CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy booked their ticket to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in six years on Sunday with a 5-0 trouncing of Real Salt Lake in their Western Conference Semifinal second leg.
LA will play the winner of Monday night's match between FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. The match will take place at 7:30 p.m. PT and will air on NBCSN.
Before you pay any attention to that one, however, relive the Galaxy victory through the stunningly awesome photos from the Mora Photography crew.
Check them out below.
CARSON, Calif. – A year ago this week, the LA Galaxy saw their “Quest for Three” consecutive MLS Cups fall short against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. This Sunday, it will be Salt Lake traveling to StubHub Center with the chance to eliminate the Galaxy from the postseason and prevent them from being the “First to Five” MLS Cup titles.
Salt Lake simply need a draw in which goals are scored or a victory to end LA’s postseason dreams while the Galaxy need a win or a penalty kick shootout victory to advance.
A year ago, it was the Galaxy who needed a win or a draw in which goals were scored to go through after winning the first leg at StubHub Center 1-0 on a Sean Franklin screamer from distance. However, in the windy Utah conditions, the Galaxy found themselves overmatched as the Claret-and-Cobalt found goals from Sebastian Velasquez and Chris Schuler to defeat LA after 120 minutes.
Although the Galaxy find themselves in a similar situation against Salt Lake, Robbie Keane believes LA are stronger than the team that crashed out of the playoffs a year ago.
“We’re certainly in better position than last year in terms of the players that we have this year,” said Keane. “We have more experienced players and the players that we had last year are a year old and a year better. In terms of that, we’re good with the experience that we have.”
Added Robbie Rogers, “It does feel different. We went on the road last year and I think that there is a little more excitement when you’re in front of your home fans and while we were all up for it in Salt Lake, we know our record at home and what type of attractive soccer that we can play here. We just want to take them out of their comfort zone and show we can perform at home.”
While Keane and Rogers admitted that the team feels different than the one that failed to advance, Marcelo Sarvas disagreed, but noted that LA’s experience could tip the balance on Sunday.
“Every year is different and you can’t compare teams because they have different players who are in different moments,” said Sarvas. “But we have been through this before. We know how it is to play against Salt Lake…Now we’re at our home and we’re going to go for goals and go to win the game.”
Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane among those featured in four LA Galaxy hype videos for Real Salt Lake clash
LAGalaxy.com produced four hype videos for this Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal second leg clash with Real Salt Lake over the past week.
The videos which were produced by Galaxy videographer Albert Lanzillo feature Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Jaime Penedo, and Gyasi Zardes
Check them out below.
Robbie Keane: If we go down, we go down fighting
Gyasi Zardes: I've been waiting my whole life for this opportunity
Jaime Penedo: I can not disappoint the fans
Landon Donovan: It's now or never
Ahead of Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal second leg against Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy players Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Dan Gargan previewed the match.
Check it out above.
CARSON, Calif. –To advance from the Western Conference, the LA Galaxy understand that they must breach the man lovingly referred to by Real Salt Lake fans as the “Wall of Wasatch.”
Since his triumph over the Galaxy in the 2009 MLS Cup, Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando has proven himself to be one of the finest ‘keepers in all of MLS. And amid that rise, Rimando has consistently been a thorn in the Galaxy’s side as his stellar goalkeeping has proven to be Salt Lake’s primary weapon against LA’s dynamic attack.
"He's quick and sharp. He's very agile and there's a reason that he's in the national team. He's a good goalkeeper," said Galaxy striker Robbie Keane. "But hopefully, he's not too good on Sunday."
During the first leg, Rimando was rarely tested as the Galaxy forced him to make just one save in the scoreless draw. But if LA are to advance on Sunday, Landon Donovan says the Galaxy must challenge RImando early and often.
"We have to put him under pressure, we have to create chances, we have to hit the target," said Landon Donovan who has scored eight goals all-time against Rimando. "You have to keep making him make spectacular saves. He's not going to give us any goals, we know that. If we're going to get a goal then we have to earn it and we're prepared to do that."
Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane expect LA Galaxy offense to come alive in decisive second leg with RSL
SANDY, Utah— No team found the back of the net more during the 2014 MLS regular season than the LA Galaxy, but the team’s recent struggles in front of net threaten to deny LA a chance to win their fifth MLS Cup.
