The LA Galaxy will play their final MLS match before the league's two-week break for the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Sunday against Chivas USA, but does it come at the right time?
The Galaxy have dealt with numerous breaks and off weeks throughout the first half of the 2014 season and will need to deal with another after their match against the Rojiblancos.
But how important is it?
“I don’t know if this is good or not, I just want to know when to come back. For us, it is going to be a good rest," said Juninho. "We can take our time, set up and figure out for the [U.S. Open Cup]. Bruce is going have more time to think about the team, and think about what formation he prefers—diamond or two midfields. I think this break is good.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena -- unsurprisingly -- has a different take.
“It’s important to win. We are not really having a break. The break thing is only the league officials and referees," he said. "We work the whole time with the Open Cup and all so it is not that much of a break but it will be somewhat in the league of a break. We are going to have the Open Cup obligation, but having said all that, it is important to get a win.”
In the latest edition of "What to Watch For," Cobi Jones and Joe Tutino analyze the SuperClasico between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA.
Check it out below.
Omar Gonzalez serves as late substitute as U.S. defeat Nigeria 2-1 in final World Cup Send-Off match
The United States attack came alive in a major way on Saturday thanks to a brace from Jozy Altidore as the Americans earned a 2-1 victory over Nigeria helping the U.S. compile a perfect 3-0-0 record in their "Send-Off Series."
Altidore scored in both halves with a tap-in to put the Americans ahead in the 32nd minute before tallying a confident strike in the 68th minute to seal the victory. The goals ended a six-month scoring drought for Altidore who had last scored for his club side Sunderland back in December 2013.
Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez checked in for Altidore in the 80th minute and just moments after he checked in, Nigerian striker Victor Moses was awarded a penalty after a defensive breakdown forced American center back Matt Besler to bring down the forward in the penalty area. Moses slotted the penalty past American goalkeeper Tim Howard to spark a Nigerian rally, but the U.S. held on for the victory.
The U.S. will head to Brazil in the coming days and play their final World Cup tuneup against Belgium in a closed-door scrimmage on June 12 in Sao Paulo. Klinsmann's group will open Group G play on June 16 against Ghana in Natal. Nigeria are in Group F alongside Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and tournament favorite Argentina. The Super Eagles open the tournament on June 16 against Iran in Curitiba.
Pleased by the result? Upset that Gonzalez did not start for a third straight match for the USMNT?
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CARSON, Calif. – Whether he's stationed at forward or on the wing, it’s all the same to Gyasi Zardes.
The LA Galaxy’s dynamic offensive-minded player simply wants to get into the attack.
Zardes got a taste of life back up top during a brief second half appearance during LA’s 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire a week ago. Although the shift went well for 22-year-old, who has one goal and one assist this season, Zardes doesn’t have an opinion on where he’s best suited to play.
“It felt great getting back up top. It felt really good to get back up there,” said Zardes. “I missed playing up top, but I like outside too because I have freedom to space. I’m a runner; I want to run [at people].”
If he gets a chance to see the field, he’ll look to pressure a Chivas USA side that he’s enjoyed success against since coming into the league as he’s tallied two goals and two assists in a pair of SuperClasico appearances.
Although the Galaxy have dominated the Rojiblancos throughout their series, Zardes expects a tough challenge from Chivas on Sunday.
“This Chivas team is going to come strong and hard,” said Zardes. “We need to be prepared for them.”
Where do you think Zardes' best position is?
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In the latest edition of By the Numbers, we look at the latest match up with Chivas USA.
Check it out below.
LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane missed this third penalty of the year, but the Republic of Ireland earned a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica on Friday evening at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.
The Galaxy captain started and went 83 minutes in the draw as forward Kevin Doyle scored the lone goal for Ireland while Celso Borges tallied for Costa Rica. Just two minutes after Borges' leveled the match on a second half penalty kick, Ireland earned a spot kick of their own thanks to a foul in the penalty area by the Ticos. However, Keane's attempt was easily saved by a diving Costa Rican goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton. The missed penalty for Ireland comes on the heels of two missed spot kicks for the Galaxy captain during the early stages of the 2014 MLS regular season.
