When LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers joined with the LA Galaxy, the story drew national headlines as he became the first openly gay professional athlete to play in a major American professional sports league. And it was little surprise that NBC Sports Network’s new weekly show focusing on the human interest stories in MLS chose Rogers for their debut episode.
The show “MLS Insider” is produced by Hock Films, which is led by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jonathan Hock. An eight-time Emmy award winner, Hock made three of the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 documentaries for ESPN Films.
Check out the first episode below.
The U.S. Under-20's fell 4-1 to Spain in their Group A opener at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Two LA Galaxy Academy products Javan Torre and Jose Villarreal earned the start for Tab Ramos as Spain quickly distanced themselves from the Americans.
Torre, in particular, struggled as he was targeted early by the Spanish. On Spain's first goal, which came just five minutes into the match, Gerard Deulofeu was able to capitalize on the space given to him by Torre and send in a cross to Jese for the first goal. The UCLA defender was again taken advantage of on the second goal as Deulofeu fired a right-footed shot that sailed past U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper in the 42nd minute. Jese would add a third just before the end of the first half to put the U.S. down three after the first 45.
Deulofeu completed his brace in the 61st minute to stretch the Spanish lead to four. However, the Americans would pull one back in the 77th minute as Real Salt Lake midfielder and Garden Grove native Luis Gil fired a powerful left-footed strike for the Americans' lone goal of the game. Three Galaxy Academy graduates earned time against Spain as Villarreal played 72 minutes, North Hollywood's Mario Rodriguez went 45 minutes while Torre played a full 90 minutes in the defeat.
The U.S. return to action against France on June 21, the French defeated Ghana 3-1 in their tournament opener.
CARSON, Calif. – AEG and StubHub unveiled the new StubHub Center at a ceremony prior to the LA Galaxy’s scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers on Wednesday.
Below are excerpts from of the comments made by AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman and StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis.
BECKERMAN: “It’s been a great 10 years and this project has a special place in the hearts of everyone at AEG who worked on this project. I can’t believe that it’s been 10 years already. When we originally came up with the idea for the venue, it was very special. There was a vision of creating an environment for kids, Olympians, and professional athletes to all train with each other side by side in a world class facility. It’s also a part of the new vision of Major League Soccer as well. One of the first modern new era soccer specific stadiums that really has become the model for a lot of teams throughout North America. We’re proud to be partners with StubHub. What I can say is that at our first meeting, we hit it off immediately and we’re really like minded. We share a common vision and from those initial meetings grew a broad and comprehensive partnership between AEG, StubHub and their parent company eBay.”
TSAKALAKIS: “It’s hard for me to explain just how important this is for our company. There are lots of companies that put their names on the side of a building and call it a sponsorship and they end there. But that’s not our vision. Our vision and our core purpose as a business is to serve fans. Together with AEG, we have that same philosophy. We want everyone who comes to StubHub Center to have a fantastic experience—from the time that they drive in to the time that they leave and even before hand when they buy their tickets. We share that same vision and over the last few months as we’ve worked with AEG, it’s been very clear that we are very like minded. The fantastic team at AEG has been able to turn things around and change all the branding here at StubHub Center in 19 days. It’s a fantastic accomplishment and I hope that you all appreciate it because I certainly do.”
AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman
Video of LA Galaxy President Chris Klein's comments and the official unveiling of the signage on the front of the stadium are below.
CARSON, Calif. – Late goals have plagued the LA Galaxy in their two defeats, but against the Portland Timbers, LA showed the poise in closing out halves that has eluded them recently.
During their 5-0 defeat to the New England Revolution and 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, LA conceded five times in the final 10 minutes of the second half. Against Portland, LA was keyed in during the final ten minutes as they kept Portland off the scoresheet and earned the club’s fifth shutout this season.
“That was a big thing,” said defender Todd Dunivant when asked about the club’s ability to hold firm at the end of halves. “The difference tonight was that everyone was tuned in. 15 minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes; everyone was looking around and looking to the next guy keeping him going. I thought that all of us we’re good and concentrating.”
Defender A.J. DeLaGarza was quick to agree.
