Preseason Notes: Foot injury likely to keep A.J. DeLaGarza from playing in European trip, Ryo Fujii talks LA Galaxy II deal
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza has yet to play a minute for the club during their 2015 preseason preparations, and it appears that a nagging foot injury will keep him on the shelf at least through the team’s trip to Europe.
A mainstay in 2014, DeLaGarza has been hampered by a bone bruise on his left foot since the beginning of the preseason which has kept him from participating in full training this preseason. Although DeLaGarza is eager to return to action, he admits that it is best to err on the side of caution with the MLS regular season opener looming in less than a month.
“It’s best to let it rest and get ready for the season to start,” DeLaGarza said. “If I go out here now and have a misstep, I could have to start all over again so it’s about being patient and know what [I] can handle right now.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as we first thought so I’m happy to miss a couple weeks rather than a couple of months. “
The Galaxy defender told reporters on Tuesday that he will be part of the team’s traveling party, but he admits that he is unlikely to suit up in either of the club’s two games in Europe.
“If it gets better and I can take a pass and trap with no pain or kick the ball with no pain then I’d play,” he said. “There’s no time table. You never know with these types of things. It just takes time."
ARENA: EUROPEAN TRAVEL ROSTER NOT YET FINALIZED
The Galaxy depart for an 11-day, two game European trip on Wednesday, but LA head coach Bruce Arena has yet to decide which of his trialists will join the club in Europe.
LA currently have five players not under contract in camp (draft picks Ignacio Maganto and Daniel Keller as well as preseason invitees Andre Auras, Edson Buddle and Ramon Martin Del Campo) who have each logged minutes during the club’s preseason slate. When asked of their status after training on Tuesday, Arena shed light on the travel situation of only one of his four trialists.
“I haven’t finalized our travel roster,” Arena said. “But Buddle is going.”
RYO FUJII SPEAKS ON NEW LA GALAXY II DEAL
LA Galaxy II bolstered their squad on Tuesday with the signing of LA Galaxy Academy product Ryo Fujii.
The 18-year-old midfielder spent 2014 with U.C. Santa Barbara where he made 19 appearances tallying two assists in his first and only season with the Gauchos. In addition to signing a deal with Galaxy II, the Galaxy will also provide the midfielder with the resources to continue his education at neighboring Cal-State Dominguez Hills.
“It’s a big step for me because as such a young age, I have the opportunity to play at a professional club,” Fujii told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “It’s my dream to become a professional soccer player, but I want to be more than that. It’s a big step for me in general.”
Fujii joins forward Jaime Villarreal and goalkeeper Eric Lopez as one of three Academy products who have signed directly with Los Dos.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Academy Under-18's will participate in the Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group for a third consecutive year, the Academy announced on Twitter on Tuesday.
LA participated in the Super Group during both the 2013 and 2014 campaigns with such players as Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, Bradford Jamieson IV, Raul Mendiola, and Oscar Sorto taking part. Representatives with Dallas Cup and the LA Galaxy confirmed the tweets validity.
This year, the Galaxy will join two Brazilian clubs (Coritiba and Corinthians), a pair of Liga MX sides (Monterrey and Tigres UNAL), English Premier League side Everton, and Argentine giants River Plate.
— LA Galaxy Academy (@LAGalaxyAcademy) February 11, 2015
Bradford Jamieson IV pleased with the U.S. Under-20's draw for the upcoming U-20 World Cup in New Zealand
CARSON, Calif. – Bradford Jamieson IV and the U.S. Under-20’s learned their opponents for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in New Zealand late Monday night.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A alongside hosts New Zealand as well as Myanmar and Ukraine. Tab Ramos’ squad will open the tournament against Myanmar in Whangarei on May 30 before facing the Kiwis on June 2 in Auckland. They'll end the group stage just three days later against Ukraine.
“It was a good draw for us,” Jamieson told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “We’re going to be playing against the hosts so obviously it’ll be a good game with a great turnout. We know that no team can be taken lightly and if we are considered the favorites then we have to prove everyone right and top the group.”
Heading into a tournament as favorites is nothing new for the U.S. U-20’s as they entered into the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championship as top favorites to not only advance but win the group. However, the competition hardly went according to plan as the U.S. needed to defeat El Salvador in a playoff match to lock down a World Cup berth.
According to Jamieson that experience should aid the U.S. side as they look to make a name for themselves in New Zealand.
“[That tournament] just goes to show that anything can happen in these tournaments,” said Jamieson who scored two goals in six appearances at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. “Those teams came from smaller countries like some of the teams in our World Cup group so they’re coming to prove themselves. It’ll be a place where our players can showcase our talents to the world.”
