CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal looked like he may be sidelined for an extended period after exiting the LA Galaxy's 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution last month, but the 21-year-old striker is already back on the training ground and hoping to make a return as soon as next week's match with Columbus Crew.
Villarreal suffered a left shoulder sprain after a hard fall on the turf in the early stages of LA's 2-2 draw at Gillete Stadium with a but not before delivering a backheel assist on Gyasi Zardes' opener. Less than a week later, Villarreal was back on the training field on Friday, and already hopeful of making an early return.
"I'm definitely going to be cautious but I feel good about it. [On Friday] I came out and did a little running, passing, and 5v2 which felt really good," Villarreal told LA Galaxy Insider on Friday. "I feel like I'm on the right track to get back early. The way things are looking, I'll be back training and hopefully get ready for Columbus."
After suffering a frustrating hamstring injury that hampered his early season success, Villarreal is confident that he can re-gain his poised touch if he gets a chance to play against the Crew.
"For me, injuries happen and it doesn't have to mean that you're not fit. This was just something that happened that I couldn't avoid. I think that I just need to focus and prepare the right way, and if I do that, I think that I can be ready for Columbus. There's no doubt in my mind that with the training staff that we have that I can't come back quickly."
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters after the club's 1-0 defeat to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
On having zero shots on goal:
ARENA: “I don’t think it was from a lack of effort, we should have shot a few more times. They did a good job, got a lot of players behind the ball, made it tough in and around the penalty area to their credit.”
On tonight’s match:
ARENA: “Conceding that goal in the first half, it was tailor made for their team. The way they play, and with their speed on the counter, and we gave away a ball in our middle third of the field and they got a goal. They certainly did a very good job having good numbers behind the ball, and countering us in the second half. We had some chances to have a little bit better quality, perhaps create a few dangerous chances, but we fell short.”
On Vancouver’s center defense:
ARENA: “They played well. Obviously they are very good in the air and they dominated us there. We weren’t good enough on the ball to play around them.”
On Robbie Keane’s fitness:
ARENA: “Well he is just coming back from being away for two months. I think we’re doing the best we can; it’s been a little bit of a patchwork job in the first half of the season. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes. No excuses, but we’re a little bit short handed in a lot of the spots on the field and it shows with some of our quality. He’d probably tell you that the last 20 minutes were pretty rough for him. We had to be aggressive with our substitutions to try and get a goal. I decided to keep Robbie out there. It might have been a little too much for him, but it’s probably good for him to get the 90 minutes in.”
On starting Edson Buddle:
ARENA: “Well, got 60 minutes out of him. I think between he and Alan we are trying to get 90 minutes out of that position. It’s going to take Edson some time too, he’s missed most of the first half of the season. So you know, we’re a little bit short handed right now, and it takes away from our effectiveness.”
On Kekuta Manneh:
ARENA: “He was pretty much their dangerous player in the first half. A couple times, he burned us and we got caught on the goal. He is a good player. Perhaps we could have been a little bit better on a few of those plays. We stopped him a couple times, but the goal, give him credit. He did well to get the goal.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will look to extend their unbeaten streak at StubHub Center to 28 games on Saturday when they face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
In my look ahead to the match, I provide a little pregame reading, matchups to watch, and a score prediction.
*However, the LA Galaxy will be without Jose Villarreal for Saturday’s match. Might this help Edson Buddle return to goal scoring ways?
*With Jaime Penedo away on international duty, Brian Rowe will get the start in goal.
*Training Notebook: updates on Robbie Rogers, Alan Gordon and new goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton.
*In the latest edition of By the Numbers, we look at Robbie Keane’s strike rate against Vancouver.
*Lastly, LAGalaxy.com’s Larry Morgan provides the Drink O4 Water match preview.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Octavio Rivero vs. Omar Gonzalez
Omar Gonzalez has been the star of the LA Galaxy season to date but he’ll have his hands full when he faces off against Octavio Rivero. Positioning will be vital for Gonzalez as Rivero has shown an ability to exploit space and make defenses pay.
Robbie Keane vs. Kendal Waston
It looks like Robbie Keane is back to full fitness, and that means the Irishman is ready to test a Vancouver backline that has conceded many goals to the LA Galaxy captain.
Juninho vs. Pedro Morales
The most important matchup will take place in the center of the park as the two South Americans battle for superiority. Look for Juninho to press Morales early and often to avoid the kind of pressure that sunk the Galaxy in April.
LA Galaxy 3 (Keane, Buddle, Maganto), Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 (Rivero)
CARSON, Calif. – Goalkeeper Brian Rowe will make his fourth start of 2015 on Saturday when the LA Galaxy take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Rowe has compiled a 1-1-1 record with five saves during his three appearances this season, and will once again get the start on Saturday with regular starter Jaime Penedo away on international duty. With Penedo scheduled to be away for much of the summer due to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Galaxy boss Bruce Arena says the timing is perfect for Rowe to get a game with the first team.
“He’s shown improvement this year,” Arena said on Friday. “He’s played in a few Galaxy II games and league matches this year. There’s no reason to believe that he can’t step in and do a good job.”
The 26-year-old goalkeeper who has performed well when called upon this season was quick to agree.
