Team

16 March 11:31 am

PORTLAND, Ore.  – “Character” results are one of the most tried and true sports clichés around, but the LA Galaxy made that narrative a reality with their late 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on Sunday.

Amid rain and high winds that made the already difficult Providence Park turf pitch even tougher, the Galaxy dominated the match, but still needed to overcome two deficits to steal a point on the road against the Timbers. The final touch came just seconds after Portland pulled ahead in the 90th minute when an Alan Gordon header sealed a draw for the Galaxy.

After the match, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane was not frustrated about missed opportunities, but commending his squad on the grit that they showed.

“We kept battling. I told the lads before the game that we’re probably the best footballing team in the league, or one of, but sometimes you have to show a little bit more than that,” said Keane. “Sometimes you can’t play under difficult circumstances and today was one of those circumstances even though they allowed us to play and we dominated the second half as they dropped off a lot. It’s about battling through and showing some heart. We certainly showed that today.”

Gordon, who was once again the late game hero, agreed that LA’s show of character will help the team going forward in the season.

“To come back and steal a point is huge for our momentum going back to L.A.,” Gordon said.

16 March 10:26 am

The LA Galaxy Academy may have two players in this fall’s U-17 FIFA World Cup as the United States’ Hugo Arellano and Mexico’s Abraham Romero helped their respective teams qualify over the weekend.

Arellano and the Americans booked their ticket on Sunday with a thrilling penalty kick shootout victory over Jamaica after their playoff game ended in a scoreless stalemate. Arellano was joined on the squad by U-17 star Haji Wright who has spent time with the Galaxy Academy over the past year. Meanwhile Romero, who has suited up for the U.S. and Mexico, served as El Tri’s goalkeeper throughout the competition and helped Mexico win their second consecutive U-17 CONCACAF Championship

The 2015 U-17 World Cup takes place in Chile from Oct. 17 to Nov. 8.   

15 March 8:21 pm

PORTLAND, Ore. – Brian Rowe earned his second consecutive start in goal for the LA Galaxy in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers, but the young goalkeeper was less than pleased with his showing.

Rowe appeared confident despite tough conditions that forced the Oregon native to frequently come off his line to stifle Timbers’ forays into the penalty area. However, the wind also led to some inopportune moments as several of the 26-year-old’s clearances were brushed backward due to the blustery conditions.

Rowe’s lowest moment of the afternoon came on the Timbers’ second goal as he rushed to clear a Darlington Nagbe run, only to leave the net wide open for Fanendo Adi who easily finished his second from close range.  In the end, however, Alan Gordon’s late goal stole a point for the Galaxy, and offered Rowe some confidence after a less than stellar performance in Portland.

“I thought I did alright, I expect better of myself on that last one. We did a great job fighting back and getting the tying goal at 1-1 and just sort of as you get to those closing minutes on the road you just have to be able to close it out,” said Rowe. “So personally I expect better of myself at that second one, just to be able to clean it out and do a little better but a little magic by way of Alan Gordon and fortunately we were able to steal a point and get out of here.”

Jaime Penedo is once again expected to test Rowe for the starting job as the club looks ahead to next week’s match against the Houston Dynamo. However, Rowe has little concern about getting pulled into a goalkeeper battle.

“I feel comfortable out there. I feel confident,” Rowe said. “I’m just trying to keep it going in training every week, keep the consistency going and just try to keep pushing myself to get better.”

15 March 7:57 pm

PORTLAND, Ore. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media after the club's 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday.

Arena's thoughts are below.

(On getting a point on the road…)

ARENA: We played well today. It would have been awful not to get a point out of this game. Our team was very good over the last 60 minutes today.

(On the overall game outcome…)

ARENA: “We played well. We really did. Give credit to them. They got two goals out of this, to their credit. We had to fight real hard to get a point out of this but we deserve the point.”

(On Alan Gordon’s stoppage time goal…)

ARENA: “Great goal. What else can you say?”

(On newcomer Mika Vayrynen’s performance…)

ARENA: “Mika played very well. Obviously it’s going to take him some time to get acclaimed and adjusted to our team but it was a very impressive showing on his part today.”

On Midfielder Jose Villarreal’s performance…

ARENA: “Jose was very good, very good. He got a little tired at the end. I took him off, maybe we could have kept him on a little longer but he played very well.”

(On Goalie Brian Rowe’s performance…)

ARENA: “He did a good job. I think a little bit more experience maybe he’s a little better on that second goal. He’s got to come out and jump on that ball.”

(On how this game may look down the stretch…)

ARENA: “Don’t worry about September and October. We’re worried about next Saturday now. I’m happy you all have us ready for September and October but we have a lot of games ahead to make our team better.”

