With the MLS All-Stars taking on Bayern Munich tomorrow at Portland's Providence Park, it's important to take a moment to reflect on some great moments of MLS All-Star lore.
In 2001, 19-year-old Landon Donovan was awarded the game's MVP award after scoring four goals to help lead the Western Conference to an exciting 6-6 draw against the Eastern Conference in the 2001 edition of the midseason spectacle. The highlight of the match, however, wasn't any of Donovan's goals, but rather his celebration on his fourth and final strike when he stripped off his jersey to reveal an sports bra that he donned as an homage to U.S. women's soccer great Brandi Chastain, who famously removed her kit to celebrate the USWNT's win over China at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Now in his 14th All-Star Game, Donovan has seen the game evolve from an event where such levity was common-place to a match with meaningful implications.
"I've seen it go from a very casual, very friendly game to a very exciting, very meaningful, very real game," Donovan told reporters on Tuesday. "For us, it's better because if you're just going to go through the motions, you might as well stay home.
"We understand that it's not a game where we just go out and mess around and don't prepare well," he added. "I think we've learned over the years that the times that we do things right and we work hard and we defend and we play the game like a real game, we get good results and when we don't then we can get beat."
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have just a single day before the MLS transfer window closes and according to Bruce Arena, the team has not given up hopes of completing a move before the deadline.
A report in Soccer By Ives had linked the Galaxy to U.S. international Sacha Kljestan, but Arena declined to comment about the reported pursuit of the former Chivas USA attacker last week. Currently, the Galaxy are third in the MLS allocation order behind the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas.
During an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Arena admitted that the club “for the most part” has a specific move in mind heading into the final hours of the deadline, but no deal has been completed.
“It’s possible,” said Arena. “If there is a move that we can make then we will make it, but only if it is in our best interest.”
But with less than 24 hours remaining in the transfer window, Arena admits that if a deal is going to get done, it’ll need to be soon.
“It’s close. It’s going to go one way or the other,” said Arena. “That is all I can say and that is the 100% correct answer.”
LA Galaxy youngster Bradford Jamieson IV earned a start as the MLS Homegrown Players were held to a scoreless draw by the Portland Timbers Under-23's in the inaugural Chipotle Homegrown Game.
Jamieson went 45 minutes in the scoreless draw starting at forward alongside Chivas USA striker Caleb Calvert. From the outset, the action was disjointed as both teams struggled to generate chances, but in the 19th minute, Jamieson had an attempt at frame that went begging. The Galaxy Homegrown who has scored five goals for USL PRO affiliate Galaxy II was removed at the start of the second half as the MLSers failed to find the back of the net against the Portland PDL team.
Fellow LA Homegrown Player Gyasi Zardes was an unused substitute for the match.
The LA Galaxy's two Robbies earned nods for MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week on Monday.
Keane added to his stellar season so far with two goals in the Galaxy's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers to bring his strike total to 12 this season while also adding seven assists. Meawnhile, Rogers was steady along the left side of defense for LA while also adding an assist on Gyasi Zardes' strike just before the end of the first half.
The complete team is below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez may not be taking part in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, but there will be an LA Galaxy player available when the All-Stars take on Bayern Munich at Portland's Providence Park -- Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy announced late last week that Keane and Gonzalez would miss out on the event due to the team's clash with their archrival San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, but Donovan -- who went 90 minutes in LA's 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday -- remained on the squad. Although Donovan will be available for the match against his former club, he expects to see limited minutes for the All-Stars.
"In the end, I don't get to make that decision [about staying behind]. I'm happy to go and I'm excited to go. I've already spoken with [MLS All-Star head coach Caleb Porter] and I won't be playing a lot, and that's okay. I understand because there has been other All-Star Games where I haven't been able to play. It's good for [our] guys to rest and it'll be fine because I'll be ready for Friday."
While Donovan will see, at least, some time in the league's showpiece event, Keane and Gonzalez will remain behind in Southern California and prepare for Friday's match against the Earthquakes. While missing out on the All-Star Game was a tad frustrating for the Galaxy's Irish captain, he sent well wishes to the league's best as they prepare to take on Bayern.
"I'm happy that I was selected, but first and foremost my priority is the Galaxy and we have an important game on Friday," said Keane. "I wish the All-Stars well and I'm sorry that I couldn't be there, but I'll be watching on TV."
CARSON, Calif. -- Red hot LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes is traveling to Portland for Monday's Chipotle Homegrown Game, but don't expect the forward to play a role for the MLS Homegrowns against the Portland Timbers U-23 team.
Zardes was selected for Monday's event along with fellow Galaxy HGP Bradford Jamieson IV, but after Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Timbers, the 22-year-old striker admitted that with the Galaxy playing the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, he's expecting to see limited action -- at most -- in the Homegrown Game.
"I'm going to play it by ear, but I highly doubt [I'll play]," said Zardes who landed in Portland on Sunday. "But I'm the guy that if they tell me to do something then I'll do it."
