Beat

20 July 4:52 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 3:05 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 5:02 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 3:05 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?

18 July 6:23 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy Academy is still two months away from the start of the 2013/2014 U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy season, but they have already been making headlines.

Whether it is the hiring of new academy coach Mike Munoz from the Chivas USA Academy or the creation of an Under-23 squad, LA have made plenty of moves over the last few weeks. But that hasn’t been all as the club has also seen the influx of several players, who were formerly coached by Munoz with Chivas USA.  

Six such players—Adonis Amaya, Ryo Fujji, Bradford Jamieson, Malcolm Jones, Axel Mendez, and Jeff Quezada—took part in the Under-23’s match on Tuesday and are expected to be a part of the team’s Under-18 squad in the fall.

In an interview with LA Galaxy Insider, club Academy Director Peter Vagenas explained the influx of new players, which is only possible due to a Development Academy rule that allows teams to add new faces during the month of July.

“There is a period which we are allowed to look at players from different clubs. We have players contacting us nonstop throughout the year asking if they could come and the only time that we can evaluate players not in our academy during the previous year was during this month,” Vagenas said. “We’re in the process of evaluating a number of players that are interested from clubs throughout our 75-mile radius, whose kids truly want to be a part of [the Galaxy Academy].

“At the end, unfortunately, we have to turn kids away because we can’t accommodate everyone just on sheer numbers,” Vagenas added. “We are dedicated to finding the best players and providing a landscape, in which they can, one day realize their dreams of becoming professional Galaxy players.”

Although the makeup of the Galaxy’s academy squads may change due to this month-long evaluation period, Vagenas is confident that by the end, LA will have the best players available for the upcoming season.

“We commit to our players for a year, so once you’re in you’re in. This evaluation process opens up and allows us a chance to look at other players that are interested,” said Vagenas. “As the Galaxy, we literally cannot accommodate the amount of trial requests that come our way. So this month, gives us a chance to look at players that we think have a chance or players that we’ve missed or even players that we’ve seen in games that we think have something.

“There are very few youth players in our area that we don’t know in one regard or the other. We have a pretty good gauge about these players and who is where,” Vagenas added. “That being said, we want to focus on the best of the best, but sometimes kids develop and kids that we didn’t deem good enough previously, all of a sudden have proved us incorrect. It’s not an easy thing because there are a number of limited spots [on the teams], but it is my job to make sure that we get the best players here.”

18 July 4:35 pm

In the latest edition of "View From The Booth," Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones analyze the LA Galaxy's match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Check it out below...

18 July 3:14 pm

CARSON, Calif. –LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media on Thursday after the club’s penultimate training session ahead of Saturday’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Always one to rattle the media, Arena was in rare form on Thursday, so several of his comments should be taken with a bit of sarcasm.

Arena’s quotes are below…

(On whether the LA Galaxy had an agreement with U.S. Soccer to keep Omar Gonzalez through Saturday’s match…)

ARENA: "We don’t discuss those things. Omar will be here Saturday."

(On whether he was unhappy that Gonzalez will miss next week’s game against Colorado…)

ARENA: “We’re happy right now. It’s a wonderful day. We’re not worried about any of that stuff; we’re getting ready to play a game on Saturday.”

(On his impression of the team’s performance on set pieces…)

ARENA: “Not good…We’re not scoring when we have them and we’re giving up goals when the other team has them.”

(On why the team is not successful at set pieces at the moment…)

ARENA: “Who knows? If I knew that then it wouldn’t be happening right? Actually, we’re planning let goals be scored at the end of the game. We’ve worked really hard at it and we’re doing well. This time around, we’re going to try not to let them score.”

(On what the Galaxy aren’t doing on set pieces in particular…)

ARENA: “They’re not doing their jobs. It’s like if [New York Yankees closer] Marino Rivera gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth, you’d probably say that it is because he put the ball in a good spot for the hitter, but maybe the hitter hit it well. Whoever knows this stuff?”

 (On whether opposing teams are defending Omar Gonzalez on attacking set pieces differently…)

ARENA: “They’re not.”

(On Juninho’s set pieces…)

ARENA: “They can be better.”

(On whether the club’s struggles on set pieces are due to the absence of David Beckham…)

ARENA: “If you think about the fact that, maybe, he’s one of the best players [at set pieces] in the history of the game, you probably don’t replace that quality the next year…I don’t think that can you approximate anything that Beckham does on free kicks.”

(On whether he hopes to approximate Beckham’s success on free kicks with other players…)

ARENA: “I hope that it is Christmas tomorrow, but it won’t be. There’s certain things in life that you need to understand. And one thing is that if the Miami Heat loses LeBron James, of course they’re going to try to approximate him with the next player, but it ain’t gonna happen. Whether you believe that or not, it’s not going to happen. There’s certain things about the quality of [certain] players that is unique and special and it is not going to be automatic that the next guy can do it with the same efficiency. Those are the facts of life.”

(On whether he considers Juninho to be a good set piece taker…)

ARENA: “He’s not bad.”

(On the status of Robbie Keane…)

ARENA: “He didn't train today. We'll take it day by day, we’ll see.”

18 July 2:04 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez will join up with the U.S. National Team on Sunday following the LA Galaxy’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC a day earlier and when he does,he’ll not only be reunited with his international teammates, but also his Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan.

Donovan has excelled with the U.S. during the Gold Cup as he’s tallied two goals and three assists during the tournament. 

Gonzalez has played with Donovan in a U.S. shirt once before in an August 2010 friendly against Brazil, which was the 24-year-old center back’s debut appearance for the national team. As he looks ahead to joining up with the national team this weekend, the center back admits that he’s been anxious to partner up with Donovan with the U.S. for some time.  

“Seeing Landon out there scoring goals and getting man of the match, it seems that he’s getting back to his old ways which is great to see,” said Gonzalez. “I'm looking forward to stepping on the field with him as a teammate with the national team and that’s something that I've been looking forward to for a long time. We've been teammates here with the Galaxy for my whole career and I think that’ll be an exciting moment when we're together for the national team.”

18 July 8:40 am

Omar Gonzalez is bound for the Gold Cup after all.

A day after there was doubt over whether he'd be called by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the LA Galaxy announced on Thursday that Gonzalez will join up with the U.S. National Team at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup following Saturday’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at StubHub Center. With Gonzalez playing on Saturday, he will only join up with the U.S. if they defeat El Salvador in the quarterfinal on Sunday.

Should the U.S. advance all the way to the Gold Cup final, Gonzalez would miss just one game with the Galaxy—their road match against the Colorado Rapids on July 27 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made four adjustments to his squad as he called in Matt Besler, Gonzalez, Alan Gordon and Eddie Johnson, who will replace Corey Ashe, Herculez Gomez, Oguchi Onyewu and Jack McInerney. Aside from Gonzalez, the rest of Klinsmann’s new inclusions will join up with the U.S. team ahead of their match against El Salvador. 

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Thoughts on Klinsmann calling up Gonzalez?

Share your thoughts below. 

17 July 6:33 pm

In the latest edition of Galaxy All-Access with Joe Tutino, LA Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena gave his midseason update on the team while also providing an injury update on forward Robbie Keane. 

The Irish forward suffered a hip flexor injury during last Saturday's 2-1 defeat against the Portland Timbers and has not trained for two days

“He’s day to day. We're hopeful that the injury is going to be one that doesn’t allow him for him to miss any games, but we'll have to wait as we get close to kick off [on Saturday],” Arena told Tutino.

The complete interview is below...