Beat

02 July 10:54 am

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will have a Landon Donovan-sized hole to fill in the midfield during the month of July, but who steps into the role remains to be seen.

One potential option is midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, who was acquired last month in a trade from the Colorado Rapids. A holding midfielder by trade, but he has experience playing at right back and central defense.  Central defense is a longshot, but right back and midfield are options for the midfielder.

Should Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena slot him into central midfield, he’d likely move Marcelo Sarvas out wide right, but if he chooses to place Mastroeni at right back then it may allow Sean Franklin to push into midfield, where he spent some time earlier this season.

No matter where he plays, however, Mastroeni just wants to contribute.

 “I’m here to be a part of this team. When the time is right, we have so many games. We have international games; my mindset is to contribute when I’m called upon,” said Mastroeni. “It’s not looking forward to blossoming a new career and a new image. It’s to take my experience and the way that I can contribute in any facet that the coaches feel will help the team out.”

01 July 6:24 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal rejoined the LA Galaxy in training on Monday following the completion of the U.S. campaign at the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Both players returned to California earlier this weekend and promptly returned to training following LA’s disappointing 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday.

I spoke to both players on their performances at the tournament as well as what it may mean for the future with the LA Galaxy and the U.S. National Team in this piece for LA Galaxy.com.

As far as what the players learned in Turkey, both noted that they became more familiar with the fast-paced international speed of play.

“[The pace of the game] was much faster,” admitted Villarreal. “The way that these guys train is at a higher pace than us. It was definitely a learning step for me, so I’ll try to include that here.”

Villarreal didn't simply touch on his own performance as he impressed with Sorto's showing in his two matches-- despite playing out of position at right midfield for the final game against Ghana.

“He did well,” said Villarreal. “He came in as a right mid so it was a lot different for him. Obviously playing against some of the top players in the world at that age was going to be a challenge for him, but I think that he did well. As soon as he changed back to right back, he was a lot more comfortable and showed his ability to play.” 

01 July 5:48 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy returned to the training field on Monday for their first session following Saturday’s stunning 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Just two starters from Saturday’s game—Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho—were present during the portion of training open the media.  Prior to the training session, the starters broke down the tape of the defeat to the Earthquakes with head coach Bruce Arena, according to Juninho, the conversation wasn't a pleasant one.  

“[We made] a couple mistakes in the end, and Bruce [Arena] talked to us about it,” said Juninho. “[Arena said] a couple goals we missed in the end of a game like that and this cannot happen again.”

Juninho returned to the training field after leaving in the – minute following a heavy challenge from San Jose’s Victor Bernárdez.  The foul saw Bernárdez pick up a second yellow card as well as an ejection for the play, but Juninho noted that he remembered little from the action.

“I received the ball, turned it over and tried to run [after the ball]. [Bernárdez] came in with a crazy tackle. It hit my ankle again, my ankle is not a 100 percent, but everyone knows that,” said Juninho. “I rolled first and then he kicked me. When he hit me, I felt so much hurt.  But I'm okay right now.”

As for his status for Thursday’s match, Juninho expects to be on the field against the Columbus Crew.

“I underwent treatment, so we'll see during the week how I am,” said Juninho.

01 July 2:37 pm

The LA Galaxy fell apart late in the California Clásico against the San Jose Earthquakes, but that was not without a herculean performance by Robbie Keane.

By dropping into midfield, the Galaxy captain played the role of distributor for the Galaxy as he helped create numerous opportunities for his teammates to get in behind the San Jose back four. The Irishman combined with Landon Donovan twice to create LA’s two goals on the evening, but his performance could be felt throughout the field.

Let’s break it down a bit…

SIX: The number of key passes – passes leading to a scoring opportunity—for Keane on the evening. Two of which ended up in the back of the net. Without a doubt, this is the most important statistic of the evening as Keane was repeatedly able to create chances for his teammates that directly tested the San Jose defense.

TWO: The number of shots for Keane. A bit of a surprising statistic when viewed at face value, but when one breaks down his distributor role, the picture becomes clearer. Keane’s first shot of the evening, which came 43rd minute, forced a save from goalkeeper Jon Busch. However, his shot off frame in stoppage time—a play that I break down in my Three Points—may have proved costly as the Earthquakes erased LA’s lead minutes later.  The number two can also be used to describe his defensive impact as the Irishman made a pair of clearances and interceptions.

