and active during the LA Galaxy's training session on Monday.
Monday's session marked the first time since last Thursday that Beckham trained with the squad on the training ground after dealing with left ankle soreness late last week. Meanwhile, Donovan, who is still recovering from a bone bruise on his left knee was active during a brief small-sided scrimmage during the portion of training that was open to the media.
With 10 days remaining until the club's First Round Knockout match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 1, Beckham and Donovan could participate in Sunday's clash against Seattle Sounders FC as they look to return to full fitness. However, after training head coach Bruce Arena stated that no decisions have been made regarding the pair's availability for the Seattle match.
"It's like anybody else, get a good week of training, and it'll help," Arena told LA Galaxy Insider. "We'll see as we get through the week, but it's only Monday right now."
There is no doubt about it, Sunday's match between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes was a heated contest both on and off the field.
However, before we turn the page to Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League tie against Isidro Metapán or Sunday's final Regular Season clash against the Seattle Sounders, check out my Three Points to the 2-2 draw.
More on Sunday's match as well as a few other interesting pieces coming up today.
Agree or disagree with my observations?
Share your thoughts below.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The California Clasico between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes is always a chippy affair, but according many in the LA Galaxy locker room, it was no excuse for some of the physical play that took place in Sunday's 2-2 draw between the clubs at Buck Shaw Stadium.
One of those who was not impressed by the nature of the match was LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez. The Galaxy defender was exceptional for much of the match, but was whistled for a highly-questionable foul by referee Jair Marrufo in the 59th minute, a minute later, Earthquakes winger Marvin Chavez would score off a free kick, leveling the score at 1-1.
Gonzalez gives his thoughts below..
(On the physical nature of the game…)
GONZALEZ: “To be honest, this game wasn't fun, I think those guys are a bunch of jokes, the way that they play the game is just obnoxious and it wasn't even fun out there…It all starts when the ball is on the other side of the field and you’re just running all of a sudden, you get blindsided, you just get checked by Lenhart, it’s just dumb sh** like that, that happens every time. That’s not the way the game should be played, it’s embarrassing and I don't know what else to say.”
(On what LA can take away from tonight…)
GONZALEZ: “We fought hard. We got ahead two times, and we let them come back both times. There was a foul that shouldn't have been called, but it was, and the ball skinned my head on the free kick, and maybe I should have been a little taller and my head would have gotten on it, but other than that, we fought as hard as we could.”
(On the role of officiating…)
GONZALEZ: “I just think that everyone on the field should be aware of what the game is like from the beginning. The players sure knew what was going to happen, but every time that we looked at the referees, they said that they didn’t know anything, they turned a blind eye and said that ‘you’re doing the same thing,’ but it’s really not. I think the league should do a better job of protecting the players, there’s times when I’m going up for the ball and I got one guy that I’m handling and I get hit from the side from another guy. It’s just a lot of injuries can happen that way; I just think that the players need to protected, as well as worrying about the referee’s pride. There’s too many times when players and coaches say things, but the referee goes unscathed and nothing happens to them.”
(On potentially facing the Earthquakes in the Conference Semifinals…)
GONZALEZ: “I don’t mind playing them again. I think that we play well against them, it’s going to be another big game and I look forward to it.”
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Bruce Arena's postgame thoughts from Sunday's 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Read Arena's thoughts below...
(On importance of getting a point without David Beckham and Landon Donovan...)
ARENA: “I’m not sure it’s gratifying, I think we should have had three points today. We should have won today.”
(On the result being a character builder...)
ARENA: “It was a good effort, some quality soccer. When you play San Jose, it’s a real battle, a lot of little fouling off the ball, so it’s kind of like a playoff mentality. Our guys did well; I think they responded well. Unfortunately we gave away a lead twice and that’s the discouraging part. The encouraging part was that we played well, at times very well.”
(On the team's play...)
ARENA: "We went on the goalkeeper one-on-one three times in the first half, we scored two goals in the second half, and give up the lead on two occasions. It was a game where we played pretty well throughout the 90 minutes."
(On the Foul called on Omar Gonzalez that led to the first goal…)
ARENA: "It’s all part of the game; I would imagine if the referee had to call that play over again, he probably wouldn't have called that foul the way that he called it. But that’s life, what are you going to do. In this league, if you're going to spend a lot of time complaining about the officiating, you're going to drive yourself crazy. It’s not worth it. We're still in contention to get three points and we didn't do that. We played well, we can't allow the officiating to deter us from what we're trying to do."
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy's postseason destiny is set.
The LA Galaxy will play the Vancovuer Whitecaps in the MLS First Round Knockout match on Thursday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. at The Home Depot Center
This season, the Galaxy won the season series with the Whitecaps going 2-0-1 with the lone draw coming during a 2-2 draw at BC Place in July. The Galaxy are 3-0-0 all-time at The Home Depot Center against the Vancovuer Whitecaps.
Should the Galaxy advance past Vancouver, they would face the San Jose Earthquakes in the Western Conference Semifinal on November 3 or 4. An LA and San Jose match would likely be held on the 4th at The Home Depot Center.
What are your thoughts on the match?