Before a knee injury felled him in late September, A.J. DeLaGarza was of the constants on the LA Galaxy in the starting XI and ahead of the 2013 campaign; he's hope for more of the same with the back-to-back MLS Cup champions.
During the 2012 MLS Regular Season, DeLaGarza racked up 30 appearances playing nearly exclusively at center back for the Galaxy before his knee injury on Sept. 30 effectively ended his season. In the seasons early months, DeLaGarza became LA’s back four leader with Omar Gonzalez out after undergoing knee surgery. Although he admits it wasn’t always easy, the 25-year-old emerged as a centerback despite playing alongside five different partners in central defense over the course of the season.
With such flux appearing unlikely next season due to health of Gonzalez and the emergence of rookie Tommy Meyer, DeLaGarza is preparing to step up again along the back line.
“I’m about to go into my fifth year right now and if I was in college, I’d be a senior and you’d be a leader,” DeLaGarza recently told LA Galaxy Insider. “With these guys, we have Landon, Robbie and on a back line standpoint, myself, Sean and Todd were in [the lineup] day in and day out with a few other guys. I just need to do better from the start, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish apparently. I think we’d take that start and take this finish, next year.”
With an eye toward next season, DeLaGarza’s lone goal for the offseason is to “stay healthy” ahead of a competitive 2013 preseason which will likely see DeLaGarza battle with Tommy Meyer for the starting spot next to Gonzalez.
That is not the only positional battle that is promised with the departure of David Beckham and continued questions surrounding Landon Donovan and Juninho among others. However, DeLaGarza is confident that LA can battle through any potential adversity—as they did in 2012.
“It happens every year, that’s not to say that some players won’t come back but it happens every year,” said DeLaGarza. “We know that we won’t have David…we don’t know about Landon and a couple of other players, but whoever we have out there will do a tremendous job as we try to win a championship.”
The question of whether or not LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane will go on an offseason loan for the second consecutive year remains unanswered, but it seems certain -- or as close to certainty as you can get during the silly season of the transfer window period -- that he will not be joining the English premier League's bottom side Queen's Park Rangers, at least according to their manager Harry Redknapp.
Keane had been linked to Redknapp in December, but QPR's always entertaining manager told reporters on Friday that he would not pursue Keane, New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill or any other short term loan deals as he attempts to lift his club out of the relegation zone.
"They are both top players but it will only be a short- term loan and that’s the problem," Redknapp said. "You take them for just six weeks but then you lose them at a time when you still have another 10-12 games to stay up. They’d improve any team but I’m not close to doing anything with them.”
QPR are currently mired in last place in the EPL table, a full five points from safety, but are coming off a shocking 1-0 victory over fourth place Chelsea on Wednesday.
Below is more news and notes from Friday...
*Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi will join EPL side West Ham United on a one week training stint according to Yanks Abroad's Brian Sciaretta.
*Former Sporting KC man Roger Espinoza may make his EPL debut with Wigan Athletic as his deal became official on Friday.
*The Montreal Impact added yet another Italian to their squad on Friday by signing Andrea Pisanu on loan from Serie A side Bologna FC.
*Soccer by Ives is reporting that New Zealand International Ryan Nelsen may join the Toronto FC coaching staff. The report comes after England's Daily Mail linked him with a job at Ben Olsen's staff at D.C. United.
*Lastly, remember, U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will reveal his January camp squad at 10 a.m. PT on Fox Soccer's Goals on Sunday show. The lineup is expected to be made up of MLS players and Scandinavian talent.
In a wild season that saw numerous changes along the back line, no player was more consistent than right back Sean Franklin. (Read my review of his season here)
The New Year is a time for new beginnings and reflection and one of the more interesting pieces that I found recently was this video created by U.S. Soccer looking back on all of the federation's goals in 2012.
Give the video below a gander and let me know which goal was the best.
Here are a few stories to get you through your Thursday.
2013 is U.S. Soccer's Centenary and as part of the celebration to commenrate the federation's 100 years, the federation website is looking back at some of the more interesting stories of those who have U.S. Internationals who collected just a single cap.
U.S. Soccer began their series with a look back at current LA Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena's first and only cap during a match against Israel in November of 1973. The then 21-year-old goalkeeper made a 45 minute stint in the USMNT's 2-0 defeat to the Israelis in Bersheeba, Israel.
*Frank Lampard's agent Steve Kutner told Italian website cittaceleste.it that the midfielder wil not leave Chelsea until the end of the Premier League season. Kutner told the Italian site that the midfielder's favored destination is a club in the UEFA Champions League. UPDATED: in an interview with BBC 5Live Radio, Steve Kutner denied that the interview had taken place. Clearly this isn't the last that we've heard of this situation.
*U.S. Soccer also takes a look at current LA Galaxy Under-14 coach Ante Razov in a "Where are they now" segment.
*Former LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham is reportedly close to a deal with Chinese club Shanghai Shenua according to the British tabloid, the Daily Mirror.
*Seattle Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero is reportedly off to Colombian club Millonarios on a six month loan.
*Those aren't the only move that is going on around MLS as the Columbus Crew inked defender Tyson Wahl after deciding that right back Sebastian Miranda would not return for the 2013 season. Meanwhile, the New England Revolution have signed Portuguese central defender Jose Goncalves on loan from Swiss side FC Sion.
*Former LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall is returning to his native England after signing with League Two side Port Vale.
