Beat

28 August 3:07 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- According to LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, the status of David Beckham and Landon Donovan is still up in the air ahead of Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League match against the Puerto Rico Islanders. 

Donovan has missed Galaxy's last two matches due to a left hamstring strain suffered while on International duty while Beckham battled through a stomach illness on Sunday, but was still able to go 78 minutes in the Galaxy's 2-0 victory over FC Dallas.  The Galaxy will already be without  one of it's three designated players in forward Robbie Keane as he was controversially sent off during last week's 5-2 CCL win against Isidro Metapán 

During the portion of club's training session on Tuesday that was open to the media, Beckham participated in training -- saying that he "felt a little better" as he walked off, but Donovan was not on the field. 

Following the training session, Arena addressed the media on the status of the two DPs.

ARENA: "They're moving along. David seemed fine today, Landon's working out inside today."

(On whether Donovan was likely or possible to play on Wednesday...)

ARENA: "I don't do any of those likelys and probablys and all of that stuff. We'll know tomorrow before kick off."

(On Donovan not training being a potential issue...)

ARENA: 'It would be if he hadn't played soccer in awhile, but he's capable of getting on the field and doing well."

28 August 2:34 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- After producing a primer on Isidro Metapán, last week, here is my primer to the Puerto Rico Islanders ahead of Wednesday's match. 

History:  Founded in 2003, the Islanders have an illustrious history in the CONCACAF Champions League, even earning the name Los Sepultureros (The Gravediggers) for their ability to knock out top tier clubs. Under former head coach Colin Clarke, the Islanders made a run to the semi-finals of the CCL in 2009 defeating the likes of Alajuelense, Santos Laguna and Cruz Azul before falling. In 2010, Puerto Rico would pick up yet another victory, as they defeated the Galaxy in the preliminary round of the CCL 5-3, including a 4-1 win at The Home Depot Center. With their inclusion in this year’s tournament, the Islanders are one of only a few clubs to have participated in the CCL -- at least the preliminary round level -- in each year of its present incarnation.

Key Players: Led by head coach Adrian Whitbread, the Islanders are headlined by a backbone of players that famously led Puerto Rico over the Galaxy in 2010 including Jamaican forward Nicolas Addlery, who scored two goals against the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Also returning to The HDC are influential midfielder Noah Delgado -- a former LA Galaxy SuperDraft pick in 2004 -- and talented English forward David Foley. But the Islanders will also bring another weapon in Dominican forward Jonathan Faña, who is among the NASL leaders in assists.  

Standings: La Tropa Naranja (The Orange troop) is currently in a tie for second place in the NASL with the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 36 points. However, the Islanders hold the advantage over Tampa on goal difference. Puerto Rico and Tampa Bay sit six points behind first place San Antonio Scorpions.

News: Goals have come at a premium for the Islanders as of late in league play as the team has failed to score a goal in three matches. Since a 2-1 victory over the Scorpions in San Antonio, Puerto Rico has gone a disappointing 0-1-2 heading into their match against the Galaxy.

Stadium: The Islanders play at the 22,000 seat Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Recently renovated into a soccer-specific facility, the stadium was originally designed for baseball. Puerto Rico are currently 7-3-1 at JRL in NASL play this season.

What the Galaxy coaches say about Puerto Rico: “They're very similar to the team that we saw a couple years ago. An experienced team, pretty good organization and some pretty dangerous players in the attack. A team that if we don't play well, we're not going to win.” – Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.

What the Galaxy players say about Puerto Rico: "They have the best mindset because if you look at what they've done in the past in this competition . They've been very successful so they put a lot of emphasis on these games because it means a lot in terms of measuring themselves against clubs in other countries and against MLS teams." - current LA Galaxy goalkeeper and former Puerto Rico Islander Josh Saunders. 

For even more consult the video update below from Mark Rogondino and Cobi Jones...

28 August 9:24 am

CARSON, Calif. -- Below is the Television schedule for the LA Galaxy's remaining CONCACAF Champions League matches. All times are Pacific...

Round 3 – Wed. Aug. 29, vs. Puerto Rico Islanders, 7 p.m.

English TV: Fox Soccer

Spanish TV: None

Round 4 – Wed., Sep. 29, at Puerto Rico Islanders, 5 p.m.

English TV: Fox Soccer

Spanish TV: Univision Deportes Dos

Round 6 – Thu., Oct. 25, at Isidro Metapan, 7 p.m.

