13 November 6:04 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Key to the LA Galaxy’s success in their 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in the Western Conference Championship First Leg was the play of right back Sean Frankin.

Against Seattle, Franklin had one of his finest game consistently terrorizing Seattle’s left back Zach Scott to the tune of two assists. To show just how effective the right back has been in the last two games, Franklin has more assists –three—than he had in his first 12 postseason games.

Franklin wasn’t certain if it was his finest game, but he was pleased with his performance going forward.

“Possibly, I was able to get in some good spots and David found me a couple times, Robbie played me some good balls,” said Franklin. “It’s all about picking the right time to go forward and maybe I could have had two or three assists in the first half if I play a better final ball, but I was able to get one in the second half.”

A considerable part of Franklin’s success was his ability to combine with right wing Christian Wilhelmsson. Throughout the match, the duo repeatedly overlapped to create problems for the Seattle left flank.

If Wilhelmsson and Franklin are placed on the right again, they might face a different Sounders group as midfielder Mauro Rosales is expected to return to the fold in the second leg at Centurylink Field, which would allow Brad Evans to resume his post on the left flank.

But ahead of the second leg, Franklin believes that despite LA’s three goal lead, the series is by no means over.

 “We know it’s going to be a crazy game on the 18th,” said Franklin. “They’ve got a crazy fan base, they’re a pretty good side at home and we know they’re going to be coming to get some goals so we’ve just got to be sharp, stick to our game plan and be prepared for all that.”

13 November 12:10 pm

CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza is still working back from injury, but that has not stopped him from pursuing options internationally.

Two weeks ago, DeLaGarza confirmed to Guam’s Pacific News Center that he had named to Guam’s 30-man roster for the East Asian Cup semifinal round tournament in Hong Kong in December. The winner of the five-team tournament which spans from Dec. 1 to Dec. 9 will advance to the 2013 East Asia Cup which will take place in Seoul, Korea Republic from July 20 to July 28

DeLaGarza, who has two caps—his last coming earlier this January in a friendly in Panama— for the U.S. national team is eligible to play for “the Matao” through his father’s side of the family. If DeLaGarza does join Guam, he’d be the second MLS player to join the Matao this year as New England Revolution midfielder Ryan Guy chose to suit up for the South Pacific earlier this year.

With DeLaGarza still recovering from an MCL sprain in his left knee, the Galaxy defender admits that the opportunity may be put on hold for now.

 “It’s just the preliminary roster for now,” DeLaGarza said last Saturday. They have some big games in December against Australia, Hong Kong, and a couple of other teams. The way that my knee is going, I’m probably not going to even risk it, but it’s just an opportunity that I have to maybe seek out. It’s nothing for sure, but maybe down the road.”

13 November 10:40 am

Good Morning to all of y'all, a few notes to get you through your morning.

The LA Galaxy are off for the second straight day today, but we'll have plenty of coverage for you today, here are a few notes to be made aware of...

*Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Mario Martinez has been called up to the Honduran national team for this Wednesday's friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston against Peru . Remember, because it is a FIFA window, Honduras had the right to call up their full squad. 

*A pair of LA Galaxy Academy players Javan Torre and Grady Howe, and the UCLA Bruins have qualified for the NCAA Tournament and hold a six seed in bracket three. With the seed, UCLA have an bye into the second round and will face the winner of Cal-State Northridge and University of San Diego on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. PT at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus.  Torre and Howe were the only Galaxy Academy product to advance to the tournament as Gyasi Zardes' Cal-State Bakersfield were unable to qualify 

*Down the hall, Chivas USA and Chivas de Guadalajara owner Jorge Vergara will speak at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills at 12:00 p.m. PT to discuss the future of the Rojiblancos. Vergara has already fired head coach Robin Fraser and much of his staff and is expected to announce more front office moves on Saturday. There is no video stream of the press conference.

12 November 7:30 pm

After revealing that he suffered an injury to his right Achilles during Sunday's 3-0 LA Galaxy win over Seattle Sounders FC, Juninho announced via Twitter that he underwent an MRI on Monday and the results were positive. 

Juninho told the LA Galaxy Insider on Sunday that he was positive that he could return from the injury that forced to leave at the half of LA's Western Conference Championship First Leg. If the results were as positive as the Brazilian attests than with a week between matches, Juninho may be able to regain his position in the starting lineup in Sunday's decisive Western Conference Championship Second Leg at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. 