Keeping Zardes off the field in the Homegrown match is certainly advantageous to the Galaxy as the second-year forward is currently on a torrid scoring run that has seen him tally seven goals in his last eight games. Although he's already enjoying a career season with eight goals and one assist, the 22-year-old forward is trying his best to stay grounded.
"Now that [the game against Portland] is over, I don't look back. I'm not going to fantazise about all the goals that I've scored," said Zardes. "The next game [that I play] when I'm in that moment, I'm thinking [I have] zero goals. I have to prove myself."
CARSON, Calif. -- Stop the presses, the LA Galaxy have finally scored from a penalty kick.
Robbie Keane scored from the spot in the 85th minute of the LA Galaxy's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers after Juninho was brought down in the penalty area by Diego Chara. The goal may have simply padded the scoreline of the team's win over the Timbers, but it was significant as LA had previously failed in three prior attempts to score on a penalty kick.
Although Robbie Keane shrugged off the fact that the Galaxy were the only team in MLS yet to convert from the spot, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted it was good for his team to -- at long last -- find the back of the net on a penalty.
"Robbie [Keane] takes the penalties [for us] and that’s the first one we’ve made this year," said Arena. "We were the only team in the league which hadn’t converted a penalty this year, so it’s nice to get that monkey off our backs.”
CARSON, Calif. – For the first time since April, LA Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant made his return to a game day roster as he looks to return to the starting XI.
Dunivant has been sidelined since early April after suffering an abdominal injury during LA’s match against Chivas USA that later required surgery. For the 33-year-old left back, the chance to sit on the team’s bench during their 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers was a joy as he looks to inch closer to game fitness.
“It was good to get back in with the guys. I’m obviously training now so it’s awesome,” said Dunivant. “An ideal world, I’d love to get some time with Galaxy II and build my way in, but I’ve had a week of training and I just want to build on it. Fitness and soccer fitness are different things.
“We’ll see how the week of training goes, but we need to talk to Curt [Onalfo] and get his assessment, but I’d love to get a game there.”
Said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, “He’s coming back. He’s been out since early April. We have to start to get him moving again and maybe even get him a game with LA Galaxy II.”
But whether he’ll start once he does returns to full fitness is still a question mark due to the stellar play of Robbie Rogers. Rogers put in yet another strong performance on the left side of defense adding an assist on the team’s opener while also earning plenty of praise from Arena.
“I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him,” said Arena. “But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”
But Dunivant acknowledges that despite Rogers’ success, he won’t be ceding the position.
“He’s done really well,” said Dunivant. “That’s great and that’s what you want to see. No complaints from me. It’s a good problem for Bruce to have.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 2, 2014
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to reporters following the team's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers.
Check his thoughts below.
(On the team’s performance in the win….)
ARENA: “It wasn’t similar to the other day. We fell behind a goal. It’s good for our team to be in a hard game against a good team. We prevailed, obviously. The goal at the end of the first half was big. Second half, they came at us with a little bit more energy and created a couple of chances. Obviously, the Keane goal was the difference. But I thought overall it was a good 90 minutes for our team. We were sloppy at times in the first half. We could have been a little bit cleaner. Technically, in and around the goal area, we could have create another goal or two, but overall it was a good performance. We are on a good run, and hopefully we keep getting better.”
(On success of Gyasi Zardes…)
ARENA: “He’s doing well. Big goal obviously. A lot of little things, he’s getting better. He’s running off the ball better .He’s holding the ball better. He’s passing better. Everything’s improved and I think playing next to Robbie [Keane] is important. Robbie’s doing a good job helping him move along .Landon [Donovan] had another good effort tonight. Backline performed well.”
(On Robbie Rogers playing left back…)
ARENA: “I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him. But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”
(On coming back from behind to win…)
ARENA: “I think anytime you win a game when you are trailing is important. It shows character. The goal came against run of play. [Stefan] Ishizaki got his head onto the ball and deflected it. Then end up getting a goal. Probably their only shot of the first half. It was a little bit against run of play.”
(On the team’s performance so far this season…)
ARENA: “We are, what, second place now in the Western Conference, against teams that have a couple games in hand on us. We have the best defensive record in the league. We are probably in the top three or four in attacking categories. We are getting healthier. I give the team a B plus. [For] the coach [i give] a C-minus goes with my grade point average in college.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal is returning to the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy announced on Friday that Homegrown Player Jose Villarreal is returning to the team from his loan to Liga MX side Cruz Azul and is being loaned to USL PRO affiliate Galaxy II. Villarreal is in Pittsburgh and will be available for the team's match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. PT.
Villarreal, 20, was reduced to appearances for the Cruz Azul Under-21 side and Cruz Azul-Hidalgo during his stint with La Maquina during an unsuccessful loan stint with the Mexican club. Villarreal made 22 appearances with 12 starts as well as two goals and one assist for the Galaxy in 2013.
He'll join his younger brother Jaime, who is also with Galaxy II.