Beat

03 August 11:02 pm

Landon Donovan caught up with his former teammates from Everton following their match against Real Madrid. 

The video is below..

03 August 11:00 pm

LOS ANGELES—The LA Galaxy will be playing for a chance to finish third in the Guinness International Champions Cup against either Chelsea or A.C. Milan.

Originally, the tournament had stated that the winner of the Galaxy’s match would be playing in the fifth place game; however, the rules as noted on the bottom of the Guinness International Championship Cup site are as follows:

* POSITION IN CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND DETERMINED BY PLACE IN BRACKET:

1. 2ND AND 3RD SEEDS IN CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND DETERMINED BY BRACKET SEEDING

2. ALL MATCHES TIED AT THE END OF REGULATION DECIDED BY PENALTY KICKS

3. 2 POINTS FOR WIN, 1 POINT FOR PK LOSS, 0 POINTS FOR REGULATION LOSS

4. TIEBREAKERS a- Head to head, b- Goal differential, c- Goals for, d- Goals against

Taking those rules into account, the Galaxy advanced on goal differential of zero while Everton and Juventus had a goal differential of minus one.  Therefore, the Galaxy moved up from the fifth place game on Tuesday to the third place on Wednesday.

What does all this mean? Well, the Galaxy are planning to take off for Miami on Sunday morning, so it does not change the team’s travel plans, but it will cause them to play a day later than expected.

03 August 10:04 pm

LOS ANGELES – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s thoughts from LA’s 3-1 victory over Juventus.

ARENA: “I think that our team played well. The result isn’t going to change anything in this world. It’s an exhibition, but I thought our team had a good attitude about the game tonight. They played well against a very good team tonight. We understand though that we’re playing in an exhibition, I don’t want to play them when it really counts.”

(On the field at Dodger Stadium…)

ARENA: “I actually thought this was the best converted baseball field to a soccer field that I’ve ever been on. I’ve been on these for years. I thought that the Dodgers did an excellent job. The field was very good again, and watching other games not only in this tournament, but throughout the years, they usually don’t get it as good as this one. I thought the field played as well as expected. “

(On Robbie Keane’s performance…)

ARENA: “Robbie played well. He’s been out three weeks and our plan all along was to give him some minutes, most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, and we thought about giving him 30 minutes tonight, but gave him the start in the second half. If he had to come out then we would have taken him out. I was pleased that he was able to get 45 minutes.”

(On the return of Clint Demspey to MLS…)

ARENA: “I think that it’s good. Obviously, Clint is the right person to discuss the reasons for his move, but he’s an exceptional player and he’ll obviously be a very good player in this league. I think that he’s going to obviously say that he wanted to come back home and that’s why he made the move.”

(On Whether he would have wanted to have Clint Dempsey…)

ARENA: “Sure. I would have loved to have Clint.”

ARENA: “We don’t discuss any of that.”

(On the importance of the win…)

ARENA: “It’s just different. Maybe years ago, we could not step on the field, even in an exhibition season, and play as well as we did tonight. We are getting better, but I simply stated don’t read too much into this result.”

(On the importance of playing at Dodger Stadium…)

ARENA: “I thought that it was good especially for our players from the Southern California area. They thought it was great. I thought it was a nice night, I got here early for the first game and it was great to see the excitement in the stands. I think that this is a wonderful tournament and I’m happy that we’ve been able to participate in it. All the teams, we get something out of it. The European clubs are moving things along to get fitness and maybe the schedule is a little hectic for them, but for our team, it was a good experience for the young players and, something that can certainly help as we get back into MLS play.”

(On any cultural significance to playing at Dodger Stadium…)

ARENA: “It’s great. It’s a nice experience. I came here the other night for the Dodgers, Yankees game and it was great to be here, then to think that some days later that I would be here with my team is kind of amazing.”

(On whether he’ll rotate his roster in Miami…)

ARENA: “Not sure yet. We’ll see how our players react to this game. We used more players on Thursday in Phoenix so that we could be able to put it a little more quality on the field tonight. I think that the extra days rest is going to help us. The rhythm that we’re in of playing Thursday night then Saturday night, then Wednesday night in Miami, and Sunday in Dallas, I don’t think that’s going to impact us drastically. We should be able to use a full lineup perhaps in both games. I don’t think that we’ll be rotating for the rest of this tournament, but I do think that as we get into play in August and September, we’ll certainly be rotating players.”

