The U.S. National Team will be testing themselves against the likes of Ghana, Portugal and Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer and are already relishing the opportunity to tackle a “Group of Death.”
During a media scrum at a World Cup draw watch party at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Omar Gonzalez and other U.S. national team members remarked about the Americans’ placement in Group G. One highlight for Gonzalez will be another chance to take on one of the planet’s finest players in Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I faced him for the Galaxy once before and that was fun, but I think he’s going to be even harder playing for his country in this tournament,” Gonzalez told reporters of his bouts with Ronaldo in 2010 and 2012 friendlies. “I think it’s going to be awesome and it should be a fun time.”
Even though Gonzalez will be looking to make his first-ever World Cup roster, the Galaxy defender admitted that he correctly anticipated where the U.S. would fall upon learning the first two participants in Group G.
“Once Germany and Ghana got paired together I figured this is probably going to be us,” Gonzalez admitted. “Fate’s going to align, and it’s all going to happen.”
The U.S. National Team is returning to Southern California.
U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that the U.S. will face Korea Republic on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center concluding their annual winter training camp. The match will be the first game for the U.S. in a busy 2014 that will see them -- and Korea Republic -- complete in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“As a team that has qualified for Brazil, the Korea Republic will be another great benchmark for us,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a statement. “They bring a different style of play than we have seen in the last two years, and that gives us a chance to grow. With only two or three games left before May, this will be an important opportunity for the players who will be finishing off the January camp. The message will be the same one we start with every time we get together: we are here to win.”
Both LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are likely to be called up for the January training camp. According to Steve Davis at ProSoccerTalk, the U.S. will open up training camp on Jan. 6 at StubHub Center before departing for Brazil on Jan. 12 where they will train in Sao Paulo at their base for the World Cup until Jan. 25 before returning to Southern California.
The match will be first game between the two countries since their 1-1 draw at the 2002 FIFA World Cup when former Galaxy attacker Clint Mathis scored a stunning goal in the tie.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The Vancouver Whitecaps’ attack may be sputtering as of late, with just one goal in three games, but the LA Galaxy are keenly aware that with their talented midfield, the ‘Caps represent a challenge.
Vancouver’s midfield gave everything that the Galaxy could handle in the first half of their last game in mid-July in BC Place tallying two goals, before LA roared back to earn a 2-2 draw. In the first half of that match, the midfield pair of Barry Robson and Gerson Koffie overwhelmed LA’s midfield early on tallying two quick goals.
However, in the second half, the Galaxy flipped the script and began to dominate possession before scoring a pair of goals en route to a 2-2 draw. Something that the Galaxy are aware that they need to duplicate if they are to defeat Vancouver on Saturday.
Below are thoughts from midfielders’ David Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas…
BECKHAM: “We know that they’ve got players that can go through the team and create chances and cause problems for us. If we play as well as we did in the second half against them in the last game if we play like we did in the first half, then we won’t be. We know that they’re a good team and we know that they’ve got a couple of good players, but as long.”
SARVAS: “We have to play smart, we know that every team that comes here to play against us, they come here with double motivation. They come to steal points and we have to do our game, to keep the ball, to play hard in the attack and keep a tight defense and limit chances.”
CARSON, Calif. – Forward Chad Barrett was back at LA Galaxy training on Monday morning, but no decision either way about a potential move to Norway’s Vålerenga.
Barrett, who is currently out of contract at the end of the year, returned from Norway last Saturday after a week-long trial with the Oslo-based club and was in attendance during the Galaxy’s 3-1 victory over Chivas USA.
Following training on Monday, the 27-year-old forward did not speak with the media, but head coach Bruce Arena addressed Barrett’s status.
“Chad Barrett is back from an opportunity in Norway and we’re waiting for the club response this week,” the Galaxy coach told reporters.
Arena also left the door open that Barrett could feature in Tuesday’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur, a team that the forward supported as a teenager.
“It’s a possibility,” said Arena. “Nothing is definite at this point.”
Following Tottenham Hotspur’s open training session at the Home Depot Center on Sunday, assembled media got a chance to speak with the Rafael van der Vaart about the upcoming friendly against the LA Galaxy.
Van der Vaart’s thoughts below…
(On new head coach André Villas-Boas…)
VAN DER VAART: “There’s a new coach, I think that [former head coach] Harry [Redknapp] did a great job, but the club decided something else. He’s a young manger and a great manager and he wants to prove something after his few months with Chelsea. We want to win something and I think that we have a great squad and that’s why it’s so important to have a good preseason in LA. “
(On AVB’s approach benefiting his game…)
VAN DER VAART: “It’s always difficult to say and I don’t like to say what is better and what is not. Every manager has his own style and I think that Harry did a fantastic job. [Villas-boas] is an honest man and I think that the team will have to work hard and I think it’s a little bit different when you’re manager of a national team as opposed to a club, but he can do it. He’s a great man.”
(On facing Donovan, Beckham and Keane…)
VAN DER VAART: “They’re great men. I’ve played with Keano of course and he’s a great lad. It’s good that those kind of players play [in MLS] because soccer can become bigger and bigger in America so it’s a good sign.”
The Galaxy face Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, July 24 at The Home Depot Center. Tickets for that match are still available, starting at $40, at www.lagalaxy.com/tottenham
In an interview with Fox Soccer’s Mark Rogondino, longtime US International goalkeeper Brad Friedel spoke about playing in the United States and facing the LA Galaxy with Tottenham Hotspur in Tuesday’s friendly. A former UCLA Bruin and native of Ohio, Friedel has spent one season with Tottenham after stints at Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool among others.
Friedel also amassed 82 caps with the US national team and was the goalkeeper for the US during their run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
Friedel’s quotes from the interview below...
(On coming back to America…)
FRIEDEL: “It’s strange, the only time that we’d come to the States when I was with Blackburn, I’d always seem to miss out so it’s nice to come back especially to LA. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen some of my old friends and I’ll see a couple of them tonight so it’s good.”
(On his preparations for the upcoming season with Tottenham…)
FRIEDEL: “Personally, I just get through preseason and make sure that I don’t have any injuries. I think that mainly what the boys do is that you just want to pick up fitness. Having a league that’s in the middle of the season also helps us because their fitness levels are a lot higher than ours are. Having a new manager, he’s going to want to use this game to see all the players, which is very important for him as well. All in all, coming in on tours like this are a good bonding experience with the new staff and the new players so these are very good.
(On facing the LA Galaxy and the rising standard of MLS…)
FRIEDEL: “For many years, many people were asking about MLS and they were always asking about the [contract] figures that they saw in the paper with Beckham so they’d ask me, ‘can you get me there? can you get me there?’ But the notoriety of MLS has come on incredible amounts especially with Thierry Henry and [Robbie Keane] coming over here and David Beckham of course. Also the likes of Landon Donovan when he comes over and does really well at Everton and that picks it up and Keano did really well with Aston Villa when he came back. All those things help the league. We have take our hat off to all the financial people who have kept in the game with MLS because there were a couple of times where it was on really shaky ground and they’ve stuck with it and put a really good product on the field now.”