“It feels great to play. There are no replacing games because that’s what you put in all the hard work for in the middle of the week to play in games. It’ll be fun,” said Rowe. “We expect a good battle. This season, we’ve been battling injuries and thin numbers which has forced us to see each game what our best lineup is. I have all the confidence in the guys but we’re expecting a good test tomorrow.”
By the Numbers: LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane hoping to continue his success against Vancouver Whitecaps FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will return to StubHub Center on Saturday for their clash with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we look at Robbie Keane's incredible strike rate against the Whitecaps.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane believes that he’s ready to get back on the field against Vancouver Whitecaps FC after missing last week’s match in New England.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena opted to leave Keane behind for the Revolution match due to his groin strain issue that sidelined him for much of May. Keane has enjoyed plenty of success against the Whitecaps throughout his career with four goals and five assists in nine regular season matches.
“I look forward to getting some minutes in the second half. We’ll have to see [if I can start] but I think that getting minutes in the second half is the cleverest thing in the moment,” said Keane. “I feel really good. This is about being clever and making sure that there are no setbacks. … I feel sharp.”
Immediately following the Vancouver game, Keane will join up with the Republic of Ireland for their matches against England and Scotland next week.
Even though his captain will be leaving after the game, Arena says that there is no guarantee that he’ll start the Irishman on Saturday.
“I haven’t decided yet. Robbie Keane should be on the field as long as he can be on the field. We want to get him in a starting role as soon as possible. Whether it’s this weekend or the following week, we’ll see.”
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez is enjoying a banner season, and his performance on the field has led to him being the leading vote-getter among defenders for the 2015 MLS All-Star Game.
Gonzalez leads the way in defender voting with 6,040 votes which is 479 votes ahead of Sporting Kansas City center back Matt Besler. The Galaxy defender is seeking his fourth All-Star selection.
Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo is currently fourth in the voting among goalkeepers behind Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), and Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC).
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will be without forward Jose Villarreal for Saturday's match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena confirmed after training on Wednesday that the 21-year-old forward will miss Saturday's match due to a left shoulder sprain. Villarreal suffered the injury during the opening minutes of LA's 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution on Sunday.
"Jose is likely out this weekend," said Bruce Arena. "I'd say Jose is not a possiblity."
In terms of the length of the injury, Arena told reporters that his absence will be "short term."
FOXBROUGH, Mass. – Bruce Arena issued a challenge to young defender Oscar Sorto after the LA Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution: it’s time to show what you’re worth.
Sorto’s defensive miscue in the fifth minute resulted in the Revolution’s opener as the 20-year-old was caught ball-watching allowing Revolution forward Teal Bunbury to escape unmarked and tap a cross past Jaime Penedo. The defender soon recovered and closed the match strong but the Galaxy head coach admitted afterward that Sorto must be more consistent.
“A very poor opening 15 minutes for Oscar, and then, I thought that he played well in the second half,” Arena said postgame. “If he wants to become a real player in this league on our team, he’s got to start games better and have more confidence. That’s obviously partly due to not having enough experience but he’s going to get his chances this year, and he’s got to grow each and every game.”
After the match, Sorto took responsibility for his error.
“I agree with him. It’s the first team and every game; I have to come out mentally prepared, and ready to go. I think in this game it took me awhile to get going. I feel like I finished it well though,” said Sorto. “This is a different level, I’ve played in USL where you can get away with things but now I’m competing against top talent, I have to get used to it.”
Even though Sorto endured an up-and-down performance against New England, the Galaxy’s injuries along the back line may lead to the 20-year-old suiting up once more on Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. If Sorto does get the opportunity, the defender pledges to rebound.
“Right now, the coach is giving me confidence by believing in me,” said Sorto. “I just need to take advantage of every chance.”
BOSTON – The LA Galaxy will look to extend their winning streak to three games when they face the New England Revolution in a rematch of the 2014 MLS Cup final.
The Galaxy will be seeking their first road win in 13 tries dating back to last August.
Below are a series of links, matchups to watch and my prediction for Sunday’s match.
*The Galaxy will be without injured outside backs Robbie Rogers, A.J. DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant for yet another week.
*In “By the Numbers,” we look at wild score lines between LA and New England in their last regular season meetings.
*In the latest edition of “Insider on Location,” we speak with goalkeeper coach Matt Reis on his return to Boston.
*Lastly, I check in from Galaxy practice at Harvard to provide the Match Preview Presnted by O4 Water.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
OMAR GONZALEZ vs. CHARLIE DAVIES
Brawn vs. Speed will be the matchup when these two U.S. internationals face off. Davies is currently the Revolution’s leading goal scorer and will look to hassle Gonzalez from the get-go.
JUNINHO vs. SCOTT CALDWELL
Jermaine Jones earns the headlines for the Revolution but Caldwell’s abilities to not only break up play but also spark counterattacks will force Juninho to keep a keen eye on the Revs midfielder.
GYASI ZARDES vs. JOSE GONCALVES
Gyasi Zardes is in need of a goal to spark a Galaxy attack that has been too reliant on Alan Gordon as of late, but he’ll face a tough test from the former MLS defender of the Year.
New England Revolution 1 (Davies) LA Galaxy 0