VANCOUVER -- The LA Galaxy begin their three-game in nine-day road trip on Saturday against Vancouver Whiteaps FC. As you prepare for today's clash, check out my links, matchups to watch and predicted lineup.
*Last time the LA Galaxy traveled to Vancouver, Jose Villarreal enjoyed his coming out party and he'll be hoping to duplicate his success on Saturday.
*Bruce Arena offered his thoughts on this struggling Vancouver side that has not won in their last seven matches.
*Hector Jimenez enjoyed a successful game for LA's reserves on Tuesday. Can it translate to the first team?
*Remember to send in tweets to Rapid Fire Tweets for my segment on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
*LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan's preview to the match.
*Lastly, my Three Points to the game.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Jose Villarreal vs. Andy O'Brien
The young Galaxy forward will look to repeat his success against Vancouver, but he'll face a physical challenge with the burly Irish center back.
Mike Magee vs. Y.P. Lee
Perhaps the match up of the game as the wily Magee will take on the veteran Korean left back. Magee will likely look to use his skills on the ball to befuddle Lee and find holes behind Vancouver's defense.
Greg Cochrane vs. Daigo Kobayashi
Cochrane has done well in all three of his starts this season, but he'll face a new type of test against Kobayashi. More of a technical player than a speedster, the Japanese midfielder will look to confound Cochrane and push him down in his own box.
Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Cochrane; Donovan, Sarvas, Juninho, Clark; Magee, Villarreal
CARSON, Calif. – Hector Jimenez was one of the stars of the LA Galaxy reserves 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Blues midweek and he’ll hope to translate that success into an appearance on Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Jimenez notched a goal and two assists against the Blues as he terrorized the USL Pro team and drew heavy praise from LA assistant and Reserve League head coach Curt Onalfo. The 24-year-old has now notched two goals and two assists in three matches in the Reserve League.
After a successful reserve stint, just how is Jimenez feeling?
“Confident,” Jimenez told reporters on Friday. “It was a fun game to get 60 minutes and I think that I did pretty well. So I’m looking forward to hopefully getting some minutes tomorrow and keep showing why I should be playing. It feels really good being able to step on the field and help my team is always good. Thanks to Bruce [Arena] and hopefully I can keep performing and keep playing.”
If Jimenez does see the field against the Whitecaps, it would be his fifth appearance this season in all competitions. His last start came during LA’s 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake last month, where he notched his only assist of the year.
Should he slide into the right side of midfield, he’d work directly in front of right back Sean Franklin, who Jimenez has a fantastic rapport with.
“Last year we played maybe 13 games together. We’re really comfortable and he makes the game happen behind me,” said Jimenez. “Being able to room with him through the road trips definitely helps out on the field.”
Courtesy of LAGalaxy.com, a video preview of today's match against Vancouver Whitecaps.
Check it out below...
VANCOUVER -- The LA Galaxy arrived in Vancouver, B.C. on Friday evenign in preparation for Saturday's clash against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The photo above depicts a stunning view of downtown Vancouver that I snapped upon arrival.
As you wait for tomorrow's match, check out my Three Points to the game below...
In the latest edition of View from the Booth, Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones break down the LA Galaxy's match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Check it out below...
CARSON, Calif. -- The last time the LA Galaxy took the field at BC Place, Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal made the whole world stand up and take notice.
Villarreal scored the tying goal in LA’s 2-2 draw with the Whitecaps last July with a stunning strike that drew praise from across the globe. On Saturday, Villarreal will return to the scene of his goal for the first time as he looks to help LA get back to their winning ways against Whitecaps FC.
In the club's final training session before departing to Vancouver, Villarreal admitted that he was plenty excited to return to BC Place.
"The goal I had was my first [professional] goal and I'll never forget that. I think after those couple of games, we made a push for the playoffs and that was important and it was fun. "I'm on a roll with these Canadian teams. Hopefully this game comes down good for us and we get a win," said Villarreal, who scored his second career MLS goal against Toronto FC. "You score a goal, you get a thousand more followers on Twitter, but that's not really important. People recognize you and it's good, but you have to keep the consistency going and I'm trying to keep that going by scoring more goals.
Although the match ended with Villarreal scoring a world class goal, he admits that he was a bit surprised that he was thrown into the match by LA head coach Bruce Arena, in what was just his second professional appearance.
"Bruce was like, 'you're going to come in," and I just thought 'wait, what? what is going on?' He put me and just said do your thing and I wasn't going to say no, so I just jumped in there. I got a chance and I put it away," said Villarreal. "That boosted [my confidence]. All my teammates were around me supporting me and for them to be there and have my back was nice."
The must read for Friday comes from MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau, who wrote a fantastic piece for the league's website on the growth of the LA Galaxy Academy.
A few of relavant statistics from the article:
* The LA Galaxy and Chivas USA share a 75-mile radius from The Home Depot Center in which to recruit potential Academy players.
* According to Kentaro Group, an international sports rights agency that compiled statistics for MLSsoccer.com, there are roughly 141,000 registered young male soccer players eligible to play in the Galaxy’s academy system.
* According to club President Chris Klein, the LA Galaxy spend 1.5 million and 1.7 million on the academy.
Read the piece below...
As well as the comapnion piece on how small market teams are dealing with their own youth academies.
Looks like U.S. National Team supporters in Southern California may get a chance to see the U.S. team take the field prior to the 2013 Gold Cup.
