CARSON, Calif. – Charlie Rugg showed a few flashes of being the player that warranted the LA Galaxy’s selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, but as the forward heads into his second year in MLS, he’s eager to become a stable force for LA.
I evaluated Rugg’s season in the one of the latest LA Galaxy Insider Year in Reviews. One of the highlights of Rugg’s year was his 10 day training spell in Sweden where the rookie was given an opportunity to train with Swedish club Hammarby. Although Rugg didn’t latch on in Sweden, the forward believes that the experience benefited him in the long term.
“I don’t think that did anything to me mentally to hurt me. I think that whole trip was good to get away and see another professional level is to see where I am,” Rugg told LA Galaxy Insider. “I feel like after I came back, I played a little better. I don’t know exactly why, but going away was good for me, even though it was just 10 days not signing anything.”
After an up and down rookie season, Rugg is already chomping at the bit to return next year.
“I’m already looking forward to preseason next year and hitting the ground running,” said Rugg. “We might see that kind of same thing when I come back in preseason. I’m going to be pretty explosive at the beginning of next year. I’m already feeling more confident and energetic for next year.
CARSON, Calif. – There are a number of personnel decisions that the LA Galaxy will need to make in the offseason including two that surround a pair of high profile names.
After both players appeared in all but one game for the Galaxy, Sean Franklin and Marcelo Sarvas are each waiting to hear if the club will be picking up their options for the 2014 season.
During the club’s final media availability of the year, head coach and general manager Bruce Arena noted that no decisions have been made regarding any of the team’s players and while Associate head coach Dave Sarachan noted that the club “plan on” bringing Sarvas back, but there is still much consideration to be done.
“All of that's going to be looked at closely over the next few weeks, to be honest. What moves we need to make and where we need to add or delete, and at this point, it's still all up in the air,” said Associate head coach Dave Sarachan. “In terms of Sean or Marcelo or any of these guys, those discussions will happen and decisions will be made.”
CARSON, Calif. – Chandler Hoffman didn’t receive the type of minutes that he expected up top in 2013, but after his “internship” like his first season with the LA Galaxy, he expects to contend for minutes next season.
Hoffman made just three appearances for the Galaxy in all competitions in 2013 scoring once in LA’s CONCACAF Champions League victory over C.S. Cartaginés in September. Although he was unable to earn consistent minutes for the first team, Hoffman made 10 appearances for the reserves scoring six goals and one assist.
Even though Hoffman impressed in reserve play, he found himself behind LA’s other young forwards like Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes who dominated the playing time among the Galaxy’s youthful contingent.
“We have a loaded group of attacking players, but it could also be frustrating when you’re not getting the looks that you feel like you deserve,” Hoffman admitted. “There a time that I was scored in three straight reserve games, but those guys have been here for a long time and they were given the benefit of that doubt this year which is understandable. [The competition] just makes you want to work harder because every day you have young guys that are chomping at the bit to get on the field.”
The 23-year-old striker believes that his ability to return and continue to learn from the likes of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan is contingent on him retaining his status as a Generation Adidas player. As a GA player, Hoffman’s salary does not count against LA’s salary cap nor does he count against their senior roster, but if he graduates from the status, LA would need to use a senior spot to keep him.
Although whether Hoffman graduates is “up in the air” at the moment, Hoffman is hopeful that he’ll be able to stay with LA next season.”
“It makes a huge difference because you go from not counting against the salary cap and not counting against the roster to counting against the salary cap. It definitely does make a difference,” said Hoffman. “I spoke with Bruce and told him that this is where I want to play and hopefully we’ll make that happen.”
CARSON, Calif. – Oscar Sorto received plenty of on the job training in his first season with the LA Galaxy, but next season the real work begins.
After being signed by the Galaxy as the team’s fourth-ever Homegrown Player in December, Sorto made two appearances in 2013 across all competitions, all of which came during CONCACAF Champions League play. During his two appearances, Sorto showed flashes of becoming a viable defensive option for LA, but at times, he struggled to deal with the pace and physicality of the professional game.
However, as he looks ahead to a pivotal 2014, Sorto believes that he’ll have to find a way to improve to hold his spot on the Galaxy roster.
“It’s going to be more serious for me next year because my contract ends in 2014 and for me to get another contract, I’m going to have to show that I can improve and do my work,” Sorto told reporters. “I feel confident about my abilities, but I still have to show the coaches that they can trust me,” said Sorto. “It’s going to be hard for me either way because A.J. is one of the top defenders in MLS and it’s going to be a challenge.”
Look back on Sorto’s season in the latest edition of LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review.
CARSON, Calif. – Kenney Walker has the type of tools that could make him a successful midfielder in MLS, but for him to develop, he knows that he needs games to refine his skills.
