With the MLS All-Stars taking on Bayern Munich tomorrow at Portland's Providence Park, it's important to take a moment to reflect on some great moments of MLS All-Star lore.
In 2001, 19-year-old Landon Donovan was awarded the game's MVP award after scoring four goals to help lead the Western Conference to an exciting 6-6 draw against the Eastern Conference in the 2001 edition of the midseason spectacle. The highlight of the match, however, wasn't any of Donovan's goals, but rather his celebration on his fourth and final strike when he stripped off his jersey to reveal an sports bra that he donned as an homage to U.S. women's soccer great Brandi Chastain, who famously removed her kit to celebrate the USWNT's win over China at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Now in his 14th All-Star Game, Donovan has seen the game evolve from an event where such levity was common-place to a match with meaningful implications.
"I've seen it go from a very casual, very friendly game to a very exciting, very meaningful, very real game," Donovan told reporters on Tuesday. "For us, it's better because if you're just going to go through the motions, you might as well stay home.
"We understand that it's not a game where we just go out and mess around and don't prepare well," he added. "I think we've learned over the years that the times that we do things right and we work hard and we defend and we play the game like a real game, we get good results and when we don't then we can get beat."
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez may not be taking part in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, but there will be an LA Galaxy player available when the All-Stars take on Bayern Munich at Portland's Providence Park -- Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy announced late last week that Keane and Gonzalez would miss out on the event due to the team's clash with their archrival San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, but Donovan -- who went 90 minutes in LA's 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday -- remained on the squad. Although Donovan will be available for the match against his former club, he expects to see limited minutes for the All-Stars.
"In the end, I don't get to make that decision [about staying behind]. I'm happy to go and I'm excited to go. I've already spoken with [MLS All-Star head coach Caleb Porter] and I won't be playing a lot, and that's okay. I understand because there has been other All-Star Games where I haven't been able to play. It's good for [our] guys to rest and it'll be fine because I'll be ready for Friday."
While Donovan will see, at least, some time in the league's showpiece event, Keane and Gonzalez will remain behind in Southern California and prepare for Friday's match against the Earthquakes. While missing out on the All-Star Game was a tad frustrating for the Galaxy's Irish captain, he sent well wishes to the league's best as they prepare to take on Bayern.
"I'm happy that I was selected, but first and foremost my priority is the Galaxy and we have an important game on Friday," said Keane. "I wish the All-Stars well and I'm sorry that I couldn't be there, but I'll be watching on TV."
Following their convincing 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC on Monday evening, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Marcelo Sarvas were named to MLSscocer.com's Team of the Week.
Donovan and Sarvas had a hand in all three Galaxy goals with Donovan ending the evening with one goal and two assists while the Brazilian tallied one assist in a dominant performance in central midfield. Meanwhile Gonzalez was confident in defense in his first match back from an ankle injury as LA silenced the Sounders attack.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was also named Coach of the Week while right back Dan Gargan was named to the team of the week bench.
SEATTLE— It was the moment that left U.S. National Team fans aghast.
In the third minute of first half stoppage time of the LA Galaxy’s 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, a scuffle ensued between LA’s Omar Gonzalez and Seattle’s Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin.
The sequence began when Yedlin went up for a header with A.J. DeLaGarza and appeared to launch an elbow at the Galaxy center back. Gonzalez spotted hard challenge and promptly pushed Yedlin to the pitch with Demspey descending upon his USMNT teammate moments later for a heated exchange. For his role in the tussle, only Omar Gonzalez earned a caution from as tempers remained high between both sides throughout the rest of the Galaxy’s road win.
The altercation between the two teams led to plenty of attention during the game, but after the match it was hardly mentioned as only Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan addressed the in-game tension.
“It’s enjoyable. It’s competitive, and our team wasn’t going to back down and we don’t want guys to back down. We don’t want to be stupid, but we want to be competitive and Seattle is the same way,” Donovan said. “Sigi [Schmid] is an excellent coach and he always has them ready to go. All that stuff happens after the game. You shake hands and you move on, but it was a good game, it was a competitive game, but a clean game.”
SEATTLE -- Marcelo Sarvas enjoyed one of his strongest perfomances of 2014 having a hand in each of the LA Galaxy's goals in their 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in front of one very special attendee -- his father Emilio.
The performance was made just a bit more special by the presence of his father who watched the match from the sidelines of CenturyLink Field. Throughout his 90 minute shift, Sarvas' presence in the center of the park was vital as he routinely forced Seattle midfielders to make costly turnovers and eventually ended the match with an impressive 11 recoveries, seven tackles won and three interceptions.
On the offensive side of the ball, Sarvas had his fingerprints over all three Galaxy goals as he provided an unlocking pass in LA's first and third strikes while also firing a shot from distance that led to Landon Donovan's goal just before the 20 minute mark.
But Sarvas admitted that the win was made a tad more meaningful with his father in attendance.
"Landon told him that he must stay because he brought us good luck. I'm very happy and every year I want to do my best," said Sarvas. "You have to fight [for your place] every season so to have him here makes everything that much more important for me. He's always supported me throughout my career so I'm very happy that he saw me playing and he'll be going home to Brazil next week with a good impression of my play."
PASADENA, Calif. – The LA Galaxy admitted that they received a major lesson in the “little things” in their 7-0 defeat to Manchester United at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Throughout the defeat—which was LA’s largest defeat in a friendly match— United. Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and captain Robbie Keane stressed that LA could learn plenty from the crisp passing and quick movement that United displayed throughout their runaway victory.
A lesson that second-year Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes took to heart.
