CARSON, Calif. – A number of reasons were bandied about during the LA Galaxy’s slow start to the 2012 season. But following the club’s 3-1 victory over Chivas USA, head coach Bruce Arena was candid in the role that offseason loan deals played in LA’s struggles at the beginning of the season.
This season, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane each headed off to Europe to ply their trade with Everton, Nuremberg and Aston Villa respectfully. The loan deals caused all three players to miss large stretches of the preseason and in Gonzalez’s case, suffer a torn ACL injury from which he is still recovering.
With his team unbeaten in four matches and seemingly finding their form, Arena openly admitted that the lack of a full preseason hurt the Galaxy.
“We made a big mistake in having players loaned out right until the start of the season,” said Arena. “Although they played together at the end of last year, they still needed time together and we started with a group of players that hadn’t had a pre-season together, which was a major mistake; I accept the responsibility for that. Now we’re building into the second half of the season, they’re much more familiar with each other and they’re playing better.”
Robbie Keane has come alive lately and shined once again during the LA Galaxy's 3-1 victory over Chivas USA.
Keane added a goal and an assist against Chivas to bring his total to nine goals and five assists on the year. Since returning from the European Championship with Ireland, Keane has tallied six goals and three assists in seven games.
Keane's postgame thoughts below...
(On combining with Landon Donovan…)
KEANE: “Yeah, I think that we combined quite well, we made it difficult for their defenders with our movement and the way that we were linking up. Overall it was a good night for us.”
(On the improvement of his connection with Donovan…)
KEANE: “That’s not what it’s about me, it’s about the team. We weren’t good enough before the European Championships and as a group; we weren’t good enough so it was simple as that. It was always going to come around that were going to pick things up and start getting results and that’s been the case.”
(On being nervous before Euros…)
KEANE: “No. I didn’t have one chance in six games before I left for the European Championships. The team wasn’t playing well.”
(On the reason for his five goal month of July…)
KEANE: “The team is performing better as a team. It’s simple as that really. We have the same team that we had last year and we weren’t playing well. For some reason or another before the break, we weren’t playing well as a team, but we’re doing that now.
(On his loan spell in the offseason setting him back…)
KEANE: “Maybe so. But I think that the players know each other enough now and if we don’t know each other now then we shouldn’t be playing together. It doesn’t have anything to do with breaks, the players know each other and we just went through a bad spell, which every team usually goes through. Thankfully, we’ve picked up and we can see that we’re a threat to anything.”
We’re just hours away from kick off of the SuperClásico so here are a few links to get you to kick off.
Here are my three points to the match vs. Chivas USA here
Also check out LAGalaxy.com staff writer Larry Morgan and his piece on the first SuperClásico experience for Hector Jimenez and Robbie Keane.
Lastly, my piece on the role that LA’s SuperClasico defeat back in May has played in their recent rise up the standings.
Projected lineup: GK: Saunders; RB: Franklin, CB: DeLaGarza, CB: Gonzalez, LB: Gaul; RM: Jimenez, CM: Sarvas, CM: Juninho, LM: Beckham; F: Keane, F: Donovan.