CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy bolstered their depth in midfield on Thursday with the signing of Swedish international Stefan Ishizaki.
The 31-year-old spent the last eight years with IF Elfsborg while also making stints with Sweden's AIK, Italian side Genoa, Norway's Valerenga. Ishizaki will be added to the Galaxy's roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate. Per league and club policy terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ishizaki had been on the radar of MLS teams in the past, but the Swede admits that once he heard the Galaxy were interested, he had to make the move.
“I had an offer from MLS a couple years ago, but I still had a long contract with my old club, but once my agent told me that LA was interested, it was just an easy decision,” said Ishizaki. “I’m quite calm with the ball. I usually play on the right wing. I’ve had experience playing with the national team, in Italy and I think that I bring experience here to the Galaxy.”
Although Ishizaki has enjoyed a strong career in Europe, he garnered the attention of the world in April of 2012 scoring off a volley from inside his own half during a match against Obero. You can see that goal below.
USMNT makes roster changes after returning from Brazil, Korea Republic defeats Costa Rica at LA Coliseum
The U.S. National Team returned to the StubHub Center from Brazil “dry run” with a few subtractions and a new face, U.S. Soccer announced on Friday.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side will be without Colorado Rapids defenders Shane O’Neill and Chris Klute, Sporting Kansas City defenders Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic, and Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall who were sent back to their respective clubs. However, Klinsmann added new Columbus Crew defender Michael Parkhurst to the roster. The U.S. will face Korea Republic on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center.
Prior to leaving Brazil, Galaxy forward Landon Donovan spoke to media about the Americans prospects at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the opportunity to train at former training ground of his LA teammates Juninho and Leonardo.
“I play in Los Angeles with two players from Sao Paulo, Leonardo and Juninho. They spoke a lot about Sao Paulo before we got here. They said it’s beautiful here and that we would like it a lot. Everything they said has been correct,” Donovan told reporters. “We are staying in a beautiful part of the city. We walk around in the afternoon and the people are very friendly. We feel safe here, we feel accepted here, and it’s been very nice to have a couple weeks to adapt to what it’s going to be like this summer.”
While the U.S. returned from South America and made changes to their roster, Korea Republic defeated Costa Rica 1-0 on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Kim Shin-wook scored the lone goal in a testy match between the two World Cup-bound nations that saw two Costa Ricans sent off.
Korea will now travel to San Antonio, Texas for their match with Mexico at the Alamo Dome on Wednesday before returning to face the U.S. on Saturday. Highlights of their victory over Costa Rica are below.
The U.S. National Team has spent the last two weeks in Sao Paulo as part of a "dry run" ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
During the two-week stay in Brazil, the U.S. has trained at the facilities of Sao Paulo FC and played a pair of scrimmages against their first team. The U.S. will head back to Southern California later this week ahead of their match against Korea Republic at StubHub Center.
In this video provided by U.S. Soccer, LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez and several of his U.S. teammates discuss the trip.
Check out the video below.
The LA Galaxy are moving ever closer to bolstering their midfield with the acquisition of Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki.
A report in the Los Angeles Times on Monday cited an unnamed Galaxy team official who states that the club has a photocopy of a signed contract from the Swedish international. Ishizaki, 31, is expected to head to Southern California later this week to make the deal official. According to the official, the Galaxy were drawn to the midfielder due to his proficiency at delivering set pieces, a distinct problem for LA in 2013 as the club tallied just seven goals off dead ball opportunities.
When asked about the deal, Ishizaki stated that he has had prior interest from MLS clubs including Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact as well as American colleges when he was younger.
“The American way of living attracts me. When I was younger, I had offers for scholarships in the U.S," Ishizaki told reporters in Sweden on Monday. “It has to suit my family and it has to be an interesting team. There is always some cities of the world that you'd rather live in."
Ishizaki has spent the last eight seasons with Elfsborg while tallying 46 goals and 58 assists in 156 appearances for the Borås-based club.
PHILADELPHIA - The LA Galaxy got a little deeper at center back on Thursday by drafting New Mexico defender Kyle Venter with the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.
I spoke to Venter and Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena for about the defender's Galaxy connections for LAGalaxy.com. In addition, I spoke to both about where the New Mexico defender fits into LA's system.
