CARSON, Calif. – Brazilian center back Leonardo is no strange to scorn from LA Galaxy fans, but in 2014, the defender made major strides that may see him start 2015 as the principal partner beside Omar Gonzalez.
Free of the injury issues that plagued him during his first four seasons with the club, Leonardo became a regular in Bruce Arena’s lineup as the Brazilian made 24 appearances and 20 starts—each of which were career-highs. Leonardo also added a goal which was his first tally since the 2011 campaign.
Although Leonardo struggled at times—LA’s CONCACAF Champions League second leg against Club Tijuana was a particularly difficult game—the Brazilian defender showed steady improvement over the course of the season. During the last three months of the team’s campaign in particular, Leonardo blossomed into one of the team’s finest defenders as his physicality and passing ability were vital to LA’s postseason campaign. In addition to his ability to shut down opposing offenses, Leonardo also developed a tendency to push forward into the attack to give the team numbers on set pieces.
Next season, the onus will be on the frequently maligned central defender to stake a claim as Bruce Arena’s primary option alongside Omar Gonzalez in the middle of the back four. To do so, he must continue to be the steady defender of the final months of the season and minimize the mistakes that were apparent at the start of the season.
How would you rate Leonardo’s 2014 season? Read my review of the defenders on LAGalaxy.com and rate his season in the poll and comment section below.
CARSON, Calif. – From the last player signed at preseason to a valuable member of a team in the midst of a run to MLS Cup, Dan Gargan’s 2014 season certainly went better than any expected.
In 2014, Gargan set career-highs in appearances (29), starts (27) minutes played (2400), and assists (five) after being signed on Bruce Arena’s final addition after preseason. Gargan was also a regular during the postseason as he appeared in all five of the Galaxy’s matches, including coming on as a substitute during the extra time of LA’s MLS Cup victory.
During LA’s run to their fifth MLS Cup title, Gargan was a fixture along the right side of defense—while also occasionally filling in at left back—providing steady defense while also using his speed down the flank to aid in the Galaxy counterattack. But what Gargan does for an encore next season remains to be seen.
In MLS, outside back depth is always an asset and with players like Todd Dunivant another year older, Gargan will have every opportunity to fill along both sides of the flank. However much of where Gargan plays relies on the makeup of the back line: if Arena opts for a center back tandem that includes A.J. DeLaGarza at center back, Gargan will likely have more opportunities to play, but if the LA Galaxy defender of the year is moved out wide, the 32-year-old will likely be used as a depth option.
How would you rate Dan Gargan’s 2014 campaign. Read my review of the Galaxy's defenders while also voting and commenting in the section below.
Robbie Keane is not heading out on loan in 2015.
At least, that’s what the LA Galaxy’s captain and reigning MLS MVP told reporters at Tallaght Stadium earlier this week when he announced the team’s preseason match against Irish club Shamrock Rovers.
A day after his MLS Cup MVP performance that led the Galaxy to their fifth league title, Keane had hinted that he may be looking for another challenge in 2015, but despite several “tempting” offers, the 34-year-old has turned down any chance to go on loan before the LA resume preseason in late January.
"I've been asked to go on loan. I think you know me, better than anybody, after a few weeks (inactivity) I get the itch. I've got the itch now 100 percent. I was playing five-a-side with me mates 10 days after the Cup final. That’s the way I am.
"I have been asked (to go on loan by a number of Premier League clubs), yeah. And there’s a temptation because I just love playing football,” he added. “There’s a temptation but I just can’t see it happening to be honest with you. It’s not going to happen.”
As for the rationale behind turning down any perspective loans, Keane notes that given his health—he underwent two Achilles surgeries last December—added traction on his 34-year-old legs would be ill advised heading into the Galaxy’s 2015 campaign.
"There’s certainly a temptation because I just love playing so much,” said Keane. “But I've spoken to people and medically it wouldn't make any sense for me.
"It wouldn't probably be fair at this moment after what I put myself through after the operations that I've had. I want to continue for a long time and this is probably my best bet but as I say it’s tempting but, like i say, it’s not going to happen."
WATCH: Robbie Keane speaks to Shamrock Rovers F.C. about the LA Galaxy's preseason match in the Republic of Ireland
The man from Tallaght is returning home in 2015 when Robbie Keane leads the LA Galaxy to the Republic of Ireland where they'll face 17-time Irish league champion Shamrock Rovers F.C. at Tallaght Stadium on Feb. 21.
Keane was on hand at Tallaght Stadium on Monday morning to reveal that the match will take place during the Galaxy's 2015 preseason preparations. During his press conference, Keane spoke to Shamrock Rovers' SRTV about the match and his thoughts on playing in his home town.
Watch Keane's thoughts on the match above.
The LA Galaxy will be heading to Europe this preseason when they take on the Republic of Ireland's Shamrock Rovers F.C. at Tallaght Stadium on Feb. 21 at 8 a.m. PT
LA's match against Rovers will see 2014 MLS MVP Robbie Keane return to his home town of Dublin -- and most specifically Tallaght -- to play Shamrock Rovers, which is the most successful professional club in Irish history. Rovers have won the League of Ireland 17 times while also winning the FAI Cup a record 24 times.
