Omar Gonzalez excited for the chance to develop more chemistry with Matt Besler ahead of 2014 FIFA World Cup
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez admits that the left knee injury suffered two weeks ago left him a bit nervous, but now that he’s on the U.S. National Team’s 30-man preliminary roster, he’s looking to make the most of his opportunities.
Now that Gonzalez is on the U.S. preliminary squad, he’s expected to contend for a starting role which is a spot that he’s held alongside Sporting Kansas City center back Matt Besler for much of World Cup qualifying. With less than a month before the tournament, Gonzalez is excited about the chance to develop even more chemistry with the Sporting center back.
“In the end, it’s going to be up to Jurgen for who he wants paired up in the back, but my experience with Matt Besler is that I really enjoy playing with him. He’s very confident on the ball and is a great defender,” Gonzalez told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday. “We have a great chemistry on the field and this camp is only going to make things better. We’re going to be around one another every day for a month before the first game and we can really work on things to shore up the back line.
“This camp is very crucial to building relationships all over the field, not just Besler, but with my right back, my left back and Howard,” added Gonzalez. “Increasing all those relationships and know that you know what everyone is going to do so that you don’t have to think about it and can minimize mistakes.”
As for what he believes that the team needs to work on ahead of their June 16 clash with Ghana? Gonzalez believes that there are multiple aspects of the game that the U.S. must tighten up ahead of their trip to Brazil.
“We need to stay compact, we need to stay organize and be louder on the field,” said Gonzalez. “Those are all things that can get a little bit better to make sure that you’re on top of things. Little things like that which can always get better make a big difference.”
CARSON, Calif. -- No matter what you call it, whether it is Providence Park or JELD-WEN Field, Portland has not been kind to the LA Galaxy.
In a total of four matches in Portland, the Galaxy have gone 1-3-0 while conceding nine goals and tallying six -- five of which came in LA's only win in July 2012. A year ago, Portland was again a house of horrors for the Galaxy as they dropped a pair of results due to defensive breakdowns that negated otherwise strong performances.
As LA head into their first match and only match of the regular season in Portland, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane spoke of the Galaxy's recent struggles in the Rose City.
"It's a difficult place to go. There's a good atmosphere which is good and they're so used to playing on the turf that they know it better than anyone else," said Keane. "It's a tough game and always a place to go."
Mexico unveiled their 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and headlining the squad is former New York Red Bulls defender and frequent nemesis of the U.S. National Team Rafael Marquez.
El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera named his squad on Friday which includes Manchester United forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Villarreal attacker Giovani Dos Santos, Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, California-born Toluca midfielder Isaac Brizuela, and of course, Marquez. The 2014 World Cup will be the fourth for the Mexico captain, who is expected to become the first player to captain a nation at four World Cups.
Although Marquez is no longer the player who was a star at FC Barcelona years ago, LA Galaxy head coach and former U.S. national team boss Bruce Arena believes that he’s still vital for Mexico.
“At his age, they’re highly dependent on his experience more than anything. He’s not no-longer a great one-on-one defender, but he has experience so if he can fit in their system and communicate and organize a team then he’s extremely important. They’ve gotten surprisingly good play out of him in the last year and he’s a competitive and fiery player.
“It’s hard for me to say this, but I wish him the best," Arena added. "He’s been good for the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico because without him, we wouldn’t have had some of the excitement that we’ve had."
Another one of Marquez’s traditional adversaries Landon Donovan agreed with Arena’s assessment about the former Red Bulls man’s importance to El Tri.
“They’ve been a better team with him. I think a big problem for them last year when they went through their struggles was their lack of leadership. They didn’t have guys on the field that you could really lean on. He’s been very helpful them,” said Donovan. “He’s not nasty. Like a lot of players, sometimes he loses his head a little bit, but he’s always been relatively respectful after the whistle, but he has moments like all of us.”
Mexico’s full squad is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
DEFENDERS: Rafa Marquez (Leon), Diego Reyes (Porto), Miguel Layun (America), Paul Aguilar (America), Andres Guardado (Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres UANL)
MIDFIELDERS: Carlos Pena (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Juan Carlos Medina (America), Luis Montes (Leon), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon)
FORWARDS: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna)
The LA Galaxy haven't had the best of luck from the penalty spot as of late, but is it time for the team to make a change?
