SANDY, Utah— Real Salt Lake had plenty of opportunities to take a slim edge in their Western Conference Semifinals series with the LA Galaxy, but the play of LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo proved decisive in holding the Claret-and-Cobalt at bay.
But that doesn’t mean that Salt Lake is not plenty confident heading into the second leg at StubHub Center next week.
Despite holding an impressive 16 to three advantage in shots, the stellar play of Penedo and several timely stops by the Galaxy defense kept the home side from establishing an early advantage. Heading into the second leg next week, RSL captain Kyle Beckerman says his team is pleased with their showing on Saturday.
“Of course we would like some goals, and we had some chances and maybe on a different day we score those,” Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman told reporters after the game. “Credit to their keeper, and credit to their defense. We got a series on our hands."
Head coach Jeff Cassar also admitted that he was pleased with his team’s ability to create chances on a Galaxy defense that ranked among the league’s best throughout the regular season.
"I thought the players on the field were going to give us the goal that we needed,” he said. “Everybody had the proper energy, proper movement. On a different night, I think we would have four or five goals."
Whether Salt Lake can duplicate that explosive offensive performance at StubHub Center remains to be seen remains up in the air. Throughout the 2014 regular season campaign, the Galaxy held an impressive 13-1-4 record in all competitions. That lone home defeat came against RSL who defeated the Galaxy in their season opener back in March.
And with that past success at StubHub Center in their minds, Salt Lake are relishing the challenge.
"There's definitely no comfort going in, because they are very good at home," said defender Nat Borchers. "When you're at home in this league, you have an initial boost of energy, so I think those first 15-20 minutes is really important, so we got to be ready for that. We've got to come out flying and hopefully if we get that early goal, we can put that pressure on them."
In the latest edition of the Insider Update, I provide a 60 second breakdown the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinal against Real Salt Lake.
Check it out.
CARSON, Calif. –The Swedish soccer world was shaken on Wednesday with the announcement of the passing of former national team star and Elfsborg head coach Klas Ingesson due to bone marrow cancer.
A member of Sweden’s teams at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and the 1994 team that finished third, Ingesson enjoyed a lengthy professional career that included stops at IFK Göteborg (Sweden), Mechelen (Belgium), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Sheffield Wednesday (England), Marseille (France) as well as IBari, Bologna and Lecce (Italy).
Despite being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2009, Ingesson continued his coaching career and in 2013, he coached Stefan Ishizaki in what was the current Galaxy midfielder’s final season in Sweden.
“When anyone passes away it is a terrible thing but it hurts more when you’re so close to that person,” Ishizaki told reporters on Wednesday. “Klas was a fantastic human being, a fantastic player back in the day and a great coach.
“He was one of those men that spread joy around him, always had a happy face, and had a keen soccer mind. He was one of the true greats in Swedish soccer over the years and he’ll be missed.”
When Ishizaki was first approached by the Galaxy back in 2013, it was Ingesson who allowed the midfielder—a long tenured member of the club—to speak with LA and eventually orchestrate a move to MLS.
“I talked to him last year and sought his advice. Of course, he wanted me to stay with Elfsborg and help rebuild the squad for a new year, but he said, ‘I understand that you have to go and do your own thing.’
“He allowed me to take this adventure to join MLS and I will be forever grateful for him allowing me to leave,” he continued. “A lot of coaches come into their first full season and want to build a new team and many of them would have said that ‘you can’t go.’ But he gave me this opportunity to come to MLS and I’ll be forever grateful."
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy begin their 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs campaign on Saturday evening against Real Salt Lake and if LA will advance past the club that eliminated them a year ago, they’ll need to shutdown RSL’s dynamic attacker Joao Plata.
The speedy and diminutive Ecuadorian led the charge for head coach Jeff Cassar’s side throughout the 2014 season with 13 goals and six assists. In three games against the Galaxy this year, Plata notched a goal and an assist including a goal in RSL’s win over LA in the season opener.
“Plata has been an All-Star quality player this entire season. He’s been scoring goals for club and country and he’s a very dangerous player,” said defender A.J. DeLaGarza. “He’s fast and an incredibly player who is only helped by the influence of Saborio. They create a real threat.”
If the LA can slow down Plata, DeLaGarza believes that the Galaxy will be able to get revenge on RSL for their 2013 playoff exit.
“This year we have home-field advantage, but we’ll see if that means anything,” said DeLaGarza. “It’ll be a great match-up. It’s two teams that really like to play and it’ll be a good challenge for us.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Process this for a moment: Landon Donovan will never play another MLS regular season game.
With the Galaxy's 2-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, Donovan's MLS regular season career 4,490 days after it began when he helped the San Jose Earthquakes defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 on April 7, 2001.
To celebrate Donovan's regular season career, LAGalaxy.com has provided a graphic that looks back on the final numbers of his regular season career.
CARSON, Calif. -- On the date that MLS officially disbanded Chivas USA, the LA Galaxy went along with business as usual.
