SAN JOSE, Costa Rica—LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is well versed in the drama of CONCACAF Champions League road matches and he expects nothing less than a battle during Wednesday’s match against C.S. Cartaginés.
Arena is likely to opt for a similar squad as the one that defeated Isidro Metapan a week earlier with a mix of first team players and reserves. Several of the players that won't participate include Omar Gonzalez, Jaime Penedo, Juninho, and captain Robbie Keane, all of which stayed behind in Southern Calfiornia. The Galaxy squad will undoubtedly be in for a brawl on Wednesday the Costa Ricans needing a victory to keep their slim hopes of winning Group 8 alive.
"They'll be very aggressive to start the game,” said Arena following the team’s training session at the Estadio Nacional on Tuesday. “The early moments of the game will be very important."
But with Cartaginés expected to heap on early pressure and the Galaxy needing just a point to advance to the quarterfinals, will Arena opt for a defensive mindset?
"We're going to go play,” he asserted. “We don't know what the game is going to look like. If they get a goal in the first 15 minutes then it won't be a defensive effort. We'll see what the game is going to look like."
Landon Donovan admits ankle condition improving, but he remains a question mark for C.S. Cartagines match
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Landon Donovan made the trip to Costa Rica, but whether or not he’ll play in the LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartaginés still remains to be seen.
Donovan was present during the Galaxy’s training session at the Estadio Nacional in Costa Rica on Tuesday as LA wrapped up their preparation for their vital CCL fixture. The 31-year-old Donovan admits that the right ankle sprain that he suffered during LA’s 1-1 draw with D.C. United two weeks ago is still lingering and because of that, he understands that he’ll need to be cautious on Wednesday.
“I feel a lot better. Every day is getting better. It lingered more than I wanted, but it is part of it. We’ll keep doing everything to try and get it ready for the game,” said Donovan. “We’re going to do what’s right. If I can play then I want to play. I’m not going to do anymore damage then I want to play. If the determination is that I can still do more damage then we’ll be smart.”
Even if he does not participate, he’ll be able to offer plenty of insight into playing at Estadio Nacional as he took part in a World Cup qualifier with the U.S. National Team earlier this month against Costa Rica. Donovan and Galaxy teammate Omar Gonzalez—who did not make the trip—were unable to earn a victory as the U.S. fell 3-1, but he’s hopeful that LA will not suffer a similar fate.
Although the stadium’s design, which includes a massive track around the field that separates the crowd from the field, Donovan admits that the team must be wary of the environment.
“The atmosphere is different because when the fans are right on top of you, it creates more pressure so this will be a little bit different," said Donovan. "But we learned with the U.S. team that it doesn't guarantee you anything. We have to be prepared for a team that is at home and with their fans in the stadium that is going to come after us."
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- The LA Galaxy are currently in Costa Rica in preparation for Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartagines and to prepare you for the match, I'll be providing constant video updates.
Check out the first installment below...
CARSON, Calif. -- A left ankle injury prevented Landon Donovan from participating in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Seattle Sounders FC, but he'll be traveling to the LA Galaxy's vital CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartagines, said head coach Bruce Arena.
Following Monday's training session, Arena told reporters Donovan will be traveling with the team to Costa Rica for the Wednesay's all-important match, in which the club could clinch a berth in the CCL quarterfinals with a draw.
"I'm bringing a roster that will help us win the game and that's why he is coming with us," said Arena of Donovan, who suffered the injury during LA's 1-1 draw with D.C. United two weeks ago. "I'm bringing a roster that will help us win the game. That's the answer to your question and he's included on the roster."
The LA Galaxy Under-16 and Under-18 squads began the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season with a bang this weekend going undefeated in four matches.
The U-18’s were unbeaten in games against the Seattle Sounders FC Academy and Portland Timbers Academy as they overpowered their foes from the Pacific Northwest winning both games by a combined score of nine to two.
In the first match on Saturday, the U-18's decimated Seattle by a 4-1 margin with Adonis Amaya, Aaron Lombardi, Steve Martinez, and Jaime Villarreal scoring. On Sunday, they once again put on an attacking clinic as Villarreal scored a pair of goals while Christian Chavez, Bradford Jamieson, and Martinez all scored in a 5-1 victory over the Timbers. Meanwhile, the U-16’s began the weekend’s slate with a 1-1 draw against the Sounders Academy, but roared back on Sunday with a 6-0 pummeling of the Timbers. After a Sounders own goal gave them a draw in Seattle, the U-16’s decimated Portland with three goals from Jorge Ruiz, two from Jesus Nunez and one from Christian Segovia.