Check it out below.
PHILADELPHIA—The LA Galaxy may be out of the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, but that doesn’t bother head coach and general manager Bruce Arena.
On Tuesday, the Galaxy traded out of the first round by sending their 14th overall selection and Hector Jimenez to the Columbus Crew for the 23rd overall pick and allocation money. The pick is one of two Galaxy selections in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft as they also hold the 72nd overall draft choice in the fourth round, which will be held via conference call on Jan. 21. Although the deal took the Galaxy out of the first round for the first time since 2007, Arena is pleased with LA’s placement in the SuperDraft.
“I think that there is not a significant difference between the 14th pick and the 23rd pick. At 14, we’d be as bewildered as we are right now with number 23. We don’t know what is going to happen in front of us,” Arena told LA Galaxy Insider on Wednesday. “Our selection is going to be based on the 22 selections before us. We’ll likely look to shore up one, two or three positions that we think need a little bit of help i, but we can only make that decision based on what happens in the late first round.”
Arena, who attended the 2014 adidas MLS Players Combine in Florida along with other members of LA’s technical staff, admitted that the trade was not an indictment on the players that he observed, but rather the best move for the Galaxy at this time.
“We’ve put a lot of time into young players over the last two or three years and we have a fairly deep roster. It’s going to be difficult for anyone in this draft to make our team, so it wasn’t necessary to be a lot higher [in the draft] then where we are right now,” said Arena. “I don’t think it’ll make a major difference [for the Galaxy] and the trade helped us open up a roster spot [while also opening] up salary cap space. I think that in this particular year, this is the right type of move.”
Thoughts on Galaxy's deal?
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New LA Galaxy forward Samuel is ready to test himself in MLS with the LA Galaxy, but the 22-year-old admits that he's hoping to return to Brazil after acheiving success with LA.
In his farewell interview with Fluminense's website, Samuel stated that he's looking forward to his new opportuntiy with the Galaxy, but believes that he could return to the Brazilian side in the future. The 22-year-old forward joined LA last week on a year-long loan after tallying 15 goals in 72 appearances for the Rio de Janeiro-based club.
"I hope that with the arrival of [new head coach Renato Gaucho] things change for [Fluminense]," Samuel said. "But I am excited for this new opportunity [in MLS]."
The complete video which is in Portuguese is below.
PHILADELPHIA— The LA Galaxy may have traded out of the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, but if history tells us anything, there could be value with their 23rd pick in the second round.
There have been quite a few high value 23rd picks from U.S. National Team midfielder Graham Zusi and LA Galaxy legend – and Galaxy Academy Director – Peter Vagenas to U.S. National Team veteran and former LA Galaxy left back Eddie Lewis among others. In fact, the history of the 23rd selection—in my opinion—is much more illustrious than that of the 14th pick which was headlined by Shalrie Joseph, George John and Ned Grabavoy.
The complete history of the 23rd pick is below:
2013— Luke Spencer, New England Revolution -- Suffered an ACL tear in preseason and did not make the Revolution's roster. Spencer resumed training with New England at the end of the 2013 season.
2012—Lucky Moksana, Chicago Fire -- Did not make the Fire roster out of preseason. Currently a member of the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
2011—Michael Farfan, Philadelphia Union -- Finished third in rookie of the year voting in 2011, signed with Liga MX side Cruz Azul after three seasons with the Union.
2010—Ross LaBauex, Colorado Rapids -- Made 18 appearances with the Colorado Rapids before being waived in September 2012, signed with USL Pro club Rochester Rhinos in March 2013.
2009—Graham Zusi, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- A regular with Sporting Kansas City and the U.S. National Team, Zusi was an MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI Selection in 2012 and 2013. Zusi was an MLS MVP finalist in 2012.
2008—Yomby William, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- Did not make a competitive appearance for Kansas City and has spent the last five years with USL Pro side Rochester Rhinos.
2007—Ty Harden, Los Angeles Galaxy -- Galaxy defender of the year in 2007, Harden retired in 2008 to pursue philanthropic endeavors in Africa. Harden returned to soccer in 2009 and is currently with the San Jose Earthquakes.
2006—Willie Sims, New England Revolution -- Made nine appearances with the Revolution from 2006 to 2007 and last played with USL Premier Developmental League side Los Angeles Misioneros.
