As the LA Galaxy recharge their batteries over the next few days, a keen eye will be placed on the team's upcoming participation in the CONCACAF Champions League.
After a brief four day break, the Galaxy will play four games in the next ten days starting with Thursday's CCL match against Isidro Metapan on October 23rd at The Home Depot Center. This intense stretch of games could be incredibly beneficial for players like midfielder Michael Stephens. A player that would contend for a starting spot on other clubs, Stephens has only made six starts in 18 appearances this season and is expected to play a major part in the Galaxy's CCL campaign.
Stephens, who is coming off an emotional night on Wednesday in Columbus, understands that the tournament is incredibly important for his progression.
"I'm excited about it just because I've been somebody that hasn't gotten as many minutes as he would have liked this year. As we start to get into three games a week, it should provide some more opportunities for me and hopefully I can take advantage of them."
After a brutal stretch, the LA Galaxy are finally receiving a well-deserved break.
Following Wednesday's match against the Columbus Crew, the Galaxy are off until Monday as the players, coaches, staff -- and journalists? -- recharge their batteries ahead of the league's stretch run as well as the start of the CONCACAF Champions League. Following the 1-1 draw with Columbus -- LA's 13th regular season game in two months --, MLSsoccer.com's Luis Bueno wrote the following piece on the Galaxy's break in the schedule.
Out of the Galaxy's remaining 12 games in all competitions, LA have just two remaining road games on their league schedule against Colorado Rapids on September 30th and the San Jose Earthquakes on October 21st as well as a pair of trips in CONCACAF Champions League to Puerto Rico to face the Puerto Rico Islanders on Sept. 19th in San Juan and El Salvador to take on Isidro Metapán on Oct. 25th
Below are Arena's full thoughts on his club finally getting some rest this week:
“We need a break, we've had a really long stretch. We've played most of our games on the road now for the year...We've had a long schedule, We've been like the Ringling Brothers Circus, we've been a circus act for the league all year, running us around. It hasn’t been at opportune times at all. It’s been challenging on our team physically and I think we’ve come through alright. Hopefully, we can use some time off this week and get our legs back and be a little bit more rested for the last part of the MLS schedule and the Champions League which is going to be challenging as well. ”
Share your thoughts on LA's schedule this year in the section below?
It's time for the second edition of "Ask the Insider,"
This edition's question comes from Ronnie Flores : "Galaxy are officially in third place! What are the chances they'll climb any higher up the western conference table?"
Thanks for the question Ronnie,
With a 1-1 draw in Columbus on Wednesday and FC Dallas’ 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, the LA Galaxy leapfrogged the Seattle Sounders and the Whitecaps into third place in the Western Conference standings. All three teams are currently level on 37 points, but due to their higher number of goals scored, LA holds the decisive tiebreaker over their two conference opponents.
Although the Galaxy hold a slim advantage on the two teams heading into the final two months of this season, LA have played one more game than Vancouver and three more than the Sounders. But despite their opponents holding an advantage in terms of games in hand, LA will play six of their remaining eight league matches -- including games against Vancouver on Sept. 1st, Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6th and Seattle on Oct. 28th -- in the friendly confines of The Home Depot Center, where the Galaxy are 5-1-5 this season.
With a number of home games down the stretch and their early season struggles a thing in the past, if the Galaxy can continue their recent positive run of form in the season’s final months, LA may continue their rise up the table.
Thanks again to Ronnie, you can get your tickets by e-mailing email@example.com. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against Isidro Metapán on August 23rd for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.
Good Morning from Dallas everyone,
The LA Galaxy departed from Columbus in the early morning hours, above is a photo taken just before take off. They're taking a brief layover in Dallas before continuing on to Los Angeles.
As you look to get through your early morning drag, be sure to check out my Three Points to Wednesday's 1-1 draw between the Galaxy and the Columbus Crew as well as a recap of emotional tributes to late Crew midfielder Kirk Urso.
I'll have more to come later today including our second installment of "Ask the Insider"
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Here's a round up of some of the tributes performed on an emotional night honoring late Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso. A series of photos and the Crew tribute below:
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 15, 2012
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 16, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's game day in Columbus and we're just several hours from the clash between the LA Galaxy and the Columbus Crew. Above is a photo of the Columbus Skyline taken a few hours before tonight's match.
