The preseason is finally upon us and changes are being made rather rapidly for the LA Galaxy.
LA announced that the team has reconvened for the 2014 on Friday and will hold their first open session for the media on Tuesday, Jan. 28. When LA does return to preseason, they’ll be doing so without a handful of notable players from 2013 including goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini and midfielder Michael Stephens who will not return for the upcoming season. Also departing are Sean Franklin (selected in MLS Re-Entry Draft Stage One), Hector Jimenez (trade to Columbus), Laurent Courtois (option declined), Colin Clark (option declined), Pablo Mastroeni (retired), and Jose Villarreal (loan to Cruz Azul).
In addition, the Galaxy revealed a tentative preseason schedule that included a closed-door scrimmage in Mexico City against Pumas UNAM on Feb. 11. With the match taking place less than a month prior to LA’s date with Club Tijuana in the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League; the match will surely be used as preparation for LA’s CCL campaign.
Thoughts on the Cudicini and Stephens departures? A closed-door scrimmage against Pumas?
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A quick little update for everyone.
Posting may be a bit light over the next two days, but we're planning some very exciting pieces of content around the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal match against Club Tijuna. Over the next two days, myself and other members of LAGalaxy.com will be in Tijuana seeing the sights and experincing the atmosphere south of the Border. While we're down here, be sure to offer any tips on any must-see spots.
Below is a little tease as we spoke to Club Tijana attacker -- and Tijuana native -- Fernando Arce as well as U.S. internationals Herculez Gomez, Paul Arriola and Joe Benny Corona on their series against the Galaxy. Arce can be seen in my instagram post wearing a t-shirt that reflects his belief about how the series will go.
The U.S. National Team has spent the last two weeks in Sao Paulo as part of a "dry run" ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
During the two-week stay in Brazil, the U.S. has trained at the facilities of Sao Paulo FC and played a pair of scrimmages against their first team. The U.S. will head back to Southern California later this week ahead of their match against Korea Republic at StubHub Center.
In this video provided by U.S. Soccer, LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez and several of his U.S. teammates discuss the trip.
Check out the video below.
The U.S. Under-17’s and LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright continued their impressive run on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory over Norway to advance to the championship of the Aegean Cup.
Wright came off the bench in the 41st minute as Americans overwhelmed the Scandinavians with three second half goals in a match that was shortened to 80 minutes due to tournament regulations. The match comes just a day after the Galaxy Academy forward tallied an assist in U-17’s dramatic 2-1 win over France.
The U.S. will close group play on Friday against Scotland before taking part in the tournament’s championship match on Jan. 25.
Thoughts on Wright’s continued development? Hope that he ends up as an LA Galaxy Homegrown Player?
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During the offseason, many in MLS take time to get away from the game, but LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has chosen the opposite route—using the preseason as time to receive his UEFA A and B coaching credentials.
In an in-depth interview with his former Republic of Ireland teammate Kevin Kilbane in The Daily Mail, Keane touched on a variety of topics including his position with the Galaxy -- Keane describes himself as the team's "number 10" -- to the best XI players that have played alongside the Irishman. However, his interest in coaching after his playing days are over was the most enlightening.
“I just want it for when I do finish playing but I have just signed a two year contract and hopefully will play beyond that,” Keane said. “I was apprehensive because you are out of your comfort zone but I was surprised when I got out there the first time and really enjoyed it. When you are on the training pitch you see things and as soon as I got out there and saw the picture I was surprised.
“It was a natural progression. What else am I going to do? I won’t go down the media road, I enjoy it out there every day too much,” Keane added. “I’ve been very vocal about ex-players being involved, we don’t see it enough in Ireland but it is starting to happen in England and hopefully with this FAI course, others will get involved.
The LA Captain also discussed his former Tottenham Hotspur teammate Jermain Defoe’s signing with Toronto FC, noting that he’ll be faced with pressure from the outset to start due to his Designated Player status.
