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.”
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.”
What do you think about the move?
Share your thoughts below.
LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez were named to the U.S. National Team’s annual January camp by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Friday.
Donovan and Gonzalez are among 26 players called in by Klinsmann for the camp which will serve as a prelude ahead of the U.S. National Team’s match against the Korea Republic on Feb. 1. The camp runs between Jan. 6 - Feb. 1 and will see the team split time between the U.S. Soccer National Training Center at StubHub Center and Sao Paulo, Brazil. From Jan. 13-25, 23 of the 26 players called will travel to South America for a dry run ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Joining the two Galaxy players is their former LA teammate and Chicago Fire striker Mike Magee who won the 2013 MLS MVP award after scoring 21 goals last year.
The complete roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
It’s that time again when we make our resolutions for the New Year in hopes of making our lives just a little bit better.
To properly ring in what promises to be an eventful 2014, I decided to make a list of LA Galaxy New Year’s Resolutions. Now this list ranges from my own thoughts about what the team needs to a few other ideas on how to improve the team and MLS in the New Year.
* Build toward the future: continue to offer playing time to younger players like Jack McBean, Rafael Garcia and Greg Cochrane. One of the team’s greatest successes of 2013 was that head coach Bruce Arena afforded plenty of valuable game time to players like the three aforementioned youth. With international commitments and injuries likely to cause problems yet again, the Galaxy boss should continue his policy of giving time to emerging young talent.
*Deal with change: There will be some notable absences from the LA Galaxy roster in 2013, but none will be bigger than the departures of longtime right-sided player Sean Franklin—who was selected in Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Process by D.C. United—and Jose Villarreal who was sent on a year-long loan with Cruz Azul. Both players were frequent contributors a year ago and will need to be replaced in the coming weeks.
*Allow Juninho to receive more responsibility in the attack especially on free kick situations. The Brazilian midfielder saw his offensive impact stunted in 2013, but he’ll be expected to carry more of the load next season especially on set piece opportunities.
*That being said, LA must show more resilience on defending set pieces and second ball opportunities to prevent the deficiencies that caused the club to fail last season. We've gone over this one many, many times.
*Find a new center forward to play alongside Robbie Keane to add a natural target striker to the Galaxy attack. During the club’s final media availability of 2013, Arena stated that finding this type of player was priority number one for LA ahead of the next campaign and with the transfer window open; the Galaxy will have the chance to get their man. With a target presence alongside Keane, Landon Donovan could transition back to the right midfield and offer greater width to the midfield.
*Build off what was learned in 2013: Continued production from Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo. LA’s two breakout stars in 2013 were Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo who became regular members of the Galaxy starting XI by season’s end, but production must continue to progress into 2014. For Sarvas, he’ll likely need cede some of his offensive responsibilities to his midfield partner Juninho and contain his physical exuberance that caused him to lead MLS in fouls committed last year. Meanwhile, Penedo must continue to progress as a goalkeeper and cut down on mistakes that led to goals down the stretch.
*More professional growth from Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Rogers. The two attackers experienced inconsistent seasons in 2013, but the New Year brings greater expectations for both to provide reliable contributions for LA. If the pair can develop into offensive weapons, LA may have an added attacking dimension—particularly on the flanks— that was sorely lacking last season.
*Be more successful: Make a strong run in the U.S. Open Cup. The LA Galaxy have gone out in the third round in the U.S. Open Cup to the Carolina RailHawks each of the last two years, but with no CONCACAF Champions League waiting for them in the fall, a long run in the Open Cup should be beneficial for the team to provide minutes to their entire roster. Also, winning the USOC will help place the team back into the CCL for the 2015-16 tournament.
*Continue see the LA Galaxy Academy grow and produce players who could become valuable members of the first team in the future. LA Academy forawrd Haji Wright garnered a lot of the headlines toward the end of the year, but LA’s academy teams are continuing to show promise in the form of players like Adonis Amaya, Jaime Villarreal and many others.
*Good health to Robbie Keane who is recovering from surgery on both of his Achilles as he looks to get ready for the preseason. The Galaxy are hoping to have their captain back to full health by the start of preseason, but what is most important is having him fit and ready for the start of the season and the all-important CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal against Club Tijuana in March.
