CARSON, Calif. – Sean Franklin has been a mainstay in the LA Galaxy defense over the last three years, but with the club searching for depth during the stretch run, the 28-year-old has adapted to a new role—off the bench.
During the Galaxy’s last four matches in all competitions, Franklin has started two while coming off the bench twice. For three of those matches, he was primarily used as a right midfielder, but Franklin started at his natural right back position in LA’s CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartaginés.
“Bruce told me a few weeks ago to be prepared to play right back, some right mid, and that he was going to be throwing me everywhere,” said Franklin. “He said just be sharp and when I get out there, to just make something happen.”
Franklin’s lone qualm with his performance out wide over the past several years has been his crossing ability, but during his last three appearances, he’s done well to provide quality service from the flanks. His finest performance came in a second half reserve role against Real Salt Lake when he assisted on a pair of Robbie Keane’s second half goals.
“That’s one thing that I’ve wanted to get better at,” said Franklin. “I feel like at times, I’ve done a good job of, at least, getting myself in good position in the final third, but that last cross or pass isn’t the best. It’s my job to work on those things and hopefully, set up players to get positions in the box.”
No matter where -- or when -- he plays, however, Franklin simply wants to have an impact.
“It’s all about just being ready when my number is called,” said Franklin. “We’ll see what happens this weekend against San Jose.”
LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo has been called up to Panama’s squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica on Sept. 6 in Panama City and Sept. 10 against Honduras in Tegucigalpa, the Panamanian Federation announced on Sunday.
Penedo will be vital to Panama’s hopes to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and is expected to start both matches, but he will miss out on LA's Sept. 7 match against the Colorado Rapids.
The matches are vital ones for Los Canaleros as they look to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in the nation’s history. Currently, Panama is in fifth place in the Hexagonal just one point behind fourth place Honduras and a berth in the playoff against Oceania champion New Zealand. Honduras isn’t the only team in reach, however, as Panama is just two points behind third-place Mexico for CONCACAF’s last automatic qualifying spot.The local contingent of head coach Julio Dely Valdés' squad has already convened in preparation for the matches and are expected to be joined by their compatriots playing in Mexico and MLS after this weekend’s matches.
The complete list is below…
GOALKEEPERS: Jaime Penedo - L.A. Galaxy (USA), Luis Mejía - Fénix (URU), Alex Rodríguez - Sporting SM (PAN)
DEFENDERS: Luis Henríquez - Lech Poznan (POL), Felipe Baloy - Santos Laguna (MEX), Román Torres - Millonarios (COL), Roberto Chen - Málaga CF (ESP), Carlos Rodríguez - Chepo FC (PAN), Richard Dixon - Sporting SM (PAN), Harold Cummings - árabe Unido (PAN), Jean Carlo Cedeño - Alianza FC (PAN)
MIDFIELDERS: Alberto Quintero - Lobos BUAP (MEX), Amílcar Henríquez - Dep. Ind. Medellín (COL), Jairo Jiménez - Elche Ilicitano (ESP), Aníbal Godoy - Chepo FC (PAN), Juan de Dios Pérez - Tauro FC (PAN), Marcos Sánchez - Tauro FC (PAN), Eybir Bonaga - San Francisco FC (PAN), Gabriel Gómez - San Francisco FC (PAN)
FORWARDS: Cecilio Waterman - Fénix (URU), Blas Pérez - FC Dallas (USA), Gabriel Torres - Colorado Rapids (USA), Alcibiades Rojas - Sporting SM (PAN)
Another week, another Goal of the Week nominee for the LA Galaxy—this time it’s Landon Donovan’s third minute game-winning laser against Vancouver Whitecaps FC that has been nominated.
Donovan's goal was his 131th MLS Regular Season goal of his career putting him just four away from breaking Jeff Cunningham's mark of 134 goals. The goal marks the third week that a strike by a Galaxy player has been nominated by MLSsoccer.com with Donovan’s first goal against FC Dallas and Robbie Keane’s late game finish against Real Salt Lake each failing to win the honor.
