CARSON, Calif. – A red card suspension to Leonardo has created a vacancy in the center of the LA Galaxy defense for this weekend’s match against Sporting Kansas City and who fills it may help LA snap their recent four-game winless run.
One of the primary options is A.J. DeLaGarza, who has started all nine of the Galaxy’s matches in 2013 across all competitions. A staple in the LA back four at central defense, DeLaGarza has primarily played at right back this year making six of his nine appearances out wide.
With Leonardo suspended and the Galaxy developing a habit of conceding late goals— seven of the eight goals allowed this season have come in the last 12 minutes of games—a return to the pairing of DeLaGarza and Gonzalez may be necessary.
“It’s something that we’ve done for years now. We’ve had Todd, myself, Sean and Omar back there for a number of years now so we’re all comfortable and know each other pretty well,” said DeLaGarza. “If that happens, we have to get back to what we’re good at, which is shutting opponents down for 90 minutes plus.”
If DeLaGarza is stationed at center back, it could help LA shut down an athletic Sporting attack led by Graham Zusi and Claudio Bieler. Known for his speed and positioning, DeLaGarza is aptly suited to stop Sporting’s fleet-footed attackers
That may not be the only benefit for DeLaGarza, who admits to feeling more confident at central defense than he is out wide.
“I’m probably more confident in that I know the game better from that position,” said DeLaGarza. “In terms of reading the game well and just giving the ball to people who are going to make the plays for us in Juninho and Marcelo [Sarvas] instead of me trying to be a playmaker from the center back spot.”
CARSON, Calif. – Central to Sporting Kansas City’s efforts this season has been the play of reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Jimmy Nielsen.
The Danish ‘keeper has followed up his strong award-winning 2012 season with yet another strong performance this year having only conceded three goals while making 11 saves and keeping a 0.43 goals against average. Currently Sporting have a five-game shutout streak and have kept their opponents scoreless for the last 512 minutes.
LA’s own goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini admitted that Nielsen is quite the weapon for Kansas City, but he’s more focused on stopping their high-octane attack.
“He’s doing very well. Last year, he was the best goalkeeper in the league. It’s a team that looks pretty solid and this year they have a very good striker in [Claudio] Bieler, who is a very good goleador. They’re getting stronger and last year they were first in their conference so they’re a team to beat.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will face a stiff test this week as they look to crack a strong Sporting Kansas City defense that has not conceded a goal in their last 512 minutes. However, LA will have a boost in the attack as Robbie Keane looks set to return to the lineup after missing last week’s defeat to FC Dallas.
Keane was sidelined with a left ankle issue last week that he says occurred during LA’s 1-0 defeat to C.F. Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal second leg. On Thursday, Keane returned to the training field and declared his ankle at 90 percent, a major indicator that he could play as “50 percent is good enough to play” in the Galaxy captain’s eyes.
“That was my first session since the Monterrey game. I’ve been doing a lot of fitness in the last three days so it was nice to be back on the field,” said Keane.
The Irishman and the rest of the LA offense will have stiff test on their hand to crack the Kansas City defense that blanketed Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, but Keane is confident that a goal will come.
“They haven’t conceded in a five games, they’re certainly a strong team,” said Keane. “It’s going to be a tough game, but listen, we’re a good team and we’re playing at home so we’ll be hoping to get the three points.”
Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones preview this Saturday's clash against Sporting Kansas City the newest edition of View from the Booth.
Check it out below...
CARSON, Calif. – Sooner or later, Landon Donovan is going to find the back of the net, but just when he does remains a question mark for the 31-year-old attacker and the rest of the LA Galaxy. But he hopes that the breakthrough comes this weekend against Sporting Kansas City.
The Galaxy attacker started a pair of matches last week against C.F. Monterrey and FC Dallas and has appeared in all four of LA's fixtures since returning from his hiatus from the sport. Following training on Thursday, Donovan admitted that he was feeling confident heading into Saturday’s match.
“I feel last week was really good for me personally, this has been a good week of training and my hope is that this is the week that it all finally comes together,” said Donovan. “I’m a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident. My touch is back naturally so I’m not really focusing on it anymore so I can focus on other things on the field and that’s when I’m at my best. So I’m hopeful this will be the week that it comes together.”
Donovan also addressed the status of the U.S. Under-17 side who failed to qualify for the 2013 U-17 World Cup with a defeat to Honduras last week in Panama. The defeat marked the first time in 14 tournaments that the Americans failed to qualify. Donovan’s commentary is not random as his career truly took flight in the 1999 U-17 World Cup in New Zealand when he was awarded the tournament’s Golden Ball trophy as the tournament’s MVP for the fourth-place American side.