03 August 8:38 pm

LOS ANGELES -- The LA Galaxy defeated Juventus 3-1 on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Goals came from Omar Gonzalez, Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane. Juventus' lone goal came from Alessandro Matri

More to come.

03 August 1:46 pm

On Saturday, the LA Galaxy will take on Italian giants Juventus at Dodger Stadium. Called "the Old Lady," Juventus has won Serie A 29 times, Coppa Italian nine times, and the UEFA Champions League twice. 

The Italian side boasts a number of talented stars including midfielder Andrea Pirlo, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, and forward Carlos Tevez. Following LA's match agaisnt Real Madrid, Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas talked about facing the Italians. 

"It'll be my first time facing an Italian team. What I've seen from Italian teams is that they are very organized, tactical, and they defend very deep," said Sarvas. "They're not afraid to defend in the box either. I think that they keep more of the defensive line, not like a Spanish team that will try to dribble and do more magic things with the ball." 

Following the ICC, the focus for the Italian side switches to the Italian SuperCup on Aug.18 against Lazio before beginning Serie A play on Aug. 24 against Sampdoria. 

Take a look at Juventus in this video below...

03 August 1:24 pm

Dodger Stadium has been transformed from a baseball stadium into a soccer pitch ahead of Saturday’s Guinness International Champions Cup matches.

Earlier, I spoke with Dodger groundskeeper Eric Hanson on the preparation of getting Dodger Stadium ready for soccer.

My interview with him is below...

(On how the grounds crew began the conversion…)

HANSON: “We started immediately after the Yankees/Dodgers game on Wednesday at 10:45 p.m.. We spent three hours doing what we needed to do to prep the field for the sod that was installed early on Thursday morning. From that point on, we did detail work and looked at the grass closely, and then attended to anything that we think might help. Now the lines have been painted and the goals have come in, so it is completely set up.”

(On how the reconfiguration was done…)

HANSON: “It mostly involves how we handle the dirt portions of the field because those areas had to be resodded, so to make that work we had to do some work on the skin areas and remove some of the material so the sod will transition nicely. The field runs over the pitcher’s mound and we did have to remove that, so it will have to be rebuilt prior to the Dodgers coming back in town next Friday.”

(On the challenges for the reconfiguration…)

HANSON: “The whole objective is that we want it to be as good as surface as we can possibly provide. We obviously have time constraints and we have to get it back in shape for the Dodgers on the following Friday, so we do the best that we can in the amount of time that we have. Our goal is to make that field as well play as well as it can.”

(On how long it’ll take to return the stadium to baseball shape…)

HANSON: “It won’t take much time to get that turf off. The sod company will come in and remove it. Then we have to bring the dirt that we took out and put that in on all the places. Also, we have to rebuild the pitcher’s mound. We’ll spend till next Thursday working on that and doing our detail work to get it back in shape.”

(On what it means for Dodger Stadium to host two soccer matches…)

HANSON: “It’s a new challenge for us. This is what we do. This is why the grounds crew is here and it’s not uncommon. Football has been played in baseball stadiums for many years and that’s a conversion that used to occur all the time. Soccer is no different; it’s just a different type of conversion. It’s just a new challenge for us and that’s how we view it. We’re anxious to see how it all works out, and hopefully, we can do it again.” 

03 August 12:56 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan wasn’t the only U.S. National Team star that the LA Galaxy welcomed back to the fold on Friday as defender Omar Gonzalez returned from his brief stint with the U.S. and MLS All-Star team.

Gonzalez went 45 minutes in the MLS All-Stars defeat to AS Roma, but only made a brief shift in the closing stages of the U.S. Gold Cup Final victory over Panama. The Galaxy defender is expected to be in action on Saturday.

“I’m happy to be back in L.A., I’m looking forward to being back with the Galaxy,” said Gonzalez. “I’m looking forward to these games, finding a way to improve as a team, and get ready for the second half of the season.”

Juventus will the second Italian team that Gonzalez faces in a week after his shift against Roma.  But even though the chance to face some of the top teams from around the globe is enjoyable, Gonzalez admits that his focus is simply on improving for the stretch run.

