CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal is back and the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player believes that he has plenty to prove returning to Southern California.
In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, Villarreal talks about his frustrations with his stint with Cruz Azul and his eagerness to shine for Galaxy II. Villarreal failed to register a single appearance for the Cruz Azul first team, but scored in his first appearance for Los Dos last weekend in their loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
More of Jose Villarreal's thoughts on coming back are below.
(On whether he regrets his transfer to Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “I wouldn’t say regret, but it was a challenge. But it was a challenge that I learned a lot from. It wasn’t really a failure or a little disappointment. It was something like I went to Mexico with a mentality to do well, and it didn’t go my way. I came back with the same mentality, and I will try to do the same thing that I’ve been doing here.”
(On whether he was disappointed in the way it ended…)
VILLARREAL: “Maybe if I had gotten few more games, then my decision would have been a lot tougher. So it is what it is, and I’m happy with that.”
(On the main lesson that he learned in Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “Lifestyle is different obviously, but the society isn’t as wealthy as it is here. So, you can see the difference of the way players live versus the way that the people live. So that was the learning off the field. And on the field, it was a different kind of soccer, and got to learn it the first two years that I was here, so from the five months that I was there, I will try to bring what I learned over there and mix it up with the style over here.”
(On whether the biggest regret at Mexico was not getting enough minutes…)
VILLARREAL: “I think that was what it was. I was coming from being on the bench and getting few minutes with the Galaxy here and there, and few starts, and Champions League. So, I went down there and I couldn’t play the Champions League because of the rule, and those games were good, and we ended up winning the Champions League, so it would have been good to get into those games, but as you said not being able to get minutes. Maybe I could have waited, but I didn’t so, we’ll see what happens from now. Most of the minutes that I was getting were with the U-20s. I think I played 10 minutes with the Hidalgo team, so it was a bit frustrating but it was just some bumps on the road and I just got to keep going.”
(On the differences between top players in Mexico and in the USA…)
VILLARREAL: “From the top players like top players like Robbie Keane, who is from oversea, 90% chance is a goal. So he is the guy that you want on your team. You could see the difference. For example, Gyasi has been great this season. Last season, he had a lot of opportunities and he was working on it. Now you give this player minutes there is confidence when he steps on the field. Just keep going and the result is going well so I’m happy for him.”
(On any first team aspirations that he holds…)
VILLARREAL: “I haven’t really talked about that. I’m focused, right now, and I’m looking to make a full commitment with [Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo] and the second team. I am happy to be with Curt. I’ve been working with him for a while and he is a good coach.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Red hot LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes is traveling to Portland for Monday's Chipotle Homegrown Game, but don't expect the forward to play a role for the MLS Homegrowns against the Portland Timbers U-23 team.
Zardes was selected for Monday's event along with fellow Galaxy HGP Bradford Jamieson IV, but after Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Timbers, the 22-year-old striker admitted that with the Galaxy playing the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, he's expecting to see limited action -- at most -- in the Homegrown Game.
"I'm going to play it by ear, but I highly doubt [I'll play]," said Zardes who landed in Portland on Sunday. "But I'm the guy that if they tell me to do something then I'll do it."
Keeping Zardes off the field in the Homegrown match is certainly advantageous to the Galaxy as the second-year forward is currently on a torrid scoring run that has seen him tally seven goals in his last eight games. Although he's already enjoying a career season with eight goals and one assist, the 22-year-old forward is trying his best to stay grounded.
"Now that [the game against Portland] is over, I don't look back. I'm not going to fantazise about all the goals that I've scored," said Zardes. "The next game [that I play] when I'm in that moment, I'm thinking [I have] zero goals. I have to prove myself."
CARSON, Calif. -- Stop the presses, the LA Galaxy have finally scored from a penalty kick.
Robbie Keane scored from the spot in the 85th minute of the LA Galaxy's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers after Juninho was brought down in the penalty area by Diego Chara. The goal may have simply padded the scoreline of the team's win over the Timbers, but it was significant as LA had previously failed in three prior attempts to score on a penalty kick.
Although Robbie Keane shrugged off the fact that the Galaxy were the only team in MLS yet to convert from the spot, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted it was good for his team to -- at long last -- find the back of the net on a penalty.
"Robbie [Keane] takes the penalties [for us] and that’s the first one we’ve made this year," said Arena. "We were the only team in the league which hadn’t converted a penalty this year, so it’s nice to get that monkey off our backs.”
CARSON, Calif. – For the first time since April, LA Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant made his return to a game day roster as he looks to return to the starting XI.
Dunivant has been sidelined since early April after suffering an abdominal injury during LA’s match against Chivas USA that later required surgery. For the 33-year-old left back, the chance to sit on the team’s bench during their 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers was a joy as he looks to inch closer to game fitness.