“It's sad for those players and for [head coach] Richie Williams, because it's such an awesome experience and opportunity. I'm sad for those kids, that they don't get a chance to experience it. For me, it was some of the best memories of my life,” said Donovan. “It's disappointing. At the same time, there's no question with Olympic qualifying, 20s and 17s, we need to take a pretty honest look at what's going on, and we all have to do a better job. That falls on all of us. It's not one coach or a few coaches or certain players, it's everybody who's involved in soccer in this country. We need to take a look at ourselves and do a better job. No question.”
Expect Donovan to find the back of the net against Sporting? What are your thoughts about his comments on the U.S. U-17s?
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CARSON, Calif. -- There's many staff that make The Home Depot Center tick each and every day and on Thursday, the LA Galaxy honored one special member, who is moving on.
LA presented a team-autographed jersey to security guard Thurman Edwards, who retired on Thursday after working at AEG venues for 10 years. A frequent sight at in front of Galaxy training sessions and at The HDC entrance, LA honored the man whose face has been a constant around the club for many years.
Here at the LA Galaxy Insider and LAGalaxy.com, I'd like to take the time to thank Mr. Edwards for all of his work at The HDC and wish him all the luck in the future.
CARSON, Calif. -- A red card suspension will prevent LA Galaxy center back Leonardo from suiting up in this Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City, but the Brazilian defender remains in high spirits despite being forced to the sidelines.
Leonardo picked up a costly red card for a foul on FC Dallas forward Blas Perez in the 60th minute of LA’s 1-0 defeat to FCD last Saturday. The suspension will cost Leonardo his unblemished streak of appearances in all nine games this season across all competitions and allow either A.J. DeLaGarza or Tommy Meyer to slide into central defense.
The Brazilian may have lost his starting role for one match, but he’s simply targeting regaining that spot against Real Salt Lake on April 27.
“I’m taking this week very calm. I can’t be worrying about things like that,” Leonardo told reporters. “[Galaxy head coach] Bruce [Arena] is the one who has to worry about things like that. He has the options and he knows the players that he has and he’ll make the call as to who plays and he who doesn’t. I can’t go into the week worrying about it, I just have to be respectful and work in training.”
During the first nine games this season, LA has developed a nasty habit of conceding goals late as seven of the club’s eight goals that they’ve conceded in 2013 have come in the last 12 minutes of matches. For Leonardo, solving this problem comes down to concentration.
“We need to keep our concentration for 90 minutes to make sure those things that doesn’t happen. We also need to work at training and as games go on,” said Leonardo. “Right now, we’re only on our fifth game of the [regular] season and while it’s never okay to lose points, it is okay to drop points early in the season, but as the season continues, we need to sharpen those things and not lose points.”
CARSON, Calif. – Sean Franklin has been LA Galaxy’s rock along the right flank (either at right back or at right midfield) for many years, but a recurring tightness in his right hamstring prevented him from appearing in last Saturday’s defeat to FC Dallas.
This week represents a new opportunity, however, and Franklin seems poised to contend for a spot in LA’s starting XI.
Franklin trained with the Galaxy on Wednesday and Thursday and was noticeably confident about his condition even admitted that he could go 90 minutes if asked.
“It was my first full training and I felt pretty good. A little bit tired towards the end, but it’s all about recovering and doing the right things to be ready to go on Saturday,” he said. “I’ve done as much as I can as far as seeing the trainers and taking care of my body and getting as much treatment as I can so they’re moving me along in the right way. My body has been feeling better each day and I’m looking forward to playing this weekend.”
Training was not the only exciting portion of Franklin’s day as he also met up with Venezuelan Indy Car driver E.J. Viso, who visited Galaxy practice ahead of Sunday’s Long Beach Grand Prix. Viso, whose Andretti Autosport ride dons the number five was presented with his own Galaxy uniform in the exchange.
Photos and video from the interaction are below.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) April 18, 2013
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) April 18, 2013
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) April 18, 2013
LA Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas spoke to LAGalaxy.com's Joe Tutino in this week's segment of the Galaxy All-Access Podcast.
Listen to the interview below...
CARSON, Calif. – Former Columbus Crew midfielder and Southern California native Robbie Rogers retired from the game of soccer after coming out as gay in February, but has left the door open to a possible return.
In multiple interviews since his announcement, Rogers has stated that he may like to train with an MLS club and has identified the LA Galaxy as a place of interest. Rogers trained with LA during the summer of 2012 while on the books at English outfit Leeds United.
On Wednesday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, who coached against Rogers when the Rancho Palos Verdes-native played for the Columbus Crew said that he would be welcomed on the training field with open arms. However, the Galaxy boss did not divulge if he has had any conversations with Rogers.
“He’d always be welcome to train with us. He hasn’t talked to me about it,” Arena told reporters. “I’m in contact with players and people all the time in the game and I don’t make my conversations or communications public if they don’t need to be, but he’s always welcome to train with us.”
But when asked if the Galaxy would be interested in the player, if Rogers does decide to return to MLS, he was quick to mention that his rights are owned by the Chicago Fire, who acquired his rights in a deal that sent Dominic Oduro to Columbus and Dilly Duka to Chicago.