MLS Regular Season
Preseason Notes: LA Galaxy nearing full fitness; Arena says CONCACAF Champions League schedule must change
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy open the 2015 MLS regular season on Friday, and will do so with a near clean bill of health.
First team regulars A.J. DeLaGarza, Baggio Husidic, Jaime Penedo and Gyasi Zardes as well as trialist Edson Buddle missed out on the Galaxy's final preseason game of 2015 on Saturday, but Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says that the team will be close to full health when they open the season on Friday against the Chicago Fire.
"I think that we're in good shape heading into the first game. We've been very conservative with our players this preseason. Given that we had such a long year last year, we didn't want to kill anybody. We're just taking it in stride. We'll be fine... They're all here training."
TIME TO CHANGE THE SCHEDULE FOR THE CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SAYS ARENA
The Galaxy will not begin their CONCACAF Champions League campaign for nearly five months, but Bruce Arena says that the club will do their best to win the continental tournament.
Currently, MLS entrants D.C. United and the Montreal Impact are long shots to reach the semifinals of the now rebranded Scotia Bank CONCACAF Champions League which may force MLS to wait another year for the a team to challenge for the regional championship. During the 2015-16 tournament, the Galaxy will be joined by D.C. United, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC who will attempt to become the first team to win the title.
Winning the Champions League has been a tall order for MLS clubs, and according to Arena, it will continue to be a challenge for MLS teams if the schedule remains the same.
“We want to win it,” said Arena. “Unfortunately for our league, it’s not fair for our teams to play this competition in February. We’re put behind the eight ball right away. It’s the job of U.S. Soccer and MLS to work with CONCACAF and provide some dates that allow us to be more competitive in the competition.
BRUCE ARENA TELLS MLS TO "BRING IT ON" AS LA LOOK TO REPEAT
The LA Galaxy will begin their MLS regular season campaign on Friday with 19 teams gunning to take away their title as MLS Cup champions. Typically that places a bulls-eye on the winning team, but that's of little matter to Bruce Arena.
When asked on Monday if the Galaxy will face considerable pressure this season to repeat as champions, the LA head coach and general manager responded in his typically glib manner.
"Yeah, bring it on. Whatever. I think that's what I signed up for," Arena said.
Even if the Galaxy will head into the season as the favorites to repeat as MLS Cup champions, Arena is eager to get the season started.
"We don't need anymore preseason," Arena said. "I'm sick of it. I'd rather be criticized right away."
CARSON, Calif. -- Edson Buddle will be a member of the LA Galaxy again by the end of the week.
Buddle has been sidelined recently with an injury, but head coach and general manager Bruce Arena confirmed that the 33-year-old forward will be joining the club by the start of the 2015 season.
"We'll get that done this week," Arena told reporters after practice on Monday.
The veteran forward will be joining the Galaxy for a third time having spent time with the club from 2007-10 and again in 2012. Buddle has a total of 99 appearances for the Galaxy in all MLS competitions, having scored 32 goals and six assists in two stints for the Galaxy.
Buddle is one of eight players in MLS history to score 100 regular goals in his career.
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The LA Galaxy were without several key pieces when they ended the preseason with a 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes, but head coach Bruce Arena expects the full team in training next week.
Galaxy regulars Baggio Husidic, Jaime Penedo and Gyasi Zardes as well as trialist Edson Buddle missed out on the club’s final preseason preseason match due to unspecified injuries, but according to Arena, they’ll be on the training field on Monday when the club ramps up their preparations for Friday’s MLS regular season opener against the Chicago Fire.
“All our guys will be back next week,” said Arena.
The Galaxy boss was also optimistic about the status of defender A.J. DeLaGarza who has missed the entire preseason with a bone bruise in his left leg.
“He’ll be in full training on Monday,” Arena said afterward.
MLS Insider has dropped a sensational piece on the LA Galaxy's "First to Five" championship run.
The video piece features interviews from players like Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan while also providing inside looks at the team during their MLS Cup final victory over the New England Revolution.
Check it out above.
A.J. DeLaGarza reveals the final sneak peak of the new LA Galaxy blue on blue secondary kit on Twitter
— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) February 27, 2015
LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza has provided us with our final sneak peak of the club’s new Blue on Blue secondary jersey.
In the final reveal of the week, DeLaGarza’s photo depicts the jersey’s sleeve which contains the new Major League Soccer logo color-coordinated in the club’s colors and on a field of blue.
The Galaxy’s new secondary kit will be revealed on Monday at 10 am PT
Robbie Keane will not be losing his LA Galaxy captiancy to incoming Designated Player Steven Gerrard, head coach Bruce Arena asserted from Dublin on Friday.
Speaking to local media ahead of Saturday's match against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin, Arena made left no question that Keane will keep the armband that he has worn for LA for the last two seasons.
