LA Galaxy

13 January 12:01 pm

The LA Galaxy were sorely lacking a target presence during their ill-fated 2013 campaign, but over the past seven days, LA have added two legitimate scoring options to their attacking arsenal.

Over the past week, the Galaxy have added two forwards in Brazilian forward Samuel and now Canadian international Rob Friend. Friend, 32, joins the Galaxy after an 11-year career in Europe that saw him tally 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.

Friend has spent the last two seasons with 1860 Munich making 24 appearances, but over the past season, he has played in 10 matches for the Die Löwen (The Lions) scoring a single goal. The 6-foot-5 forward’s final goal for Munich came on Sept. 21 when he notched a goal and an assist during a 3-1 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue. Friend’s performance against the Saxony-based club was a vintage target forward display as he was able to aid in the build-up of a goal with a well-time knockdown of a cross before tallying a goal himself off a corner kick minutes later.  

Such aerial skills were at a premium for the Galaxy in 2013 as center back Omar Gonzalez was often the lone target for the Galaxy on set pieces and often heavily marked by opposing defenses.  The presence of a target forward like Friend will only stand to aid LA on attacking set pieces by freeing up space for LA’s other attackers like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.

Although Friend brings a strong European pedigree to StubHub Center his minutes won’t be guaranteed as he’s expected to compete for the starting spot alongside Keane with the 22-year-old Samuel. Should either of the forwards lock down a starting place next to the Irishman, expect Donovan to drift back into the right side of midfield.

Highlights of Friend’s final goal for Munich are below. 

13 January 10:02 am

The LA Galaxy bolstered their forward corps with yet another target forward on Monday signing Canadian international Rob Friend.

The 32-year-old striker spent the last two seasons with Bundesliga 2 club TSV 1860 Munich making 24 appearances for the German club while scoring five times. Throughout his 11-year career, Friend has scored 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.

“The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack,” said LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena in a club statement. “Rob is a veteran player with a scoring pedigree and we are excited to bolster our roster by bringing him to LA.”

Friend, who played a portion of his college soccer at U.C. Santa Barbara, also earned a total of 32 appearances for the Canadian National Team with two goals and two assists.  The 6-foot-5 target forward is the second striker that the Galaxy have signed this year, with the club adding Brazilian striker Samuel earlier this month on loan from Brazilian side Fluminense.

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Thoughts on Friend's signing? Do you think Samuel or Friend will earn a starting role alongside Robbie Keane?

Share your thoughts below. 

12 January 3:09 pm

LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez have been named to the 26-man roster for the upcoming U.S. National Team camp in Brazil.

The U.S. will take part in a “dry run” of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at Sao Paulo FC's facilities from Jan. 13-25 before returning to Southern California ahead of their Feb. 1 friendly against Korea Republic at StubHub Center. During the time, the U.S. has scheduled a pair of closed-door scrimmages against the Sao Paulo FC first team.  Sao Paulo will serve as the base of operations for the Americans during upcoming World Cup.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had stated prior to the January camp at StubHub Center that he may take just 23 players on the 12-day trip to Brazil, but instead opted to take the complete squad after a week of training.

“We’ve been extremely pleased with the performance of the group in the first week,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “The players came in very fit and have done really well in training. Therefore, we believe they have all earned a chance to go down to Brazil for these next 12 days. We’re very excited about getting down to Sao Paulo and continuing the work. This is a huge opportunity to get to know our environment for the World Cup.”

Earlier in the week, Donovan stated that he expects the group to gain a great deal from their 12 days in Brazil.

“Getting a test run for 10 days in Brazil is very important,” said Donovan. “I remember in 2009 that playing in the [FIFA Confederations Cup] was very beneficial when we went back to South Africa a year later. It’s a really good and important step for the team.”

11 January 1:56 pm

We’re less than a week from the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and on Friday, the 2014 MLS adidas Players Combine kicked off the draft week festivities.  

In the first match, Team Predator defeated Team Nitro Charge 4-1 off goals from Zach Boldon (Denver), Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of Mines), Mamadou Diouf (Connecticut), and Pierre Omanga (So. New Hampshire). Akron’s Reinaldo Brenes scored the lone goal for Team Nitro Charge.

The final match of the evening, Team Brazuca defeated Team adiZero 2-0 off goals from Michigan’s Fabio Pereira and Maryland’s Schillo Tshuma.