According to a report from Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the U.S. will take on Guatemala in a pre-tournament friendly at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The match would serve as the final tune-up for the U.S. before they open the Gold Cup in Portland against Belize on July 9.
The U.S. National Team will open a training at The Home Depot Center on May 22, in preparation for World Cup Qualifiers in June.
Will the LA Galaxy have any representatives on this U.S. team?
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CARSON, Calif.—It was a long time coming, but LA Galaxy veterans Robbie Keane and Todd Dunivant were back at training on Thursday.
Both have missed LA’s last two games with injuries as Keane has dealt with a left ankle issue while Dunivant has suffered through a left leg strain. Keane and Dunivant explain their own injury situations in this piece that I wrote for LAGalaxy.com. Keane stated that playing against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday is "not realistic," but he's hoping to appear on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Union.
Dunivant was particularly pleased with his first day back and is already aiming to be in contention to start in Saturday’s clash against Vancouver.
“Today was my first day of training and it went well so we’ll go from there, but it was a good first day. I felt it in the first half [against Kansas City] and again pushed through the rest of the game,” Dunivant said. “I knew that it would need a little time so it’s one of those things that needed some time and I was able to give it. It’s nothing that you can do about muscles sometimes.
“I’d like to be available [for Saturday],” Dunivant later added. “There will be a decision up to Bruce, but today was my first day and we’ll see how it responds, but everything felt good.”
Dunivant’s case is an intriguing one as rookie left back Greg Cochrane has excelled in his two starts filling in for the LA veteran. With the rookie performing so well, Dunivant understands that he’ll have to earn his way back onto the starting XI.
“You always have to prove something that never changes,” said Dunivant. “It’s no different last year and it’s no different than the year before that. There’s always guys pushing you and that’s what you want on a good team. If we didn't have that then we’d have some issues.”
Expect Dunivant to be in the starting XI on Saturday?
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CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media on Thursday just a day before the team departs on their upcoming road trip.
Arena’s comments are below…
(On the status of Robbie Keane and Todd Dunivant….)
ARENA: “They’re looking good. Anything is possible...We’re watching these players and they’re heading back into full fitness so there is no reason to believe that they’re not going to be a choice for one of these games.”
(On the team getting healthier…)
ARENA: “There are a few guys that have a few knocks, but for the most part we’re doing pretty good.”
(On the upside of Charlie Rugg…)
ARENA: “That remains to be seen, but it’s just the start for him so it’s going to take some time and we need to be patient. All the young players, we’ve seen that they obviously have their peaks and valleys in their development which is natural. Unfortunately each and every one of them seems to have suffered an injury where they were just in form and they’ve gotten hurt, fallen behind the group, and come back again. It is always a little issue with our guys. Charlie started the year where he probably missed about a month in a lot of ways and same with Gyasi [Zardes] and Jose [Villarreal] so he’s good player and hopefully he can continue to get better and we see more improvement.”
(On what he remembers from Jose Villarreal’s goal vs. Vancouver last year…)
ARENA: “There are a couple of parts to it. [David] Beckham delivers a terrific ball to Juninho and Juninho takes it down unbelievably and gets it to Jose, who does his little shake and bake and obviously gets it on his left foot and beats Joe Cannon to his right. Great goal.”
(On that goal being many people’s first introduction to Villarreal…)
ARENA: “Jose is not shy about shooting. He has a look at the goal; he’s going to take it, which is obviously an important quality for a forward. We don’t have enough guys that have that kind of mentality.”
(On Villarreal’s maturity…)
ARENA: “He’s a good kid. It’s going to take him a little time to understand being a professional and getting at it every day. This year, it’s been a little difficult for him with the U-20 call-ups and it takes him out of rhythm with our group a little bit, but it is all part of the process. He’s going to miss likely about a month with the U-20 World Cup so it’s all that little stuff that plays a role in how he’s moving along. Sometimes it doesn’t help his development and sometimes he’s okay with it, but we tend to see with the young players that there in those peaks and valleys because of that.”
(On his thoughts on Vancouver Whitecaps FC….)
ARENA: “Good team. A lot of talented players a lot of speed up front with the kid [Darren] Mattocks, their young kid Kekuta Manneh has done well. Camilo is an excellent player, [Gerson Koffie] has been an excellent pick-up. They have a bunch of good players…they’ve been pretty solid in that part of it, but they haven’t gotten the results so this will certainly be a big game for them.”
(On the team being fortunate to earn a tie last year at BC Place…)
ARENA: “Anytime that you score in the closing minutes of the game, you have to feel fortunate whether you think that you’ve played well or not. If I’m not mistaken, we were down two goals at halftime and they got an early goal on us. There was a play [Koffie] stripped Beckham with the ball early and played it and got back and scored. Then they got another goal late in the first half and we were down 2-0 at halftime. Then we got a goal and we were fortunate to get Jose’s goal.”
(On the issues that go into where Landon Donovan plays on the field…)
ARENA: “It’s not an easy question to answer. It depends on how he is feeling and the kind of rhythm that he’s in as a player, the needs that we have as a team, and I’ve said this a lot of times that we often use Landon to help complement our team. Maybe sometimes, he gets the short end of the stick because of that, but he likes playing both positions…I think that he’s better facing goal, but he’s also with the right players around him, pretty good as a striker.
(On whether he has a preference where Donovan plays…)
ARENA: “No. I’d like him to basically say that this is the best spot for me. He has to help give us that answer as well. His versatility is terrific and it is quality.”