CARSON, Calif. -- A few notes and thoughts from the LA Galaxy's 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.
*Marcelo Sarvas further solidified his starting spot in the LA Galaxy midfield with his first two assists of his MLS career on Friday night -- a stat which shocked myself and many other journalists, who have been raving about the play of Sarvas. The Brazilian was a danger throughout the match and his midfield partnership with Juninho proved too much for Colorado to handle on both sides of the ball.
*Christian "Chippen" Wilhelmsson still has a ways to go as he integrates himself into the team, but he performed well and earned considerable praise from his teammates after his debut. With his form improving and the continued development from Hector Jimenez -- who also had a strong 30 minute shift coming on for Wilhelmsson-- the LA Galaxy's flank play is rapidly improving.
*Edson Buddle made a brief 12 minute cameo, coming on for Landon Donovan, but the forward was effective and nearly scored a goal late. Following the match, head coach Bruce Arena claimed that we are close to seeing the "Edson of old."
*With the victory, the LA Galaxy are now tied for third place in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake. Due to their superior goals scored number, (LA has scored 50 goals to RSL's 38) LA is now in control of the third spot and just a single point behind the Seattle Sounders. The Galaxy are level on games played with RSL, but have played two fewer games than Seattle. Remember, LA has matches against RSL (10/6), Seattle (10/28) and first place San Jose Earthquakes (10/21).
*Lastly, be sure to check out my Three Points to the match.
CARSON, Calif. -- Christian Wilhelmsson earned high praise from his LA Galaxy teammates in his MLS debut.
Below are thoughts from Wilhelmsson's Galaxy teammates and head coach Bruce Arena on Chippen's debut.
ARENA: "We went into the game hoping that we’d get sixty minutes out of him and we managed that. Obviously the goal was an important goal. Probably not the best goal in his career, but we’re going to take it, it was an important goal for our team tonight. But I think that he’s going to be a good addition for our team. He showed experience on the field, excellent first touch. He understands how to play on both sides of the ball so I think that he’s certainly going to be a player that is going to help us in the stretch run.”
LANDON DONOVAN: "It was his first game so we got to iron out some kinks with all of us. We have to figure out how he wants to play. But he contributed, not the most beautiful goal, but it counts and I thought that he played a really solid 60 minutes."
SEAN FRANKLIN:“As we train more and play more games, we should link up better at times. We talked at half time about getting each other some space to open up defenders and I think that over time, it’s going to be a good thing having him on the wing near us…He played well for us in his first game and he got a goal so it’s all about looking to the next game and getting things better so we can link up.”
OMAR GONZALEZ: "It was great. He gave some width and was able to make them keep an eye on them because he was getting behind them. He kept the ball for us and he scored the goal so I think that it was a great debut for him."
MARCELO SARVAS: "It’s good. He’s coming, he needs some time to get in shape and to understand the game here in MLS, but he did well. First game, first goal, he did very well."
CARSON, Calif. -- It was quite the debut for the newest member of the LA Galaxy, Swedish midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson.
In 61 minutes of action, Wilhelmsson scored his first career MLS goal and was active on both sides of the ball in the Galaxy's 2-0 victory. Playing on the right flank, Wilhelmsson combined well with right back Sean Franklin, but it was clear that there were still kinks to be worked out in the pair's partnership.
Below are Wilhelmsson's thoughts on his debut and a video of his goal...
(On his debut...)
“I didn’t think that I would score today and it was a pleasure. I’m just happy that we got the three points and I that got the goal of course is great.”
(On how he felt he connected with his new teammates...)
“From time to time alright and there was some misunderstanding sometimes, but it’s been two weeks and we’re getting to know each other more and more every day so it will be better absolutely.”
(On his goal...)
“It was a great feeling, a big relief. Of course a goal in my first game is amazing. I’m just glad that we could get the three points. … A goal is a goal. I have to thanks the keeper; he helped me a little bit though.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane's thoughts from tonight's LA Galaxy victory.
Keane has now scored nine goals in his last 14 league appearances.
Below are Keane's thoughts on his performance and his video interview with LAGalaxy.com after the match...