Can Donovan’s golazo win this time? Vote on MLSsoccer.com or via texting by G4 to 22442
Check out all the nominees below.
The California Clasico is always a heated affair, but the San Jose Earthquakes will need to make due without three key contributors for their match against the LA Galaxy.
Defenders Justin Morrow and Victor Bernardez were sent off in the final 10 minutes of San Jose's 2-2 draw with FC Dallas. Meanwhile, Rafael Baca will miss the match due yellow accumulation after picking up his fifth yellow card on a foul that led to FC Dallas midfielder Michel's penalty kick equalizer in the 72nd minute.
Thoughts on the absences? Expect LA to win?
Jaime Penedo still learning and acclimating to MLS after five save performance in win over Vancouver Whitecaps
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Jaime Penedo made a highlight-reel save to help preserve a 1-0 LA Galaxy victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but the Panamanian refuses to rest on his laurels and declare the starting ‘keeper job his.
Penedo has started LA’s last three matches in all competitions while accumulating a 3-0-0 record. After being tested sparingly in the matches against Real Salt Lake and C.S. Cartaginés, he earned his stripes in the victory over Vancouver.
Throughout the match, he controlled the penalty area by repeatedly coming off his line to head away dangerous chances for Vancouver. But where he truly shined was his ability to make timely saves to keep LA ahead of a hard-charging Whitecaps side. Penedo made five saves on the evening, but his finest came in the 82nd minute with his acrobatic reaction stop of a close-range shot by Jordan Harvey attempt.
Despite his performance, Penedo rejects the idea that he is the Galaxy’s new starting ‘keeper.
“Absolutely not, absolutely not. I'm not saying I'm the No. 1,” Penedo told media after the win. “There are four goalkeepers that are working hard, and I have to work hard and learn. That's what I have to do.”
As he continues to settle into in MLS, he has been aided by LA’s center back tandem of Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo, who are both able to speak to the monolingual Penedo in his native Spanish tongue.
“Very much,” Penedo answered when asked about Gonzalez and Leonardo’s role in his acclimation. “The fact they speak Spanish, and they’re both good central defenders helps a lot.”
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Jaime Penedo tallied a remarkable save in the 82nd minute off a Jordan Harvey save that will likely be remembered for years to come.
Following LA's 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Penedo's Galaxy teammates and Vancouver 'keeper David Ousted reacted to the save...
ROBBIE KEANE: "Yeah. Obviously, the one that hit the post and came back…the save was unbelievable, it was a world class save. Thankfully it kept us in the game.”
LANDON DONOVAN: “The save could potentially be save of the year. Other than that he was really solid. He came off his line, he was aggressive, he made solid saves when he needed to, he came and got the ball off crosses when he needed to. You can’t ask more of a goalie in a game like this, and I thought he was excellent.”
A.J. DELAGARZA: "It's important for a goalie to make one or two big saves a game and he made that save. Obviously, he made the save against Harvey and it saved us three points."
OUSTED: “Incredible! Probably save of the week. That was amazing he got back on that one. A really really great save.”
The save is below...
VANCOUVER, B.C. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s quotes following LA’s 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday…
Check it out below…
(On whether the victory was meaningful…)
ARENA: “Sure. They all are at this time of year. There wasn’t a need to get a win but it’s important to get wins now, we’re in a tight battle for the playoffs and for the guys to get a win on the road in these type of circumstances is real good.”
(On goalkeeper Penedo’s huge save…)
ARENA: “Great save! What more can you say? We’ve not had a lot of these opportunities this year where we can close out a game but we got it done tonight.”
(On the performance of LA’s defense…)
ARENA: “Obviously they got a couple chances at the end but I thought our guys held up well. The conditions are tough here but the artificial field; it’s not easy playing under those circumstances with a closed roof. You could see our guys were fatigued. I was real pleased our guys came up on top.”
