CARSON, Calif. – The SuperClasico is always a heated game for the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA, but the match will have extra implication as LA look to solidify a spot in the postseason.
The Rojiblancos have long since been eliminated from contention for the MLS Cup Playoffs, but the Galaxy are currently tied for fourth place with the Colorado Rapids, just one point ahead of sixth place San Jose Earthquakes. With the Rapids taking on Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday before facing San Jose next Wednesday, LA must begin to rack up points as they seek to qualify for the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
Although the SuperClasico is always a heated and physical affair, Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas admits that LA must approach each game like it’s a playoff game from here on out.
“It’s like every game from here to the end of our journey this season. We have to get points because we are dealing with a lot of risk,” Sarvas told LA Galaxy Insider. “We’re very close to heaven and yet very close to hell. We need to reach the playoffs.”
CARSON, Calif. – Sean Franklin knows that he could have done better last Sunday when Portland Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti beat him to the end line and flicked in the only goal of Portland's 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy. Now the Galaxy right back is determined not to let that happen again.
Urruti’s goal is emblematic of the set piece goals—the team has allowed 13 to date— that have plagued the Galaxy throughout the season. After the error in the Rose City, Franklin admits that the team must get back on track when it comes to defending set pieces.
“We’re definitely not going to get back to the playoffs or win any championships by allowing goals like that. I think that I just need to bump him or beat him to the spot,” said Franklin. “[Urruti] was able to beat me and score a goal, but that’s just not acceptable on my part. Especially with how late it is in the season when every point counts.”
The Galaxy and Franklin will look to get back to winning ways on Sunday when they take on Chivas USA in the final edition of the SuperClasico. Although allowing set piece goals has certainly been a recurring theme for LA this year, Franklin insists that the problem will be fixed in time for the postseason.
“This week is huge. I’m disappointed with the result last week, but this is a huge game this week against Chivas. It’s going to be ugly and scrappy as it always is,” said Franklin. “This game is going to be a fight and I’m looking forward to getting ready to go to war on Sunday with my teammates.”
CARSON, Calif. – Set pieces have been a recurring problem for the LA Galaxy this year with the team conceding 13 goals off set pieces to date, but if they're ever going to correct the problem, they'll need to get a little bit down and dirty.
The Galaxy conceded their sixth goal off a corner kick during LA’s 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers on Sunday that was a result of Maximiliano Urruti's goal off a Will Johnson corner in the 52nd minute. Following the loss, LA defender Omar Gonzalez implored his teammates to get a little bit nastier on set pieces and following training on Tuesday, associate head coach Dave Sarachan agreed with the defender.
“I think that’s a big part of it. There has to be [a sense of] physicality when you defend restarts,” said Sarachan. “There is wiggle room that referees are allowing because in reverse we feel like we get impeded like crazy and as long as we know what the parameters are within the letter of the law, we've got to be a little bit grittier as well.
“There’s a lot of colliding going on set pieces and there’s a lot of moving pieces, but underlying that is an intense concentration and making sure that you beat your guy to that ball,” said Sarachan. “If we're not good at it then we better get at it because it’s been an issue for us.”
CARSON, Calif. – This summer has been a rollercoaster for LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers, but now the 26-year-old is ready to get back to what he does best—play soccer.
The hoopla that surrounded his coming out and the subsequent trade of his rights to the Galaxy from the Chicago Fire in exchange Mike Magee dominated the headlines, but the midfielder has struggled to make a lasting impact on the field. To date, Rogers has made nine appearances with six starts in MLS league play as well as an appearance in U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.
Out since Aug. 20 with a left hamstring injury, Rogers went through his second full day of training on Tuesday and hopes to return to game action sooner rather than later -- possibly as soon as LA's match against the Montreal Impact on Oct. 16.
Although it has been an “unlucky summer” for Rogers that has seen him deal with frustrations he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to get back on the field.
“You come back from having five months off and then you retire, but then you come back to a sport that was rough for you when you were younger with being gay and, then once you have the courage to come back, you get injured three times and then get sick in the middle of that. It’s very frustrating,” said Rogers. “But I’m happy that I play here [with the Galaxy] and that I have my family here to support me. I love doing this, I feel like I’ve immersed myself in the team and I love being able to train here. It’s frustrating [not being able to play], but it’s part of sports.
