The LA Galaxy are moving ever closer to bolstering their midfield with the acquisition of Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki.
A report in the Los Angeles Times on Monday cited an unnamed Galaxy team official who states that the club has a photocopy of a signed contract from the Swedish international. Ishizaki, 31, is expected to head to Southern California later this week to make the deal official. According to the official, the Galaxy were drawn to the midfielder due to his proficiency at delivering set pieces, a distinct problem for LA in 2013 as the club tallied just seven goals off dead ball opportunities.
When asked about the deal, Ishizaki stated that he has had prior interest from MLS clubs including Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact as well as American colleges when he was younger.
“The American way of living attracts me. When I was younger, I had offers for scholarships in the U.S," Ishizaki told reporters in Sweden on Monday. “It has to suit my family and it has to be an interesting team. There is always some cities of the world that you'd rather live in."
Ishizaki has spent the last eight seasons with Elfsborg while tallying 46 goals and 58 assists in 156 appearances for the Borås-based club.
New LA Galaxy forward Samuel is ready to test himself in MLS with the LA Galaxy, but the 22-year-old admits that he's hoping to return to Brazil after acheiving success with LA.
In his farewell interview with Fluminense's website, Samuel stated that he's looking forward to his new opportuntiy with the Galaxy, but believes that he could return to the Brazilian side in the future. The 22-year-old forward joined LA last week on a year-long loan after tallying 15 goals in 72 appearances for the Rio de Janeiro-based club.
"I hope that with the arrival of [new head coach Renato Gaucho] things change for [Fluminense]," Samuel said. "But I am excited for this new opportunity [in MLS]."
The complete video which is in Portuguese is below.
PHILADELPHIA— The LA Galaxy may have traded out of the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, but if history tells us anything, there could be value with their 23rd pick in the second round.
There have been quite a few high value 23rd picks from U.S. National Team midfielder Graham Zusi and LA Galaxy legend – and Galaxy Academy Director – Peter Vagenas to U.S. National Team veteran and former LA Galaxy left back Eddie Lewis among others. In fact, the history of the 23rd selection—in my opinion—is much more illustrious than that of the 14th pick which was headlined by Shalrie Joseph, George John and Ned Grabavoy.
The complete history of the 23rd pick is below:
2013— Luke Spencer, New England Revolution -- Suffered an ACL tear in preseason and did not make the Revolution's roster. Spencer resumed training with New England at the end of the 2013 season.
2012—Lucky Moksana, Chicago Fire -- Did not make the Fire roster out of preseason. Currently a member of the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
2011—Michael Farfan, Philadelphia Union -- Finished third in rookie of the year voting in 2011, signed with Liga MX side Cruz Azul after three seasons with the Union.
2010—Ross LaBauex, Colorado Rapids -- Made 18 appearances with the Colorado Rapids before being waived in September 2012, signed with USL Pro club Rochester Rhinos in March 2013.
2009—Graham Zusi, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- A regular with Sporting Kansas City and the U.S. National Team, Zusi was an MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI Selection in 2012 and 2013. Zusi was an MLS MVP finalist in 2012.
2008—Yomby William, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- Did not make a competitive appearance for Kansas City and has spent the last five years with USL Pro side Rochester Rhinos.
2007—Ty Harden, Los Angeles Galaxy -- Galaxy defender of the year in 2007, Harden retired in 2008 to pursue philanthropic endeavors in Africa. Harden returned to soccer in 2009 and is currently with the San Jose Earthquakes.
2006—Willie Sims, New England Revolution -- Made nine appearances with the Revolution from 2006 to 2007 and last played with USL Premier Developmental League side Los Angeles Misioneros.
2005—Domenic Mediate, Columbus Crew -- Played three seasons in MLS with the Crew and D.C. United before ending his career in 2009 with the Puerto Rico Islanders.
2004—Jeremiah White, New England Revolution -- Spent most of his career in Europe and earned his lone U.S. National Team cap in 2008 during a friendly against Sweden at The Home Depot Center.
2003—Roger Levesque, San Jose Earthquakes -- Spent three seasons with San Jose winning MLS Cup in 2003, but then moved onto Seattle Sounders FC for the next 10 seasons where he became a club icon. Levesque is currently a University of Washington grad student.
2002—Jon Busch, Columbus Crew -- Currently with the San Jose Earthquakes, Busch is one of only six MLS goalkeepers all-time with more than 100 wins.
2001—Justin Evans, Chicago Fire -- Played in MLS for two seasons with three clubs. Current head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
2000—Peter Vagenas, Los Angeles Galaxy -- A two-time MLS Cup champion, Vagenas captained the LA Galaxy's 2005 MLS Cup winning side. After a 13-year career in MLS, Vagenas became the LA Galaxy Academy Director.
1999—Greg Sutton, Chicago Fire -- Longtime MLS goalkeeper who last played with the Montreal Impact.
1998—Jason Boyce, Colorado Rapids -- Bounced around MLS for three seasons and last played in MLS with the LA Galaxy reserves in 2010.