Soon after returning from Jamaica, the 18-year-old quickly put himself in the conversation for the Galaxy’s left midfield role with strong shift against Seattle Sounders FC in a preseason scrimmage. But despite his recent success, Jamieson understands that there is still plenty of work to be done before he locks down a spot on Ramos’ final roster for New Zealand.
“My mentality has to be on point and my physicality has to be as close to 100 percent as possible,” said Jamieson. “I just need to keep working hard and stick to what I know and do what I’ve been doing to get to where I am now.
“It gives me confidence that Bruce has been giving me time in the [left midfield position] because obviously I want to continue to prove them right and give back to the team and the club. I just want to keep working so that I can solidify my spot in that position.”
Landon Donovan is certainly keeping busy in his retirement as the LA Galaxy and U.S. Soccer legend dropped a retirement update on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
Major League Soccer's all-time scoring king who had the league's Most Valuable Player trophy named after him less than a month ago has been traveling across the world in recent weeks including trips to India and the Maldives after returning from the Galaxy's Herbalife promotion trip of South America last December. The 32-year-old who retired after helping the LA Galaxy win MLS Cup in December also announced that he's intending to enroll in college as he seeks to complete a long stated goal of a college degree.
But the biggest news of the post was that Donovan has announced his engagement to his long term girlfiend Hannah.
"I'm in the process of enrolling in college and have started many other exciting ventures that I've always been passionate about," he said in the Facebook update. "Lastly, and most importantly, I recently got engaged to the love of my life, Hannah. I have never been this happy and I'm excited for our future together!"
Congratulate Donovan and see the full post below.
Bradford Jamieson IV and the rest of the U.S. Under-20's are smiling on Monday after the U.S. youth side was drawn a favorable draw at this summer's U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. U-20's were drawn into Group A alongside host nation New Zealand, Myanmar and Ukraine. Tab Ramos' squad will open the tournament against Myanmar in Whangarei on May 30 before facing the Kiwis on June 2 in Auckland. They'll wrap up the group stage just three days later against Ukraine.
While the Americans were left celebrating their group, their arch rivals Mexico were likely frustrated as they were drawn into Group D along with Uruguay, Serbia and an African nation yet to be decided.
The complete list of groups are below.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 10, 2015
CARSON, Calif. -- Gyasi Zardes made American soccer fans take notice with a stellar performance in the United States' 2-0 victory over Panama on Sunday, but LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena preached caution when discussing his showing a day later.
Zardes shined against Panama with an assist across in 90 minutes in front of his home crowd leading to considerable praise across the nation's soccer media and stars like Michael Bradley. Although many were abuzz with Zardes' showing throughout the USMNT winter camp, Arena took a far more measured approach when discussing his speedster's success on Sunday.
"He had one of the better games, but I think that you have to look at things in the big picture and you can't be too hasty in your judgments on players in a game like that. The game was not of high quality. The one concern is who didn't play well as opposed to who did play well," said Arena. "You don't use a January camp or a game against Panama to see where everyone is at. You wait until you play some quality teams.
"You have to be smart not to get caught in the [hype]. You say to the player, 'good game and now we'll see where you stand when we play some better teams.'" added Bruce. "I'm not surprised how he played... However, I'm pretty sure that he is not walking on water yet. Now we'll hear all of that for awhile."
CARSON, Calif. –Jaime Penedo reached a career milestone with his 100th appearance for Panama on Sunday, but the honor was bittersweet for the LA Galaxy goalkeeper after Los Canaleros dropped a 2-0 defeat to the United States on his home field at StubHub Center.
Penedo was honored pregame by the Panamanian federation with a special Penedo No. 100 jersey to honor his 100 caps for his nation. The 33-year-old goalkeeper is one of only two players to reach the century mark for the Central American country in their nearly 90 year history in international soccer.
Once the game began, however, the smiles quickly left as Penedo and Panama struggled as the U.S. dominated, scoring two goals on the goalkeeper including a Michael Bradley olimpico goal off a corner kick.
“I’m very happy and blessed to receive this honor from my national team, but I know that I still have plenty of work to do,” Penedo told LA Galaxy Insider afterward. “We still have much that we want to accomplish and I want to continue to keep getting better and better.”
Perhaps the most awkward moment of the game came before a ball was kicked however, as Penedo was met with a boos when he entered the net pregame and USMNT goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who is the starter for Galaxy rival Real Salt Lake, was the one cheered by the 20,170 in attendance.
“It was different, but he deserves a lot of cheers here,” Rimando told reporters of Penedo afterward. “He’s done great with the Galaxy and he should be proud, but it felt good to be cheered [at StubHub Center].”
But when asked about the hometown jeers, the Galaxy’s goalkeeper brushed aside any thoughts of frustration. He understood why they came.
