Happy Labor Day Everyone,
It's time for the sixth edition of Ask the Insider.
Today's question comes from Cody Kaintz . He asks: Given where the Galaxy are in the season, how significant is the timing of this 2 week break and how do they use it to make a late push in the standings?
Some might think that the International Break is coming at a bad time for the streaking LA Galaxy, but the rest can not be more welcome for a team that has just completed a stretch of four games in ten days.
During that arduous run, the Galaxy picked up four straight victories, -- two in MLS play and two in CONCACAF Champions League -- but picked up several bumps and bruises along the way that make the rest extremely necessary. Although the likes of Edson Buddle (right knee surgery) and Landon Donovan (left hamstring strain) are still battling through injuries, the Galaxy are hopeful that both will be close to full fitness by the time the club returns to action against the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 14th.
While the club will have a two week break from MLS; they will not be entirely out of commission during that span as LA will play a pair of Reserve League matches on Sep. 4th against the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers on Sept. 10th. And as the Galaxy’s CCL victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders illustrated, these matches are quite important in keeping its depth players fresh. Ultimately, this break comes at a the perfect time for the streaking Galaxy, who are expected to be at full fitness -or close to it -- heading into a stretch run that will decide LA's MLS and CCL fates.
Thanks Cody, you can get your tickets by e-mailing email@example.com. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against the Colorado Rapids on September 14th for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.
CARSON, Calif. -- Another game, another shut out for the LA Galaxy back four.
Galaxy's back four of Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant along with goalkeeper Josh Saunders picked up their second shutout since being reunited five games ago on August 15th. Over that time, the Galaxy have conceded three goals in all competitions, but just a single goal -- on August 15th vs. the Columbus Crew -- in MLS play. Against the Whitecaps, the defense neutralized Vancouver forward Kenny Miller who looked visibly frustrated throughout the entire match.
Below are the thoughts from Gonzalez following the win over Vancouver...
GONZALEZ: “I think we’ve given up one goal since the back four from last year has been together, so I’d say we’ve been doing pretty well.”
(On allowing just a single shot on goal…)
GONZALEZ: “I just think we all did really well defensively, from our forwards to our midfield to our back line; we were just working really well. We knew Miller was good at making runs, so we just tried to drop off before he could make that run and keep him in front of us.”
(On the last two weeks being LA’s best of the season…)
GONZALEZ: “I think so. Consistently winning games, we haven’t done that really this year until now, so yeah, I guess it dates back to last year. We just have to keep it going, keep on playing well and just make a good run.”
Still battling hamstring strain, Donovan left off USMNT roster for World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica
Landon Donovan will have another two weeks to rest his left hamstring strain as the LA Galaxy captain was not called up for the U.S. national team's 25-man roster for a training camp ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to leave Donovan off the roster comes as no surprise as the LA captain has missed the last four Galaxy matches due to his left hamstring strain, but head coach Bruce Arena has said that Donovan's condition is improving.
The U.S. will take on Jamaica in Kingston, Jamaica on Sept. 7th and then four days later, host the Jamaicans at Columbus Crew Stadium on Sept. 11th.
The complete U.S. roster is below:
GOALKEEPERS (4) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9) : Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (8) : Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos)
CARSON, Calif. Below are Bruce Arena's thoughts on the LA Galaxy's 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
(On the win…)
ARENA: “I thought maybe we were a little sluggish in the fist half. I think you got to give Vancouver a lot of credit, they really threw a lot into the first half and closed us down, especially in the middle third. [They] kicked us a little bit, made it difficult for us, so I think the Juninho goal was huge. In the second half I thought you could see the energy that Vancouver put into the first half fatigued them, because they kind of looked to me like they hit the wall a little bit. I thought we had a fairly dominant second half and could have scored a few more goals.”
(On the play of Robbie Keane…)
ARENA: “He’s dangerous, probably had three or four chances. The concerns you have with these strikers is if he’s not getting chances and Robbie got a good number tonight and you know he’s going to finish his share but, Robbie’s a handful. I think, you know, when we get Landon [Donovan] back with him it’s going to be even better. I think Robbie, probably a little frustrated he didn’t get a goal tonight, but I thought he played well and was pretty dangerous.”
