Everyone knows about Landon Donovan's famous habit of kissing his wrists before each penalty, but there is another ritual that the LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team star is infamous for that takes place before each and every game.
Since joining the Galaxy, Donovan has preformed the ritual -- which he claims isn't necessary, but has been performed in every game since 2005 -- which involves him taking a drink of water from a Gatorade bottle before spraying both head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra and assistant athletic trainer Kurt Andrews in the face.
"It kind of gets the training staff a little bit fired up and prepared for the game and hopefully makes them feel a little bit part of what's going on," Donovan told the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter. "They're a part of what we do, and we want to make them feel involved."
Added Andrews, " "It's a bond, We as a staff spend a lot of time with him. I could see it as an honor, for sure."
The complete story on Landon Donovan's pregame ritual can be found here on the Los Angeles Times website.
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso's status still a question mark heading into LA Galaxy match
CARSON, Calif. -- One of the main matchup questions heading into Sunday's Western Conference Championship first leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC is the status of Sounders midfield engine Osvaldo Alonso.
Despite Seattle boss Sigi Schmid appearing confident that Alonso -- who has made the trip from the Pacific Northwest -- will be ready by gametime, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena had a different opinion according to Matt Pentz of the Seattle Times.
"'He's not going to go," Arena said on Saturday. "I'd bet the house on that."
Alonso's absence will make life considerably easier for LA midfielders Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho as the Brazilians will likely match up against either Michael Ariza -- a like-for-like replacelement -- or more offensive minded Andy Rose.
But no matter what happens with Alonso's status, Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan says LA want the star midfielder on the field when the game kicks off on Sunday.
“Ozzie makes them a very good team,” Donovan said. “He is unquestionably their engine, and he's really their leader. When you take him off the field, they're affected pretty severely, we know that.
“We hope he plays,” Donovan added. “We know he hasn't trained all week, so it's looking less and less likely that he will play, but we're going to prepare as if he's playing, and we want him to play. If we're going to win, we want to beat the best team.”
Omar Gonzalez among three LA Galaxy players on yellow card watch heading into Seattle Sounders FC match
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are heading into their Western Conference Championship series with Seattle Sounders FC with a boatload of confidence after the way that they dispatched Real Salt Lake, but three players will need to be cautious heading into the first leg.
Landon Donovan, Robbie Rogers, and Omar Gonzalez are both on yellow card watch heading into Sunday’s first leg. Should either of the three earn a caution from referee Kevin Stott, they will miss out on next week’s second leg at CenturyLink Field. It bears mentioning, however, that no player can be suspended for MLS Cup based on yellow card accumulation.
While Donovan and Rogers are at risk, Gonzalez faces a particular challenge as he looks to avoid a yellow card and mark dynamic strikers Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey.
“I have to be very smart with how I defend and how aggressive I am,” said Gonzalez. “But having said that, I have to leave it all on the field and not worry about the referees or about anything out of my control. I have to worry about how I show up, how I approach the game and how focused I am over 90 minutes."
CARSON, Calif. -- Way back in July, the LA Galaxy were walloped 7-0 by Manchester United in the Chevrolet FC Cup at the Rose Bowl. Although the match meant nothing in the MLS regular season standings, a certain segment of the Galaxy believe that the "embarrassment" from that win helped propel the club to the Western Conference Championship.
In front of droves of fans at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy fell flat to a fierce United side that made quick work of LA's defense, particularly once the home side's first team was off the field. But since that defeat, LA has been a much different squad
Starting with a 3-0 domination of the very same Seattle Sounders FC team that they'll face on Sunday, the Galaxy have gone an impressive 10-3-4 since their defeat to the English Premier League club.
"It was embarrassing and we just turned a corner," said A.J. DeLaGarza. "Every year there is a game that turns everything around...it happened to Omar [Gonzalez] and I in college, it happens to us here."
Added Landon Donovan, "We don't put much stock into the final score, but we didn't play well. When we play well and lose then we can live with that and Bruce [Arena] can live with that. But when we lose and don't play well then that is unacceptable."
