Seattle Sounders FC
Bruce Arena: LA Galaxy in excellent position for a Supporters' Shield challenge heading into final two games
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan described the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 defeat to FC Dallas as a wakeup call for a team that is in the heat of a chase for the Supporters’ Shield with first place Seattle Sounders FC.
But head coach Bruce Arena’s response to that claim by his retiring superstar was, well, decidedly different.
When broached about Donovan’s comments during the team’s training session on Tuesday, Arena offered a blunt, “whatever.”
“A team that has been on the run that we’ve had, I don’t think that we need a wakeup call. I think that we’re well-aware of what is going on,” said Arena. “Maybe it’s good for Landon because he’s been experiencing the riches of his retirement and now he can get on with some business.”
As for whether or not he wished that the team could have been in better positioning heading into the final two games against the Sounders , Arena offered another trademark shrug.
“We’ve been trailing this thing by 10 to 12 points [for most of the season],” said Arena. “I’d say that we are in excellent position. There’s nothing wrong with being even [on points] with a home game.”
SEATTLE— It had been quite some time since Omar Gonzalez donned the LA Galaxy uniform, but the center back made sure that his first stint for LA since May was a successful one as he helped the Galaxy keep a clean sheet in a 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.
In his first appearance back, Gonzalez and center back partner A.J. DeLaGarza were rarely tested as the Galaxy sought to maintain possession and press the Sounders early. When Seattle did push forward, outside backs Robbie Rogers and Dan Gargan limited the Sounders’ service in wide position allowing Gonzalez and DeLaGarza to focus solely on containing the likes of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
It’s been maybe like three months since I’ve worn the Galaxy jersey and been out there with my teammates and so coming out here tonight in beautiful Seattle, in front of so many fans, was just a great feeling. Specifically getting three points and doing it in the fashion that we did was just amazing,” Gonzalez said. “[Getting the shutout] meant everything to us. There were a couple of times when even Robbie [Keane] and Landon [Donovan] were saying [to the team] ‘we don’t give up a goal.’
“And that just goes to show how committed we were to really making a statement and showing that this is the second half of the season and we’re ready. And even though we were up 3-0, but we didn’t want to give any goals.”
Despite all the optimistic surrounding the victory, Gonzalez insisted that the Galaxy back four still had plenty of work left to accomplish if they’re to make a push for the Supporters’ Shield during the stretch run.
“I think we still need a little bit of work, going forward I think there are some things that we need to work on but tonight I thought we did well,” said Gonzalez. “Seattle didn’t have much going [forward]; I don’t think they got a shot [on goal] until maybe the 70th minute or something, so if we can keep on doing that, we’re going to be in a good spot.”
Following their convincing 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC on Monday evening, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Marcelo Sarvas were named to MLSscocer.com's Team of the Week.
Donovan and Sarvas had a hand in all three Galaxy goals with Donovan ending the evening with one goal and two assists while the Brazilian tallied one assist in a dominant performance in central midfield. Meanwhile Gonzalez was confident in defense in his first match back from an ankle injury as LA silenced the Sounders attack.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was also named Coach of the Week while right back Dan Gargan was named to the team of the week bench.
SEATTLE— It was the moment that left U.S. National Team fans aghast.
In the third minute of first half stoppage time of the LA Galaxy’s 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, a scuffle ensued between LA’s Omar Gonzalez and Seattle’s Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin.
The sequence began when Yedlin went up for a header with A.J. DeLaGarza and appeared to launch an elbow at the Galaxy center back. Gonzalez spotted hard challenge and promptly pushed Yedlin to the pitch with Demspey descending upon his USMNT teammate moments later for a heated exchange. For his role in the tussle, only Omar Gonzalez earned a caution from as tempers remained high between both sides throughout the rest of the Galaxy’s road win.
The altercation between the two teams led to plenty of attention during the game, but after the match it was hardly mentioned as only Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan addressed the in-game tension.
“It’s enjoyable. It’s competitive, and our team wasn’t going to back down and we don’t want guys to back down. We don’t want to be stupid, but we want to be competitive and Seattle is the same way,” Donovan said. “Sigi [Schmid] is an excellent coach and he always has them ready to go. All that stuff happens after the game. You shake hands and you move on, but it was a good game, it was a competitive game, but a clean game.”
SEATTLE -- Marcelo Sarvas enjoyed one of his strongest perfomances of 2014 having a hand in each of the LA Galaxy's goals in their 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in front of one very special attendee -- his father Emilio.
The performance was made just a bit more special by the presence of his father who watched the match from the sidelines of CenturyLink Field. Throughout his 90 minute shift, Sarvas' presence in the center of the park was vital as he routinely forced Seattle midfielders to make costly turnovers and eventually ended the match with an impressive 11 recoveries, seven tackles won and three interceptions.
On the offensive side of the ball, Sarvas had his fingerprints over all three Galaxy goals as he provided an unlocking pass in LA's first and third strikes while also firing a shot from distance that led to Landon Donovan's goal just before the 20 minute mark.
But Sarvas admitted that the win was made a tad more meaningful with his father in attendance.
"Landon told him that he must stay because he brought us good luck. I'm very happy and every year I want to do my best," said Sarvas. "You have to fight [for your place] every season so to have him here makes everything that much more important for me. He's always supported me throughout my career so I'm very happy that he saw me playing and he'll be going home to Brazil next week with a good impression of my play."
