CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy continued their preseason preparations on Saturday by battling a new type of opponent, K-League side Gangwon FC to a scoreless draw.
LA dominated possession for much of the first half with the Koreans presenting an organized shape that proved difficult to break down. The best chances of the first half came in the 27th minute when a Juninho free kick set up a corner that eventually fell for Mike Magee, who fired the chance over the bar.
In the second half, the Koreans received more of the run of play, forcing Carlo Cudicini to make a pair of saves late. Gangwon nearly stole a win late however, when Kim Eun Jung rattled the post with a shot off a corner kick, but Cudicini collected the rebound preventing any further danger.
The full recap from the match can be found on LAGalaxy.com
A few notes from the match…
*The Galaxy started the match in the following formation:
*For the second straight match, Jack McBean and Mike Magee started up top with Robbie Keane still away attending to a family death in Ireland. With Landon Donovan still away from the club, it is looking increasingly likely that Magee may be the Galaxy's first choice strike partner alongside Keane once the season begins. However, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that once the team is fully healthy, Magee will be used as a midfielder rather than as a forward.
*The match was the first time that A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez started together in central defense this preseason.
*Throughout the 90 minutes, Gangwon’s organization provided a test for LA. I spoke to Gonzalez and Magee afterward to get their perception of how facing a new style of play benefited the Galaxy.
*In the 47th minute, a Juninho free kick from nearly 20 yards out made contact with the head of Gangwon’s Denis Laktionov. The Gangwon midfielder was carted off the field by paramedics. Play resumed after an eight minute delay.
*LA ended the match with the following lineup on the field:
*Five players (Cudicini, Gonzalez, Sean Franklin, Todd Dunivant, and Mike Magee) went the full 90 minutes.
*Arena offered the following comments on the match: “It was a good exercise for us with the heat; it was a little challenging on guys. We pushed five guys to go 90 minutes for the first time this year and it was good. It was a little bit warmer than we thought it would be. I thought in the first half, we looked pretty sharp and moved pretty well. In the second half as we got fatigued, the quality started to disappear a bit, but that’s okay and it’s all part of the exercise of moving guys forward individually and as a team.”
CARSON, Calif. – Among the accomplished members on Bruce Arena’s LA Galaxy coaching staff, one of the most distinguished is goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer. After an impressive 14-year career that included stops across Europe and the United States, Feuer joined the Galaxy in 2007 as the club's goalkeeper coach and has held the position for six years.
This preseason, LA’s goalkeepers have drawn impressive reviews from the coaching staff and players as many have lauded new number one ‘keeper Carlo Cudicini for his poise and experience while backup Brian Perk has been labeled as one of the bright spots of training camp by Arena. Meanwhile, many have been impressed with the development of third string Brian Rowe, who is entering his second year as a professional.
I recently caught up with Feuer to discuss how his goalkeepers are performing this preseason and his perceptions of the three men between the pipes.
Check it out below…
(On how his goalkeepers are coming along this preseason…)
FEUER: It’s going really good. Obviously, I didn’t have Carlo last year and the only comparisons that I can make are on Fox Soccer Channel. But Perk has come along really well especially in the mental department. He’s a lot steady with decisions, his confidence, and everything. Meanwhile, the difference with Rowe is huge because all of the stuff that we worked on from last year to this year has come into fruition. I’m excited because they both have a lot of incredible potential and now that they can see someone like Carlo everyday who has been there and done that, it’s a great learning tool for him.
(On the way that Rowe has developed this preseason…)
FEUER: “Just maturity. Last year, he struggled with the pace of things and he’s getting used to the pace now, but [at 24] he’s still very young for a goalkeeper. He’s learning, but he has a really great attitude and is learning all the time.”
It’s great. Funny enough, I played against him a couple of times [in England]. To have someone of his stature and experience, it spreads throughout the whole team. I played with him when I was at West Ham and he was at Chelsea and I really liked him then because he’s calm and always has a great demeanor. That’s great to have around.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will take on K-League side Gangwon FC on Saturday in their fifth preseason match and final tune-up before taking on Club Tijuana on Feb. 19 at The Home Depot Center.
After limiting most players to 45 minutes stints during their previous preseason matches, head coach Bruce Arena promised additional minutes for starters against the K-League side.