(On the recent play of Juninho…)
ARENA: “Huge goal. I think he’s had, what is it, five goals now in about a three-week stretch? And [David] Beckham’s getting us goals this year in the midfield. You know, [Mike] Magee in the midfield has gotten goals, so we have some pretty good balance. You know, hopefully we’ll get Landon back in the mix, good to see Edson [Buddle] back on the field. Jose [Villarreal] is moving a long as a young player so hopefully we can improve our team in the attacking part of the field as we move into this stretch at the end of the season.”
(Overall thoughts on the team’s performance…)
ARENA: “It was good. It was a solid performance tonight. I think Omar [Gonzalez] and A.J. [DeLaGarza] continue to play well in their partnership in central defense. I think [Sean] Franklin has played very well over the last couple of months. Todd’s [Dunivant] moving a long, Josh [Saunders] looks really comfortable in goal right now, so that group is good. This has been an excellent two weeks for our team because it was pretty challenging going in with the Champions League and having Dallas and Vancouver chasing us and getting three points in [all] four games and the contribution by the entire team because tonight’s performance wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for our group on Wednesday and the performance the gave against Puerto Rico. It’s been a very good two weeks for us.”
(On the teams’ progress over the last three months…)
ARENA: “A month ago we were pretty good too, you got to remember now, in the league we’re 13-11-4 and we were 3-8-2 at one point. If you do the math, that’s pretty good, so we’ve been in real good form over the last couple of months and we’re positioned now to move up the latter in the conference standing as well as a good position to move through the Champions League. So we’ve got a lot of work to do, we can play better, we know that and hopefully we’ll show that in September, October and November."
(On the international break…)
ARENA: “I think is actually going to be good for us, I think we need it. I think we’re going to have two reserve games during the break, which is a real plus as well. I think it comes at a good time for us. We’ll be fine by the time September 14th comes around.”
(On Edson Buddle’s performance…)
ARENA: “He was good, he held the ball up, very physical, it’s going to take him obviously a little more time, he’s been out for a while, but we’re going to give him some time in the reserve games. It’s good.”
CARSON, Calif. – Another game and another goal for Juninho.
The Brazilian midfielder tallied his sixth goal in his last five games as he scored the game winning strike in the 41st minute of the LA Galaxy’s 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Below are Juninho’s thoughts following the match…
(On the performance…)
JUNINHO: “I’m very happy to have scored the goal, It was very important for us to go up in the table and I’m happy that I scored."
(On what has given LA their current run of form…)
JUNINHO: “Very important to have a powerful defense, it gives me confidence to forward and score.”
(On his relationship with Marcelo Sarvas and David Beckham…)
JUNINHO: “The relationship inside and outside the locker room and the field is really nice. I’m very happy to have that relationship.”
CARSON, Calif. -- We're only a few hours from tonight's important Western Conference clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant; Sarvas, Beckham, Juninho, Jimenez; Magee, Keane
CARSON, Calif. -- On Saturday, the LA Galaxy will likely be without captain Landon Donovan for a fifth consecutive match, but with LA’s attack rolling as of late, the Galaxy believe that rest rather playing time will be most beneficial for Donovan.
Although Donovan has not played since LA’s 4-0 victory over Chivas USA on August 12th due to international duty and a left hamstring strain suffered on international duty, the Galaxy have had no trouble putting the ball in the back of the net. In Donovan’s absence, the Galaxy have gone 3-0-1 in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play notching 12 goals in that span.
On Friday, following LA’s final training session, head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that while Donovan is on the mend, it is doubtful that he will contribute. If Donovan is unable to go, it is likely that either 18-year-old forward Jose Villarreal or veteran Mike Magee will be partnered alongside Robbie Keane on Saturday’s match. Another option is returning forward Edson Buddle, who made his first appearance since late-May during LA’s CCL win over Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday.
