CARSON, Calif. -- On the date that MLS officially disbanded Chivas USA, the LA Galaxy went along with business as usual.
There was no talk of the fact the Rojiblancos had been officially disbanded earlier that morning or that they will be replaced by a new team at a new location in the greater Los Angeles area in two years’ time. The Galaxy simply went about the task of preparing for their Western Conference Semifinal first leg with Real Salt Lake – who entered the league in 2005 alongside Chivas – on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“The decision to sell Chivas and rebrand it and bring it back in the marketplace can only be a positive,” said Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said of the Chivas USA news. “I’m sure that it will make for an exciting time in the Los Angeles soccer market.”
While the yet unnamed second Los Angeles MLS team will return in 2017, most players who suited up for Chivas USA will be distributed across MLS in a dispersal draft that will take place in December. The only possible exceptions for the draft may be forwards Erick “Cubo” Torres and Felix Borja who may find new teams through other means according to a league conference call on Monday afternoon.
As the players prepare for the dispersal draft, Galaxy right back and longtime leadership member of the MLS Players Union James Riley said that he trusted the league and the union to assure a seamless transition for those affected.
“It’s unfortunate news and I want to thank the fans for supporting the team and I still have a lot of good friends on that team,” said Riley who admitted that he wasn’t surprised by the announcement. “We just hope that the process goes smoothly and the players are taken care of and given options to play elsewhere. Obviously, the players union and the league will do their due diligence in making sure that the process goes smoothly for those players.”
But although the sentimentality of losing the Rojiblancos as a rival was felt, the Galaxy were focused on the ways that Monday’s announcement will affect them in the immediate future. With Chivas USA exiting the league, MLS revealed the realignment of the new 20-team league that will feature Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo moving west while expansion sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC join the Eastern Conference.
"As if the Western Conference wasn't tough enough already," chuckled defender A.J. DeLaGarza upon learning that the last five MLS Cup winners will be in the new Western Conference.
But even amid the loss of a rival and the introduction to a pair of new teams in the Western Conference, DeLaGarza said that the loss of the Rojiblancos will only help the Galaxy truly make the StubHub Center their true home.
"It'll be weird not playing Chivas USA because we looked forward to that rivalry. But now we get to have our own stadium and we can do things for us with our $15 million dollar investment in the stadium. We’ll have a chance to upgrade the facilities for the entire club.”
CARSON, Calif. –The LA Galaxy will be without defender Todd Dunivant for at least the next month.
The Galaxy's 33-year-old left back told reporters at training on Sunday that the he will be out for around six weeks with a left groin tear. Dunivant needed to be stretchered off the field in the 26th minute after suffering the injury during a collision with a Rapids attacker minutes earlier. The injury is the second long-term injury for Dunivant this season as he only recently returned from abdominal surgery that was needed to repair an abdominal tear suffered in April.
"I had the MRI yesterday. It was a pretty significant tear," said Dunivant on Sunday. "I can't walk straight. It sucks."
With Dunivant out, the Galaxy's outside back depth appears thin as veteran James Riley is only now returning from a left meniscus tear, and made his first gameday roster on Friday since suffering the injury in March. Meanwhile Robbie Rogers is continuing to deal with a left hamstring strain that forced him from the gameday squad against the Rapids.
“It’s been bizarre in that outside back is where we’ve had the most trouble [with injuries],” said Landon Donovan. “Guys have stepped in and they’ve done a great job. It’s been a bit a mish-mash of guys throughout the year, but through all of that, we still have the best defensive record in the league and we’re still playing well defensively.”
At training on Sunday, Rogers revealed that he will be traveling with the team to Montreal, but expects to only be limited to reserve duty against the Impact as he looks to return to full starting duty against the San Jose Earthquakes three days later.
For both Dunivant and Rogers, the injury-riddled 2014 campaign has been a frustrating one, but Rogers insists that the two will overcome—by any means necessary.
“Todd and I were saying that someone needs to walk the field with incense and use voodoo,” Rogers joked. “For whatever reason this year, our [outside] defenders have had trouble with injuries, but that’s just part of the job.
“We've been dealing with injuries all season to different guys, but the team has done a great job of stepping up,” Rogers added. “Our team isn’t just one player obviously.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will be without defender James Riley for the next six months.
The Galaxy announced on Thursday that the 31-year-old underwent successful surgery to repair his left lateral meniscus, which will keep him out for at least six months. The injury occured in the first half of LA's 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake last Saturday as he evaded RSL attacker Ned Grabavoy.
