MLS Playoffs

19 December 9:17 am

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.

17 December 5:37 pm

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.”

16 December 4:27 pm

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.

12 December 12:21 pm

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

12 December 11:50 am

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.

GOALKEEPERS (2) : Santiago Castaño (New York Red Bulls; Union City, N.J.), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg; Downingtown, Pa.)
 
DEFENDERS (6): Michael Amick (UCLA; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Conor Donovan (North Carolina State; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.),Tyler Turner (Orlando City SC; West Haven, Conn.)
 
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Fernando Arce (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew; Herndon, Va.), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland AFC; Santa Cruz, Calif.), Joel Soñora (CA Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina)
 
FORWARDS (4): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana; Morganville, N.J.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.)
11 December 4:12 pm

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. 

 

11 December 12:34 pm

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

09 December 4:37 pm

 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.”

09 December 3:30 pm

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. –Rob Friend is hanging up his boots.

The little-used Canadian forward announced his retirement on Monday at the club’s MLS Cup championship rally in Hermosa Beach. Friend made just 12 appearances for the Galaxy in all competitions while tallying just one assist for the club after joining in January.

Friend’s injury troubles began in July following the club’s friendly with Manchester United in what he described as a “freak accident” that occurred when a ball struck him in the forehead during training when he wasn’t looking.  Since the injury, which he believes was only made worse due to repeated head injuries during his decade-long career; Friend has tried to make a recovery, but fallen short each time.

“I made a few attempts at a comeback, but it’s my body telling me that I’ve taken one too many hits to the head. I’m still struggling with a few symptoms and a lot of headaches. It’s a combination of that it is not worth it to maybe take one more hit,” Friend said. “I have to make that decision for myself and my family. I have hopefully a very long life ahead of me and I need to be a good father and a good husband to take care of my family. I don’t ever want to go through what I’ve been through with this concussion again.”  

 Although the decision seemed inevitable given his inability to return to the field, the striker admitted that he didn’t come to decision lightly as he saw specialists across North America as he considered returning to the game. But despite the bittersweet ending to this chapter in his life, Friend still admits that he can hold his head up high given his success across Europe throughout his career.

“It’s unfortunate. I wish the fans and the organization could have seen me at my best,” said Friend. “I’ll always take pride in my work ethic and attitude. I wasn’t a fancy player but I think that I have a lot of respect from every player and organization. I had a lot of highs especially playing in the Bundesliga and coming from a small town in Canada, I had a lot against me and I succeeded.”

As for what’s next for the newly retired Friend, the 33-year-old now hopes to move into the business of soccer in some respect which is fitting for the Canadian who holds a degree in Business Economics from U.C. Santa Barbara. 

One avenue that may be worth exploring for Friend if he is up for consideration is with the Canadian Soccer Association, a group that the former national team forward believes needs considerable reforms.

“I would love to change the entire dynamic of the Canadian Soccer Association. We’re 20 years behind the U.S. and I think there is a lot of ideas and tips that we can take from them. We’re just too far behind and it takes guys who have been outside of Canada and made it around the world to change the mentality and the system. It takes a lot of work and not one man is going to change it, but I would love to help out.” 

06 December 11:46 am

CARSON, Calif. -- One Day More.

The LA Galaxy will face off against the New England Revolution on Sunday in the 2014 MLS Cup Final. In the latest -- and final 2014 -- edition of By the Numbers, I look at the Galaxy's record against the Revs in MLS Cups. Spoiler Alert: It's pretty good. 

Check it out below.