“Some people applauded. I heard a few cheers,” Penedo said with a wide smile. “Everyone is rooting for the country though. That reaction is understandable.”
Preseason notes: Robbie Rogers gets run out at right back, decision on LA Galaxy trialists may come before Europe Trip and more
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Rogers excelled with the LA Galaxy as a left back last season, but during Friday’s 2-1 scrimmage victory over Seattle Sounders FC, he showcased his versatility.
Rogers started and went 45 minutes at right back while Todd Dunivant started along the left side. The switch allowed Dunivant to slide into his natural position while Rogers—who is naturally right footed—was slide into a new place along the back four.
"That's an option and obviously we're in preseason, we'll look at all options,” Arena told reporters of the outside back switch. “As we experienced last year during the season, we have to have players prepared to play a number of spots along the back line and that's a good exercise for us to get in today.”
Added Rogers, “I can play on both sides wherever Bruce needs me. It is a little different in terms of finding the space on the field so I have to get used to that, but it comes pretty quickly.
For Dunivant, Rogers’ move to the flank could be his path back into the starting lineup after an injury-riddled 2014 season.
“It is still the preseason so we’re still trying to figure out what combination works. It’s all about getting better,” he said. “I need to earn the spot in training and continue to learn every day and get better. I’ll let the cards fall where they may and I think if I’m healthy and Robbie is healthy then we’ll both be on the field one way or the other.”
Decisions on trialists upcoming
The LA Galaxy will likely have a decision on whether they will keep trialists Andre Auras, Edson Buddle and Ramon Martin Del Campo with the club prior to the trip to Europe.
In an interview with reporters earlier this week, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said that a decision was a possibility before the team departs for the Republic of Ireland at the end of the week.
Draft picks Ignacio Maganto and Daniel Keller are expected to travel to Europe while injured goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton will not join the team until they return from Europe. Meanwhile, defender Daniel Steres who had been training with the club since the start of the season has been dealing with a calf injury.
A.J. DeLaGarza may return to practice next week
Right back A.J. DeLaGarza has yet to suit up for the Galaxy in a scrimmage during the preseason due to a leg injury, but head coach Bruce Arena assured reporters earlier this week that he'll be back in practice before the team departs for Europe.
"It's possible that he'll be training next week," Arena told reporters after the club's 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC. "We're not sure yet at this point."
LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes says time with U.S. National Team and Jurgen Klinsmann has improved his fitness
CARSON, Calif. -- Many have taken U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to task for his recent comments about the fitness of members of the U.S. National Team, but LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes believes that he is a true success story of Klinsmann's conditioning program.
Superior fitness has long been the hallmark of American soccer players, but Klinsmann called that into question following the team's 3-2 defeat to Chile last week , leading to considerable condemnation from former players and the American soccer media. In a interview earlier this week, Klinsmann stated that the reason the U.S. has won just a single match in their last nine and suffered repeated late game collapses were because of the team's lack of emphasis on offseason fitness preparation.
Klinsmann's claims were met with major pushback from numerous places including by former national team defender Alexi Lalas but such condemnation of Klinsmann meant little to LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes who is in camp with the national team and is expected to play a major role when they take on Panama on Sunday at StubHub Center.
In fact, Zardes believes that he's gotten even fitter just by training with the U.S. over the last month.
"Fitness is a key component of the game because you need to be good for 90 minutes. I'm glad that we do a lot of fitness with the national team and it's wonderful to experience different types of fitness because each coach has different methods. [Jurgen's] philosphy toward fitness is incredible," Zardes told LA Galaxy Insider. "I personally think that it is helping me improve as a player because I feel myself able to run longer. My stamina is up and my acceleration is growing even more. I think that I'm growing in this field."
Baggio Husidic and Ignacio Maganto score as the LA Galaxy defeat Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 in preseason scrimmage
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 in a preseason rematch of the two club's epic 2014 Western Conference Championship series.
The Galaxy and Seattle traded goals in the first half as LA's Baggio Husidic and Seattle's Marco Pappa scored. LA took the lead for good with an Igancio Maganto tally in the 54th minute.
The Galaxy are now 4-0-0 this preseason and will return to action on Feb. 16 against Hammarby in Stockholm.
Goals and lineups are below:
ICYMI the first half #LAGalaxy lineup: Rowe; Rogers, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Dunivant; Ishizaki, Husidic, Juninho, Jamieson; Keane, Buddle
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 6, 2015
#LAGalaxy second half lineup: Rowe; Gargan, Meyer, Martin del Campo, Sorto; Garcia, Walker, Auras, Maganto; Villarreal, Gordon
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 6, 2015