With Riley injured, the Galaxy will likely rely upon A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant and Dan Gargan to fill in for both outside back positions.
Bruce Arena encouraged by injury status of A.J. DeLaGarza, but states James Riley "will probably require surgery"
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy received some mixed news regarding their injured defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and James Riley on Tuesday.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters following the team’s training session on Tuesday that DeLaGarza “will be all right” and require a week to get over a left ankle “contusion” that was suffered after a hard challenge from Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio during the 62nd minute of LA’s 1-1 draw in Salt Lake last week.
However veteran outside back James Riley was not so lucky as Arena stated that the 31-year-old will probably “miss some time” due to a left meniscus injury that will likely require surgery according to the Galaxy boss. The recovery time for a meniscus injury ranges from weeks to several months. Riley went down in the 29th minute of Saturday’s draw while evading a challenge from RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy.
With Riley injured, the responsibility of filling in at outside back will fall to veteran Dan Gargan, who was solid in relief duty on Saturday.
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio drew the ire of the LA Galaxy for his second half challenge on LA defender A.J. DeLaGarza following the two teams 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon.
The challenge occurred in the 62nd minute when DeLaGarza’s right leg was clipped from behind by the Costa Rican in a play that earned Saborio a yellow card caution from Ismail Elfath. Although the Galaxy defender tried to continue—even making several timely tackles – he was ultimately substituted nine minutes later with what LA head coach Bruce Arena later described as a “ankle contusion.”
DeLaGarza will be further evaluated once the team returns to LA, but his prognosis did not stop his Galaxy teammates from taking Saborio to task.
“That was pretty dirty on his part. He was definitely trying to hurt A.J. and I think that he succeeded,” said Gonzalez. “Fortunately for us, we have players that can come off the bench and we finished the game strong.”
Landon Donovan took it to another level, stating that he would be surprised if Saborio is not met with a suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
“I’m trying to figure out how that is not a red card. You see his leg and you see the intent and how nasty that was. I’d be very surprised if there is no further action taken,” said Donovan. "It’s okay to be tough and physical, but you don’t want to be nasty and that was a pretty nasty one.”
Regardless of whether or not Saborio is suspended, DeLaGarza is simply looking to return as soon as possible with the Galaxy not playing another match until an April 6 road match against Chivas USA.
“I hope that it’s not that bad, but right now it looks bad,” DeLaGarza told LA Galaxy Insider after the match. “Right after it happened; it was already swollen like a second calf. I told the ref and he only got a yellow.”
SANDY, Utah -- The LA Galaxy suffered an injury blow during Saturday afternoon's match against Real Salt Lake as James Riley suffered a left knee injury.
The 32-year-old suffered the injury in the 29th minute when he was taken down by RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy. Riley was eventually helped off the field by LA's training staff and removed in favor of Dan Gargan in the 33rd minute of play.
More to come.
CARSON, Calif. -- MLS teams have struggled mightly in Mexico witha 2-26-5 record all-time, but when the LA Galaxy takes the field on Tuesday evening at Estadio Caliente in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg match, they'll have a player on their team who has tasted CCL victory south of the border.
LA Galaxy left back James Riley was in the Seattle Sounders FC starting XI on August 23, 2011 when Seattle gave MLS their second ever victory in Mexico with a 1-0 victory over C.F. Monterrey in CONCACAF CCL group stage. Riley's play was instrumental on the game-winning sequence as he helped force a turnover that resulted in a Sounders counter attack that ended when current Galaxy assistant coach Pat Noonan fed Alvaro Fernandez who fired a blistering shot past Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco. Seattle's feat came just a week after FC Dallas defeated a reserve-laden Pumas UNAM to become the first team to win in Mexico, but has not been repeated since.
"We put an experienced bunch out and came in with a gameplan that said that we wanted to catch them on the break or a set piece. We got guys behind the ball and, to be honest, there was some fortune on our side. Our goalkeeper [Terry Boss] played huge, some guys made some critical plays and we were able to hold on for the victory."
Although the stakes for Tuesday's quarterfinal are considerably higher than they were when Seattle knocked off Los Rayados, Riley believes that there are lessons to take from the Sounders' victory.
"We think that Tijuana will come with the same high tempo and try to force the issue early on, which we can expect," said Riley. "We'll simply need to be ready."
Highlights of Seattle's game-winning goal are below. Riley can be seen at the outset forcing a Monterrey attacker to pass the ball away from the end line, which leads to the decisive turnover .
