MLS Regular Season
CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan's legacy is assured now, but there was a point when his status as the greatest American soccer player was in doubt.
Prior to end of the 2009 season, Donovan had a lukewarm relationship with U.S. fans who basked in his accomplishments for the U.S. National Team, but still felt that America's greatest soccer player should test himself abroad rather than stay in MLS. Donovan had succeeded winning three MLS Cups, but failed stints in Germany led to criticism for the star midfielder.
Fast forward to 2014 and the perception of Donovan has clearly evolved. Donovan enjoyed a pair of successful loan stints with English Premier League side Everton, won two more MLS Cups with the LA Galaxy and provided U.S. Soccer with its watershed moment with his iconic goal in the 2010 World Cup against Algeria. When the Galaxy star was omitted from the U.S. national team's roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, an upspring of popular support flowed for Donovan.
During his press conference on Wednesday, Donovan addressed his role in growing MLS and how the preception of his decision to remain in the league through the years changed.
"The perception of playing in the Major League Soccer has certainly changed. I think when you see the success of the teams here and the players here, the level of plays, the talents, and the desire for players in the other world to make this the league of choice if they want to play in, it’s important. I played here, the majority of my career with this squad because I wanted to be happy," said Donovan. " And my happiness always lay here playing close to my friends and family. I always thought it was much more important to be here doing that, than be lost in the shuffle somewhere in Europe or elsewhere. So, that for me was the perfect fit. It doesn’t mean that it is everyone’s choice, and that’s ok. But, for me, that was the perfect fit. I was fortunate that had some people who wanted come along and join the journey with me."
But once the final ball has been kicked in 2014, what will be next for America's greatest soccer player?
Donovan insisted that he hopes to travel with his girlfriend Hannah, but after that he's hoping to play role in youth development with the Galaxy going forward.
"I absolutely want to work with kids," said Donovan. "I spoke to [Chris] Klein extensively about working with the academy, and that for me will be a really good way to come closer to home. I fully expect that it will happen at some point."
And when Donovan decides he wants to return, Klein and AEG President Dan Beckerman insist that the club will welcome him back with open arms.
"Landon will always be the member of the LA Galaxy, always be the member of the AEG family, and when he decides what it is that he wants to do—what he wants to put his energy and heart into next—we will be there to talk to him about that," said Klein.
Added Beckerman, "Landon will be able to do whatever he wants. He has accomplished so much on the field, and for the love of the game. He will be able to do whatever he wants, whether that is working with the kids or working with the Galaxy. Whatever he does, he will obviously be successful. He is the best American player in the history of this country, and he will be equally successful in what he decides to do in the next chapter of his life."
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
The LA Galaxy midfielder announced via his personal Facebook page on Thursday morning that he’ll be retiring from the sport of soccer at the end of the 2014 MLS season. The all-time leading goal scorer for MLS and the U.S. National Team, Donovan has four goals and seven assists this season.
Donovan is expected to speak at a press conference at StubHub Center on Thursday.
CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal is back and the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player believes that he has plenty to prove returning to Southern California.
In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, Villarreal talks about his frustrations with his stint with Cruz Azul and his eagerness to shine for Galaxy II. Villarreal failed to register a single appearance for the Cruz Azul first team, but scored in his first appearance for Los Dos last weekend in their loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
More of Jose Villarreal's thoughts on coming back are below.
(On whether he regrets his transfer to Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “I wouldn’t say regret, but it was a challenge. But it was a challenge that I learned a lot from. It wasn’t really a failure or a little disappointment. It was something like I went to Mexico with a mentality to do well, and it didn’t go my way. I came back with the same mentality, and I will try to do the same thing that I’ve been doing here.”
(On whether he was disappointed in the way it ended…)
VILLARREAL: “Maybe if I had gotten few more games, then my decision would have been a lot tougher. So it is what it is, and I’m happy with that.”
(On the main lesson that he learned in Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “Lifestyle is different obviously, but the society isn’t as wealthy as it is here. So, you can see the difference of the way players live versus the way that the people live. So that was the learning off the field. And on the field, it was a different kind of soccer, and got to learn it the first two years that I was here, so from the five months that I was there, I will try to bring what I learned over there and mix it up with the style over here.”
