CARSON, Calif. – Brazilian center back Leonardo is no strange to scorn from LA Galaxy fans, but in 2014, the defender made major strides that may see him start 2015 as the principal partner beside Omar Gonzalez.
Free of the injury issues that plagued him during his first four seasons with the club, Leonardo became a regular in Bruce Arena’s lineup as the Brazilian made 24 appearances and 20 starts—each of which were career-highs. Leonardo also added a goal which was his first tally since the 2011 campaign.
Although Leonardo struggled at times—LA’s CONCACAF Champions League second leg against Club Tijuana was a particularly difficult game—the Brazilian defender showed steady improvement over the course of the season. During the last three months of the team’s campaign in particular, Leonardo blossomed into one of the team’s finest defenders as his physicality and passing ability were vital to LA’s postseason campaign. In addition to his ability to shut down opposing offenses, Leonardo also developed a tendency to push forward into the attack to give the team numbers on set pieces.
Next season, the onus will be on the frequently maligned central defender to stake a claim as Bruce Arena’s primary option alongside Omar Gonzalez in the middle of the back four. To do so, he must continue to be the steady defender of the final months of the season and minimize the mistakes that were apparent at the start of the season.
How would you rate Leonardo’s 2014 season? Read my review of the defenders on LAGalaxy.com and rate his season in the poll and comment section below.
CARSON, Calif. – From the last player signed at preseason to a valuable member of a team in the midst of a run to MLS Cup, Dan Gargan’s 2014 season certainly went better than any expected.
In 2014, Gargan set career-highs in appearances (29), starts (27) minutes played (2400), and assists (five) after being signed on Bruce Arena’s final addition after preseason. Gargan was also a regular during the postseason as he appeared in all five of the Galaxy’s matches, including coming on as a substitute during the extra time of LA’s MLS Cup victory.
During LA’s run to their fifth MLS Cup title, Gargan was a fixture along the right side of defense—while also occasionally filling in at left back—providing steady defense while also using his speed down the flank to aid in the Galaxy counterattack. But what Gargan does for an encore next season remains to be seen.
In MLS, outside back depth is always an asset and with players like Todd Dunivant another year older, Gargan will have every opportunity to fill along both sides of the flank. However much of where Gargan plays relies on the makeup of the back line: if Arena opts for a center back tandem that includes A.J. DeLaGarza at center back, Gargan will likely have more opportunities to play, but if the LA Galaxy defender of the year is moved out wide, the 32-year-old will likely be used as a depth option.
How would you rate Dan Gargan’s 2014 campaign. Read my review of the Galaxy's defenders while also voting and commenting in the section below.
Retired LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan received a lifetime achievement award from Univision during their Premios Unvision Deportes which aired on Thursday night.
A visibly emotional Donovan was presented the award by MLS commissioner Don Garber while presenters Ivan Kasanzew and Enrique “Perro” Bermudez showed Donovan a video of fans from across the country thanking him for his soccer exploits. The MLS and U.S. Soccer scoring leader then went on to give a speech in which he thanked several including the kids that he grew up playing soccer with who helped inspire him to learn Spanish.
Although the video is entirely in Spanish, it's worth a watch given how emotional Donovan became at receiving such a distinct honor.
Check it out above.
His option declined by the LA Galaxy, James Riley heavily leaning toward retirement after 10 year career
HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. – After winning the first MLS Cup title of his 10-year MLS career and having his option declined days later, LA Galaxy defender James Riley is leaning toward retirement.
Reports have already stated that Riley is leaning toward retirement and sources close to the situation confirm the report to LA Galaxy Insider. Riley made just four appearances for the Galaxy in 2014 after suffering a meniscus injury in March.
Following the club’s championship rally at the Hermosa Beach Pier last week, Riley admitted to reporters that he doesn’t “want to chase it anymore” especially if he’s not on the Galaxy next season.
“I'm 32; if I have to pack up and move all the way across country and continue to chase it and try to almost replicate what we have here, I don't want to do that,” Riley said. “Bruce [Arena] was fantastic in my exit interview, said, 'Yeah, we value you, but we have to see what happens,' and I said no problem. Obviously, they know what I contribute on the field and off the field, so it's one of those things where if it's not here then it's going to be tough for me to go to a different place.”
After his option was declined, Riley was made eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft which concludes on Thursday with stage two of the process. If Riley is not selected, he will officially become eligible to move onto any team. The 32-year-old refused to reveal that he will not take part in LA’s preseason next year, but noted that any decision remains up in the air at this point.
“We're deep in the outside-back position, to be honest with you,” Riley who previous spent time with New England, San Jose, Seattle, Chivas USA and D.C. United before joining the Galaxy in January. “Todd [Dunivant] and Robbie [Rogers] on the left, and Gargs [Dan Gargan] and A.J. [DeLaGarza], who can play on the right. And [Oscar] Sorto's a great young player, great young man, great kid.
“I've always wanted to leave on my terms and not force anything and not kind of just be pushed to the side. It's time to reflect on the game and all the relationships I've formed, what it's provided me.”