“I said during the last 10 minutes to keep tight and keep going so we don’t get stretched out,” said DeLaGarza.” It was crucial to play the last 45.”
CARSON, Calif. – In his first appearance with the LA Galaxy since May 19, left back Todd Dunivant felt back to his old self—for the most part.
After being sidelined with a nagging left leg strain, Dunivant started LA’s scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday and went a complete 90 minutes for the Galaxy. Showing no signs of the injury that kept him on the shelf for three matches, Dunivant’s presence was critical as LA shut down the Timbers offense.
“I felt great. Physically I felt good, and my fitness is still coming along,” said Dunivant. “The last 20 [minutes] I started getting a little fatigued, but other than that I felt great”
Barring any late complications, Dunivant will resume his position on the left side of the Galaxy defense in Sunday’s SuperClásico and according to center back A.J. DeLaGarza; his return is a welcome sight.
“He’s a big part of our back four,” said DeLaGarza. “[He is] a veteran, and a guy who can get up on the attack and get some good balls, and just a leader in general.”
CARSON, Calif. – It has taken some time, but center back Tommy Meyer has begun to show flashes of the confident rookie that helped the LA Galaxy to their MLS Cup triumph last year.
With Omar Gonzalez away on international duty for the past month, Meyer has racked up four starts in all competitions. The results didn't go Meyer’s way as LA went 0-3-1 in four matches while conceding 10 goals, but the second-year defender saved his best performance for last in LA’s scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers on Wednesday.
Alongside A.J. DeLaGarza in central defense, Meyer was tidy as he made 10 clearances as well as a key block in the 61st minute of a Ryan Johnson shot from close range. Following a difficult stretch of appearances, Meyer felt like he was back to his old self on Wednesday.
“Tonight, I felt back to where I was last season as far as physically and reading the game. I felt tonight was the best game that I've played,” said Meyer. “I think we did a good job staying connected and talking throughout the whole game, keeping Rafa [Garcia] right in front of us, and [Juninho] at midfield helping us win balls, I think that helped out alot. We were moving well as a group I thought, for the most part, throughout the game. That gives us the chance to win the ball and get the ball up to our forwards.”
Although the results weren't great, DeLaGarza admitted that the second-year center back is still continuing to grow.
“It’s his first full action for the first part of the year. He’s still learning and we're still learning how to play together,” said DeLaGarza. “We played together a little bit last year and he was with Omar [Gonzalez] late last year. We still have to learn about each other and we've got a long way to go with that.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Ever steadily, things are coming together for LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers.
Rogers made his first start in a Galaxy uniform since joining the club in late-May. The start was Rogers first since Sept. 28, 2011 when he was still a member of the Columbus Crew.
As for his impression of his performance? Rogers felt like he was at ease and even admitted taht he felt he could have played longer than the 69 minutes that he earned on Wednesday.
More from Rogers below...
(On how rewarding it was to start…)
ROGERS: “It felt good to have a proper start, to get back out there and to be out there from the beginning. I still think I have a long ways to go, but there were flashes where I was getting my legs back and I was moving quite well at times. That’s good to see after putting in a lot of hard work. But things are slowly coming back.”
(On his impressions of Portland…)
ROGERS: “They’re a great team. I thought they played really well. It just wasn’t quite there at the end for us. We were a little off. But I’m excited to play for these guys.”
(On whether he had any nerves about starting…)
ROGERS: “Surprisingly it was more just eager, eager to get here today. No nerves. I think I was more nervous for my very first game at home depot. I was more excited today.”
(On how he close he feels to match fitness…)
ROGERS: “I think I probably need two more games to really get flying around and not be worrying about my fitness. Actually I felt pretty good in the second half. I actually felt I could have played a little longer, which surprised me.”
(On his thoughts on the Galaxy…)
ROGERS: “A really talented team and a great locker room. A very comfortable and positive setting we have in here. Something we had in Columbus in 2008. I think that makes a great team actually.”
