Beat

21 July 4:12 pm

If there was any doubt that Landon Donovan is back to his old tricks with the U.S. National Team, the LA Galaxy midfielder put those to rest on Wednesday. 

Donovan tallied a goal and three assists as the U.S. defeated El Salvador 5-1 in their Gold Cup quarterfinal match. Clarence Goodson, Joe Corona, Eddie Johnson, and Mix Diskerud added the other goals for the U.S. while Rodolfo Zelaya scored for El Salvador.  The Galaxy midfielder now has three goals and six assists in the tournament. 

Due to the U.S. victory, Omar Gonzalez will join up with the squad in Dallas ahead of their Gold Cup semifinal match. If the U.S. reach the final then Gonzalez will miss out on Saturday's Galaxy clash against the Colorado Rapids. 

Highlights of the match are below...

21 July 11:21 am

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy were without the services of Robbie Rogers during Saturday's 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC due to a right hamstring injury, but the 26-year-old midfielder is not expected to miss substantial time. 

When asked if Rogers is expected to return to training soon, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena seemed optimistic, stating that "he should be fine."

Rogers' absence snapped the midfielder's streak of nine consecutive appearances for LA. The midfielder has one assist for the Galaxy this season.

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Expect Rogers to return soon?

Share your thoughts below. 

21 July 11:14 am

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s comments following LA’s 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Arena’s thoughts are below…

ARENA: “I wouldn’t say that it was dominant because we obviously conceded a goal in the first 20 minutes and didn’t make it easy on ourselves. “I thought the goal that they allowed for us was an excellent decision by the officiating crew. We thought that Gyasi didn’t touch the ball and to be able to communicate that and get it right was, obviously, a big play in the game. Second half, outstanding individual effort by Gyasi on the second goal, but I thought that the team played pretty solid throughout the night. Not exactly where we need to be, but I hope that we’ve learned our lesson from previous games because we really have been giving away a lot of points at the end of games this year. I’m happy that we could hang on tonight. That’s good for the players’ confidence. It’s an important win. I thought that we got a very good effort out of our back line again. Carlo [Cudicini] made a big save towards the end of the game, which was important. Our two young players up top did a good job. I thought [Hector] Jimenez played well. Our midfield played well and I thought the players that came in did a good job. An important three points for our team tonight so I’m pleased.”

(On the team’s performance in the last 15 minutes…)

ARENA: “Everyone knows what you have to do at the end of the game, but you just have to do it. It wasn’t perfect; a better performance is getting a third goal, and really placing Vancouver in a difficult position. We let them hang around, which is a lesson to be learned as well. I thought for the most part our guys played well and certainly in the last 15 minutes, keeping Vancouver off the scoreboard was important.”

(On his thoughts on Vancouver’s goal…)

ARENA: “The ball got deflected [off Russell Teibert], those things happen. A.J. [DeLaGarza] fell off the line which is a tactical mistake. The finish was excellent. That was probably their first shot of the half, not that that means anything, but I thought that it was a little bit of a fluke play. But Camilo did a remarkable job taking the ball down and getting it in the back of the net. What more can you say? Give them credit.”

(On the defensive success…)

ARENA: “We’ve been like that most of the year. Last week in Portland, we were better defensively. Portland had very few chances at the end of the game; however, we conceded a goal at the end of the first half on a free kick. We played better defensively last Saturday. As we back track over the last five or six games, I think that we’ve been excellent in the defense.”

(On Villarreal’s performance…)

ARENA: “He worked really hard. Obviously got a little tired towards the end, but I think that he played well.”

(On the switching that he did in midfield…)

ARENA: “They did a good job. It was an important game for Pablo [Mastroeni], he played in the reserve game last week and we gave him 75 minutes tonight, which was good. We played Marcelo a bit out of position, but I thought that he did a good job. I removed him from the game, simply because I wanted to protect him because of [yellow cards]. Juni had a good game, made a few mistakes later, but they played well. [Hector Jimenez] did well, so it was a good effort. Then Mike Stephens did a good job filling in nicely as did Courtois and Garcia.”