Before kick off, check out my "Three Points" to the match as well as my look at the emotion surrounding tonight's clash and my story on LA's reunion with former Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Good afternoon to those in Columbus and a good morning to everyone back in Southern California.
We're still a few hours away from kick off, but ahead of Wednesday's game against the Columbus Crew, I provided my Three Points to the match.
Which point do you feel is most important? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Former LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall will play his first game against his former club as a member of the Columbus Crew.
The Trinidad and Tobago International was an important cog in the Galaxy midfield for three years, but left following the 2011 season to pursue his options in England. On Tuesday, I caught up with Birchall and provided this story on LAGalaxy.com.
Below is a complete transcript of my interview with Birchall.
(On playing the Galaxy…)
BIRCHALL: "Ever since I came back to MLS and signed with Columbus, it was the first game that I was looking for on the schedule. It’s a game that I’m really looking forward to. To see the Galaxy again and see how they’re all doing and to play against them and try to get the three points will be tough, but I’m just trying to play well and have a nice night as well."
BIRCHALL: "It’s the same nucleus as the championship team last year. I’m excited about seeing Josh [Saunders] who I was really close with, Jovan [Kirovski], Robbie [Keane] and David [Beckham]—I know that he didn’t make the trip, but all the players, Franklin, Omar. I was with them for three years so it’s kind of the same squad and I’m just really looking forward to seeing them all and see how they’re all doing."
(On watching LA’s early slide from afar…)
BIRCHALL: "It was just one of those periods where it was such a good season last year. Something was bound to come into a set where there were a few cracks. I think that there was a few new players coming together and getting them together and injuries hurt. When Omar got injured that was a massive blow, but you could always tell that they were going to bounce back. Just about now, they’re getting their back four together and are starting to play well. From now on, I think that they’re a really tough team to beat."
(On what he took from his time with LA…)
BIRCHALL: "I was honored to be a member of the Galaxy during one of their greatest seasons in MLS. What we did last year was unbelievable; it would be hard for any team to emulate that. But I was just privileged and honored because I played a lot of games and I’ve got nothing but fond memories of the fans and the players. I’ve also got some fond memories of winning an MLS Cup so it will be something that I’m always grateful for and I’m always looking out for the Galaxy to do well."
(On the importance of the Galaxy came for Columbus…)
BIRCHALL: “We’ve got a lot of games in hand over our opponents. We’ve got six games in hand on Montreal and three or four games in hand on most teams. So these are the kind of games where we need to go out and get three points, we missed the game on Saturday, but soccer came second to what happened. It was emotional and now we’ve got to go out and try and play well. The last month, we’ve been playing really well and we’ve got to keep that going and try to pick up points at home. This is a game where it will be good to get anything out of the game, but we’ve got to go in with the mentality that we’re trying to win it.”
(On how emotional Wednesday’s match will be…)
BIRCHALL: “It’s been a week that the event happened with Kirk, but a lot of players are still caught up about it. Last week was a really emotional week and we had a chance to say good bye and see his family and go to the funeral. The guys carried him off well and this will be the final farewell tribute to him. There are a few things at the game and we’ve got t-shirts and a memorial video as well. It is going to be emotional, but once the whistle blows, we’ll be fine.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio. -- The LA Galaxy took part in their only training session ahead of Wednesday's match against the Columbus Crew on Tuesday on the campus of The Ohio State University.
The session went on for a little over an hour before the players returned to the club hotel, but the highlight of practice was a game of soccer tennis between several of the club's players. Of the participants, the most dominant was the team of Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho and Hector Jimenez.
Below are Sarvas' thoughts on the exercise and a little snippet of the action.
(On the importance of the exercise...)
"It’s good to relax and to have a nice day before the game. It also helps your technique and the most importantly, the guys are always laughing and making jokes so that’s the most important."
(On his own performance during the exercise...)
SARVAS: "My team was the best, me, Juninho and Hector, we killed them. Robbie [Keane] was a little bit angry, but he can not compete against us."
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When the LA Galaxy take on the Columbus Crew on Wednesday evening, they'll be without midfielder David Beckham for the second straight match.
Beckham did not make the trip to Columbus after missing Sunday's match against Chivas USA to attend the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic games. Following the Galaxy's training session in Columbus on Tuesday, head coach Bruce Arena spoke about the reason for Beckham's absence.
"He's been away for an extended period of time and he needs to get settled back in and get his legs back."