(On the match against Chivas USA…)
ROGERS: “I think this next game for us is a huge game before we go on the road again. I think we’re going to be a dangerous team; it’s just a matter of time. When guys are all clicking, it’s going to be interesting to see how well we do. Some guys are coming back, obviously my first start, we’re missing a few guys.”
(On whether he’s ready to start again on Sunday…)
ROGERS: “I hope I get another chance.”
(On how he feels getting into the swing of things…)
ROGERS: “I still have a lot of hard work ahead of me to really get fit, 100 percent. To see the improvement I’m slowly making week by week in the games it’s great for me to feel like the hard work is going somewhere. I’m excited for the next game and I’m excited to move on the following week.”
CARSON, Calif. – It was a historic night for LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho, who made his 100th start for the club and notched his 102nd appearance for the team.
Reaching 100 appearances is a tradition in Brazil that includes a pregame ceremony and the player donning the number 100 kit for the match. Juninho didn't get to change his number for the match against Portland, but he was given a hardy chant from the Angel City Brigade supporters group during the 19th minute of the game.
“It was unbelievable. It was a great night,” Juninho told LA Galaxy Insider. “The result wasn't good, but I love my fans. I've been here for four years and I don’t have the words to thank them for all the support that they've given to me.”
The Brazilian stalwart was tidy in central midfield as he, and partner Rafael Garcia, limited chances for the visiting Portland Timbers. Although LA was solid in the back, the Galaxy created little going forward as they repeatedly saw their attacking chances snuffed out by the Timbers.
“Our back line was perfect and allowed no goals, but up front tonight, we were very poor,” said Juninho. “We just need to train and get better.”
And LA and the Brazilian midfielder will have a chance to get better on Sunday when they take on moribund Chivas USA, who are winless in their last six MLS games. But despite Chivas’ dismal record as of late, Juninho is not taking them lightly.
“Chivas is the Clásico. It’s very bad when you lose in a Clásico,” he said. “We're in the same stadium, so we’re going to fight and hopefully take the result.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) June 20, 2013
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy gained a shutout in a scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers, but created little going forward in a dull showing.
Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the team’s showing.
(On the defensive performance...)
ARENA: "I thought that we defended well for the most part. There are some things that we can certainly do better, but I'm not sure that Portland had a whole lot of chances tonight. That was good. At the other end of the field of the field, I thought [Portland's] center backs played well and, obviously, [Donovan] Ricketts is not easy to beat. This was going to be a game where we had to jump on any kind of opportunity that we got and we were half a step off for most of the night. Portland' posture is pretty obvious when they go on the road; they're trying to get a point. They were certainly pleased getting a point."
(On Robbie Rogers' start...)
ARENA: "He's making progress. He has a long way to go, but that's the only way that he can do it is giving him games. I thought that his first 15-20 minutes were very tentative, but he got better and got into a rhythm. The last part of the first half and the second half, he got a little bit better. He's still going to take some time.”
(On Rafael Garcia…)
ARENA: “I thought that Rafa did well. He had a good game. I thought that he played well.”
(On what he said to the team in terms of their offensive performance after the match…)
ARENA: “In terms of their offensive performance? I didn't highlight that. There’s nothing to elaborate on, I didn't say anything to them. What’s there to elaborate?
CARSON, Calif. – The eyes of the soccer world are fixed to Brazil this month for the 2013 Confederations Cup, which serves as the dry run for next year’s World Cup.
The LA Galaxy have also kept tabs on the tournament especially Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini has been keeping a keen eye on his home nation.
“I was happy to see Italy play a good game against a good Mexico team, I was less happy about the Nigeria and Tahiti game,” said Cudicini. “For us Italians, it was a good a good game.”
Cudicini was also asked about his impressions of controversial Italian star Mario Balotelli, who is known as much for his histrionics off the field than he is for his brilliance on it.
“I think that he’s a great player and talented player. Sometime his head switches off for some reason and he makes silly mistakes like the two yellow cards in World Cup qualifying two weeks ago. It looks like a child trying to learn things and everyone forgives him for a lot of stuff because he’s a great talent. Hopefully, the more that he plays and the more responsibility that he has on his shoulders then the more that he’ll grow up.”