In the latest Galaxy Year in Review, I evaluate Walker's 2013 season. A year after making four appearances in his rookie season, Walker made just a single appearance for the Galaxy as he started in LA’s U.S. Open Cup defeat to the Carolina RailHawks. In pursuit of minutes, Walker was sent to train in Sweden with Hammarby before heading on loan to Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and the RailHawks.
Walker was an integral part of the RailHawks’ fall season campaign as he started 10 of his 11 appearances while tallying an assist for Carolina.
“I got to meet a whole new team again and I was able to work my way into it,” said Walker who admitted to getting some shtick for LA’s U.S. Open Cup defeat to Carolina. It was good to get minutes consistency and play in games outside of practice or reserve league where everything means something. The team there, we pushed each other every day. Getting out and playing games is a lot different than just coming out and training for more than an hour each day.
“The biggest part of the offseason is keeping that [mentality], staying fit and coming back ready to play,” added Walker. “I just need to keep my fitness together, keeping my weight down and just keeping my head on straight so I can just focus on what I need to do day in and day out to help the team.”
As Walker continues his development, the midfielder is adamant that he can make an impact for the Galaxy in 2014.
“This is the best team in the league, it doesn’t matter what the results say because player wise, club wise, it’s the best team and everyone wants to be here,” said Walker. “I definitely want to be here and I want to push myself to be the best and this is the best place to be it. I feel like that I can contribute to the team and have a big impact if I can get consistent minutes.”
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A.J. DeLaGarza made his debut for Guam on Saturday in their 1-1 draw with Laos in Vientaine.
The match was marred by some controversy due to inconsistent officiating which led DeLaGarza and many other Matao players to take to Twitter after the draw to voice their displeasure over some of the calls that they received.
DeLaGarza and Guam return to action next week against Cambodia.
Not over exaggerating, those were the worst refs I've seen in my entire life. #ENTIRE
— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) November 16, 2013
Moving on and looking forward to Cambodia..
— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) November 16, 2013
LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez started and went 90 minutes as the U.S. National Team play to a scoreless draw with Scotland in a match that saw little in the way of scoring chances.
Gonzalez was his steady self making a team-leading 12 clearances on the night as Scotland forced only a single save from U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. However, the U.S. attack was just as choppy as the team could only put two of their nine attempts on frame. The best opportunity for the Americans came in the 82nd minute when Stoke City midfielder Brek Shea found Aron Johnannsson who fired his shot just wide.
The U.S. return to action on Tuesday in Vienna against Austria.
Highlights of the match are below...
LA Galaxy defender Bryan Gaul underwent a frustrating season in 2013 and will have to make up substantial ground if he is to get his career back on track next season.
In the latest “Year in Review” piece, I take a look at Gaul’s season, which featured a training stint with Hammarby and loans to NASL sides Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and the Carolina Railhawks, as well as zero first team appearances for LA.
When I spoke to Gaul about his struggles in 2013, he offered a solution that could lead to greater success as he looks into year three of his professional career.
“I need to get a consistent spot,” Gaul told LA Galaxy Insider of his frustrating season. “It’s a curse being a utility guy because you bounce around different positions and never be solidified and consistent in one.”
Where Gaul goes from here remains to be seen, but the 24-year-old is hopeful that he can stay with LA next year.
“I would love to stay in LA, but we’ll see what happens. We spoke a little bit and everyone is going to find out in a couple of weeks,” said Gaul. “I just want to bounce back and be in the 18 and be in the coaches’ minds all season.”
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Robbie Keane got back to his goal scoring ways on Friday with the game-winning strike in Ireland's 3-0 victory over Latvia in Dublin, which was the first victory for new manager Martin O'Neill.
Keane's 62nd international goal came in the 21st minute of play when he tucked an Aiden McGeady corner into the back of the Latvian net. The LA Galaxy captain exited in the 73rd minute, but Ireland added two more goals in the second half after tallies by McGeady and Shane Long.
Ireland return to action on Tuesday against Poland in Pozan.
A GIF of Keane's goal is below...
CARSON, Calif. – Brian Perk endured a difficult season, but after recovering from three injuries, the 24-year-old goalkeeper is hopeful for his prospects for 2014.
In the first edition of the LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review, I look back at Perk’s frustrating season that saw him battle through a hernia surgery and two concussions. During his end of the season conversation with reporters, Perk stated that he is heading into the offseason as healthy as he’s felt in “two years” after overcoming what he described as “freak” concussions.
As he heads into next season, he’ll have to battle with emerging goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who took full advantage of Perk’s injury issues to carve out a position as LA’s second choice between the pipes.
“It'll be fun. He’s done well. He got an opportunity and ran with it. We’ll see where the chips fall in preseason and we’ll battle it out and see how it goes,” said Perk. “The most important thing is to say healthy, but for me, I've put some things together in my mind. I've been here a long time now and very time I step on practice field, I feel really confident. And in the reserve games that I've played in here and there, I feel like I feel I do really well. It’s just getting a chance to put what I've done on the practice field and reserve teams for the first team, if I’m that lucky.”
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