ORLANDO, FL – Juninho grew up admiring his Brazilian countryman and national soccer legend Kaka, but on Sunday, he’ll have the chance to match wits with the former FIFA Player of the Year when the LA Galaxy meet Orlando City SC at the Citrus Bowl.
Sunday’s game won’t be the first time that the two Brazilians have faced off before an exhibition when Kaka was still suiting up for Real Madrid, but this time, given the league competition.
In those friendly matches, there is the temptation for MLS players to get a bit starry eyed when facing such accomplished competition but Juninho knows that this situation is much different. When the first ball is kicked at the Citrus Bowl on Sunday, he’ll be focused on shutting down the Brazilian international.
“My mentality is to not leave him alone,” Juninho told LA Galaxy Insider. “I want to be around him most of the time, and just play my game. I know that it’ll be a hard game with Orlando having a full house. We just want to try and score, and not leave Kaka alone to do what he does so well.”
ORLANDO, FL -- The LA Galaxy will face Orlando City SC for the first time on Sunday when the two teams meet at the Citrus Bowl.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we look at the difficulties that Orlando City has had this year.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will meet expansion side Orlando City SC for the first time on Sunday, but even if the meeting will be the first between the two clubs, the Galaxy insist there is no mystery heading into the match.
Led Brazilian star Kaka, Orlando City has struggled to start season complying a 2-5-3 record. Despite their struggles, there is some temptation to consider them favorites on Saturday due to their wildcard status, but Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is quick to squash that thought.
“Everyone in our league knows each other. It’s not like there’s going to be any surprises. I think the new challenge in our league is going into new markets in the south,” Arena said. “You’re going to deal with the conditions, the heat, humidity and artificial fields. It’s another challenging aspect to everything.”
Added defender Omar Gonzalez, “Orlando is a brand new team, getting great crowds, they want to give their city a win but we can’t let that happen. We got to get a result. Our focus is on leaving there with either three points or one point.”
ROBBIE ROGERS STATUS IN QUESTION FOR ORLANDO GAME
LA Galaxy left back Robbie Rogers missed out on training for two consecutive, but LA boss Bruce Arena says he’s still deciding if the defender will travel with the club to Orlando.
According to the Galaxy’s injury report, Rogers is questionable for Sunday's game due to an ankle injury, but after training on Thursday, Arena told reporters that he remains undecided on the left back's travel status.
DIVISIONAL PLAY ONE DAY?
Bruce Arena earned plenty of headlines with his comments on the discovery process earlier this week, and the always opinionated Galaxy boss offered a few thoughts on how the league might evolve in the coming years as teams look to alleviate their hectic travel schedule.
“Major League Soccer right now is survival of the fittest actually over 34 games. There are so many things that are challenging. I think in retrospect at some point we’ll analyze this whole league and understand the combination of travel, the conditions we have that we may be better off with divisional play. I’m sure it’s something that will be need to be addressed. In certain aspects we do have divisional play. But we do play each other
Implementing divisional play would be a stark departure from the balanced schedule that teams typically play across the globe. However, with the league growing due to rapid expansion, Arena believes that a balanced schedule does not make sense at the time being.
“ou can’t have a balanced schedule with 20 teams. I don’t think we can fit 38 games in. it’s something to talk about down the road. The problem is the travel. It’s not playing in England where you get on a bus or you take an hour plane ride,” Arena said. “You're flying to two different countries, different time zones, different field conditions, different [climate] conditions. I think a home and home schedule would be extremely difficult for teams in the league to deal with. Especially the way we travel, flying commercial. It would be virtually impossible to do.”
In the first edition of Cobi's Corner of 2015, LA Galaxy legend Cobi Jones catches up with young Galaxy striker Bradford Jamieson IV.
LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane says he's "on the mend" but plans to take his time coming back from groin strain
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane is on the mend but the LA Galaxy captain says that he’s still a week away from contending for a place in the team’s starting XI.
For a second consecutive day, Keane took part in light training with the Galaxy’s head of strength and conditioning, Daniel Guzman as he aims to return from a nagging groin strain. The strain has left Keane on the shelf for the last six straight matches, which is the longest amount of time missed the Irish striker has missed since joining the Galaxy back in 2011.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena contends that Keane is in high spirits as he makes his recovery but for the Irishman, the lengthy layoff has been difficult.
“I love playing. It’s been frustrating, but it’s the way it is. If it had been a good few years ago I probably would have been an absolute disaster in the locker room. I’m the worst person in the world to be injured,” Keane told reporters. “You have to make sure you look after yourself well and want to get back as quick as I can. I’m certainly on the mend; I just have to be very, very careful.”