“I felt like we learned that when the pressure is on that we have to deal with it,” said Zardes after the defeat. “We can definitely learn from United who are a fast team whose speed of play is superb. We can definitely start working on our own speed of play…I still feel like this was a good game going into our Seattle game so we get prepared mentally and physically.”
But for Landon Donovan, it’ll be important that the players apply those lessons heading into the all-important match against Seattle Sounders FC on Monday.
“You see what happens at higher level [where] everything happens at least a second or two faster. The speed of thought, the speed of play, the way they move, the way they react to things—technically, tactically, all those things,” said Landon Donovan. “And you hope when you come out of the game, especially the young guys, that they are not saying ‘Oh my god, they were so amazing,’ but ‘they do all the little things right’ and ‘how can I be better individually.’”
CARSON, Calif. – The question of who should be the starting striker tandem is one of the main topics among LA Galaxy circles. However, based on the meteoric rise of Gyasi Zardes, it may not be a debate much longer.
The Galaxy won two titles with the strike force of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, but in recent weeks it has been Zardes who has started alongside the Irishman thanks to his torrid scoring run of six goals in five contests. LA’s pairing of Keane and Zardes bore fruit again on Wednesday with both strikers tallying a brace in the team’s 5-1 victory over the New England Revolution.
While Donovan and Zardes have often swapped positions in recent months, Keane told reporters that it may be time stop thinking of the second-year attacker as a midfielder.
"As long as he keeps continuing to learn and keeps continuing to score goals, and understanding how to be a striker and playing with someone else," said Keane. "It’s not about just running in behind, it’s about linking up and playing with people and understanding when you play up front it’s a partnership and understanding when I have the ball he has to run off and understand where he’s going to go.
“Most of the time I’ll find him. If not, I’ll try to find him. I keep telling him just get in behind and I’ll find him."
And it’s Keane’s vocal nature that Zardes attributes to his ability to find spaces behind opposing defenders and create dangerous scoring opportunities.
“I definitely have been listening to Robbie," Zardes told reporters on Wednesday night. "He’s constantly talking to me, even throughout the game. He’s giving me little tips on what he’s going to do, and he told me to pay attention to the first ball once you’re running through. We worked on it in practice, and we did it in the game. When Robbie gets the ball at his feet, I know he’ll find me.”
Who should start up top for the LA Galaxy when they play Sporting Kansas City on Saturday? Do you prefer the tandem of Keane and Donovan or Keane and Zardes?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are throwing out the records when they take on the Portland Timbers on the Fourth of July.
Both the Galaxy (5-3-5) and Portland (4-5-8) have endured frustrating seasons that featured up-and-down form that has the two sides are currently outside the five Western Conference playoff places. For all the Timbers struggles, they still boast one of the league's most talented attacks that includes Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe and Fanedo Adi.
Against the Timbers, the Galaxy will look to extend their league unbeaten run to five games and build upon last Saturday's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
"[Portland Timbers] are a little bit of a tricky team to scout. If you watch them last week against Kansas City, they lost the game, but you see so many flashes of greatness which is what you saw last year," said Landon Donovan. "It's dangerous because they're a team that if they turn it on then they're a very good team and they can beat you. We don't know what we're going to get, but we expect a really good game."
Club president Chris Klein reiterates LA Galaxy commitment to Designated Players to Corner of the Galaxy
Don't expect the LA Galaxy to be bringing in a new Designated Player any time soon.
Just don't rule it out either.
That was the message that Galaxy club president Chris Klein gave during his 10 minute interview with the Corner of the Galaxy podcast on Wednesday. Klein discussed several topics while also reiterating the club’s commitment to having three Designated Players.
“We've made a conscious decision right now that the three (Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez) that we have right now are the best path for us to a championship. If that changes and there’s significant interest in Omar and he gets sold now or in a year or two years, we're going to get another guy,” Klein told Corner of the Galaxy podcast. “It’s a constant discussion that we have and something that we're always going to be involved in. By no means does Kaka going to Orlando mean that LA is out of the Designated Player market. We're always in there and we're very aggressive in the space but we're going to do what is best and gives us our best chance to win.”
Klein also was quick to reiterate that the team is still a headline destination despite not currently having any vacant Designated Player slots.
“We'll always be in those conversations. We're very clear that we're always going to have three designated players if that’s what the rules are in this league,” said Klein. “I think what you're seeing now is that there are more teams that are willing to do what we have done. Like Orlando signing Kaka or New York City FC getting David Villa. We're always going to be in the discussion for designated players and we're going to continue to have them both internally and outside.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The debate on whether U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann should have included Landon Donovan on his squad at the 2014 FIFA World Cup resurfaced again on Tuesday as the team was bounced from the tournament with a 2-1 extra time defeat to Belgium.
With the World Cup campaign complete, Donovan's future with the national team is still in question. In an interview with Dan Patrick on Wednesday (watch below at the 4:28 mark), Donovan told the radio host that he'd "love to play in the Olympics," but when asked after LA's training session hours later, Donovan was noncommittal when asked about his future with the national team.
"We'll see," Donovan, U.S. Soccer's all-time leading goal scorer, told reporters after training on Wednesday. "That depends on a lot of conversations that would have to be had."
When asked again if he'd answer a call-up from Klinsmann, Donovan reiterated his statement.
"A lot of conversations would have to take place," he said.
Whether or not Donovan returns to the U.S. remains to be seen, but the forward was pleased with the Americans' showing at the tournament.
"It's tough for all of us to watch because we feel bad for the team. Of course, as athletes we all think that we can help, but the reality is, that is the team that was out there," said Donovan. "They fought valiantly. I think that put in a different position or situation, I think they'd have a better chance to win the game, but they gave everything that they had."