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 the LA Galaxy TV's Top Five, I look at the best Galaxy postseason performances.
Check it out above and comment in the section below.
LA Galaxy with the most conference final appearances since 1996 across all major U.S. professional sports
By advancing to the Conference Championship this season, the LA Galaxy will be returning to the Conference Final for the 13th time since the league's inception in 1996. While that is a record in MLS, just where does it stack up in other leagues? Well, according to Elias Sports Bureau, it measures quite favorably.
Since 1996, the Galaxy's mark is highest among the top U.S. professional sports leagues ranking higher than the MLB's New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals' mark with 10, the NFL's New England Patriots record of nine, the NBA's San Antonio Spurs' total of nine, and the NHL's Detroit Red Wings' record of six.
In addition to stacking up well nationally, the Galaxy's conference finals appearances are the highest marks locally, eclipsing the Los Angeles Lakers' record of eight "final four" appearances since 1996.
— Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey) November 19, 2014
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.
The 2014 MLS dispersal draft came and went with the LA Galaxy opting to make no picks with the 16th overall selection.
Despite having the option to select any former players from Chivas USA, the Galaxy opted to pass with their choice in the draft.
With the top selection in the draft, FC Dallas selected former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year candidate Dan Kennedy who was one of seven picks. Also selected were Matthew Dunn (NYCFC), Thomas McNamara (D.C. United), Donny Toia (Montreal Impact), Caleb Calvert (Colorado Rapids), Kristopher Tyrpak (San Jose Earthquakes), and Marco Delgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Brazilian center back Leonardo is expected to be a “candidate to play” in the Western Conference Championship first leg against Seattle Sounders FC according to LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, but that does not mean that the defender will be in the starting XI come Sunday.
The 26-year-old defender left Galaxy’s 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in their Western Conference Semifinal second leg with a right hamstring strain that has prevented him from training with the club since. However, following training on Tuesday, Arena noted that Leonardo and fellow injured defenders Todd Dunivant (groin) and James Riley “are candidates to play” on Sunday.
But despite his initial optimism, Arena did state that the unpredictability of hamstring injuries will continue to make him a doubt until the Brazilian central defender returns to the field.
“There are all different degrees with those things,” said Arena. “Every athlete is different, but hamstrings are hard to figure out until the player goes full tilt which hasn’t happened yet so we don’t know.”
LA Galaxy Academy Under-17 defender Hugo Arellano was among 20 players selected to U.S. U-17 head coach Richie Williams for the team’s upcoming tournament in Chile.
The US will face Chile, Brazil, and Qatar in the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins from Nov. 18-22. During the tournament, the U.S. will face Chile on Nov. 18, Brazil on the 20th, and Qatar on the 22nd.
Also included in the squad is former LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright, who is currently with German side Schalke. Wright and his brother Hanif are expected to remain with the German club.
GOALKEEPERS: William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo.) Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS: George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Unattached; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas, El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS: Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Kai Koreniuk (Vitesse; Ormond Beach, Fla.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Haji Wright (Unattached; Los Angeles, Calif.)
Robbie Keane returns from international duty fit for Western Conference Championship clash with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy welcomed back captain Robbie Keane from international duty on Tuesday ahead of this weekend's Western Conference Championship first leg clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
Keane spent the last week with the Republic of Ireland and saw limited second half action in their 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland last Friday. The match was the first time that Keane had been left on the substitute’s bench for a competitive international match in 13 years.
“I was disappointed with the result which wasn’t what [the Irish squad] wanted, but I move on and I’m fully focused on the game on Sunday,” Keane said on Tuesday following the team’s training session. “[Coming back early] gives me six days to get back into the swing of things for Sunday after the travel back from Europe.”
The 34-year-old noted that conversations between the Galaxy coaching staff and the Republic of Ireland allowed Keane to miss out on their 4-1 defeat over the United States on Tuesday. Not only does Keane’s return aid in his preparation for the Sounders match, but the Irish striker notes that he is “90-ish percent” back from a left hamstring ailment that plagued him for the last month.
Keane returns to a Galaxy squad that is the midst of their preparations for their clash with a Seattle side that clinched the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the Galaxy on Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field. Although the Galaxy felt the sting of that defeat after the Seattle match, Keane says that loss will have no impact on what happens on Sunday at StubHub Center.
“There’s no fear. You can’t have fear going into game like this. These are the games that you want to be playing in,” Keane said. “We can’t change about what happened in the past, but we can change what will happen on Sunday. We have to make sure that we go into the game with the right mentality and not thinking that is revenge.
“This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to have a chance to play for a championship and we have every opportunity to do so.”
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.
In my latest top five list for Galaxy TV, I look at the top five playoff moments in LA Galaxy history.
Check out the video above and leave your comments on the list below.