Beat

21 October 3:47 pm

In the latest edition of the “Playoff Picture” I break down the postseason chase for the LA Galaxy and the rest of MLS.

Below is a break down of all the Galaxy’s scenarios heading into the final week of the season:

The LA Galaxy finish first in the Western Conference IF:

*They defeat Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 27 AND have Real Salt Lake fall to Chivas USA on Oct. 23 AND have Portland Timbers fall to Chivas USA on Oct. 26

The LA Galaxy finish second in the Western Conference IF:

*They defeat Seattle Sounders FC AND have either Real Salt Lake or the Portland Timbers lose or draw in their finales.

The LA Galaxy finish in third in the Western Conference IF:

*They defeat Seattle Sounders FC AND have Real Salt Lake AND Portland Timbers win their finales.

The LA Galaxy finish fourth in the Western Conference IF:

*They tie Seattle Sounders FC AND have the Colorado Rapids win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 27.

OR

*They lose to Seattle Sounders FC AND Colorado Rapids lose or draw against Vancouver Whitecaps

The Galaxy finish in fifth in the Western Conference IF:

*They lose to Seattle Sounders FC AND the Colorado Rapids defeat Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

21 October 3:03 pm

CARSON, Calif. –Robbie Rogers earned his first competitive minutes since Aug. 20th, but the LA Galaxy midfielder admits that he still has a ways to go to get back to full fitness.

Rogers came on in the 68th minute of LA’s scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes in place of midfielder Michael Stephens, but despite several dangerous runs he was unable to help LA break the deadlock.  At times the speed was there from Rogers, but his sharpness was lacking as he looked went through his first appearance in nearly two months.

“It's been quite a while,” Rogers said after his first MLS regular season appearance since July. “It felt good to be out there. It felt, I don't know, just kind of like finally. Finally I'm helping the team out.”

Said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena of Rogers' 22 miuntes shift: "He did okay, he has been out for a while. He made a couple good plays for us, I think he could have maybe been a little sharper on the ball. He was part of a play that created a chance on goals. ... He did okay."

With the Galaxy heading to El Salvador this week for their CONCACAF Champions League finale, Rogers expects to earn minutes against Isidro Metapán as he seeks to help LA during their playoff push.  

“I think for sure I need to play in that Champions League game,” said Rogers. “I think that would be important for me, and hopefully play as long as I can. I think that's important for my fitness and my game sharpness. It's been [two] months since I played, and there's a lot of improvement I need to make.”

20 October 11:35 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane was noticibly frustrated after LA was unable to earn three points in a cagey scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

Courtesy of LAGalaxy.com Robbie Keane's conversation with reporters after the match is below. No quote was more telling than Keane's answer to a question about any lingering disappointment from failing to remain in the MLSSupporters' Shield race. 

KEANE: “Yeah, it’s disappointing. I don’t care about that, I’m just disappointed that we didn’t take advantage of the game tonight, you know. Because it was certainly there to be taken. To be fair to them, they played well, they had few chances, it could have gone either way, but if we could have had more composure in the last 15 minutes we certainly could have gotten the three points but it is what it is so we’re put in a tough spot and we’ll take it from here.”

20 October 10:51 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan (left ankle inflammation) and Omar Gonzalez (left hip strain) entered the LA Galaxy’s match with the San Jose Earthquakes with nagging injuries and both will exit still dealing with knocks after LA’s scoreless draw.

Both started the match against San Jose, but Gonzalez was forced to exit during the 73rd minute with what LA head coach Bruce Arena described postgame as a “cramp.” However, after the match, Gonzalez admitted that “a little bit everything” led to the substitution.

“I felt good [during the game]. Yesterday I did not felt good, I was freaking out because it hurt so bad. But today I felt great leading into the game and I thought I did enough to help out the team and then [Leonardo] was ready to go,” said Gonzalez. “There was no injection [pregame]. The [substitution] wasn’t planned, that’s just something that happened and I just had to come out of the game.”

