CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy defeated Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles 6-2 in the club’s penultimate preseason match before the start of the MLS regular season on March 3.
The match was a barn burner that featured several impressive goals including a brace by LA left back Bryan Gaul. Robbie Keane and Leonardo opened the scoring in the first half, but in the second half, the match really took as the team’s traded goals in quick succession.
Bryan Gaul’s brilliant finish opened the scoring before Tijuana pulled to within two with a strike from Luis Garcia Carmona. In the 80th minute, Hector Jimenez extended LA’s lead to three with a calm right-footed strike. Three minutes later, Jack McBean calmly headed home a deflection that put him alone on the goal. Tijuana pulled a second goal back in the 83rd minute off a curling free kick by Bruno Piceno.
Gaul finished the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time with a deft chip shot into an empty Xolos net.
LA ends their preseason slate on Friday against the Colorado Rapids at UC Santa Barbara’s Harder Stadium.
A few notes on the match:
LA began the match in the following lineup:
*Referee Juan Guzman dished out six yellow cards—three to each team---and two red cards—one to each side. Rafael Garcia was shown a red card in the 47th minute, two minutes after coming on to the field and Tijuana’s Luis Trujillo was given his red in the 72nd minute, just a minute after he checked into the match.
*The match was the second time this preseason that A.J. DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin were partnered on the right side – the first coming in a preseason victory against UCLA. When asked about this, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that LA is “looking for a little bit of cover in all the positions.”
*It was also the second time that Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez were paired in central defense. The duo started the second half of last Saturday’s scoreless draw against Gangwon FC together.
*Robbie Keane donned the captain’s armband for the match and is expected by many to serve as the club’s captain once the season begins. Throughout the first half, Keane showed the willingness to drift into deep midfield in order to kick start Galaxy attacks.
*Arena lauded Keane for his contributions on Tuesday: “He was very good and showed a really good attitude early in the game and obviously, scored a good goal and did a lot of good things.
*From the start, Bryan Gaul was aggressive in the attack, pushing up so far into midfield that at times Colin Clark appeared to be more of a third forward than a left wing.
*LA ended the game in the following formation:
*Once Charlie Rugg entered the match, he repeatedly checked forward to assist Magee with LA moving into a 4-3-2 formation at times. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena implied in the post game press conference that Rugg would started up top had Juan Guzman not sent off midfielder Rafael Garcia in the 47th minute.
*Arena on Garcia’s red card: “It doesn’t help in an exhibition game, but maybe it is a lesson for Rafa. He certainly came in a little late, although I don’t think it was a red card. It was an interesting exercise for the guys…You can say that [it was positive to go 10 v. 11 for several minutes], but there were so many changes going on that it is a little unfair for the guys on the field because you want them to play against even numbers. Jack McBean quickly became a right-sided midfielder in the exercise and that made it a little bit awkward, but it’s all part of it.”
*Greg Cochrane once again put another solid performance appearing very energetic on the left side and provided the assist on Hector Jimenez’s goal in the 80th minute.
*Arena on Matheus Ferreira, the club’s Brazilian trialist: “Solid. Not pressed to do a whole lot of defending at the end. Those two center backs at the end [Kofi Opare and Ferreira] need a little bit of work on their positioning and communication, but for the first time out with them together, they did fine.
*Tommy Meyer missed his second straight preseason match due to a strained hamstring that he suffered in practice. Arena told reporters that the club is evaluating the defender and the injury may cause him to miss the start of the season.
*Heading into their final preseason game of the year on Friday against the Rapids, LA are 4-1-1 this preseason.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy's attack came alive in their 6-2 preseason victory over Club Tijuana, but it was left back Bryan Gaul stole the show.
Gaul scored his first goals since he was a college senior at Bradley University in the club's penultimate preseason match.
CARSON, Calif. -- LAGalaxy.com has provided all six LA Galaxy goals from the club's 6-2 victory over Club Tijuana.
Time Warner Deportes provided their own videos from their broadcast, but check out the videos from LAGalaxy.com below...
