In the latest edition of MLSsoccer.com's Scouting Report, the site's editors break down the LA Galaxy's match with the Portland Timbers
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- No matter what you call it, whether it is Providence Park or JELD-WEN Field, Portland has not been kind to the LA Galaxy.
In a total of four matches in Portland, the Galaxy have gone 1-3-0 while conceding nine goals and tallying six -- five of which came in LA's only win in July 2012. A year ago, Portland was again a house of horrors for the Galaxy as they dropped a pair of results due to defensive breakdowns that negated otherwise strong performances.
As LA head into their first match and only match of the regular season in Portland, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane spoke of the Galaxy's recent struggles in the Rose City.
"It's a difficult place to go. There's a good atmosphere which is good and they're so used to playing on the turf that they know it better than anyone else," said Keane. "It's a tough game and always a place to go."
Mexico unveiled their 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and headlining the squad is former New York Red Bulls defender and frequent nemesis of the U.S. National Team Rafael Marquez.
El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera named his squad on Friday which includes Manchester United forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Villarreal attacker Giovani Dos Santos, Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, California-born Toluca midfielder Isaac Brizuela, and of course, Marquez. The 2014 World Cup will be the fourth for the Mexico captain, who is expected to become the first player to captain a nation at four World Cups.
Although Marquez is no longer the player who was a star at FC Barcelona years ago, LA Galaxy head coach and former U.S. national team boss Bruce Arena believes that he’s still vital for Mexico.
“At his age, they’re highly dependent on his experience more than anything. He’s not no-longer a great one-on-one defender, but he has experience so if he can fit in their system and communicate and organize a team then he’s extremely important. They’ve gotten surprisingly good play out of him in the last year and he’s a competitive and fiery player.
“It’s hard for me to say this, but I wish him the best," Arena added. "He’s been good for the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico because without him, we wouldn’t have had some of the excitement that we’ve had."
Another one of Marquez’s traditional adversaries Landon Donovan agreed with Arena’s assessment about the former Red Bulls man’s importance to El Tri.
“They’ve been a better team with him. I think a big problem for them last year when they went through their struggles was their lack of leadership. They didn’t have guys on the field that you could really lean on. He’s been very helpful them,” said Donovan. “He’s not nasty. Like a lot of players, sometimes he loses his head a little bit, but he’s always been relatively respectful after the whistle, but he has moments like all of us.”
Mexico’s full squad is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
DEFENDERS: Rafa Marquez (Leon), Diego Reyes (Porto), Miguel Layun (America), Paul Aguilar (America), Andres Guardado (Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres UANL)
MIDFIELDERS: Carlos Pena (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Juan Carlos Medina (America), Luis Montes (Leon), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon)
FORWARDS: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna)
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Omar Gonzalez for this Sunday’s match against the Portland Timbers, but with the U.S. international unavailable, head coach Bruce Arena will have options at center back.
The primary option for Arena appears to be a tandem of Kofi Opare and Leonardo, who were able to keep the Colorado Rapids scoreless after Gonzalez was substituted with a left knee injury in Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat last Saturday. However, Arena could also slide in Tommy Meyer, who has enjoyed a strong season with LA Galaxy II as well as 2014 MLS SuperDraft first round draft pick Kyle Venter.
While there are other options for the two central defense positions, Leonardo and Opare seem like the safe bet for the Timbers match, which sits well with the second-year defender.
“I’ve played with him quite a bit in reserve games and in practice. Like myself, Leonardo is a big presence. He’s a more experienced player who is able to guide me and help me with my movements,” said Opare. “We are similar in our physicality and when Leonardo steps on the field he gives me confidence as a player which helps me be more at ease on the field.”
CARSON, Calif. -- If the LA Galaxy II can get past Cal FC, they'll be taking on the winner of the matchup between the San Diego Flash and PSA Elite.
U.S. Soccer announced the pairings of the U.S. Open Cup Third Round on Wednesday which includes the potential next opponents for Los Dos, who will face one another on May 14 at Mira Mesa High School in Mira Mesa, Calif. Both teams are in the lower tiers of U.S. Soccer as the San Diego Flash are in the fourth tier National Premier Soccer League while PSA Elite compete in the United States Adult Soccer Association which also contains Los Dos' second round opponents Cal FC.
No matter the result, Galaxy II will host their third round opponent on May 28 at StubHub Center's Track and Field Stadium at 7:30 PM PT.
Thoughts on the draw?
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The LA Galaxy haven't had the best of luck from the penalty spot as of late, but is it time for the team to make a change?
