CARSON, Calif. — Omar Gonzalez found the back of the net for the first time in 2014 during Friday’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, but the LA Galaxy center back was smiling after the result.
Despite a comprehensive performance against their archrivals, the Galaxy were forced to battle back from a pair of deficits after a pair of quick transition goals by San Jose. During both San Jose tallies, Gonzalez—and the rest of the Galaxy defense— were caught out of position as the Earthquakes notched a pair of counterattack goals.
“[It was] not one of his better games,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena of Gonzalez’s performance after the draw. “I think he could’ve defended a little bit better on the two goals, but they obviously weren’t too dangerous going forward and somehow we managed to concede two goals. That’s the story line.”
Gonzalez redeemed himself in the 49th minute when he broke free of Atiba Harris on a corner kick and placed a Stefan Ishizaki effort off the pitch and into the bottom corner of the Earthquakes net. Set piece finishes have become a specialty of Gonzalez, who has drawn considerable pressure from opposing defenses since his memorable tally in the 2012 MLS Cup final.
“I finally got my goal,” said Gonzalez. “When players don’t hold on to me [on set pieces], I can find the ball, so I’m happy that I could get open, and get my head on the ball.”
Even though he broke free against San Jose, Gonzalez doesn’t expect to be as open in the future.
“I definitely expect the [defenders] to be holding me. That’s the way it is,” said Gonzalez. “My job is to make the run, and it’s up to the referee to see that. I will just keep on doing that, and I’m sure I will keep getting held.”
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
The LA Galaxy midfielder announced via his personal Facebook page on Thursday morning that he’ll be retiring from the sport of soccer at the end of the 2014 MLS season. The all-time leading goal scorer for MLS and the U.S. National Team, Donovan has four goals and seven assists this season.
Donovan is expected to speak at a press conference at StubHub Center on Thursday.
CARSON, Calif. – Todd Dunivant returned to the LA Galaxy game day roster on Saturday after a lengthy injury spell and now the veteran left back is continue his recovery by appearing in a match for LA Galaxy II.
In an interview with LAGalaxy.com’s Larry Morgan, Dunivant states that he’s expecting to suit up for Los Dos on Saturday when they take on Arizona United SC at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium. If Dunivant does play, it’ll be his first action since he suffered an abdominal tear during LA’s April 6 match with Chivas USA.
Following Galaxy II’s training session on Monday, Los Dos head coach Curt Onalfo stated that all signs point to Dunivant suiting up against Arizona.
“We just have to see how the week progresses, but he could certainly be a guy that we could give minutes to as he continues to progress from injury,” said Onalfo. “As long as he’s healthy then he’s going to get minutes.”
With the MLS All-Stars taking on Bayern Munich tomorrow at Portland's Providence Park, it's important to take a moment to reflect on some great moments of MLS All-Star lore.
In 2001, 19-year-old Landon Donovan was awarded the game's MVP award after scoring four goals to help lead the Western Conference to an exciting 6-6 draw against the Eastern Conference in the 2001 edition of the midseason spectacle. The highlight of the match, however, wasn't any of Donovan's goals, but rather his celebration on his fourth and final strike when he stripped off his jersey to reveal an sports bra that he donned as an homage to U.S. women's soccer great Brandi Chastain, who famously removed her kit to celebrate the USWNT's win over China at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Now in his 14th All-Star Game, Donovan has seen the game evolve from an event where such levity was common-place to a match with meaningful implications.
"I've seen it go from a very casual, very friendly game to a very exciting, very meaningful, very real game," Donovan told reporters on Tuesday. "For us, it's better because if you're just going to go through the motions, you might as well stay home.
"We understand that it's not a game where we just go out and mess around and don't prepare well," he added. "I think we've learned over the years that the times that we do things right and we work hard and we defend and we play the game like a real game, we get good results and when we don't then we can get beat."
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez may not be taking part in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, but there will be an LA Galaxy player available when the All-Stars take on Bayern Munich at Portland's Providence Park -- Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy announced late last week that Keane and Gonzalez would miss out on the event due to the team's clash with their archrival San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, but Donovan -- who went 90 minutes in LA's 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday -- remained on the squad. Although Donovan will be available for the match against his former club, he expects to see limited minutes for the All-Stars.
"In the end, I don't get to make that decision [about staying behind]. I'm happy to go and I'm excited to go. I've already spoken with [MLS All-Star head coach Caleb Porter] and I won't be playing a lot, and that's okay. I understand because there has been other All-Star Games where I haven't been able to play. It's good for [our] guys to rest and it'll be fine because I'll be ready for Friday."
While Donovan will see, at least, some time in the league's showpiece event, Keane and Gonzalez will remain behind in Southern California and prepare for Friday's match against the Earthquakes. While missing out on the All-Star Game was a tad frustrating for the Galaxy's Irish captain, he sent well wishes to the league's best as they prepare to take on Bayern.
"I'm happy that I was selected, but first and foremost my priority is the Galaxy and we have an important game on Friday," said Keane. "I wish the All-Stars well and I'm sorry that I couldn't be there, but I'll be watching on TV."
CARSON, Calif. -- Red hot LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes is traveling to Portland for Monday's Chipotle Homegrown Game, but don't expect the forward to play a role for the MLS Homegrowns against the Portland Timbers U-23 team.
Zardes was selected for Monday's event along with fellow Galaxy HGP Bradford Jamieson IV, but after Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Timbers, the 22-year-old striker admitted that with the Galaxy playing the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, he's expecting to see limited action -- at most -- in the Homegrown Game.
"I'm going to play it by ear, but I highly doubt [I'll play]," said Zardes who landed in Portland on Sunday. "But I'm the guy that if they tell me to do something then I'll do it."
