FIFA announced the 2014 World Cup pots on Tuesday, and the U.S. National Team will be guaranteed some stiff competition during next year’s tournament in Brazil.
The U.S. was placed in Pot 3 with the other CONCACAF nations and four squads from the Asian Football Confederation. As expected, European heavyweights Germany and Spain were placed in Group A alongside host Brazil and Argentina. Group 2 boasts five African representatives as well as Chile and Ecuador while Group 4 includes England, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Portugal among others.
The 2014 World Cup pots are below:
POT 1: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
POT 2: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria
POT 3: USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Korea Republic, Japan, Australia, Iran
POT 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia
Thoughts on the World Cup pots?
MLS will crown its champion this weekend while the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament field will be dwindled to four.
Just eight remain in the tournament after a wild weekend that saw No. 1 ranked UCLA defeated by Connecticut in a thrilling penalty kick shoot out. LA Galaxy Academy products Grady Howe and Nathan Smith went all 110 minutes in the Bruins' surprising defeat. Connecticut will face Virginia with a berth in the College Cup on the line. Meanwhile UC Irvine, who boast Galaxy Academy defender Matt Tilley on their roster, fell 1-0 to Maryland.
Two Galaxy players will see their alma maters face off as the Hector Jimenez's California Golden Bears face off against the Maryland Terrapins -- who produced Galaxy players A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Rogers -- on Dec. 7 at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley.
The remaining matches will see Notre Dame face Michigan State and New Mexico taking on Washington.
The U.S. National Team is returning to Southern California.
U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that the U.S. will face Korea Republic on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center concluding their annual winter training camp. The match will be the first game for the U.S. in a busy 2014 that will see them -- and Korea Republic -- complete in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“As a team that has qualified for Brazil, the Korea Republic will be another great benchmark for us,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a statement. “They bring a different style of play than we have seen in the last two years, and that gives us a chance to grow. With only two or three games left before May, this will be an important opportunity for the players who will be finishing off the January camp. The message will be the same one we start with every time we get together: we are here to win.”
Both LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are likely to be called up for the January training camp. According to Steve Davis at ProSoccerTalk, the U.S. will open up training camp on Jan. 6 at StubHub Center before departing for Brazil on Jan. 12 where they will train in Sao Paulo at their base for the World Cup until Jan. 25 before returning to Southern California.
The match will be first game between the two countries since their 1-1 draw at the 2002 FIFA World Cup when former Galaxy attacker Clint Mathis scored a stunning goal in the tie.
Check it out below.
MLS continued to hand out their year-end awards on Monday as Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter earned the MLS coach of the Year award while New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston won the MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
Porter led the Portland Timbers to a 14-5-15 record in his first season after departing from his post at the University of Akron. The Timbers advanced to the Western Conference Championship, but were knocked off by MLS Cup finalist Real Salt Lake. New York Red Bulls boss Mike Petke finished second, RSL head coach Jason Kreis finished third while Colorado Rapids manager Oscar Pareja finished fourth in the voting.
Alston won the Comeback Player of the Year award by a landslide after returning from being diagnosised with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a rare but treatable form of leukemia. Alston made nine appearances for the Revolution in 2013. Conor Casey, Lamar Negale and Donovan Ricketts finished second, third, and forth in the voting respectively.
One year ago today, the LA Galaxy lifted their fourth MLS Cup trophy with a come from behind 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on a rainy afternoon at The Home Depot Center.
Like LA's title winning performance in 2011, the match was a rain soaked one as a December shower descended upon Carson just before kick off and like the year before, I was stationed high above the field on the roof at The Home Depot Center. The match was the finest performance of the year for Omar Gonzalez, who had endured a difficult year recovering from knee surgery only to put in a dominating performance en route to winning the 2012 MLS Cup MVP award, due to his game-tying goal in the 60th minute that kick started a Galaxy rally.
However, there was also a sense of finality about the Galaxy's accomplishment as the match served as the final game in a Galaxy uniform for David Beckham ending his six-year tenure with the club. When Beckham exited the field just moments before full time, he was given a rousing cheer from the capacity crowd at StubHub Center. Beckham wasn't the only established player that moved on after that match as winger Christian Wilhemsson and goalkeeper Josh Saunders each parted ways with the club after the game.