Meanwhile, Donovan appeared to be moving gingerly throughout the match after being knocked down by Victor Bernárdez early in the second half, but continued throughout the game.  Earlier in the week, Donovan told reporters that he was advised to rest his ankle for as many as six weeks, but he admitted afterward that he intends to preserve through the pain.

“It’s not good, but we’ll deal with it,” Donovan asserted postgame.

Both are unlikely to appear LA’s CONCACAF Champions League finale against Isidro Metapan on Sunday, which should allow a week of rest before Sunday’s season finale against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field, which will decide LA’s postseason seeding

20 October 10:18 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena's comments following LA's scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes that helped the Galaxy clinch a postseason berth

(On his overall thoughts on the game...)

"A hard fought contest, kind of like a playoff atmosphere. San Jose played a good game, the kind of game we thought they would play, and in the end it's probably a fair result."

(On qualifying for the postseason...)

ARENA: "Oh, I'm just doing cartwheels over here." 

(On being eliminated from the MLS Supporters' Shield race..)

ARENA: "That's Life." 

(On Gonzalez exiting the game...)

ARENA: No he played 75 minutes, then Leonardo went in and did a good job. ... He had a cramp [and had to exit]."

(On how rookie defenders Greg Cochrane and Kofi Opare did tonight...)

ARENA: "I thought Opare and Cochrane did well. We had a lot of trouble with [Shea] Salinas in the last 15 minutes of the game, I thought he was very effective. He was probably their most dangerous player on the night, he is a good player. But I thought Cochrane held up really well in that match-up versus [Cordell] Cato and towards the end of the game and Opare did well. They are a tough team to play against, physically strong, when they make it direct they are a handful. But I give those guys a lot of credit, they played well."

(On the play of Robbie Rogers in his first competitive appearance since August...)

ARENA: "He did OKAY, he has been out for a while. He made a couple good plays for us, I think he could have maybe been a little sharper on the ball. He was part of a play that created a chance on goals. ... He did okay."

(On the play of Jaime Penedo...)

ARENA: "He has been very good. As a team, including the Dallas game in August, it has been 14 games in official competitions, including the three CONCACAF games, and we have only let up 10 goals in our last 14 games. We’ve played well defensively, our goalkeeping has been good. Jaime was very good tonight."

20 October 10:11 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Marcelo Sarvas' industry and tenacity has gone a long way to earn him a place in the hearts and minds of the LA Galaxy supporters, and on Sunday, the LA Riot Squad rewarded him with their 2013 Player of the Year trophy. 

Following the match, Sarvas admitted that he was touched by the honor from one of LA's three Supporters' Groups. 

"It’s something personally important. It’s nice to know that there are people that appreciate what you're doing," Sarvas told LA Galaxy Insider. "I’m thankful for them for the award and I hope that I can keep doing more to deserve this. I’m happy."

Video of Sarvas' accepting the honor can be seen below. 

20 October 9:16 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are through to the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. 

The Galaxy qualified with a scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes that allowed LA to earn their fifth consecutive playoff berth and the franchise's 15th. With the result, LA also help Seattle Sounders FC book a ticket into the postseason while essentially assuring a place for the Colorado Rapids due to their massive goals scored advantage on San Jose.

Currently in third place, the LA Galaxy can finish anywhere between first place in the Western Conference and fifth. If LA earn a win against Seattle at CenturyLink Field, however, they will assure themselves of a top three spot in the West. Draw and they'll need a Colorado loss or draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC to avoid the Knockout Round. 

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Where will LA finish?

Share your thoughts below. 

20 October 3:31 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The playoff math is simple for the LA Galaxy on Sunday. A victory and the team will qualify for the postseason for the fifth consecutive time while also staying alive in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference. 

A few links, matchups and a predicted lineup are below:

LINKS

*Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez appear fit and ready to take the field against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

*If Donovan scores he'll take sole possession of Jeff Cunningham's all-time MLS goal scoring record. 

*Jaime Penedo will be looking to rebound after Tuesday's World Cup qualifying heartbreak with Panama.

*LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has a major question in central defense: Kofi Opare or Leonardo?

*Check out my preview of the match for LAGalaxy.com.

*Lastly, my Three Points to the match

MATCH UPS TO WATCH:

Sean Franklin vs. Shea Salinas

Salinas has become the primary distributor in the Earthquakes offense, which means that Franklin will need to sut him down to take the air out of the San Jose attack. Expect Franklin to be physical with Salinas and limit his touches. 

Robbie Keane vs. Clarence Goodson

Goodson has become a key part of San Jose's recent defensive resurrgence, but he'll face LA's wily captain, who will attempt to break the Earthquakes shell by drawing the defense out of position and exploiting any space provided. 

LA GALAXY INSIDER PREDICTED LINEUP

Penedo; Franklin, Gonzalez, Opare, Dunivant; Stephens, Sarvas, Juninho, Zardes; Donovan, Keane

PREVIEW VIDEO

20 October 10:40 am

CARSON, Calif. –The sting of Panama’s failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup will be with Jaime Penedo for some time, but with the LA Galaxy fighting for an MLS Cup championship, the goalkeeper knows that he must recover immediately.

Penedo’s nation went down in dramatic fashion on Tuesday by allowing two stoppage time goals to the U.S. to fall 3-2 ending any hopes of qualifying for Brazil.  Even though he returned from Central America days later, Penedo admits that the lingering effects of the loss still remain with him.

“It’s tough especially with the way that it happened. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard for me to go to bed right now,” Penedo admitted.  “When I go to sleep, I wake up and think that I’m still going to play the game, but unfortunately, we’re not going to play the game. As they say, ‘from every failure, you must learn for it to be better.

“I’m in a team that is going for a title so the best thing that I can do is put myself 100 percent into the Galaxy and try to win an MLS Cup championship,” Penedo, who is 4-1-2 in seven appearances with the Galaxy accumulating three shutouts, said.

After returning from Panama, Penedo admits that his Galaxy teammates have been extremely supportive helping to lift him after the crushing defeat. But ultimately, only Penedo can fully bounce back and that has him extremely anxious to take the field against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

“I’m very anxious to play. The best medicine right now is to get back on the field and win, so that I can get rid of the taste of that loss,” said Penedo. “But at the same time, I have to be mindful of not being overanxious because we have a tough two games ahead and I need to prepare the best that I can for those two games and the playoffs. I’m anxious, but I’m also mindful of what is ahead.”

Penedo might not be qualifying for Brazil, but the goalkeeper admits that leading the Galaxy to an MLS Cup title will take some of the sting out of his disappointment.

“What happened with the national team is something that is always going to be with me,” said Penedo. “But winning would no doubt be very gratifying.” 

19 October 2:26 pm

CARSON, Calif. – It looks like Omar Gonzalez is returning to the starting lineup for the LA Galaxy, but who will be joining him in central defense?

The two front runners for the position right now appear to be rookie Kofi Opare and veteran center back Leonardo, who each excelled during LA’s 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday.  Opare, who scored the game winner against Montreal, has started four of the LA Galaxy’s last six regular season games in central defense including two matches with Gonzalez when Leonardo went down with left adductor fatigue after LA’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Sept. 21. Prior to Leonardo’s injury, however, he had started seven consecutive league matches for the Galaxy dating back to the start of August.  

It also bears mentioning that defender A.J. DeLaGarza is continuing to recover from a dislocated left elbow while second-year defender Tommy Meyer filled in for an injured Gonzalez on Oct. 6 against Chivas USA.

“I think it’s great that we have so much depth and how far all these guys have come along especially with Kofi being a rookie and not really thinking about getting a sniff at the beginning of the year,” said Gonzalez. “Now here he is starting games and doing really well. I couldn’t be happier for him, Leonardo is always solid and with A.J. we’re stoked to get him back because he’s been such a solid good defender and part of so much of our success.”

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Who do you want to start alongside Gonzalez?

Share your thoughts below.