CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy begin their 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs campaign on Saturday evening against Real Salt Lake and if LA will advance past the club that eliminated them a year ago, they’ll need to shutdown RSL’s dynamic attacker Joao Plata.
The speedy and diminutive Ecuadorian led the charge for head coach Jeff Cassar’s side throughout the 2014 season with 13 goals and six assists. In three games against the Galaxy this year, Plata notched a goal and an assist including a goal in RSL’s win over LA in the season opener.
“Plata has been an All-Star quality player this entire season. He’s been scoring goals for club and country and he’s a very dangerous player,” said defender A.J. DeLaGarza. “He’s fast and an incredibly player who is only helped by the influence of Saborio. They create a real threat.”
If the LA can slow down Plata, DeLaGarza believes that the Galaxy will be able to get revenge on RSL for their 2013 playoff exit.
“This year we have home-field advantage, but we’ll see if that means anything,” said DeLaGarza. “It’ll be a great match-up. It’s two teams that really like to play and it’ll be a good challenge for us.”
CARSON, Calif. -- On the date that MLS officially disbanded Chivas USA, the LA Galaxy went along with business as usual.
There was no talk of the fact the Rojiblancos had been officially disbanded earlier that morning or that they will be replaced by a new team at a new location in the greater Los Angeles area in two years’ time. The Galaxy simply went about the task of preparing for their Western Conference Semifinal first leg with Real Salt Lake – who entered the league in 2005 alongside Chivas – on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“The decision to sell Chivas and rebrand it and bring it back in the marketplace can only be a positive,” said Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said of the Chivas USA news. “I’m sure that it will make for an exciting time in the Los Angeles soccer market.”
While the yet unnamed second Los Angeles MLS team will return in 2017, most players who suited up for Chivas USA will be distributed across MLS in a dispersal draft that will take place in December. The only possible exceptions for the draft may be forwards Erick “Cubo” Torres and Felix Borja who may find new teams through other means according to a league conference call on Monday afternoon.
As the players prepare for the dispersal draft, Galaxy right back and longtime leadership member of the MLS Players Union James Riley said that he trusted the league and the union to assure a seamless transition for those affected.
“It’s unfortunate news and I want to thank the fans for supporting the team and I still have a lot of good friends on that team,” said Riley who admitted that he wasn’t surprised by the announcement. “We just hope that the process goes smoothly and the players are taken care of and given options to play elsewhere. Obviously, the players union and the league will do their due diligence in making sure that the process goes smoothly for those players.”
But although the sentimentality of losing the Rojiblancos as a rival was felt, the Galaxy were focused on the ways that Monday’s announcement will affect them in the immediate future. With Chivas USA exiting the league, MLS revealed the realignment of the new 20-team league that will feature Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo moving west while expansion sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC join the Eastern Conference.
"As if the Western Conference wasn't tough enough already," chuckled defender A.J. DeLaGarza upon learning that the last five MLS Cup winners will be in the new Western Conference.
But even amid the loss of a rival and the introduction to a pair of new teams in the Western Conference, DeLaGarza said that the loss of the Rojiblancos will only help the Galaxy truly make the StubHub Center their true home.
"It'll be weird not playing Chivas USA because we looked forward to that rivalry. But now we get to have our own stadium and we can do things for us with our $15 million dollar investment in the stadium. We’ll have a chance to upgrade the facilities for the entire club.”
We have a kick off time and television information for the LA Galaxy's Western Conference semifinals first leg match against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
The Galaxy will take on RSL on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT with the game airing on NBC Sports Network according to the Salt Lake Tribune's Chris Kamrani who reported the news on Sunday.
RSL and the L.A. Galaxy will kick off Leg 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at 6 p.m. Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium on @NBCSN.
— Chris Kamrani (@chriskamrani) October 26, 2014
SEATTLE -- The LA Galaxy will start the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs at the exact location where their postseason run ended 12 months earlier.
With FC Dallas' 2-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake clinched the third seed in the Western Conference and a date with the Galaxy on Nov. 1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. As the second seed, the Galaxy will host RSL in the return leg on Nov. 9 at StubHub Center. The times of both games have yet to be determined. The Galaxy went 1-1-1 against RSL this season with the lone draw coming at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 22.
LA have faced Real Salt Lake three times in the postseason in the past five years with RSL winning MLS Cup 2009 as well as the West Semifinals a year ago while the Galaxy booked their ticket to MLS Cup 2011 by defeating RSL in the 2011 Western Conference Final.
Thoughts on the draw?
Share them below.
SEATTLE -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters following the team's 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC.
On the game:
"I thought it was a good game. We were a little unlucky and we at least should have come out with a point."
On Robbie Keane:
"He had a few nagging injuries and we thought it was best to keep him out so he would be ready for playoffs. We also have to be careful with players on this field. This field is not perfect for a player that's not 100%."
On the amount of fouls called:
"The referee called more fouls this week than last week. He could have called 40 fouls last week on Seattle. The referee lost it a bit at the end. I would say the foul was on Marcelo Sarvas because he didn't notice that they didn't set the ball properly."
On having more possession:
"Yes, we controlled the game but we needed to be more dangerous in the last third of the field. They kept a lot of players back with us and played it pretty safe. We weren't able to create enough chances."
