CARSON, Calif. – England and Spain eliminated while Italy and other global powers find themselves on the ropes? Not many foresaw that heading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan gave his explanation for the failings of the European giants in Brazil.
Speaking to reporters on Friday after LA Galaxy training, Donovan said that the poor showing of the European powers may be due to the rigors of the club season.
“I have a theory on that and it doesn't always hold true, but I think that it’s very difficult for teams with players playing in England or Spain that are playing 50 or 60 high-level games a year,” said Donovan. “They just get worn down throughout the year and then they travel to South America where it’s hot and difficult. I think that players are just getting worn out. There’s a lot of thought that more is better as far as training, but I think the opposite. I think that less is more and the teams that got the training right before the World Cup are the ones that are excelling right now.”
Even though several notable European sides are struggling, Donovan believes that the 2014 FIFA World Cup is showcasing the newfound parity of global soccer.
“The soccer world is smaller than ever. There’s more players playing everywhere around the world. They understand how to get results and they're not intimidated anymore. It used to be different in the past,” said Donovan. “There is no more of that anymore. You see that with a lot of little teams doing well. You're seeing teams that are organized and the teams that are fit are succeeding.”
On Monday, LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez will develop a lasting memory of his very first World Cup match when the U.S. takes on Ghana in their Group G opener.
But what about Gonzalez's first World Cup memory?
That goes back to the 1994 FIFA World Cup when Gonzalez was just a child living outside of Dallas.
"My first World Cup memory as a kid was at the Cotton Bowl, I got a chance to go to a few games as a volunteer," Gonzalez recently told LAGalaxy.com. "When I was there, my mom tells me that I used to mimic Bebeto's celebration."
Think Gonzalez will mimic that celebration if he scores?
The waiting is finally over.
On Monday, the U.S. National Team will take on Ghana in their opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The match will prove if the third time is the charm for the U.S. who have dropped two straight World Cup matches to the Black Stars.
In the latest "By the Numbers," LAGalaxy.com looks at the matchup.
Check it out below.
On a day in which the U.S. National Team defeated Turkey 2-1 -- where Omar Gonzalez was an unused substitute -- a group of U.S. legends defeated a group of former Mexico stars by the same score line at StubHub Center on Sunday.
Mexico went up early after Benjamin Galindo beat former Galaxy goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer after a pass from long time Mexican international Ramon Morales. However, the United States fought back as Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski found the back of the net in the 71st minute. But the finest strike of the evening -- and the game winner -- belonged to Razov who launched a shot from distance that proved too much for Mexico goalkeeper Felix Fernandez.
Joining Kirovski and Razov in the Galaxy contingent were club president Chris Klein, Academy Director Pete Vagenas and former players Paul Caligiuri, Danny Califf, and Brian Ching
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will play host to the final of the 25th edition Central American Cup on September 13, the Central American Football Union announced on Tuesday.
The 2014 edition of the Central American Cup will be the first time that the regional tournament will be held outside of one of CONCACAF's seven Central American nations. The tournament will serve as a qualifying competition for both the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
In addition to the final, the third place and fifth place games will also take place on Sept. 13 at the Coliseum. According to CONCACAF, locations for the other matches have yet to be announced for the tournament that will run from Sept. 3-13.
Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo who is also the number one 'keeper for Panama is the only LA player who is eligible to participate. If Penedo does suit up for Los Canaleros, he could miss as many as three league matches for the Galaxy with LA taking on the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 5, the Montreal Impact on Sept. 10 and the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 14.
Planning to attend the final? Think Penedo can help Panama qualify for the Copa America Centenario? Think he'll be allowed to play?
Share your thoughts below.
Mexico unveiled their 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and headlining the squad is former New York Red Bulls defender and frequent nemesis of the U.S. National Team Rafael Marquez.
El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera named his squad on Friday which includes Manchester United forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Villarreal attacker Giovani Dos Santos, Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, California-born Toluca midfielder Isaac Brizuela, and of course, Marquez. The 2014 World Cup will be the fourth for the Mexico captain, who is expected to become the first player to captain a nation at four World Cups.
Although Marquez is no longer the player who was a star at FC Barcelona years ago, LA Galaxy head coach and former U.S. national team boss Bruce Arena believes that he’s still vital for Mexico.
“At his age, they’re highly dependent on his experience more than anything. He’s not no-longer a great one-on-one defender, but he has experience so if he can fit in their system and communicate and organize a team then he’s extremely important. They’ve gotten surprisingly good play out of him in the last year and he’s a competitive and fiery player.
“It’s hard for me to say this, but I wish him the best," Arena added. "He’s been good for the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico because without him, we wouldn’t have had some of the excitement that we’ve had."
Another one of Marquez’s traditional adversaries Landon Donovan agreed with Arena’s assessment about the former Red Bulls man’s importance to El Tri.
“They’ve been a better team with him. I think a big problem for them last year when they went through their struggles was their lack of leadership. They didn’t have guys on the field that you could really lean on. He’s been very helpful them,” said Donovan. “He’s not nasty. Like a lot of players, sometimes he loses his head a little bit, but he’s always been relatively respectful after the whistle, but he has moments like all of us.”
Mexico’s full squad is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
DEFENDERS: Rafa Marquez (Leon), Diego Reyes (Porto), Miguel Layun (America), Paul Aguilar (America), Andres Guardado (Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres UANL)
MIDFIELDERS: Carlos Pena (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Juan Carlos Medina (America), Luis Montes (Leon), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon)
FORWARDS: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna)
ESPN's award-winning series 30 for 30 took an inside look at the U.S. National Team's road to Brazil in their upcoming feature series that looks into the team's 100 days of preparation before the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Check out the ESPN trailer, which features Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez below.
By this time next week, the U.S. National Team's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will truly begin in earnest as the 30-man preliminary squad descends on Stanford, Calif. for a two-week training camp.
In an interview with MLSsoccer.com, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann discusses how he will select his squad for the camp at Stanford University. Watch below.
I'll have my very own 23 man roster projection later today.
The Copa America is coming to the United States.
CONCACAF and their South American counterparts CONMEBOL announced at a press conference in Miami on Thursday that the “2016 Copa America Centenario” which is the 100th edition of tournament will take place at venues across the United States from June 3-26. The “Centenario” will include 10 countries from South America and six nations from CONCACAF.
The U.S. and Mexico will both be entered in the tournament and be joined by the 2014 Central American Cup and 2014 Caribbean Cup champions as well as two of the four semifinalists in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Although the matches will not take place on official FIFA dates, CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo told reporters that both organizations are attempting to work with FIFA for the dates to be recognized by the global soccer body by the time the tournament starts.
No venues have been announced yet with interested cities encouraged to bid to host matches, but according to a report by the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufmann, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena is one of the venues that is being considered to host matches.
Thoughts on the tournament?
Share them below.
In the latest ad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan is featured among other titans of world soccer in a new commercial by Gatorade that has a bit of a Disney feel to it.
Check it out below but preferably before midnight so you don't turn into a pumpkin.