CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy came into the 2014 campaign eager to learn from the failures of a year ago, and they’ll get their first opportunity to right the wrongs of 2013 when they kick off their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Club Tijuana on Wednesday.
The two biggest letdowns of 2013 saw the LA Galaxy falter in two-leg series falling to C.F. Monterrey in the CCL Semifinals and Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. Despite being played months apart, both series featured similar problems for the Galaxy as the team was unable to convert a number of scoring opportunities in the home leg before crashing out away from StubHub Center.
To correct these issues, the Galaxy invested heavily in experienced players during the offseason in hopes of turning the club’s fortunes around. A strategy that the team is hoping will pay off come Wednesday evening against Club Tijuana.
“We have to learn our lessons from previous games,” said defender Todd Dunivant, who is expecting to be available for Wednesday’s match after dealing with a nagging injury. “When you talk about previous games, you look at the Monterrey home leg, where we were dominating that game for 80 minutes and feeling confident that we could get another goal or another two goals but we lost our shape and when you do that against good teams it’s going to hurt you. We have to be smart.
“This year, this team has brought in more experienced players with guys like Rob Friend, Stefan Ishizaki that have been in big games and won championships in other countries,” Dunivant added. “There’s definitely a different mood around our clubhouse.”
And the first lesson that the Galaxy must learn? Finish their chances at home.
“In both of those games, we played very well, but we didn't finish our chances and it gets magnified in these series,” said Landon Donovan. “In a series like this, every goal is important. In both of those games, we played well at home, but we couldn’t finish our chances. We just have to be better in front of goal. It’s as simple as that.”
CARSON, Calif. – Mexican teams have long ruled CONCACAF Champions League, but does that make Club Tijuana favorites against the LA Galaxy in this CCL Quarterfinals? Well, it’s not that simple says Club Tijuana forward Herculez Gomez.
In an interview with LAGalaxy.com, Gomez, a former member of the Galaxy, was asked whether Mexican team's 45-19-14 all-time record against MLS teams made Xolos favorites, the U.S. international disagreed, instead stating that LA have the advantage over their Mexican opponents.
“Look if we’re being honest, their salary cap, I don’t even call it a Salary cap. Their player personnel on paper probably outspend ours. We know that it’s going to be a test, but we’re excited,” Gomez told LAGalaxy.com. “We don’t have that huge marquee international player coming in. But we’ve got guys who have worked and stuck to their guns, and made a career out of what they do. In a brief time, they’ve done a lot.”
The response from his Galaxy opponents was pointed as they dismissed the claims of the U.S. international.
“It doesn’t really matter, but I would say as a general statement that the team with the higher payroll is probably the team that’s favored. All these Mexican teams pay their players a lot more money than we do as a whole,” said Donovan. “That’s something that we have to deal with, it’s a disadvantage for us in a lot of ways, but we still compete well and still expect to give them a good series.”
“I usually don’t listen to anything that Herculez Gomez says. He is just full of hot air,” said a smiling Omar Gonzalez. “They can feel whatever they want. I think that they’re a really good team. We won’t underestimate them. They have a lot of quality and a lot of players that don’t want to lose to us. It’s going to be an even match and our second game of the year, so I’m sure that it’ll be a great game. There’s a lot of respect there and I look forward to it.”
Check out the video below.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s comments from the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
(On his general thoughts from the game…)
ARENA: “Obviously a disappointing result, but I thought that it was a good game between two good teams. They made the most of their opportunities but we had a couple of good chances as well. I think Rimando was outstanding and certainly saving the penalty in extra time was outstanding and the play of the game. We could have got a goal or two tonight, but I think that both teams played pretty well.”
ARENA: “Samuel had a good night, I thought. His first game in the league and I thought that he worked really hard. I was surprised that he went as long as he did and was as strong as he was on the evening. I’m encouraged by his effort.”
(On James Riley’s play…)
ARENA: “James played well. He’s a good player; we discovered that early in camp. He’s going to be a valuable member of our team this year.”