77%: The passing percentage for Keane on the evening. Keane completed 27 of his 35 attempts. All but three of those passes took place in the Earthquakes end of the field. 

Numbers only tell so much of the story, however. Keane did not wish to speak about his own showing after the defeat, choosing rather to try and light a fire under his teammates with one particular quote toward the end of my sidebar on the match and issue a notice to the victorious Earthquakes. 

Much was made about the return of the Earthquakes late game heroics, which was a team staple during their run to the MLS Supporters Shield, but the forward admitted that if it was a repeat of last season, then he'll take that just fine.

“It’s fine if they can do that, no problem. If it’s a repeat of last year then we'll take that because we beat them in the playoffs and won the championship,” said Keane. “So I'll take that over any performance.” 

01 July 1:49 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Did the LA Galaxy’s cross-stadium rivals Chivas USA issue a shot across the bow on Monday with their signing of former U.S. National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra? Who knows.  

Chivas acquired the defender through the league’s allocation order after acquiring the top spot from Toronto FC by trading away their natural 2015 MLS SuperDraft first round selection and an international roster spot through 2014. Bocanegra is expected the slot right into a Chivas defense that is hemorrhaging goals this season after conceding a league-worst 31 goals in 16 matches.

The Bocanegra acquisition is the latest in a series of moves by the Rojiblancos, who dismissed four players on Sunday evening, and are rumored to close to a deal for Mexican youth soccer stars Erick “El Cubo” Torres and David Izazola.

Whether the Goats are able to rise up the standings remains to be seen—they are nine points behind eighth place San Jose and 12 behind the Galaxy for the final playoff berth—but the final SuperClasico of the year on Oct. 6 may have gotten a tad more exciting.

What are your thoughts?

01 July 1:06 pm

The LA Galaxy learned their CONCACAF Champions League fixture dates on Monday setting up yet another busy summer and fall schedule for the club. 

LA will open group 8 play with two straight matches at StubHub Center against Costa Rican side Cartaginés on August 20 and Isidro Metapán on Sept. 19. LA will round out group play with two matches in Central America against the Costa Ricans on Sept. 25 at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose and Metapán at an undetermined venue on Oct. 24.

Bruce Arena's side were done no favors by the schedule-makers as the three matches fall during LA's jam-packed summer and autumn fixture list. LA will open the tournament just three days after hosting Real Salt Lake on Aug. 17 as part of a three-game in seven day stretch. September, meanwhile, is setting up to be LA's busiest month as the Galaxy will play six games during a 22-day stretch. Three of the club's matches are on the road at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (Sept.15), Cartaginés in San Jose (Sept. 25), and Portland's JELD-WEN Field (Sept. 29). Finally, LA will round out the group stage and their 2013 MLS Regular Season schedule with trips to El Salvador on Oct. 24 and Seattle three days later. Those two matches are part of a three-game in seven day swing that begins with LA's final match of the regular season at StubHub Center on Oct. 20 against the San Jose Earthquakes. 

The Galaxy may have caught a break location-wise, however, as both teams may not be able to host LA in their usual stadium. Cartaginés -- who are the oldest club in Costa Rica and were founded in 1906 -- typically play in the 13,500 seat Estadio Jose Rafael Fello Meza Ivankovich, but according to Costa Rican reports, the stadium's lighting system was not approved by CONCACAF. This might adversely impact atmosphere at the matches as the city of Cartago is a 40 minute drive from the national stadium in San Jose.

Meanwhile, Metapán will host the Brumosos (The Foggers) on August 8 at Estadio Cuscatlán after CONCACAF ruled that the they would be unable to host matches at Estadio Jorge "Calero" Suarez due to the stadium's inadequate field dimensions.  If Metapán is unable to fix this issue, it could be a major loss for the Salvadorians as the team's home field is an nearly a two hour drive away -- a drive the Galaxy took during the 2012/2013 group stage -- from the Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador.

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Thoughts on the draw?

Share your thoughts below.

30 June 8:47 pm

Yes, it may be difficult to watch, but below are the highlights from the LA Galaxy's dramatic 3-2 deeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Check them out beow...

30 June 2:20 pm

The LA Galaxy returned to Southern California after their shocking defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

My Three Points to the game can be found here

Below are a few notes from the match...

*This was the first time this season that the Galaxy lost when scoring twice and the fourth time that they conceded three or more goals in a match, going 0-3-0 in those games

*The loss is the second time that the Galaxy have lost the their first game of the year against San Jose by the score of 3-2 after leading 2-0. In the match a year ago, San Jose’s game-winner also came off a stoppage time goal by Alan Gordon.