15 March 12:27 pm

PORTLAND, Ore. –Ahead of the LA Galaxy’s match with the Portland Timbers (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes 4 p.m. PDT), let’s take a look at some required reading, matchups to watch, and my prediction for Sunday's match.

LINKS:

*The biggest question of the week is who plays in goal for the Galaxy on Sunday? Brian Rowe or Jaime Penedo.

*Jose Villarreal made a major mark along the left side of midfield in the Galaxy's win against the Chicago Fire, and he'll be aiming to do the same against the Timbers.

*Could the LA Galaxy have a new Scanadivanian connection? As newcomer Mika Vayrynen looks to make his debut against the Timbers, Stefan Ishizaki is hoping to have a great sophomore season with the Galaxy.

*LA bolstered their squad this week with the signing of rookie midfielder Ignacio Maganto who is eager to make an impact for the first team.

*In the latest edition of By the Numbers, we take a look at LA’s frustrating record in Bridgetown.

*LAGalaxy.com reporter Larry Morgan checks in with a preview on the Galaxy’s trip to Portland.

*The 2013 MLS Referee of the Year Hilario Grajeda will serve as the head official for Sunday's match.

*In the latest edition of 90 in 90, Cobi Jones and Joe Tutino provide their insight to the game in Portland.  

*Lastly, check out my video for LA Galaxy TV previewing the match.

THEY SAID IT:

"It's always a tough place to go. Great fans and great atmosphere. I'm sure, it will be raining again, like it is every year we’re there. I really enjoy the atmoswphere there."

- Robbie Keane on the trip to Portland. 

QUESTIONS AHEAD OF THE MATCH:

WHO WINS THE BATTLE IN THE MIDFIELD: JUNINHO OR DIEGO CHARA

The midfield battle will be decided between the two international stars who will look to set the tempo for their respective club. Expect plenty of hard challenges on the small field at Providence Park

CAN ROBBIE KEANE KEEP UP HIS SCORING STREAK IN PORTLAND?

The LA Galaxy may have only one win all-time in Portland, but the Rose City has proven to be a boon town for Robbie Keane. The Irishman has three goals and one assist in four career matches at Providence Park, and will look to find the back of the net again on Sunday.

WHO STARTS IN GOAL FOR THE LA GALAXY?

The biggest question for the Galaxy, however, is who starts in goal for Bruce Arena’s squad. Brian Rowe was rarely tested during LA’s 2-0 shutout of the Fire, but 2014 incumbent netminder Jaime Penedo will be eager to get the nod in goal.  

PREDICTION:

LA Galaxy 2 (Robbie Keane, Baggio Husidic) Portland Timbers 2 (Darlington Nagbe, Fernando Adi)

14 March 7:17 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Drama is par the course when the LA Galaxy travel to the Rose City to take the Portland Timbers, and LA expect another barnburner when the two teams face off on Sunday.

 The last time the Galaxy set foot on the turf pitch at Providence Park, the two teams saved the scoring for the dying moments as a Diego Valeri strike in stoppage time negated a Robbie Keane goal moments later. Late game flare-ups are common when the two teams face off as 15 of 39 goals scored in the series all-time have been scored between the 61st and 90+ minutes.

With those late game goals common especially when LA travel to Portland, the question has to be asked, why the added intrigue every time the Galaxy head to Bridgetown?

“When you add a short field with a big crowd, it makes a difference,” Juninho said. “Portland is very good at home. They know that they have to play well at home, and against us, they want to give everything.  We need to be aware of that.”

As his team prepares for the challenge ahead, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says his group must be calm and smart to prevent any further dramatics. 

“One of our objectives this season is to be a better team on the road,” Arena said. “Hopefully, we can set the tone, play smart and bring home three points.” 

14 March 3:49 pm
The annual trip to the Rose City has not been kind to the LA Galaxy, but the defending MLS Cup champions will look to turn their luck around on Sunday when they take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park.
 
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com’s By the Numbers, I take a look at LA’s record all-time in Portland. Even though it may be a bit grim, there is a silver lining as Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has three goals and one assist in four total games in Portland.  
 
12 March 4:35 pm

Steven Gerrard is steadily wrapping up his time with Liverpool FC before joining the LA Galaxy in July, but before he leaves England, the legendary Liverpool man will play in the Liverpool All-Star Charity match on March 29 against a team fellow Reds talisman Jamie Carragher at Anfield.

The two captains held a mini-draft on Thursday to divide up some of the star players that will be participating in the game, and during the brief interaction, Carragher couldn’t help but crack a joke about Gerrard’s impending move to the Galaxy.