Earlier on Sunday, I asked Galaxy fans for their memories of that match and had to give a special mention to Raul Pena and his wife Vanessa, who went to attended the match having just completed their wedding ceremony.
— Raul Peña (@rpena03) April 20, 2013
Check out a series of highlights for the game and celebration videos below.
Omar Gonzalez's goal from all angles
David Beckham leaves the field for the final time
Locker room Celebration
David Beckham drinks from MLS Cup
The complete LA Galaxy MLS Cup Celebration
A touching video is making the rounds this weekend of LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane meeting a young Irish soccer fan named Domhnall on Ireland's annual holiday institution The Late Late Toy Show.
Keane, who was still on crutches after his surgery earlier in the week, met with the child -- who is hoping that the Galaxy captain gets well soon in time to lead Ireland in their 2016 Euro campaign -- and presenter Ryan Tubridy in the video below.
Check it out.
CARSON, Calif. – Michael Stephens believes that he needs playing time to progress professionally, but whether he’ll receive that as a member of the LA Galaxy in 2014 is “up in the air” according to the midfielder.
“It was up and down, there were games that played well and then others where I didn't do so good,” Stephens told reporters earlier this month. “Part of that comes with playing time, but they go both hand in hand because if you don’t produce then the playing time won’t be there and it’s hard to produce when the playing time isn't there. It’s a tough balance. ”
During his final media availability, Stephens told reporters that he is out of contract, but he remains in communication with the Galaxy about returning in 2014. Wherever Stephens is playing next season, the 24-year-old knows that he’ll need playing time.
I personally, I want more playing time, but I’m not a guy that is going to be naïve to think that I was in a position where I definitely deserved more playing time. That’s just the way it is and it is something that I want more of going into next year.”
The LA Galaxy are going full speed ahead with their plans for a USL team in 2014.
During his interview on Joe Tutino’s LA Galaxy All-Access Podcast, Arena stated that the club is “anticipating” having a USL squad in the coming season that will help them develop existing rostered players, but also add further pieces in the Galaxy Academy.
“We’re going ahead full speed. We anticipate having a USL team. That will serve our academy players who were moving up to the major league roster. It will serve our players who are not playing on a regular basis for the first team as well,” Arena told Tutino. “We’re going to have obviously other players involved in the [USL] roster. Between the first team, which is now 30 to 29 players in MLS, and [the USL] roster we’ll likely have another 15 players who are involved in the USL and complemented by our roster. We should have 45 players here on a daily basis, two teams and a number of opportunities to give players game experience and to continue to move forward.
“We’re hopeful that we can discover a couple of players through the USL team but also develop our academy players that need playing time,” Arena continued. “You’re going to see players like Oscar Sorto, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola, perhaps, Jose Villarreal; all those young players that if they’re not playing on a regular basis with us, they will be playing with the USL team.”
In addition to the USL team and a myriad of other topics, Arena addressed the topic of LA Galaxy players going on offseason loans stating that “our players aren't going anywhere” noting that Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are expected to join U.S. National Team’s annual January camp. The Galaxy manager also stated that Robbie Keane should be back in comission after four to six weeks following his "procedure" earlier in the week.
Thoughts on the interview?
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On this day for giving thanks, I'd like to wish all of the readers of the LA Galaxy Insider a Happy Thanksgiving.
This year has been quite an exciting ride and I'm looking forward to many more.
Below is a special Thanksgiving video from members of the LA Galaxy.
Check it out.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane underwent surgery in London on Wednesday to repair nagging injuries in both of his Achilles.
According to a Galaxy spokesman, the surgery was a success and the LA captain is expected be ready to go by the preseason. Keane is expected to complete his rehabilitation in Ireland before returning to Southern California in January.
During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Keane revealed that once the procedure takes place, he’ll be focusing solely on returning to fitness in time for the start of preseason.
“I'll get that done, and then it’s rest and a lot of rehab, so that's mainly what I'll be doing [this offseason],” said Keane.
Expect Keane back to full fitness by preseaso?
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