(On his scoring run...)
KEANE: I feel the same as aI always do. You get chances, you put them away. So lucky enough the team is doing well, that's the most important."
(On the buildup to his goal...)
KEANE: "It was a good play from us, we kept a few passes and then Landon played me in and lucky for me, I got the goal."
(On Wilhelmsson's debut...)
KEANE: "He did well. It's his first game, obviously it's going to be difficult. He got tired towards the end, which is natural coming from where he came from and he's only here, what ten days or os? He did well. It's good that he got the goal, even though the goalkeeper should ahve saved it. But they all count so he'll benefit from these minutes."
We're just hours away till tonight's match between the LA Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids.
If the Galaxy pick up a victory, they will move into a tie with Real Salt Lake for the third spot in the Western Conference, a place that LA are clearly gunning for heading into the final months of the season.
Ahead of the match, be sure to check out LAGalaxy.com staff writer Larry Morgan's preview on tonight's match as well as Scott French's brilliant piece on Juninho, who was ranked sixth in MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24.
Last but not least, be sure to check out my Three Points to the match.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant; Wilhelmsson, Sarvas, Juninho, Magee; Donovan, Keane
Ahead of tonight's match against the Colorado Rapids, MLSsoccer.com correspondent Scott French published a telling interview with LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan.
Donovan, who expects to play tonight, told French about the Galaxy's ambitions to qualify among the Western Conference's top three seeds and avoid playing in MLS' play-in round.
Below are Donovan's thoughts:
DONOVAN: "We've done a lot of hard work to get back in the mix. All we can control is to keep winning our games. We're hopeful Portland and Dallas and Colorado and Chivas can steal points off some of these guys down the stretch, but if not, all we can concentrate on is trying to win games and keep putting points on the board and then see where we end up. From where we were, top three would be a fantastic result, but we're pretty greedy around here and we want to finish as high as we can. ... “We're definitely not getting ahead of ourselves. The chance to be in the playoffs after 13 games [and a 3-7-2 start] was pretty slim at that point, so we're happy where we are, but we want to keep going and keep pushing.”
LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho has finished six in MLS' 24 Under 24.
CARSON, Calif. -- Finally off the LA Galaxy injury list for the first time since June, Edison Buddle is targetting an expanded role in LA's match on Friday against the Colorado Rapids.
Buddle, who underwent right knee surgery in June, made his first appearance since May 26thduring the Galaxy's victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on September 1st. While the forward admits that he's still working his way back to full fitness, he believes that he can contribute against Colorado.
“I’m ready to play. I’m available and ready to play,” Buddle said following Thursday's training session. “I think that my knee is about 90 percent. Fitness and strength are still to come with the last 10 percent though.”
Buddle may not be completely healthy, but the forward has aspirations of re-gaining a spot in the Galaxy's starting XI.
“I think that it comes with training. I’m pushing hard each and every day in training and I will need to apply that to the games. I don’t expect to go into the games right away unless something happens, but with these guys a little bit fitter than me right now, I have to push myself every day.”
Christian Wilhelmsson is now officially eligible to make his LA Galaxy debut in Friday night's match against the Colorado Rapids.
The club confirmed on Thursday that they have received Wilhelmsson's International Transfer Certificate, clearing the final hurdle for him to become eligible for Friday' game. Wilhelmsson has already received his P-1 visa after traveling to the American Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico on Tuesday.
Wilhelmsson, who has been training with the club since last Friday has already made a pair of Reserve League matches for the Galaxy, but will now be officially eligible to play in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League matches.
The LA Galaxy are continuing to play the waiting game on the status of midfielder David Beckham.
Beckham was absent from training on Thursday in order to receive treatment for a left ankle strain that has him listed as questionable for Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids. The English midfielder's injury first surfaced during LA's September 1st match against the Vancouver Whitecaps and has caused him to miss training all week.
If Beckham is unable to participate on Friday, head coach Bruce Arena has a host of options to fill his place in midfield including the Brazilian tandem of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas, who saw considerable minutes together during Beckham's last absence.