CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy know that Chivas USA is much different than the side that was thumped 5-0 in the last edition of the SuperClasico.
Under new head coach Wilmer Cabrera, Chivas have amassed five points and a 1-1-2 record due to the production of MLS leading goal scorer Erick “El Cubo” Torres—four goals—and playmaker Mauro Rosales who has notched three assists.
Despite many false starts for the Rojiblancos in recent years, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan believes that Chivas is a new team heading into the 2014 season.
“My impression of Chivas USA is that they are much better. The game Sunday is going to be a difficult game," said Donovan. "They’re much more organized and they have some playmakers and if that continue then it is better for the rivalry.”
Donovan, who is hoping to gain sole possession of the league’s all-time regular season goal scoring mark on Sunday, did not hold back his praise of Torres.
“Torres is one of the best forwards in the league and he’s completely underrated because he plays in that franchise, but he’s absolutely fantastic,” said Donovan.
CARSON, Calif. – Jaime Penedo is set to return to the fold this Sunday when the LA Galaxy take on Chivas USA in the SuperClasico.
Penedo was unable to suit up in LA’s last MLS match against Real Salt Lake on March 22 as he returned to Panama to finalize his visa, but is expecting to be back in the fold for Sunday’s match against LA’s cross-hall rivals.
“I feel good. I feel ready to play and to be able to support the team,” Penedo, who admitted that he, is still smarting over LA’s CCL defeat to Club Tijuana. “I think that I’m ready to support the team as soon as we play this weekend.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena also gave Penedo the green light stating that the goalkeeper is “close to 100 percent” and will “definitely be available” for the Chivas USA match.
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CARSON, Calif. – Once the Galaxy kick off on Sunday, it will have been 182 days since Landon Donovan tied up Jeff Cunningham’s MLS all-time regular season goal scoring record last October against Chivas USA. Now Donovan will have an opportunity to gain sole possession of the league’s goal scoring record against that same Chivas side.
The 32-year-old has yet to find the back of the net in LA’s two MLS regular season matches or their CONCACAF Champions League series against Club Tijuana, but has tallied a great strike record against Chivas with 12 goals in all MLS competitions. Donovan is expecting to be in the lineup on Sunday despite suffering from tendonitis in his knee during his time with the U.S. National Team earlier in the week which prevented him from starting against Mexico.
Although the SuperClasico is always a heated match despite LA’s dominance in the series standings, Donovan downplayed the idea that breaking the league’s goal scoring record against the cross-hall rivals would mean any more to him.
“I don’t think it would mean more because it’s against them, but I just like to score goals," said Donovan after training on Friday. "I feel like I've played pretty well in the first four games and I played okay the other night [against Mexico]. I feel like I’m doing well and moving well, but it’s always nice to hit the goal and I want to hit the goal.”
Donovan admits that he needs to be more selfish toward goal, but was quick to dispel any notion that the hunt for goal 135 is wearing on the attacker.
“I’m in a different phase. I don’t judge how I play based on if I score,” Donovan said. “I've played a lot of bad games where I scored then thought ‘oh, I’m great’ but I’d rather continue playing well and not score. I deserve for myself, I deserve to score. I deserve to score and I’m looking to score.”
CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza is in a race to be fit for Sunday’s SuperClasico match between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA as he looks to recover from a left ankle contusion suffered a week ago against Real Salt Lake.
While his teammates began preparations for Sunday’s SuperClasico, DeLaGarza was lightly jogging around the training ground, still feeling the aftereffects of a harsh tackle from RSL forward Alvaro Saborio more than a week earlier. Although LA head coach Bruce Arena stated that it was “too early” to declare his defender ready for Sunday, DeLaGarza is optimistic that he can be back to game fitness in time to contribute against the Rojblancos—but not at the expense of a potential win.
“I'm being optimistic. Hopefully, I can get out there and help the team. At the same time, I'm not going to put the team out there and not be able to perform 100 percent,” said DeLaGarza. “Someone else can go there and do the job, and be healthy, but my goal is to be on the field any way possible.”
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CARSON, Calif. – Contests between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA are always heated even at the academy level, but the claims of a Chivas youth coach last week added extra fuel to the fire.