"He's our captain and our penalty kick taker until he tells me otherwise," said Arena when asked if Keane will continue to take penalties for LA.
But could Gerrard end up a vice-captain for the Galaxy when he arrives this summer? That is still up in the air.
LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho is interested in one day suiting up for the U.S. National Team, but fans of the Brazilian should hold their horses before running to buy U.S. jerseys with "Juninho" on the back.
Juninho recently told the Brazilian outlet Globoesporte of his intention of suiting up for the U.S. National Team rather than his home land which recently capped his brother Ricardo Goulart. Sources close to the midfielder have told LA Galaxy Insider that this has been a long standing wish of the Brazilian, but even though the 26-year-old has lived in the United States since joining the Galaxy in 2010 and currently holds a green card -- which he obtained in the summer of 2013 -- he must still wait five years until he can apply for citizenship.
When Juninho is finally eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, the Brazilian midfielder will be nearly 30-years old. If the process is completed quickly, Juninho could be eligible to play for the USMNT during their qualifying efforts for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Jair Marrufo was named the head referee for the LA Galaxy's MLS regular season opener against Chicago Fire on March 6 at StubHub Center.
The Professional Referee Organization made the announcement official on Tuesday that El Paso, Texas native will ref the league's 2015 season opener. Marrufo will be joined by assistant referees Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell, and fourth official Alejandro Mariscal.
Maurrfo presided over 16 MLS regular season games in 2014 and two LA Galaxy MLS Cup Playoff games including their 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinal and their Western Conference Championship second leg match against Seattle Sounders FC.
Bradford Jamieson IV pleased with the U.S. Under-20's draw for the upcoming U-20 World Cup in New Zealand
CARSON, Calif. – Bradford Jamieson IV and the U.S. Under-20’s learned their opponents for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in New Zealand late Monday night.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A alongside hosts New Zealand as well as Myanmar and Ukraine. Tab Ramos’ squad will open the tournament against Myanmar in Whangarei on May 30 before facing the Kiwis on June 2 in Auckland. They'll end the group stage just three days later against Ukraine.
“It was a good draw for us,” Jamieson told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “We’re going to be playing against the hosts so obviously it’ll be a good game with a great turnout. We know that no team can be taken lightly and if we are considered the favorites then we have to prove everyone right and top the group.”
Heading into a tournament as favorites is nothing new for the U.S. U-20’s as they entered into the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championship as top favorites to not only advance but win the group. However, the competition hardly went according to plan as the U.S. needed to defeat El Salvador in a playoff match to lock down a World Cup berth.
According to Jamieson that experience should aid the U.S. side as they look to make a name for themselves in New Zealand.
“[That tournament] just goes to show that anything can happen in these tournaments,” said Jamieson who scored two goals in six appearances at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. “Those teams came from smaller countries like some of the teams in our World Cup group so they’re coming to prove themselves. It’ll be a place where our players can showcase our talents to the world.”
Soon after returning from Jamaica, the 18-year-old quickly put himself in the conversation for the Galaxy’s left midfield role with strong shift against Seattle Sounders FC in a preseason scrimmage. But despite his recent success, Jamieson understands that there is still plenty of work to be done before he locks down a spot on Ramos’ final roster for New Zealand.
“My mentality has to be on point and my physicality has to be as close to 100 percent as possible,” said Jamieson. “I just need to keep working hard and stick to what I know and do what I’ve been doing to get to where I am now.
“It gives me confidence that Bruce has been giving me time in the [left midfield position] because obviously I want to continue to prove them right and give back to the team and the club. I just want to keep working so that I can solidify my spot in that position.”
Bruce Arena says LA Galaxy still looking to add player and shoots down Freddy Adu rumor in Washington Post interview
Bruce Arena reiterated his desire to acquire an additional player to bolster the LA Galaxy ahead of their 2015 MLS campaign in an exclusive interview to the Washington Post’s Steven Goff on Tuesday.
In his brief Q&A with the Washington Post, Arena reiterated prior comments that the club is looking to add to their roster at some point in the near future.
“We’ll add some more players at some point, either before the season or later,” Arena told Goff.
Should that player be a particularly prominent one particularly after the Galaxy came up short in the chase for U.S. international Sacha Kljestan?
“Anyone who can help us. Whether he fits that definition or not, we think he will be an important player. If we find the right player, we will try to bring him in.”
One name that you can completely rule out is Freddy Adu who Arena vehemently stated that he has had zero contact or interest in bringing the former U.S. international into the fold.
“I don’t think he is a target for us at the moment,” Arena said. “Freddy Adu’s name always comes up. He has come up for the last 10 years. He will not be on trial with the LA Galaxy.”