12 November 6:33 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Before we completely turn the page from Sunday’s match, a few thoughts from Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid after Seattle was defeated 3-0 by the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Championship First Leg.

Schmid stresses that his club has confidence in their ability to erase the three goal lead and history certainly shows –check out this piece by the Seattle Times – that they have experience of scoring a high number of goals at home.

Schmid’s thoughts are below…

(On what he was most disappointed in…)

SCHMID: “Just disappointed that we didn’t keep it at 1-0. I thought we had the ability to keep it at 1-0, and we should’ve kept it at 1-0 and played with a better mentality at that stage. But at the end of the day, guys on the field, they’re trying to do things. We were still possessing the ball, we were still getting some looks going forward, and we got caught on the counter. It’s typical. That’s the way Bruce likes to play, that’s the way LA plays, where they’ll sit back and they’ll counter-attack. When you’ve got the speed of Landon and the speed of Keane, and their creativity that they possess, they’re a team that very dangerous.”

(On the Seattle back line looking disorganized…)

SCHMID: :I think the movement was good for them, but I think more so than anything, it was us giving the ball away at times in midfield, which put us under duress. Guys getting caught in advance positions with the ball, as the ball turned over and therefore they had space to counter into. The thing is, guys like Landon and Keane and Beckham, they cheat sometimes on defense, and if you turn the ball over badly and they’re in good positions on the other end, they’ve got the quality to make you pay.”

(On the deficit being similar to RSL last year…)

SCHMID: “We also take solace in the fact that we beat LA earlier in the year 4-0 at our place. We know we’ve got to come up with the same sort of effort we came out the last time we played at home last year, and we’ve got to come out with a better result.”

(On whether the first goal changed the complexion of game…)

SCHMID: “I think we possibly pushed a little bit when we shouldn’t have pushed to try and get the goal back, because getting the goal back wasn’t important. 1-0 was fine. Obviously they’ve got some veteran guys. You add up just the three players I mentioned, they’ve got more caps times 20 than my whole team does. Or maybe times 100. From that standpoint, they’re a little more cagey, they’re a little more, ‘OK, this is all we need to do today,’ and for some reason maybe we didn't quite recognize that. But I think the goal at the end of the half certainly changed the complexion a little bit, and it’s over now.”

(On if Seattle learned anything from last year’s defeat to RSL…)

SCHMID: “Obviously we didn't learn much because we did the same thing this year. We talked about it, we talked at halftime, and we said 1-0 is OK. We walk away 1-0 we’re alright. I really tried to emphasize that at halftime, but then at the end of the day we didn't. So now we have to come back and we've got to play with the same attitude, the same conviction that we played with last year in the game two but we've got to score more goals.”

12 November 11:49 am

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho appears to have suffered an injury to his right Achilles during Sunday night’s 3-0 Western Conference Championship First Leg victory over Seattle Sounders FC.

Juninho started the match, even helping to step up the club’s first goal, but was subbed off for fellow Brazilian Marcelo Sarvas at the half. While many believed that the substitution was because of Juninho’s yellow card situation, following the game, head coach Bruce Arena confirmed that it was due to an injury.

“He took a knock and we wanted to be smart,” Bruce Arena told reporters after the game. “Marcelo is a very experienced player, a quality player and it's a luxury in that position to be able to utilize him there. Maybe if we didn't have that kind of depth we would keep him in a little longer.”

Following the match, Juninho expounded on his injury. 

“I’m feeling a little bit sad, it’s my Achilles that is hurt again, it’s very hard to play a lot of games with the injury and I’m feeling it in the best part of playoffs, so it is sad,” Juninho told LA Galaxy Insider after the game. “But I have a long week off, but I hope to be better for the next game. I’m going to continue my treatment and talk with the doctors and the training staff.”

Although Juninho is still unsure of the extent of the injury, he was pleased with the club’s performance against the Sounders.

 “It’s very important when you score goals and win the game,” Juninho. “It’s a comfortable lead for the next game, but Seattle has a great team and I think that the next game in Seattle will be a tough game and I hope we’ll play well again and win.”

12 November 11:37 am

CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham may not have been his normally sharp self on his set pieces, but he did provide a valuable punch as the LA Galaxy counterattack overwhelmed Seattle Sounders FC to a 3-0 victory in the Western Conference Championship First Leg on Sunday.

