Beat

04 July 4:27 pm

CARSON, Calif. – We’ve gotten away from it in the past few weeks, but here is the triumphant return of the LA Galaxy Insider match look ahead.

On Independence Day, the LA Galaxy take on the Columbus Crew at StubHub Center. 

Thursday's match will mark the 18th consecutive season in which LA has playing at home on the Fourth of July. LA is 9-5-3 all-time on the date, including a 1-1-0 mark against Columbus. 

LA is 0-1-1 in the last two Independence Day matches. 

LINKS TO READ:

The pregame game notes are here

Defensive breakdowns plagued the LA Galaxy against the San Jose Earthquakes, but LA is adamant that there will be no such meltdowns against the Crew. Omar Gonzalez also had a few strong words as the Galaxy head into the match.

Landon Donovan’s away with the U.S. National Team, so Hector Jimenez may step in his spot in the right side of midfield.

The match with the Crew will be a “strange” one for Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers, who was a mainstay for Columbus in years past.

Remember, if you bought tickets to the “Messi and Friends” exhibition, you’ll be able to purchase tickets at a discounted rate for the Galaxy matches on Thursday and Sunday.

For a match preview, here’s LAGalaxy.com Larry Morgan’s view of the game.

Lastly, my Three Points to the game.

PREVIEW QUOTE: 

“If we look back at the games that we tied or lost in the last five minutes, with those points, we would easily be at the top of the table. But I don’t like to look back, we need to look forward and make sure that every game is a battle and be sure to as get as much points as possible.”

            - LA Galaxy Goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

ROBBIE ROGERS vs. TYSON WAHL

Facing his old club, Rogers is expected to be plenty motivated to bag his first goal with the LA Galaxy and he should have plenty of opportunities against Wahl. Look for Rogers to use his speed on and off the ball to get behind Wahl and create scoring chances for himself and his LA teammates.

JUNINHO vs. MATIAS SANCHEZ

Back from suspension, the Crew midfield will be bolstered by the return of the Argentine defensive midfielder. Not only does Sanchez attempt to break up chances, but he'll also try to get forward to open up space for the likes of playmaker Frederico Higuain.

DOMINIC ODURO vs. A.J. DELAGARZA

A match of speed, DeLaGarza will be expected to use his quickness to match up with the quick Ghanaian.  Although no one is expecting DeLaGarza to beat Oduro in a foot race, if LA’s defense can stay organized, they may be able to put the brakes on the fleet-footed Crew forward.

PREDICTED LINEUP:

Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Jimenez, Sarvas, Juninho, Rogers; Zardes, Keane

04 July 2:38 pm

In honor of the Fourth of July (Happy Fourth Everyone!), MLSsoccer.com Editor and Chief Greg Lalas complied a list of the five greatest American players in MLS history and after watching this, I started thinking of my own list. 

Full Disclosure: I was nine-years-old during the inaugural season in MLS, so this list is going to be subject to my own bias. 

5. COBI JONES

No list is complete without the man in the dreadlocks -- Cobi Jones. The league's first true superstar, Jones helped the Galaxy win two MLS Cup titles (2002, 2005), two MLS Supporters' Shields (1998, 2002), the CONCACAF Champions' Cup (2000), and two U.S. Open Cups (2001, 2005). While Jones helped the Galaxy to club titles, he racked up a host of individual accolades including an MLS Best XI selection (2000) and eight MLS All-Star nods. 

4. STEVE RALSTON

The league's all-time leader in assists with 135 and a mainstay during the great New England Revolution teams of the last decade, Ralston is an automatic selection. 

3. JEFF CUNNINGHAM

The Jamaican-born U.S. international was an enigma throughout his 13-year career in MLS, but Cunningham was also a pure goal scorer. The league's all-time leader in goals scored 134 goals in 365 appearances, Cunningham was simply a class finisher.

2. KEVIN HARTMAN

Goalkeepers hardly get the respect that they deserve, but to date, Kevin Hartman is the most accomplished goalkeeper to ever play in MLS. Hartman has set league records in appearances (416), wins (180), saves (1474), and shutouts (112). And he’s still ticking, mind you, as a member of the New York Red Bulls. 

1. LANDON DONOVAN

Simply put the greatest American soccer player of all-time. Landon Donovan’s club resume is littered with titles including five MLS Cup titles (2 with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 and 2003 as well as three with the LA Galaxy in 2005, 2011 and 2012), two Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011), and a U.S. Open Cup (2005). At the age of 31, Donovan is third all-time in goals scored with 127 and second all-time in assists with 114. I wouldn't be surprised if by the time he's done playing, he holds the league records in assists and goals. And we said all that without ever mentioning his success with the U.S. National Team.