Keane appeared ready to return from the injury several weeks ago but suffered a setback in training that caused him to miss even more time. In light of his setback, Keane admits to being more measured in his recovery, knowing that it is in his best interest not to rush back—no matter how much it hurts to be on the sidelines.
“For me, the most important thing is getting back to training by the end of this week or the start of next week and seeing how I am,” said Keane. “I’m not going to say, ‘I hope to be back next week’ because I thought I was going to be back two or three weeks ago, and I wasn’t. I just want to start concentrating on getting back training next week, and we’ll take it from there.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Minutes after LA Galaxy II picked up a 2-0 victory over the Tulsa Roughnecks, they learned that they'll face PDL side Ventura County Fusion in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup next week.
Ventura County eliminated Cal FC 6-5 in a penalty kick shootout that followed a dramatic match that ended in a 3-3 drawafter 120 minutes. The match sets them up for a date with Los Dos on May 20 at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium.
Tickets for the U.S. Open Cup match can be found here.
WATCH: Cal FC and Ventura County Fusion face off in U.S. Open Cup first round; winner plays LA Galaxy II
LA Galaxy II will learn their opponent for the U.S. Open Cup second round tonight when the Ventura County Fusion take on Cal FC.
Los Dos host the winner of the Ventura County/Cal FC match on May 20 at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium.
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane returned to the practice field on Wednesday for a brief workout at the end of the team's training session on Wednesday.
Keane came onto the training ground toward the end of the session and worked out on the side with Head of Strength and Conditioning coach Daniel Guzman. The Irishman has been sidelined for the past six games with a groin injury, but Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is optimistic that his captain will be back soon.
"He should be back on the field very shortly," Arena told Time Warner Cable SportsNet on Wednesday. "We're very happy with his progress."
Despite Arena's praise, whether Keane takes the field against Orlando City SC this weekend is still up in the air. Although the Galaxy attack has struggled lately, Galaxy associate head coach Dave Sarachan says that the club has no plans to rush Keane back from his injury.
"He feels very good. He needed this break, he never had a proper preseason due to our travel and his travel with Ireland which may have put us in a tough starting point," Sarachan told LA Galaxy Insider. "But I think that this rest and recovery has been an important piece for him. I think when he comes back, he'll be at a really good level, but it's not anything at this stage that needs to be rushed.
"Even though Robbie is a competitor and wants to play, he's realistic and knows that he's almost there."
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane was named to the Republic of Ireland's 33-man preliminary roster for their upcoming friendly against archrival England on June 7 and UEFA Euro 2016 Group D Scotland on June 13.
The Galaxy captain has not played in the team's last six matches due to a groin strain but could return to the training field this week ahead of the team's date with Orlando City SC. Currently all signs point to Keane being fit by the time that Ireland boss Martin O'Neill trims his roster on June 1.
Having a healthy Keane in the lineup will only boost Ireland's European Championship hopes as the Boys in Green currently find themselves in fourth place in Group D, two points behind the Scots.
LA Galaxy Notebook: Robbie Keane injury update, Bradford Jamieson IV to stay through Orlando, Andrew Wolverton trains
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane is inching close to returning to the field.
After the Galaxy's training session on Tuesday, LA head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that Keane may return to the training ground this week ahead of the club's clash with Orlando City SC. Keane has missed the Galaxy's last six games with a groin strain, and according to Arena, did not train with the team on Tuesday.
"We may be back on the field this week," Arena said.
BRADFORD JAMIESON IV TO REMAIN WITH THE LA GALAXY THROUGH ORLANDO CITY SC GAME
Despite his call-up to the U.S. U-20's the LA Galaxy will have the services of Bradford Jamieson IV through their upcoming trip to Orlando City SC.
The 18-year-old midfielder confirmed on Tuesday that he'll remain with the club through Sunday's match, and then join up with the U-20 squad in Australia. Ramos' squad is slated to leave for the 2015 U-20 World Cup on Saturday.
The U.S. U-20's will open the U-20 World Cup on May 30 against Myanmar.
ANDREW WOLVERTON JOINS THE LA GALAXY IN TRAINING
LA Galaxy draft pick Andrew Wolverton has finally joined the club five months after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
Wolverton has been unable to join the club due to a foot injury but the mammoth 6-foot-6 goalkeeper drew positive reviews from Arena after his first day
"He had surgery in January and has had a long rehab process but for his first day, he looked pretty good," Arena said. "He's a young prospect which was the reason that we drafted him. He's got great size and we'll see how he is, but it was his first day in training and he's done well so far."