Retired LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan received a lifetime achievement award from Univision during their Premios Unvision Deportes which aired on Thursday night.
A visibly emotional Donovan was presented the award by MLS commissioner Don Garber while presenters Ivan Kasanzew and Enrique “Perro” Bermudez showed Donovan a video of fans from across the country thanking him for his soccer exploits. The MLS and U.S. Soccer scoring leader then went on to give a speech in which he thanked several including the kids that he grew up playing soccer with who helped inspire him to learn Spanish.
Although the video is entirely in Spanish, it's worth a watch given how emotional Donovan became at receiving such a distinct honor.
Check it out above.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will go from the final MLS game of 2014 to the very first of the 2015 season.
Major League Soccer announced on Friday morning that the Galaxy will host the Chicago Fire on Friday, March 6 at StubHub Center in a match that will air on Unimas at 7:00 p.m. PT. LA have hosted Chicago once before to start the season back in March 2013 when the Galaxy were also returning MLS Cup champions.
The Galaxy are 9-8-2 in all opening matches.
Excited for the Fire to come to down? Ready to see former Galaxy players Mike Magee, Michael Stephens and Greg Cochrane?
Share your thoughts below.
The LA Galaxy passed up the chance to select any players in stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, but the club did lose some of their talent as forward Chandler Hoffman was selected by the Houston Dynamo.
Hoffman, 24, made eight appearances for the Galaxy first team in 2014, but was unable to tally his first MLS goal. Where the forward found the most success was with USL PRO affiliate LA Galaxy II as he scored 13 goals in 17 games played for Los Dos, which was the third highest tally in the U.S. third division in 2014.
In addition to Hoffman, former Galaxy players Tristan Bowen (New England Revolution) and Nathan Sturgis (Houston Dynamo).
CARSON, Calif. – Brian Rowe began his tenure on the LA Galaxy as a third goalkeeper but in his second full season with the club, he’s solidified a place as the club’s number two net minder.
Rowe saw limited action for the Galaxy in 2014, only making three appearances and compiling a 1-0-2 record while top choice Jaime Penedo was away at the 2014 Copa CentroAmericana, but when he did step in goal, he performed ably. In his three appearances, Rowe maintained one shutout—the very first of his Galaxy career—and showed himself able to make clutch saves when needed as he moved ahead of former No. 2 Brian Perk who dealt with concussion injuries for much of the year.
Heading into next season, Rowe will likely have every opportunity to further solidify his position and possibly create competition with Penedo as the Panamanian netminder takes part in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. A solid performance in these games will only aid the emerging goalkeeper in his quest to lock down a top job with the club.
In addition to these games with the first team, Rowe is also expected to be a candidate to suit up for Galaxy II on a regular basis as Los Dos are currently without any ‘keepers on their roster at the moment. These games will only serve to provide confidence for the talented young goalkeeper who has impressed in his brief time with the club.
How would you rate Rowe’s performance in 2014? Read my review of the goalkeepers on LAGalaxy.com and provide him with your own personal rating below.
His option declined by the LA Galaxy, James Riley heavily leaning toward retirement after 10 year career
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. – After winning the first MLS Cup title of his 10-year MLS career and having his option declined days later, LA Galaxy defender James Riley is leaning toward retirement.
Reports have already stated that Riley is leaning toward retirement and sources close to the situation confirm the report to LA Galaxy Insider. Riley made just four appearances for the Galaxy in 2014 after suffering a meniscus injury in March.
Following the club’s championship rally at the Hermosa Beach Pier last week, Riley admitted to reporters that he doesn’t “want to chase it anymore” especially if he’s not on the Galaxy next season.
“I'm 32; if I have to pack up and move all the way across country and continue to chase it and try to almost replicate what we have here, I don't want to do that,” Riley said. “Bruce [Arena] was fantastic in my exit interview, said, 'Yeah, we value you, but we have to see what happens,' and I said no problem. Obviously, they know what I contribute on the field and off the field, so it's one of those things where if it's not here then it's going to be tough for me to go to a different place.”
After his option was declined, Riley was made eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft which concludes on Thursday with stage two of the process. If Riley is not selected, he will officially become eligible to move onto any team. The 32-year-old refused to reveal that he will not take part in LA’s preseason next year, but noted that any decision remains up in the air at this point.
“We're deep in the outside-back position, to be honest with you,” Riley who previous spent time with New England, San Jose, Seattle, Chivas USA and D.C. United before joining the Galaxy in January. “Todd [Dunivant] and Robbie [Rogers] on the left, and Gargs [Dan Gargan] and A.J. [DeLaGarza], who can play on the right. And [Oscar] Sorto's a great young player, great young man, great kid.
“I've always wanted to leave on my terms and not force anything and not kind of just be pushed to the side. It's time to reflect on the game and all the relationships I've formed, what it's provided me.”