(On the impact of Landon Donovan’s early goal…)
ARENA: “Landon played a good game and he scored a big goal. Well… it’s like starting a game with a one goal lead. It put them under a lot of pressure. At times, our team played real well, we had a couple chances to get a second but give Vancouver a lot of credit; they fought real hard, put us under a lot of pressure. They haven’t lost many games here at home, so that’s an impressive win for our group.”
On the defensive pairing of Leonardo and Gonzalez…)
ARENA: “It’s good. They’ve played together on and off over the years. I think it’s important to have center backs with the profile of center backs. Leonardo gives us that. You see a lot of these games when you’re under a lot of pressure. The ball’s in the air, we’re being challenged. Our center backs can hold up to those battles.”
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Landon Donovan is just four goals away from breaking Jeff Cunningham's MLS all-time goal scoring record, but the record is not on Donovan's mind.
After he scored the game-winning goal in LA's 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Donovan was asked about being so close to Cunnigham's record. Although Donovan has stated that he'd like to be the league's all-time record holder, he asserted that he's more focused on becoming the first MLS player to win the MLS Cup six times.
“The record I want right now is the sixth MLS cup, if the other one comes along the way then great," said Donovan.
The goal was Donovan's seventh of the season which goes with his seven assists this year in just 16 appearances. During the week, Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie stated that Donovan's improved play was due to his contract expiring at the end of the season, but Donovan was quick to answer to those assertions.
“I’ve been motivated my whole life. I think people are quick to forget what people have done. We’re back-to-back MLS champions, I’ve scored the game-winning goal in both games so I think I’m plenty motivated.”
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Ahead of tonight's match between the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, I give a brief lookahead to tonight's match...
*Lastly, my Three Points to the game
MATCH UPS TO WATCH:
Gyasi Zardes vs. Y.P. Lee
A match of speed against cunning, expect this match to be an important factor to Saturday's game. Zardes' breakneck speed makes him a danger every time that he touches the ball and he'll likely look to test Lee frequently from the start.
Nigel Reo-Coker vs. Marcelo Sarvas
"Reo-C" as his jersey reads feasted on the Galaxy midfield in their last meeting at BC Place, but match flipped to StubHub Center, it was "Marcelo" that had the better of Englishman. Look for Sarvas to press Reo-Coker, who will attempt to get forward and use his size to break up attacks.
Robbie Keane vs. Johnny Leverón
Another key match up as Keane as well as Landon Donovan will look to use their movement on and off the ball to open up space behind the Whitecaps defense.
CARSON, Calif. – Finally healthy after knee injuries decimated his last two seasons, burly LA Galaxy center back Leonardo is making the most of his opportunities in the Galaxy back four.
Leonardo has started five of the Galaxy’s last six matches in all competitions, which includes three starts in the Guinness International Champions Cup. During those appearances, Leonardo has looked confident alongside a variety of center back partners, but he has shined with Omar Gonzalez to form a formidable and sizable combination.
After his impressive showings, it is likely that Leonardo will lineup against Gonzalez again on Saturday when the Galaxy take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“I feel good right now,” Leonardo said earlier this week. “I didn't play a whole year, then I came back last year and I played some, then I didn't play some games, then I played again, didn't play again. Right now I have to thank God I am getting games, and I have to keep working hard to maintain that rhythm.”
Key to Leonardo building a rhythm has been his ability to stay healthy, which he attributes to a new workout regimen that includes pilates and more time in the weight room. This added commitment to staying fit has not gone unnoticed by the Galaxy coaching staff.
“He just continues to get better,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We knew it was going to take time. He had a few minor setbacks this year but now is headed in the right direction.”
“Now that he's gotten this good, long stretch of being available, he's gotten into a rhythm,” associate head coach Dave Sarachan said. “And when you get into that rhythm and you get minutes, you get confidence. ... Now the true player that we felt we knew a year and a half ago is starting to emerge.”