Both teams return to action next weekend when they take on the San Diego Surf at StubHub Center. The U-18’s take the field at StubHub Center’s University Field 2 at 10:00am while the U-16’s play at 12:30pm.
Highlights from the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC are below...
Yes, the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders was a physical and emotional battle between two clubs fighting for the berths in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but there were a few moments of levity.
Check out this hilarious gif by Seattle-based 8-bit Sports. This had to be an intentional "Night at the Roxbury" impression by Brad Evans and Omar Gonzalez, right?
Let me know your thoughts.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s thoughts on LA’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC.
(On the play of the midfield…)
ARENA: “Solid job. They did a solid job. Maybe at times our passing could have been a little bit better.”
(On Jose Villarreal’s play filling in for Landon Donovan…)
ARENA: “Jose did a good job. Still a young player and playing a game against team with some experience in the back [four] and obviously, they played him hard, they fouled us a lot and obviously had a player sent off because of that. He did a good job.
(On his overall thoughts on the game…)
ARENA: “We just weren’t good enough in the final third of the field, with the final pass or our look at the goal, and it made a difference in the game. We obviously got the one goal called back. I think the officiating was a little bit inconsistent at times. If that was a foul, then maybe Eddie [Johnson] doesn’t get his goal in the first half. I thought it was inconsistent and in a tight games like that, obviously those kinds of plays and calls are what decides the outcome.”
(On how Eddie Johnson ended up wide open on his goal…)
ARENA: “Omar was picked. That simple. He ran around 3 players. We didn’t play it right. That’s why he was wide open. We obviously corrected that in the 2nd half.
(On Franklin playing right back…)
ARENA: He’s been there for a while. I thought that he had a solid game.
(On Juninho’s goal…)
ARENA: “We’ve been waiting all year. On the night, we had a couple of good looks at the goal, and we didn’t force their ‘keeper into making a whole lot of saves. The final product on the night for us was poor, and it was obviously the difference in the game.”
(On the physicality of the game…)
ARENA: “A physical game and the referee decided in the first half not to call anything, and then in the second half, in the last 15 minutes, he called everything. It was a little bit inconsistent at that end, but having said that, it was a fair game that was hard fought between two good teams. What more can you say?”
(On the Galaxy being five points behind of first place with five games remaining…)
ARENA: “Do the math. Figure it out. You have to win games if your five points behind.”
CARSON, Calif – When asked about scoring his first goal of the MLS Regular Season, LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho had just one word—“finally.”
After all, the Galaxy has become used to Juninho hitting long range bombs or curling free kick goals, but this season, one had yet to come. The drought has been a frustrating one for the Brazilian, but during LA’s spirited 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC, he “finally” found the back of the net.
“It was a good shot because I saw the goalkeeper leave the side open,” said Juninho of his free kick goal in first half stoppage time. “I just did well and scored the goal, which is very important to me.”
As for his goal scoring celebration, which involved him putting the soccer ball inside his shirt, Juninho admits that he had to—after all, there will soon be a new addition to his family.
“My wife is four months pregnant and the baby will be born in February. My wife has been telling me to score a goal and make a celebration like that,” Juninho said. “It’s a boy and he’ll be named John Victor. I’m very happy and my wife is too. It’s great for the baby.”
Family aside, Juninho and the rest of the Galaxy will look to continue to climb the table as they find themselves in a peculiar spot, five points behind Seattle for the top spot in the Western Conference and four points ahead of missing the postseason altogether.
“It’s tough. If you look at the conference, we need to take points,” said the Brazilian. “It doesn't matter if it is home or away. Let’s look forward to the Champions League now and then we'll go into Portland looking for three points.”
Turns out the battle of the stars between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC will be missing one of its main attractions.
Seattle Times reporter Joshua Mayers reported on Saturday morning that Seattle forward Clint Dempsey did not travel to Southern California due to an injury sustained in practice earlier in the week. The injury to Dempsey comes amid questions whether Landon Donovan (L ankle sprain) will suit up for the Galaxy after LA head coach Bruce Arena stating throughout the week that his status would be determined closer to game time.
Thoughts on Dempsey being unable to play?
Share your thoughts below.