*Travel More: Get off to a strong start against Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal and keep dreams of the FIFA Club World Cup alive. The LA Galaxy’s quest for continental glory begins in March as they host the first leg of the CCL quarterfinals against Club Tijuana. With a victory at home, the Galaxy will be in strong standing as they look to advance past Xolos and reach the CCL semifinals for a second consecutive year in front of a hostile crowd at Estadio Calliente.
*Prosperity for Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan as they look to make their World Cup dream come true. Both Galaxy Designated Players appear to be strong candidates to make U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but both will need to stay healthy and in form to ensure a place on the plane to Brazil. If they’re able to reach Brazil, the pair is likely to be in Klinsmann’s starting XI and can expect to be major contributors as the U.S. hopes to advance from Group G over the likes of Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Here’s hoping for more moments like this one from four years ago.
*New ventures for the coming year: New MLS Television deals. Southern California is spoiled with the great Galaxy coverage on the Time Warner SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, but in 2014, MLS will look to negotiate their new national television deals which will play a major role in the league’s growth going forward. More financial resources from national television partners can only help grow the league which hopes to be among the world’s best during the next decade.
*Continue to foster a connection with the readers of this blog and all content on LAGalaxy.com. What truly makes my job worthwhile is interacting with all of those that enjoy my work on the LA Galaxy Insider Blog and LAGalaxy.com, and in 2014, I hope to have greater interaction with you the readers so that we can place the type of content that you’re looking for on this space.
Happy New Year.
Landon Donovan is king of the internet, well, kind of.
Donovan finished at the top of a list of the 10 most searched soccer players by Americans on Google in 2013. The LA Galaxy forward was a hot topic throughout the year for American soccer fans whether it was his early season break from soccer, his resurgence at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a multi-year contract extension with the Galaxy or his end of the year explosion on social media. Add it all together and there’s little surprise that he finished on top of this list of U.S. based searches.
Four MLS teams were among the top soccer clubs searched in 2013: Portland Timbers (No. 4), Philadelphia Union (No. 5), Real Salt Lake (No. 6), FC Dallas (No. 7), Columbus Crew (No. 9), and Houston Dynamo (No. 10)
Landon Donovan's World Cup goal against Algeria in the final of U.S. Soccer Best of 100 years awards
LA Galaxy forard Landon Donovan's stunning goal for the U.S. National Team against Algeria at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is in the final of U.S. Soccer's Best of 100 Years awards.
Donovan's incredible last minute finish that gave the U.S. a 2-1 victory over Algeria is up against Abby Wambach's dramatic stoppage time goal that tied up the Americans World Cup quarterfinal match against Brazil.
Vote Here and relive Donovan's moment below in my favorite manner with Andres Cantor's inspiring call.
Sean Franklin is gone, but now who starts at right back in 2014 for the LA Galaxy?
The frontrunner for the position is veteran A.J. DeLaGarza who started 10 of his 28 regular season league appearances at right back in 2013. This move would allow Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena to start Kofi Opare, Tommy Meyer or Leonardo alongside Omar Gonzalez at center back while Todd Dunivant remains a mainstay on the left-side of the defense.
Meanwhile, behind DeLaGarza is Homegrown defender Oscar Sorto who endured a mixed rookie season that saw him earn a place on the U.S. squad at the Under-20 World Cup and appear in two CONCACAF Champions League matches for the Galaxy. Although the 19-year-old defender was impressive during the U-20 World Cup, he admittedly endured uneven form throughout the season including a poor showing in LA’s CCL group stage finale against Isidro Metapán in October. Heading into his second year as a professional, the Galaxy coaching staff will need Sorto to be more disciplined in training as he seeks to develop into a trusted backup behind DeLaGarza.
Regardless of what improvement that Sorto makes in the coming months, one would expect the Galaxy to use the MLS Re-Entry Draft or the 2014 MLS SuperDraft to bolster their right back depth.
Franklin’s departure will also have an impact on the right side of the midfield for LA as Hector Jimenez and Robbie Rogers appear to be front-runners to start out wide. Each player had moments of success in 2013, but the Galaxy will need greater consistency on the right next season. If Arena is unable to get steady production out of these two players, he may opt to place Landon Donovan along the right and push a player like young forwards Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal or Gyasi Zardes up top alongside Robbie Keane.
Thoughts on these ideas?
Share them below.