(On whether the biggest regret at Mexico was not getting enough minutes…)
VILLARREAL: “I think that was what it was. I was coming from being on the bench and getting few minutes with the Galaxy here and there, and few starts, and Champions League. So, I went down there and I couldn’t play the Champions League because of the rule, and those games were good, and we ended up winning the Champions League, so it would have been good to get into those games, but as you said not being able to get minutes. Maybe I could have waited, but I didn’t so, we’ll see what happens from now. Most of the minutes that I was getting were with the U-20s. I think I played 10 minutes with the Hidalgo team, so it was a bit frustrating but it was just some bumps on the road and I just got to keep going.”
(On the differences between top players in Mexico and in the USA…)
VILLARREAL: “From the top players like top players like Robbie Keane, who is from oversea, 90% chance is a goal. So he is the guy that you want on your team. You could see the difference. For example, Gyasi has been great this season. Last season, he had a lot of opportunities and he was working on it. Now you give this player minutes there is confidence when he steps on the field. Just keep going and the result is going well so I’m happy for him.”
(On any first team aspirations that he holds…)
VILLARREAL: “I haven’t really talked about that. I’m focused, right now, and I’m looking to make a full commitment with [Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo] and the second team. I am happy to be with Curt. I’ve been working with him for a while and he is a good coach.”
CARSON, Calif. – Todd Dunivant returned to the LA Galaxy game day roster on Saturday after a lengthy injury spell and now the veteran left back is continue his recovery by appearing in a match for LA Galaxy II.
In an interview with LAGalaxy.com’s Larry Morgan, Dunivant states that he’s expecting to suit up for Los Dos on Saturday when they take on Arizona United SC at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium. If Dunivant does play, it’ll be his first action since he suffered an abdominal tear during LA’s April 6 match with Chivas USA.
Following Galaxy II’s training session on Monday, Los Dos head coach Curt Onalfo stated that all signs point to Dunivant suiting up against Arizona.
“We just have to see how the week progresses, but he could certainly be a guy that we could give minutes to as he continues to progress from injury,” said Onalfo. “As long as he’s healthy then he’s going to get minutes.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have just a single day before the MLS transfer window closes and according to Bruce Arena, the team has not given up hopes of completing a move before the deadline.
A report in Soccer By Ives had linked the Galaxy to U.S. international Sacha Kljestan, but Arena declined to comment about the reported pursuit of the former Chivas USA attacker last week. Currently, the Galaxy are third in the MLS allocation order behind the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas.
During an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Arena admitted that the club “for the most part” has a specific move in mind heading into the final hours of the deadline, but no deal has been completed.
“It’s possible,” said Arena. “If there is a move that we can make then we will make it, but only if it is in our best interest.”
But with less than 24 hours remaining in the transfer window, Arena admits that if a deal is going to get done, it’ll need to be soon.
“It’s close. It’s going to go one way or the other,” said Arena. “That is all I can say and that is the 100% correct answer.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez may not be taking part in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, but there will be an LA Galaxy player available when the All-Stars take on Bayern Munich at Portland's Providence Park -- Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy announced late last week that Keane and Gonzalez would miss out on the event due to the team's clash with their archrival San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, but Donovan -- who went 90 minutes in LA's 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday -- remained on the squad. Although Donovan will be available for the match against his former club, he expects to see limited minutes for the All-Stars.
"In the end, I don't get to make that decision [about staying behind]. I'm happy to go and I'm excited to go. I've already spoken with [MLS All-Star head coach Caleb Porter] and I won't be playing a lot, and that's okay. I understand because there has been other All-Star Games where I haven't been able to play. It's good for [our] guys to rest and it'll be fine because I'll be ready for Friday."
While Donovan will see, at least, some time in the league's showpiece event, Keane and Gonzalez will remain behind in Southern California and prepare for Friday's match against the Earthquakes. While missing out on the All-Star Game was a tad frustrating for the Galaxy's Irish captain, he sent well wishes to the league's best as they prepare to take on Bayern.
"I'm happy that I was selected, but first and foremost my priority is the Galaxy and we have an important game on Friday," said Keane. "I wish the All-Stars well and I'm sorry that I couldn't be there, but I'll be watching on TV."
CARSON, Calif. -- Red hot LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes is traveling to Portland for Monday's Chipotle Homegrown Game, but don't expect the forward to play a role for the MLS Homegrowns against the Portland Timbers U-23 team.
Zardes was selected for Monday's event along with fellow Galaxy HGP Bradford Jamieson IV, but after Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Timbers, the 22-year-old striker admitted that with the Galaxy playing the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, he's expecting to see limited action -- at most -- in the Homegrown Game.
