LA Galaxy and U.S. legend Cobi Jones raves about Costa Rica's World Cup spirit ahead of quarterfinal
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team legend Cobi Jones knows all about the spirit of the Costa Rican national team and he isn't surprised in the slightest about their showing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Ticos have been the underdogs of the tournament by winning a Group D that included three past World Cup champions in Italy, England and Uruguay and then reached the quarterfinals for the first time in their nation's history by defeating Greece in a thrilling penalty kick shootout. They'll now take on Netherlands for a chance to be the first CONCACAF team to reach the semifinals in the tournament's modern era.
While many have been shocked about the Ticos's showing, Jones who tallied 164 caps for the U.S. while scoring 15 goals -- one of which came against the Ticos -- has been impressed by the fight that Costa Rica has displayed against the globe's soccer powers.
"I’m supporting Costa Rica. They are from CONCACAF so I’m supporting Costa Rica all the way. Their defense has been so strong, especially in the midfield where they’ve gotten a lot of credit. That’s where it is really starting," Jones told LA Galaxy Insider. "[Yeltsin] Tejada is doing an excellent job, [Christian] Bolanos as well. Winning the ball at the midfield and starting the attack early on has been something to see. What I like about it, the team like Costa Rica, Colombia and Chile and even Switzerland, they are going for it. They have gone all out. Some have been knocked out, some are still going, but they are saying “if we are going to go doing, we are going down swinging.” There is going modern style, more offensive and more attacks, and I like it, it’s great to see. It’s good for TV."
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to reporters following the team's 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on Friday.
Check out his quotes below.
(On Baggio Husidic’s substitution...)
ARENA: “I don’t think Baggio [Husidic] opened up the game but he was a fresh player and he did his job; helped create a couple chances for us there for sure… He did a good job.”
(On the team giving up the lead...)
ARENA: “Hard game, I think we were sloppy throughout the game, the effort was not consistent over the 90 minutes, for us to have that kind of energy in the last 15 minutes to get an equalizer and not have that energy for the entire game is a little disappointing I think we lost our concentration a little bit, we did a real sloppy job in defending on a couple of crosses that cost us goals and to their credit they did a good job. I think the referee missed a few calls there; cards he didn’t do a good job in that regard, but maybe had no impact on the game; we were inconsistent tonight. However the effort to get a point out of the game was terrific, the team did a real good job there.”
(On Landon Donovan not being awarded two penalty kicks...)
ARENA: “The second one I think is a red card because he’s going to goal and I don’t think the last defender matters, he’s denying a goal scoring opportunity. Plus he allowed that player to get away with not getting carded previous to that when he fouled someone from behind in the other half of the field and the referee let it go. The other one with Landon [Donovan] and [Danny] O'Rourke, I can’t see from my angle whether there’s contact or not so I don’t know…”
Jaime Villarreal's tenure as a member of the LA Galaxy Academy came to an end when the U-18's failed to qualify for the U.S. Developmental Academy Finals Week, but the future is bright for the young forward from Inglewood.
U.S. Soccer profiled the younger brother of Galaxy Homegrown Player Jose Villarreal in their latest video in their "Youth National Team Influence" series . Villarreal earned his first call-up to the U.S. Under-20 National Team earlier this year.
Check out the video below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are throwing out the records when they take on the Portland Timbers on the Fourth of July.
Both the Galaxy (5-3-5) and Portland (4-5-8) have endured frustrating seasons that featured up-and-down form that has the two sides are currently outside the five Western Conference playoff places. For all the Timbers struggles, they still boast one of the league's most talented attacks that includes Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe and Fanedo Adi.
Against the Timbers, the Galaxy will look to extend their league unbeaten run to five games and build upon last Saturday's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
"[Portland Timbers] are a little bit of a tricky team to scout. If you watch them last week against Kansas City, they lost the game, but you see so many flashes of greatness which is what you saw last year," said Landon Donovan. "It's dangerous because they're a team that if they turn it on then they're a very good team and they can beat you. We don't know what we're going to get, but we expect a really good game."
The LA Galaxy return home for a three-game home stand on Friday when they take on the Portland Timbers.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's "By The Numbers" we break down the Galaxy's Fourth of July contest.
Check it out below.
Club president Chris Klein reiterates LA Galaxy commitment to Designated Players to Corner of the Galaxy
Don't expect the LA Galaxy to be bringing in a new Designated Player any time soon.
Just don't rule it out either.
That was the message that Galaxy club president Chris Klein gave during his 10 minute interview with the Corner of the Galaxy podcast on Wednesday. Klein discussed several topics while also reiterating the club’s commitment to having three Designated Players.
“We've made a conscious decision right now that the three (Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez) that we have right now are the best path for us to a championship. If that changes and there’s significant interest in Omar and he gets sold now or in a year or two years, we're going to get another guy,” Klein told Corner of the Galaxy podcast. “It’s a constant discussion that we have and something that we're always going to be involved in. By no means does Kaka going to Orlando mean that LA is out of the Designated Player market. We're always in there and we're very aggressive in the space but we're going to do what is best and gives us our best chance to win.”