English TV: Fox Soccer

Spanish TV: Univision Deportes

A couple notes:  Univision Deportes is currently carried on Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse. Univision Deportes Dos is available exclusively on Dish. Univision Deportes is Ch. 869 on Dish and Ch. 658 (SD) and Ch. 1658 (HD) on AT&T. Univision Deportes Dos is Ch. 870.

28 August 8:40 am

It's time for fourth edition of Ask the Insider:

Today's question comes from Enio Gonzalez, Enio asks: With the Galaxy coming out of games with good results in the CCL and in previous MLS games, how can Galaxy continue this momentum going and get a higher Standing than RSL or Seattle?

 The LA Galaxy are flying high in recent weeks as they have picked up at least a draw in nine of their last ten competitive matches going 7-1-2 in that time. Over that ten game span, the LA has gone from fighting for the fifth and final Western Conference spot to realistically targeting a spot among the top three in the West.

However, for the Galaxy to reach the top of the Western Conference before season’s end, they will need to capitalize on a remaining schedule that includes playing five of their last seven league games at The Home Depot Center. This will be vital for the Galaxy as LA is 6-1-5 at home in MLS play this season. Included in their remaining home schedule are matches against the likes of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders, which will be decisive in determining where LA finishes in the standings.  

Apart from winning their home games, the Galaxy will need solid performances from their depth players as the club is likely to shuffle their squad as they balance a rigorous league schedule and CONCACAF Champions League play.

If LA can capitalize on its home schedule and stay fresh then the Galaxy could avoid the MLS wildcard round and finish among the top three in the West. 

--

Thanks Enio, 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 the Puerto Rico Islanders on August 29th for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.

27 August 1:17 pm

Following Sunday's 2-0 LA Galaxy victory over FC Dallas, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman was left wondering about a first half decision by referee Kevin Stott. 

In the 11th minute, LA Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant brought down Dallas winger Fabian Castillo and was subsequently shown a yellow by Stott (video of the challenge is posted below.) However, FCD was left pleading for a red as Dunivant appeared to be LA's final defender between the play and goalkeeper Josh Saunders. 

Following the match, after telling reporters at The Home Depot Center that he "thinks that [Dallas] do not get calls here," Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com's Daniel Robertson that The HDC is a difficult place for opposing teams to get calls in their favor.

“Would [a red card being shown] have made a difference? Absolutely,” Hyndman said. “The facts are that this is a tough place to get the calls.”

Hyndman's comment comes on the heels of Stott awarding the Galaxy four yellow cards, a new season high for LA. 

Do you agree that the Galaxy get the edge from the referee at The HDC? Disagree? Was Dunivant's foul a red card worthy offense?

Share your thoughts below. 

27 August 12:02 pm

Ahead of the start of the 2012-2013 season, the LA Galaxy Academy finalized their staff on Monday. 

The group that includes former Galaxy forward Ante Razov leading the Under-14 side, current center back Andrew Boyens serving as the assistant coach of the U-15 side and Ian Sarachan, the son of LA Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan serving as the assistant for both Razov and U-16 head coach Craig Harrington.

“We are very fortunate and excited to have assembled this staff,” said Vice President Chris Klein said in a statement. “The goal of the Academy is to develop players that can contribute to our first team and we feel that we can achieve that given the amount MLS and national team experience on our coaching staff.”

The staff finalization caps an eventful week for the Galaxy Academy as Under-16 midfielder Rolando Muñoz was selected to join the United States Residency program in Bradenton, FL under U.S. U-17 head coach Richie Williams for the upcoming fall semester. 

The entire Galaxy Academy staff, which is overseen by  Klein is below...

U-18 Head Coach: Eddie Soto

U-16 Head Coach: Craig Harrington

U-15 Head Coach and U-18 Assistant Coach: Alexi Yi

U-15 Assistant Coach: Andrew Boyens

U-14 Head Coach: Ante Razov

U-16 and U-14 Assistant Coach: Ian Sarachan

U-13 Head Coach: Braeden Cloutier

U-12 Head Coach: Ted Eck

U-12 and U-13 Technical Director: Mauricio Cienfuegos

Academy Goalkeeper Coach: Ruben Messina

Academy Coordinator: Billy Bizzaro

Camps and Clinics Coordinator: Gordon Kljestan

Academy Head Athletic Trainer: Pablo Chung

Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jonathan Brooks

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.”