2005—Domenic Mediate, Columbus Crew -- Played three seasons in MLS with the Crew and D.C. United before ending his career in 2009 with the Puerto Rico Islanders.
2004—Jeremiah White, New England Revolution -- Spent most of his career in Europe and earned his lone U.S. National Team cap in 2008 during a friendly against Sweden at The Home Depot Center.
2003—Roger Levesque, San Jose Earthquakes -- Spent three seasons with San Jose winning MLS Cup in 2003, but then moved onto Seattle Sounders FC for the next 10 seasons where he became a club icon. Levesque is currently a University of Washington grad student.
2002—Jon Busch, Columbus Crew -- Currently with the San Jose Earthquakes, Busch is one of only six MLS goalkeepers all-time with more than 100 wins.
2001—Justin Evans, Chicago Fire -- Played in MLS for two seasons with three clubs. Current head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
2000—Peter Vagenas, Los Angeles Galaxy -- A two-time MLS Cup champion, Vagenas captained the LA Galaxy's 2005 MLS Cup winning side. After a 13-year career in MLS, Vagenas became the LA Galaxy Academy Director.
1999—Greg Sutton, Chicago Fire -- Longtime MLS goalkeeper who last played with the Montreal Impact.
1998—Jason Boyce, Colorado Rapids -- Bounced around MLS for three seasons and last played in MLS with the LA Galaxy reserves in 2010.
1997—Todd DeNault, Columbus Crew -- Released during preseason training camp, but no other information on DeNault was found.
1996—Eddie Lewis, San Jose Clash -- A left-sided defender who played four seasons with the San Jose Clash and was named to MLS Best XI in 1999. Lewis went on to play for Fulham, Leeds United and Derby County before joining the Galaxy in 2008. A U.S. National Team regular, Lewis appeared in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup.
The LA Galaxy were sorely lacking a target presence during their ill-fated 2013 campaign, but over the past seven days, LA have added two legitimate scoring options to their attacking arsenal.
Over the past week, the Galaxy have added two forwards in Brazilian forward Samuel and now Canadian international Rob Friend. Friend, 32, joins the Galaxy after an 11-year career in Europe that saw him tally 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.
Friend has spent the last two seasons with 1860 Munich making 24 appearances, but over the past season, he has played in 10 matches for the Die Löwen (The Lions) scoring a single goal. The 6-foot-5 forward’s final goal for Munich came on Sept. 21 when he notched a goal and an assist during a 3-1 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue. Friend’s performance against the Saxony-based club was a vintage target forward display as he was able to aid in the build-up of a goal with a well-time knockdown of a cross before tallying a goal himself off a corner kick minutes later.
Such aerial skills were at a premium for the Galaxy in 2013 as center back Omar Gonzalez was often the lone target for the Galaxy on set pieces and often heavily marked by opposing defenses. The presence of a target forward like Friend will only stand to aid LA on attacking set pieces by freeing up space for LA’s other attackers like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Although Friend brings a strong European pedigree to StubHub Center his minutes won’t be guaranteed as he’s expected to compete for the starting spot alongside Keane with the 22-year-old Samuel. Should either of the forwards lock down a starting place next to the Irishman, expect Donovan to drift back into the right side of midfield.
Highlights of Friend’s final goal for Munich are below.
The LA Galaxy bolstered their forward corps with yet another target forward on Monday signing Canadian international Rob Friend.
The 32-year-old striker spent the last two seasons with Bundesliga 2 club TSV 1860 Munich making 24 appearances for the German club while scoring five times. Throughout his 11-year career, Friend has scored 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.
“The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack,” said LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena in a club statement. “Rob is a veteran player with a scoring pedigree and we are excited to bolster our roster by bringing him to LA.”
Friend, who played a portion of his college soccer at U.C. Santa Barbara, also earned a total of 32 appearances for the Canadian National Team with two goals and two assists. The 6-foot-5 target forward is the second striker that the Galaxy have signed this year, with the club adding Brazilian striker Samuel earlier this month on loan from Brazilian side Fluminense.
Thoughts on Friend's signing? Do you think Samuel or Friend will earn a starting role alongside Robbie Keane?
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