Robbie Keane's goal in the 4th minute
Leonardo's goal in the 36th minute
Bryan Gaul's goal in the 65th minute.
Hector Jimenez's goal in the 80th minute
Jack McBean's goal in the 84th minute
Bryan Gaul's goal in the 91st minute
CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena has a number of lineup decisions to make before the LA Galaxy open the regular season on March 3, but one player who looks to have locked down a starting spot this preseason is left-sided midfielder Colin Clark.
Since being acquired from the Houston Dynamo via the MLS Re-Entry Draft process, Clark has been a revelation this preseason by making four starts with LA’s first team. During Clark’s starts, the left winger has looked dynamic as he has shown a knack for creating dangerous scoring chances while combining well with left back Todd Dunivant.
Clark is expected to start once again on Tuesday when LA takes on Club Tijuana at The Home Depot Center.
“I’m getting used to people's tendencies…It’s taken a little bit of time, but I’m getting there,” said Clark. “Coming in and getting a chance to play is all that I could have asked for. At this point, it looks like it is almost my job to lose and I’m trying to help the team in any way possible.”
Clark’s adaptation process is helped by the fact that he is paired on the left side with another Colorado-native in Dunivant, who played at the Colorado Rush youth club a few years after the winger.
“Colin is another guy that plays wide and more of a traditional winger. He’s in that Christian Wilhelmsson mold on the left side. He’s great with both feet, takes defenders on and is very good at getting crosses on. He’ll be good weapon for us.”
On Tuesday, The Home Depot Center will host its first soccer match of the year when the LA Galaxy host Club Tijuana, which will be the first match on the stadium’s new Bermuda grass surface.
The surface was installed last week and took three days to assemble. I snapped this photo on Monday from above section 139.
A few fun facts about The HDC surface…
*The grass was grown in Palm Springs and 24 trucks were needed to carry the 24 rolls of grass to The HDC. In total the rolls weighed 480 tons.
*Bermuda grass is a summer grass. In order to maintain its green color during the winter the grass is overseeded with a winter ryegrass seed. The process of installing the ryegrass seed was done last October and the seed is expected to keep the surface green until summer. Once the seed burns out, the regular Bermuda seed will keep the grass green through fall.
*Expect a hard surface tonight until the grass fully settles in 10 to 14 days.
CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal may be away on International duty with the U.S. Under-20’s for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, but once he returns, he’ll have a “big part” to play in the LA Galaxy offense according to Robbie Keane.
Villarreal started and went 64 minutes in the U.S. U-20’s 2-1 victory over Haiti on Monday and is expected to play an important role throughout the tournament as the Americans look to qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey later this year.
Once Villarreal returns to Southern California—which could be as late as March 2 if the U.S. advances to the final—he’ll be expected to play a major role in LA’s forward rotation. With Landon Donovan not returning until late March, Mike Magee is likely to serve as the primary partner alongside the Irish forward, but Keane expects Villarreal to see plenty of minutes.
“I like playing with him, he’s very clever. He has a great left foot and he plays quite similar to where I play in the hole so I think that we can work well together,” said Keane. “I think that we’re quite similar in the way that we like to come off kind of deep and get on the ball. That was the case with me and Landon [Donovan] last year and we worked well together.
“He’s always looking to do something which is always good for me,” added Keane. “You always expect the unexpected with him so it’s good. I really enjoy playing with him.”
It was no surprise that Landon Donovan's scheduled return in late-March was the most talked about issue at LA Galaxy practice on Monday.
After practice LAGalaxy.com videographer Paolo Ferrari provided this video with insight from head coach Bruce Arena as well as defender Todd Dunivant.
Check out the video below...
The U Under-20's began the CONCACAF U-20 Championship with a 2-1 win over Haiti in Group A play on Monday using a lineup with a distinctive LA Galaxy flavor.
Galaxy Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal got the start and went 63 minutes while LA Academy graduate and current UCLA defender Javan Torre went 90 minutes in the back four.