It couldn’t have gotten much harder for the U.S. National Team at the FIFA World Cup Draw as they were drawn into a “Group of Death” in Group G against Germany, Ghana and Portugal. However, at a closer glance, the draw is not a mission impossible for Jurgen Klinsmann’s group.
The U.S. opens the World Cup in Brazil on June 16 against Ghana at the Arena das Dunas in Natal. The match is undoubtedly the most important one for the U.S. as they must get past the team that eliminated them from the past two World Cups in order to have a reasonable chance to advance from the group. As the U.S. are well-aware, the Black Stars are a major challenge as they have a mix of physicality and technical skill that should give the Americans a major test. That being said, if the U.S. midfield can control the game and the Americans can capitalize on their opportunities, they may get past the African side.
In their second game, the U.S. will face Portugal in the Amazonian outpost of Manaus on June 22. Not only must the Americans best a side that boasts one of the world’s finest players in Cristiano Ronaldo, they must deal with the crippling heat and humidity of the Amazon. In June, the average temperatures in Manaus are typically in the high-80’s with more than 80 percent humidity, which promises to be a muggy game that could favor an American squad that should be better acclimated to the conditions due to a potentially high presence of North American-based players. However sticking to strictly on the field matters, Portugal may seemlike a stiff test, but the nation struggled during UEFA World Cup qualifying as they finished second in their group to Russia—with two draws against Israel as well as a draw against Northern Ireland—before defeating Sweden in a playoff to advance to Brazil.
Lastly, The U.S, have traditional powerhouse Germany in the final game on June 26 in Recife is the Americans’ best case scenario as they should face a German team that may already have a ticket into the second round. Against a German team that could be loaded with reserves, the U.S. should be able to stay competitive against a side that promises to be organized and immensely talented.
What will make their draw even more difficult is the immense travel that they must undertake for all three matches. With three games in Natal, Manus and Recife, the U.S. could travel nearly 9,000 miles round trip during their Group G campaign. The one benefit for the Americans however is that their MLS players should be accustomed to immense travel as well as heat and humidity, however, the benefit of charter flights should cut down on the exhaustion.
My prediction for a best case—and relatively realistic— scenario for the U.S. is a simple one: a victory against Ghana coupled with a Germany win over Portugal during the first match day. In the second match day, the U.S. must earn a draw—or a close win—against Portugal with a Germany victory over Ghana in the second day setting up a draw or close loss to an already qualified Germany in the final match day. If the Americans can find a way to earn points in their first two games, at the very least, they should negate the impact of Portugal's final match against Ghana.
What are your thoughts? Remember, the U.S. open up the year at StubHub Center against South Korea on Feb. 1.
Share them below.
Tuesday Notes: Club Tijuana appoint new manager; Donovan finishes third for Futbol de Primera 2013 Player of the Year
The LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal opponents Club Tijuana will have a new coach when they take on LA in the CCL in March.
Club Tijuana appointed Venezuelan Cesar Farias to replace Jorge Almiron who led the Xolos to a 10th place finish in the 2013 Apertura season. Farias led Venezuela to the Copa America semifinals in 2011 after helping the nation reach the Under-20 World Cup in 2009. Farias will begin his career with Club Tijuana on Dec. 28 with a friendly against Club America at StubHub Center.
In other news around the soccer world:
*LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan finished in third for the Futbol de Primera Player of the Year Award which was given to U.S. teammate Jozy Altidore. Michael Bradley – who was my selection for the award – finished second.
*Altidore was on hand as adidas unveiled the 2014 FIFA World Cup match ball the Brazuca. Check out the ball below and in case you're wondering, brazuca is a Brazilian term to describe the nation's way of life.
— Michael Ehrlich (@adidasUSPRGuy) December 3, 2013
FIFA announced the 2014 World Cup pots on Tuesday, and the U.S. National Team will be guaranteed some stiff competition during next year’s tournament in Brazil.
The U.S. was placed in Pot 3 with the other CONCACAF nations and four squads from the Asian Football Confederation. As expected, European heavyweights Germany and Spain were placed in Group A alongside host Brazil and Argentina. Group 2 boasts five African representatives as well as Chile and Ecuador while Group 4 includes England, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Portugal among others.
The 2014 World Cup pots are below:
POT 1: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
POT 2: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria
POT 3: USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Korea Republic, Japan, Australia, Iran
POT 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia
Thoughts on the World Cup pots?