GOLETA, Calif. – In Friday’s preseason finale, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena got a look a lineup that –aside from defender Omar Gonzalez—could be the club’s starting XI for the MLS regular season opener.
One potential starting partnership for the match against the Chicago Fire places Sean Franklin at right back and Michael Stephens in right midfield. Throughout the preseason, Mike Magee was pressed up top alongside Robbie Keane allowing Stephens to slot into a starting role with Franklin directly behind him.
Against the Rapids, Franklin and Stephens started strong, repeatedly putting Rapids’ left back Brian Mullan under pressure. However, as the match wore on, Colorado’s left flank accounted for the Galaxy pair and limited their effectiveness, but LA still ended the preseason on a winning note with a 2-1 victory.
With the regular season opener a week away, Franklin believes that establishing a solid partnership with Stephens is “all about repetition.”
“We’ve played a couple games together like that. It’s all about just talking and making sure that I’m putting him in the right spots. [Against Colorado], it worked well. If he comes in then I take the space and get behind him,” said Franklin. “It worked pretty well in the first half as we got behind their left back. He found me in good spots and it’s good to work with different players out there because sometimes it is Hector [Jimenez] or Mikey. It’s good that whoever is in that position that we’re able to talk and work well together.”
GOLETA, Calif. -- The connection is there between central midfield partners Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho. The two Brazilians are best friends off the field and have an uncanny connection on the field, but whether they can drive the Galaxy attack for an entire season still remains to be seen.
The pair were tested greatly in LA's preseason finale on Friday as the Galaxy notched a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids. LA's midfield duo battled with Colorado's Pablo Mastroeni and Hendry Thomas who clogged the midfield at times, making it difficult for the Brazilians to move the offense along. However as the match wore on, Sarvas and Juninho began to take charge as the Galaxy began controlling possession and finding spaces behind the Rapids defense.
"I think we did pretty well [against Colorado], of course there are moments in the game that you lose position or you lose your spot, but generally, I think we did very well. We gave our players chances to go forward and create some space and win balls in midfield. Also we kept the shape pretty well," said Sarvas. "We spoke before the game today and said that today was important to see where we are. I think we are confident and ready to start and of course, we’re not 100 percent because that comes with games and during the season. But we are in a good position to start the season."
On Friday, LA Galaxy Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal scored the game-winning-goal as the U.S. Under-20's defeated Costa Rica 1-0 to win Group A in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
U.S. will now face Canada in the quarterfinals with a berth in the U-20 World Cup on the the line. A recap of the match from Fox Soccer is below.
Reaction from Villarreal, Luis Gil, Danny Garcia, and head coach Tab Ramos courtesy of U.S. Soccer is below..
GOLETA, Calif. –The LA Galaxy ended their preseason with a victory as they defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at Harder Stadium on the campus of U.C. Santa Barbara.
The Rapids took the lead in the 12th minute off a goal from defender Drew Moor after a defensive miscue from the Galaxy, but LA roared back. Marcelo Sarvas tallied the equalizer in the 35th as he slotted a rebound off a Steward Ceus save on Robbie Keane into the back of the net. LA went ahead for good in the 80th minute when Jack McBean cleaned up a scramble in the box to give LA the win.
The Galaxy ended the preseason with a 5-1-1 record.
LA started the match in the following lineup:
*Odds are if you insert Omar Gonzalez into the lineup for Leonardo that will most likely be the Galaxy’s opening day lineup on March 3.
*Gonzalez and assistant coach Curt Onalfo did not make the trip as they are currently at a Herbalife event in Colombia with former Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Angel and the MLS Cup trophy. The pair returns to the U.S. on Saturday.
*Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho seemed to have an issue in the center of midfield with Pablo Mastroeni, but as the game wore on, the two midfielders found space to create scoring opportunities.
*Mike Magee took a knock and came off in the 71st minute after a kick in the left leg. Following the match, Bruce Arena affirmed that it was just a knock and nothing serious.
*After McBean’s goal in the 80th minute, a few of McBean’s friends from Corona del Mar High School charged the field. Could McBean have earned himself a larger spot in the Galaxy rotation this preseason?
*LA ended the match with the following lineup
*Franklin offered the following thoughts on the exercise: “It was good. This was our last game in prep for Mar 3…I think it helps builds our confident going into our home opener.”