Ireland return to action on June 10 when they face Portugal at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Meanwhile, the Costa Ricans will depart for Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World Cup where they are placed in Group D alongside Italy, England and Uruguay.
Video of Doyle's impressive goal are below.
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan will most likely not be at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the U.S. National Team, but he may have some role to play in the way that Americans watch the World Cup.
A week ago, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch recently wrote that Donovan could be an option for ESPN or Fox as they look to fill out their broadcasting rosters for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Donovan served as an analyst for Fox Sports 1’s UEFA Champions League coverage last November.
“There’s nothing coming of that yet. I’m listening, but we’ll see what happens. My focus is here [with the Galaxy] now,” said Donovan of the report. “There are a lot of obstacles, but in a perfect world, I could do something. If not, my first priority is here.”
The Galaxy will be off on a two-week MLS regular season break for the World Cup after their match against Chvias USA on Sunday, but the break will be short lived as they could potentially have two U.S. Open Cup games in late-June.
Landon Donovan addressed the 2014 FIFA World Cup, his snub from the U.S. National Team and his viewing plans for the tournament in an interview with the Dan Patrick Show on Friday.
In a brief interview with Patrick, Donovan says that he's gotten over not being named to the USMNT's 23-man squad for Brazil, he's ready if called upon for the 2014 FIFA World Cup if there was an injury. However if he does not go, he's still deciding where to watch the games if he's in Southern California.
"Part of me wants to sit on my couch and just sit there and let the emotions go one way or the other so I'm not around anyone," Donovan said to Patrick. "Part of me wants to go sit at a bar and have a few beers and watch with local soccer fans and experience it all that way. So I don't know, it'll probably be a game-time decision."
CARSON, Calif. -- There’s no question that Juninho is enjoying a career year with the LA Galaxy so far in 2014.
The Brazilian midfielder’s two-way ability has helped LA break up opposing attacks while also sending penetrating balls forward to spark Galaxy counterattacks. But for all his success in the midfield, one aspect of his game is missing—goals.
To date, the 25-year-old midfielder has managed 23 shots -- nine on frame -- and three assists, but has yet to find the back of the net, a fact that is not lost on head coach Bruce Arena.
“He’s fitter, he’s more involved over 90 minutes and he understands his positioning a bit better,” said Arena. “But his finishing hasn’t been as good as it has in the past. We'd like to see him get a goal or every now and then."
However, Juninho expects that the team’s change from a diamond formation to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation over the past several weeks will allow him to get back to scoring ways.
“For me particularly, [the formation] is much better. I am very familiar with it and I can score goals. [I can] go forward, and try to create more chances for the team,” said Juninho. “This is my style. For me it’s good, for the team I think you can have to ball more. It’s our older style, older formation, so our team is very familiar with that.
“In the diamond, I'm a holding midfielder. I have to stay with our backline and I can't leave that spot. But with two midfielders, I can go forward,” said Juninho. “Even though I haven't scored yet, I’m going to put more pressure on myself [to score] and I will do my best so that we can win.”
While Arena agrees that theoretically, this formation should help Juninho get forward, but he’s waiting for it to pay off.
“Regardless of where he’s playing or the system, he’s capable of getting us a couple goals in the season,” said Arena. “His finishing needs to get better.”
CARSON, Calif. – While his LA Galaxy teammates prepare for the SuperClasico this Sunday against Chivas USA, Robbie Keane will be looking to help lead a rejuvenation project for the Republic of Ireland.
Months after the Irish failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup; Ireland will take part in two friendlies in the U.S. against Costa Rica at PPL Park on June 7 and U.S. Group G opponent Portugal at MetLife Stadium four days later. Although the Irish will not participate in the World Cup, Keane believes the games could put his team in good stead with qualifying for the UEFA Euro 2016 on tap later this year.
“We want to see a belief in the national team. We want to be a team that’s hard to beat like we used to be. We haven't qualified for the World Cup so it’s important with the new coaching staff [of head coach Martin O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane] to get back to winning ways.
“It’s important to have a feel to see where we are and see how good we are against top teams and if we can compete against them.”