*MLS unveiled the preliminary list of Generation adidas signings have been unveiled. The initial list includes defenders Walker Zimmerman (Furman) and Andrew Farrell (Louisville), midfielder Mikey Lopez (University of North Carolina) and forward Jason Johnson (Virginia Commonwealth University).
*Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl placed the LA Galaxy at the top of his MLS ambition Rankings.
Marcelo Sarvas arrived in Southern California with great fanfare from Costa Rican club Alajuelense and in his first season with the LA Galaxy, the Brazilian midfielder delivered on every promise. (Read my rating of the Brazilian here)
In his first season with LA, Sarvas notched 38 appearances over all competitions tallying two goals and two assists, both coming during the regular season. During last season, Sarvas earned most of minutes filling in for David Beckham during his Olympic absences.
With Beckham departing, Sarvas and his deft passing ability look to play a major role in the Galaxy starting XI next season. A challenge that Sarvas himself, is eagerly awaiting.
“It’s not easy to lose David, but my job this year wasn’t so easy because I had to replace David most of the time when I played,” Sarvas recently told LA Galaxy Insider. “It’ll be a new year, there will be new players and I’ll have to fight for my spot on the team. We all know the job that I can do for this team and I hope that can show myself.”
With preseason still several weeks away, Sarvas has returned to his native Brazil where he intended to spend time “eating his mother’s cooking” while enjoying the company of his family by the beach. While in Brazil, he intends to meet up with his compatriot Juninho, who he formed a great partnership with over the course of the season. With Juninho’s return still question, Sarvas hopes that his fellow Brazilian will return to Galaxy next season.
“I hope the best for him; if the best for him is to stay [with the Galaxy] then I hope he stays,” said Sarvas. “He’s my best friend here [in L.A.] and I would like for him to stay, but we know how life is in football. It’s time for him [to decide his future], but I hope that he can stay.”
Here we are, the final post on the LA Galaxy Insider for 2012.
From January 1 to December 31, the year has flown by in a whirlwind
Below are a few of my memorable moments of 2012....
*Breaking the story of David Beckham's return to the LA Galaxy in January during my time with my previous outlet Soccer By Ives.
*The incredible atmosphere during the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals First Leg at the Sky Dome in Toronto and subsquently filing a story while standing on a tarmac.
*Trips to exotic locales like El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Portland.
*Conversations with members of the LA Galaxy staff, but most importantly the communications team.
*Watching David Beckham's remarkable two goals during LA's exciting 5-3 victory against the Portland Timbers in July. The first goal was my personal pick for LA Galaxy goal of the year.
*Then being in the stadium several days later as Jose Villarreal bagged his first professional goal with a tying strike against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
*The Western Conference Semifinal series against the San Jose Earthquakes
*Telling the inspirational stories of Rafael Garcia's son Izzy and Jose Villarreal's rise from Inglewood kid to LA Galaxy Homegrown Player.
*The intensity at The Home Depot Center during MLS Cup after Omar Gonzalez's tying goal.
*My appearances for Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
*The ability to interview David Beckham on camera after his annoucement that he was leaving the club.
*Talking to LA Galaxy supporters and other fans of MLS about the beautiful game and the ways to improve this website.
*But most importantly, the ability to hold the position as the LA Galaxy Insider and report about the club on a daily basis.
2013 promises to be another great year and I want to extend my appreciation to each one of the readers, who have made this beat possible.
According to a report by Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times, the LA Galaxy are deep in talks with Chelsea FC's Frank Lampard about a potential deal.
Baxter reports that the Galaxy have focused their attention on the 34-year-old Lampard after moving on from reported targets Ronaldinho and Kaka. After scoring two goals in Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Everton on Sunday, Lampard, who is out of contract at the end of the Premier League season told BBC Sport that he had not discussed a new deal with the Blues.
The report of the talks come as the transfer window opens on Tuesday, which will allow the longtime England international to reach pre-contract terms with a new club.
Share your thoughts on the report below.
The tragic school shooting in Newton, Conn. affected the United States and the World, and on Jan. 7, three LA Galaxy players including captain Landon Donovan are joining a group of American soccer stars to do their part to bring some joy to those who have suffered so much.
Donovan, Sean Franklin and Rafael Garcia have joined Houston Dynamo President -- and Connecticut native -- Chris Canetti's "Soccer Night in Newtown," an event open only to the townspeople of Newtown and the Newton Youth Soccer Club. Newton residents will be able to meet the players and play in small sided games with the soccer stars.
Also joining the three representatives of the Galaxy are 27 other MLS players as well as male and female U.S. national team stars.
The LA Galaxy have themselves a new goalkeeper.
On Monday, Tottenham Hotspur announced that Italian veteran goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini will join the LA Galaxy on a free transfer. In the Galaxy's own annoucement, the club clarified that Cudicini's transfer is pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC), work visa and a medical examination. The 39-year-old goalkeeper had found himself down in the depth chart with Tottenham, serving as the club’s fourth-string ‘keeper.
Cudicini spent the last 15 years in the Premier League after starting his career in Italy. The veteran goalkeeper spent nine years at Chelsea before joining Tottenham in January of 2009. In that time, Cudicini made just 37 total appearances for Spurs including one in 2012 during a League Cup match against Carlisle United.
“We are delighted to be able to add Carlo Cudicini to our roster,” Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said in a statement. “Carlo is an experienced and accomplished goalkeeper who we believe will be a great addition to our team and our defensive unit.”