*Keane offered the following on the preseason: It’s been good. We’ve done well. It’s always nice to get the result, but for me the most important thing is fitness. Today I was trying to run as hard as I can because that’s the last game before next week. Tonight was more about your fitness than quality, obviously the field didn’t help as well, which is why there wasn’t much quality out there.”
Was LA’s preseason a success? What lineup do you expect for March 3?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have arrived at their final preseason match of the year and starting goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini is hoping to see further improvement from his squad.
Since joining the club, Cudicini has earned rave reviews from his teammates for his experience and leadership that he has shown throughout the preseason.
After sitting out Tuesday’s preseason victory over Club Tijuana, Cudicini admits that he expects to go 90 minutes against the Colorado Rapids.
“We’re feeling pretty good. We have our final match tomorrow against MLS and then we have a week to prepare ourselves for the opener. But we’re still working. I think that it’d be wrong to have a team ready 100% now because the season is long, “said Cudicini. “It’s not a short process. It takes a bit more three weeks, but I’ve been doing this job for 20 years so of course that helps, but it takes time to know the players and the style, but the more we play together, then the better it will be.”
Jose Villarreal scored the only goal as the U.S. Under-20's defeated Costa Rica 1-0 to win Group A at the CONCACAF U-20 Championships.
The match was an evenly played affair until the LA Galaxy forward broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute by nodding home a cross from Luis Gil past the Central American goalkeeper. The U.S. had already earned a berth in the quarterfinals, but will now face Canada, who defeated Nicaragua 5-1 on Friday.
The winner of that quarterfinal match up will qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey later this year.
The LA Galaxy preseason match against the Colorado Rapids is not the only important match taking place on Friday as Jose Villarreal and the U.S. U-20 team will take on Costa Rica in an CONCACAF U-20 Championship group stage match (3:30 p.m PST, Fox Soccer)
The U.S. has already booked a place to quarterfinals of the competition, but will lock down the top spot in Group A with a win or draw against the Central Americans. In this video produced by U.S. soccer, Villarreal, head coach Tab Ramos and several other players preview the match.
Check it out below...
There’s been plenty of interesting copy produced by LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane in the past several days.
Whether it is Sporting News correspondent Brian Straus’ stellar piece on the Irish forward or rock legend Morrissey’s poem to Keane — wherein he describes Keane’s as "pacing like a lion, as weightless as an astronaut" — which he wrote after meeting him on Tuesday.
To get more of a feel for what it is like to play alongside the Irish forward, I spoke to Mike Magee, who will likely be tasked with starting alongside Keane up top when the regular season starts on March 3.
Check it out below…
(On their relationship on the field…)
MAGEE: “Me and Robbie, there’s no issues with us playing together. The obvious thing is that we’re not a conventional pairing up top with us both wanting the ball to our feet and wanting to combine. It’s not conventional, but if we get put out together it definitely works.
(On how he handles Keane’s Irish brogue on the field…)
MAGEE: “It’s easy now, but I think he’s lightened up and it’s easier to understand. On the field, it is hard sometimes because he goes back to his younger Irish days when he doesn’t concentrate on his speaking. Sometimes, it’s harder to understand, but I enjoy playing with him.”
(On Keane’s strengths on the field…)
MAGEE: In terms of his play, his movement is second to none. it’s more or less getting your head up and try to find out where he is and where he wants the ball because if you take your eyes off him, he’ll be 20 yards from where you saw him last. He’s just a guy that you’ve got to find and you got to find his feet early.
On Wednesday, Landon Donovan spoke to a class at the USC Marshall School of Business, and on Thursday, his agent Richard Motzkin provided a clip of Donovan's lecture.
Check it out below...
CARSON, Calif. -- The question of whether Tommy Meyer or A.J. DeLaGarza would start alongside Omar Gonzalez in the LA Galaxy starting XI to start the season was one of the preseason's most intriguing questions, but it seems that a hamstring injury may have given the job to DeLaGarza -- for the first match anyway.
Meyer has missed the Galaxy's last two preseason matches with a nagging hamstring strain and head coach Bruce Arena told reporters after the club's 6-2 victory over Club Tijuana that the injury may keep the second-year center back out of the lineup for the season opener on March 3 against the Chicago Fire. On Thursday after the club's final training session before their last preseason game of the year against the Colorado Rapids on Feb. 21, Arena admitted that Meyer's condition is improving.
"He's getting better," Arena told reporters. "Today is Thursday, we don't play ten more days. Who knows what happens with those things. We just have to wait and see right now."