Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane expect LA Galaxy offense to come alive in decisive second leg with RSL
SANDY, Utah— No team found the back of the net more during the 2014 MLS regular season than the LA Galaxy, but the team’s recent struggles in front of net threaten to deny LA a chance to win their fifth MLS Cup.
Since the end of their 10-game unbeaten run that saw the Galaxy tally 31 goals -- nearly half of their season total of 69 --the LA offense has fallen silent. In their last four games, the Galaxy have scored only four times including a scoreless effort in their Western Conference Semifinals first leg draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
LA’s inability to find the back of the net in their final three regular season matches were cited as reasons that the team’s bid for the Supporters’ Shield fell short, but despite failing to find the back of the net at Rio Tinto Stadium, the Galaxy are confident of breaking out of their recent offensive malaise with their season on the line next week
"We're fine on offense. We know how to score goals. It wasn't crucial tonight that we score,” said Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan. “We had some chances where we need to make a better pass or pull off a play that we didn't, but we have a lot of confidence that when we play at home, we'll create a lot of chances. It's creating the chances - which we'll do - and then hitting the net."
With the Galaxy unable to maintain the possession needed to place Salt Lake under sustained pressure and the blustery conditions limiting their service from wide positions, the LA attack became heavily reliant on counter attacks. But despite several dangerous thrusts forward, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando needed to make just a single save in Saturday's scoreless draw.
But heading back to StubHub Center where the Galaxy held a 12-1-4 record in the regular season, captain Robbie Keane says that LA's gameplan will look considerably different than at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“We’re fairly comfortable and confident that we can get them at our place," said Keane. "Most teams that come into [StubHub Center] find it hard to play there and hopefully with the tempo that we usually play and the offensive mind that we have when we do attack then we’ll be okay.”
SANDY, Utah— Real Salt Lake had plenty of opportunities to take a slim edge in their Western Conference Semifinals series with the LA Galaxy, but the play of LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo proved decisive in holding the Claret-and-Cobalt at bay.
But that doesn’t mean that Salt Lake is not plenty confident heading into the second leg at StubHub Center next week.
Despite holding an impressive 16 to three advantage in shots, the stellar play of Penedo and several timely stops by the Galaxy defense kept the home side from establishing an early advantage. Heading into the second leg next week, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman says his team is pleased with their showing on Saturday.
“Of course we would like some goals, and we had some chances and maybe on a different day we score those,” Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman told reporters after the game. “Credit to their keeper, and credit to their defense. We got a series on our hands."
Head coach Jeff Cassar also admitted that he was pleased with his team’s ability to create chances on a Galaxy defense that ranked among the league’s best throughout the regular season.
"I thought the players on the field were going to give us the goal that we needed,” he said. “Everybody had the proper energy, proper movement. On a different night, I think we would have four or five goals."
Whether Salt Lake can duplicate that explosive offensive performance at StubHub Center remains to be seen remains up in the air. Throughout the 2014 regular season campaign, the Galaxy held an impressive 13-1-4 record in all competitions. That lone home defeat came against RSL who defeated the Galaxy in their season opener back in March.
And with that past success at StubHub Center in their minds, Salt Lake are relishing the challenge.
"There's definitely no comfort going in, because they are very good at home," said defender Nat Borchers. "When you're at home in this league, you have an initial boost of energy, so I think those first 15-20 minutes is really important, so we got to be ready for that. We've got to come out flying and hopefully if we get that early goal, we can put that pressure on them."
SANDY, Utah -- The officiating was a main talking point of the LA Galaxy's scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake in the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinals series.
Following the game, center back Omar Gonzalez had plenty to say about the officiating of Silviu Petrescu.
"I think the wind was a factor. The field played really fast. Officiating didn't help. I think we had 24 fouls against us, 11 for them. Gyasi's [Zardes] goal counted, even though they counted it offside, he was onside. It's just the same old story. I'm going to stop talking about it, but I will say maybe it's time we get a DP referee," said Gonzalez. "I think that that's out of our control. I know that Salt Lake is not worrying about the referee, so we have to not worry about the referee as well. We have to worry about what we can control.'
"That's our effort, the way we approach the game, our unity upon the field, and the way we move the ball and play as a unit. Those are the things for next week that we have to concentrate on and we have to remember that we're at home, so we're going to feel a lot more comfortable, the fans are going to be behind us, and it's going to be great game. Salt Lake is a great team, and they always give us a good matchup. I'm looking forward to great game next week."
SANDY, Utah— LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to the media after the club’s scoreless draw in their Western Conference Semifinal first leg against Real Salt Lake.
(On the physical play…)
ARENA: An ugly game. Lopsided in calls as the fouls were called two to one in our favor. I’m sure not if that is good or bad, but it made for one crappy game, that’s for sure.
