Beat

27 August 11:07 am

CARSON, Calif. -- In July, the month belonged to the LA Galaxy's Designated Player trio of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, but to date, the month of August has belonged to LA's Brazilian midfielder Juninho. 

In five starts in all competitions this month -- that's 423 minutes of action  -- the Brazilian midfielder has tallied five goals including a pair of two goal performances against Chivas USA on August 12th and Isidro Metapán on August 23rd.  Juninho bagged his fifth goal of the month as he finished a Jose Villarreal pass in the 66th minute for the game-winning goal in LA's 2-0 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday. The goal brought Juninho's regular season goal total to four this season -- a career high -- and six in all competitions.  Interestingly enough, all six of these goals have come at The Home Depot Center and all six have come on the stadium's south end. 

But goals haven't been the only facet of Juninho's game that has succeeded during LA's recent rise up the table as the Brazilian has formed an effective partnership with countryman Marcelo Sarvas and David Beckham that has stifled opposing midfields. On Sunday, the group added FCD playmaker David Ferreira to this list as the Colombian midfielder struggled to create going forward due to constant pressure from LA's midfield triumvirate. 

When asked on Sunday what he attributes his recent run of form to, the answer was simple for the Brazilian. Confidence.

"I summarize right now, everything just being the confidence that I have, and everything just plays off of that," said Juninho. "And thank God that right now I was able to score a lot of goals this week and hopefully that continues going forward." 

26 August 8:37 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy need a lift during their match against FC Dallas and coming off the bench, forward Jose Villarreal provided just that. 

Coming on in the 59th minute for Hector Jimenez, Villarreal made an impact just moments later in the 66th minute of play. After dispossessing Dallas defender Matt Hedges, the 18-year-old was able to out-maneuver goalkeeper Kevin Hartman before firing a pinpoint cross to Juninho for the game's first goal and his first career MLS assist. The career milestone came with three members of his family, his father, mother and his younger brother Jaime--a Galaxy youth product--all looking on from the stands.

Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was full of compliments for the 18-year-old describing his 31 minute shift as "outstanding" , but Arena wasn't the only one to take notice as FC Dallas' head coach Schellas Hyndman offered his own assessment. 

"He’s very active. He’s got a desire to get forward," said the FCD head coach. "They’ve got him playing I think a little bit more simple and he brought a lot of energy, and at that point in time, were trying to get a goal. It makes it a little easier for players like him."

Below are Villarreal's thoughts on his performance...

(On the assist…)

VILLARREAL: "The defender was caught sleeping and I managed to pressure him pretty hard and it bounced off my foot and I took a touch right by the keeper and I saw Juninho in the open and I just passed it him."

(On beating Hartman…)

VILLARREAL: "It’s kind of natural as a forward, your mentality is when the keeper comes out take a touch right by him and I took a good touch and finished off the play with Juninho...As soon as I took the touch right by the keeper, I saw Juninho running in so I just passed it to him."

(On his secret to always creating a spark...)

VILLARREAL: "It’s no secret, just working hard every day in practice and when Bruce gives me the chance to play just do my thing and try to help out as much as possible."

(On expanded role this week potentially with Keane suspended for CCL and Donovan still injured...)

VILLARREAL: "We’ll just have to see what Bruce does, but it’s unfortunate about Landon and Robbie, they’re two players that we need out there on the field but if they’re not available then other players need to step up and do the work."

(Feeling more comfortable with the team and belonging with them...)

VILLARREAL: "Yeah, my teammates are always in the back of me and supporting me and that makes me a lot more comfortable when I step on the pitch and I’m able to do what I do best and help out the team...I always felt like I belonged here. I grew up here, I always came to watch the games when I was small so now that I have a chance to play here and I think I belong here."

26 August 8:13 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- FC Dallas arrived at The Home Depot Center as one of the league's hottest offenses, but departed with a shutout by and large thanks to an LA Galaxy defense led by center back Omar Gonzalez.

In Sunday's 2-0 victory over FCD, Gonzalez was dominant as he was able to shut down a pair of Dallas' most dynamic attackers in Jackson and Blas Perez. After a pair of early chances from Dallas, Gonzalez and the rest of the Galaxy back line were able to quickly establish control in the second half to limit the opportunties and ultimately, pick up the victory. 

Below are Gonzalez's thoughts on the game...