Below are thoughts from David Beckham and Keane on playing without Donovan…
BECKHAM: “Obviously, he’s still struggling with his hamstring, but he’s got to get it right, obviously we want him fit for the rest of the season so there is no point in him rushing back if he’s still feeling it because it’s better that he gets it right before he even steps on the field.”
KEANE: “Jose has done well and Mikey [Magee] has done well up front as well. So it depends on what the manager is going to go with, but either way the two guys are good enough and they’ve shown that in the last game. In the last games, we’ve been doing well and we haven’t been losing too many games.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The Vancouver Whitecaps’ attack may be sputtering as of late, with just one goal in three games, but the LA Galaxy are keenly aware that with their talented midfield, the ‘Caps represent a challenge.
Vancouver’s midfield gave everything that the Galaxy could handle in the first half of their last game in mid-July in BC Place tallying two goals, before LA roared back to earn a 2-2 draw. In the first half of that match, the midfield pair of Barry Robson and Gerson Koffie overwhelmed LA’s midfield early on tallying two quick goals.
However, in the second half, the Galaxy flipped the script and began to dominate possession before scoring a pair of goals en route to a 2-2 draw. Something that the Galaxy are aware that they need to duplicate if they are to defeat Vancouver on Saturday.
Below are thoughts from midfielders’ David Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas…
BECKHAM: “We know that they’ve got players that can go through the team and create chances and cause problems for us. If we play as well as we did in the second half against them in the last game if we play like we did in the first half, then we won’t be. We know that they’re a good team and we know that they’ve got a couple of good players, but as long.”
SARVAS: “We have to play smart, we know that every team that comes here to play against us, they come here with double motivation. They come to steal points and we have to do our game, to keep the ball, to play hard in the attack and keep a tight defense and limit chances.”
CARSON, Calif. -- While the rest of the soccer playing world was focused on the madness of the closing of the summer transfer window, the LA Galaxy were preparing for their game on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Although the Galaxy's day was not without its own moments of intrigue, the Galaxy appear set for Saturday's clash against their Western Conference rivals. It appears likely that the Galaxy will have David Beckham available for selection as the midfielder has recovered from a stomach illness that troubled him during Sunday's victory over FC Dallas.
Below are Beckham's thoughts on his illness, transfer day and the perception of American players in Europe...
(On his health...)
BECKHAM: "I'm feeling a little bit better. I only just felt better over the last couple of days. I'm glad that's out of the way. I think it was just a bug that was running through the family. Romeo's got it now, but I'm better myself, thank goodness."
(On transfer day...)
BECKHAM: "To be honest, playing at Manchester United, we were never really aware of it. I was never part of a countdown so to speak, but it's always exciting. There is always a couple of panic buys right at the end and people trying to rush players through. It's exciting to watch, but I'm sure that it's not too exciting to be part of."
(On the perception of American players in Europe...)
BECKHAM: It's definitely changed in the past five to ten years. When you see a player like Dempsey doing well and scoring the goals that he has at Fulham and obviously when Landon went over to Everton, he did well. I think that people now in Europe take American players a lot more seriously then ten or 15 years ago. I'm not disrespecting that, but I think that the level has definitely gone up. It's due to a manager like Jurgen Klinsmann going into the US team with his experience and bringing young players through. I know that he's only been there a short time, but I think that he's done really well. When you've got young players coming through, people take notice. I spoke about it in the past about big European teams coming to the US and spending their preseasons because the level competes with some of the teams and gives them good physical training. It's definitely changed."
(On whether Europe looked down on American players in the past...)
BECKHAM: "We all knew ten or 15 years ago that soccer wasn't as popular as one of the big sports in the US and I think that's definitely changed. But now you have got big teams like Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid all coming over to the US and wanting to play against teams and looking at players over in the US. And you've got teams in Europe taking US guys...going over to Europe and doing well."
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena stated that it was “doubtful” that LA captain Landon Donovan would play for LA’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
Donovan did not take part in practice on Friday and has missed LA’s last three games since returning from international duty with a left hamstring strain. Following practice, Arena addressed Donovan’s status.
ARENA: “He’s close to returning, but he’ll need a little more time.”