TIJUANA— Club Tijuana returned to winning ways on Friday after captain Javier Gandolfi scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Monarcas Morelia at the Estadio Caliente.
Tijuana was in firm control of the match from the opening whistle as they dominated possession against a listless Morelia side. After peppering the Monarcas net for much of the first half, Tijuana broke through in the 61st minute when Gandolfi smashed a Francisco Arce free kick into the back of the Morelia net.
The victory extended Tijuana’s home unbeaten streak to 16 games and a 2-1-1 record after four matches in the Clausura tournament.
A few observations from the match:
*Having seen Club Tijuana play numerous times since the start of their season, the primary question mark remains the uneven play of left back Edgar Castillo. The U.S. international has always been more of an attacking wing back that can be a liability on defense, which could be a major asset for the Galaxy attack. When the two teams meet in March, expect LA to look to pressure Castillo in order to find space behind the Xolos defense.
*Midfielder Fidel Martinez is the true engine of the Tijuana attack, but against Morelia, he’s struggled to create dangerous opportunities going forward. Against Monarcas, the Ecuadorian was afforded plenty of time and space by a Morelia midfield that preferred to sit back and allow Xolos possession. A very technical attacker, look for the Galaxy to attempt to limit his space and force him to give away possession. However, if the LA midfield does provide him with time to operate, he should provide a dangerous test for the Galaxy defense.
*A lot has been made over the past several years about the turf at the Estadio Caliente, but after placing a new surface earlier this year, it is a marked improvement from the hard concrete-like surface of years past. That being said, it is still not the equal of a turf surface like the one at JELD-WEN Field in Portland as the ball too often sticks to the ground causing problems for the home side and visitors alike. Prior to the match on March 18, expect the Galaxy to spend a considerable amount of time training on turf surfaces to prepare.
It's been quite the few months for Haji Wright and on Saturday, he added another goal and another trophy.
Wright and Monterrey product Joe Gallardo scored as the U-17's defeated host nation Turkey to win the Aegean Cup. The goal was Wright's first of the tournament, but the LA Galaxy Academy forward has been considered one of the top performers during the tournament in Turkey. Wright's performance comes on the heels of his stellar five goal showing that helped the U.S. win the Nike International Friendlies in December.
The U.S. U-17's have been a revelation in the tournament after going undefeated in group play with victories over France and Norway as well as a draw with Scotland before qualifying for the final and defeating Turkey.
Thoughts on Wright's performances? Should he be a homegrown signing for LA?
Share your thoughts below.
The LA Galaxy's newest Brazilian forward Samuel has arrived in Southern California.
LA's newest striker arrived on Friday morning on a flight from Brazil ahead of LA's prepration which begun earlier in the day. Time Warner Cable Deportes was there to capture the action of Samuel's arrival and his first interactions with his new teammates.
Check it out below.
Samuel at the airport:
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) January 24, 2014
Samuel on the field at StubHub Center:
Bem-vindo a Los Angeles! Samuel is in the building: pic.twitter.com/Y95wbk5WIW
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) January 24, 2014
Samuel meets LA's three other Brazilians:
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) January 24, 2014
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?
Share them below.
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?
Share them below.
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.