1997—Todd DeNault, Columbus Crew -- Released during preseason training camp, but no other information on DeNault was found.
1996—Eddie Lewis, San Jose Clash -- A left-sided defender who played four seasons with the San Jose Clash and was named to MLS Best XI in 1999. Lewis went on to play for Fulham, Leeds United and Derby County before joining the Galaxy in 2008. A U.S. National Team regular, Lewis appeared in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup.
The LA Galaxy were sorely lacking a target presence during their ill-fated 2013 campaign, but over the past seven days, LA have added two legitimate scoring options to their attacking arsenal.
Over the past week, the Galaxy have added two forwards in Brazilian forward Samuel and now Canadian international Rob Friend. Friend, 32, joins the Galaxy after an 11-year career in Europe that saw him tally 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.
Friend has spent the last two seasons with 1860 Munich making 24 appearances, but over the past season, he has played in 10 matches for the Die Löwen (The Lions) scoring a single goal. The 6-foot-5 forward’s final goal for Munich came on Sept. 21 when he notched a goal and an assist during a 3-1 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue. Friend’s performance against the Saxony-based club was a vintage target forward display as he was able to aid in the build-up of a goal with a well-time knockdown of a cross before tallying a goal himself off a corner kick minutes later.
Such aerial skills were at a premium for the Galaxy in 2013 as center back Omar Gonzalez was often the lone target for the Galaxy on set pieces and often heavily marked by opposing defenses. The presence of a target forward like Friend will only stand to aid LA on attacking set pieces by freeing up space for LA’s other attackers like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Although Friend brings a strong European pedigree to StubHub Center his minutes won’t be guaranteed as he’s expected to compete for the starting spot alongside Keane with the 22-year-old Samuel. Should either of the forwards lock down a starting place next to the Irishman, expect Donovan to drift back into the right side of midfield.
Highlights of Friend’s final goal for Munich are below.
We’re less than a week from the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and on Friday, the 2014 MLS adidas Players Combine kicked off the draft week festivities.
In the first match, Team Predator defeated Team Nitro Charge 4-1 off goals from Zach Boldon (Denver), Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of Mines), Mamadou Diouf (Connecticut), and Pierre Omanga (So. New Hampshire). Akron’s Reinaldo Brenes scored the lone goal for Team Nitro Charge.
The final match of the evening, Team Brazuca defeated Team adiZero 2-0 off goals from Michigan’s Fabio Pereira and Maryland’s Schillo Tshuma.
MLSsoccer and Soccer by Ives each provided an update on the players who succeeded—and failed— during Day One. On Saturday, the teams will interview the combine participants before the players return to action on Sunday.
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?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will take on the San Jose Earthquakes for the first time in 2014 on Feb. 15 in Fresno’s Chukchansi Park for the inaugural Central California Cup.
The match is LA’s first preseason fixture in Fresno since 2007 when the Galaxy defeated the Fresno Fuego 4-0. LA's match against San Jose is their second announced preseason game as they will take on Armenian champions FC Shirak on Feb. 8 at StubHub Center.
The U.S. National Team opened their annual January camp on Tuesday and U.S. Soccer has provided a brief video update with interviews with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Mike Magee, Graham Zusi, and Matt Besler
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bolstered their forward corps on Tuesday with the addition of Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Fluminense, but head coach and general manager Bruce Arena says LA won’t be stopping there.
While observing U.S. National Team practice, Arena caught up with reporters to discuss the signing of the new Brazilian target forward and without getting into any specifics, mentioned that LA hope to lock down the signature of another forward within the next two weeks.
“We’re going to follow up this week with probably another player who can play that position as well. We’re trying to shore up our target position,” said Arena.
The addition of a second target striker could be a boon for the Galaxy who lacked a significant physical presence up top in 2013 as only 19-year-old Homegrown forward Jack McBean provided a true target forward presence.
Thoughts on Arena’s comments?
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LA Galaxy bolster their attack with the addition of Brazilian forward Samuel on a loan from Fluminense
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy stated that acquiring a target forward was at the top of their wish list for the 2014 season and just seven days into the year, they may have got their man.
LA announced the acquisition of 22-year-old Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Brazil’s Fluminense on Tuesday. The 6-foot-1 center target striker who tallied 15 goals in 72 appearances over the last two years with the Fluzão will be added to the Galaxy’s roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and his P-1 Visa.
“We are pleased to add Samuel to our roster,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement released by the club. “Samuel is a young, talented forward with both size and skill. We are confident his addition will help boost our attack in 2014.”
Samuel's signature is a coup for the Galaxy as the Brazilian striker who served as the strike partner for Brazilian international Fred at Fluminense had been linked with a number of clubs in Spain, Brazil and China in recent weeks. Most notably, Samuel nearly completed deals to Real Madrid B and Barcelona-based Espanyol, but saw the moves fall through that kept him in Brazil.
Thoughts on the Brazilian signing?
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