The U.S. took the lead in the three minute when Haiti was whistled with a penalty after a foul on promising Santos Laguna winger Daniel Cuevas in the box. Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil stepped up and put the U.S. ahead. In the 26th minute, Cuevas got on the score sheet himself with a beautiful strike off an assist from former Galaxy Academy product Mario Rodriguez. Haiti pulled one back in 49th minute off a goal from Wilberne Augusmat, but could not find the equalizer to knock off the heavily-favored Americans.
Tab Ramos' side continues their Group A campaign on Friday against Costa Rica. Haiti will take on the Central Americans on Wednesday.
Two teams from the three-team group advance to the quarterfinal round.
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan will return to the LA Galaxy in late March, but while he is away from the game, LA continue to press forward ahead of the season opener on March 3.
The Galaxy announced on Sunday that Donovan will not return to the club until late March, which means that he will likely miss the first three MLS regular season games as well as both CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal fixtures against CS Herediano. On Monday, Arena admitted that while the Galaxy captain’s return “could be earlier,” but by no means is he displeased with Donovan.
“Am I unhappy? No, I’m not unhappy. Whether I think it is necessary or not, it is not important what I think. That’s the player and that’s how he feels and what he thinks he needs,” said Arena. “It’ll just set him back at the end of the March and he’ll probably be playing somewhere close to the end of April.”
LA’s other Designated Player Robbie Keane—who is likely to take the captain’s armband while Donovan is away — added his own thoughts on Donovan’s absence.
“Of course it’s difficult when you don’t have your best players and you want them here to start the season but if an extra two weeks is going to do him the world of good then good,” said the Irish forward.
With Donovan out of the lineup, the Galaxy will likely turn to their younger attacking options to lead the way. From the outset, Mike Magee seems likely to take over for Donovan alongside Keane while younger alternatives Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal fight for playing time.
As the club accounts for Donovan's absence, Arena admits that there will be a period of transition.
“The more high-quality players you put on the field for your team, the chances are you're going to be a better team, that they'll offer different dimensions. When you take one of those pieces away, you're not going to replace him with similar players. That's the facts of life," said Arena. "You always play games without key players. It won't be the first time, and it won't be the last time.”
Landon Donovan is returning to the LA Galaxy in late March, that much is assured, but when the MLS regular season starts on March 3, just what lineup will Bruce Arena trot out against the Chicago Fire.
Based on five preseason games and with two still remaining—against Club Tijuana on Feb. 19 and Colorado Rapids on Feb. 22— these are the lineups that I see as the most likely for opening day.
One of the major questions of the preseason remains just who partners with Omar Gonzalez in central defense. Both Tommy Meyer and A.J. DeLaGarza have started alongside Gonzalez this preseason and have enjoyed success alongside the reigning MLS Cup MVP.
This formation allows midfielder Michael Stephens to move out to the right side of midfield while Colin Clark is stationed on the left side. Clark has been very influential going into the attack in four starts on the left side and seemingly has a lock on the position. Meanwhile, Stephens remains his energetic self and has formed a solid partnership with Sean Franklin that provides an attacking presence but also bite on defense.
Up top, Mike Magee is expected to start alongside Robbie Keane. The Galaxy’s forward line has been depleted as of late after an injury to Gyasi Zardes has put the rookie forward on the shelf until April while Jose Villarreal remains on international duty with the U.S. U-20 and may not return in time for the season opener.
This starting lineup allows Arena to place both Meyer and DeLaGarza on the field at the same time while pushing Franklin up into right midfield. Both DeLaGarza and Franklin have held manned these positions in the past, but both admit that they are more comfortable in the defense.
And when Donovan returns to action, which is likely to happen sometime in April?
Following LA’s scoreless draw with K-League side Gangwon FC, Arena told reporters that Magee is likely to play more time in the midfield once the team reaches full health, which leads to this possible squad:
What is your ideal lineup? Who do you want to see start for the Galaxy on opening day? Or once Donovan returns?
Share your thoughts below…