MLS Regular Season
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Omar Gonzalez for this Sunday’s match against the Portland Timbers, but with the U.S. international unavailable, head coach Bruce Arena will have options at center back.
The primary option for Arena appears to be a tandem of Kofi Opare and Leonardo, who were able to keep the Colorado Rapids scoreless after Gonzalez was substituted with a left knee injury in Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat last Saturday. However, Arena could also slide in Tommy Meyer, who has enjoyed a strong season with LA Galaxy II as well as 2014 MLS SuperDraft first round draft pick Kyle Venter.
While there are other options for the two central defense positions, Leonardo and Opare seem like the safe bet for the Timbers match, which sits well with the second-year defender.
“I’ve played with him quite a bit in reserve games and in practice. Like myself, Leonardo is a big presence. He’s a more experienced player who is able to guide me and help me with my movements,” said Opare. “We are similar in our physicality and when Leonardo steps on the field he gives me confidence as a player which helps me be more at ease on the field.”
The LA Galaxy haven't had the best of luck from the penalty spot as of late, but is it time for the team to make a change?
During LA's 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane missed his second penalty kick of the season -- the last also resulting in a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on March 8 -- which led to considerable chatter on social media about whether or not the Irishman should keep his position as the team's primary penalty taker. It bears mentioning that Keane took the role from Landon Donovan a year ago after the U.S. international missed two penalties in games that ended in 1-0 defeats.
Following training on Thursday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that he has faith in both players to finish their next opportunity, but he wouldn't say who will be taking the spot kicks from here on out.
"I think those two are the best penalty kick takers in the league, but whoever grabs that ball and wants it can have it," said Arena. "Odds are they’re not going to miss too many of those from here on in."
Now that Arena has chimed in, who do you believe should take the penalties going forward for the Galaxy?
LA Galaxy forward Rob Friend was fined an undisclosed amount by the MLS Displincary Committee for embellishment in the 61st minute of LA's 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
In the 61st minute, Friend was fouled by Colorado center back Drew Moor in the penalty area which caused referee Hilario Grajeda to point to the spot and award a penalty kick that was fired wide right by LA captain Robbie Keane. The penalty was the second that Friend had earned this season after Friend was ruled to have been fouled in the 18-yard box during the closing moments of an eventual 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are still awaiting an update on the injury status of Omar Gonzalez, but head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday that he feels strongly that the left knee issue will be short-term and not cost him a chance to suit up for the U.S. at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Gonzalez suffered the injury in the closing moments of the first half of LA’s 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday and was substituted at the half due to precautionary measures. When asked by reporters on Tuesday if the team had an update on Gonzalez, Arena stated that the team did not have one at the moment.
“We’re going to talk to the doctors today and find out a little bit more,” said the Galaxy manager. “It’s a very short term issue and he’s going to be fine.
“We’re doing everything to be safe with Omar and if we have anything to say, we’ll say it at the proper time. I feel very strongly that this is a short term issue and he’ll be fine,” Arena added.
“Mentally, a player with a full calendar of things ahead is very precautious. He’s going to be fine. There is nothing long term with this injury, I can promise you that.”
Whether or not Gonzalez will suit up for the Galaxy for their match against the Portland Timbers on May 11 at Providence Park remains to be seen. The match is expected to be the final game for Gonzalez and LA teammate Landon Donovan before they depart for the U.S. National Team pre-World Cup camp in Stanford, Calif. on May 14.
However, Arena admitted that it was unlikely that the turf conditions at Providence Park will play a role on whether or not he suits up for the Galaxy on Saturday.
“If Omar is good to go to go then he’ll go. If he’s not then he won’t, it’s that simple,” said Arena. “I don’t think that it’s the turf. All things being equal, maybe [the turf] would play a role, but right now, we’ll take it day by day and we’re going to talk to the doctors to make sure that we’re moving along in the right way.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Rogers, LA Galaxy left back?
Due to injuries, the Galaxy may be looking to Rogers to provide depth at the left back position after his brief 45 minute shift in Galaxy II's 2-1 victory over Charlotte Eagles on Monday. The win was Rogers' first in-game performance at that position since the final group stage match of the United States' participation in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Following first team training on Tuesday -- of which Rogers was a part of -- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted that he was pleased with Rogers' performance on the left side of defense as well as with the way that other LA players are returning from injury.
"He did okay. We want to try him at that position as well to help give us a little cover," said Arena. "In the next couple of weeks, we expect to see the return of Todd and hopefully Marcelo, Brian Perk is back from injury and the only one that is going to be missing long term is James Riley so hopefully, we'll be getting a bit healthier when we hit the month of June."
