CARSON, Calif. – Carlo Cudicini admittedly didn’t know much about CONCACAF soccer during his time in Europe, but since joining the LA Galaxy, the veteran Italian goalkeeper has become quickly familiar with the leagues of North America.
The Italian was solid in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals against C.S. Herediano as he allowed just a single goal over the two-leg series. However, the Italian knows that the two-time defending CCL champions will provide much more of a challenge than LA’s Quarterfinal opponents.
“Definitely, it’s a great test for us. Especially in the semifinals, we know that we have a big challenge in front of us, but we are up for it,” said Cudicini. “We want to do well in this competition so we know that it’s going to be hard, but hopefully we have the right mentality to go and play against these guys.”
As for Monterrey, Cudicini highlights forward Humberto “El Chupete” Suazo as a player that should give the Galaxy back four and himself a test on Wednesday.
“They have a striker [in Suazo] that is part of the national team and we know that he is a good strong guy,” said Cudicini. “Collectively, it’s a good team. They play with a solid defense and they’re very dangerous with free kicks and set pieces in general. Definitely for a team that won the last two editions, it must be something good in it.”
To preview Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League match, LAGalaxy.com's Joe Tutino spoke to Fox Soccer commentator Brian Dunseth on the LA Galaxy's CCL Semifinals opponents C.F. Monterrey.
Listen to the podcast below...
CARSON, Calif. -- Mike Magee continued his torrid scoring run on Saturday with a goal in the LA Galaxy's 2-2 draw against Toronto FC and held on to his spot atop the MLS scoring charts.
After four games, Magee has scored five goals and has already equaled his regular season goal total from the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Magee is just two away from his regular season career-high which he set during his rookie year in 2003 while a member of the MetroStars.
Following training on Monday, forward Landon Donovan offered his thoughts on Magee's scoring run.
DONOVAN: "To those of us who see him all the time, it’s not a surprise. I’ve said this many times that he and Robbie are far away the best two finishers on this team. I think that Jose will be a close second behind those two. He’s taking his chances. He always gets chances, every game that we play, he gets chances and he is sort of the forgotten guy in the fold. Teams keep forgetting about him and he keeps punishing them. Until they figure out that that’s a guy that they got to mark, he’ll keep scoring goals. And he probably still will even if they decide to mark him."
A couple notes from Monday's session are below..
*Gyasi Zardes was out at training on Monday running laps while the team trained. This development comes a month after Zardes said that he was hoping to return to training sometime in April.
*Bryan Gaul and Kenney Walker trained fully with the full group for the first time on Monday after dealing with injuries.
It comes as little surprise that Jose Villarreal's stunning stoppage time scissor kick goal that helped the Galaxy in a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC is up for MLSsoccer.com's Goal of the Week.
You can vote for Jose Villarreal, who is up against Chivas USA's Eric Avila, Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi, Colorado Rapids' Dillon Powers, and New York Red Bulls' Thierry Henry here. The honors don't stop there as he is also nominated by FutbolMLS.com for Latino de la Jornada (Latino of the Week).
Villarreal's goal was also selected as ninth in Sports Center's Top Plays for the month of March.
Relive the goal below...
CARSON, Calif. –Following the LA Galaxy’s first day training on Wednesday, head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media on Wednesday’s vital CONCACAF Champions League First Leg clash against Monterrey at The Home Depot Center.
Arena’s thoughts on two-time CCL champions are below…
ARENA: “They’re a very good team. Obviously, it’s going to be a really good match as we all know, they've been arguably the best team in the region over the last couple of years. [They have] a number of talented and experienced players [with] a good mixture of young players and experienced, but all quality.”
(On if the Galaxy need a certain result in the first leg…)
ARENA: “If you start getting into that game then what does that mean? At 180 minutes, you need to have generally more goals than the other team although the away goal is a factor.”
(On if he’s watched Monterrey so far…)
ARENA: “We know the team; it’s a very good team. They’re a team that’s good in every position on the field.”
(On if he tailors his team to Monterrey…)
ARENA: “No, you are who you are at this point. The reason that the teams that are left in this competition are still around is because they understand their teams and they understand how to play in the competition. It’s simply going to be a question, on the night, who is more opportunistic, who is playing well. It’s all it is. It’s that simple. We’re not going to change a whole lot of what we've done and hopefully, it’ll be good enough.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane missed out on Saturday's 2-2 draw with Toronto FC just days after withdrawing from Ireland due to a calf injury, but on Monday, he was back in the swing of things for LA.