Since the end of their 10-game unbeaten run that saw the Galaxy tally 31 goals -- nearly half of their season total of 69 --the LA offense has fallen silent. In their last four games, the Galaxy have scored only four times including a scoreless effort in their Western Conference Semifinals first leg draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
LA’s inability to find the back of the net in their final three regular season matches were cited as reasons that the team’s bid for the Supporters’ Shield fell short, but despite failing to find the back of the net at Rio Tinto Stadium, the Galaxy are confident of breaking out of their recent offensive malaise with their season on the line next week
"We're fine on offense. We know how to score goals. It wasn't crucial tonight that we score,” said Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan. “We had some chances where we need to make a better pass or pull off a play that we didn't, but we have a lot of confidence that when we play at home, we'll create a lot of chances. It's creating the chances - which we'll do - and then hitting the net."
With the Galaxy unable to maintain the possession needed to place Salt Lake under sustained pressure and the blustery conditions limiting their service from wide positions, the LA attack became heavily reliant on counter attacks. But despite several dangerous thrusts forward, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando needed to make just a single save in Saturday's scoreless draw.
But heading back to StubHub Center where the Galaxy held a 12-1-4 record in the regular season, captain Robbie Keane says that LA's gameplan will look considerably different than at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“We’re fairly comfortable and confident that we can get them at our place," said Keane. "Most teams that come into [StubHub Center] find it hard to play there and hopefully with the tempo that we usually play and the offensive mind that we have when we do attack then we’ll be okay.”
CARSON, Calif. –The addition of Los Angeles Football Club to MLS in 2017 may not change much for LA Galaxy club president Chris Klein, but LA’s players admit that they hope a new rivalry will be born in Southern California.
After the dissolution of Chivas USA earlier this week, MLS unveiled the powerhouse ownership group of LAFC—a “working title” and not the team’s official name—at a press conference along Sunset Boulevard on Thursday. The group included many of the same faces that took ownership of the Dodgers several years earlier including Lakers great Ervin “Magic” Johnson.
While not much is known about what the team once they finally take the field in two years, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane said that he was excited to see the club join MLS.
“I think it will be exciting. What I will say about Chivas is that when you’re around the dressing room and locker room and you see these guys walking and people in the background, unfortunately they’ve lost their jobs, you know? For me it’s a shame,” said Keane. “Maybe the league could do something about that. But I think it’s exciting for the league. I’m sure if they get a new team, whatever they call it, it’ll get more [players] that want to come here. I’m excited about it.
“I think it’s good though because we need a fierce rivalry. If you look at Seattle and Portland, they’re good rivalries. With Chivas, I wouldn’t really call that a rivalry, to be honest with you,” he added. “We were in the same building, but with the declared attendance what they had … I’m used to playing these derby games where you had 60,000 people throwing abuse at each other, which is good in a friendly way. We didn’t really have that hear, hopefully we can have that with the new team.
Landon Donovan agreed that the addition of LAFC in 2017 will only enrich the local soccer landscape.
“I think it’s great. This city, when Chivas were good, it made this rivalry good and made it special for everyone,” Donovan said. “Obviously they’ve had a tough time with a lot of different things over the years, but I think having a chance to have new ownership obviously a new brand and a new team is fantastic for this market. I think it can only bring positives.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane says that he's ready to go for Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake after missing out on the LA Galaxy's regular season finale last week.
Keane told reporters on Friday that a hamstring strain prevented him from taking part in LA's 2-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC, but admitted that he expects to be fit in time for the first leg of Western Conference Semifinal against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
"I trained last couple of days and my hamstring seems okay. Obviously I would have played. I think [people] know me well enough now to know that I will not to stay out of games unless it’s legit," said Keane. "I should be okay for Saturday."
Head coach Bruce Arena echoed Keane's optimism stating that the Irishman has no intention of missing out on the playoff game.
“Robbie could play if he had a broken leg,” Arena joked. “It was just precaution to hold him out. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t say he could play with a broken leg, but he would try anyway."
Having Keane back in the squad is a major boost for the Galaxy after a frustrating performance against Seattle that saw LA dominate in shots, but fail to find the back of the net. And with the captain back to full fitness -- plus Omar Gonzalez returning from suspension -- the Irishman believes that the Galaxy are well-equipped to make a deep playoff run.
"I think we’re more prepared [than 2013]," said Keane. "[We have a] better squad of players, more experienced players who understand how the playoffs go."
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."
For their must-win match on Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC, the LA Galaxy are intending to go back to black.
LA will wear their alternate third kits for Saturday's clash at CenturyLink Field in a fashion repeat of the team's jersey choice during their 3-0 win over Seattle back in July. Since introducing the jerseys during the 2013 campaign, the Galaxy have enjoyed immense success with a 5-0-1 record in the 1996-inspired uniforms. Donning the kit also typically means goals for the Galaxy as the team has scored an impressive 19 times in the jerseys while conceding just three times.
But no one has enjoyed more success in the alternate uniforms than Robbie Keane who has tallied eight of the Galaxy's 19 goals in the jerseys.