Throughout his 90 minute performance, Beckham went toe-to-toe with Seattle’s midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans, in what proved to be a cagey match early on. Beckham was at his best in the 64th minute as he started a counter by playing a ball forward to Robbie Keane. The Irishman then launched the ball wide right to Sean Franklin, whose cross found Mike Magee, who easily beat Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning for LA’s second goal.

Beckham still has one caution heading into the second leg, but the midfielder can only be suspended for the MLS Cup Final if he is given a red card at CenturyLink Field.

Below Beckham discusses the start to the series, injuries and other topics….

BECKHAM: “I think we set the standards before the game that we needed to achieve. We started the game OK, I think we came into the game later into the first half. It’s always great to get a goal just before halftime, and it’s always hard conceding a goal at halftime. They’re a very good team, so we knew that they was going to create chances, we just needed to be strong on defense. Josh was great again tonight. We always create chances, it was great that we put them away. But this is far from over, Seattle’s always been a tough place to go and win games and play at, their fans will be right behind them. But we have obviously put ourselves in good position, but we know that it’s far from over.”

(On whether Seattle opened up in the second half…)

BECKHAM: "I think that always happens when you’re chasing the game and when you’re down a goal or two, the game opens up. The other team has to take a few more chances, and luckily for us it opened up. We could have had one or two more than we actually got, but we’d have taken 3-0 at the start of the game.”

(On if he has an eye on the Eastern conference series…)

BECKHAM: “I’ve got a little bit of an eye on that side of things, but we need to concentrate on what we’re doing. That’s the important part, and then everything can fall into place hopefully.”

(On how LA could host the final if Houston wins…)

BECKHAM: “We’re not even thinking about that yet. We may have put ourselves in a great position tonight, but last time we played in Seattle we got beat 4-0, well second to last time we played there, so we know that they can score goals there, we know they’re dangerous there, we just have to do our job.”

(On the Galaxy’s play in the last two games…)

BECKHAM: “I think our movement has changed. Before the San Jose game away, our movement and our fitness maybe wasn’t as good, but I think we’ve picked it up. We’ve realized that if we want to go all the way in this competition we have to pick it up. The standards had to be higher, and I think that we’ve brought our standards higher, and we need to keep them there.”

(On what ways the team’s movement changed...)

BECKHAM: “I just think everyone. When you play quite a few games in a short space of time, you become a little bit stale and a little bit tired and I think that we had that in the first game against San Jose. We’d come off a tough game against Vancouver, scraped through in that one, and then coming up against a San Jose team that was very strong. But I think we recovered a lot better than them. I said it the day after the game, we recovered a lot better than we did for the first San Jose game. So leading into the second one, we were ready, and we were ready to play. Our confidence was up and it showed it in the game, and it showed in this game as well.”

(On whether Bernárdez’s goal in first SJ game was a wakeup call...)

BECKHAM:  “Maybe. Maybe just the loss, not just the goal. The loss at home and the realization that we had to go there and win. Sometimes that can help a team. I think that probably did help us. We needed a kick up the backside and probably that was it.”

(On the injuries being worrisome…)

BECKHAM: “No, I think we’ve got a great medical staff here, so they’ll do everything possible to get everyone of the players and any knocks that we’ve got, ready. But we’ve had that most of the season, and we’ve had players that have stepped in. Edson played a great game in San Jose, for 60 minutes, and then obviously came off and missed tonight but hopefully he’ll be ready for next week. If he’s not, then we’ve got players that will step in and do the job. But we can’t worry about injuries too much, at this stage of the season, players are going to pick up niggles, players are going to pick up injuries, it’s just about coming together as a squad. We did it last year, and we saw what happened last year. So we need to do it again.”

12 November 10:55 am

Before we delve further into Western Conference Championship First Leg match, U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has announced his 20-man roster for the U.S. friendly with Russia on Nov. 18. 

The U.S. take on Russia in Krasnodar at 8 a.m. PT in Kuban Stadium on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Univision

As expected no players currently participating in the MLS Cup Playoffs were called up to the squad.

Klinsmann's complete roster is below...

GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (6): Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Maurice Edu (Stoke City), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Roma), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna)

12 November 12:47 am

CARSON, Calif. -- Below are Bruce Arena's postgame thoughts from Sunday night's 3-0 Western Conference Championshp victory over Seattle Sounders FC

ARENA: "We played very well tonight against an excellent team. We're not foolish enough to believe that this thing is over. The game in Seattle on Sunday is going to be a real difficult game. We have to have our team ready to play."

