International

12 June 10:05 am

In just a few hours, the globe’s most important sporting event will be underway.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup begins on Thursday when the host nation Brazil will take on European upstarts Croatia at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians at 1:00 p.m. PT.  For a month, the world’s eyes will be focused on Brazil as 32 nations compete for the honor of hoisting the trophy aloft at the final at the iconic Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

Throughout the tournament, we’ll be providing analysis and daily coverage of the tournament from Los Angeles and in Brazil on LAGalaxy.com/WorldCup. I’ll be covering the tournament locally from Southern California while LAGalaxy.com digital’s Chris Thomas will be on location in Brazil.

To date, there is already extensive coverage on the website including a World Cup restaurant guide of each of the nations that will be competing, a list of Galaxy watch parties including the U.S. viewing party for the Portugal match, and coverage of the United States’ run through the tournament especially given LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez's participation

12 June 10:02 am

The World Cup is finally here.

Ahead of the tournament, I decided to give the readers of LA Galaxy Insider a look of how I believe that the tournament will turn out. Earlier in the season, I stated that Germany was my favorite to take the title in Brazil. While I later bandied the idea of the host nation lifting the trophy at the Marcanana in mid-July, however, I’ve finally decided who I’m going with and the answer just may surprise you.

Uruguay.

That’s right, the famed deliverers of the Maracanazo, who now boast a team brimming with the attacking talent of Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and even Diego Forlan. I believe that not only with the South American national triumph in their Group of death alongside Italy, England and Costa Rica, but they will also march to the title by defeating the likes of Spain and Argentina before knocking off Brazil in the final.

Uruguay defeats Brazil 2-1 in the Maracanazo Part II.

A few thoughts and notes

* LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and forward Landon Donovan backed Brazil to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

*The Galaxy's resident Swede Stefan Ishizaki picked the country of his father's birth to enjoy a deep run that will end in the second round

*Former Galaxy star Hyung-Mung Bo will lead Korea Republic in the tournament as their head coach. 

Take a look at my bracket below. 

11 June 2:16 pm

CARSON, Calif. – In his first appearance on ESPN’s 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage, Landon Donovan made a powerful statement.

The United States can complete for the World Cup.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made headlines across the country due to his repeated statements that it is “just not realistic” that the U.S. can win the World Cup.  During his ESPN segment on Wednesday, Donovan stated that he disagreed with the U.S. National Team boss’ assessment of the team’s chances.

“Well, this will come as a surprise to nobody, but I don’t agree with Jurgen. As someone who has been in that locker room, and has sat next to the players — and I agree with Alexi [Lalas] — we agree with the American outlaws. We believe that we will win. That’s the way Americans think. That’s the sentiment.

“One point that I’d like to make, if we’re really expecting to go out and beat Portugal and beat Ghana, and beat Germany –who are in my opinion one of the best teams in the world—if you can beat Germany, why can’t you beat anyone else? It doesn’t mean that it is going to happen, but I believe it and I think that all of America believes it.”

Donovan admitted during his interview with ESPN’s Mike Turico that he has come to terms with his omission from the national team and stated that it was time to support the USMNT in Brazil.

“It’s not easy, but at the same time, I have a lot of teammates and friends on that team and I sit next to Omar Gonzalez every day in LA so I have a lot of contact with the guys still and I’m very excited for them,” he said. “Once I’ve been able to get past the disappointment, now I’m genuinely excited for the tournament as a soccer fan. All of our fans are excited to watch the tournament and let’s hope for great things. This can be a very special summer.” 

11 June 1:21 pm

LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane went 27 minutes in the Republic of Ireland's 5-1 defeat to Portugal at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo started the match and went 65 minutes as the United States' Group G opponents flattened the Irish through a brace from Hugo Almeida, an own goal by Irish defender Richard Keogh, Vieirinha and Fabio Coentrao. 

James McClean scored the lone goal for the Irish side which went 0-1-1 in their two U.S. based friendlies

11 June 11:34 am

Landon Donovan will not be suiting up for the U.S. National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but the LA Galaxy forward will be keeping busy

In a video done by LAGalaxy.com, Donovan shows that he'll be keeping busy during the tournament. 

Also don't forget to also check out the USA vs. Portugal World Cup watch party at Downtown Los Angeles' Lot 613. Tickets are on sale at Joinordie.LAGalaxy.com now

Check out Donovan's video below. 

09 June 9:49 am

 A day ago, U.S. Soccer released 23 fascinating profile videos of each of the members of the 23-man U.S. National Team squad that will be competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. 

LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez's is perhaps one of the most interesting as he describes his love of cooking, the interesting way that he met his wife Erica and how he started his youth career in Dallas. 

Check it out below. 

07 June 4:06 pm

The United States attack came alive in a major way on Saturday thanks to a brace from Jozy Altidore as the  Americans earned a 2-1 victory over Nigeria helping the U.S. compile a perfect 3-0-0 record in their "Send-Off Series." 

Altidore scored in both halves with a tap-in to put the Americans ahead in the 32nd minute before tallying a confident strike in the 68th minute to seal the victory. The goals ended a six-month scoring drought for Altidore who had last scored for his club side Sunderland back in December 2013.

Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez checked in for Altidore in the 80th minute and just moments after he checked in, Nigerian striker Victor Moses was awarded a penalty after a defensive breakdown forced American center back Matt Besler to bring down the forward in the penalty area. Moses slotted the penalty past American goalkeeper Tim Howard to spark a Nigerian rally, but the U.S. held on for the victory.  

The U.S. will head to Brazil in the coming days and play their final World Cup tuneup against Belgium in a closed-door scrimmage on June 12 in Sao Paulo. Klinsmann's group will open Group G play on June 16 against Ghana in Natal. Nigeria are in Group F alongside Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and tournament favorite Argentina. The Super Eagles open the tournament on June 16 against Iran in Curitiba.

--

Pleased by the result? Upset that Gonzalez did not start for a third straight match for the USMNT?

Share your thoughts below. 

07 June 8:46 am

LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane missed this third penalty of the year, but the Republic of Ireland earned a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica on Friday evening at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. 

The Galaxy captain started and went 83 minutes in the draw as forward Kevin Doyle scored the lone goal for Ireland while Celso Borges tallied for Costa Rica. Just two minutes after Borges' leveled the match on a second half penalty kick, Ireland earned a spot kick of their own thanks to a foul in the penalty area by the Ticos. However, Keane's attempt was easily saved by a diving Costa Rican goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton. The missed penalty for Ireland comes on the heels of two missed spot kicks for the Galaxy captain during the early stages of the 2014 MLS regular season. 

Ireland return to action on June 10 when they face Portugal at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Meanwhile, the Costa Ricans will depart for Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World Cup where they are placed in Group D alongside Italy, England and Uruguay. 

Video of Doyle's impressive goal are below. 

03 June 3:02 pm

In this interesting Vine illustration, check out this representation of Landon Donovan's World Cup goal against Algeria. 

Watch it below.

01 June 8:46 pm

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