CARSON, Calif. –This could be a huge week for LA Galaxy forward Chandler Hoffman.
Since being acquired from the Philadelphia Union on March 1, the 2012 MLS SuperDraft First Round draft pick has yet to make an appearance for the Galaxy. However, with captain Robbie Keane away on international duty, Hoffman has an outside shot of filling in for the Irish forward.
Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal and Mike Magee appear to be the front runners to man the forward position for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids, but Hoffman is looking to state his case to head coach Bruce Arena.
“There’s definitely an opening this week with Robbie gone on international duty and Omar [Gonzalez] gone as well. I’m trying to train as hard as I can and try to prove that I deserve a chance on the field,” said Hoffman. “I feel ready, I've been here two and a half weeks now and I've kind of got used to how the club works and how guys go about preparing for games. I feel like I’m ready to step up if called upon.”
Hoffman admits that while there were initial jitters when he joined the Galaxy, but after spending the past several weeks integrating himself in the squad, he feels ready to contribute.
“I've been staying after training whenever possible to work on finishing and working on whatever I can to get better and try to learn from Robbie and Mike,” said Hoffman, who admits that he has placed close attention to Keane’s training habits. “Anything that I can pick up, I want to incorporate in my game and help this team get victories.”
The LA Galaxy will host a Online Town Hall with LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and club President Chris Klein on Thursday from 1-2 PT.
Time Warner Cable SportsNet reporter Kelli Tennant will MC the event and fans can send in questions either on the Galaxy website or on Twitter using the hashtag #GalaxyTownhall
With Robbie Keane away on international duty with Ireland, Villarreal will have a new forward partner as LA looks to rebound from a disappointing 1-1 draw to Chivas USA last Sunday. The two most likely options to partner alongside Villarreal up top are Mike Magee and Jack McBean while Chandler Hoffman and Charlie Rugg are also a possibility for head coach Bruce Arena.
While Villarreal admits that the Galaxy will miss Keane’s leadership, he has given a vote of confidence to whoever steps in up top.
“Mike is a player like Robbie. He’s very smart and creative around the box and it’d be fun to pair up with him,” said Villarreal. “But if not and it is Jack, well, I know him pretty well because we played with each other in the academy. It’ll be pretty crazy if we started together because it’d be two Academy players starting with the first team so it’d be fun.”
Villarreal and the Galaxy will face a new challenge in a technical Colorado team that is a far cry from the overly physical Chivas USA side that played LA to a 1-1 draw. During the SuperClasico, Villarreal was a frequent target of the Rojiblancos’ defenders as the 19-year-old forward was fouled three times in the “brutal” draw.
“It was physical. There were some dirty plays here and there. That’s how Clásicos are and that’s how it is going to be whenever we play Chivas or San Jose or D.C. United,” said Villarreal. “It was a little brutal, I guess you can say, but it’s just part of it. In every Clásico across the world, whether it was America vs. Chivas de Guadalajara or Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona, it’s just part of the game.”
As Villarreal ahead to an active year that will include a stint at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey as well as commitments in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League, the rough play could be a learning experience.
“It was like when we played Metapán [in the CONCACAF Champions League]. It was one of those games that was just more physical than technical, but that’s just the way that some games are,” said Villarreal. “It makes you learn since I’m just starting my career and it helps me adjust to different teams and how they play. It was definitely a learning experience.”
CARSON, Calif. – Sean Franklin is well-aware that he deserved a yellow card for a challenge on Chivas USA Josue Soto in the first half of Sunday's 1-1 SuperClasico draw, but the Galaxy defender insists that there was no malice in the challenge.
In an interview with LA Galaxy Insider, Franklin described the play and admitted that he had no malicious intent with his foul that saw referee Ricardo Salazar issue a yellow card to the right midfielder.
“I spoke to Bruce a little bit about it’ and he said ‘[Disciplinary Committee] are kind of looking at it, but it seems that you made a play for the ball and went through the guy,’’ said Franklin. “Everyone knows me; I’m not that kind of player to just be dirty. The ball kind of checked up and he didn’t go for it. As soon as I committed my foot up that’s when he leaned in. I did hit his chest and deservedly it was a yellow card, some might say a red, but my intention was not to be malicious and just kick the guy.”
The exact verbiage from the league’s Disciplinary Summary when it comes to issuing a suspension is as follows: The play in question is, in the unanimous opinion of the Committee from all available video evidence, a clear and unequivocal red card; And the play in question is of an egregious or reckless nature, such that the Committee must act to protect player safety or the integrity or the game.
Last year, the Galaxy had two players suspended by the Disciplinary Committee for actions in which they were shown a yellow. Michael Stephens had a yellow card caution turned into one-game suspension during a May 26 match against the Houston Dynamo while Magee was given a one-game suspension for throwing the ball at a referee in the same match.
The Disciplinary Committee also added games for Hector Jimenez’s red card offense during a May 23rd against the San Jose Earthquakes and David Beckham for actions during a June 30th game also against San Jose. Beckham missed a July 4 match against the Philadelphia Union with yellow card accumulation due to the foul and saw himself suspended for the following match against the Chicago Fire on July 8.
Interestingly enough, Magee, Jimenez, and Stephens’ suspensions coincided and all three were unavailable for June 17 game against Portland Timbers, a match that ended in a 1-0 Galaxy victory.
Any decision remains out of Franklin's hands, but currently the right back is focused on Saturday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
"I'm assuming with Omar [Gonzalez] being out, I can imagine A.J.[DeLaGarza] and Leonardo being in there [at central defense] and myself at right back and Todd [Dunivant] at left back," said Franklin. "I don't think much will change, but we'll see how this week goes and we'll see what Bruce's plan is for this week's game against Colorado."
