SEATTLE- The day is finally here: LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC for a berth in the MLS Cup.
In the latest edition of the LA Galaxy TV Insider Breakdown, I take a look at three facets of the Western Conference Championship second leg.
Check it out above.
Robbie Keane says Gyasi Zardes must get back to basics if he's going to score against Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes took MLS by storm with 16 goals in his second season with the LA Galaxy, but since finding the back of the net on Sept. 28, the forward has been silent.
Recently, Zardes has seen his amount of chances dwindle from an average of just over a shot on goal per game after the New York Red Bulls match to just two chances in the entirety of his six-game scoring drought.
Although the 23-year-old forward has failed to bury his chances as of late, his strike partner, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane says Zardes must get back to basics if he’s going to find the back of the net against Seattle Sounders FC this weekend.
“He has to get back to understanding what got him here in the first place. The most important thing that he has to understand is to be a team player first. If you’re a team player first then everything else will take care of itself,” Keane said after training earlier this week. “He needs to get back to what he’s good at, which is getting behind the defense and creating opportunities. But when he gets those opportunities then he has to take them and in the last few games, he hasn’t. He needs to get back to that.
“Like any striker, you always go through stages where you don’t score and it plays in your mind. The most important thing is that he has to get that out of his head fairly quickly, because when you’re going into games thinking that you haven’t scored for a while, it’ll work against you. One thing that I would say is that when you get an opportunity, rather than be clever and try to place it, sometimes just put your foot through and try to smash it. Usually that has worked for me over the years when I haven’t scored in a few games.”
To his credit, Zardes agrees that if he’s going to find the back of the net in LA’s Western Conference Championship series, he has to be sharper in front of the net
“To be honest, I’m working extremely hard and there are numerous opportunities, but I'm just going to keep doing the same things that I've been doing. I've been unlucky, but the [chances] are there,” said Zardes. “I just think that I have to get on the end of crosses because if you look at my goals, they typically come with solid link-up play with Robbie.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Way back in July, the LA Galaxy were walloped 7-0 by Manchester United in the Chevrolet FC Cup at the Rose Bowl. Although the match meant nothing in the MLS regular season standings, a certain segment of the Galaxy believe that the "embarrassment" from that win helped propel the club to the Western Conference Championship.
In front of droves of fans at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy fell flat to a fierce United side that made quick work of LA's defense, particularly once the home side's first team was off the field. But since that defeat, LA has been a much different squad
Starting with a 3-0 domination of the very same Seattle Sounders FC team that they'll face on Sunday, the Galaxy have gone an impressive 10-3-4 since their defeat to the English Premier League club.
"It was embarrassing and we just turned a corner," said A.J. DeLaGarza. "Every year there is a game that turns everything around...it happened to Omar [Gonzalez] and I in college, it happens to us here."
Added Landon Donovan, "We don't put much stock into the final score, but we didn't play well. When we play well and lose then we can live with that and Bruce [Arena] can live with that. But when we lose and don't play well then that is unacceptable."
But Robbie Keane, who famously said that the defeat to Manchester United was a "kick in the ass" for the Galaxy, said that the match had no impact on his own thinking about LA's season.
"I literally haven't thought about Manchester United since that game," said Keane. "I don't pay any mind to preseason games, and it's even less when it's not our own preseason."
Robbie Keane returns from international duty fit for Western Conference Championship clash with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy welcomed back captain Robbie Keane from international duty on Tuesday ahead of this weekend's Western Conference Championship first leg clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
Keane spent the last week with the Republic of Ireland and saw limited second half action in their 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland last Friday. The match was the first time that Keane had been left on the substitute’s bench for a competitive international match in 13 years.
“I was disappointed with the result which wasn’t what [the Irish squad] wanted, but I move on and I’m fully focused on the game on Sunday,” Keane said on Tuesday following the team’s training session. “[Coming back early] gives me six days to get back into the swing of things for Sunday after the travel back from Europe.”
