CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza may not have been called up for the U.S. national team’s World Cup Qualifier against Honduras, but the LA Galaxy centerback is making the most of his opportunities at the club level.
DeLaGarza started Tuesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the USL Pro’s Los Angeles Blues and went a total of 60 minutes in the win. During the match, DeLaGarza provided a vocal presence in the back alongside Tommy Meyer in the first and Leonardo in the second as he organized a Galaxy back four that overpowered the third division side’s offense.
After the club's well-documented disappointing start to the season in 2012, DeLaGarza admits that there is “a lot of improvement from last year already” in just two preseason matches.
But how does the defender feel about his own level since returning from International duty?
“I feel good,” DeLaGarza told reporters on Tuesday. “My confidence was high in camp and I thought I did pretty well. To not get called in, [for the Honduras World Cup Qualifier] obviously, my confidence was a little down, but now I’m back here and I’m making the most of my opportunity. I’m trying to get back in where I was fitness wise like everyone else.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy picked up their second victory of the preseason on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over USLPRO side Los Angeles Blues.
The scoring began in the 4th minute when a cross by Rafael Garcia set up an own goal by Blues midfielder Gabbi Gonzalez. Robbie Keane slotted a turnover in the box in the 15th minute before Jose Villarreal ended the scoring in the 76th minute while LA was down a man after Leonardo went down with cramp.
A few notes from the match...
The Galaxy started the match in the following formation:
*There were only two changes from last week's game against the U.S. Under-17's as Mike Magee moved into midfield for Gyasi Zardes while A.J. DeLaGarza started for Omar Gonzalez, who is away with the U.S. national team.
*Clark put together another strong performance on the left side as he showed an ability to link up with the likes of Keane and Zardes.
*The Galaxy first team held almost complete command of the match in the second half with the Blues only making a couple of forays out of their own half.
The Galaxy ran out the following lineup in the second half:
Sorto---DeLaGarza (Opare ’60)---Leonardo (Inj in 72)----Gaul
*Paul Arriola put together another solid performance creating a couple of scoring chances, but was unable to find the back of the net. Arriola celebrated his 18th birthday on Tuesday.
*After starting goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini faced almost no action in the first half, Brian Perk made three saves as the Blues tried in vain to get on the board.
*The game was the first appearance for the Galaxy's second round draft pick Kofi Opare.
*Another strong game for Greg Cochrane, who was energetic down the left side. .
*LA played down a man for the last 18 minutes of the game after Leonardo suffered what Bruce Arena described as a cramp.
*There were two yellow cards in the match with Colin Clark picking up one in the 41st minute while Villarreal picked up one of his own in the 82nd.
*Following the match, Arena told reporters that first round pick Charlie Rugg is getting closer to returning to the field. Rugg himself told reporters that he's been dealing with a nagging groin injury.
*The Blues lineup for the match was as follows:
Carl Woszczynski; Matt Hall (Darryl Robson, 46; Dallas Moore, 71), Cory Miller (Adrian Dubois, 46), Erlys Garcia (Dutch Jock, 46), Jermano LoFuSang (Connor *Name not found*, 46); Jimmy Turner, 83); Gabriel Gonzalez (David Bakal, 46); Artur Aghasyan (Juan “Kichi” Perez, 46; Matthew Xiano, 71), Allan Russell (Georges Ba, 46), George Davis IV (Nelson Pizarro, 46), Deon McCauley (Sergio Del Valle, 24); Chris Cortez (Duran Davis, 33).
On Tuesday, the LA Galaxy announced the formation of an Academy Alliance with local clubs Redondo Beach-based South Bay Force (The team that produced Homegrown players Jose Villarreal, Oscar Sorto, and Gyasi Zardes) and Laguna Hills-based West Coast Futbol Club as well as adidas to identify and develop new players across Southern California.
Read more about the partnership here, but one of the things that I found most interesting about the development was the "LA Galaxy Player Pyramid."
Take a look at the structure of Galaxy palyer development below..
CARSON, Calif. – After three seasons of loans, Juninho is with the LA Galaxy for good and the tenacious Brazilian midfielder couldn’t be happier.
The deal to bring Juninho from Brazilian club Sao Paulo on a permanent basis became official in mid-January after the Brazilian spent the past three seasons on loan. Juninho returned to Southern California from Brazil last Thursday and spoke to the media for the first time on Monday.
The move from Southern California to Brazil took some time, perhaps because it included Juninho’s wife’s Yorkshire terrier Julie, but now that it is over, Juninho admits that things are “perfect” in LA.
“[It was] easy because I didn’t play [at Sao Paulo] too much,” said Juninho, who is currently in the process of applying for a green card. “Here Bruce [Arena] gives me all the support and love here. I play a lot of minutes. I’m happy to be here.”
Now that Juninho has arrived in Southern California, he is quickly looking to re-gain his fitness as he reported that he is currently at “70 percent” after the offseason, but expects to return to full fitness soon.
Although it was all smiles on Monday, Arena admits that the Galaxy entered the negotiations with Sao Paulo with some apprehension due to a few past experiences.
“We managed to do it in the first week of January. Our past experiences were it wasn’t going to be easy but it turned out to be something that made sense for both club," said Arena. "We’ve always had a good relationship with them. We’re happy for the player, we’re happy for our club.
“Sao Paulo is a club with a lot of talented players, sometimes they can’t keep everybody,” Arena added. "We were fortunate to create a relationship where we were able to get Juni here.”