"I'm going to play it by ear, but I highly doubt [I'll play]," said Zardes who landed in Portland on Sunday. "But I'm the guy that if they tell me to do something then I'll do it."
Keeping Zardes off the field in the Homegrown match is certainly advantageous to the Galaxy as the second-year forward is currently on a torrid scoring run that has seen him tally seven goals in his last eight games. Although he's already enjoying a career season with eight goals and one assist, the 22-year-old forward is trying his best to stay grounded.
"Now that [the game against Portland] is over, I don't look back. I'm not going to fantazise about all the goals that I've scored," said Zardes. "The next game [that I play] when I'm in that moment, I'm thinking [I have] zero goals. I have to prove myself."
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 2, 2014
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to reporters following the team's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers.
Check his thoughts below.
(On the team’s performance in the win….)
ARENA: “It wasn’t similar to the other day. We fell behind a goal. It’s good for our team to be in a hard game against a good team. We prevailed, obviously. The goal at the end of the first half was big. Second half, they came at us with a little bit more energy and created a couple of chances. Obviously, the Keane goal was the difference. But I thought overall it was a good 90 minutes for our team. We were sloppy at times in the first half. We could have been a little bit cleaner. Technically, in and around the goal area, we could have create another goal or two, but overall it was a good performance. We are on a good run, and hopefully we keep getting better.”
(On success of Gyasi Zardes…)
ARENA: “He’s doing well. Big goal obviously. A lot of little things, he’s getting better. He’s running off the ball better .He’s holding the ball better. He’s passing better. Everything’s improved and I think playing next to Robbie [Keane] is important. Robbie’s doing a good job helping him move along .Landon [Donovan] had another good effort tonight. Backline performed well.”
(On Robbie Rogers playing left back…)
ARENA: “I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him. But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”
(On coming back from behind to win…)
ARENA: “I think anytime you win a game when you are trailing is important. It shows character. The goal came against run of play. [Stefan] Ishizaki got his head onto the ball and deflected it. Then end up getting a goal. Probably their only shot of the first half. It was a little bit against run of play.”
(On the team’s performance so far this season…)
ARENA: “We are, what, second place now in the Western Conference, against teams that have a couple games in hand on us. We have the best defensive record in the league. We are probably in the top three or four in attacking categories. We are getting healthier. I give the team a B plus. [For] the coach [i give] a C-minus goes with my grade point average in college.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday in a brunch time 11:30 a.m. PT match.
In the latest edition of "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's success against Portland at home.
Check it out below.
SEATTLE – Robbie Rogers has been searching for a position to call home with the LA Galaxy after a vagabond first season with the club, but it appears that the defender has, at last, found his place at left back.
Back for the first time since early-July after overcoming an ankle injury, Rogers provided needed width along the left side of the defense while also aiding the Galaxy attack with piercing runs forward. After playing his sixth match across all competitions along the left side of defense, Rogers went as far to admit that he feels as though he has become a full-fledged left back.
“It felt great, especially the first half. My ankle still feels sore, so I didn’t know if I was going to be ready to play, but I’ve played through injuries and I really wanted to play in this one,” Rogers told LA Galaxy Insider. “I really wanted to play in the Kansas City game, but I wasn’t ready and I tried to train and be ready for that but I’ve really enjoyed playing left back and right back when I played against Chicago.
“I feel more comfortable [at the [position] the more games I play,” he added. “I was happy to participate and contribute, but I still think that I can improve a lot more.
In arguably his best performance along the flank, Rogers worked well with midfielder Landon Donovan to shut down the Sounders right sided attackers while also making overlapping runs that pinned Seattle back in their own end. Following the match, Rogers’ stat sheet was indicative of his efforts as he finished the game with an impressive stat line that included seven interceptions and seven recoveries.
Rogers’ quick ability to adapt to his new defensive role has led some to compare him to DaMarcus Beasley, another former midfielder who extended his career several years by making the move to the back line.
Quite familiar with Beasley’s game due to their time on the U.S. national team, Rogers admits that the move may look similar to the new Houston Dynamo Designated Player’s change on the surface, but he shrugged of any comparisons.
“DaMarcus and I are just different. Even when we played left wing we were different,” said Rogers. “Even though they are the same position, I wouldn't compare the way that we play. I don’t think that the way that we play is similar.”