HEREDIA, COSTA RICA -- The LA Galaxy touched down in Costa Rica on Tuesday evening ahead of their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal first leg against C.S. Herediano.
The Galaxy were met at the airport by a group of Herediano supporters who chanted at the team as they entered their club bus. The group even had their own chant for LA midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, who scored a goal against Herediano in the 2011 Invierno final. LA hit the training ground tomorrow afternoon.
Below are photos and video from the airport...
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) March 6, 2013
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) March 6, 2013
To get a better feel for C.S. Herediano and the conditions that the LA Galaxy will face in Costa Rica, I spoke to Juan Carlos Aguero, a columnist for Fox Deportes in Costa Rica
Check out my chat with the Costa Rican reporter below…
LA GALAXY INSIDER “Herediano recently underwent a coaching change. How has the team changed? What info can you provide on the new coach?”
AGUERO: “Since the coaching change, Heredia has become more offensive, they changed the game strategy to 4-4-2 and cut off the double 5. The trainer, Marvin Solano likes to have the possession of the ball in every minute of the game.”
LAGI: “Which Herediano players should Galaxy fans be aware of?
AGUERO: “Yendrick Ruiz is the main scorer of the team, and on the Costa Rica league, he has scored six times [this season], he is a very talented player and really fast, he likes to play on the outside. Meanwhile, Ismael Gomez and Elias Aguilar create the game in the midfield, Gomez is a lefty and his specialty is set pieces, he is actually the most important weapon with Heredia [on set pieces]. Aguilar in the other side is very good with shots from outside the area and he has a great vision of game— both are very good with physical game.”
LAGI: “What is the perception of the Galaxy in Costa Rica?”
AGUERO: “The Galaxy is the team who has many followers in Costa Rica, the quality of the players is something to admire, also the Galaxy is the MLS Cup Champion at the moment and they have a lot of respect for them.”
LAGI: “How important is the Champions League to this team and teams in the Costa Rican league?”
AGUERO: “The tournament is very important to the team in terms of international prestige, Costa Rican teams look forward to play this tournament and want win it—even though it’s really hard due to the level of opponents.”
LAGI: “How important was it for Herediano to defeat Real Salt Lake in the group stage?”
AGUERO: “It was very important because they are aware they can compete with the MLS teams knowing they have more facilities and the game level is higher.”
LAGI: “Will there be a lot of focus paid on LA midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, who scored a game winner against Herediano in a cup final?”
AGUERO: “Yes, Sarvas scored in the [Invierno] final, and many [Herediano fans] claim that goal was offside, so he is not very accepted among Heredia fans.”
LAGI: “Can you talk about the Eladio Rosabal Cordero Stadium? What are the conditions like and what is the fan support like? Should a sell-out be expected?”
AGUERO: “Eladio Rosabal Cordero Stadium is actually very small, but there are some areas on the stadium that doesn’t have fences, so the Heredia fans can be feel really close and they are very intense and passionate for their team.”
CARSON, Calif. -- No LA Galaxy player is more familiar with CONCACAF Champions League opponent C.S. Herediano than Marcelo Sarvas.
The Galaxy's Brazilian midfielder was one of the centerpieces of L.D. Alajuelense sides that won the 2010-2011 Verano and 2011-2012 Invierno titles in the Costa Rican Primera division. Along the way, Liga tussled repeatedly with Herediano, but the most decisive clash came as both teams battled for the Invierno title. In the decisive second leg, Sarvas scored (watch the video below at the :10 mark) as Liga advanced past Herediano in a penalty kick shootout -- Sarvas scored there as well -- to win their second title in three seasons.
Ahead of a vital first leg, Sarvas expects Herediano to to attack from the opening whistle.
"I'm pretty sure that they will press us from the first minute," said Sarvas. "They will come very aggressive against us because it's the way that they make things happen there in Costa Rica. It's nothing with organization with possession. You go aggressive, you play hard and play tough. It's the way that they make things happen."
LA will not only face an aggressive opponent, but they'll also deal with the close quarters at the Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero, which seats 15,000 people and boasts a FieldTurf surface that Sarvas says is "between Portland and Seattle" in terms of quality.
But what reaction does Sarvas expect when he walks onto the field on Thursday?
"It'll be very hostile," said Sarvas. "[The goal came in a] final game so it is something memorable so I don't expect anything nice for me."
CARSON, Calif. -- At Sunday's LA Galaxy regular season opener against the Chicago Fire, MLS commissioner Don Garber was on hand to pass out LA’s MLS Cup championship rings.
After the ceremony, Garber conducted several interviews with the media including an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet and a halftime chat with print media.
The main topic of conversation during interview that was the state of the Galaxy's in-stadium rival Chivas USA, but reporters also touched on LA's season opener being broadcast nationally on Univision, Landon Donovan and other topics.
Garber's comments are below...
(On Chivas USA's poor attendance on opening weekend…)
GARBER: "When we launched Chivas USA, the idea was to have a team to be different and to cater to the Mexican American population in Southern California. It hasn't really been able to deliver on that vision since 2005. We went through ownership mediation -- Jorge Vergara and Angelica [Fuentes] took it over and they got a plan. It's the first game of a long season. We're certainly hopeful that it will improve. This is a market that needs, in my opinion, two teams and two different teams. We're hopeful that they'll be able to deliver on that."