“[Designated Players] have to produce all the time and the lads there rely on you and look to you when it’s not going well to score or create a goal, change the game, get it by the scruff of the neck,” said Keane. “There, because of what you’re getting paid with the wages structure, everything is about you. The press wants you all the time and you are the face of the team that brings pressure.
“They are reliant on him to score and they look at what he is getting paid, which is normal over there, and there comes expectations with those wages,” Keane added.
The LA Galaxy opted against making a selection with the 72nd overall pick on Tuesday, being the lone team in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft to pass on making a selection in either of the final four rounds.
The LA Galaxy are moving ever closer to bolstering their midfield with the acquisition of Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki.
A report in the Los Angeles Times on Monday cited an unnamed Galaxy team official who states that the club has a photocopy of a signed contract from the Swedish international. Ishizaki, 31, is expected to head to Southern California later this week to make the deal official. According to the official, the Galaxy were drawn to the midfielder due to his proficiency at delivering set pieces, a distinct problem for LA in 2013 as the club tallied just seven goals off dead ball opportunities.
When asked about the deal, Ishizaki stated that he has had prior interest from MLS clubs including Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact as well as American colleges when he was younger.
“The American way of living attracts me. When I was younger, I had offers for scholarships in the U.S," Ishizaki told reporters in Sweden on Monday. “It has to suit my family and it has to be an interesting team. There is always some cities of the world that you'd rather live in."
Ishizaki has spent the last eight seasons with Elfsborg while tallying 46 goals and 58 assists in 156 appearances for the Borås-based club.
The LA Galaxy have yet to start their preparations for the 2014 MLS Regular season, but the Galaxy’s opponents for the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League Club Tijuana are in the midst of their Liga MX season.
Tijuana fell on Saturday 2-1 to Liga MX rival Pachuca to 1-1-1 in their first three matches of the season. Xolos host Monarcas Morelia on Friday at Estadio Calliente. Cristian Pellerano placed Xolos out in front six minutes into the match, but two second half goals from Los Tuzos’ Emer Valencia and Walter Ayovi proved too much for Tijuana. Americans Herculez Gomez, Edgar Castillo, Joe Benny Corona, and Paul Arriola each made appearances in the defeat.
Meanwhile in other Liga MX news, Galaxy Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal has yet to make his first team debut for Cruz Azul after failing to make the game day roster during their 1-0 victory over Chiapas.
Highlights of Tijuana’s defeat are below.
The LA Galaxy will have another chance to bolster their roster on Tuesday afternoon as the 2014 MLS SuperDraft comes to an end with the final two rounds.
Unlike the first two rounds which were held in Philadelphia last week, the final two rounds will take place via conference call on Tuesday. The Galaxy hold just a single pick in the final two rounds, the 72nd overall selection in the fourth round, which was acquired in the deal that sent goalkeeper Bill Guadette to the New York Red Bulls.
Both of LA's natural selections in the third and fourth rounds were dealt away in trades. The third round selection was sent to the Philadelphia Union as the conditional pick for forward Chandler Hoffman while the fourth round choice was traded away in 2010 to the Houston Dynamo to move up in Stage Two of the 2010 MLS Re-Entry Draft as the Galaxy went on to select Juan Pablo Angel.
Among the talent available in the final two rounds is a host of local players from Southern California colleges. Headlining the SoCal contingent is UC Irvine midfielder Enrique Cardenas, who was a former LA Galaxy Under-23 and 2013 Big West Midfielder of the Year, four-time All-Pac 12 selection Victor Chavez, a forward out of UCLA, and UCSB defensive midfielder Fifi Balden. All three players were projected by many to be late first or early second round selections.
For more potential selections, MLSsoccer.com has provided a list of the best available players at each position.
On Thursday, the LA Galaxy added depth to their centerback corps by drafting Kyle Venter with the 23rd overall selection.
The LA Galaxy placed a photo gallery on their official Facebook page of all the lead up to the draft pick.
Check it out below.