(On whether Gyasi Zardes is showing better shot selection…)

ARENA: “Shot selection? I’m not sure of that, but he got a goal tonight with his feet. I don’t think his issue is necessarily shot selection, but being a bit better technically in the penalty area. The goal was an important goal and it’s going to take a little time.”

(On whether the Galaxy have a deep enough team for their upcoming competitions…)

ARENA: “We’re going to find out. We should. We’ll have Keane coming back, we’ll have Donovan back. We should have a big enough squad, we played a bunch of players this year in the back line with [Tommy] Meyer and [Greg] Cochrane, Leonardo is coming back and is healthy. Now that we have Pablo, we have a little extra depth in central midfield as well as Rogers and Clark in the left side of the midfield; we have a little bit more depth. We’re going to find out. I can’t answer that question right now. I can probably answer it a little bit later in the year.” 

20 July 11:22 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- It was a highlight reel finish for LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes that helped seal a 2-1 victory for LA over Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 

Zardes reflects on his goal in my story for LAGalaxy.com

The goal is below.

20 July 11:08 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The decision of referee Chris Penso to reverse an offside call by assistant referee Jeremy Hanson that negated a goal by Jose Villarreal had Vancouver Whitecaps FC up in arms, but following the match, the referee provided the explanation for his decision.

When asked by StubHub Center pool reporter Scott French about the decision, Penso had this to say:

“The assistant referee called the referee over to determine if [Gyasi Zardes] had touched the ball with his head before [Jose Villarreal] kicked the ball into the goal. The referee deteremined that Zardes had not touched the ball, thus not making Villarreal offside. The goal stands.”

Following the match, Zardes joked that his trademark blonde Mohawk made it easy for the referee to reverse the decision, but Villarreal admitted that he was ready to continue whether or not the goal was allowed or not. 

“I just put it behind me. I honestly thought that I wasn’t outside, so I thought okay and just play on. Then I saw the center referee go to the linesman, and it was a big controversial play, but I’m happy with the goal.”

As for the always quotable Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, he admits that the play may have changed the game in his team’s favor.

“I thought the goal that they allowed for us was an excellent decision by the officiating crew,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We thought that Gyasi didn’t touch the ball and to be able to communicate that and get it right was, obviously, a big play in the game.”

The play is below…

20 July 8:37 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- There was no late game breakdown for the LA Galaxy on Saturday as they held on to a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps. 

Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes each scored for LA while Camilo tallied for Vancouver. 

A few notes: 

*The Galaxy have wins in three of their last four contests. 

*Robbie Rogers missed out on Saturday's match due to a right hamstring injury.

*Also out was Robbie Keane who was unavailable due to a left hip flexor. 

*David Beckham was in attendance at StubHub Center.

*The Galaxy are now in third place in the Western Conference, just four points behind the west leading Real Salt Lake. 

20 July 3:52 pm

CARSON, Calif. – We’re just hours away from the LA Galaxy’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, so check out my look ahead to the match.

LINKS AND NOTES:

*LA will have their hands full as they look to wrap up Vancouver forward Camilo, who currently leads MLS in goals scored.

*The Galaxy bolstered their midfield on Friday with the signing of Laurent Courtois.

*According to Elias Sports Bureau, Saturday's match between the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be the 300th regular season game at SHC.

*Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena noted all week that Robbie Keane has yet to train due to a hip injury. So he’ll likely be a game time decision for LA.

*LAGalaxy.com’s Larry Morgan with a preview of the match.

*Lastly, my Three Points to the game.

MATCH UPS TO WATCH:

TODD DUNIVANT vs. RUSSELL TEIBERT

Back from international duty and an illness, Russell Teibert is expected to man the right side of the Whitecaps midfield on Saturday. Look for him to test Dunivant often with his speed and creativity on the ball.

JUNINHO vs. NIGEL REO-COKER

The Vancouver midfielder bossed the midfield in the last meeting between the two clubs, which means that he’ll have a target on his back heading into Saturday’s clash. Expect Juninho to be physical with the Englishman from the outset and look to muscle him off the ball.