“This summer has been a bitch for me, to be honest, but I feel good now,” said Rogers. “Knock on wood that I won’t have any more injuries because that could possibly be [the end of] my season if I do.”
As for the connection with Magee and the vocal minority of the Galaxy fanbase that mention the trade? Rogers is pushing that out of his mind.
“They can say all they want with Mike Magee, but the truth is that he asked for a trade and [Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena] said that he wouldn’t have traded Mike Magee if he hadn’t asked for a trade,” said Rogers. “That puts pressure on me…but people can say that if they want, if they want to blame something, I don’t care. I get to be out here and play soccer in my home town and in front of my family. That’s what I wanted, but I’ll get over these injuries and those expectations will be there again.”
IThe LA Galaxy's playoff hopes are coming to come right down to the wire.
The Galaxy sit in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with the Colorado, just a point ahead of sixth place San Jose Earthquakes, who are on the outside looking in. The Galaxy and Colorado each have four games remaining while San Jose have three left on their docket. However, the Earthquakes will play the Rapids on Oct. 9 at Buck Shaw Stadium before taking on the LA Galaxy on Oct. 20 at StubHub Center.
Imagine a Knockout Round game between the Galaxy and the Earthquakes? Intense, right?
Now is your chance to vote and offer your thoughts in the comments. Where will the Galaxy finish the season?
Jaime Penedo is up for MLSsoccer.com's Goal of the Week for his 57th minute save in the LA Galaxy's 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
Vote for Penedo here and see all the candidates below.
The phrase "must see goal" gets thrown around too easily, but this Robbie Keane video taken last week is certainly something to see.
The video of Keane's spectacular goal in training first appeared on the Instagram of Galaxy equipment assistant Rafael Verdin before turning up on the LA Galaxy captain's official Facebook page.
Check it out.
PORTLAND, Ore. – A few notes from the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers.
*The Galaxy have now conceded six of their 36 goals on corner kicks. Stretch it out to include indirect free kicks and LA has conceded 13 on set pieces.
*LA is now 3-9-2 when allowing the first goal. In one goal games, LA’s record is 5-7-0.
*LA Galaxy center back Leonardo did not travel due to left adductor fatigue.
*Landon Donovan made his 300th MLS Regular Season appearance of his career.
*The Galaxy are now 4-9-3 on the road—exclude the match against Chivas USA and the team is 3-9-3.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The LA Galaxy were heated when a Robbie Keane goal was called back in stoppage time due to offside, but the team had no quarrel after the final whistle.
Keane appeared to tie the game in stoppage when he headed a Landon Donovan free kick into the back of the net, but the assistant referee Eric Boria raised his flag, ruling the play offside. The offside call through the Galaxy into a fury after the whistle was blown, but television replays showed that Boria was correct as the Galaxy captain was off once Donovan struck the free kick.
“If the referee is right, more credit to him,” said LA head coach Bruce Arena. “We've been in a lot of games this year where the plays aren't even close and they don't have them right. So, if they had it right, more credit to them."
Despite initial frustration in the heat of the moment, Keane shrugged off any frustration after the match.
“Someone said that I had a shoulder offside,” said Keane. “If it was offside then it was offside.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) September 29, 2013
PORTLAND, Ore. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena offered his thoughts following the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
(Overall thoughts on the match…)
ARENA: “It was a good game. I think given the conditions, both teams played well.”
(On the offside call in second-half stoppage time…)
ARENA: “If the referee is right, more credit to him. We've been in a lot of games this year where the plays aren't even close and they don't have them right. So, if they had it right, more credit to them."
(On the impact of the weather on the match…)
ARENA: “It's not easy. It's the same for both teams, so you can't complain about it. … The conditions never make it easy on these fields. When you combine it with wind and rain then it’ll be far from perfect.”
(On the Western Conference playoff race…)
ARENA: “You have to win enough games and have enough points to get in [the playoffs]. I don’t think that anyone has a playoff position yet? I think there are some teams concerned.”