Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso's status still a question mark heading into LA Galaxy match
CARSON, Calif. -- One of the main matchup questions heading into Sunday's Western Conference Championship first leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC is the status of Sounders midfield engine Osvaldo Alonso.
Despite Seattle boss Sigi Schmid appearing confident that Alonso -- who has made the trip from the Pacific Northwest -- will be ready by gametime, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena had a different opinion according to Matt Pentz of the Seattle Times.
"'He's not going to go," Arena said on Saturday. "I'd bet the house on that."
Alonso's absence will make life considerably easier for LA midfielders Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho as the Brazilians will likely match up against either Michael Ariza -- a like-for-like replacelement -- or more offensive minded Andy Rose.
But no matter what happens with Alonso's status, Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan says LA want the star midfielder on the field when the game kicks off on Sunday.
“Ozzie makes them a very good team,” Donovan said. “He is unquestionably their engine, and he's really their leader. When you take him off the field, they're affected pretty severely, we know that.
“We hope he plays,” Donovan added. “We know he hasn't trained all week, so it's looking less and less likely that he will play, but we're going to prepare as if he's playing, and we want him to play. If we're going to win, we want to beat the best team.”
WATCH: My Insider Breakdown of the Western Conference Championship between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC
In my latest edition of "Insider Breakdown," I look at the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship first leg against Seattle Sounders FC
Check it out above.
Robbie Keane says Gyasi Zardes must get back to basics if he's going to score against Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes took MLS by storm with 16 goals in his second season with the LA Galaxy, but since finding the back of the net on Sept. 28, the forward has been silent.
Recently, Zardes has seen his amount of chances dwindle from an average of just over a shot on goal per game after the New York Red Bulls match to just two chances in the entirety of his six-game scoring drought.
Although the 23-year-old forward has failed to bury his chances as of late, his strike partner, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane says Zardes must get back to basics if he’s going to find the back of the net against Seattle Sounders FC this weekend.
“He has to get back to understanding what got him here in the first place. The most important thing that he has to understand is to be a team player first. If you’re a team player first then everything else will take care of itself,” Keane said after training earlier this week. “He needs to get back to what he’s good at, which is getting behind the defense and creating opportunities. But when he gets those opportunities then he has to take them and in the last few games, he hasn’t. He needs to get back to that.
“Like any striker, you always go through stages where you don’t score and it plays in your mind. The most important thing is that he has to get that out of his head fairly quickly, because when you’re going into games thinking that you haven’t scored for a while, it’ll work against you. One thing that I would say is that when you get an opportunity, rather than be clever and try to place it, sometimes just put your foot through and try to smash it. Usually that has worked for me over the years when I haven’t scored in a few games.”
To his credit, Zardes agrees that if he’s going to find the back of the net in LA’s Western Conference Championship series, he has to be sharper in front of the net
“To be honest, I’m working extremely hard and there are numerous opportunities, but I'm just going to keep doing the same things that I've been doing. I've been unlucky, but the [chances] are there,” said Zardes. “I just think that I have to get on the end of crosses because if you look at my goals, they typically come with solid link-up play with Robbie.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will renew their rivalry with Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, I take a look at the club's record in Conference Championship games.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Way back in July, the LA Galaxy were walloped 7-0 by Manchester United in the Chevrolet FC Cup at the Rose Bowl. Although the match meant nothing in the MLS regular season standings, a certain segment of the Galaxy believe that the "embarrassment" from that win helped propel the club to the Western Conference Championship.
In front of droves of fans at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy fell flat to a fierce United side that made quick work of LA's defense, particularly once the home side's first team was off the field. But since that defeat, LA has been a much different squad
Starting with a 3-0 domination of the very same Seattle Sounders FC team that they'll face on Sunday, the Galaxy have gone an impressive 10-3-4 since their defeat to the English Premier League club.
"It was embarrassing and we just turned a corner," said A.J. DeLaGarza. "Every year there is a game that turns everything around...it happened to Omar [Gonzalez] and I in college, it happens to us here."
Added Landon Donovan, "We don't put much stock into the final score, but we didn't play well. When we play well and lose then we can live with that and Bruce [Arena] can live with that. But when we lose and don't play well then that is unacceptable."
But Robbie Keane, who famously said that the defeat to Manchester United was a "kick in the ass" for the Galaxy, said that the match had no impact on his own thinking about LA's season.
"I literally haven't thought about Manchester United since that game," said Keane. "I don't pay any mind to preseason games, and it's even less when it's not our own preseason."
In the latest edition of the LA Galaxy TV's Top Five, I look at the best Galaxy postseason performances.
Check it out above and comment in the section below.
LA Galaxy with the most conference final appearances since 1996 across all major U.S. professional sports
By advancing to the Conference Championship this season, the LA Galaxy will be returning to the Conference Final for the 13th time since the league's inception in 1996. While that is a record in MLS, just where does it stack up in other leagues? Well, according to Elias Sports Bureau, it measures quite favorably.
Since 1996, the Galaxy's mark is highest among the top U.S. professional sports leagues ranking higher than the MLB's New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals' mark with 10, the NFL's New England Patriots record of nine, the NBA's San Antonio Spurs' total of nine, and the NHL's Detroit Red Wings' record of six.
In addition to stacking up well nationally, the Galaxy's conference finals appearances are the highest marks locally, eclipsing the Los Angeles Lakers' record of eight "final four" appearances since 1996.
— Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey) November 19, 2014
In the latest edition of my Top Five lists of LA Galaxy playoff moments, I look at Landon Donovan's best moments.
Check out the video above and provide your thoughts on the list below.
The 2014 MLS dispersal draft came and went with the LA Galaxy opting to make no picks with the 16th overall selection.
Despite having the option to select any former players from Chivas USA, the Galaxy opted to pass with their choice in the draft.
With the top selection in the draft, FC Dallas selected former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year candidate Dan Kennedy who was one of seven picks. Also selected were Matthew Dunn (NYCFC), Thomas McNamara (D.C. United), Donny Toia (Montreal Impact), Caleb Calvert (Colorado Rapids), Kristopher Tyrpak (San Jose Earthquakes), and Marco Delgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Brazilian center back Leonardo is expected to be a “candidate to play” in the Western Conference Championship first leg against Seattle Sounders FC according to LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, but that does not mean that the defender will be in the starting XI come Sunday.
The 26-year-old defender left Galaxy’s 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in their Western Conference Semifinal second leg with a right hamstring strain that has prevented him from training with the club since. However, following training on Tuesday, Arena noted that Leonardo and fellow injured defenders Todd Dunivant (groin) and James Riley “are candidates to play” on Sunday.
But despite his initial optimism, Arena did state that the unpredictability of hamstring injuries will continue to make him a doubt until the Brazilian central defender returns to the field.
“There are all different degrees with those things,” said Arena. “Every athlete is different, but hamstrings are hard to figure out until the player goes full tilt which hasn’t happened yet so we don’t know.”