*The Galaxy snapped a 44 game streak of making at least one change in the lineup. The last time Arena did not change the lineup was July 14 and 18 in 2012 – Which interestingly enough are the first two games for the LA Galaxy Insider project.

*Northern California hasn’t been kind to LA during the regular season as the Galaxy are winless in their last eight games with a 0-5-3 record. The Galaxy have also dropped their last four regular season games to San Jose (0-3-1).

*LA saw their two-game winning streak snapped.

*The Galaxy lost their first game of the year when going ahead first. LA is 7-1-2 when scoring first while they are 0-6-0 when conceding the first goal. The last time LA dropped a match when leading by one goal was Oct. 6, 2012 against Real Salt Lake and the first time since May 23, 2012 against San Jose that LA lost when leading 2-0.

*San Jose is the first team in MLS history to win a match with two goals in stoppage time while a man down. The Earthquakes also became the fifth MLS team to win with two goals in stoppage time. 

*Three players have scored multiple goals against the LA Galaxy this season: Russell Teibert, Olmes Garcia and Alan Gordon. The link between all three? Neither of them started the match.

*Marcelo Sarvas and Hector Jimenez each have two goals this season. 

*The Galaxy are dropping points late as five of their seven defeats have come when LA allows goals in the 75th minute. 

30 June 12:49 am

STANFORD, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena held no punches following LA’s disappointing 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening.

Arena’s thoughts are below…

(On what happened in stoppage time…)

ARENA: “Poor play [and] lack of intelligence by our team. To have a team of players and coaches that is that poor and stupid in the last five minutes of the game that’s my responsibility. That can't be on anybody else but me. I’m absolutely embarrassed by that performance. Give our opponents credit, but our performance was embarrassing.  

(On whether LA could have done something differently…)

ARENA: “I don't even want to go into that. If you have an IQ of 50, you can figure that out. That game, we should win that going away at the end of the game. It's embarrassing, our performance at the end of the game. That's all on me. That's my responsibility with this team.”

(On the offensive struggles…)

ARENA: “It’s pretty obvious.”

(On whether the loss was devastating…)

ARENA: “It’s a bad loss and it’s a bad one. This is pro sports. We don’t walk around like other people in life. We get on with the business of getting ready for the next game.”

(On what is special about Stanford Stadium since LA lost two straight games there…)

ARENA: “The stadium had nothing to do with it."

(On whether the team should have parked the bus late rather than go up another goal…)

ARENA: “Were you watching the game at all? Were there any other chances on our part? The bus should have been parked probably.”

(On whether the game got too stretched toward the end…)

ARENA: “No, we were too stupid. The game didn't get too stretched. We were too stupid. That’s my responsibility. Our team performed poorly and that’s my responsibility. “ 

29 June 12:30 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The California Clásico always produces an incredible atmosphere no matter where the match takes place, but Saturday’s clash at Stanford Stadium promises to be something special.

At least 40,000 fans will be in attendance at Stanford Stadium on Saturday evening just a year after the two clubs played in front of a sold-out crowd of 50,000. The match last season was an electric one both on and off the field as the Earthquakes defeated LA 5-3.

Thanks to the rivalry between the two teams, Stanford Stadium will represent a hostile environment for the Galaxy and captain Robbie Keane expects plenty of vitriol from the crowd.

“I expect what we’ll always get. They’ll give us a bit of stick because we’re the Galaxy and they’ll shout a lot of stuff,” said Keane. “As a player who has played in England for a long time, when you play away from home, I’m fairly used to that stuff. It’s quite good entertainment. I’m sure that it’ll be a hostile atmosphere and one that the players should relish

Although the chants and anti-Galaxy banners—or tifo—might be overwhelming for other players, the feisty Irish forward wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s funny. You give it back to them and it’s all done in a friendly way,” said Keane. “As long as people don’t go overboard, I give as good as I get.”

Joining Keane and the Galaxy at Stanford Stadium will be more than 300 Galaxy fans, who have made the trek north from Southern California. Team officials state that members of the LA Riot Squad, Angel City Brigade and Galaxians are expected to be in attendance.

“It’s always good. As we’re well aware in this country, it’s difficult for away fans to travel because it’s so far,” said Keane of the fans travel. “We’re playing a team that’s fairly close to us, so a lot of Galaxy fans will be there. It’s always nice to have them there.”