Keeping Zardes off the field in the Homegrown match is certainly advantageous to the Galaxy as the second-year forward is currently on a torrid scoring run that has seen him tally seven goals in his last eight games. Although he's already enjoying a career season with eight goals and one assist, the 22-year-old forward is trying his best to stay grounded.
"Now that [the game against Portland] is over, I don't look back. I'm not going to fantazise about all the goals that I've scored," said Zardes. "The next game [that I play] when I'm in that moment, I'm thinking [I have] zero goals. I have to prove myself."
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 2, 2014
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to reporters following the team's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers.
Check his thoughts below.
(On the team’s performance in the win….)
ARENA: “It wasn’t similar to the other day. We fell behind a goal. It’s good for our team to be in a hard game against a good team. We prevailed, obviously. The goal at the end of the first half was big. Second half, they came at us with a little bit more energy and created a couple of chances. Obviously, the Keane goal was the difference. But I thought overall it was a good 90 minutes for our team. We were sloppy at times in the first half. We could have been a little bit cleaner. Technically, in and around the goal area, we could have create another goal or two, but overall it was a good performance. We are on a good run, and hopefully we keep getting better.”
(On success of Gyasi Zardes…)
ARENA: “He’s doing well. Big goal obviously. A lot of little things, he’s getting better. He’s running off the ball better .He’s holding the ball better. He’s passing better. Everything’s improved and I think playing next to Robbie [Keane] is important. Robbie’s doing a good job helping him move along .Landon [Donovan] had another good effort tonight. Backline performed well.”
(On Robbie Rogers playing left back…)
ARENA: “I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him. But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”
(On coming back from behind to win…)
ARENA: “I think anytime you win a game when you are trailing is important. It shows character. The goal came against run of play. [Stefan] Ishizaki got his head onto the ball and deflected it. Then end up getting a goal. Probably their only shot of the first half. It was a little bit against run of play.”
(On the team’s performance so far this season…)
ARENA: “We are, what, second place now in the Western Conference, against teams that have a couple games in hand on us. We have the best defensive record in the league. We are probably in the top three or four in attacking categories. We are getting healthier. I give the team a B plus. [For] the coach [i give] a C-minus goes with my grade point average in college.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday in a brunch time 11:30 a.m. PT match.
In the latest edition of "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's success against Portland at home.
Check it out below.
SEATTLE – Robbie Rogers has been searching for a position to call home with the LA Galaxy after a vagabond first season with the club, but it appears that the defender has, at last, found his place at left back.
Back for the first time since early-July after overcoming an ankle injury, Rogers provided needed width along the left side of the defense while also aiding the Galaxy attack with piercing runs forward. After playing his sixth match across all competitions along the left side of defense, Rogers went as far to admit that he feels as though he has become a full-fledged left back.
“It felt great, especially the first half. My ankle still feels sore, so I didn’t know if I was going to be ready to play, but I’ve played through injuries and I really wanted to play in this one,” Rogers told LA Galaxy Insider. “I really wanted to play in the Kansas City game, but I wasn’t ready and I tried to train and be ready for that but I’ve really enjoyed playing left back and right back when I played against Chicago.
“I feel more comfortable [at the [position] the more games I play,” he added. “I was happy to participate and contribute, but I still think that I can improve a lot more.
In arguably his best performance along the flank, Rogers worked well with midfielder Landon Donovan to shut down the Sounders right sided attackers while also making overlapping runs that pinned Seattle back in their own end. Following the match, Rogers’ stat sheet was indicative of his efforts as he finished the game with an impressive stat line that included seven interceptions and seven recoveries.
Rogers’ quick ability to adapt to his new defensive role has led some to compare him to DaMarcus Beasley, another former midfielder who extended his career several years by making the move to the back line.
Quite familiar with Beasley’s game due to their time on the U.S. national team, Rogers admits that the move may look similar to the new Houston Dynamo Designated Player’s change on the surface, but he shrugged of any comparisons.
“DaMarcus and I are just different. Even when we played left wing we were different,” said Rogers. “Even though they are the same position, I wouldn't compare the way that we play. I don’t think that the way that we play is similar.”
SEATTLE— It had been quite some time since Omar Gonzalez donned the LA Galaxy uniform, but the center back made sure that his first stint for LA since May was a successful one as he helped the Galaxy keep a clean sheet in a 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.
In his first appearance back, Gonzalez and center back partner A.J. DeLaGarza were rarely tested as the Galaxy sought to maintain possession and press the Sounders early. When Seattle did push forward, outside backs Robbie Rogers and Dan Gargan limited the Sounders’ service in wide position allowing Gonzalez and DeLaGarza to focus solely on containing the likes of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
It’s been maybe like three months since I’ve worn the Galaxy jersey and been out there with my teammates and so coming out here tonight in beautiful Seattle, in front of so many fans, was just a great feeling. Specifically getting three points and doing it in the fashion that we did was just amazing,” Gonzalez said. “[Getting the shutout] meant everything to us. There were a couple of times when even Robbie [Keane] and Landon [Donovan] were saying [to the team] ‘we don’t give up a goal.’
“And that just goes to show how committed we were to really making a statement and showing that this is the second half of the season and we’re ready. And even though we were up 3-0, but we didn’t want to give any goals.”
Despite all the optimistic surrounding the victory, Gonzalez insisted that the Galaxy back four still had plenty of work left to accomplish if they’re to make a push for the Supporters’ Shield during the stretch run.
“I think we still need a little bit of work, going forward I think there are some things that we need to work on but tonight I thought we did well,” said Gonzalez. “Seattle didn’t have much going [forward]; I don’t think they got a shot [on goal] until maybe the 70th minute or something, so if we can keep on doing that, we’re going to be in a good spot.”