(On whether or not there is concern that Chivas could become a farm team for C.D. Guadalajara...)
GARBER: "Not in any way. Remember where we were, we were hoping to get more Chivas de Guadalajara players in here from the beginning and we weren't able to do that for whatever reason. Now we've been able to do that and the players have been here for a couple weeks now. What I would encourage everybody to have is a bit of patience. They have an idea, they have a plan and we're hopeful that plan will be successfully executed. I think they need to do better in the execution. I think they need to put some real good resources on the administrative side and get really focused. The league has been assisting them and we have one of our club services guys working with them on the ticketing side to help understand the best practices that are going on with our other clubs. We're both hopeful that it will get better and we'll work hard to make sure that it does."
(On what difference between Chivas USA's plan in 2013 and in 2005...)
GARBER: "I think that they're executing on it and they didn't execute in 2005. We had [Francisco] Palencia, Claudio [Suarez] and a handful of players [from Guadalajara], but it didn't really get executed and they never really committed to it. [Former owners] Antonio and his brother [Lorenzo Cue] were the managing owners of the club and I am very close to them and they believed that there was more of an opportunity to have a more general market MLS team. There was not much of an identity difference between that team and any other MLS club. Jorge and Angelica believes that there is an opportunity to make a difference and they bought the team and they're going to deliver on that plan. What I would encourage everyone to do is, give them a shot, give them some time. The league is going to be very focused with them and we have made great process in this league in so many different areas and we're going to ensure that they're successful as well."
(On how patient the league can be with them...)
GARBER: "Listen, it's the first game. How patient? More than the first game...we're going to be focused to try to work with them and give them some resources internally to help them get better. We're going to spend more time with them to help them understand that operating a team with a difference is good, but they still need to understand that this is a traditional American sports market and they need to sell tickets, you need television deals and relationships, you need to have active sponsors who are going to promote and market your brand. You look at what the Galaxy have been able to do and it's a good model. They have to execute better.”
(On whether Chivas is limiting themselves by marketing simply to Spanish speakers…)
GARBER: "I think they have the right and there is an opportunity for them to have a different brand position. It's not just Spanish speakers per say, but more targeted to a Hispanic audience. Having different brands and a different identity is a good thing because you don't want all your teams to look and feel alike. What I would say is, let’s give them some time. If we’re here in June or July and we’re having the same issues that we’re talking about right now, this might be a different conversation.”
(On the Galaxy being shown on Univision nationally as opposed to an English language network...)
GARBER: “We have a great partner in Univision. They’re as important to us as any of our other broadcast partners in terms of what they pay for those rights and the market that they can reach. This is the first time that we’ve really gone out and given them a great game to try and support that relationship. We’re excited about that…There are 50 million people in this country that are watching Univision and connecting with the sport in the Spanish language and I’m not even remotely apologetic about that. It’s a big part of the league’s strategy.”
(On whether he was concerned with Chivas USA not having a local television partner…)
GARBER: “Concerned is probably not the right word. They need to get on local television. By the way, it’s a requirement so they have to work hard to get a deal done and they haven’t been able to that yet. But they’re going to need to get that done; it’s a requirement for them.”
(On whether the league was consulted about Landon Donovan’s leave of absence from the Galaxy…)
GARBER: “Consulted is probably not the right word. It’s more that we were communicated with. I spent some time with Landon and I think I talked about that during my State of the League [address] last week. I’m very sympathetic for what Landon is going through. That guy has had the responsibility of this sport on his shoulders for a longtime. He’s been an unbelievable ambassador for [MLS], for our national team, for every kid that loves the game. If he needed to take a breather, that’s his right. He’s not getting paid during that time period, but I feel for what he’s going through and I’m really excited for when he comes back.”
(On whether there are minimum standards that MLS sets for its franchises in terms of attendance and investment…)
GARBER: “It’s less about minimum standards. It’s not a specific amount of money. Every market is different and every ownership group has different resources. AEG can spread it all around [with] 28,000 employees where Vergara doesn’t have that opportunity. But what we do, do is we work with all our clubs and understand what they’re spending, understand what resources they’re applying. And try to help them figure out decisions that they’re making are good decisions or whether not they should be different. The league is engaged in that process. I’ve seen across the twittersphere that the league should come in and do something [with Chivas USA]. Well, these are teams that are owned by individual investors, they’re governed by the league and what we can do is help them get better and try to work with them to understand the different challenges that they face. Listen, this is not the first team in Major League Soccer’s 18 years that we’ve had challenges with. They turn around. We had this conversation in Kansas City a number of years ago and [Sporting Kansas City] is one of the banner franchises in our league and I would hold it up to almost any professional soccer team in the world. There was time where we’ve had similar discussions like this so we’ll get this right.”
The LA Galaxy’s back-to-back MLS Cup win was selected as the No. 2 Sports Moment of 2012 at the 8th Annual LA Sports Awards on Sunday.
