CAROLINA, Puerto Rico — Bruce Arena is putting his trust in his youngsters to get the job done against the Puerto Rico Islanders once again.
On the heels of the reserve-laden lineup manhandling of the Islanders, 4-0 on August 29th, Arena has chosen leave behind several key starters for Wednesday’s return leg against the Islanders. Among those left behind are David Beckham, Robbie Keane, Josh Saunders, Omar Gonzalez, Mike Magee and Sean Franklin. Beckham is still recovering from the effects of a left ankle sprain suffered during the club’s 2-0 over the Vancouver Whitecaps on September 1st while the latter five have logged heavy minutes over the last month. With the Galaxy still rising in the Western Conference standings, allowing the core players to rest offers them the chance to be fresh for Saturday's match against Toronto FC.
However, that does not mean that the Galaxy squad is not without quality as the Galaxy have brought several key contributors including captain Landon Donovan, forward Edson Buddle and winger Christian Wilhelmsson.
We’ll have Bruce Arena’s comments on these decisions during his press conference which is scheduled for 9:45 PDT.
Good Morning from Puerto Rico,
We'll have more from the Puerto Rico trip later today as head coach Bruce Arena will have a press conference later this afternoon.
First off, an important MLS note: The LA Galaxy can clinch a spot in the 2012 MLS playoffs with a victory against Toronto FC this Saturday AND a Chivas USA loss against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday OR a Chivas loss against D.C. United on Saturday.
A sports agency has filed suit against the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer, claiming it is owed $385,000 for its role in LA's acquisition of Robbie Keane.
According to the news agency Reuters, the complaint, filed by Real Time International Ltd (RTI) states that the Galaxy and MLS "exploited information" given by the Agency "without compensation" to complete Keane's reported $5.7 million transfer from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. A spokesman from the Galaxy stated that it is the club’s policy to withhold comments on pending litigation.
In the Reuters report, the lawsuit which was filed last Friday in a Manhattan federal court states that a senior member of the Galaxy approached RTI for aid in finding a player that the club could acquire in a ten day span. When RTI identified Keane, the Galaxy entered in negotiations with Tottenham. When the signing was completed, RTI claims that it sought a percentage of the reported $5.7 million transfer fee for its role in the signing, but the Galaxy refused to pay.
Keane has become a key member of the Galaxy since his signing, scoring three goals in eight games last season among regular season and postseason as well as 12 goals in 23 games during the 2012 season.
NEW ORLEANS— While the LA Galaxy’s flight refuels in New Orleans on the way to Puerto Rico, reporters caught up with LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle to discuss his return to the lineup.
Buddle went 12 minutes in an effective substitute stint during the Galaxy’s 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids last Friday.
Buddle's quotes are below...
(On his rehab…)
BUDDLE: “Every day, I feel like my knee is getting stronger. Some days a little sorer than others, but each and every day I feel more comfortable on the field.
(On getting used to being out on the field…)
BUDDLE: “Getting used to the timing, getting used to everything. My knee is still not as strong as my left. I think that I have to keep strengthening it and work on my balance. It’ll all come together.
(On whether getting his game time in spurts is helping his recovery…)
BUDDLE: “That’s what it is going to take. You can’t just throw me in there for 90 minutes; you have to build up the minutes. I think that’s what Bruce is doing.”
(On the most that he could play at the moment…)
BUDDLE: “Right now, the most I’ve played is sixty minutes and hopefully I can get 80 or 75 minutes. I lasted sixty, but as a player, you always want to play the whole game.”
(On understanding that he has to play in increments…)
BUDDLE: “Yeah, my mind tells me one thing, but my body says the other.”
(On potentially getting a start soon…)
BUDDLE: “We’ll see how Bruce does it. Anytime that he wants me, I’m available and I’m ready.”
(On facing Puerto Rico and what he remembers about his last trip to Puerto Rico…)
BUDDLE: “It was a tough game, we had to win. It was humid, the field was very bumpy and I know that it won’t be an easy place to play. I was surprised about how many people came out to watch the game so I’m expecting a good crowd.”
(On whether this trip is a happier one than the one in 2010…)
BUDDLE: “I agree. The tables are turned, it’s the other way around. It’s a different team and a little more experienced.”
(On the importance of road victories in the new CCL format…)
BUDDLE: “Every win and every goal counts. You just want to win and advance.”
(On Puerto Rico being one loss from elimination…)
BUDDLE: “They have a lot to play for. I’m sure they remember the loss in LA so I’m sure that it’s going to be hard game…I know that it didn’t rub them the right way, us beating them 4-0.”
In my feature profiling Rafael Garcia, there were tons of great things said about the midfielder that didn't make the piece.
Below are a selection of quotes from Garcia, Sean Franklin (who was Garcia's teammate during his first season at Cal State-Northridge), his Canoga Park High School coach Jake Gwin and his father also named Rafael Garcia.
(On being a father and a pro athlete...)