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – “We just blew it.”
Those were the words from head coach Bruce Arena after the LA Galaxy’s frustrating 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday. Although the candid Arena is known for his tough love approach after defeats—and sometimes even positive results—the Galaxy took his words to heart after their poor showing.
“I don’t want to make any excuses. We weren't ready from the get-go,” midfielder Stefan Ishizaki told reporters. “I’d say that we're a better team than they are, but if you don’t work hard then you're not going to get the points. The team that works harder gets the results so we have to work harder as a group. I thought that my performance wasn't good enough but there are a lot of guys who I think would say the same thing.”
Ishizaki was among those who struggled during the loss as the normally active Swede found himself stifled by the constant pressure of the Colorado midfielders. Whereas Ishizaki was active and managing at least a goal or an assist in each of his last three games, the midfielder earned just one attempt on frame against the Rapids which was cleared off the line by Rapids defender Drew Moor in the second minute of play.
With the sting of the Colorado performance still fresh in his mind, Ishizaki admitted that the Galaxy must accept the lessons of the defeat if they are to rebound next weekend.
“We have to show that we're strong enough as a team and that we can bounce back straight away,” said Ishizaki. “And we can only do that by getting a result in Portland.”
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was livid after his team fell 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
Below are his comments...
(On the match...)
ARENA: “We just blew this game. There’s no excuses for us. We should’ve won this game. Very least get a point. We get a chance early in the game, we miss a penalty kick early in the second half, have a lot of possession, we don’t put a shot on goal, I don’t think for the game. I think Ishizaki’s, it was maybe blocked off the line, that was about the only shot on goal. It was terrible execution on our part in the final third of the field.”
(On what he wanted the team to do in the second half...)
ARENA: “What you saw. We had control of the game, plenty of possession, created chances, didn’t execute in the last third.”
(On Omar Gonzalez’ injury...)
ARENA: “Omar, I think, is going to be fine.”
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was removed at halftime from the LA Galaxy's 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids due to precautionary measures after suffering a left knee injury in the first half.
A Galaxy official told LA Galaxy Insider that LA head coach Bruce Arena opted to remove Gonzalez due to precautionary measures after he suffered the injury a minute before half time as he appeared to come down awkwardly while headed away a probing ball forward by the Rapids.
Following the match, Arena told reporters that Gonzalez "will be fine" after being asked about the injury.
Thoughts on Gonzalez's injury?
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DENVER -- The LA Galaxy will face off against the Colorado Rapids in their seventh match of the MLS regular season.
Below are a series of links, matchups and a predicted lineup ahead of the match.
The LA Galaxy will not have midfielder Marcelo Sarvas after an MCL injury sidelined the Brazilian for the Colorado fixture. LA will likely turn to speedster Gyasi Zardes as they look to create chances out wide. LA will also be without Todd Dunivant, who has yet to return from an abdominal strain.
*LA will face off against an old friend at Dick's Sporting Goods Park as former Galaxy midfielder Pablo Mastroeni has taken the head coaching position with the Rapids. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena also offered his own take about the transition between coaching and the playing ranks.
*Landon Donovan will attempt to become the league's all-time regular season goal scorer on Saturday as he searches for his 135th goal. Although he has yet to find the back of the net, Donovan admits that he's putting little thought into his pursuit.
*The two points of LA's diamond midfield are flourishing as Juninho has shined at the base of the diamond while attacking midfielder Stefan Ishizaki has become quite at home with the Galaxy.
Lastly, LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan offers his preview of LA's match with the Rapids.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Juninho vs. Dillon Serna
With Dillon Powers injured, U.S. youth international Dillon Serna will be charged with leading the attack along with new addition Jose Mari. Serna's quickness is expected to cause the Galaxy's diamond midfield fits so Juninho will need to cover the passing lanes to prevent him from linking up into the attack.
Robbie Keane vs. Drew Moor
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane will get his first crack at the Colorado Rapids in more than two years when he slots into the starting XI. Look for him to continuely wander back into the midfield as he looks to pull the steady Rapids defender out of position to create space for other attackers.
Edson Buddle vs. Omar Gonzalez
Landon Donovan is not the only one who is trying to set a record as forward Edson Buddle will look to score the 100th regular season goal of his career against his old team. It'll be up to the physical Gonzalez to keep Buddle off balance and limit opportunties.
Penedo; Gargan, Gonzalez, Leonardo, DeLaGarza, Zardes, Juninho, Ishizaki, Husidic, Donovan, Keane
In the latest edition of "What to Watch For", I speak with TWC SportsNet broadcaster Joe Tutino about the upcoming Colorado Rapids match.
Check it out below.