During LA's 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane missed his second penalty kick of the season -- the last also resulting in a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on March 8 -- which led to considerable chatter on social media about whether or not the Irishman should keep his position as the team's primary penalty taker. It bears mentioning that Keane took the role from Landon Donovan a year ago after the U.S. international missed two penalties in games that ended in 1-0 defeats.
Following training on Thursday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that he has faith in both players to finish their next opportunity, but he wouldn't say who will be taking the spot kicks from here on out.
"I think those two are the best penalty kick takers in the league, but whoever grabs that ball and wants it can have it," said Arena. "Odds are they’re not going to miss too many of those from here on in."
Now that Arena has chimed in, who do you believe should take the penalties going forward for the Galaxy?
ESPN's award-winning series 30 for 30 took an inside look at the U.S. National Team's road to Brazil in their upcoming feature series that looks into the team's 100 days of preparation before the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Check out the ESPN trailer, which features Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez below.
The LA Galaxy will take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday as they look to move forward in their fledgling 2014 regular season campaign.
Ahead of the team's trip to Colorado, head coach Bruce Arena, right back Dan Gargan and forward Landon Donovan spoke to LAGalaxy.com about thematch.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will take on former teammate Pablo Mastroeni on Saturday as the former LA midfielder turned Colorado Rapids will look to lead Colorado to a victory past his former club.
You can read my piece on the Galaxy facing off against Mastroeni here, but below Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena offers his take on whether playing success means a hill of beans when it comes to success in the coaching ranks.
"If that was the case, Diego Maradona would have been a great coach. Pele would be coaching. Ruud Gullit would still be coaching at Galaxy," Arena told LA Galaxy Insider earlier this week. "Playing experience…you can almost throw out the window when it comes to coaching. There is not a lot of correlation. It helps but there is not really a correlation. Coaching and playing are two different animals and two different skill sets."
Think Arena is right? What high-profile player in world soccer and MLS do you believe would make the best coach?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – If Landon Donovan is going to take hold of the MLS all-time regular season goal scoring record before the World Cup, he’ll have to do it fast.
With the 30-man U.S. preliminary squad for the World Cup congregating in Stanford, Calif., on May 14, Donovan has just two league matches left with the Galaxy, starting with Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
Although plenty of focus has been placed on Donovan’s pursuit of the league’s all-time regular season goal record, the Galaxy forward is putting little emphasis on the record.
“It’s been quite a while now that we’ve been talking about the goal,” said Donovan. “I want to keep playing well and have the team continue to play well. Eventually the goal will come, but right now the focus is on as a team.”
Will Donovan get the 135th goal on Saturday?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers is getting significant time with Galaxy II, but according to head coach Bruce Arena, he’s got a ways to go before he returns to the first team.
Rogers went 83 minutes for Galaxy II in their 3-0 victory on Sunday while also drawing the foul that led to Rafael Garcia’s opening goal. The match was Rogers’ third appearance for Los Dos as he looks to return to full fitness after a stress reaction injury caused him to miss the preseason.
Arena has been keeping close tabs on Rogers during his stint with Los Dos, but admits that while progress has been made, the midfielder still has work left to do.
“He's played okay,” said Arena of Rogers performance with Galaxy II. “He has to be playing a bit quicker and move the ball better. He missed the whole preseason so he’s got to get fitter.”
When do you think that Rogers will return to the first team?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – Haji Wright isn’t the only member of his family that is making waves in international soccer.
Haji’s younger brother Hanif, an LA Galaxy Academy Under-14 scored on Sunday as he helped lead the United States U-15 Boys Team to a 3-2 victory against their counterparts from China PR in their final match of the Torneo delle Nazioni. Wright has been one of the shining stars of the Galaxy U-14 side with 13 goals in 15 games during the U.S. Soccer Development Academy campaign as the team has enjoyed a 13-4-3 record this season.
A video of Hanif Wright’s goal can be seen below.