SEATTLE -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters following the LA Galaxy's 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.
His quotes are below.
(On the game…)
ARENA: “The team played well. It was a good performance on the road and a good performance if you were at home. Our guys played well tonight. They looked sharp.”
(On Marcelo Sarvas’ play…)
ARENA: “He played well. He played a good 90 minutes on both sides of the ball. It was a really good performance.”
(On what he said at halftime…)
ARENA: “Win the game. Our objective is to win the game and we did a pretty smart job in the second half. It could’ve been a little bit better, but good enough to get the win.”
(On why they dominated so much in the first half…)
ARENA: “We played well. We looked sharp and, you know, it’s mid-year right now. Everyone is still finding themselves. We’re just beginning to get our team on the field. After a half a season of misery, having to deal with the injuries and the absences and all that, hopefully we’ll get a little bit more of a solidified unit.”
(On the return of Omar Gonzalez…)
ARENA: “Omar hasn’t played with us for three months so it was great to get him back on the field.”
(On Robbie Rogers and Dan Gargan’s play…)
ARENA: “They played well. Our entire team played well tonight. It was a good performance and it was nice to get that group on the field. It was probably the first time they’ve played together this year.”
(On if the slow schedule at the beginning of the year helps with getting momentum now…)
ARENA: “The schedule at the beginning of the year helps nobody. It was a terrible schedule and made it very awkward and difficult to get our team moving in the right direction. That’s all part of it as well. We’re trying to catch up now. We’re only 18 games in at this point in the season and we’d like to have a few more. We have a real challenge ahead of us going into the second half of the season.”
(On the intelligence of his team’s play…)
ARENA: “We didn’t have to be pretty in the second half. Our goal is to win the game and I thought they played a smart game. Getting a clean sheet was important.”
(On if Chad Marshall playing would’ve made a difference for Seattle…)
ARENA:“Everybody misses players. It’s all part of it. He certainly is a good player. Would he have made a difference in the game? I don’t know.”
(On the team’s play as of late…)
ARENA:“I think over the last 10 games, we’re like 6-1-3 or something. It’s not like we’re playing bad.”
(On if the result against Manchester United may have motivated the team…)
ARENA: “It has nothing to do with anything. It’s just an exhibition. We could’ve cared less whether we won or lost that game. It’s an exhibition. It’s good for Manchester United. It’s good for the Galaxy. It’s good for the fans that came to the game, and that’s the most important thing. If you read anything more into exhibitions, then you probably don’t know what you’re watching. Having said that, if we play them 10 times, there’s a good chance they’ll beat us 10 times so let’s be fair about that.”
Are you ready for some Monday Night Soccer?
The LA Galaxy will take on Seattle Sounders FC on Monday night in the first meeting of the year between the two Western Conference rivals. The match will air on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. PT.
I get you set for the game with my look ahead to the match below.
*The LA Galaxy will be donning their "unbeaten" black third uniforms on Monday for their match against Seattle Sounders. To date, LA is 3-0-1 in the alternate uniforms.
*One player who has had plenty of success against Seattle is Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, who has scored seven times against Sounders FC in the past.
*Against Seattle, the LA Galaxy are expecting to welcome back defender Omar Gonzalez from injury. After skipping LA's loss to Manchester United, the Galaxy center back is hoping to go a full 90 minutes against Seattle.
*Speaking of that defeat to Manchester United, the Galaxy insist that there will be no hangover from the disappointing 7-0 defeat.
*It's been quite a week for Galaxy Homegrown Player Bradford Jamieson IV, who spoke to LAGalaxy.com earlier this week about his MLS debut and his appearance against Manchester United
*In a piece for SoundersFC.com, I breakdown the matchup and provide the a few interesting storylines to look forward to.
*Lastly, LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan provides his preview of the Western Conference matchup.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Omar Gonzalez vs. Clint Dempsey
Arguably the most exciting matchup of the evening, Gonzalez is expected to make his return from injury and will do so against Dempsey who was his USMNT teammate during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Gonzalez's presence will be vital in shutting down the tricky Dempsey who will look to lure the defender out of position and create space for himself and Obafemi Martins.
Juninho vs. Osvaldo Alonso
A battle of midfield generals, Juninho and Alonso will look to set the tempo for their respective teams in what promises to be a physical matchup. Look for Juninho to seek to pressure Alonso early as LA look to gain possession and create scoring opportunities.
Gyasi Zardes vs. Zack Scott
Robbie Keane has had plenty of success against the Sounders, but with Seattle eager to shutdown the Irishman, it should open up plenty of space for Zardes who will look to pressure the Rave Green from the outset.
WHAT THEY SAID:
"We want to win the Supporters' Shield. I know we're far behind at the moment, but if we win on Monday, it's eight points [behind Seattle] and we have a game in hand. All of a sudden, it's fairly close again. So it's important that we get something out of the game." - LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane
LAGalaxy.com has provided a video preview of Monday's LA Galaxy's match against Seattle Sounders FC featuring Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez.
Check it out below.
In the latest edition of "What to Watch For", I break down the LA Galaxy's match with Seattle Sounders FC with Joe Tutino.
Check it out below.
The LA Galaxy will head north to take on Seattle Sounders FC on Monday in their first meeting of the year with the current league leaders.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's "By the Numbers," we look at Robbie Keane's past success against the Sounders.
Check it out below.