“It’s another competition in the preseason, but as we get closer to March 3, they become more important. Tomorrow, we’ll try to give some extended minutes to some players and hopefully get them ready for [the season opener]. It’ll be important for building our team, individual fitness and tactical preparation for the opening game.”
A few other notes from Friday’s training session…
*The Brazilian duo of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas manned central midfield in LA’s scrimmage against UCLA and are once again expected to fill the starting lineup on Saturday and going forward this season. On Friday, Sarvas admitted that while LA’s tactics have not changed for 2013, the players must learn to play with one another again: “It is the same system, but we have different players who have different skills so we have to get to know each other. We have to figure out how to learn to play together and those are things that we’re doing well this preseason.”
*Sarvas also offered his thoughts on LA’s pair of Brazilian trialists: “I just met them here. They’re young guys and I hope that they can make a good impression.”
*The biggest news of the day was the announcement by Robbie Rogers, who revealed that he is gay and is stepping away from soccer at the age of 25. Two of his former teammates A.J. DeLaGarza—Rogers’ teammate with Maryland—and Brian Perk – Rogers' teammate at the U.S. youth ranks — offered their thoughts and support to the Southern California native.
According to Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey, his club and the LA Galaxy are close to a deal to send goalkeeper Josh Saunders rights to RSL.
After taking the reins as the Galaxy’s number one ‘keeper during the 2011 season, Saunders backstopped LA to back-to-back MLS Cup titles, but parted ways with the club during the offseason. Saunders has been on trial with RSL for the past two weeks and has impressed the Salt Lake brass.
"With the offseason moves we made, we are actually under the cap," Lagerwey told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. "It isn't a done deal, yet. We still have some negotiating to do to work a few things out, but I think Josh would be a great asset to our team if we can figure things out.
"Josh has been playing great," Lagerwey added. "He definitely provides a steady presence in goal, and this isn't a knock on Nick at all, but maybe it would be good for him to occasionally look over his shoulder at training and see someone pushing him.
Last week Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena told reporters that LA will support Saunders once he finds a new club.
CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin are no strangers to manning the LA Galaxy right flank, but after a successful stint out wide in Wednesday’s 7-2 preseason victory over UCLA, the position may just become common place for the pair in 2013.
During the match against UCLA, Sean Franklin was pushed up to right midfield while DeLaGarza slid from central defense out to right back. The move paid immediate dividends for LA as Franklin tallied two goals and both appeared active on both sides of the ball.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Wednesday that the switch was in part due to Robbie Keane’s absence due to a death in his family, which forced Mike Magee to pair up front with Jack McBean. However with second year defender Tommy Meyer continuing to develop and LA searching for wide depth, DeLaGarza and Franklin may be tasked with moving out to the right flank more in 2013.
“I think that it is an option for us,” said DeLaGarza. ”We have a lot of good talent and to get everyone on the field, you have to make some changes. I thought I did well today and Sean obviously did well. It’s something that we’ve done plenty and we’re used to it.”
Franklin in particular was incredibly effective against UCLA as he displayed chemistry with LA’s central midfield tandem of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas while also connecting well with LA’s forward corps to create chances.
“It’s still new to me even though I’ve played there in spurts throughout the years,” said Franklin. “It’s a position that I enjoy and it’s a spot that I want to get better at if I am going to play there more than at right back this year.”
If Arena opts to place DeLaGarza at right back and Franklin in the midfield to start the season, the duo admit that there will be a transition, but both are confident that they can adapt to a new role.
“I still feel that right back is my best position and my most comfortable position,” said Franklin. “From a right back position, you see the game a little bit more. At right midfield, the game comes faster because it’s all about being quick with your decision-making. It’s something that I want to get better at as a player and contribute more to the team”
Added DeLaGarza, “I just hope to be on the field no matter where it is and wherever I can help out. It’s a totally different position so I have to change my mindset and my fitness level and I have to get into the attack. If I play there and get more comfortable then it will be first nature, but right now I’m more of a defensive player.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Southern California native and former Leeds United winger Robbie Rogers made a brave statement on Friday by announcing that he is gay and is stepping away from the game at the age of 25.
The former Columbus Crew (2007-20011) and U.S. national team midfielder revealed the news on his personal website and shortly after his announcement, players, coaches, and fans from offered their support including Galaxy center back and former Maryland teammate A.J. DeLaGarza.