MLSsoccer and Soccer by Ives each provided an update on the players who succeeded—and failed— during Day One. On Saturday, the teams will interview the combine participants before the players return to action on Sunday. 

10 January 5:39 pm

There's no doubt that LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham was known throughout the world for his fashion sense as much as his soccer ability. 

Early on Friday, we discovered this cool piece of art that offered a timeline of David Beckham's career through his unique hairstyles

Check it out below.

Update: Early on Saturday, LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza responded to this piece on Beckham with his own hairstyles through the year.

10 January 4:41 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Weeks after completing a loan to Cruz Azul, Jose Villarreal is steadily beginning to integrate himself with the squad.  

According to the website Mediotiempo, Villarreal, Rafael Baca and Michael Farfan have begun training with the Cruz Azul first team over the past week.  Although the training session represent Villarreal’s first steps forward to earning minutes, the 19-year-old forward faces an uphill battle after Cruz Azul sporting director Agustín Manzo labeled the forward a work-in-progress during his unveiling in December.

However, even as Villarreal looks to lock down a steady place with the Mexican side, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admits that the forward has the skills to succeed in Mexico.

“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Villarreal told reporters earlier this week. “He’s a player that has great promise. He’s being placed in an environment that I think that he’s going to be comfortable in and hopefully, he can show a lot of progress this year."

10 January 2:03 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- In less than seven days, the American soccer community will gather in Philadelphia for the 2014 MLS SuperDraft

In preparation for the SuperDraft, I spoke to Top Drawer Soccer youth soccer expert Travis Clark about LA's draft needs and interesting players that may be available. 

Check it out below. 

LA GALAXY INSIDER: How would you rate this particular draft in terms of quality?

CLARK: This is an interesting group of talent. In my opinion, the strength is along the back line, particularly with a glut of center backs both Generation adidas and from the crop of seniors talent. While there may not be a great deal of players who have a high ceiling, I think that there might be a higher number of MLS squad players in this group who could make a roster.

LAGI: What type of talent do you expect to be available when the Galaxy draft at 14?

CLARK: Depending on how quick the Generation adidas players come off the board will dictate what is there for the Galaxy's first pick. I'd expect a solid center back or two might be there for the taking, or perhaps one of the draft's few quality outside backs.

LAGI: What do you see as the Galaxy's biggest positional need in the draft?

CLARK: You'd know this better than me, but I'm sure the Galaxy could use depth in the midfield or at the back.

LAGI: Personally, I feel that the Galaxy should be seeking to find right back depth in lieu of the departure of Sean Franklin, who are the best right back prospects and could they be available at 14?

CLARK: If for some reason Eric Miller slips to the Galaxy at 14, it would be a no brainer pick. The Creighton defender played as a center back this year, but will likely feature as a right back in MLS, and would be Generation adidas player, so wouldn't count against the salary cap. If he isn't there -- which is probably going to be the case – snapping up UC Irvine right back Marco Franco would be a smart move. He's someone that could come in and possibly get minutes this season.

Outside of him and Miller, there aren't a lot of right back options.

LAGI: Since the Galaxy have a tendency to draft college players to local to the Southern California area, who are some of the standouts from the Southern California pool?

CLARK: Along with Franco, UCLA has a number of senior candidates available --though I'm not sure if they'd fit in with what the Galaxy is looking for. Victor Munoz is a creative midfielder from Spain that could offer a spark and should be on the board later in the rounds. Enrique Cardenas is another similar kind of player out of Irvine, but he's another that will likely be there after the first two rounds.

UC Santa Barbara has some intriguing options -- defensive midfielder Fifi Baiden, who isn't the biggest presence but can cover ground, while also offering up a pair of foreigners: forward Achille Campion from France and towering 6-foot-6 German center back Peter Schmetz.

LAGI: Who do you see the Galaxy taking with the 14th pick?  And their pick in the late fourth round?

CLARK: I think picking up Marco Franco might be a good move in the first round, adding depth at right back. Maybe go for a center back like [New Mexico's Kyle] Venter or [Michigan State's Kevin] Cope, which might represent one of the best players available at the time.

Perhaps with the other pick, the Galaxy can look close to home and grabbing Munoz in the fourth round, see if he can adapt and add a creative spark to the midfield.

