CARSON, Calif. – Thursday’s match against the Columbus Crew will be a special one for Robbie Rogers, who will take on his old team for the very first time.
A mainstay in Columbus from 2007 to 2011, Rogers helped the Crew win the MLS Cup in 2008 and consecutive Supporters’ Shields in 2008 and 2009. During that time, Rogers became one of the league’s brightest stars as he was named to the MLS Best XI in 2008 and nearly made the U.S. roster for the 2010 World Cup.
Shortly after the 2011 season, Rogers completed a move to Leeds United that set in motion a two-year stint in England that included a brief stop at League One side Stevenage. On Thursday, he’ll face his old club as a member of the LA Galaxy after the club acquired his rights from the Chicago Fire in May.
“It should be interesting. I played for so long and, obviously, I never played against them. That will be a little different to be in the other kit,” said Rogers who has exchanged texts with several current Crew players and members of the coaching staff. “Playing against Columbus at StubHub Center will be a little strange for me at first, but I’m desperate to get three points, so I don’t care who I’m playing against.”
As he prepares to take on his old club, Rogers is still trying to find his way with the Galaxy as he has made a total of seven appearances in all competitions and has started the last three regular season matches for LA.
During those three starts, Rogers has become steadily more involved in the Galaxy attack with seven shots in those appearances. Despite his chances, he has yet to score his first goal in an LA uniform, but came maddeningly close during last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.
“It’s annoying. I had some chances in the first half and one in the second half; we created so many chances especially in the end of the game. It’s the soccer gods, you got to finish one of those [chances] or they might punish you,” said Rogers. “I just need to really be sharp in the final third. Defensively, I feel like I’m doing better. I just need to put one away and it helps the team out.”
As he looks to find the back of the net for the first time, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has already tabbed Rogers for a big week with LA playing their second of three games in eight days.
“I’ve said it before, it takes four or five games to get completely match fit,” said Keane of the midfielder’s performance. “I think that this week will help. Playing Sunday, Thursday, and again on Sunday. I think this will be a big week for him.”
CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza knows that he could have done better on the play that led to the San Jose Earthquakes’ game-winning-goal last Saturday, but that doesn’t mean that he was going to take those trying to needle him in jest lying down.
The Earthquakes promoted a GIF image of Marvin Chavez’s play that depicts DeLaGarza falling to the ground after to gain position. The play set in motion San Jose’s closing goal that ended on the head of forward Alan Gordon to seal a 3-2 victory for the Quakes.
“I can’t make an excuse for it. It’s not like he crossed me up and did some ridiculous move,” said DeLaGarza. “I tripped over trying to back up.”
DeLaGarza was quick to reply to the social media challenge with one of his own—posting a photo of his two MLS Cup championship rings and attaching San Jose’s official twitter handle. As the rivalry between the two teams continues to become one of the finest in MLS, DeLaGarza admitted that actions like this are simply part of the fun.
“It’s just part of it. I wasn’t upset. Also, for them to take a jab, I couldn’t personally let that happen,” said DeLaGarza. “Obviously, people tagged me in it so I found out. I had some other good things to say, but I went with that one.”
— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) July 2, 2013
In the latest edition of MLS Legends, MLSsoccer.com profiles LA Galaxy mainstay Cobi Jones.
One of my earliest soccer memories is watching Jones patrol the midfield during the Rose Bowl days, and this video stirs many of those old memories.
Check out the video below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will have a Landon Donovan-sized hole to fill in the midfield during the month of July, but who steps into the role remains to be seen.
One potential option is midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, who was acquired last month in a trade from the Colorado Rapids. A holding midfielder by trade, but he has experience playing at right back and central defense. Central defense is a longshot, but right back and midfield are options for the midfielder.
Should Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena slot him into central midfield, he’d likely move Marcelo Sarvas out wide right, but if he chooses to place Mastroeni at right back then it may allow Sean Franklin to push into midfield, where he spent some time earlier this season.
No matter where he plays, however, Mastroeni just wants to contribute.
“I’m here to be a part of this team. When the time is right, we have so many games. We have international games; my mindset is to contribute when I’m called upon,” said Mastroeni. “It’s not looking forward to blossoming a new career and a new image. It’s to take my experience and the way that I can contribute in any facet that the coaches feel will help the team out.”
CARSON, Calif. – Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal rejoined the LA Galaxy in training on Monday following the completion of the U.S. campaign at the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Both players returned to California earlier this weekend and promptly returned to training following LA’s disappointing 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday.
As far as what the players learned in Turkey, both noted that they became more familiar with the fast-paced international speed of play.
“[The pace of the game] was much faster,” admitted Villarreal. “The way that these guys train is at a higher pace than us. It was definitely a learning step for me, so I’ll try to include that here.”
Villarreal didn't simply touch on his own performance as he impressed with Sorto's showing in his two matches-- despite playing out of position at right midfield for the final game against Ghana.
“He did well,” said Villarreal. “He came in as a right mid so it was a lot different for him. Obviously playing against some of the top players in the world at that age was going to be a challenge for him, but I think that he did well. As soon as he changed back to right back, he was a lot more comfortable and showed his ability to play.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy returned to the training field on Monday for their first session following Saturday’s stunning 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Just two starters from Saturday’s game—Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho—were present during the portion of training open the media. Prior to the training session, the starters broke down the tape of the defeat to the Earthquakes with head coach Bruce Arena, according to Juninho, the conversation wasn't a pleasant one.
“[We made] a couple mistakes in the end, and Bruce [Arena] talked to us about it,” said Juninho. “[Arena said] a couple goals we missed in the end of a game like that and this cannot happen again.”