The 34-year-old noted that conversations between the Galaxy coaching staff and the Republic of Ireland allowed Keane to miss out on their 4-1 defeat over the United States on Tuesday. Not only does Keane’s return aid in his preparation for the Sounders match, but the Irish striker notes that he is “90-ish percent” back from a left hamstring ailment that plagued him for the last month.
Keane returns to a Galaxy squad that is the midst of their preparations for their clash with a Seattle side that clinched the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the Galaxy on Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field. Although the Galaxy felt the sting of that defeat after the Seattle match, Keane says that loss will have no impact on what happens on Sunday at StubHub Center.
“There’s no fear. You can’t have fear going into game like this. These are the games that you want to be playing in,” Keane said. “We can’t change about what happened in the past, but we can change what will happen on Sunday. We have to make sure that we go into the game with the right mentality and not thinking that is revenge.
“This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to have a chance to play for a championship and we have every opportunity to do so.”
The LA Galaxy have long been one of the banner clubs in MLS and it’s no surprise that they were well-represented in MLSsoccer.com’s All-Time Playoff XI.
The league’s website released their list on Monday with the Conference Championships starting later this week. Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2005, 2011, 2012) leads the charge for the Galaxy contingent which includes Chris Armas (LA Galaxy MLS Cup finalist in 1996), Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2005, 2011, 2012), and Brian Mullan (LA Galaxy MLS Cup champion in 2002).
Included in the list of honorable mentions are LA legends Mauricio Cienfuegos, Kevin Hartman and Cobi Jones as well as Galaxy MLS Cup winners Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Ned Grabavoy.
If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment below.
Robbie Keane sees limited minutes as Republic of Ireland fall 1-0 to Scotland in Euro 2016 qualifier
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane went 12 minutes as the Republic of Ireland fell 1-0 to rival Scotland in their Euro 2016 qualifying match at Celtic Park in Glasgow.
Keane started off the match on the bench as the two teams played to a tense scoreless draw until Shaun Mahoney's remarkable curling shot put the Scots up in the 74th minute. The Galaxy captain came on 74th minute, but was unable to help the Irish earn a draw. With the result, the Irish are now second in Group D behind top ranked Poland.
The Republic of Ireland return to action next week when they take on the United States on Wednesday, Nov. 19. Whether or not Keane participates in that match or returns to the Galaxy remains to be seen.
There's no feeling better than scoring a goal in the playoffs.
Ahead of the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship contest against Seattle Sounders FC, I joined Galaxy TV to look at the top five playoff goals in club history.
Check it out the video above and if you disagree with any of my selections, leave a comment below.
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane has been hobbled with a hamstring strain for several weeks, but during the LA Galaxy’s 5-0 demolition of Real Salt Lake, you’d have no idea that the club’s dynamic Irishman was carrying a knock.
Keane scored his eighth postseason goal in just his 14th playoff appearance in the Galaxy victory while also adding three assists to bring his career total to six since joining LA in 2011. Even though Keane’s ability to exploit the spaces provided by the Salt Lake defense appeared unhindered, the Irishman admitted after the game that he was in less than stellar condition.
“Honestly, I felt awful before the game,” Keane said. “Bad back for the last two days. Bad hamstring. I wasn't feeling great until the game started moving.”
Once the whistle blew, Keane seemed fit as a fiddle as he assisted on two goals by Landon Donovan as well as Marcelo Sarvas’ lone tally to lift the Galaxy to a comfortable result over the visitors.
“We knew we had to get the first goal. In the first ten minutes, we knew we had to get the first goal. Once we got that, they opened up even more and we got the second one early as well. I think for them then the game was over,” said Keane. “They had to go for goal, so obviously there was a lot of space for us to counterattack and defend well. That's the reason we won the game. We showed intensity from the start to the finish.”
Even though Keane is carrying a number of knocks, there will be little time to rest for the Irishman who will join up with the Republic of Ireland for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland at Celtic Park in Glasgow on Nov. 14 before playing the U.S. National Team four days later in London.
Keane is scheduled to return to the Galaxy prior to their Western Conference Finals first leg against the winner of the Seattle Sounders FC/FC Dallas series.
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.”