There was no talk of the fact the Rojiblancos had been officially disbanded earlier that morning or that they will be replaced by a new team at a new location in the greater Los Angeles area in two years’ time. The Galaxy simply went about the task of preparing for their Western Conference Semifinal first leg with Real Salt Lake – who entered the league in 2005 alongside Chivas – on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“The decision to sell Chivas and rebrand it and bring it back in the marketplace can only be a positive,” said Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said of the Chivas USA news. “I’m sure that it will make for an exciting time in the Los Angeles soccer market.”
While the yet unnamed second Los Angeles MLS team will return in 2017, most players who suited up for Chivas USA will be distributed across MLS in a dispersal draft that will take place in December. The only possible exceptions for the draft may be forwards Erick “Cubo” Torres and Felix Borja who may find new teams through other means according to a league conference call on Monday afternoon.
As the players prepare for the dispersal draft, Galaxy right back and longtime leadership member of the MLS Players Union James Riley said that he trusted the league and the union to assure a seamless transition for those affected.
“It’s unfortunate news and I want to thank the fans for supporting the team and I still have a lot of good friends on that team,” said Riley who admitted that he wasn’t surprised by the announcement. “We just hope that the process goes smoothly and the players are taken care of and given options to play elsewhere. Obviously, the players union and the league will do their due diligence in making sure that the process goes smoothly for those players.”
But although the sentimentality of losing the Rojiblancos as a rival was felt, the Galaxy were focused on the ways that Monday’s announcement will affect them in the immediate future. With Chivas USA exiting the league, MLS revealed the realignment of the new 20-team league that will feature Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo moving west while expansion sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC join the Eastern Conference.
"As if the Western Conference wasn't tough enough already," chuckled defender A.J. DeLaGarza upon learning that the last five MLS Cup winners will be in the new Western Conference.
But even amid the loss of a rival and the introduction to a pair of new teams in the Western Conference, DeLaGarza said that the loss of the Rojiblancos will only help the Galaxy truly make the StubHub Center their true home.
"It'll be weird not playing Chivas USA because we looked forward to that rivalry. But now we get to have our own stadium and we can do things for us with our $15 million dollar investment in the stadium. We’ll have a chance to upgrade the facilities for the entire club.”
SEATTLE— The LA Galaxy were without captain Robbie Keane for Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC, but LA are confident that the team’s captain and leading scorer will be fit and ready to go once the team begins their postseason push.
A nagging injury forced Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena to leave Keane off the squad for the Supporters’ Shield deciding tilt. Although LA were clearly lacking Keane’s offensive spark on Saturday, Arena revealed postgame that the team thought it best to save the Irishman for the postseason which will begin Saturday with a match against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"He had a few nagging injuries and we thought it was best to keep him out so he would be ready for playoffs,” Arena said. “We also have to be careful with players on this field. This field is not perfect for a player that's not 100 percent."
SEATTLE -- The LA Galaxy will start the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs at the exact location where their postseason run ended 12 months earlier.
With FC Dallas' 2-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake clinched the third seed in the Western Conference and a date with the Galaxy on Nov. 1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. As the second seed, the Galaxy will host RSL in the return leg on Nov. 9 at StubHub Center. The times of both games have yet to be determined. The Galaxy went 1-1-1 against RSL this season with the lone draw coming at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 22.
LA have faced Real Salt Lake three times in the postseason in the past five years with RSL winning MLS Cup 2009 as well as the West Semifinals a year ago while the Galaxy booked their ticket to MLS Cup 2011 by defeating RSL in the 2011 Western Conference Final.
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SEATTLE -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters following the team's 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC.
On the game:
"I thought it was a good game. We were a little unlucky and we at least should have come out with a point."
On Robbie Keane:
"He had a few nagging injuries and we thought it was best to keep him out so he would be ready for playoffs. We also have to be careful with players on this field. This field is not perfect for a player that's not 100%."
On the amount of fouls called:
"The referee called more fouls this week than last week. He could have called 40 fouls last week on Seattle. The referee lost it a bit at the end. I would say the foul was on Marcelo Sarvas because he didn't notice that they didn't set the ball properly."
On having more possession:
"Yes, we controlled the game but we needed to be more dangerous in the last third of the field. They kept a lot of players back with us and played it pretty safe. We weren't able to create enough chances."
On Landon Donovan:
"Landon played better today than he did last week. He drew an important free kick in the beginning of the second half and had a few more chances. I think he could have been more aggressive looking for his shot. "
On the midfield:
"I thought Gyasi Zardes was a bit of a threat most of the game. I thought Stefan Ishizaki did well. Our whole midfield played well. Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas were also very good."
On the defense:
"The backline was excellent today. Did Seattle even get a chance in the game besides the mess at the end? We played pretty well."
On the final goal:
“Jaime Penedo needs to be quicker getting the ball out. Maybe he was fouled. The referee I think lost it a little bit at the end of the game. He must have been tired, too."
On preference of opponent next match:
"It doesn't matter who we play. We don't play those little games of payback. We play to try and win a championship."