Look ahead to Portland: Robbie Keane and the LA Galaxy look to down Portland Timbers in first road game of 2015
PORTLAND, Ore. –Ahead of the LA Galaxy’s match with the Portland Timbers (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes 4 p.m. PDT), let’s take a look at some required reading, matchups to watch, and my prediction for Sunday's match.
*The biggest question of the week is who plays in goal for the Galaxy on Sunday? Brian Rowe or Jaime Penedo.
*Jose Villarreal made a major mark along the left side of midfield in the Galaxy's win against the Chicago Fire, and he'll be aiming to do the same against the Timbers.
*Could the LA Galaxy have a new Scanadivanian connection? As newcomer Mika Vayrynen looks to make his debut against the Timbers, Stefan Ishizaki is hoping to have a great sophomore season with the Galaxy.
*LA bolstered their squad this week with the signing of rookie midfielder Ignacio Maganto who is eager to make an impact for the first team.
*In the latest edition of By the Numbers, we take a look at LA’s frustrating record in Bridgetown.
*LAGalaxy.com reporter Larry Morgan checks in with a preview on the Galaxy’s trip to Portland.
*The 2013 MLS Referee of the Year Hilario Grajeda will serve as the head official for Sunday's match.
*In the latest edition of 90 in 90, Cobi Jones and Joe Tutino provide their insight to the game in Portland.
THEY SAID IT:
"It's always a tough place to go. Great fans and great atmosphere. I'm sure, it will be raining again, like it is every year we’re there. I really enjoy the atmoswphere there."
- Robbie Keane on the trip to Portland.
QUESTIONS AHEAD OF THE MATCH:
WHO WINS THE BATTLE IN THE MIDFIELD: JUNINHO OR DIEGO CHARA
The midfield battle will be decided between the two international stars who will look to set the tempo for their respective club. Expect plenty of hard challenges on the small field at Providence Park
CAN ROBBIE KEANE KEEP UP HIS SCORING STREAK IN PORTLAND?
The LA Galaxy may have only one win all-time in Portland, but the Rose City has proven to be a boon town for Robbie Keane. The Irishman has three goals and one assist in four career matches at Providence Park, and will look to find the back of the net again on Sunday.
WHO STARTS IN GOAL FOR THE LA GALAXY?
The biggest question for the Galaxy, however, is who starts in goal for Bruce Arena’s squad. Brian Rowe was rarely tested during LA’s 2-0 shutout of the Fire, but 2014 incumbent netminder Jaime Penedo will be eager to get the nod in goal.
LA Galaxy 2 (Robbie Keane, Baggio Husidic) Portland Timbers 2 (Darlington Nagbe, Fernando Adi)
LA Galaxy expect another wild match in Portland when they face the Portland Timbers at Providence Park
CARSON, Calif. – Drama is par the course when the LA Galaxy travel to the Rose City to take the Portland Timbers, and LA expect another barnburner when the two teams face off on Sunday.
The last time the Galaxy set foot on the turf pitch at Providence Park, the two teams saved the scoring for the dying moments as a Diego Valeri strike in stoppage time negated a Robbie Keane goal moments later. Late game flare-ups are common when the two teams face off as 15 of 39 goals scored in the series all-time have been scored between the 61st and 90+ minutes.
With those late game goals common especially when LA travel to Portland, the question has to be asked, why the added intrigue every time the Galaxy head to Bridgetown?
“When you add a short field with a big crowd, it makes a difference,” Juninho said. “Portland is very good at home. They know that they have to play well at home, and against us, they want to give everything. We need to be aware of that.”
As his team prepares for the challenge ahead, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says his group must be calm and smart to prevent any further dramatics.
“One of our objectives this season is to be a better team on the road,” Arena said. “Hopefully, we can set the tone, play smart and bring home three points.”
Jamie Carragher jokes that the LA Galaxy bought experience when signing Steven Gerrard from Liverpool
Steven Gerrard is steadily wrapping up his time with Liverpool FC before joining the LA Galaxy in July, but before he leaves England, the legendary Liverpool man will play in the Liverpool All-Star Charity match on March 29 against a team fellow Reds talisman Jamie Carragher at Anfield.
The two captains held a mini-draft on Thursday to divide up some of the star players that will be participating in the game, and during the brief interaction, Carragher couldn’t help but crack a joke about Gerrard’s impending move to the Galaxy.
As the two Anfield legends set up their squads, Carragher chuckled when Gerrard stated that he intended to play the “experienced” tandem of himself and Xabi Alonso in central midfield. The former Liverpool central defender jokingly referred to Gerrard and Alonso as “has-beens” before Gerrard shot back at his former teammate stating that “you can’t buy experience.”
