Soccer has caught the attention of America over the past month and now MLS kicks back into full swing with a slate of games this weekend.
MLSsoccer.com gets you excited for the action with this hype video.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will look to earn their sixth straight victory against Chivas USA on Sunday in their last home SuperClasico before the Rojiblancos expected rebrand -- and potential move -- in the offseason.
*Sunday will be the final home game for the LA Galaxy against Chivas USA before the team's rebrand and earlier in the week, LA's players reflected on the rivalry.
*Juninho is enjoying a banner year, but as of yet, the goals have not come, which is a cause of concern for the LA Galaxy.
*Tommy Meyer and Leonardo have formed a solid partnership in central defense in recent weeks. LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan speaks to the pair and talks about their comfort playing alongside one another.
*Brazilian forward Samuel has been steadily continuing his development with the LA Galaxy, will he get the start with Robbie Keane away?
*Lastly, LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan offered his preview of the match.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
CUBO TORRES vs. LEONARDO
Torres makes his money by sliding over the shoulder of center backs and he'll be looking to find space behind Leonardo from the outset. If he can find the back of the net early, the Galaxy may be in for a difficult evening.
JUNINHO vs. MAURO ROSALES
The Argentine will look to put a world of pressure on the LA Galaxy's defensive midfielder, but without the presence of the suspended Oswaldo Minda, he will need to be mindful of pushing too far lest he become susceptible to the Galaxy counterattack.
WHAT THE GALAXY ARE SAYING ABOUT CHIVAS USA
“I think they have better team than last year. I think [Erick] Torres has grown as a player, [Mauro] Rosales is a really good addition. I think the backline improved. The goalkeeper is always good. They’ve had some impressive results on the road. Beat Colorado in a snow storm and got a point against Portland while also winning their opening game this season against Chicago. They’ve got some good games and some that are not. Maybe they can say the same about us.”
- Head coach Bruce Arena
WHAT CHIVAS USA ARE SAYING ABOUT THE LA GALAXY
“It’s definitely a good opportunity for the players and for us to try to perform well against a very good team. [The week] has been positive, with good mentality. We’re trying to just rebound from the two games that we played here and we didn’t play as well and didn’t have good results. We’re not making excuses. We just have to be strong, have a good attitude with the game during the 90 minutes, understanding that we have a very good team in front of us.”
- Head coach Wilmer Cabrera
Penedo; Gargan, Leonardo, Meyer, DeLaGarza; Zardes, Sarvas, Juninho, Ishizaki; Samuel, Donovan
Galaxy 3 Chivas USA 0
The LA Galaxy will play their final MLS match before the league's two-week break for the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Sunday against Chivas USA, but does it come at the right time?
The Galaxy have dealt with numerous breaks and off weeks throughout the first half of the 2014 season and will need to deal with another after their match against the Rojiblancos.
But how important is it?
“I don’t know if this is good or not, I just want to know when to come back. For us, it is going to be a good rest," said Juninho. "We can take our time, set up and figure out for the [U.S. Open Cup]. Bruce is going have more time to think about the team, and think about what formation he prefers—diamond or two midfields. I think this break is good.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena -- unsurprisingly -- has a different take.
“It’s important to win. We are not really having a break. The break thing is only the league officials and referees," he said. "We work the whole time with the Open Cup and all so it is not that much of a break but it will be somewhat in the league of a break. We are going to have the Open Cup obligation, but having said all that, it is important to get a win.”
CARSON, Calif. – Whether he's stationed at forward or on the wing, it’s all the same to Gyasi Zardes.
The LA Galaxy’s dynamic offensive-minded player simply wants to get into the attack.
Zardes got a taste of life back up top during a brief second half appearance during LA’s 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire a week ago. Although the shift went well for 22-year-old, who has one goal and one assist this season, Zardes doesn’t have an opinion on where he’s best suited to play.
“It felt great getting back up top. It felt really good to get back up there,” said Zardes. “I missed playing up top, but I like outside too because I have freedom to space. I’m a runner; I want to run [at people].”
If he gets a chance to see the field, he’ll look to pressure a Chivas USA side that he’s enjoyed success against since coming into the league as he’s tallied two goals and two assists in a pair of SuperClasico appearances.
Although the Galaxy have dominated the Rojiblancos throughout their series, Zardes expects a tough challenge from Chivas on Sunday.
“This Chivas team is going to come strong and hard,” said Zardes. “We need to be prepared for them.”
Where do you think Zardes' best position is?
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In the latest edition of By the Numbers, we look at the latest match up with Chivas USA.
Check it out below.
Robbie Keane to miss Chivas USA match to join up with Ireland for matches against Costa Rica and Portugal
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Robbie Keane for their June 8 match against Chivas USA after the forward told reporters on Thursday that he will be reporting for the Republic of Ireland’s friendlies against Costa Rica and Portugal in the United States.
Keane told reporters that he’ll join up with the Irish National Team in Philadelphia ahead of their match against Costa Rica at PPL Park on June 6, following the Galaxy’s match against the Chicago Fire on Sunday at Toyota Park. Ireland will take on the United States’ Group G opponent Portugal on June 10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Although the callup will force Keane to miss the Galaxy’s final game before the international break, the Galaxy captain said that the conversations between club and country went smoothly.
“Really, I should have been gone for four games because international teams have a priority in these situations when it is an international fixture on the schedule,” said Keane. “Ireland and Bruce spoke and they were happy if I played two games for the Galaxy and miss the Chivas game, that way I was missing two for Ireland and playing two for Ireland.
“I’m grateful for both teams and it’s one of those situations where I have to sit back and let the teams discuss it,” he added. “Of course, I want to be in both places and playing for both, but unfortunately, the way that schedule works. At the same time, it’s a good chance for [younger] players in Ireland to get games and experience.”