(Honorable Mention: Alexi Lalas, Jeff Agoos, Robin Fraser, Nick Rimando, Preki, Taylor Twellman, Clint Mathis)

Lalas' list is below.

What's your list? Tell me below.

03 July 4:29 pm

CARSON, Calif. –International commitments have cost the LA Galaxy the services of Landon Donovan for, perhaps, the entire month of July. But with Donovan off on Gold Cup duty, the player that seems most likely to slide into his spot on the right side of midfield is Hector Jimenez. 

Jimenez scored his second goal of the year last weekend in LA’s 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes and was unlucky not to bag another in the 88th minute when he saw his attempt from close range saved by goalkeeper Jon Busch. Even though Jimenez couldn't lead the Galaxy to a win at Stanford Stadium, the midfielder is confident that he can step into Donovan's spot and contribute.  

“I feel good. Obviously, we're going to miss Landon for a couple of games and I think that I'm going to find some time out wide. Hopefully, I can contribute and we get back on the board with three points [on Thursday],” said Jimenez, who has 12 appearances this season. “I'm definitely feeling confident. Sometimes it’s tough being outside watching [from the bench], but when I get in, I just have to take advantage of that [confidence] and hopefully I can produce again.”

If Jimenez does slide into Donovan’s midfield spot, he'll have the support of Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, who has been impressed with the 24-year-old's play lately.

“Hector has been very good, coming into games late. It'd be good for him [if he plays],” said Keane. “The manager has good options on the wing.”

03 July 2:48 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy believe that they’ve moved on from last Saturday’s disappointing defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes, now all they have to do is prove it on the field.

No player exemplified this mindset better than center back Omar Gonzalez, who after being asked by about the team moving on from Saturday’s defeat offered a clever response.

“What game?” Gonzalez asked. The San Jose game, of course, the reporter answered. “When was that?” Gonzalez quipped.

Exactly.

Jokes aside, Gonzalez understands that the Galaxy defense must sharpen especially in the closing stages of games, when LA has conceded 13 goals of their 21 goals in the final 15 minutes.

“There’s little things that we need to fix. We play well for long stretches of the game, but it is those little things that are hurting us,” said Gonzalez. “Whether it’s letting guys get crosses or not marking in the box, it is just the little things that we’ve been getting punished for all year.”

“Hopefully, things will start turning our way and the bad luck will turn into good luck,” added Gonzalez. “But if a game was 80 minutes, then we’d be in first place, but unfortunately, the game is 90-plus minutes, and we’ve been falling short toward the end of games.”

Gonzalez’s provided a comprehensive description of LA’s recent struggles, but how does LA turn that around?

“It has to come from the veteran guys and myself in particular. When we’re up with the lead, stop sending guys forward—stop sending Sean [Franklin] and Todd [Dunivant] forward to get an extra goal. Maybe keep them back so we can stop any kind of attack that they start,” said Gonzalez. “Just be smarter with the way that we manage games. If we start doing that then we start being more cerebral in the way that we’re play and maybe we can start building points up.”

Gonzalez and company will need to be on point on Thursday, if they are to earn a victory against the Crew, who boast the talented forward tandem of Dominic Oduro and Frederico Higuain. Providing a mix of speed and playmaking ability, Gonzalez believes that positioning will be key.

“We’ve played against Oduro plenty and we’ve done pretty well against him. His speed is a bit of an X factor. He can get places faster than most in this league,” said Gonzalez. “I think that he’s having a very good year this year and he’s definitely one to watch and whenever you have a guy like Higuain, who is going to be serving him balls quick and putting balls over the top, it’s something that we have to look out for.

“We have to be good on our line, make sure that we drop early and keep them in front of us.” 

03 July 9:48 am

The MLS Disciplinary Committee has suspended San Jose Earthquakes Shea Salinas one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for nearly landing an elbow to the head of LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane during the fifth minute of San Jose's 3-2 victory over LA last Saturday. 

The Disciplinary Committee ruled that action endangered Keane's safety despite referee Armando Villarreal awarding a foul on Keane during the run of play . The move seems to be a just one by the Committee as Salinas came close to landing an elbow to Keane's head as the pair jostled for position.

Video of the action is below.

03 July 9:03 am

Messi and Friends, we hardly knew ye.

“The Battle of the Stars” featuring “Messi and Friends vs. the Rest of the World,” which was a high-profile match that was scheduled to take place on July 3 has been canceled. Rumors of the game’s cancelation began on Tuesday, but a press release issued on Tuesday revealed that the event had been canceled.

"After hours of trying to convince Lionel Messi's management team to fulfill their contractual agreement and come to Los Angeles, it is clear they have no respect for these fans and this market,” El Padrino Spirits CEO Todd Graham said in a statement. “We feel that this is a blatant attempt to defraud American citizens and businesses that sponsored this event.”