Prior to the Galaxy’s clean sweep of Chivas’ U-14, U-16 and U-18 sides, Rojiblancos U-14 head coach Brian Kleiban told the club’s official website that he turned down the same gig with LA to replace the departed Greg Vanney who left to lead the Toronto FC Academy. Kleiban’s side suffered the widest margin of defeat as LA’s U-14’s defeated Chivas 4-0 on Saturday.
Following the match, I spoke to Galaxy Academy Director Peter Vagenas about the results at each age level and the “collaborative” effort ongoing between himself and coaches Mike Munoz and Ante Razov to lead the team in a piece on LAGalaxy.com. Vagenas later elaborated on the search for what he describes as one of the Academy’s most vital posts.
“I assure you that I’ve done my due diligence and I’ve spoken to many different people about the possibilities of working with the team. That being said, there’s been a long list of candidates and it’s not something that I take lightly,” Vagenas told LA Galaxy Insider. “I can make an argument that it is as important of an Academy position as there is. In that sense, I’m going through and continuing to make sure that we find the right person.
“I will continue to do so, but I have not yet found the right person,” added Vagenas. “We have unique and high standards for all our coaches in the academy and rather than force a square peg into a round hole, I’d rather exhaust all my options and make sure that we get the right individual to lead our young men.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy battled to a 2-2 draw with cross-hall rivals Chivas USA in a preseason scrimmage on Wednesday.
The Galaxy were dominant in the first half and needed just five minutes to pull ahead when Rob Friend finished a side-footed volley off a Juninho free kick. The Brazilian midfielder scored a goal of his own in the 20th minute after finishing a brilliant strike from beyond 25-yards that curled past the Chivas USA goalkeeper.
However, in the second half, Chivas USA was able to capitalize on a Galaxy lineup that went through a near complete change at the half and was totally different 10 minutes into the second stanza. Chivas leveled the score in the 72nd minute with a finish by Jacob Barron before equalizing less than 10 minutes later after Matthew Fondy buried a header past Brian Perk.
The result may not have been ideal, but Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena affirmed that it was simply part of the process of getting the team ready for their MLS season opener which is a little more than a month away.
“It was just another day of practice in all honesty. It was about getting guys in a full field situation,” said Arena. “The group we played in the first half did a good job of pressuring and creating some chances while the group in the second half was definitely outplayed and it was a sloppy performance.”
LA Galaxy Starting XI First Half: Penedo; Hall, DeLaGarza, Opare, Cochrane; Ishizaki, Husidic, Juninho, Zardes; Friend, Samuel
LA Galaxy Starting XI Second Half: Perk; Sorto, Leonardo, Venter, Gaul; Jamieson IV, Sarvas, Garcia, Hoffman; Rugg, McBean
LA Galaxy XI at the Final Whistle: Perk; Sorto, Leonardo, Venter, Gaul; Mendiola, Sarvas, Garcia, Hoffman; Rugg, McBean
PHILADELPHIA -- The 2014 MLS SuperDraft will be taking place on Thursday in Philadelphia and we'll be covering it on CoveritLive below.
The LA Galaxy hold just one pick on day one of the draft with the 23rd overall selection in the second round.
Check it out below.
It appears that LA Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo will not be departing for Chivas USA after all.
According to ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle—who initially reported the link—Onalfo pulled himself out of the running for the Rojiblancos head coaching job after he and Chivas “were unable to come to an agreement.”
Onalfo has been a member of Bruce Arena’s coaching staff since January 2011.
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According to ESPN FC's Jeffrey Carisle, Chivas USA is targeting current LA Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo for their head coaching vacancy.
Carisle cites multiple sources stating that Onalfo is Chivas' first choice for the job should he get a full commitment from the Rojiblancos' organization. The ESPN FC writer also notes, however, that Onalfo would stay with the Galaxy if he is unble to get the Chivas USA gig. In addition to his role as assistant, he's also led the Galaxy reserve league team to back to back West Division titles.
The report comes amid another report in the Miami Herald stating that Kenny Arena is returning to the Galaxy from the head coaching job at Florida International University.