(On the defensive effort…)

GONZALEZ: "I thought that we all did well. They got a couple of chances here and there, but it wasn’t nothing that we couldn’t handle. We just, we gave them a little bit of time in the beginning part of the second half but we got it under control and moved on from there. I thought we played pretty solid tonight."

(On preventing them space to run…)

GONZALEZ: "No, not at all. When they did have the ball, and they were trying to run behind us, we just dropped and got to the space before them and when they moved the ball backwards, we took that space up so I think our whole team did a good job putting pressure on them and we all just did good tonight."

(On whether the game was simpler after Castillo left?)

GONZALEZ: "Yeah, it was a lot easier. I don’t know if Perez is known for his speed or not, but he’s still a good player, so he was, for him, we had to worry about crosses coming in and they had one good chance, other than that it was all pretty easy."

(On cutting down on their speed…)

GONZALEZ: "Like I said before, we just sort of tried to read what they were trying to do and the dangerous areas for them were the space behind us, and we just tried to cut that out."

(On getting a shutout…)

GONZALEZ: "It feels great. Shut outs is what we defenders play for, we just want to keep on getting shut outs. It makes it easier for us to win the games. All we’ve got to do is score one goal, two goals and we walk away with the win."

(On getting better with each game...)

GONZALEZ: "I do, I find myself getting better each game, more confident and just have to keep on moving forward and take the mistakes that I make, look them over after the game and just move on from there and try not to make the same mistakes twice."

(On the play of Dallas' defense...)

GONZALEZ: "Kudos to them, they held their own, but with us, we just have such a potent attack where we just keep on coming at you, and you’ve got to be sharp the whole game. They ended up making one mistake, and that cost them. Just one costly mistake, I know they’re probably beating themselves over it but for them too they just have to move on too."

 

25 August 7:18 pm

LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan spoke to ESPN Radio in Dallas 103.3 on Friday about a range of topics including his availability for Sunday's game against FC Dallas. 

The full interview with Marc Stein and Steve Davis which touches on a number of different topics including the Olympics, the USMNT, his playing future and more can be heard here

Below are Donovan's comments on his availability for Sunday:

DONOVAN: “I’m doing better. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to play on Sunday but sometimes you have no control over these things so we’re in a stretch now where we’ve got a bunch of games in a relatively short period of time and also national team games coming up so I’m going to play it by ear and if I’m ready to go then I’ll play and if not then hopefully at least I can at least contribute off the bench, but we’ll see.”

25 August 3:51 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane was at the center of controversy during Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapan, but the Irish forward has put the past in the rearview as the LA Galaxy prepare for Sunday's clash against FC Dallas.  

After a dangerous stint that included a goal in the 22nd minute, Keane departed Thursday's match under questionable circumstances in the 70th minute. After receiving a yellow card from referee Alfredo Peñaloza, Keane leapt up signaling to be substituted, but was awarded a red card by Peñaloza moments later. Despite being down a man, the Galaxy tallied a pair of goals as LA roared to a 5-2 victory over the Salvadorans.

With Thursday behind him, Keane is expected to play a vital role in the Galaxy attack on Sunday. 

Below are the Irish forward's thoughts following Saturday's training session...

(On the turnaround...)

KEANE: "It's obviously a quick game turnaround so it's good that we're in form at the moment and playing a few home games so it's important. It's important that we get three points."

(On putting the Metapan behind him...)

KEANE: "Right after the game, I was finished. I can't let it stay because referees are making stupid decisions so if it was a bad tackle then I hold my hand up, I'm a quite honest person. The referee made a terrible decision so I was shocked that he gave me a yellow card to be honest with you. I probably shouldn't have said what I said afterward, but I was more in shock and disbelief."

(On missing Wednesday's CCL match...)

KEANE: "It's tough, but maybe it's a good opportunity for the other players to get minutes under their belts and I know all be ready for tomorrow and I'll put all my energy into that."

25 August 2:57 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane has been called up by Republic of Ireland head coach Giovanni Trappatoni for a pair of upcoming games

The LA Galaxy announced on Saturday afternoon that Keane had been callled in to represent his native land for their World Cup qualifers against Kazakhstan in the nation's captial of Astana as well as a friendly against Oman in London on September 11th. Keane will join up with the Irish squad following LA's September 1st match against the Vancouver Whitecaps at The Home Depot Center.