During LA's 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane missed his second penalty kick of the season -- the last also resulting in a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on March 8 -- which led to considerable chatter on social media about whether or not the Irishman should keep his position as the team's primary penalty taker. It bears mentioning that Keane took the role from Landon Donovan a year ago after the U.S. international missed two penalties in games that ended in 1-0 defeats.
Following training on Thursday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that he has faith in both players to finish their next opportunity, but he wouldn't say who will be taking the spot kicks from here on out.
"I think those two are the best penalty kick takers in the league, but whoever grabs that ball and wants it can have it," said Arena. "Odds are they’re not going to miss too many of those from here on in."
Now that Arena has chimed in, who do you believe should take the penalties going forward for the Galaxy?
LA Galaxy forward Rob Friend was fined an undisclosed amount by the MLS Displincary Committee for embellishment in the 61st minute of LA's 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
In the 61st minute, Friend was fouled by Colorado center back Drew Moor in the penalty area which caused referee Hilario Grajeda to point to the spot and award a penalty kick that was fired wide right by LA captain Robbie Keane. The penalty was the second that Friend had earned this season after Friend was ruled to have been fouled in the 18-yard box during the closing moments of an eventual 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are still awaiting an update on the injury status of Omar Gonzalez, but head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday that he feels strongly that the left knee issue will be short-term and not cost him a chance to suit up for the U.S. at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Gonzalez suffered the injury in the closing moments of the first half of LA’s 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday and was substituted at the half due to precautionary measures. When asked by reporters on Tuesday if the team had an update on Gonzalez, Arena stated that the team did not have one at the moment.
“We’re going to talk to the doctors today and find out a little bit more,” said the Galaxy manager. “It’s a very short term issue and he’s going to be fine.
“We’re doing everything to be safe with Omar and if we have anything to say, we’ll say it at the proper time. I feel very strongly that this is a short term issue and he’ll be fine,” Arena added.
“Mentally, a player with a full calendar of things ahead is very precautious. He’s going to be fine. There is nothing long term with this injury, I can promise you that.”
Whether or not Gonzalez will suit up for the Galaxy for their match against the Portland Timbers on May 11 at Providence Park remains to be seen. The match is expected to be the final game for Gonzalez and LA teammate Landon Donovan before they depart for the U.S. National Team pre-World Cup camp in Stanford, Calif. on May 14.
However, Arena admitted that it was unlikely that the turf conditions at Providence Park will play a role on whether or not he suits up for the Galaxy on Saturday.
“If Omar is good to go to go then he’ll go. If he’s not then he won’t, it’s that simple,” said Arena. “I don’t think that it’s the turf. All things being equal, maybe [the turf] would play a role, but right now, we’ll take it day by day and we’re going to talk to the doctors to make sure that we’re moving along in the right way.”
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – “We just blew it.”
Those were the words from head coach Bruce Arena after the LA Galaxy’s frustrating 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday. Although the candid Arena is known for his tough love approach after defeats—and sometimes even positive results—the Galaxy took his words to heart after their poor showing.
“I don’t want to make any excuses. We weren't ready from the get-go,” midfielder Stefan Ishizaki told reporters. “I’d say that we're a better team than they are, but if you don’t work hard then you're not going to get the points. The team that works harder gets the results so we have to work harder as a group. I thought that my performance wasn't good enough but there are a lot of guys who I think would say the same thing.”
Ishizaki was among those who struggled during the loss as the normally active Swede found himself stifled by the constant pressure of the Colorado midfielders. Whereas Ishizaki was active and managing at least a goal or an assist in each of his last three games, the midfielder earned just one attempt on frame against the Rapids which was cleared off the line by Rapids defender Drew Moor in the second minute of play.
With the sting of the Colorado performance still fresh in his mind, Ishizaki admitted that the Galaxy must accept the lessons of the defeat if they are to rebound next weekend.
“We have to show that we're strong enough as a team and that we can bounce back straight away,” said Ishizaki. “And we can only do that by getting a result in Portland.”
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was livid after his team fell 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
Below are his comments...
(On the match...)
ARENA: “We just blew this game. There’s no excuses for us. We should’ve won this game. Very least get a point. We get a chance early in the game, we miss a penalty kick early in the second half, have a lot of possession, we don’t put a shot on goal, I don’t think for the game. I think Ishizaki’s, it was maybe blocked off the line, that was about the only shot on goal. It was terrible execution on our part in the final third of the field.”
(On what he wanted the team to do in the second half...)
ARENA: “What you saw. We had control of the game, plenty of possession, created chances, didn’t execute in the last third.”
(On Omar Gonzalez’ injury...)
ARENA: “Omar, I think, is going to be fine.”