(On Christian Wilhelmsson’s play…)

ARENA: “Christian played very well tonight. The combination play between him and Beckham, Donovan, Keane, and Magee was excellent. They had a good night and they were dangerous, obviously. The goal at the end of the [first] half was certainly huge and made a big difference. Seattle pressed to get a goal, opened things up and gave some talented players a little bit of room to help us get the second and third goals.”

(On Mike Magee and Robbie Keane…)

ARENA: “hey were excellent. As I said I think the whole group tonight, this was one of those nights where every player was on form, and did an outstanding job.”

(On LA’s form over 180 minutes…)

ARENA: “90 minutes, [San Jose] doesn't count. If we could count the last 90 that would really help, but it doesn't. We have another difficult 90 ahead of us. It's going to be challenging. Yes, the 90 in San Jose was good, but tonight was more complete. We were sloppy in the last fifteen minutes in San Jose, tonight was better so that's encouraging.”

(On the secret for LA’s play…)

ARENA: “There's never any secrets, to be honest with you. I'd like to tell you we have a lot of them and we pulled them out for this; but just playing well, scoring goals, and being a lot more solid defensively. Just overall, we're playing better.”

(On not getting a fourth goal…)

ARENA:  “I certainly would have loved to have a fourth. Can't have everything in life, you know. It certainly makes it more challenging for next Sunday.”

 (On the biggest challenge in second leg…)

BA: There won't be any complacency. The challenge is Seattle. They're a very good team, that's going to be our challenge.

 (On getting the first goal…)

ARENA: “It was [crucial]. It was probably the difference in the game. It was huge.”

(On the first leg being at home…)

ARENA: “Sounds like you answered your question. How could you conclude after what you just said that it's not good. When I get fired, I'm definitely going to become a journalist. Sure sounds that way. I'll go back in the lab and try to figure it out, but it sounds pretty good. Without away goals it kind of neutralizes things a little bit, however, certainly the team in the second leg, that gets the extra thirty minutes, it's certainly to their advantage.”

(On comparing 2012 to 2011…)

ARENA: “I have no idea. I can't remember that far back, to be honest with you. I think maybe some of our guys were thinking about that up until June this year. It's a whole different season, it's a different team and a different set of circumstances so I can't compare one to the other. It's not fair and I don't think it makes sense. Every year is different and unique.”

(On Robbie Keane…)

ARENA: “I’ve said it a number of times, I think he's been simply outstanding since his return from the European Championships. One can argue that he's been the best player in the league, and unbelievably important for our team. He's been healthy, and been in just about every game since he returned. He's simply been outstanding. He’s been great.”

(On the circumstances of Wilhelmsson’s start…)

ARENA: “Due to Buddle not being available.”

(On the older players serving as leaders for younger players…)

ARENA: “I think if Keane, Beckham, and Donovan are right, and even Omar in the case of Tommy Meyer, they're outstanding role models for those guys and examples. When they're focused and their minds are right, they're great examples for any of our young players to look at and learn from and help them develop. I would say they're vitally important to the development of the young players.”

(On thinking about hosting Cup?)

ARENA:  “I'm thinking about seeing if we can get past Seattle on Sunday. If we made it to the MLS Cup, I'd be happy to be playing anywhere, whether it’s home or away. I think that would be a great accomplishment. I'm well aware of the fact that it's not going to be easy to get there. We’re going to work hard this week and try to have our team ready for a difficult game on Sunday.”

12 November 12:13 am

CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan told reporters after the LA Galaxy's 3-0 victory in the Western Conference Championship First Leg over Seattle Sounders FC that he suffered a tightening in his hamstring that ultimately led to his subsitution from the match. 

Donovan was electric during his 84th minute period on the field, notching an assist on Robbie Keane's goal in the first half while repeatedly combining with the Irishman and midfielder Mike Magee in the attack. However, in the 84th minute, Donovan was subbed out of the match, apparently favoring his right leg, due to what was announced by Galaxy PR staff and head coach Bruce Arena as cramping. However, following the match, Donovan elborated more on the knock. 

"I felt my hamstring tighten up a little bit, so we'll see, go in tomorrow and look at it," said Donovan, who admitted that he was not feeling one way or another with the injury. " I just took off to run and felt it grab a little bit. I wanted to be safe and get out of there."