MLS Regular Season
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.”
Bruce Arena says that LA Galaxy win over New England Revolution in July means nothing heading into MLS Cup
CARSON, Calif. – Earlier this season, the LA Galaxy flattened their MLS Cup opponents the New England Revolution 5-1 at StubHub Center, but don’t look for that game to affect the way either team approaches Sunday’s championship match.
On July 16, LA were in control from the get go and were aided by an early red card by AJ Soares as Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes each scored a pair of goals while Stefan Ishizaki rounded out the scoring for the Galaxy. MLS MVP finalist Lee Nguyen scored the only goal of the evening for the Revs on a penalty kick goal that saw Galaxy right back Dan Gargan sent off.
While LA ran rampant that evening, the teams that will face one another are remarkably different (look at the lineups here).
In particular, that incarnation of the Revolution was mired in an eight game winless streak and was still a month from acquiring Designated Player Jermaine Jones, who has proven key to New England’s drive to MLS Cup. But LA will be dramatically different as well as Bruce Arena famously benched Landon Donovan for the match against New England only to insert the longtime U.S. international at halftime.
“Both teams are different. If you look at the lineups those days, they won’t look anything like Sunday," said Arena on Thursday. "They’re probably going to have three or four different players on the field and we’ll likely have four or five different players on the field. Davies is a fixture now, so there are changes. That game means nothing; it’s in the archives now.”
Robbie Keane on MVP: "I'm delighted to win the award, but I'd trade it in for a championship on Sunday"
LOS ANGELES -- When Robbie Keane arrived in Southern California in 2011, he made a simple yet powerful declarative statement: "I'm not coming here for a vacation."
It's pretty clear that he’s backed up those words in his three-and-a-half years with the Galaxy.
On Wednesday, Keane was named the 2014 MLS Volkswagen MVP after a stellar season that saw the Irish striker score 19 goals and 14 assists to lead an LA team that led the league in scoring. Even as Keane basked in the success of his most recent season, many focused on the forward’s great success with the club since joining the team in 2011.
Whereas previous incarnations of the Galaxy fell short of titles in 2009 and 2010, when Keane was introduced, the Galaxy pushed their way to the top, winning two straight MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012. And because of that, Galaxy boss Bruce Arena was not shy to declare Keane that Keane was missing piece that LA needed to truly contend for the league’s top prize.
“I’ve watched Robbie for years and there was always something in the back of my mind that this was the type of player that we want to get in this league and that I’d love to have on my team one day," said Arena. "We were very fortunate when we had the opportunity to get him from Tottenham.
“He sets the tone for our team every day. He’s good with the young players, he gets our team ready to play,” Arena added. “Those are things that you don’t see in the box score, but he’s that valuable for our team each and every day.”
But as you might expect from a player labeled the missing piece to a championship side, Keane’s focus is not on winning individual honors, but rather the real title that will be awarded on Sunday.
"It's great to be recognized by your fellow professionals and the media. I'm delighted with the award, but I'd certainly trade it in for a championship on Sunday," said Keane. "These awards mean something, I'd be a fool if I said that it didn't, but if we didn't win the championship then it wouldn't mean that much to me. If we win, it'll cap off a great year for me and for our team."
LA Galaxy midfielder Stefan Ishizaki finished third in the voting for the 2014 MLS Newcomer of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Pedro Morales took home the award after scoring 10 goals and nine assists for a Whitecaps side that returned to the postseason in 2014. Ishizaki came in third with just under seven percent of the vote while New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones finished second with nearly 35 percent of the vote.
Ishizaki's Galaxy and Jones' Revolution will face one another on Sunday in the 2014 MLS Cup final at StubHub Center.
LOS ANGELES -- I had an opportunity to speak to LA Galaxy captain and 2014 Volkswagen MVP Robbie Keane after he was named Most Valuable Player.
Check out my conversation with Keane above.
LOS ANGELES -- Robbie Keane is King.
MLS announced on Tuesday that the LA Galaxy captain has been named the 2014 Volkswagen MLS MVP. Keane was the standard barer for a Galaxy side that finished with the second best record in MLS and the highest goals scored total. The 34-year-old finished the regular season with 19 goals (tied for third best in MLS) and 14 assists (tied for second).
Watch Keane's announcement press conference above.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy had three players named to MLS Best XI, the league announced on Tuesday during MLS commissioner Don Garber's State of the League address.
Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane were named to the league's Best XI on Tuesday after banner seasons for an LA squad that finished with finished with the league's second best record. The selection is an MLS record seventh for Donovan while Gonzalez was named to the Best XI for a foruth time while Keane earned his third selection in a row.
The trio’s inclusion marks the first time that the three Galaxy Designated Players have all been named to the MLS Best XI in the same season.
Everyone knows about Landon Donovan's famous habit of kissing his wrists before each penalty, but there is another ritual that the LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team star is infamous for that takes place before each and every game.
Since joining the Galaxy, Donovan has preformed the ritual -- which he claims isn't necessary, but has been performed in every game since 2005 -- which involves him taking a drink of water from a Gatorade bottle before spraying both head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra and assistant athletic trainer Kurt Andrews in the face.
"It kind of gets the training staff a little bit fired up and prepared for the game and hopefully makes them feel a little bit part of what's going on," Donovan told the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter. "They're a part of what we do, and we want to make them feel involved."
Added Andrews, " "It's a bond, We as a staff spend a lot of time with him. I could see it as an honor, for sure."
The complete story on Landon Donovan's pregame ritual can be found here on the Los Angeles Times website.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza was awarded the 2014 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year award on Tuesday according to a league release.
DeLaGarza, who is heavily involved in the LA Galaxy Foundation's charitable works, drew considerable attention this season due to the passing of his newborn son Luca and his substantial involvement with the heart ward at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The 27-year-old is the first-ever Galaxy player to receive the award.
A complete release about DeLaGarza's award can be found here.
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez finished third in the 2014 MLS Defender of the Year voting as Seattle Sounders FC center back Chad Marshall took home the top honors.
Marshall finished ahead of D.C. United central defender Bobby Boswell who led both the media and club voting, but the Sounders defender's advantage in the player voting were enough to give him the Defender of the Year. The award is an unprecedented third for Marshall who won the honor twice in 2008 and 2009 while with the Columbus Crew.
Gonzalez was nominated for the league's top honor despite A.J. DeLaGarza winning the team's honor which is voted on by local media.