(On whether the team wasted chances like they did in 2013…)
ARENA: “It was a 1-0 game. They had some good chances, but we did as well. We didn’t finish any of our chances and with the penalty at the end of the game, what more can you say? Those are wasted chances. We should have gotten at least a point out of this game.”
(On Penedo’s play…)
ARENA: “Jaime played well. The two goalkeepers were outstanding tonight.”
(On what the Galaxy did well…)
ARENA: “For the most part, we defended pretty well. At times, our passing was quick and sharp but at other times, it was not. In the first half… there were good chances and there was good ball movement and for the most part, the play was pretty solid. You could see at the end of the game that a couple of our players hit the wall and that we needed to have more energy.”
LA Galaxy's Bruce Arena and James Riley weigh in on MLS opening up the season with replacement referees
CARSON, Calif. – MLS will begin the 2014 MLS Regular Season without its usual referee crews as replacements will be taking over the officiating duties for opening weekend.
On Friday, the Professional Referee Organization announced that it will lock out its officials after the Professional Soccer Referees Association had rejected a no strike/no lockout agreement. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two sides for several months as they seek to reach their first Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, like all other teams playing in opening weekend, will be affected as they saw their referee assignment changed from 2012 MLS Referee of the Year Silviu Petrescu to veteran CONCACAF official Javier Santos. A member of FIFA Puerto Rico, the Colombian official was an official during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2013 CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying tournament in Mexico. Santos has also gained substantial experience in the CONCACAF Champions League in the last three years, officiating over eight CONCACAF Champions League matches and even served as the fourth official for LA’s 4-0 loss to Isidro Metapán in CCL group play last year.
Although the men in the yellow shirts will be different, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena believes that his team and the rest of the clubs in MLS are prepared for the replacement officials.
“We’ve been aware of it. The referee is going to be the same for both teams. Hopefully they’re all prepared to do their job and we get on with it,” said Arena. “In all fairness, players have to adjust more than the referee. The referee is going to have a style of play and he’s not going to be fully informed on the qualities of MLS. He’s going to referee the way that he’s always refereed and we’re going to have to adjust quickly.”
Veteran defender James Riley, who is expected to start on the left side of defense on Saturday, agrees.
“We just have to control what we can control and not worry about who is assigned to the game, but just go out and do what we can do,” said Riley. “The cadence and rhythm are a bit different. He may call things a bit differently, but I’m sure that he’ll get direction on how the game should be called and he’ll use his ability to do so. We won’t think too much about it and just hope that there is a speedy resolution.
“I think the referees overall do a fantastic job and that’s a very difficult position,” Riley continued. “They’ve been criticized a lot over the years since I’ve been in the league. We know that they’re an integral part of this game and we want it to get better. We want the overall product both on and off the field to get better and they have a significant role in that. We as players support a quick resolution, but the season is going to go on and that’s the reality of it.”
It's MLS preview season and the latest of interest is this funny -- and informative -- exchange between Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman for their "Big Head Red Head" feature on ESPNFC.com.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena’s preseason roster was trimmed by one on Tuesday as the LA Galaxy head coach and general manager told LA Galaxy Insider that the team has released trialist Matheau Hall from training camp.
The 26-year-old right back appeared in each of the Galaxy’s five preseason games to date, but despite possessing blistering speed, he failed to make a lasting impact in matches. With Hall exiting camp, just 31-year-old veterans James Riley and Dan Gargan remain to fight for the reserve role behind incumbent right back A.J. DeLaGarza.
At the moment, Riley appears to be the forerunner for the position due to a pair of solid starts against Pumas UNAM and the San Jose Earthquakes. Gargan’s last appearance for LA was a 45 minute second half shift in Mexico, but the 31-year-old missed out on the Galaxy’s clash with San Jose due to injury.
Even though Riley has excelled in recent weeks, the industrious defender knows that the position is not his quite yet.