The Galaxy’s MLS Cup win was second only to the Los Angeles Kings’ first-ever Stanley Cup victory over the New Jersey Devils in June. AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke was also presented with the 2012 Sports Executive of the Year award.
The LA Sports Awards are presented annually by the Los Angeles Sports Council, which celebrates the greatest sports moments of the year in the Los Angeles and Orange County area.
Prime Ticket will televise the awards show on Sunday, March 10 at 9:30 p.m. PST.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy may have started their MLS regular season campaign with a bang and a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday, but by Monday morning, they needed to shift their focus to Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal first leg against CS Herediano in Costa Rica on Thursday.
The CCL provides no shortage of challenges: whether it is hostile crowds, poorly maintained fields or inconsistent officiating, but over the past two years, the Galaxy have attempted to alleviate the effects of one challenge—lengthy international travel—by traveling on a chartered flight.
LA travel to Costa Rica on Tuesday, but rather than board a commercial flight for the five hour and a half hour journey, LA will travel via charter to San Jose, Costa Rica. The conditions are far different than traveling on a commercial flight -- think no screaming babies in aisle seats -- but is traveling charter really a difference for the players than a cross-country trip in MLS?
“It cuts off two and a half hours of the travel if not more, just waiting around for petty little things to get done," said Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens. "It’s not bad, it’s definitely better than a cross-country flight to New York on a commercial flight. It shouldn’t be too bad; they take good care of us.”
Does that mean that they’ll be more rested once they touch down in Central America?
“As rested as you can be for being on a five and a half hour flight," Stephens admitted. "It’s a big difference than if we were flying commercial. I think we’re lucky…the way the [team] takes care of us is very good.”
The first LA Galaxy game of the season is complete and now it's time for the first edition of "Ask the Insider" of 2013.
Unlike last year, those looking to participate can do so on the comments section below rather than on the Galaxy Facebook page.
The winning recepient will have their question answered later this week and will win two tickets to see the Galaxy take on Herediano in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal Second Leg on Wednesday, March 13.
Feel free to leave your questions below.
CARSON, Calif. – Carlo Cudicini admits that his MLS debut wasn’t perfect, but the veteran goalkeeper was pleased to earn a clean sheet in his first match for the Galaxy.
Cudicini wasn’t particularly busy during the 4-0 rout, but he did made his lone save of the afternoon count as he parried a free kick chance by Maicon Santos over the bar in the 60th minute. The day was not without it's difficulties as in the 31st minute, he saw a pass to Leonardo intercepted by Chicago’s Chris Rolfe. The Fire forward burst alone on goal, but saw his shot float just wide of Cudicini net.
That moment aside, the former English Premier League 'keeper thought he performed well in his American debut.
“It’s always good to keep a clean sheet or a shutout like you say [in America]. It’s good for confidence,” said Cudicini. “I could have dealt better with a couple of back passes, but at the end of the day, I didn’t have to do much which was good. That means that the team defended well. So hopefully, we’ll have another good performance on Thursday.”
The veteran ‘keeper saw little action on Sunday, but he admitted that he was impressed with his teammates defending as they held the Fire scoreless.
“It’s easy to say when you don’t concede goals that it is the back four or the goalie," said Cudicini. "But at the end of the day, it’s the team that defends and we defended very well."
Mike Magee was voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters for his hat trick in the LA Galaxy's 4-0 victory over the Chicago Fire.
Magee scored in the 38th, 68th, and 78th minutes to notch his first career hat-trick to lead LA over Chicago. The performance was just Magee's second multi-goal regular season game of his career with his first coming on Sept. 17 2011 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The honor is the second of Magee's career, with the first coming when he backstopped LA to a scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on June 25, 2011.
Starting June 1, The Home Depot Center will be no more--welcome to StubHub Center.
StubHub, one of the nation’s largest ticketing companies, has entered into an agreement with AEG to serve as the naming rights sponsor for the 125-acre multi-sport facility in Carson, California. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“As leaders in the ticketing industry, providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction and as an increasingly popular consumer brand, this partnership is groundbreaking for our company. We look forward to the relationship with millions of fans at StubHub Center,” said Danielle Maged, Global Head of Partnerships and Business Development at StubHub in a statement. “At StubHub, we have an unyielding focus on the fan experience and with our partners at AEG, we intend for StubHub Center to be the embodiment of that focus as we work to create one of the most fan friendly stadiums in the world.”
The Home Depot has served as the facilities naming rights sponsor since the 27,000 seat stadium since it opened in 2003. The Home Depot Center name will be used for a final time for the LA Galaxy’s match against Seattle Sounders FC on May 26.
Starting in early-June, the home of the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA will undergo it's transformation before it is officially re-launched as Stub Hub Center for the Galaxy's June 16 match against the Portland Timbers.
“We welcome this new and exciting partnership with StubHub, an organization that, like us, emphasizes the highest level of customer services and fan experiences,” said Katie Pandolfo, General Manager of the AEG Facilities in a press release. “We look forward to working with StubHub to design new programs and activation elements that will provide an even higher level of fan engagement and experience.”
What are your thoughts on the name change?
Share your thoughts below.