Jack McBean and Mike Magee took the reins up top on Saturday against TFC as Keane returned to Southern California to continue treatment, but on Monday, Keane was back to full training according to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and is expected to be available for Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal first leg against Monterrey.
"Robbie looks fine," said Arena. "I expect him to be available [on Wednesday]. If he's available, he's a potential starter."
Among those impressed with Keane's fitness level was Keane's Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan.
"Robbie looked great. He looked sharp," said Donovan. "You’d have to ask him how he's feeling and how his calf is doing, but he looked okay and hopefully he can contribute on Wednesday."
Do you expect Keane to start on Wednesday?
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The 18-year-old forward was able to hold up play and find Marcelo Sarvas, who connected witth Magee for the opening goal.
McBean now has two goals and one assist in six career appearances since joining the Galaxy in 2011.
The highlight of McBean's first career assist is below...
Monterrey continued their five game unbeaten streak on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over Pumas UNAM.
Los Rayados scored three goals in a 13 minute span late in the second half to dispatch Pumas. Luis Madrigal opened the scoring in the 79th minute to put Monterrey in the lead, but forward Humberto Suazo doubled Monterrey's lead just five minutes later before Cesar Delgado ended the scoring with a goal in the second minute of stoppage time. Unbeaten in six of their last seven matches, Los Rayados' lone defeat came on March 2 due to a 1-0 loss against against Queretaro.
Following this weekend’s results, Monterrey are in seventh place in the Torneo Clausura standings just a single point behind Queretaro, but level on points with eighth place Morelia, ninth place Club Tijuana, and tenth place UNAM. In Mexico, the top eight seeds qualify for the Liguilla (playoffs).
TORONTO –Carlo Cudicini is unbeaten so far as the LA Galaxy’s goalkeeper, but he admits that he wasn’t perfect during LA’s 2-2 draw with Toronto FC
Cudicini made two saves on the afternoon, but in the 29th minutee, a poor back pass between himself and Leonardo led to Cudicini coming off his line eventually leading to an empty net goal for TFC forward Robert Earnshaw. Following the match, Cudicini accepted that the defense as a whole needed to do much better on Earnshaw’s goal.
"I think Leonardo miskicked the ball, he’s supposed to pass the ball to me, but he miskicked it. I tried to rush out and try to close the space, but [Earnshaw] was quicker than me and he managed to go around me and shoot,” Cudicini told LA Galaxy Insider. “I probably realized that Omar was not far from the ball, but at that moment, I already committed myself to go so I couldn't stop.”
After the miscue, the Galaxy would concede a second on a brilliant link up by between Luis Silva and Jonathan Osorio in the 78th minute of play, but after the goal, LA fought back. In stoppage time, Villarreal’s scissor-kick goal put LA level and the Galaxy were able to leave Toronto with their five game unbeaten streak in all competitions intact.
And according to Cudicini, the ability to hold onto the draw, should give LA confidence heading into Wednesday’s decisive CONCACAF Champions League first leg against Monterrey.
“We are still unbeaten which good, we got a point out of an away game and now we need to concentrate on Wednesday,” said Cudicini. “Against Chivas USA, we were up 1-0 and we conceded a late goal, but here it was the opposite, we were down 2-1 late and we scored. We haven’t lost a game, which is good and we’re looking forward to Wednesday.”
TORONTO -- Another game, another strong performance for the LA Galaxy's Homegrown forwards Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal during the LA Galaxy's 2-2 draw with Toronto FC.
For the second week in a row, McBean filled in for absent Galaxy captain Robbie Keane and throughout his 61 minutes of action, showed a willingness to mix it up with Toronto's veteran center backs Darren O'Dea and Danny Califf. The 18-year-old has become renown for his physical play, but against TFC, it was his distribution that made the difference. McBean completed 18 of 22 passes while also making two "key passes" (passes that lead to scoring chances) including a dish to Marcelo Sarvas in the 16th minute that led to Mike Magee's goal.
Meanwhile, Villarreal, who entered in the 70th minute, was productive from the outset, but bailed LA late with his stunning stoppage time scissor kick goal.
Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that he was impressed with both of his Homegrown forwards.
"It was a great goal [by Villarreal] and he’s good in the penalty area as demonstrated by his goal. He’s a good young player, we need a little more consistency out of him," said Arena. "I thought Jack McBean played very well today. So that’s encouraging seeing our young players playing well."