But Robbie Keane, who famously said that the defeat to Manchester United was a "kick in the ass" for the Galaxy, said that the match had no impact on his own thinking about LA's season.
"I literally haven't thought about Manchester United since that game," said Keane. "I don't pay any mind to preseason games, and it's even less when it's not our own preseason."
In the latest edition of my Top Five lists of LA Galaxy playoff moments, I look at Landon Donovan's best moments.
Check out the video above and provide your thoughts on the list below.
Landon Donovan is used to being nominated for awards based on his skill on the soccer field, but on Tuesday, the U.S. soccer legend was nominated for an award for his acting prowess.
Univision Deportes nominated Donovan for Best Artistic Performance by an Athlete, based on his portrayal in a commercial in their annual Premio Univision Deportes (Univision Deportes Awards). Donovan is nominated for his infamous "Always in the Game" advert with EA Sports.
Fans can vote once a day here until Sunday, Dec. 14 at 8:59 p.m. PT. The winners will be announced on UniMas on Dec. 18 at 6:00 p.m. PT.
The LA Galaxy have long been one of the banner clubs in MLS and it’s no surprise that they were well-represented in MLSsoccer.com’s All-Time Playoff XI.
The league’s website released their list on Monday with the Conference Championships starting later this week. Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2005, 2011, 2012) leads the charge for the Galaxy contingent which includes Chris Armas (LA Galaxy MLS Cup finalist in 1996), Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2005, 2011, 2012), and Brian Mullan (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2002).
Included in the list of honorable mentions are LA legends Mauricio Cienfuegos, Kevin Hartman and Cobi Jones as well as Galaxy MLS Cup winners Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Ned Grabavoy.
If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment below.
There's no feeling better than scoring a goal in the playoffs.
Ahead of the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship contest against Seattle Sounders FC, I joined Galaxy TV to look at the top five playoff goals in club history.
Check it out the video above and if you disagree with any of my selections, leave a comment below.
LA Galaxy issue warning to FC Dallas/Seattle Sounders FC series winner ahead of Western Conference Finals
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in six years on Sunday with their 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake, but their opponent in that series remains a mystery.
LA will play the winner of the FC Dallas/Seattle Sounders FC series which will be decided on Monday at CenturyLink Field. Seattle need only a victory or a scoreless draw to advance while FC Dallas must defeat the Supporters’ Shield winners or earn a high scoring draw.
Both teams gave the Galaxy all they could handle in the regular season with LA winning the season series with Dallas 2-1-0 while splitting their three matches with Seattle 1-1-1. Given those records, is there a preference for the Galaxy as they seek to qualify for a third MLS Cup in four seasons?
Not at all.
“Between Seattle and Dallas, they gave us a lot of problems during the season so we’ll watch the game very closely tomorrow,” said hat trick hero Landon Donovan. “We’ll be sure to get proper rest this week and we’ll be ready to go.”
Even though the Galaxy had struggled results wise with a four game winless streak prior to their explosion on Sunday, LA believe their clicking at the right time as they look to their next opponent.
“I know that we haven’t had good results, but even against Seattle we had moments that were very good. We did break down at the end, but they sat back and defended against us in Seattle, which is weird,” said Robbie Rogers. “We’re confident in whomever we play be it Seattle or Dallas that we can compete.
“I think that anyone has to come into a stadium where the last team lost 5-0, they know it’s going to be difficult, but it is the playoffs so anyone can win.”
But Stefan Ishizaki, who shined in his start against Salt Lake, offered the tersest message to LA’s future opponents.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy booked their ticket to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in six years on Sunday with a 5-0 trouncing of Real Salt Lake in their Western Conference Semifinal second leg.
LA will play the winner of Monday night's match between FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. The match will take place at 7:30 p.m. PT and will air on NBCSN.
Before you pay any attention to that one, however, relive the Galaxy victory through the stunningly awesome photos from the Mora Photography crew.
Check them out below.