As the two Anfield legends set up their squads, Carragher chuckled when Gerrard stated that he intended to play the “experienced” tandem of himself and Xabi Alonso in central midfield.  The former Liverpool central defender jokingly referred to Gerrard and Alonso as “has-beens” before Gerrard shot back at his former teammate stating that “you can’t buy experience.”

However, it was Carragher who had the laugh by quipping, “LA Galaxy did.”

--

The complete video is above.

Miffed at Carragher’s comments about the Galaxy “buying” experience?  Agree with him?

Share your thoughts below.

11 March 11:10 am

The 2013 MLS Referee of the Year Hilario Grajeda will serve as the head referee for the LA Galaxy's clash with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday (4pm PDT, FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes), the Profressional Referee Organization announced on Wednesday. 

Grajeda will be making his 2015 regular season debut as a head official after serving as the chief referee for 20 games a season ago. The 47-year-old issued an average of 4.4 yellow cards a game in 2014 while dealing two red cards in total last year. 

Grajeda officiated four LA Galaxy games in 2014 with LA complying a 1-1-2 record. 

The complete officiating team for Sunday's game is below:

REF: HILARIO GRAJEDA
 
AR1: Paul Scott
 
AR2: Felisha Mariscal
 
4TH: Baboucarr Jallow
06 March 11:49 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to the media after the club's 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire in the opening match of the 2015 regular season.

Arena's comments are below.

(On starting Jose Villarreal…)

“Obviously he played well, and obviously got the winning goal for a really big game. He is a good player; he dedicates himself to being a good professional. He’s got the talent to be a real good player, so I’m really pleased with his game today. … Last year for a while, we loaned him to Cruz Azul and it didn’t work out. He came back, but 2014 was really a little bit of a wasted year for him. We started to get him going a little bit with Galaxy II, but he’s  is a player with a lot of talent, maybe his best position would be a second forward. Perhaps where Robbie Keane plays, but he’s not going to get on the field because of that. We have a lot of forwards, and we asked him to make this transition to midfield, and it’s a bit challenging, but he has worked real hard to get fit. I thought tonight he showed that, and he did in his last couple of preseason games. So we’re pretty excited about his development.”

(On relying on Stefan Ishizaki with the absence of Donovan…)

“I don’t even give any of that a thought. We’re building a team for this year, and it has nothing to do with Landon not being here. It has to do with the players that are here and getting better and making our team better. Landon is obviously respected, and we appreciate everything he has done, but that is over. Ishizaki is in his second year in this league, he is much more comfortable. He is a very good player, and we expect him to have a really good year this year, as he did last year.”

(On defensive line…)

ARENA: “It’s a pretty experienced group. All of our players, beside the group the group that started tonight, you saw A.J. coming on, we have Tommy Meyer, and Todd Dunivant, we have good experienced players that can play multiple positions in the back line and they have played together for a while. So they are pretty consistent and obviously talented. Omar is a tremendous talent, Leonardo is probably a little bit of an unsung hero, he’s played very well for us, he is going to have an outstanding season.”

(On why Rowe started over Penedo…)

ARENA: “Jaime has had some knocks in preseason and he hasn’t played that much. We felt that Brian was a little ahead of Jaime at this point.”

(On UniMas reporting that Penedo sat out the game due to contract negotiations…)

ARENA: “He is healthy…That wasn’t my decision. Our decision was made because we felt that Brian was the right guy for this game.”

(On the league starting on time…)

ARENA: “It was great. I think the league had to go on, and start on schedule this year. I don’t think we could have received the type of support we need if there we had a strike and the season was delayed. I think it’s important that we got the season started on time, and obviously we are real happy to be able to play.”

(On the experienced nature of the team…)

ARENA: “It’s the same thing for the most part, they’re an experienced group, & they know how to play and at home we obviously played well. But it’s an experienced group of players on the field and they’ve tasted a lot of success and they understand what they need to do to win games. We’ve been through it before, and I thought the first half we played well, especially the last 15 minutes of the half. So I think it’s just a matter of time to get a goal, and I think Chicago started off the second half much better. They put us under some pressure, so obviously Jose’s goal was big. We thought that we put them in a position where they tire out a little bit because they had to do a lot of defending in the first half. Our guys kept their concentration and had the kind of discipline they needed to have. When they got the first goal, I thought they felt pretty comfortable that they would be able to get a second one, and get three points.”

(On if the team’s sharpness ‘waxed and waned’…)

ARENA: “Wax and wane? I don’t know if it did that. Wax and wane? We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. It was the first game of the season. The players don’t fully have their legs yet, but if we were a little bit sharper in the first half then we’d get a goal, no question.”