League

17 December 7:50 pm

There’s considerable talent on the board as MLS prepares for Stage Two of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process which will take place on Wednesday at 12pm PT.

During the Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, the LA Galaxy lost longtime right back Sean Franklin who was selected by D.C. United while Steve Zakuani (Portland Timbers), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union) and Marc Burch (Colorado Rapids) were also selected.

That amount of players available has been whittled down however, with several choosing to opt out in order to re-sign with their previous clubs or being dealt to other teams. Most notably, Kenny Cooper, Mauro Rosales and Bobby Convey were traded while players like Chris Rolfe, Andre Akpan and Logan Pause opted out with looks to return to their former clubs.

If a player is chosen in Stage Two, a club has seven days to make a bona fide offer to the selected individual, and if an agreement can’t be reached that club will have the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Should a player not be chosen then they will be able to reach an agreement with the club of their choosing.

Prior to stage one, I evaluated several players who could be good fits for the Galaxy and while several have come off the board, former MLS MVPs David Ferreira and Dwayne De Rosario as well as New York Red Bulls forward Fabian Espindola remain the most talented players available. However with the Galaxy losing Sean Franklin, it would not be surprising to see LA go after depth at right back which makes players like Ugo Ihemelu, Brandon Barklage and James Riley intriguing choices.  

The complete list of available players for stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Process are below:

Chicago Fire: D Shaun Francis, M Joel Lindpere, F Maicon Santos, M Wells Thompson*, M Michael Videira

Chivas USA: D Ante Jazic*, D Steve Purdy, M Josue Soto

Columbus Crew: M Danny O'Rourke, M Konrad Warzycha

Colorado Rapids: GK Steward Ceus, D Brian Mullan, M Jamie Smith

D.C. United: M Dwayne De Rosario, D James Riley, F Carlos Ruiz, M Marcelo Saragosa, D Daniel Woolard

FC Dallas: M David Ferreira, D Ugo Ihemelu

Houston Dynamo: F Calen Carr*, M Alex Dixon, F Cam Weaver

LA Galaxy: M Colin Clark, M Laurent Courtois

Montreal Impact: M Sinisa Ubiparipovic

New England Revolution: F Chad Barrett, F Ryan Guy, M Clyde Simms, M Juan Toja

New York Red Bulls: D Brandon Barklage, F Fabian Espindola, D Heath Pearce

Portland Timbers: D Ryan Miller

Real Salt Lake: D Brandon McDonald, GK Josh Saunders, M Khari Stephenson

Seattle Sounders: M Blair Gavin

San Jose Earthquakes: D Nana Attakora, M Mehdi Ballouchy, D Dan Gargan, GK Evan Newton

Toronto FC: F Justin Braun

Vancouver Whitecaps: GK Joe Cannon, F Corey Hertzog

17 December 3:23 pm

Fresh off a titanic week that saw him score goals against the likes of Portugal, England and Brazil, LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright may be off to Europe.

According to Top Drawer Soccer's Travis Clark, Wright has hired an agent who is shopping the young forward to unnamed clubs in Germany. The reports come following Wright's banner performance scoring five goals as the U.S. Under-17's won the Nike International Friendlies last week with wins over England and Brazil

Although the potential move does throw into question Wright's future with the Galaxy, it bares mentioning that the forward's status is by no means set in stone at the moment as no clubs have been identified as possible destinations for Wright.  

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Do you think Wright ends up in Europe?

Share your thoughts below. 

12 December 5:50 pm

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.

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Thoughts on these ideas?

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12 December 3:59 pm

Matt Reis is ready for the latest chapter in his life. 

In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, I speak with new goalkeeper coach Matt Reis as discusses his reasons for retirement and join Bruce Arena's coaching staff

During my conversation with Reis, I asked about his opinion of LA's current goalkeeping situation and the 38-year-old provided a glowing recommendation of the team's goalkeeper corps.