On Landon Donovan:
"Landon played better today than he did last week. He drew an important free kick in the beginning of the second half and had a few more chances. I think he could have been more aggressive looking for his shot. "
On the midfield:
"I thought Gyasi Zardes was a bit of a threat most of the game. I thought Stefan Ishizaki did well. Our whole midfield played well. Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas were also very good."
On the defense:
"The backline was excellent today. Did Seattle even get a chance in the game besides the mess at the end? We played pretty well."
On the final goal:
“Jaime Penedo needs to be quicker getting the ball out. Maybe he was fouled. The referee I think lost it a little bit at the end of the game. He must have been tired, too."
On preference of opponent next match:
"It doesn't matter who we play. We don't play those little games of payback. We play to try and win a championship."
For their must-win match on Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC, the LA Galaxy are intending to go back to black.
LA will wear their alternate third kits for Saturday's clash at CenturyLink Field in a fashion repeat of the team's jersey choice during their 3-0 win over Seattle back in July. Since introducing the jerseys during the 2013 campaign, the Galaxy have enjoyed immense success with a 5-0-1 record in the 1996-inspired uniforms. Donning the kit also typically means goals for the Galaxy as the team has scored an impressive 19 times in the jerseys while conceding just three times.
But no one has enjoyed more success in the alternate uniforms than Robbie Keane who has tallied eight of the Galaxy's 19 goals in the jerseys.
It was the day that Edson Buddle truly lived up to his famous namesake.
LAGalaxy.com took a look back at Buddle's stunning strike in the 2010 Western Conference Semifinal on the club's social channels as part of a "Throwback Thursday" post. The goal itself -- which is my favorite Galaxy goal in club history -- came in the 38th minute of the club's 1-0 victory over Seattle on Halloween night in the 2010 Western Conference Semifinal. LA eventually went on to win the two-leg series 3-1 on aggregate, but according to former Sounder turned Galaxy defender James Riley, the goal was one of the key moments in the rivalry between the two clubs.
"This has always been a series between two of the best teams in MLS but the play that I remember most from the rivary was Edson Buddle’s trap, chest and volley from a place that you wouldn’t think that anyone would shoot from," said Riley. "Then we were just standing around thinking, ‘did that really just happen?’"
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy head to CenturyLink Field on Saturday to take on Seattle Sounders FC needing a win to keep their Supporters' Shield dreams alive and LA captain Robbie Keane is bullish that they can accomplish that very goal.
LA have had plenty of success in Seattle since the Sounders entered MLS in 2009, boasting an impressive 4-3-2 record in all MLS competitions. Keane has been at the forefront of much of that success with two goals in all competitions against the Sounders including a lovely finish that helped LA earn a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field last October.
"It’s a tough place to go, but there’s no reason why we can’t go there and win," Keane said on Thursday. "No pressure on us. It’s theirs to lose. I would say to the players go out and enjoy yourself. As players it’s a normal game. It’s theirs to throw away. The pressure’s on them."
A win will not only assure that the Galaxy win their fifth Supporters' Shield in club history -- a league record -- but also clinch home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs including the final.
With so much on the line, Keane says the mission is simple:,"Make no mistake, we’re going to Seattle to win the game. No question about that.
"The pressure’s on them. They have the points and the wins already. Are you going to go and sit back? I don’t think they have that kind of team really," added Keane. "It will be interesting to see how they play. We know we have to go and play. I think we’re better suited when we know that’s the case. I think the pressure’s 100 percent on them.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy announced that the club has signed defender A.J. DeLaGarza to a multi-year deal on Wednesday.
DeLaGarza, 26, told reporters on Wednesday that his new deal will keep him with the Galaxy for the next four years. In 2014, the versatile defender has enjoyed yet another strong season that has included him winning the team's Defender of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year honors.
"There's no other place that I'd rather be," DeLaGarza said bluntly after training on Wednesday.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy's chase for the Supporters' Shield will come down to the final day when they travel to face Seattle Sounders FC.
While a Supporters' Shield chase going down to the final match may seem like a rarity in MLS, it has actually taken place five other times throughout the course of league history. In the last instance that involved the Galaxy surrounded their 2010 side that clinched the shield with 59 points over Real Salt Lake after a victory over FC Dallas in the season's final day.
Below are a series of instances when the league's regular season title was decided on the final day.
2013: New York Red Bulls (59pts) over Sporting Kansas City (58pts), Portland Timbers (57pts), Real Salt Lake (56pts)
Red Bulls win against Fire to clinch
2010: LA Galaxy (59pts) over Real Salt Lake (58pts)
Galaxy defeat FC Dallas to clinch shield
2004: Columbus Crew (49pts) over Kansas City Wizards (49pts)
Crew tie vs. Colorado Rapids to clinch Shield on goals scored tiebreaker
2001: Miami Fusion (53pts) over Chicago Fire(53pts)
Fusion defeat D.C. United to overtake Chicago, who drew. Clinch Shield due two wins over Fire on head-to-head tiebreaker
2000: Kansas City Wizards (57pts) over Chicago Fire (57pts), New York/New Jersey MetroStars (54pts)
Wizards draw Tampa Bay Mutiny to clinch Shield on goal differential tiebreaker