What are your thoughts about the challenge? Will Franklin hear from the Disciplinary Committee?
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The LA Galaxy Academy announced their roster for Dallas Cup XXXIV on Tuesday.
The Galaxy squad is headlined by Homegrown player Oscar Sorto, U.S. U-20 defender Javan Torre, U.S. U-18 midfielder Paul Arriola, midfielder Raul Mendiola and a host of others.
LA will begin Gordon Jago Under-19 Super Group play on Sunday, March 25 against Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany. LA continue group play on March 25 against Fulham FC before closing the opening stage against defending Dallas Cup champions Coritiba FC of Brazil on March 27.
A complete schedule of the games can be found here.
The complete roster is below…
GOALKEEPERS (3): Juan Cervantes, Josh McNeely, Daniel Slepukhin.
DEFENDERS (8): Cameron Marlow, Vincent Reyes, Juan Reyna, Nathan Smith, Oscar Sorto, Matt Tilley, Javan Torre, Ivan Velasquez.
MIDFIELDERS (6): Paul Arriola, Bryan Guzman, Grady Howe, Raul Mendiola, Drew Murphy, William Raygoza,
FORWARDS (5): Justin Dhillon, Lucas Da Silva, Aaron Lombardi, Sebastian Velasquez, Jaime Villarreal.
HEAD COACH: Alex Yi
MLS upheld Chivas USA's appeal on Joaquin Velazquez's red card for a foul on Galaxy midfielder Colin Clark during the first half of Sunday's 1-1 draw in the SuperClasico.
Salazar was bullish about the decision following the game, but an independent review panel -- which consists of one member of the U.S. Soccer federation, one member of the Canadian Soccer Association, and Professional Referees Organization -- opted to rescind the fine and the suspension on Tuesday.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will be without the services of captain Robbie Keane and defender Omar Gonzalez this weekend as both players seek to help their respective nations reach the 2014 World Cup.
For Keane, a bid in the World Cup would be Ireland's first since 2002 when then 22-year-old Keane bagged three goals as Ireland reached the Round of 16 before falling to Spain in a penalty kick shootout. If Ireland is to return, they'll need a strong showing this week as they face massive ties against Sweden in Stockholm on March 22 and Austria in Dublin on March 26.
My piece on Keane's goals with the Irish is below.
Can Ireland advance back to the World Cup?
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CARSON, Calif. – Prior to the SuperClasico, much was made about how the intra-stadium rivalry between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA had become well, less super than it used to be.
Chivas had only earned one win against the LA Galaxy in five years and the Galaxy held a 16-4-5 regular season record in the series. Following Sunday’s 1-1 draw, the overall regular season record of 16-4-6 does not look any less flattering for the Galaxy, but some intensity just may have returned to the SuperClasico.
The match was a physical draw that saw two late goals, 30 fouls, four yellow cards, a red card as well as plenty of sound bites and gripes to sustain both sides. Following the match, Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza told reporters that the cagey play may have brought some life back into the SuperClasico.
“I think so,” said DeLaGarza. “Just how many fouls they gave up; it was kind of like American football. You get the ball and you foul. You get the ball and you tackle. Neither team got into a rhythm. We’ll know that next time going into it, not just watching on video.”
Agree or disagree?
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LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez was once again called up to the U.S. national team ahead of vital World Cup Qualifiers and judging by the comments made by national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the center back figures to play a major role in the upcoming matches.
Gonzalez was one of six defenders named to Klinsmann's 23-man roster for the U.S.’ matches against Costa Rica on March 22 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and Mexico at Estadio Azteca on March 26. The Galaxy center back is joined by three other central defenders including Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, and Matt Besler.
During a media conference call following the roster announcement, Klinsmann praised Gonzalez’s 90 minute performance on Feb. 6 against Honduras and tabbed him to be an important figure going forward.
“To me, he has the opportunity to grow and mature in our environment. I think he’s done well in Honduras. Even though the second goal happened because of a sequence of mistakes by several players involved that manipulated the game, but overall, he played an absolute okay game,” said Klinsmann. “I had him with me the whole January camp which has been a pleasure to see his potential. Now for him, to get to another level, it is only by playing and gaining experience and growing. I think he’s done well so far. We believe that there is a real special player coming through the system.”
U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 23-man roster for the nation’s March World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, and while the names on the list drew plenty of attention, one name that was absent drew a mention as well.
Galaxy forward Landon Donovan was a topic for discussion during Klinsmann’s post-announcement teleconference. Donovan is currently taking a break from the game and is scheduled to return to the Galaxy sometime next week.
During the teleconference, Klinsmann revealed that he last spoke to Donovan in late-January, but admitted that Donovan's inclusion to the national team will depend on his fitness once he returns.
“Maybe he will become a part of our plans again, but it will depend on how he comes back and how I look at the whole picture and the development of this team,” said Klinsmann during a teleconference with reporters. “The door is always open as I said, but at the end of the day, I will make decisions based on what I think is best for this team going forward. And as of today, he’s not in the plans because simply, he’s not even playing or training.”
However, the U.S. national team boss was quick to reiterate that lines of communications between him and Donovan remain open.
“We’re always in touch. That’s no problem at all. We live in kind of the same neighborhood in the L.A. area so that should be no problem.”
Expect Donovan to be a member of the U.S. national team at some point this year?
Share your thoughts.