GARCIA: "It’s awesome. I love every single second of it. It was hard especially in my college years when I was finishing up school, but now, I have a lot more time which is great when we’re around because when we travel I don’t get to see my son or my girlfriend as much. It’s great I love it, I get a lot of time with my son and it’s a lot of trips to the park and the beach. It’s been great, nothing has been easy, but now I’m at a point where I’m able to balance everything in my life as far as my personal life and my professional life and my social life. It’s all very new in a way, but I just take it day by day and the time that I spend with my family is the time that I cherish the most."
(On people describing him as a hard working person...)
GARCIA: It’s very flattering that people consider me a person that is hard working, ambitious and won’t take no for an answer. I feel like that has been my goal from day one to be that person that never gives up and is persistent. For me, it’s very flattering and humbling and I have to keep that mentality if I do then who knows what will happen. The sky is the limit.
(On his perception of Garcia...)
FRANKLIN: "To see him get to where he has and work hard and now be one of my teammates is great. It's good to see a fellow Matador in the league. All credit to him, he's a humble person a hard worker and he deserves to be here."
(On his excitement to see Garcia become a professional...)
GWIN: "When he came to me and told me that he and Lilly were having a kid. I took a deep breath and I shook his hand and said to him that 'you’re going to be a great father.' I knew that he was going to raise a great kid and provide for him. I was obviously worried that my other kids weren’t able to do that. I was never concerned for him. He would be great, he has a greet family that supports him. He has a great kid and a great structure around him and I’m just proud and when he first signed his contract, I texted him obviously congratulations, but also ‘I’m happy for Isaiah” that he gets to grow up watching his dad play professional soccer and that is unique and rare. I was as much as happy for Isaiah as I was for him."
(On Garcia's family oriented lifestyle...)
R. GARCIA Sr. "Every day, he goes to the practice and then comes back to the house. He loves his family and he wants to stay with them all the time. I always told him ‘God, family and work’ were important and if you can do your job then your family will be okay. "
There are some stories that you just enjoy telling and I can honestly say that my piece on LA Galaxy rookie Rafael Garcia is one of those.
Feel free to comment on the piece below.
Happy Monday Everyone,
It's time for the seventh edition of "Ask the Insider."
Today's question is from Christy Jacobs Blackman,who asks: "Do you think Christian Wilhelmssons arrival will change the dynamics of the team? In what ways?"
The acquisition of Christian “Chippen” Wilhelmsson not only changes the offensive dimensions for the LA Galaxy, but provides the club with their first true wide threat since the days of Cobi Jones.
Galaxy supporters got a taste of this during last Friday’s 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids as Wilhelmsson showed not just a willingness to create going forward, but a defensive ability that could serve well with overlapping full backs Todd Dunivant and Sean Franklin. Throughout the match with Colorado, Wilhelmsson’s integration into the Galaxy offense could be seen with each passing minute as he worked out a few early kinks—mostly thanks to a halftime conversation with Franklin---and ultimately scored his first goal in MLS during his 61 minute stint.
But perhaps, where the Swede will be most valuable is in his ability to play at a high level on both the right and left flanks, which provides a new dimension to the Galaxy attack. This versatility allows head coach Bruce Arena to change the point of attack when necessary and use Wilhelmsson’s speed and dribbling ability to target opposition full backs and provide pressure that could lead to scoring chances.
The benefits of Wilhelmsson’s arrival are not limited to matches, however, as he is expected to become a key figure in the Galaxy locker room. With experience in many of the top leagues in Europe, Wilhelmsson’s will be able to provide valuable knowledge to a number of LA’s promising youngsters, most specifically winger Hector Jimenez. Although the arrival of Wilhelmsson may mean fewer minutes for Jimenez, with the Swedish International serving as his mentor, it could further expand Jimenez’s potential.
Thanks Christy, you can get your tickets by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against the Puerto Rico Islanders on September 19th for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.
In the second and final installment of his interview with Time Warner Cable Deportes' Enrique Gutiérrez, LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan discusses being a fan of basketball and the importance of Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes...
CARSON, Calif. -- A few notes and thoughts from the LA Galaxy's 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.
*Marcelo Sarvas further solidified his starting spot in the LA Galaxy midfield with his first two assists of his MLS career on Friday night -- a stat which shocked myself and many other journalists, who have been raving about the play of Sarvas. The Brazilian was a danger throughout the match and his midfield partnership with Juninho proved too much for Colorado to handle on both sides of the ball.
*Christian "Chippen" Wilhelmsson still has a ways to go as he integrates himself into the team, but he performed well and earned considerable praise from his teammates after his debut. With his form improving and the continued development from Hector Jimenez -- who also had a strong 30 minute shift coming on for Wilhelmsson-- the LA Galaxy's flank play is rapidly improving.
*Edson Buddle made a brief 12 minute cameo, coming on for Landon Donovan, but the forward was effective and nearly scored a goal late. Following the match, head coach Bruce Arena claimed that we are close to seeing the "Edson of old."
*With the victory, the LA Galaxy are now tied for third place in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake. Due to their superior goals scored number, (LA has scored 50 goals to RSL's 38) LA is now in control of the third spot and just a single point behind the Seattle Sounders. The Galaxy are level on games played with RSL, but have played two fewer games than Seattle. Remember, LA has matches against RSL (10/6), Seattle (10/28) and first place San Jose Earthquakes (10/21).
*Lastly, be sure to check out my Three Points to the match.