Beat

06 June 1:39 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The reports linking the LA Galaxy to Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos have been the main talking point across MLS over the last 24 hours.

On Wednesday, a report by ESPN Deportes stated that the Galaxy had offered an $8 million a year deal to the 24-year-old Dos Santos, who is still under contract with Spanish second division side Mallorca. The Los Angeles Times chimed in with their own piece on the rumors on Wednesday evening and linked LA's reported pursuit of the midfielder to the club's record television deal with Time Warner Cable.

Following LA’s training session on Thursday, LA Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena addressed the report.

“We, as usual, don’t comment on players until we sign them and...players under contract. You don’t talk about players that are under contract,” Arena told reporters.

LA midfielder Landon Donovan, who has plenty of battles with Dos Santos' Mexico while with the U.S. National team over the years, knows just how talented the dynamic attacking midfielder is.

"I think that he's a fantastic player,” said Donovan. “Certainly, he's hurt us many times with the U.S. team as far as talent goes, there's not many players that I've played against that are that talented. We'll see what happens."

Donovan was quick to acknowledge that he’s “heard a lot of rumors” during his time with the Galaxy, but he admits that signing a Mexican star could be very important to the Mexican community in Southern California.

“In this community, it would be really important,” said Donovan. “It’s been quite a while since this team has had a Mexican player, I think. It would be pretty cool, but let’s not put the cart before the horse.”

--

Thoughts on Arena and Donovan's comments? Do you think Giovani Dos Santos will suit up for the Galaxy?

Share your thoughts below. 

06 June 1:04 pm

The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake are a pair of the premier club's in MLS and in the Western Conference, but their approaches to success are drastically different. 

I took part in this "Point/Counterpoint" segment with RealSaltLake.com's Sam Stejskal on the approach that the two teams have. 

LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano

ARGUMENT: LA may target stars, but aren't afraid to build from the ground up. 

 Yes, the LA Galaxy are the team of Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Rogers and, formerly, David Beckham. But if you think that the Galaxy are simply a team of glittering stars then you’re missing the point.

All MLS teams, including LA and Real Salt Lake, operate within the same salary cap constraints and roster limitations, but it is how a team manages those rules that will prove how successful they are. RSL’s prudent spending approach has worked for them, but Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena’s own method is a tad more complicated, but just as balanced.

The Galaxy does boast two Designated Players in Keane and Donovan, and if reports are to be believed then they may be after a third in Mexican star Giovani Dos Santos. Signing talented marquee names has been a major pillar of the team’s mission statement since the league’s inception, but it doesn’t stop there. LA’s squad is also littered with young players as just eight of the club’s 29 players are over the age of 25. At the forefront of this youth movement are LA’s four Homegrown Players (Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal, Gyasi Zardes and Oscar Sorto), each of whom have made the game day roster this year.

Yes, investing in marquee names is important to the Galaxy as they look to stay at the forefront of the league, but as important to LA’s master plan is developing the young talent rich soccer hotbed of Southern California. This season, the Galaxy have given significant opportunities to McBean, Villarreal, and Zardes, who in turn have shown flashes of the talent that may make them successful in the professional ranks. 

This balance of youth and star power has been on full display this year as Arena has thrown most of his Homegrowns as well as his recent draft picks into action as LA look to win an unprecedented third straight MLS Cup. Whether or not this approach will pay dividends come the winter months remains to be seen, but LA’s youngsters have already tasted success in 2013, after all, they did defeat RSL 2-0 during their last trip to Rio Tinto using a youth-laden lineup.

Will the Galaxy ever stop signing Designated Players or being linked with some of the game’s biggest names? Not a chance. However, just as unlikely is LA’s willingness to invest in young talent and polish a few hidden gems along the way.

After all, you need a complete squad to win a championship, not just few big names.

Sam Stejskal of RealSaltLake.com

ARGUMENT:RSL's model is more nuanced than LA's star-driven roster development

On Wednesday, a report surfaced that the LA Galaxy have offered 24-year-old Mexican national teamer Giovani Dos Santos an $8 million contract to sign with the team this summer.

Regardless whether or not that report is true – and there are signs that indicate it isn’t – it’s not hard to imagine the Galaxy offering Dos Santos that kind of dough. They’ve certainly splashed that sort of cash before – see David Beckham and Robbie Keane, amongst others – and giving that big money to Dos Santos would make sense. The Barcelona product is young, has an impressive pedigree and would be a big draw with the millions of Hispanic fans in Southern California.

The fact that a report like that is at least somewhat believable is a good marker of the different worlds that Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy operate in. Yes, both teams have won MLS Cups since 2009, both have been fixtures near the top of the Western Conference table over the last five years and both deal with the same salary cap and roster constraints as every other team in the league.