Following the international break, Keane and the Galaxy will take on the Colorado Rapids on the road at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on September 14th.

24 August 7:29 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- It's that time again, time for the "Ask the Insider" segment....

Today's question comes from: Christopher Aaron What do you think of the quality of refs that CONCACAF has for these games? Do you think the calls they are and aren't making change the outcome of the games in big ways?

The level of refereeing in the CONCACAF Champions League has certainly left something to be desired and in an important tournament such as the CCL, it is certainly a shame that the officiating has taken on such importance.

The decisions by referee Alfredo Peñaloza to send off Robbie Keane drew considerable headlines and took away from what was an entertaining match between the LA Galaxy and Isidro Metapán. Certainly, errors by CONCACAF referees have been known to play a role in matches and the Galaxy are no stranger to this.

In last year's edition of the tournament, the Galaxy found themselves the victim to suspect officiating during their group stage game against Monarcas Morelia in Mexico. In the closing stages of an intense match at the Estadio Morelos, Keane appeared to score the would-be game winning goal, but his goal was ruled offside by Honduran linesman Oscar Velasquez. Despite video replays appearing to show the contrary, Keane's goal was disallowed and moments later, Morelia would score a goal of their own -- a goal that also received protests for offside -- to give them a 2-1 victory. 

To prevent these types of errors, CONCACAF must have provide a review process to assess referees as well as open them up for questioning from a pool reporter upon request as is the practice in MLS. Although these measures are unlikely to cause immediate change on the quality of the officiating, they will provide some needed transparency. 

--

Thanks Christopher, you can get your tickets by e-mailing socialmedia@lagalaxy.com. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against FC Dallas on August 26th for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.

24 August 4:12 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- A left hamstring strain prevented LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan from taking part in the club's 5-2 victory over Isidro Metpan on Thursday and LA head coach Bruce Arena is taking a wait and see approach when it comes to Donovan's availability for Sunday's match against FC Dallas. 

Donovan was placed on the club's injury report on Friday and listed as questionable due to a left hamstring strain. Following training on Friday, Arena told reporters that the Galaxy captain's status remains in question for Sunday. 

“Don’t have anything at this point. There’s a chance that he’ll play," said Arena. "We have to have lineup by 3pm on Sunday so we’ll try to take advantage of that time as best we can.”

The Galaxy head coach also provided an update on the status of forward Edson Buddle, who remains listed as out due right knee surgery. Arena admitted that he was hopeful that the 31-year-old forward would be able to make his return soon, but no return date has been set.

“He’s getting there. He trained today," Arena said. "We expect him to be back in action in the near future. Don’t have a date for that.”

24 August 3:15 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Make no mistake, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is not stressing over Thursday night's wild 5-2 LA Galaxy victory over Isidro Metapan in CONCACAF Champions League play. But that does not mean that the head coach is pleased with the way the match was run.

Following the game, Arena was vocal with his displeasure about the decisions by referee Alfredo Peñaloza to award a red card to Robbie Keane in the 70th minute and then a yellow card to Michael Stephens in the 80th minute as the midfielder was stepping on the field.  Just hours later, reporters caught up with the Galaxy head coach following LA's training session and Arena admitted that the team will have no problem getting over the wild result.

"Get over it? It wasn’t a funeral. Just a classic CONCACAF game. It really doesn’t change, we probably could have written that script a week ago. Every game looks like that in CONCACAF."

(On perhaps getting a Canadian referee in CCL?)

ARENA: “They should give us a Canadian referee or an English speaking referee, a Jamaica or anyone in those kind of games. We’ve opened up with Mexican referees in the last two years of the competition and it’s been very bizarre. Very bizarre.”

23 August 11:19 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Before we turn the page from Thursday's 5-2 LA Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League victory over Isidro Metapan, a few notes:

*Following the match, head coach Bruce Arena said that he was "hopeful" that LA captain Landon Donovan will be able to play on Sunday against FC Dallas. 

*David Beckham's first half goal was the 1,000th goal in CONCACAF Champions League history. This dates back since the tournament was rebranded from the former CONCACAF Champions Cup. 

*Juninho is now the Galaxy's all-time leading goal scorer in the tournament with four goals. 

*Robbie Keane's red card will render him unavailable for next week's CCL match against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

For more on the match, consult my Three Points to the game and LAGalaxy.com's postgame interview with A.J. DeLaGarza

Below are the highlights from the match.