"He is one of the nicest kids that I've ever met. He's a great player and coming out is brave of him," said DeLaGarza. "To live like that for however long that he's known that has sure been tough, but he's happy now and we're all happy for him. All the support that he's gotten is great and it's going to make it that much easier on him...In college, he was one of the best players that I ever played with. The things that he can do with the ball are just amazing and he's had good years in Europe and MLS and is one of the best players that I've ever played with."
Brian Perk, who was teammates with Rogers with the U.S. Under-20 national team offered his own support and admitted that he'd be welcomed with open arms if he decided to return to MLS. Rogers' MLS rights were dealt to the Chicago Fire in a trade with the Crew last month.
"He was a great soccer player and a good guy. It's really disappointing because he's right in the prime of his career by playing at Leeds and I think that we'd like to have him here," said Perk. "Regardless of his personal preferences, as the player that I knew then we'd love to have him here. Maybe in some locker rooms would people be treated differently, but I don't think that he would here. I consider Robbie a friend and I don't care what he does in his private life."
CARSON, Calif. -- Supplemental Draft Pick Andy Riemer is no stranger to the LA Galaxy and the youngster is banking that his past experience with the club and his energy on the field can lead to an extended deal with LA.
Riemer has been close friends with Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo since his early teens and that connection led the Georgetown product to several trips to Southern California to train with LA.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez spent much of the last month earning his stripes with the U.S. national team and now the 24-year-old defender is eager to apply what he learned to his club side.
A year after dealing with an ACL injury that took away half of his 2012 season, Gonzalez was called up by Jurgen Klinsmann for the U.S. national team’s annual January camp and promptly made his first start for the U.S since 2011 in their scoreless draw against Canada.
Gonzalez’s performance against Canada drew rave reviews from critics and it was no surprise that he was named to Klinsmann’s squad that faced Honduras in a World Cup Qualifier on Feb. 6. The U.S. boss was so impressed with the 24-year-old that he awarded him the start in San Pedro Sula.
The match was a difficult for the Americans who endured intense heat and humidity from the midday sun as well as an incredibly hostile crowd at the Estadio Olímpico. After the U.S. took an early lead on a goal by Clint Dempsey, Honduras equalized less than five minutes later on a brilliant overhead strike by Juan Carlos Garcia. Ultimately, a late defensive breakdown by the U.S. led to a goal by New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengston which gave the Hondurans a 2-1 victory.
“It was definitely tough; it was a test of your mental strength,” said Gonzalez of the match. “It really took a lot out of players, the heat and the crowd in the first half was a lot. But you just learn from that stuff and try hard on every single play. That will take you a long way.
“That was one game, I think that there were certain plays that you have to look at, but on the day, it was just a tough game, a tough field, a tough environment and now you move on,” Gonzalez added. “You just keep on trying to get better and stay at a top level and now I just need to play better for the Galaxy.”
One player who made undoubtedly made an impression on Gonzalez during World Cup qualifying duty was U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who the defender admits has some similar traits to LA’s newest number one goalkeeper, Carlo Cudicini.
“One thing that I’ve noticed from both of them is that they talk a lot,” said Gonzalez. “They’re constantly talking to you and telling you when to slide over, when to drop back and when to keep the line or look over your shoulder. Every good ‘keeper has that and they’re both technically sound so I have a lot of confidence in both of them.”
After returning to the club late last week, Gonzalez was placed in LA’s starting lineup on Wednesday in the club’s 7-2 preseason victory over UCLA, adding a goal in 45 minutes of action. Now tasked with prospect of re-integrating himself to his club, Gonzalez is already looking for ways that he can help LA move along as their March 3rd season opener draws ever near.
“Maybe I can help raise the level here effort wise but there is still three weeks going and we have some time,” said Gonzalez. “But everyone is moving along well. Bruce knows how to move a preseason along well by starting off slow and working guys in slowly and eventually get technically better and round us into form.”
There was no bigger story in the global soccer world on Wednesday than the epic UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash between Manchester United and Real Madrid. Even the man calling the game for Fox Soccer was headline news.
Well, Univision Deportes' Jaime Motta decided to watch the game with the players of the LA Galaxy from inside the Herbalife Players Lounge at The Home Depot Center and provided this Spanish language video
Check it out below...
LAGalaxy.com's Paolo Ferrari provided the following highlight reel of the LA Galaxy's 7-2 victory over UCLA on Wednesday.
Check out the video below...