“My mindset is that you try to earn your spot day by day,” said Riley. “My versatility throughout the back and my experience speaks for itself. I just want to emulate that every single day. For me, I like the role of the underdog so I’m always pushing and pressing. I’ll stay in that role until I put pen to paper.”
FRESNO, Calif. – The LA Galaxy took home the inaugural Central California Cup with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, but will their trip to Fresno become a yearly visit?
Fueled by goals by Marcelo Sarvas and Gyasi Zardes, the Galaxy held off their archrivals to earn their first silverware of the season. Following the game that saw 12,659 fans fill a sold-out Chukchansi Park in Downtown Fresno, Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena admitted that he was quite taken by the atmosphere created by the raucous crowd.
“I’m sure that we’ll be talking to the promoters of the game tonight and see if there is a possibility of returning in the future,” said Arena after the match which was the Galaxy's first game in Fresno since 2007.
Galaxy club president Chris Klein was similarly impressed by the facilities that hosted both the first team match on Saturday and the inaugural game for LA Galaxy II on Thursday. Klein even went as far to praise the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino which hosted both Galaxy squads.
“To be hosted by the city of Fresno and the Fresno Fuego has been nice for us. It fits nicely into our preseason,” said Klein. “[The team] enjoyed it. The players enjoy getting up here and being able to bond a little bit, they went to the Casino a little bit and they’ve enjoyed themselves.”
It wasn’t just the Galaxy brass who was impressed as U.S. National Team regulars Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez were wowed by the Fresno faithful.
"I was really impressed with the crowd,” said Donovan. “I thought it was great and there's no reason why we shouldn't come back here again."
Gonzalez went a bit further even stating that he hoped LA returned next year.
"The fans came out tonight and hopefully we will be back again next year…and hopefully we can keep the Cup," said the Galaxy defender.
Do you think the Galaxy will return next year? Hoping to make the trip if they do?
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LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez and Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley were guests on Monday on ABC's famed morning show Good Morning America.
During the interview, Gonzalez and Bradley each touched on the expectations for their respective club teams this season and the goals of the U.S. National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Gonzalez is joined in New York by fellow LA teammate Landon Donovan as part of the league's Media and Marketing tour. As the tour continues, Gonzalez will be appearing on Fox Sports 1's "Crowd Goes Wild" with Regis Philbin at 5 pm ET. while Donovan will be appearing alongside Bradley on MSNBC morning talk show "Cup of Joe" with Joe Scarborough at 7:50 am ET.
Check out Gonzalez's GMA appearance below.
— Omar Gonzalez (@Omar4Gonzalez) February 17, 2014
Central California Cup match between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes drawing publicity in Fresno
The LA Galaxy may have just returned from Mexico City, but the focus is already turning to Saturday’s clash with the San Jose Earthquakes in the first-ever Central California Cup.
On Wednesday, myself and the rest of the LAGalaxy.com headed up the state ahead of Thursday’s match between LA Galaxy II and the Fresno Fuego, which will serve as the inaugural match for the USL PRO side. Just two days later, the Galaxy first team will make the same trek to face the Earthquakes.
Tickets for the Central California Cup are already going quickly with more than 8,000 tickets sold for the match at the 12,500-seat Chukchansi Park according to KFSN-Fresno.
Planning to head up to Fresno? Love that the video appears to have Galaxy clips from 2010?
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On Saturday, the Jurgen Klinsmann coached U.S. National Team will take on Hong Myung-Bo's Korea Republic at StubHub Center, but it is not the first meeting between the two international legends.
Klinsmann and Myung-Bo faced off was on June 24, 1994 when Klinsman's Germany defeated Korea Republic 3-2 at the group stage match at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. In the match, Klinsmann tallied two goals -- beating the former Galaxy defender twice -- to lead Germany to an early three goal lead before Korea Republic roared back with two late goals, Myung-Bo tallying the final strike in the German victory.
Watch the video below.