After enduring a year of heartbreak and failure for both club and country, Jaime Penedo finally got over the hump and ended the 2014 campaign with a championship.
Brought in as a savior for the LA Galaxy’s goalkeeping situation midway through the 2013 campaign, Penedo suffered a pair of setbacks in successive fashion as Panama failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and a month later LA were bounced from the postseason in the opening round.
Such disappointments stuck in the craw of the happy-go-lucky Panamanian goalkeeper heading into the 2014 season and he responded with aplomb.
During the regular season, Penedo enjoyed a 1.14 goals against average—.01 behind Goalkeeper of the Year Bill Hamid—while also making eight shutouts as he carried LA to the league’s second best record. In the playoffs, he shook off any claims that he could not come up in big games with stellar performances in LA’s series against Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC, the former which included a six save showing in the first leg.
In the MLS Cup final against New England, Penedo put forth yet another strong showing with six saves against the Revs to seal his first professional title since winning a title in Guatemala with Municipal. After years of frustration with Panama and his club teams, to win a title after such a trying season proved to be a “dream come true” for Penedo.
"It is a great blessing and a joy," Penedo told reporters after winning the title. “I dedicate this to dear God, my faith, my family, and my country.”
How would you rate Penedo's 2014? Read my review of the Galaxy goalkeepers for LAGalaxy.com and vote below.
The LA Galaxy passed on making any selections in stage one of the 2014 MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Only three players were selected in the first process as former Sporting KC goalkeepers Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum were selected by Montreal Impact and San Jose Earthquakes respectively while former Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley was taken by Toronto FC.
Teams will now have a chance to regonotiate with their players made available for the Re-Entry Draft process before stage two on Dec. 18
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy Homegrown Player Bradford Jamieson IV was named by U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos for the team's upcoming training camp in Honduras from Dec. 15 to Dec. 22.
Jamieson, who took part in the team's recent fitness training camp earlier this month, returns to the fold in the U.S. U-20's final training camp of the year. During the training camp, the U.S. will play a pair of matches against Honduras on Dec. 18 and Dec. 21 at Morazan Stadium in San Pedro Sula.
The complete roster is below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy declined options on four players on Thursday and all four players will be available for the two stages of the MLS Re-Entry Draft Process on Dec. 12 and Dec. 18.
LA declined options on Galaxy II stalwarts Rafael Garcia, Chandler Hoffman, Bryan Perk as well as veteran outside back James Riley. The four players join center back Kyle Venter who was waived by the team on Wednesday.
Garcia made 23 appearances as the captain of Los Dos in 2014 while also making 11 appearances for the first team in his three years with the club. In two seasons with the Galaxy, Hoffman made eight appearances -- all of them in 2014 -- for the Galaxy while tallying 13 goals for the team's USL PRO affiliate. Perk, who was dealt with concussion issues for much of the season, appeared in five games for the Galaxy. Lastly, Riley played in just four games after suffering an meniscus injury in March.
Fresh off winning his second MLS Cup championship, Robbie Rogers is in the middle of a book tour for his autobiography "Coming Out to Play."
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Rogers talks about his new book and about his experiences with the Galaxy. In particular, Rogers discusses about the importance of retired LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan to his career and to his career since coming out.
Rogers' tour returns to Southern California on Dec. 13 at CostCo in Los Angeles and Book Soup in West Hollywood on Dec. 15.
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane enjoyed the finest season of his career in 2014 and now the Irish striker says that he'll take a well-deserved break that is causing him to take stock in his career.
Keane will be returning on Friday to Ireland after a season that saw him undergo a grueling recovery from a pair of Achilles surgeries before scoring 21 goals and 17 assists across 34 games in the regular season and playoffs en route to his third MLS Cup title in four years.
But despite winning the MLS MVP in 2014 and boasting one year on his contract with the Galaxy, the Irishman admitted to reporters at the club's championship rally on Monday that he'll be looking to reevaluate where he wants to be in the coming years.
"First and foremost, I've got to worry about myself," he said. "I have to worry about what I'm going to do. I've had a tremendous four years here. I need a vacation and see what next year holds for me first. I'll look at that first and see what's best for Robbie Keane instead of worrying about anybody else. I'll take a vacation and then see what I want to do."
Such talk comes amid a report that Queens Park Rangers head coach Harry Redknapp (Keane’s former head coach at Tottenham Hotspur ) may be interested in bringing him to London on a short-term three month loan. Although the Irishman did not address such speculation, he did admit that he is considering his future.
“I definitely need to recharge the batteries and see what the next chapter is for me, whether it's here or it's somewhere else. I just need to take a break and consider,” Keane said. “I'm not saying I'm going to leave, but what I'm saying is I need to consider what I want to do, you know? Sometimes change is good for everybody.
But when told of Keane's remarks, Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena shrugged off any talk about his captain leaving next season.
“I doubt that,” he said. “Where do you think he's going? I'm confident Robbie Keane will be back here next year.”