LA Galaxy's Bruce Arena and James Riley weigh in on MLS opening up the season with replacement referees
CARSON, Calif. – MLS will begin the 2014 MLS Regular Season without its usual referee crews as replacements will be taking over the officiating duties for opening weekend.
On Friday, the Professional Referee Organization announced that it will lock out its officials after the Professional Soccer Referees Association had rejected a no strike/no lockout agreement. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two sides for several months as they seek to reach their first Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, like all other teams playing in opening weekend, will be affected as they saw their referee assignment changed from 2012 MLS Referee of the Year Silviu Petrescu to veteran CONCACAF official Javier Santos. A member of FIFA Puerto Rico, the Colombian official was an official during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2013 CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying tournament in Mexico. Santos has also gained substantial experience in the CONCACAF Champions League in the last three years, officiating over eight CONCACAF Champions League matches and even served as the fourth official for LA’s 4-0 loss to Isidro Metapán in CCL group play last year.
Although the men in the yellow shirts will be different, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena believes that his team and the rest of the clubs in MLS are prepared for the replacement officials.
“We’ve been aware of it. The referee is going to be the same for both teams. Hopefully they’re all prepared to do their job and we get on with it,” said Arena. “In all fairness, players have to adjust more than the referee. The referee is going to have a style of play and he’s not going to be fully informed on the qualities of MLS. He’s going to referee the way that he’s always refereed and we’re going to have to adjust quickly.”
Veteran defender James Riley, who is expected to start on the left side of defense on Saturday, agrees.
“We just have to control what we can control and not worry about who is assigned to the game, but just go out and do what we can do,” said Riley. “The cadence and rhythm are a bit different. He may call things a bit differently, but I’m sure that he’ll get direction on how the game should be called and he’ll use his ability to do so. We won’t think too much about it and just hope that there is a speedy resolution.
“I think the referees overall do a fantastic job and that’s a very difficult position,” Riley continued. “They’ve been criticized a lot over the years since I’ve been in the league. We know that they’re an integral part of this game and we want it to get better. We want the overall product both on and off the field to get better and they have a significant role in that. We as players support a quick resolution, but the season is going to go on and that’s the reality of it.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s roster is pretty much set heading into the season opener against Real Salt Lake, but one question mark remains.
Trialist Dan Gargan has been with the team since the start of the preseason, but as of yet, there has been no word about a contract offer from the Galaxy. But that doesn’t mean that LA isn’t interested according to head coach Bruce Arena.
“We’re going to try,” said Bruce Arena when asked about if the team is planning to sign the 31-year-old defender.
Outside back depth is vital for LA at the moment as the club dispatched youngsters Bryan Gaul (waived) and Greg Cochrane (traded to Chicago) in recent weeks.
RILEY EXPECTING TO START IN DEFENSE
While Gargan’s status is still up in the air, the newest member of the LA Galaxy, James Riley is expecting to get the start at left back this Saturday against Real Salt Lake due to an injury to Todd Dunivant.
Riley has seen significant time this preseason at left back due to Dunivant’s nagging hamstring injury and is likely to get the nod against RSL.
“I’ll be ready to go,” said Riley. “Whatever Bruce decides, I feel fit and ready to go.”
Dunivant is improving rapidly; however, as the veteran left back went 45 minutes in a recent scrimmage with LA Galaxy II against Cal-State Fullerton as he seeks to be available for selection for Saturday.
“I’m ready to be available,” said Dunivant. “It’s a good guess [that Riley starts]. I’m still working on [being 90 minutes fit], but first thing is first is getting healthy and I’m moving forward.”
ARENA ADMITS EXPERIENCE RULES ALL AS SEASON OPENER APPROACHES
The LA Galaxy’s new found experience has been a major plot line this preseason and on Thursday, head coach Bruce Arena went into detail about how he expects the team to be different during the 2014 campaign.
“I think the priorities were addressed with the new players,” said Arena. “We needed more experience in midfield; we got that with [Stefan] Ishizaki. We needed some help on our forward line, and we got that with Samuel and [Rob] Friend. We needed some experienced players in the back; we have that now with [James] Riley. Obviously [Baggio] Hušidić is another experienced player in the midfield as well. I think that’s what we needed to address. This year, we’re looking at Friend or Samuel or Hušidić or Riley or [Dan] Gargan or Ishizaki. Last year it was [Jack] McBean, [Jose] Villarreal, [Hector] Jimenez, and [Rafael] Garcia, I think that’s an improvement.”