But you’d never see a report claiming that RSL offered Dos Santos – or anyone else, for that matter - $8 million to come to the Wasatch Front. For better or for worse, the Claret-and-Cobalt has to do things differently than the Galaxy. There’s just not as much money to play with. In order for RSL to enjoy the sustained success it has since before it won the 2009 Cup, the technical staff has had to create and maintain an innovative – at least for MLS – tactical system. They’ve had to find diamonds in the rough in the domestic and international markets. And when Jason Kreis, Garth Lagerwey and Co. pays big money – though not “big” by LA’s standards – for a player like Javier Morales or Alvaro Saborio, they can’t afford to miss.

 

To be clear, both RSL’s and LA’s models work. The two teams have won three of the last four MLS Cups and one method isn’t necessarily any better than the other. But one model – and I trust you know which one I’m talking about – does require a little bit more work, a little bit more thought and a whole lot less room for error. 

-

Who do you agree with? Which approach is best?

Share your thoughts below. 

05 June 8:00 pm

In the latest edition of the "Galaxy All-Access Podcast" Joe Tutino speaks with myself and MLSsoccer.com's Scott French to give an early season assessment of the LA Galaxy. We touch on pleasant surprises on the team, disappointments, Designated Players, the CONCACAF Champions League, and a number of other topics in our discussion. 

Check it out below.

05 June 7:49 pm

CARSON, Calif. – There’s no doubt that LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane is one of—if not the most—important player on his team.

The Irish forward has tallied five goals and four assists in just six matches so far this season. When Keane is the lineup, the Galaxy have scored 15 goals—five belong to Keane—and hold a 4-1-1 record,compared to a scant six tallies and a 2-4-1 record when he’s unavailable.

Although the Galaxy clearly miss the Irish forward’s production when he's away, LA head coach Bruce Arena says that there’s simply no magic formula for replacing him.  

“If you took LeBron James away from the Miami Heat, how do you think that they’d be? Those are the facts of life of sport. Good players make a difference. That’s why we pay that player a lot of money,” said Arena. “You don’t swap a reserve for Robbie and if you have a way of doing that then I’d like for you to send me that formula. I’ll go right to the lab and mix it up, and get it ready to go. Those are the facts of life."

On Saturday, the Galaxy will be without Keane yet again when LA travel to face Real Salt Lake. During their last visit to Rio Tinto Stadium, the Galaxy were without their Irish forward, but preserved as they smashed RSL 2-0 on April 27.

Despite not having Keane for a second straight match, LA midfielder Marcelo Sarvas admits that they’ll simply have to move on and preform the job themselves.

“We cannot cry and we cannot think about this. He’s not here. Omar [Gonzalez] is not here,” said midfielder Marcelo Sarvas. “The guys that step on the field know that they must take the responsibility and it is their opportunity to show to the [coaching staff] that they can play.

“If you can’t replace his technique then you can do another thing. You can fight,” added Sarvas. “If you’re not able to do the same things [as Keane] then you can find spaces and use your speed, fight, and help in the defense. Every player has their own characteristics.” 

05 June 5:50 pm

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena provided a brief update on the club’s injury situation heading into this week’s training prior to the team’s match with Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Just three players were listed on the club’s injury report following LA’s 5-0 defeat to the New England Revolution: Todd Dunivant (left quad strain), Leonardo (left ankle) and Jack McBean (fractured left clavicle).

“Jack is not clear yet. Todd is coming around. Leonardo is going to be a little bit,” said Arena, who did not offer a timeline on Leonardo's status.  

As for whether or not Dunivant could be available for this weekend’s game against RSL, Arena did not rule the defender out of action.

“Possibly,” said Arena. "It’s possible. We’ll see."

05 June 3:35 pm

Could the LA Galaxy be searching south of the border for their third Designated Player? According to a report by ESPN Deportes' Tomas Colombo, the producer of the radio show Jorge Ramos y su Banda, the Galaxy have offered a contract to 24-year-old Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos

According to the report, the Galaxy have offered a deal to Dos Santos, who signed a four year contract with Mallorca last summer. However, the report states that the Galaxy aren't the only team interested in the services of the Mexican midfielder as Spanish giants Valencia as well as Mexican club Queretaro have tendered offers. 

Whether or not there is any validity in these reports remains to be seen, but when asked about the club's pursuit of Designated Players by LA Galaxy Insider last month, club President Chris Klein stated that the team is looking for the right fit. 

“We’ll continue to be aggressive in the Designated Player market and if someone comes along and it fits us and fits what we need then we’ll be aggressive in pursuing that,"  said Klein.

