LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright scored in the U.S. Under-17's 2-1 defeat to Portugal at the Nike International Friendlies on Monday.
Wright scored in the 13th minute to give the U.S. a lead, but the Europeans quickly answered with a goal in the 27th minute to tie the score. Portugal took the lead for good in stoppage time to defeat the Americans.
The U.S. return to action on Wednesday against England who fell 2-1 to Brazil in their first match.
There’s a number of intriguing players up for selection in the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft Process and I’ve highlighted four prospects that may be of interest for the Galaxy in either Stage One or Stage Two of the process.
As one point, all four of these players are selections that I would anticipate in Stage Two when teams can renegotiate their salary numbers. I also won’t be selecting players who were on the Galaxy’s squad in 2013 although Franklin and Courtois are interesting options to possibly return.
One of the most exciting players on the list, Espindola struggled in his only season with the New York Red Bulls, but could be a valuable asset to a Galaxy squad searching for further scoring options.
Espindola scored nine goals in 28 appearances with New York with two assists after being traded from RSL. Prior to his time with NYRB, Espindola was a dangerous weapon for Real Salt Lake scoring 35 league goals with 17 assists in six seasons with the club.
During that time, Espindola scored four times against the Galaxy as he was able to terrorize LA with his speed and finishing ability.
The LA Galaxy are searching to add a target forward and former FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper could be that option.
Cooper can be versatile even playing on the wing in some occasions but he may be able to benefit the Galaxy with his size and aerial threat. That being said, Cooper is likely to be a costly option for a Galaxy team that is likely to reshape its payroll amount in the coming years. The 29-year-old scored six goals for FCD in 31 appearances in 2013.
Cheaper options could include Andre Akpan formerly of the Colorado Rapids or Toronto FC’s Justin Braun.
DEWAYNE DE ROSARIO
The 2011 MLS MVP is an extremely intriguing selection, but is coming off a season that saw him make 24 appearances and score just three goals for a D.C. United side that finished at the bottom of MLS.
Despite his tough season, there’s no doubt that De Rosario has the type of finishing touch and playmaking ability that could make him an asset for the Galaxy alongside Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan. Plus with Donovan expected to be away for several matches due to international commitments next season, De Rosario could be an apt stopgap.
All this may be moot; however, as according to a report in the Toronto Sun, his former club Toronto FC is open to bringing back the Canadian international. De Rosario isn’t the only MLS MVP on the list, however, as he’s joined by 2010 selection David Ferreira who saw his option declined by FC Dallas.
Calen Carr has had major health issues over the past two seasons, but when healthy, Carr has the type of speed that could make him useful in 2014 for LA.
Staying fit has been the knock against Carr who has dealt with knee and concussion issues over the last several years. Although Carr was predominantly used a forward in Houston, the 2012 MLS Cup goal scorer could transition to a wide role with the Galaxy where he could use his speed to stretch defenses.
Plus with his injury concerns, Carr would likely be a cheap low risk, high reward option for the Galaxy. Similar to this idea could be ex-Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani who was one of the Sounders’ regulars before a dramatic knee injury in 2012 or former New England Revolution outside back Kevin Alston.
*For options that may be further down the list, but players like Yordany Alvarez and Bobby Boswell may be interesting options as is Joel Lindpere.
The LA Galaxy will have four players available for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process including 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin.
The Galaxy declined options on Colin Clark, Laurent Courtois and Sean Franklin while Pablo Mastroeni was out of contract. Franklin made 40 appearances in all competitions for the Galaxy in 2013 with two goals and three assists. Clark, who joined LA in the 2012 Re-Entry process made just 13 appearances much of them at the start of the season while both Mastroeni and Courtois—each acquired in midseason trades—made less than 13 appearances.
Stage One of the Re-Entry Process will take place on Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. PT while Stage Two will take place on Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. PT. Remember that little action typically takes place in Stage One as clubs have to sign a player at their 2013 salary or extend a Bona Fide Offer to that player and teams have until Dec. 11 to negotiate with those players made eligible for the process. Following the first stage, the action typically gets even more heated as teams look to either bring back players or make selections in Stage Two of the process.
The field is set for the 2013 NCAA College Cup at PPL Park in Philadelphia.
Maryland, who produced Galaxy stars A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Rogers, booked their ticket to the national championship in Philadelphia with a 2-1 victory over California in Berkeley on Saturday. They'll face Virginia, who rose to soccer prominence under the leadership of Bruce Arena, who led the Cavaliers to five titles in 18 years as the team's head coach. The Cavaliers defeated the North Carolina 1-0 last Friday.
In the other semifinal, New Mexico will take on Notre Dame after defeating Washington 1-0 in Seattle. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 2-1
LA Galaxy Academy product Haji Wright has been called up for the U.S. Under-17's roster for the upcoming 2013 Nike International Friendlies.
U.S. U-17 head coach Richie Williams' 20-man group will face Portugal on Monday before matches against England on Dec. 11 and Brazil on Dec. 13 at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood, Florida. It is Wright's second inclusion in the U.S. U-17 roster in less than a month as he took part in the nation's U-17's friendlies with Canada in November.
The roster includes eight players from California.
The complete roster is below...
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (PDA; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (7): Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (Unattached; Allentown, Pa.), George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Edwin Lara (unattached; San Leandro, Calif.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca De La Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo), Brian Zelaya (De Anza Force; San Mateo, Calif.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas Academy; El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS (5): Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey FC; San Diego, Calif.), Joshua Perez (unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Haji Wright (LA Galaxy Academy); Los Angeles, Calif.