CAMILO vs. OMAR GONZALEZ

Perhaps the most important match of the game, Gonzalez must contain Camilo, who is the current leading goalscorer in MLS. For Gonzalez to shut down the red-hot Brazilian, expect him to limit the space in which the forward can operate. If LA can limit his space then they may be able to limit his effectiveness.

PREDICTED LINEUP:

Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Jimenez, Sarvas, Juninho, Rogers; Villarreal, Zardes

20 July 2:05 pm

We're a full year into the LA Galaxy project.

It's been fun hasn't it?

More than 365 days, more than 50 games, and countless Bruce Arena quips. While it is has been quite a ride to serve as the LA Galaxy Insider, I want to know what you the readers want to see from the project.  So I'm calling on you to let me know how you think that this project and be improved. What do you want to see?

Share all those thoughts below, on Twitter or just stop me at StubHub Center and offer a suggestion.

 

19 July 4:02 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Kenney Walker and Bryan Gaul returned to training with the LA Galaxy on Saturday after a couple of weeks training with Swedish side Hammarby.

All three of the players, who left for Sweden more than a week ago (Charlie Rugg, Bryan Gaul and Kenney Walker) returned from Scandinavia over the last few days, but only Walker and Gaul were present at training on Friday. While in Sweden, all three players played in scrimmages with the first team while Gaul and Walker took part in the Hammarby U-21’s 2-0 victory over the IK Sirus U-21’s on July 15. 

Following training on Friday, I spoke to both of them and asked about their experiences in Sweden.

(On their overall impressions of the trip to Sweden…)

GAUL: “It was nice going to another country and seeing different styles of play. It was fun to try my luck in a new environment I think that it went well. It went good for all us because we played well.”

WALKER: “It was fun. It was nice to go a different country and experience the world of soccer over there. It was a different environment and a whole different team. It was fun to show yourself to a new coaching staff. It was something that I definitely learned from, but now I’m just looking forward to the next thing either here or somewhere else. We’ll see what happens in the near future.”

 (On what they expect to come from the stint…)

GAUL: “I don’t know honestly. It was kind of random going away for a week and two days. It was just good to get some playing time elsewhere and let them see what you got.”

WALKER: “Not too sure right now. I’m a little, not down on myself, but it’s not the best [feeling] to get sent back. I’m always looking forward and contribute with whatever comes next in the future. Different circumstances calls for different things. Different teams need different players. All of us still have our heads up high because we’re still young players learning every day, so hopefully, we get out there and get another chance to show ourselves.”

(On how the level is different from Sweden and MLS…)

WALKER: “It was just different. Different countries have different styles of play. From Italy to Spain to here to Sweden, everyone has their own little style. You just have to get adapted to that style and take what you can of where you come from and apply that there. Hopefully, it mixes well and it goes from there. Hammarby are definitely a different team tactically, it’s a lot different than here because it’s more tactical than physical like it is here.”

(On what it was like visiting to Sweden…)

GAUL: “The time change messes with you big time. I’m so jetlagged right now, but it was definitely awesome because you got to meet different people and try different foods.

WALKER: “It was fun. It was definitely different than LA. Hammarby is right outside of Stockholm, so we got to see the city a little bit. Hammarby is a well-known place and they have good fans, good training facilities and it was fun to experience it all.” 

19 July 2:05 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy bolstered their midfield on Friday with the signing of former Chivas USA midfielder Laurent Courtois

A versatile midfielder who can play on both sides of the midfield, Courtois has experience playing in leagues in France, England, and Spain prior to joining MLS.  Courtois joined Chivas USA in August of 2011, but was cut in June after playing 33 matches for Chivas USA while scoring three goals and an assist.  This season, Courtois made five appearances for Chivas -- three starts -- while scoring one goal. 

A holder of a United States Green Card, Courtois will not take up an international roster slot, but his signing does bring the Galaxy to 30 players on the roster, which is the league maximum.

The question remains, just where does Courtois fit into the Galaxy lineup?  As he builds rhythm with the squad, expect him to come off the bench to spell either Jimenez or Rogers, but with his experience, it is not unlikely that he will challenge for a regular place on the roster. 

My conversation with the newest member of the LA Galaxy can be found here.  

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Thoughts on the signing?