“It’s an opportunity for us to face teams from overseas, and not just any teams, but some of the world’s best teams,” said Gonzalez. “It’s a great experience for all of us, and I think that this is a chance for us to tune ourselves up for the second half of the season.”

02 August 5:19 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Brian Rowe got the chance that many goalkeepers have sought out—and dreaded—a chance to field a shot from Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. But unlike goalkeepers before him, Rowe held firm as he denied the star three times during LA’s 3-1 defeat to the Spanish giants.

Despite filling in for Carlo Cudicini, who traveled but did not dress, Rowe did well against the Spaniards as he repeatedly made big saves in the LA defeat.

As for the chance to face Ronaldo? Rowe admitted that there was nothing to it.

“It wasn’t different. You just find yourself in the moment and react to it,” said Rowe. “Once you start thinking about who you’re going up against then it gives them advantage. You just react. It’s all natural stuff.”

A video of Rowe speaking to the media after the Madrid match is below...

02 August 4:59 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Carlo Cudicini may get the opportunity to face off against one of the giants of Italian soccer on Saturday at Dodger Stadium—but only if he can complete a fitness test.

Cudicini had been scheduled to play a half against Real Madrid on Thursday, but a back issue suffered in training on Wednesday caused the goalkeeper to miss out on the match against the Spaniards.  If he does return to action on Saturday, he’ll face a side loaded with his countrymen.

“It's always nice to play against your own — some of them — old mates, and it's always good to speak a little bit of Italian,” said Cudicini, who started his career with AC Milan, the same club that his father played for. “I'm an AC Milan supporter, so, of course, Juventus and Inter Milan are the two big rivals. And Juventus is a great club, especially in Italy. They've won so many titles, have got such a great history. It's a game that's always nice to play.”

As for his fitness, however, that remains in flux—meaning that backup 'keeper Brian Rowe may be given his second start in three days if Cudicini is unable to go.

 “I feel it's better. I don't know, we'll see tomorrow, if it improves a little bit more, then it will maybe again be the 45 [minutes] each,” Cudicini said. “Of course, you hope to, but you want to be sure you're 100 percent OK.

"You don't want to risk, first of all because at the end of the day, these are important games for us, but what you're looking for is the [next MLS] game against Dallas [on Aug. 11],” Cudicini added. “You want to be sure you're ready for that game.”

02 August 2:54 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Pablo Mastroeni reunion tour made its latest stop on Thursday when the 36-year-old midfielder returned to his childhood home of Arizona.

In front of more than 50 friends and family, Mastroeni went 45 minutes in the Galaxy’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Guinness International Championship Cup play.  For Mastroeni, who left Arizona as a teenager of 17 to pursue his soccer career, the chance to play in his home state was an emotional experience.

“Playing in front of friends and family is always awesome,” said Mastroeni. “I had high school buddies; I had elementary school buddies, the extended family, and in-laws. The list goes on and on, but it was awesome…It was good to be out there and play probably my last game in front of the Phoenix crowd.”

However, playing in front of family and friends wasn’t the only exciting part as the midfielder enjoyed the chance to test himself against the Spanish giants.

“I don’t know what their payroll looks like, but I’m sure it’s a little bit more expensive than ours. Just world class players that you watch day in and day out, so to play against these guys doesn’t get old,” said Mastroeni. “Each and every opportunity that you get is an opportunity to measure yourself and [ask yourself] if I would have done alright overseas if I had gone over at a younger age.

“I think that we did a really good job of competing and making these guys play outside their comfort zone,” Mastroeni added. “I think their class showed when they were able to break and score goals, but it was a great game to be a part of, and hopefully, something that we can build on.”

Although Mastroeni has enjoyed getting a chance to spend time with scores of family and friends over the past two weeks, he’s ready for his life to return to normal.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, I’m ready to get off this thing and get some type of normalcy in my life, but that comes with the territory because professional sports are crazy,” said Mastroeni. “It always finds a way to make stories out of this, for me, I’m glad that in a week or two, we’ll get back to a somewhat normal schedule and get back into league.”

However, before that happens, the Mastroeni reunion tour will make one final stop next week in Miami, the place where Mastroeni began his MLS career 16-years-ago with the now defunct Miami Fusion.