"I’ve seen Jaime Penedo play and I’ve liked him for a long time. I remember watching him in the Gold Cup final when the U.S. played Panama. I think our styles are very similar," said Reis. "The other two goalkeepers Brian Perk and Brian Rowe are both from UCLA and are both going to be exceptional goalkeepers. Perk came from the same [youth] club that I grew up in and went through some minor setbacks last year while Rowe was able to help earn the team get some tough results over the course of the season … They are three guys who have shown that they can compete at this level so it’ll be exciting competition. "

It bares mentioning that Reis did not mention goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini who is expected to depart the club. 

12 December 1:25 pm

Sean Franklin's time with the LA Galaxy has officially come to an end.

The longtime Galaxy right back was selected by D.C. United in Stage One of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process while LA passed on making a selection.

Franklin made 160 regular season appearances for the Galaxy during his six-year stint with the club scoring five goals and 20 assists. The two-time MLS Cup champion and 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year also made 18 appearances in the postseason scoring one goal and five assists. Franklin and D.C. United will return to StubHub Center on March 15 to face the Galaxy.

Also selected in the Stage One were Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Marc Burch (Colorado Rapids), Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union), and Steve Zakuani (Portland Timbers). 

12 December 9:36 am

We discussed the recently retired Pablo Mastroeni’s career in part one of my Q&A with the veteran midfielder, but in part two, we look at his life after soccer and what he’ll be planning to do next as he looks to move on from the game that he's played for decades.

Read it below.

LAGI: “Going back to Colorado seems to be a natural move here especially with your family being unable to sell your home.”

“The word destiny is appropriate here. I’ve had my house on the market for the last six months and it sold once, then the people backed out and for whatever reason it didn’t sell. I just kept thinking that there was a reason for all this because at some point, you just have to heed the omens. For me, the kids love it, my wife loves it and I love it as well. I just thought that life would take me to different places, but it hasn’t. As long as it doesn’t sell, it looks like we’ll just stay in Colorado and it’s looking more and more like we’re just going to take the house off the market. That way we can settle in here as I go into the next phase of my career as I look to start a soccer school focusing on youth development without having to worry about results on the weekend. It’ll be a way to give back because I’ve had great coaches throughout my career that inspired me and now I want to put my own spin on [the game] to help develop young players in Colorado."

LAGI: “Have you had any conversations with the Colorado Rapids about working for their club academy?"

PM: "We haven’t had any conversations at the moment. I’d like to work with the Colorado Rapids in some capacity, but that’s the competitive side of soccer that says we’re an academy just like the Galaxy and we want to get results on the weekend. My mindset is that we sometimes put so much of a focus on winning at a young age that we miss some steps along the way. I think that we keep talking about how even though American soccer is growing; it’s not a powerhouse in the world. We have the greatest resources in the world, we have the greatest athletes in the world, and my view is that we only lack true player development where the focus is solely on developing players without the distraction of results. I think that kids do enjoy the competition which is great, but you see these soccer schools in Europe where there are many kids who are eight or nine and already destined for first team football. If you walk around the United States, you find maybe one six-year-old or five-year-old who can do that. Now I’m not saying we should train kids at age three, but just to put more focus on player development and supplement what they’re not getting from the clubs due to the focus on winning.”

LAGI: “What is going to be your philosophy for this soccer school?"

PM: "I don’t want to do what has been going on for the last number of years. I think the U.S. Soccer curriculum that Claudio Reyna put together is exceptional, but I want to take from my own experience and travels in order to figure out what we’re not doing [as a country]. If I just followed what everyone else is doing then we’re probably going to get the same results. I want to take the experiences that I learned and put together a different type of curriculum that focuses 100 percent on development and zero on results which I hope can produce more complete and talented soccer players.