You thought that was harsh, well, in the same statement, the Marketing Director of Adriana’s Insurance Ines Calderon promised some type of action against Messi’s representatives.

"We have no words to express our disappointment and frustration," Calderon stated. "As a brand we invested many hours of work and thousands of dollars but most importantly, we put our name next to the events name, and in front of our community. We regret sponsoring this event and hope that the authorities penalize whoever is responsible of this mess."

All looking for refunds are being asked to contact Ticketmaster.

Soccer By Ives has broken down the entire situation in this report even revealing that Messi had planned to arrive in Los Angeles three hours before the scheduled match time. SBI also noted that not only is the Los Angeles appearance canceled, but a July 6 match in Chicago is also in doubt. Like the L.A. event, SBI reports that players—like Michael Bradley and Carlos Bocanegra—have begun pulling out, leaving the match in jeopardy.

One important thing to remember in all this comedy? There are actual friendlies involving international soccer stars taking place in at an iconic Los Angeles venue later this month

02 July 7:31 pm

In the latest edition of view from the booth, Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones break down the LA Galaxy's match against the Columbus Crew

Check it out below...

02 July 7:01 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Thursday’s match against the Columbus Crew will be a special one for Robbie Rogers, who will take on his old team for the very first time.

A mainstay in Columbus from 2007 to 2011, Rogers helped the Crew win the MLS Cup in 2008 and consecutive Supporters’ Shields in 2008 and 2009. During that time, Rogers became one of the league’s brightest stars as he was named to the MLS Best XI in 2008 and nearly made the U.S. roster for the 2010 World Cup.

Shortly after the 2011 season, Rogers completed a move to Leeds United that set in motion a two-year stint in England that included a brief stop at League One side Stevenage.  On Thursday, he’ll face his old club as a member of the LA Galaxy after the club acquired his rights from the Chicago Fire in May.

“It should be interesting. I played for so long and, obviously, I never played against them. That will be a little different to be in the other kit,” said Rogers who has exchanged texts with several current Crew players and members of the coaching staff. “Playing against Columbus at StubHub Center will be a little strange for me at first, but I’m desperate to get three points, so I don’t care who I’m playing against.”

As he prepares to take on his old club, Rogers is still trying to find his way with the Galaxy as he has made a total of seven appearances in all competitions and has started the last three regular season matches for LA.

During those three starts, Rogers has become steadily more involved in the Galaxy attack with seven shots in those appearances. Despite his chances, he has yet to score his first goal in an LA uniform, but came maddeningly close during last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.  

 “It’s annoying. I had some chances in the first half and one in the second half; we created so many chances especially in the end of the game. It’s the soccer gods, you got to finish one of those [chances] or they might punish you,” said Rogers. “I just need to really be sharp in the final third. Defensively, I feel like I’m doing better. I just need to put one away and it helps the team out.”

As he looks to find the back of the net for the first time, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has already tabbed Rogers for a big week with LA playing their second of three games in eight days. 

“I’ve said it before, it takes four or five games to get completely match fit,” said Keane of the midfielder’s performance. “I think that this week will help. Playing Sunday, Thursday, and again on Sunday. I think this will be a big week for him.”

02 July 4:27 pm

CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza knows that he could have done better on the play that led to the San Jose Earthquakes’ game-winning-goal last Saturday, but that doesn’t mean that he was going to take those trying to needle him in jest lying down.

The Earthquakes promoted a GIF image of Marvin Chavez’s play that depicts DeLaGarza falling to the ground after to gain position. The play set in motion San Jose’s closing goal that ended on the head of forward Alan Gordon to seal a 3-2 victory for the Quakes. 

“I can’t make an excuse for it. It’s not like he crossed me up and did some ridiculous move,” said DeLaGarza. “I tripped over trying to back up.”

DeLaGarza was quick to reply to the social media challenge with one of his own—posting a photo of his two MLS Cup championship rings and attaching San Jose’s official twitter handle. As the rivalry between the two teams continues to become one of the finest in MLS, DeLaGarza admitted that actions like this are simply part of the fun.

“It’s just part of it. I wasn’t upset. Also, for them to take a jab, I couldn’t personally let that happen,” said DeLaGarza. “Obviously, people tagged me in it so I found out. I had some other good things to say, but I went with that one.” 

02 July 4:22 pm

In the latest edition of MLS Legends, MLSsoccer.com profiles LA Galaxy mainstay Cobi Jones. 

One of my earliest soccer memories is watching Jones patrol the midfield during the Rose Bowl days, and this video stirs many of those old memories. 

Check out the video below.