What do you think about this rumor? Think it has a chance of happening? Could Dos Santos help the Galaxy?

Share your thoughts below. 

04 June 2:20 pm

The LA Galaxy have logged some heavy miles over the last few weeks.

Over their last five games in all competitions, LA has played just one match on the west coast with the rest taking place on the East Coast. LA's most recent trip out east ended in two defeats as the Galaxy fell 2-0 to the Carolina RailHawks in U.S. Open Cup play last Wednesday before dropping a 5-0 result to the New England Revolution

In fact, during their three trips to the east coast this season, the Galaxy are 1-3-1 in all competitions. The team’s lone win in the Eastern Time Zone came on May 15 when they demolished the Philadelphia Union 4-1. LA will not travel out east again until August when they visit Miami, Florida for the Guinness International Champions Cup and then again in September for a league match against D.C. United on Sept. 15.

“It’s tough. Going to the west and playing a game then coming to the east and playing a game," DeLaGarza told LA Galaxy Insider. I put money on it that the one that does the travel probably loses the games. It is part of playing in the U.S. it’s a big ass country and travel is part of it.”

The eastern  travel over for the moment, LA forward Landon Donovan is eager to turn the page.

“This was a tough week for our team,” said Donovan. “We didn’t have the easiest time getting to the stadium [on Sunday] so it was a little bit of a rough trip. It’s nice that we’re past it and we’ll have some west coast games coming up that are going to mean a lot to us.”

04 June 11:42 am

The LA Galaxy learned their opponents for the CONCACAF Champions League on Monday after a wild process in CONCACAF that included a re-draw, 

LA were inititally placed in Group 8 alongside Mexican giants Cruz Azul and Cartaginés, but due to CONCACAF's rule stating that Mexican and U.S. teams could not meet in the group stage, a re-draw of three groups took place. The Galaxy were ultimately placed in Group 8 with Salvadoran side Isidro Metapan and Costa Rican club . 

The 2012 Apertura Champion Isidro Metapan faced the Galaxy in last year's edition of the tournament with LA defeating the Salavadoran side in both matches. Boasting El Salvador internationals Andres Flores, Milton Molina, Eliseo Quintanilla and Alfredo Pacheco, as well as Panamanian forward Nicolas Munoz, Metapan have become one of the most successful clubs in El Salvador as of late with seven titles in the last five years. Metapan play at the Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez, which is two hours outside of San Salvador. Last year, the Galaxy traveled for two hours by bus from the team's hotel in San Salvador to the match

Cartaginés are making their first ever appearance in the CCL and fell in penalties in the Final of the Costa Rican 2013 Verano championship. But the Costa Ricans earned a ticket into the tournament after CONCACAF allocated a spot to Costa Rica after stripping Belize of their position in the tournament after the federation deemed that the nation did not have a stadium suitable to host a Champions League match. Cartaginés boast a trio of Costa Rican interntionals including forward Randall Brenes, midfielder Mauricio Castillo, and former New York Red Bulls defender Carlos Johnson.  The Costa Ricans play at Estadio José Rafael Fello Meza Ivankovich, which is a 13,500 seat stadium with a grass field about 15 minutes outside of San Jose. 

The complete draw can be found here.

03 June 4:05 pm

The LA Galaxy will learn their two opponents for the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage on Monday evening.

The draw will take place in Miami at 5 p.m. PT and will air live on ESPN Deportes. Due to their status as MLS Cup champions, the Galaxy have been placed in Pot A alongside Mexican league champions Club America and Club Tijuana, Costa Rican champions C.S. Herediano, Guatemalan champion Comunicaciones, Honduran side C.D. Olimpia, Arabe Unido of Panama as well as the Supporters' Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes. 

LA could be partnered alongside any of the following teams: 

Pot B: Cruz Azul (Mexico) Montreal Impact (Canada), Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Victoria (Nicaragua) and Isidro Metapán (El Salvador).

Pot C:  Luis Ángel Firpo (El Salvador), Cartaginés (Costa Rica), Guatemala 2, (pending tournament), San Miguelito (Panamá), Real Estelí (Nicaragua), W Connection (Trinidad and Tobago), Valencia FC (Haiti), Caledonia AIA (Trinidad and Tobago).

03 June 1:31 pm

Above is a photo snapped just after the Galaxy's flight this morning of Boston Harbor and it's final approach to Los Angeles. 

The arrival ends an eight-day trip for most of the contigent, who participated in both the club's 2-0 U.S. Open Cup defeat to the Carolina RailHawks as well as the 5-0 loss to the New England Revolution. 

Over that period, the Galaxy flew 5,442 miles. LA will return to the road later this week when they take on Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.