"I believe that anything that you do in life that you’re good at becomes eventually much more fun. If you have complete dominion of the ball and are aware of the game, then the game will be that much more fun which will lead to greater success as the player moves into high school and onward.  The other part for me is that it is something that you have to do many repetitions, but still keep it fun for the kids. I have a lot to carve out and think about but I really feel that it could be a nice thing for the youth to experience and get a leg up. I think that teaching the ages of six through 15 would be great.”

LAGI: "You've always been a reflective person so have you ever just thought about what the game of soccer has given you -- helping you meet your wife, allowing you to go to two World Cups. It's certainly been a ride."

PM: “I’ve pondered it quite a bit and it’s been so good to me because it kept me out of trouble in high school. I could have been different but I always went to training and it kept me in line. When you think about all that I’ve seen in my wife and kids. Plus, I hadn’t realized it until a couple years ago but my wife’s family and my family were still getting together for barbeques to watch my games so the game of soccer was a way that my extended family was able to stay together. That’s why I want to start this soccer school because kids would enjoy learning about these experiences that I’ve had while also coming to understand that the game of soccer really mimics the lessons that you learn in life.

LAGI: "Lastly, in just a few weeks your old teammates across the league will be returning to training for preseason while Pablo Mastroeni will be picking up his kids from school. What will that be like?"

PM: “I talked to quite a few guys while I was contemplating my retirement and one of them was [D.C. United head coach and former U.S. National Team player] Ben Olsen. He said ‘the best part of retirement is that you don’t have to go into preseason, you don’t have to train on Tuesday for a game on Saturday. You’re going to love your retirement.’ Now coming from a guy that took it as seriously as he did, it really helped drive it home. I need to find my competitive edge in something else and hopefully starting a soccer school will allow me to educate myself and gets my juices flowing. I know that there won’t be any substitute from being under the lights, at an opposing team’s stadium trying to get a result, and I know that I can’t mimic that. For me, it’ll be tough once the season gets going but for as far as preseason, I won’t miss that one bit.”

10 December 1:00 pm

Soccer may not be a game of statistics but when it comes to fitness and training, numbers could be very helpful. 

Huffington Post's Katie Linendoll speaks to Galaxy players and Strength and Conditioning coach Ben Yauss to discuss the adidas miCoach equipment and how the team uses it during training and matches. 

Check out the video below...

09 December 4:35 pm

The LA Galaxy will have four players available for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process including 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin.

The Galaxy declined options on Colin Clark, Laurent Courtois and Sean Franklin while Pablo Mastroeni was out of contract.  Franklin made 40 appearances in all competitions for the Galaxy in 2013 with two goals and three assists. Clark, who joined LA in the 2012 Re-Entry process made just 13 appearances much of them at the start of the season while both Mastroeni and Courtois—each acquired in midseason trades—made less than 13 appearances.

Stage One of the Re-Entry Process will take place on Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. PT while Stage Two will take place on Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. PT.  Remember that little action typically takes place in Stage One as clubs have to sign a player at their 2013 salary or extend a Bona Fide Offer to that player and teams have until Dec. 11 to negotiate with those players made eligible for the process. Following the first stage, the action typically gets even more heated as teams look to either bring back players or make selections in Stage Two of the process.  

The complete list of  68 players can be found here

08 December 4:25 pm

MLS and adidas unveiled the 2014 Match Ball on Sunday.

The 2014 adidas MLS Match Ball which is based on the "Brazuca," the official ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  According to MLS, the colors are meant to represent "a heart, as the ball is the heart of the soccer and MLS."

What are your thoughts on the new MLS match ball?

06 December 6:11 pm

LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez has been featured on the cover of the latest edition of Overlap magazine. 

In addition to being placed on the cover, Gonzalez is the subject of a piece titled "The Happiest Man in Los Angeles County" is a selection of photos by New York photographer Matt Rubin

A teaser photo of Omar playing a mean air saxophone can be seen below. 

Check out the piece in its entirety as well as the rest of the magazine here.