Juninho returned to the training field after leaving in the – minute following a heavy challenge from San Jose’s Victor Bernárdez. The foul saw Bernárdez pick up a second yellow card as well as an ejection for the play, but Juninho noted that he remembered little from the action.
“I received the ball, turned it over and tried to run [after the ball]. [Bernárdez] came in with a crazy tackle. It hit my ankle again, my ankle is not a 100 percent, but everyone knows that,” said Juninho. “I rolled first and then he kicked me. When he hit me, I felt so much hurt. But I'm okay right now.”
As for his status for Thursday’s match, Juninho expects to be on the field against the Columbus Crew.
“I underwent treatment, so we'll see during the week how I am,” said Juninho.
The LA Galaxy fell apart late in the California Clásico against the San Jose Earthquakes, but that was not without a herculean performance by Robbie Keane.
By dropping into midfield, the Galaxy captain played the role of distributor for the Galaxy as he helped create numerous opportunities for his teammates to get in behind the San Jose back four. The Irishman combined with Landon Donovan twice to create LA’s two goals on the evening, but his performance could be felt throughout the field.
Let’s break it down a bit…
SIX: The number of key passes – passes leading to a scoring opportunity—for Keane on the evening. Two of which ended up in the back of the net. Without a doubt, this is the most important statistic of the evening as Keane was repeatedly able to create chances for his teammates that directly tested the San Jose defense.
TWO: The number of shots for Keane. A bit of a surprising statistic when viewed at face value, but when one breaks down his distributor role, the picture becomes clearer. Keane’s first shot of the evening, which came 43rd minute, forced a save from goalkeeper Jon Busch. However, his shot off frame in stoppage time—a play that I break down in my Three Points—may have proved costly as the Earthquakes erased LA’s lead minutes later. The number two can also be used to describe his defensive impact as the Irishman made a pair of clearances and interceptions.
77%: The passing percentage for Keane on the evening. Keane completed 27 of his 35 attempts. All but three of those passes took place in the Earthquakes end of the field.
Numbers only tell so much of the story, however. Keane did not wish to speak about his own showing after the defeat, choosing rather to try and light a fire under his teammates with one particular quote toward the end of my sidebar on the match and issue a notice to the victorious Earthquakes.
Much was made about the return of the Earthquakes late game heroics, which was a team staple during their run to the MLS Supporters Shield, but the forward admitted that if it was a repeat of last season, then he'll take that just fine.
“It’s fine if they can do that, no problem. If it’s a repeat of last year then we'll take that because we beat them in the playoffs and won the championship,” said Keane. “So I'll take that over any performance.”
CARSON, Calif. – Did the LA Galaxy’s cross-stadium rivals Chivas USA issue a shot across the bow on Monday with their signing of former U.S. National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra? Who knows.
Chivas acquired the defender through the league’s allocation order after acquiring the top spot from Toronto FC by trading away their natural 2015 MLS SuperDraft first round selection and an international roster spot through 2014. Bocanegra is expected the slot right into a Chivas defense that is hemorrhaging goals this season after conceding a league-worst 31 goals in 16 matches.
The Bocanegra acquisition is the latest in a series of moves by the Rojiblancos, who dismissed four players on Sunday evening, and are rumored to close to a deal for Mexican youth soccer stars Erick “El Cubo” Torres and David Izazola.
Whether the Goats are able to rise up the standings remains to be seen—they are nine points behind eighth place San Jose and 12 behind the Galaxy for the final playoff berth—but the final SuperClasico of the year on Oct. 6 may have gotten a tad more exciting.
What are your thoughts?
The LA Galaxy learned their CONCACAF Champions League fixture dates on Monday setting up yet another busy summer and fall schedule for the club.
LA will open group 8 play with two straight matches at StubHub Center against Costa Rican side Cartaginés on August 20 and Isidro Metapán on Sept. 19. LA will round out group play with two matches in Central America against the Costa Ricans on Sept. 25 at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose and Metapán at an undetermined venue on Oct. 24.
Bruce Arena's side were done no favors by the schedule-makers as the three matches fall during LA's jam-packed summer and autumn fixture list. LA will open the tournament just three days after hosting Real Salt Lake on Aug. 17 as part of a three-game in seven day stretch. September, meanwhile, is setting up to be LA's busiest month as the Galaxy will play six games during a 22-day stretch. Three of the club's matches are on the road at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (Sept.15), Cartaginés in San Jose (Sept. 25), and Portland's JELD-WEN Field (Sept. 29). Finally, LA will round out the group stage and their 2013 MLS Regular Season schedule with trips to El Salvador on Oct. 24 and Seattle three days later. Those two matches are part of a three-game in seven day swing that begins with LA's final match of the regular season at StubHub Center on Oct. 20 against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Galaxy may have caught a break location-wise, however, as both teams may not be able to host LA in their usual stadium. Cartaginés -- who are the oldest club in Costa Rica and were founded in 1906 -- typically play in the 13,500 seat Estadio Jose Rafael Fello Meza Ivankovich, but according to Costa Rican reports, the stadium's lighting system was not approved by CONCACAF. This might adversely impact atmosphere at the matches as the city of Cartago is a 40 minute drive from the national stadium in San Jose.
Meanwhile, Metapán will host the Brumosos (The Foggers) on August 8 at Estadio Cuscatlán after CONCACAF ruled that the they would be unable to host matches at Estadio Jorge "Calero" Suarez due to the stadium's inadequate field dimensions. If Metapán is unable to fix this issue, it could be a major loss for the Salvadorians as the team's home field is an nearly a two hour drive away -- a drive the Galaxy took during the 2012/2013 group stage -- from the Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador.
Thoughts on the draw?
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Yes, it may be difficult to watch, but below are the highlights from the LA Galaxy's dramatic 3-2 deeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Check them out beow...