However, it was Carragher who had the laugh by quipping, “LA Galaxy did.”
The complete video is above.
Miffed at Carragher’s comments about the Galaxy “buying” experience? Agree with him?
Share your thoughts below.
Professional Referee Organization announces that Hilario Grajeda will serve as head referee for LA Galaxy match with Portland Timbers
The 2013 MLS Referee of the Year Hilario Grajeda will serve as the head referee for the LA Galaxy's clash with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday (4pm PDT, FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes), the Profressional Referee Organization announced on Wednesday.
Grajeda will be making his 2015 regular season debut as a head official after serving as the chief referee for 20 games a season ago. The 47-year-old issued an average of 4.4 yellow cards a game in 2014 while dealing two red cards in total last year.
Grajeda officiated four LA Galaxy games in 2014 with LA complying a 1-1-2 record.
The complete officiating team for Sunday's game is below:
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to the media after the club's 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire in the opening match of the 2015 regular season.
Arena's comments are below.
(On starting Jose Villarreal…)
“Obviously he played well, and obviously got the winning goal for a really big game. He is a good player; he dedicates himself to being a good professional. He’s got the talent to be a real good player, so I’m really pleased with his game today. … Last year for a while, we loaned him to Cruz Azul and it didn’t work out. He came back, but 2014 was really a little bit of a wasted year for him. We started to get him going a little bit with Galaxy II, but he’s is a player with a lot of talent, maybe his best position would be a second forward. Perhaps where Robbie Keane plays, but he’s not going to get on the field because of that. We have a lot of forwards, and we asked him to make this transition to midfield, and it’s a bit challenging, but he has worked real hard to get fit. I thought tonight he showed that, and he did in his last couple of preseason games. So we’re pretty excited about his development.”
(On relying on Stefan Ishizaki with the absence of Donovan…)
“I don’t even give any of that a thought. We’re building a team for this year, and it has nothing to do with Landon not being here. It has to do with the players that are here and getting better and making our team better. Landon is obviously respected, and we appreciate everything he has done, but that is over. Ishizaki is in his second year in this league, he is much more comfortable. He is a very good player, and we expect him to have a really good year this year, as he did last year.”
(On defensive line…)
ARENA: “It’s a pretty experienced group. All of our players, beside the group the group that started tonight, you saw A.J. coming on, we have Tommy Meyer, and Todd Dunivant, we have good experienced players that can play multiple positions in the back line and they have played together for a while. So they are pretty consistent and obviously talented. Omar is a tremendous talent, Leonardo is probably a little bit of an unsung hero, he’s played very well for us, he is going to have an outstanding season.”
(On why Rowe started over Penedo…)
ARENA: “Jaime has had some knocks in preseason and he hasn’t played that much. We felt that Brian was a little ahead of Jaime at this point.”
(On UniMas reporting that Penedo sat out the game due to contract negotiations…)
ARENA: “He is healthy…That wasn’t my decision. Our decision was made because we felt that Brian was the right guy for this game.”
(On the league starting on time…)
ARENA: “It was great. I think the league had to go on, and start on schedule this year. I don’t think we could have received the type of support we need if there we had a strike and the season was delayed. I think it’s important that we got the season started on time, and obviously we are real happy to be able to play.”
(On the experienced nature of the team…)
ARENA: “It’s the same thing for the most part, they’re an experienced group, & they know how to play and at home we obviously played well. But it’s an experienced group of players on the field and they’ve tasted a lot of success and they understand what they need to do to win games. We’ve been through it before, and I thought the first half we played well, especially the last 15 minutes of the half. So I think it’s just a matter of time to get a goal, and I think Chicago started off the second half much better. They put us under some pressure, so obviously Jose’s goal was big. We thought that we put them in a position where they tire out a little bit because they had to do a lot of defending in the first half. Our guys kept their concentration and had the kind of discipline they needed to have. When they got the first goal, I thought they felt pretty comfortable that they would be able to get a second one, and get three points.”
(On if the team’s sharpness ‘waxed and waned’…)
ARENA: “Wax and wane? I don’t know if it did that. Wax and wane? We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. It was the first game of the season. The players don’t fully have their legs yet, but if we were a little bit sharper in the first half then we’d get a goal, no question.”
By the Numbers: LA Galaxy look to continue their dominance at StubHub Center in 2015 season opener against Chicago Fire
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy's season is finally here.
The club will open up the 2015 MLS regular season on Friday when they host the Chicago Fire at StubHub Center. In 2015, the Galaxy will look to once again dominate at home where they went an astounding 15-1-4 in both regular season and postseason matches.
In the very first edition of By the Numbers in 2015, we take a look at the Galaxy's goal differential at home during the 2014 campaign.