With Juninho at The Home Depot Center for good, the Brazilian and the rest of the Galaxy can now focus on the task of going for an unprecedented third consecutive MLS Cup championship.
“It’s a different year with different kinds of players,” said Juninho. “I’ll during the games. I think we’ll be fine.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Count LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena among those pleased that defender Omar Gonzalez was called into the U.S. national team set up for Wednesday's 2014 World Cup Qualifier against Honduras.
Gonzalez is currently with the U.S. during their brief training camp in Miami, FL before they travel to Honduras for the match in San Pedro Sula.
"It’ll be a good opportunity for him. It’s a little late, I think he should have been in that mix much earlier," said Arena. "And I’m hopeful that he gets some quick experience and eventually be a fixture for the team.”
Gonzalez and the U.S. are in for a battle on Wednesday as they take on a tough Honduras team in the unfriendly confines of the Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula. Although a qualifier in Central America always creates challenges for any opponent, the former U.S. national team boss admits that the conditions have improved across the region.
"San Pedro Sula is a tough place, I've had a qualifier there," said Arena. "Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica is a little bit more under control now. I think in the early days, CONCACAF didn't have a handle on a lot of stuff in the qualifying. it was like the Wild West. It's a little bit more structured now and it's a safer more productive environment for the players, but it's all difficult."
A few short notes from practice...
*Bruce Arena addressed a rumor from the website Soccer By Ives stating that the LA Galaxy are interested in acquiring the rights of U.S. International Robbie Rogers, which were dealt from the Columbus Crew to the Chicago Fire in the swap that sent Dilly Duka to Chicago and Dominic Oduro to Columbus. Arena stated that he 'was not aware of that" particular rumor and the Galaxy "have not discussed acquiring Rogers' rights with anybody."
*Arena also mentioned that there should be a resolution on the status of Re-Entry selection William Hesmer by the end of the week.
*Monday is LA Galaxy media day and there will be more coverage on the blog later today.
On Sunday, it was revealed that former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders is currently on trial with Real Salt Lake during their training camp in Irvine, Calif.
By virtue of offering Saunders a contract during the offseason, the Galaxy retained the rights to the two-time defending MLS Cup champion goalkeeper, but head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Monday that LA will not stand in Saunders' way when he finds a new club.
“Josh is no longer with the Galaxy," said Arena. "Whatever the technical issues are, we’ll get that resolved. That’s not going to be in Josh’s way to move on to that team or another team in the league. We’ll support a move for him anyway that we can."
Omar Gonzalez is off to Honduras.
The LA Galaxy defender drew rave reviews during the U.S. national team's January camp as well as during their scoreless draw with Canada last week, so it was no surprised that Gonzalez was added to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's 24-man squad for the U.S.' World Cup Qualifier against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Feb. 3. Gonzalez is one of just seven from the camp who earned a call-up joining Matt Besler, Brad Davis, Brad Evans, Eddie Johnson, Sean Johnson, and Graham Zusi.
The U.S. national team will train in Miami on Monday before flying to Central America to take on the Hondurans.
The complete roster as well as an interview with Klinsmann explaining the roster is below...
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS (9) : Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)
MIDFIELDERS (8) : Michael Bradley (Roma), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor ), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht ), Jose Torres (Tigres), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim ), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)
Former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders has turned in camp with Real Salt Lake for their camp in Irvine, Calif.
RSL's official website revealed that Saunders joined the camp on trial. Saunders is the fifth goalkeeper in camp with RSL, joining Nick Rimando, Jeff Attinella, Lalo Fernandez, and Mark Pais.
The Galaxy parted ways with the two-time defending MLS Cup winning goalkeeper during the offseason after Saunders accumulated a 1.33 Goals Against Average and 22-9-5 record in 36 appearances across all competitions in 2012.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy midfielder Hector Jimenez has made a name in MLS as a fleet-footed winger, and occasionally a right back, but on Friday, a late injury scratched pushed Jimenez into his old collegiate position—central midfield.
When Michael Stephens went down with an ankle injury on Thursday, the Galaxy opted to push Jimenez into central midfield for the second half of LA’s 5-0 preseason victory over the U.S. Under-17 national team. Jimenez looked right at home as he provided a leadership presence in the midfield for a youthful group composed primarily of rookies and Homegrown players.
“We were short numbers so [Galaxy assistant coach] Curt [Onalfo] and the coaching staff decided to put me there. I’ve played there before so I felt comfortable because it my original position when I started playing soccer. I was probably one of the older guys on the field at that point. It felt good, I got a lot of touches on the ball and I took charge of the midfield.”
The 24-year-old’s tidy performance drew rave reviews from Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and may lead to a further look in the position in the future.
“I thought he did a good job. He played well, I think that’s more of his natural position from his collegiate days and club ball, I know he’s played as a central midfielder,” said Arena. “We’ll look at him in both positions…We needed to fill that position and I thought that Hector did a good job there.”
Jimenez admits that the flank is his best chance to crack the Galaxy starting lineup particularly with LA’s vast assortment of options in central midfield but he’d be pleased any position that allows him to be a regular contributor.
“It’s my third year and in that year, you need to be more mature. Hopefully I can play well and contribute well this season,” said Jimenez. “I just have to come out here and control the things that I can control which is practice well and show the coaches that I deserve to be here and hopefully by the time season comes along, I’ll get some time.”
CARSON, Calif. – When Mike Magee joined the LA Galaxy via a trade with the New York Red Bulls in 2009; he was just a young kid of 24. Four years later, Magee has blossomed grown up before all our very eyes.