“It was good to get back in with the guys. I’m obviously training now so it’s awesome,” said Dunivant. “An ideal world, I’d love to get some time with Galaxy II and build my way in, but I’ve had a week of training and I just want to build on it. Fitness and soccer fitness are different things.
“We’ll see how the week of training goes, but we need to talk to Curt [Onalfo] and get his assessment, but I’d love to get a game there.”
Said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, “He’s coming back. He’s been out since early April. We have to start to get him moving again and maybe even get him a game with LA Galaxy II.”
But whether he’ll start once he does returns to full fitness is still a question mark due to the stellar play of Robbie Rogers. Rogers put in yet another strong performance on the left side of defense adding an assist on the team’s opener while also earning plenty of praise from Arena.
“I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him,” said Arena. “But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”
But Dunivant acknowledges that despite Rogers’ success, he won’t be ceding the position.
“He’s done really well,” said Dunivant. “That’s great and that’s what you want to see. No complaints from me. It’s a good problem for Bruce to have.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 2, 2014
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to reporters following the team's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers.
Check his thoughts below.
(On the team’s performance in the win….)
ARENA: “It wasn’t similar to the other day. We fell behind a goal. It’s good for our team to be in a hard game against a good team. We prevailed, obviously. The goal at the end of the first half was big. Second half, they came at us with a little bit more energy and created a couple of chances. Obviously, the Keane goal was the difference. But I thought overall it was a good 90 minutes for our team. We were sloppy at times in the first half. We could have been a little bit cleaner. Technically, in and around the goal area, we could have create another goal or two, but overall it was a good performance. We are on a good run, and hopefully we keep getting better.”
(On success of Gyasi Zardes…)
ARENA: “He’s doing well. Big goal obviously. A lot of little things, he’s getting better. He’s running off the ball better .He’s holding the ball better. He’s passing better. Everything’s improved and I think playing next to Robbie [Keane] is important. Robbie’s doing a good job helping him move along .Landon [Donovan] had another good effort tonight. Backline performed well.”
(On Robbie Rogers playing left back…)
ARENA: “I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him. But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”
(On coming back from behind to win…)
ARENA: “I think anytime you win a game when you are trailing is important. It shows character. The goal came against run of play. [Stefan] Ishizaki got his head onto the ball and deflected it. Then end up getting a goal. Probably their only shot of the first half. It was a little bit against run of play.”
(On the team’s performance so far this season…)
ARENA: “We are, what, second place now in the Western Conference, against teams that have a couple games in hand on us. We have the best defensive record in the league. We are probably in the top three or four in attacking categories. We are getting healthier. I give the team a B plus. [For] the coach [i give] a C-minus goes with my grade point average in college.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday in a brunch time 11:30 a.m. PT match.
In the latest edition of "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's success against Portland at home.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are throwing out the records when they take on the Portland Timbers on the Fourth of July.
Both the Galaxy (5-3-5) and Portland (4-5-8) have endured frustrating seasons that featured up-and-down form that has the two sides are currently outside the five Western Conference playoff places. For all the Timbers struggles, they still boast one of the league's most talented attacks that includes Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe and Fanedo Adi.
Against the Timbers, the Galaxy will look to extend their league unbeaten run to five games and build upon last Saturday's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
"[Portland Timbers] are a little bit of a tricky team to scout. If you watch them last week against Kansas City, they lost the game, but you see so many flashes of greatness which is what you saw last year," said Landon Donovan. "It's dangerous because they're a team that if they turn it on then they're a very good team and they can beat you. We don't know what we're going to get, but we expect a really good game."
Soccer has caught the attention of America over the past month and now MLS kicks back into full swing with a slate of games this weekend.
MLSsoccer.com gets you excited for the action with this hype video.
CARSON, Calif. – Injuries and international departures have wreaked havoc on the LA Galaxy’s depth this season, but the team received a bit of good news this week about the status of center back Leonardo.
Following the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers, Time Warner Cable Deportes’ Elmur Souza reported that Leonardo suffered a broken finger on his right hand in the match that would require surgery. Following training on Tuesday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena revealed that despite the injury, Leonardo is not expected to miss any time.
“He picked up an injury with his finger, but I think that he’s going to be fine,” said Arena. “We expect him to play [against Houston].”
However, Leonardo was slightly more cautious as he admitted that he was still taking his recovery “day by day” with the hopes of starting against the Dynamo.
“I feel okay, but a little bit sore. After 48 hours, I can feel more pain after the surgery, but it’s nothing crazy,” Leonardo told LA Galaxy Insider. “We’ll see how I feel. I trained [on Wednesday], but the problem is that when I’m defending I use a lot of my hands. I just have to be careful and we’ll give it time.”
Thoughts on Leonardo likely keeping his starting role on Saturday against Houston?
Share them below.