(On the officiating…)
ARENA: It is what it is. It’s been like that all year and it’s not going to change for the playoffs.
(On Jaime Penedo and his overall thoughts on the game…)
ARENA: Jaime did well, but it was a sloppy game with the altitude, the wind and the field conditions made for a difficult game. To get out of here scoreless means that we have to lay it on the line next week at home.
(On if he’s pleased to head back to StubHub Center needing a win…)
ARENA: We have to win the game. We’ll have to find out Sunday night [if it is a good position or not]. We’ll see.
(On if the Galaxy have to adjust next week in the second leg…)
ARENA: It was a bad game with the conditions and maybe too many fouls were called. It was just a sloppy game. I think next week the game will look a lot different.
In the latest edition of the Insider Update, I provide a 60 second breakdown the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinal against Real Salt Lake.
Check it out.
CARSON, Calif. -- Real Salt Lake knocked the LA Galaxy out of the postseason in 2013 and the memory of that playoff exit remains with the club.
In the latest edition of the LA Galaxy Insider Breakdown, I look at the three reasons that the Galaxy will be ale to overturn the result.
Check it out above.
CARSON, Calif. –The addition of Los Angeles Football Club to MLS in 2017 may not change much for LA Galaxy club president Chris Klein, but LA’s players admit that they hope a new rivalry will be born in Southern California.
After the dissolution of Chivas USA earlier this week, MLS unveiled the powerhouse ownership group of LAFC—a “working title” and not the team’s official name—at a press conference along Sunset Boulevard on Thursday. The group included many of the same faces that took ownership of the Dodgers several years earlier including Lakers great Ervin “Magic” Johnson.
While not much is known about what the team once they finally take the field in two years, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane said that he was excited to see the club join MLS.
“I think it will be exciting. What I will say about Chivas is that when you’re around the dressing room and locker room and you see these guys walking and people in the background, unfortunately they’ve lost their jobs, you know? For me it’s a shame,” said Keane. “Maybe the league could do something about that. But I think it’s exciting for the league. I’m sure if they get a new team, whatever they call it, it’ll get more [players] that want to come here. I’m excited about it.
“I think it’s good though because we need a fierce rivalry. If you look at Seattle and Portland, they’re good rivalries. With Chivas, I wouldn’t really call that a rivalry, to be honest with you,” he added. “We were in the same building, but with the declared attendance what they had … I’m used to playing these derby games where you had 60,000 people throwing abuse at each other, which is good in a friendly way. We didn’t really have that hear, hopefully we can have that with the new team.
Landon Donovan agreed that the addition of LAFC in 2017 will only enrich the local soccer landscape.
“I think it’s great. This city, when Chivas were good, it made this rivalry good and made it special for everyone,” Donovan said. “Obviously they’ve had a tough time with a lot of different things over the years, but I think having a chance to have new ownership obviously a new brand and a new team is fantastic for this market. I think it can only bring positives.”
LA Galaxy II's season is over, but Los Dos continued their offseason by picking up a 3-1 victory over the U.S. Under-18 squad at StubHub Center on Thursday.
Chandler Hoffman, Alejandro Covarrubias and Jaime Villarreal scored for Los Dos while San Jose Earthquakes Academy Amir Bashti.
Four Galaxy Academy players played for the U.S. U-18's: forward Adrian Vera, center back B.J. O'hara, goalkeeper Bennett Sneddon and forward Rob Knights.
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane says that he's ready to go for Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake after missing out on the LA Galaxy's regular season finale last week.
Keane told reporters on Friday that a hamstring strain prevented him from taking part in LA's 2-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC, but admitted that he expects to be fit in time for the first leg of Western Conference Semifinal against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
"I trained last couple of days and my hamstring seems okay. Obviously I would have played. I think [people] know me well enough now to know that I will not to stay out of games unless it’s legit," said Keane. "I should be okay for Saturday."
Head coach Bruce Arena echoed Keane's optimism stating that the Irishman has no intention of missing out on the playoff game.
“Robbie could play if he had a broken leg,” Arena joked. “It was just precaution to hold him out. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t say he could play with a broken leg, but he would try anyway."
Having Keane back in the squad is a major boost for the Galaxy after a frustrating performance against Seattle that saw LA dominate in shots, but fail to find the back of the net. And with the captain back to full fitness -- plus Omar Gonzalez returning from suspension -- the Irishman believes that the Galaxy are well-equipped to make a deep playoff run.
"I think we’re more prepared [than 2013]," said Keane. "[We have a] better squad of players, more experienced players who understand how the playoffs go."
The LA Galaxy will have some competition for Los Angeles in two years.
On Thursday, MLS unveiled "Los Angeles Football Club" which will join MLS for the 2017 season. The move comes just days after the league officially disbanded Chivas USA.
Watch the press conference above.