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What do you believe are the LA Galaxy's needs ahead of the draft?

09 January 7:29 pm

CARSON, Calif. – We’re only a week away from the 2014 MLS SuperDraft where the LA Galaxy currently hold two selections. 

The Galaxy have the 14th overall selection in the first round, but then they'll be in for a bit of a wait as they will not pick again until the fourth round with the 72nd pick. Next week, I and the rest of the LAGalaxy.com crew will be in Philadelphia providing coverage from the SuperDraft. 

Check out my primer below.  

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Friday, Jan. 10 2014: Start of MLS adidas Player Combine. Game 1: Nitro Charge vs. Predator, 2 pm ET/ Game 2: adiZero vs. Brazuca, 3:45 pm ET

Sunday, Jan. 12 2014: Game 3: Nitro Charge vs. adiZero, 10:30 pm PT/ Game 4: Predator vs. Brazuca, 12:30 pm PT

Tuesday, Jan. 14 2014: Game 5: adiZero vs. Predator, 7 am PT / Game 6: Nitro Charge vs. Brazuca, 8:55 am PT

Thursday, Jan. 16 2014: 2014 MLS SuperDraft, 9 am PT on ESPN2.

GENERATION ADIDAS PLAYERS

Andre Blake, Connecticut, Goalkeeper

AJ Cochrane, Wisconsin, Defender

Christian Dean, California, Defender

Marlon Hairston, Louisville, Midfielder

Damion Lowe, Hartford, Defender

Eric Miller, Creighton, Defender

Ntokozo Tshuma, Maryland, Forward

LIST OF COMBINE PARTICIPANTS

BRUCE ARENA ON LA GALAXY DRAFT NEEDS: “We’re drafting 14th so you never know what is going to be available. We do think that there is going to be a good player available but we just don’t know in terms of position. At this point in time, we’re going to draft the best players available. There are obviously a number of players that we have an interest in. So we’ll go down in the combine and watch them a little closer then when our turn comes, we’ll pick whomever is a good addition to our roster.”

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What do you think the LA Galaxy draft needs are? What do you want the Galaxy to look for in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft? How would you tell Bruce Arena to draft?

Share your thoughts below. 

09 January 4:56 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- During Friday's U.S. National Team training session, LA Galaxy videographer Paolo Ferrari stopped by and took a number of great photos.

Check them out below. 

 

09 January 4:35 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan among those praising Toronto FC’s reported capture of star U.S. National Team midfielder Michael Bradley.

Although the deal has not yet been announced by MLS or Toronto FC, the widely reported transfer was confirmed by Bradley’s Italian club A.S. Roma on Thursday. Bradley is the latest U.S. National Team standout to return to MLS or elect to stay in the league and the highest profile returnee since Seattle Sounders FC’s signing of Clint Dempsey in August.

When asked about Bradley’s reported move, Donovan admitted that the return of the 26-year-old was “great” for Toronto FC, MLS and his national team teammate.

“I think that it’s a testament to our league that people want to come back and play here particularly six months before a World Cup,” said Donovan ahead of U.S. National Team training on Thursday.” It makes a strong statement, obviously, [Tim Leiweke] made it clear to him that it was something that he wanted, and Mike is a smart guy, I’m sure that he’s thought about this a lot and it’s something that he wants to do so I think that it is great.”

If any U.S. National Team player is familiar with Bradley’s current situation, it would be Donovan who made a high-profile return to MLS from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan then opted to extend his stay in MLS last summer when he inked a multi-year deal to stay with the Galaxy.

Although the moves of players like Bradley and Dempsey may be criticized, Donovan attests that the two players are simply “following their dreams” in a much improved MLS than the one the Galaxy forward returned to in 2005.

“The league is a lot better. The league is different because financially more stable, but in all ways, coaching is better, youth development is better, there’s more media, there’s more attention, everything is different and constantly changing,” said Donovan. “We always say that [MLS] is not where we want it to be, but when guys like Michael and Clint make decisions like that, when [Omar Gonzalez], Matt Besler, Graham Zusi make the decision to stay here when they could have gone abroad, it makes a big statement.

“The way that you make the league better is by having better players and certainly in the last six months, it has gotten two of our best [American] players back in the league.”

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What do you think about the move?

Share your thoughts below.