MLS and adidas unveiled the 2014 Match Ball on Sunday.
The 2014 adidas MLS Match Ball which is based on the "Brazuca," the official ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. According to MLS, the colors are meant to represent "a heart, as the ball is the heart of the soccer and MLS."
What are your thoughts on the new MLS match ball?
On Friday, I told you that the U.S. National Team's draw into Group G with Germany, Portugal and Ghana at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil isn't an impossible one, and LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena seems to agree.
In his latest article in the Los Angeles Times, Arena states that the U.S. will be competitive and even states that he expects them to advance from the Group.
Arena's choices to advance from the groups are as followed, but remember they are not necessarily the positions that the teams will finish.
Group A: Brazil and Croatia. Group B: Spain and Netherlands. Group C: Colombia and Ivory Coast. Group D: Uruguay and Italy. Group E: Ecuador and France. Group F: Argentina and Nigeria. Group G: Germany and United States. Group H: Belgium and Russia.
Arena's choices several months out led me to make my own decisions which you can see below. Now remember that these could -- and probably will -- change as the months go by.
Group A: Brazil and Mexico. Group B: Spain and Netherlands. Group C: Colombia and Japan. Group D: Uruguay and Italy. Group E: France and Honduras. Group F: Argentina and Nigeria. Group G: Germany and United States. Group H: Belgium and Russia.
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez has been featured on the cover of the latest edition of Overlap magazine.
In addition to being placed on the cover, Gonzalez is the subject of a piece titled "The Happiest Man in Los Angeles County" is a selection of photos by New York photographer Matt Rubin.
A teaser photo of Omar playing a mean air saxophone can be seen below.
The U.S. National Team will be testing themselves against the likes of Ghana, Portugal and Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer and are already relishing the opportunity to tackle a “Group of Death.”
During a media scrum at a World Cup draw watch party at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Omar Gonzalez and other U.S. national team members remarked about the Americans’ placement in Group G. One highlight for Gonzalez will be another chance to take on one of the planet’s finest players in Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I faced him for the Galaxy once before and that was fun, but I think he’s going to be even harder playing for his country in this tournament,” Gonzalez told reporters of his bouts with Ronaldo in 2010 and 2012 friendlies. “I think it’s going to be awesome and it should be a fun time.”
Even though Gonzalez will be looking to make his first-ever World Cup roster, the Galaxy defender admitted that he correctly anticipated where the U.S. would fall upon learning the first two participants in Group G.
“Once Germany and Ghana got paired together I figured this is probably going to be us,” Gonzalez admitted. “Fate’s going to align, and it’s all going to happen.”
CARSON, Calif. – Clint Mathis knows a little something about playing – and excelling – at the World Cup and after watching the U.S. National Team’s draw for the 2014 edition in Brazil, he believes the Americans can advance from their “Group of Death.”
Mathis, who appeared in two games during the U.S. National Team’s run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, which included a stunning goal against South Korea helping the Americans to a 1-1 draw. During that tournament, the Americans faced two of their opponents for 2014 as they defeated Portugal 3-2—with Mathis watching from the bench—in their group stage opener while falling 1-0 to eventual tournament runner-up Germany in the quarterfinals.
Mathis’ thoughts on the U.S. National Team’s World Cup draw for Brazil is below…
MATHIS: “Obviously, we’ve definitely seen quite a few of these teams in the last few World Cups. Obviously, Germany is going to be a favorite, but I think in the past, the U.S. has done well against those guys. The one particular team that they haven’t been too successful with is Ghana, but being knocked out of the last two World Cups by the same team, maybe the third time is the charm for the U.S. It’s going to be the first game so I think that a lot will be on the line, but if the U.S. can get a result in that first game that would definitely change the whole outcome of the group. Then there’s Portugal, who we were successful against in 2002 in the first group stage game. It’s two different teams though and Portugal is not a team that you can sit back on. It’s in my opinion, the toughest group if not the toughest then it is the second toughest. If you’re playing in a World Cup, it’s never easy so I don’t think there’s not too much to worry about because every game is going to be tough no matter what group you’re in. The good thing is if the U.S. gets out of this group stages, I think it should be easier when normally it gets harder.”
(On what is running through the players’ minds about facing Ghana once again…)
MATHIS: “I think there’s a lot of excitement. If you look at guys like Landon or other guys who have been put out by the same team, I think there’s a lot of excitement on the revenge side. They’re saying ‘hey, we’ve got them in a group stage not a knockout stage’ so I think there’s some excitement to get some revenge because you can say ‘hey, you know what. Everyone is already going to count us out, we’re the underdogs’ and I think that’s not a bad mindset to go into this World Cup like we’ve got nothing to lose because no one is thinking that the U.S. can get out of his group right now.”
(On whether the U.S. group stage is similar to what he faced during the 2002 World Cup…)
MATHIS: “I think so. Everyone thought that the U.S. had no chance to get out of our group and we did well. I think there is something to say because these other teams are going to be fighting too. Portugal is sitting saying ‘why am I in this group?’ Ghana is saying the same thing and Germany is going ‘are you kidding me?’ Anything can happen in these games and no one is going to want to play against the U.S. per say because of the athleticism and the results that they could turn out. I think that it is going to be a tough group and I don’t think that any of the teams are too excited to be in this group.”