Robbie Keane has a message for budding star Bradford Jamieson IV as the youngster prepares to carve out a starting role during the 2015 regular season.
Keep your head up.
No, he’s not saying it figuratively, but quite literally, as the winger seeks to become an offensive force along the left side of the Galaxy midfield.
Jamieson earned the start on the left flank in the club’s final preseason match against the San Jose Earthquakes. However, the game was a mixed bag for Jamieson who displayed an ability to launch clever shots at goal, but also struggled to make a consistent impact along the flank before he was pulled for eventual goal scorer Jose Villarreal.
Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said that Jamieson is “still just a kid” with a “ways to go” in his development, but his captain declared that there will be “no more excuses” made for the Galaxy’s youngsters, stating that they’ll be expected to contribute in the year ahead.
“He’s young. He still has to learn,” Keane said after the club's final preseason game in San Jose. “With the ability that he has, he can beat people no problem, but what young players do, and I’ve seen this for many years, they feel like if they beat someone then they can just keep going and keep [moving forward]. The reality is that it doesn’t always happen that way.
To truly hammer home the lesson, Keane referenced 2014 breakout star Gyasi Zardes, and the strides that he has made over the past two years.
“[Jamieson] got to keep his head up and once he learns to do that, as we saw last year with Gyasi...,the quicker that the younger lads learn then the better that they’re going to be, and the more opportunities that they’re going to have for the team,” said Keane. “Sometimes he just needs to pick up his head a little bit more and see what his options are. Once he does that, he’ll be a big player for this team because he’s got all the ability in the world.”
Jamieson, to his credit, agreed with the captain and noted that if he’s going to challenge for a regular starting spot then he’ll need to become a consistent contributor.
“[Keane] told me that I need to be able to pick my head up a half a second [quicker], and other little things that are going to allow me to separate myself from other players,” said Jamieson. “I still feel that if I’m pushing hard and I’m putting in good performances, I think that I’ll be to solidify a spot on the squad. This is a huge opportunity for me.”
CARSON, Calif. -- On the eve of the MLS regular season, LA Galaxy are set to bolster their roster with the additions of Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen and rookie Ignacio Maganto, the LA head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Thursday.
The 33-year-old Vayrynen was in training with the Galaxy on Thursday after trialing with the team during their recent trip to Europe. After noting after the club's game against Shamrock Rovers that the club was interested, Arena stated that he was ready to bring in the veteran central midfielder.
"We plan to sign him," said Arena.
In addition to Vayrynen, Arena also confirmed that the club is expecting to keep Maganto who was drafted with the 21st selection of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
The news comes after Arena told reporters on Monday that the team will be adding Edson Buddle before the start of the season. On Thursday, Arena said the paperwork was in and the official announcement on Buddle's status was coming soon.
Training Notebook: Edson Buddle expected to be contribute in 2015; Robbie Keane hopes StubHub Center remains a fortress
It's no secret that Edson Buddle will be joining the LA Galaxy, but LA boss Bruce Arena expects the veteran forward to contribute in the upcoming season.
Arena revealed on Monday that the Galaxy will be signing the forward before the end of week after a successful preseason training stint with the club. Buddle will look to return to form with the Galaxy after two difficult seasons with the Colorado Rapids, but despite his difficulties with the Rapids, Arena has full confidence in Buddle to perform in 2015.
"He's an experienced forward. He's scored 100 goals in this league and there's no reason to believe that he can't score a few more," he said. "He's a good experienced forward. He can hold the ball up, he's hard to play against. He's going to play a role for us this year. We're going to have a lot of games this year and it's going to help having an experienced forward on the field."
THE GALAXY WANT TO MAKE STUBHUB CENTER A FORTRESS
The LA Galaxy had a nearly unblemished record at StubHub Center in 2015, and if the club is to repeat as MLS Cup champions, the belief is that they must continue to dominate at home.
A year ago, the Galaxy went a stunning 15-1-4 at home in all MLS competitions with their lone loss came in club's season opener way back on March 8, 2014. As the Galaxy prepare for the upcoming season, team captain Robbie Keane believes that staying perfect at home is key for LA's hopes of another title.
"We need to continue to do the same [thing we did last year]," said Robbie Keane. "We need to make sure that this place is difficult for players and teams to come. We want them to not enjoy coming here and know that it'll be a difficult game when you play against the LA Galaxy."
BRUCE ARENA: LA GALAXY AREN'T "DEFENDING" ANYTHING IN 2015
The LA Galaxy will enter the 2015 season as the defending champions of Major League Soccer, but Galaxy boss Bruce Arena has a qualm with the use of the word "defending."
"We're not defending anything," said Arena. "Its' a new season. We're trying to win a championship, we're not defending one."