CARSON, Calif. – No record, no problem for LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan.
Despite a dangerous attacking performance that allowed him to account for five of the Galaxy’s 19 attempts on goal, Donovan was unable to find goal No. 135 that would give him sole possession of the MLS all-time regular season scoring record which he currently shares with Jeff Cunningham.
Donovan notched two assists on the evening, but when he found himself alone on goal in the 65th minute, his goal was pushed away by Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Despite being stuck on 134 regular season goals for yet another week, Donovan asserts that he does not feel unlucky that his goal didn’t come against the Rojiblancos.
“I don’t feel unlucky,” Donovan told reporters after the match. “I can do better with those chances, but it was a little sticky today and the ball caught up a few times. I’m happy with how I played, I thought I played well. Goals will come, I’m happy to win games.”
“I just want to play well and eventually goals will come,” he added. “I’m not worried about [the record]. As long as I play well and I’m contributing then that’s what is important. “
Think Donovan will break the record this weekend against Vancouver?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are dealing with a number of defensive injuries and may have just added Todd Dunivant to the club’s walking wounded.
Dunivant was forced to come off in the 75th minute of LA’s 3-0 victory over Chivas USA with what was revealed to be an abdominal ailment which he confirmed after the game.
“I felt a sharp pain in my abdominal. It might be a strain, I’m hoping that it is not too bad, but I felt it in a play later and I had to come off,” said Dunivant. “We’ll get a scan [on Monday] and see the severity of it.”
Dunivant admitted that he was not “feeling great” but said that he would reserve judgment until the scan.
“I don’t come off if it is nothing so we’ll see,” said Dunivant. “I just hope that it is nothing too bad.”
While Dunivant’s status is a question mark, starting right back Dan Gargan told reporters that he’d be “okay” despite leaving the match at the 85th minute mark holding on to his right shoulder.
“I just got crunched a little bit,” said Gargan. “I got hit on the backside and moved the wrong way which just squished everything together. It’s nothing serious.”
CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena addressed the media following the LA Galaxy’s 3-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday afternoon.
His complete thoughts are below:
(On the play of Stefan Ishizaki…)
ARENA: “In time he is going to give us good passing. He is capable of scoring goals like he demonstrated today, but he needs a little time, he is still making the adjustment in to the league. Today is a difficult day for a player that has played in Europe his whole life, a lot in Scandinavia and all of a sudden he is on a field that is about 80 degrees, it’s sticky, all of that. So that was a little challenging for not only Stefan but all the players. The conditions were difficult today to play in. He had a solid game, obviously a good goal. I think he needs to deal with the speed and the pressure on the ball a little bit better than he did today.”
(On the tactical changes made in the midfield…)
ARENA: “I don’t want to underscore us or over score us. Formations are what they are. It is 11 players out on the field. It just so happens that it accommodates the players that we have out there a little bit better. If we somehow shifted [Marcelo] Sarvas next to Juninho and Stefan [Ishizaki] a little on the right and Baggio [Husidic] a little bit on the right, the world wasn’t going to change. Don’t be understanding that this formation is what we’re changing; it’s the 11 players on the field. If that was the case, then you create formations all day using that as a reason of why you’re winning or not winning. And really in all honesty, I really think it is overplayed and I think it is a question of how those players move together and work for each other.”
(On the Galaxy’s first win of the season…)
ARENA: “I suspected we win a game at some point this year, I think we have such an awkward schedule it’s been difficult. It’s just good to get back playing again and winning a game. You know you have to win a game, that’s the name of the game. That’s why you play. It’s important, it’s our first win. It has to establish some confidence in the team, and it’s good to just be playing again. If we had to do another two weeks of training, I think we’d kill each other, we wouldn’t have a team ready for the next game.”
(On the team’s performance…)
ARENA: “We do have a good team. We have good days. We had a good day today, but I think we were a bit sloppy. I think we could have been better today. Obviously we had a two goal lead at half time and it’s a little easier. I anticipated this game would be a close game. I think we did a good job in the first 15 minutes of the second half and basically killed the game.”
On Landon Donovan’s 90 minute performance…)
ARENA: “He played 30 minutes the other day. He played 90 minutes today, we’d expect a little fatigue but 30 minutes shouldn’t bother him. Landon is pretty fit, and he looked pretty good to me tonight.”
(On Chivas USA’s performance…)
ARENA: “Like I told Wilmer [Cabrera] after the game, I think he is doing a good job with the team. It’s a starting point. Defensively they had a plan there, they’re hard to break down. The players worked hard for 90 minutes, which is a good sign for them, and that means in our league that if you could do that then you can steal some games, you’re going to win some others but you’re going to be around there. So those are the characteristics they have. I think they have a very good goalkeeper in Dan Kennedy, they have a young player up top who has now scored goals in the League, [Erick] Torres, which is encouraging. [Mauro] Rosales could play for any team in the league. [Carlos [Bocanegra] is a good experienced player. They’ve got good players and good things going and they have a good year. I think for sure there are more signs of improvement for Chivas.”
(On the play of forward Robbie Keane…)
ARENA: “Robbie [Keane] doesn’t necessarily like these conditions. This would be like burning in hell in Ireland. He got the first goal; he was part of a bunch of goal scoring opportunities. He could have had another goal. Robbie played well; he is a factor on the field.”
(On the team’s midfielders…)
ARENA: “They’re all good soccer players. There’s enough bite in them where they can win tackles. Marcelo [Sarvas], Juninho, and Baggio [Husidic ] get around the ball pretty well. They can all pass the ball; those are good characteristics for midfield players. If your midfield players can’t pass the ball then you’ve got some problems. So that helps us a little bit.”