Klein also was quick to reiterate that the team is still a headline destination despite not currently having any vacant Designated Player slots.
“We'll always be in those conversations. We're very clear that we're always going to have three designated players if that’s what the rules are in this league,” said Klein. “I think what you're seeing now is that there are more teams that are willing to do what we have done. Like Orlando signing Kaka or New York City FC getting David Villa. We're always going to be in the discussion for designated players and we're going to continue to have them both internally and outside.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Omar Gonzalez will be returning later this week to Southern California after playing three matches for the U.S. National Team during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but don't expect him to suit up during the LA Galaxy's match against the Portland Timbers on Friday.
After practice on Wednesday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that even if Gonzalez asked to play against the Timbers then he would not be placed into action.
"Wisdom would be that he doesn't play on Friday," said Arena.
The Galaxy boss did have a positive assessment of Gonzalez's performance particularly during his two starts against Germany and Belgium.
"He played well during his two [starts]," said Arena. "Those are good experiences for Omar and hopefully he can build on that, not only with the Galaxy, but during his future years with the national team."
CARSON, Calif. -- Chris Wondolowski's stunning miss in the third minute of stoppage time of the U.S. National Team's 2-1 World Cup defeat to Belgium will be one of the defining moments of the team's participation in Brazil until the next tournament rolls around in four years time.
Wondolowski had a chance to give the Americans the victory in the dying moments of the match, but he fired his chance over the bar. There was discussion after the play about whether or not the San Jose Earthquakes striker was offside, but FIFA's official statistics did not register an offside call on the play.
After LA Galaxy practice on Wednesday, Landon Donovan offered support for his USMNT teammate as he looks to move beyond the crushing miss.
"Everyone of us have missed opportunities easier than that. The life of a forward is all the glory when you score because if he scores that then he's a national hero today. But when you miss, it's devastating," Donovan said. "Wondo is a great human being and a great teammate, and guys love him. You want him on your team and if that chance fell 10 more times you'd want him to be on the end of it. That's a perfect Wondo goal and you would have expected that [the ball] went in. Maybe the one out of 10 times happened [against Belgium] and he doesn't score it.
"It's disappointing and I know that he's bummed out," he added. "But I hope that he doesn't let it define him because he's certainly done a lot for this team and this sport so he should be proud."
CARSON, Calif. -- The debate on whether U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann should have included Landon Donovan on his squad at the 2014 FIFA World Cup resurfaced again on Tuesday as the team was bounced from the tournament with a 2-1 extra time defeat to Belgium.
With the World Cup campaign complete, Donovan's future with the national team is still in question. In an interview with Dan Patrick on Wednesday (watch below at the 4:28 mark), Donovan told the radio host that he'd "love to play in the Olympics," but when asked after LA's training session hours later, Donovan was noncommittal when asked about his future with the national team.
"We'll see," Donovan, U.S. Soccer's all-time leading goal scorer, told reporters after training on Wednesday. "That depends on a lot of conversations that would have to be had."
When asked again if he'd answer a call-up from Klinsmann, Donovan reiterated his statement.
"A lot of conversations would have to take place," he said.
Whether or not Donovan returns to the U.S. remains to be seen, but the forward was pleased with the Americans' showing at the tournament.
"It's tough for all of us to watch because we feel bad for the team. Of course, as athletes we all think that we can help, but the reality is, that is the team that was out there," said Donovan. "They fought valiantly. I think that put in a different position or situation, I think they'd have a better chance to win the game, but they gave everything that they had."
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was immense as the United States were eliminated from the 2014 FIFA World Cup by Belgium in a 2-1 loss.
Making his second straight start for the Americans in central defense alongside Matt Besler, the U.S. defense held thanks to 16 saves by Tim Howard before conceding two extra time goals that sealed their fate. Following the match, the stat sheet was kind to the Galaxy defender who made a team-high 20 clearances as well as four interceptions and three blocked shots.
"What a battle. Belgium is no easy team to play against and it took a great effort to come back, especially in that extra time. Everyone was tired on both teams, but we never gave up and it’s something that we can really be proud of," sid Gonzalez. "I think that we can hold our heads up high. A lot of guys had great games tonight. We almost came back. We had a few great chances to get back and could have brought it to pks so I’m happy for my teammates and for myself.”
Although the result was a painful one, after the match Gonzalez admitted that the U.S. could hold their heads up high after the defeat.
“The energy is all about the passion for the game. It is something that is ingrained in the American spirit that we will never give up; we will never stop fighting,” said Gonzalez. “I really hope the fans across the world saw that today—that we never stop fighting.”
Despite all the heartbreak, Gonzalez and the rest of the U.S. were keenly aware about the way that the nation rallied around the team both in Brazil and back at home.
“I want to thank all the fans that made it out tonight [in Salvador]," he said. "The support, hearing the U.S. chant that late in the game was an unbelievable feeling and I know that the fans back at home were cheering their hearts out as well.”