It’s been quite a week for LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright.
The Galaxy Under-16 forward scored two goals during the U.S. 4-1 victory over Brazil to help the Americans win the Nike International Friendlies for a second year in a row. With his two goals against the Brazilians, Wright brought his total to five, taking home the tournament’s Nike Golden Boot.
It’s been quite a run this week for Wright who has started all three games in the tournament against the likes of Portugal, England and Brazil with a brace in each of the final two matches. Wright began the week scoring the lone goal in U.S. 2-1 defeat to Portugal, but then shined in the U.S. victory over England with a pair of second half finishes that helped the Americans win 5-1.
The forward added to his account twice against Brazil as he gave the U.S. the lead in the eighth minute with an unassisted strike off a counter attack. After the South Americans equalized, the U.S. scored twice to take a 3-1 lead before Wright added the final tally with a left-footed finish off a Joe Gallardo cross. While Wright won the Golden Boot, U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva won the tournament's Golden Gloves and Christian Pulisic earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.
Thoughts on Wright’s performance?
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Sean Franklin is gone, but now who starts at right back in 2014 for the LA Galaxy?
The frontrunner for the position is veteran A.J. DeLaGarza who started 10 of his 28 regular season league appearances at right back in 2013. This move would allow Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena to start Kofi Opare, Tommy Meyer or Leonardo alongside Omar Gonzalez at center back while Todd Dunivant remains a mainstay on the left-side of the defense.
Meanwhile, behind DeLaGarza is Homegrown defender Oscar Sorto who endured a mixed rookie season that saw him earn a place on the U.S. squad at the Under-20 World Cup and appear in two CONCACAF Champions League matches for the Galaxy. Although the 19-year-old defender was impressive during the U-20 World Cup, he admittedly endured uneven form throughout the season including a poor showing in LA’s CCL group stage finale against Isidro Metapán in October. Heading into his second year as a professional, the Galaxy coaching staff will need Sorto to be more disciplined in training as he seeks to develop into a trusted backup behind DeLaGarza.
Regardless of what improvement that Sorto makes in the coming months, one would expect the Galaxy to use the MLS Re-Entry Draft or the 2014 MLS SuperDraft to bolster their right back depth.
Franklin’s departure will also have an impact on the right side of the midfield for LA as Hector Jimenez and Robbie Rogers appear to be front-runners to start out wide. Each player had moments of success in 2013, but the Galaxy will need greater consistency on the right next season. If Arena is unable to get steady production out of these two players, he may opt to place Landon Donovan along the right and push a player like young forwards Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal or Gyasi Zardes up top alongside Robbie Keane.
Thoughts on these ideas?
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Matt Reis is ready for the latest chapter in his life.
During my conversation with Reis, I asked about his opinion of LA's current goalkeeping situation and the 38-year-old provided a glowing recommendation of the team's goalkeeper corps.
"I’ve seen Jaime Penedo play and I’ve liked him for a long time. I remember watching him in the Gold Cup final when the U.S. played Panama. I think our styles are very similar," said Reis. "The other two goalkeepers Brian Perk and Brian Rowe are both from UCLA and are both going to be exceptional goalkeepers. Perk came from the same [youth] club that I grew up in and went through some minor setbacks last year while Rowe was able to help earn the team get some tough results over the course of the season … They are three guys who have shown that they can compete at this level so it’ll be exciting competition. "
It bares mentioning that Reis did not mention goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini who is expected to depart the club.
Sean Franklin's time with the LA Galaxy has officially come to an end.
The longtime Galaxy right back was selected by D.C. United in Stage One of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process while LA passed on making a selection.
Franklin made 160 regular season appearances for the Galaxy during his six-year stint with the club scoring five goals and 20 assists. The two-time MLS Cup champion and 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year also made 18 appearances in the postseason scoring one goal and five assists. Franklin and D.C. United will return to StubHub Center on March 15 to face the Galaxy.
Also selected in the Stage One were Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Marc Burch (Colorado Rapids), Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union), and Steve Zakuani (Portland Timbers).
A new chapter, path, and journey starts today. Lookin forward to the future. I'll never forget where I came from, LA will always be my home!
— Sean Franklin (@SFranklin5) December 12, 2013
Soccer may not be a game of statistics but when it comes to fitness and training, numbers could be very helpful.
Huffington Post's Katie Linendoll speaks to Galaxy players and Strength and Conditioning coach Ben Yauss to discuss the adidas miCoach equipment and how the team uses it during training and matches.
Check out the video below...
The LA Galaxy will have four players available for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process including 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin.
The Galaxy declined options on Colin Clark, Laurent Courtois and Sean Franklin while Pablo Mastroeni was out of contract. Franklin made 40 appearances in all competitions for the Galaxy in 2013 with two goals and three assists. Clark, who joined LA in the 2012 Re-Entry process made just 13 appearances much of them at the start of the season while both Mastroeni and Courtois—each acquired in midseason trades—made less than 13 appearances.
Stage One of the Re-Entry Process will take place on Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. PT while Stage Two will take place on Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. PT. Remember that little action typically takes place in Stage One as clubs have to sign a player at their 2013 salary or extend a Bona Fide Offer to that player and teams have until Dec. 11 to negotiate with those players made eligible for the process. Following the first stage, the action typically gets even more heated as teams look to either bring back players or make selections in Stage Two of the process.
MLS and adidas unveiled the 2014 Match Ball on Sunday.
The 2014 adidas MLS Match Ball which is based on the "Brazuca," the official ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. According to MLS, the colors are meant to represent "a heart, as the ball is the heart of the soccer and MLS."
What are your thoughts on the new MLS match ball?
Magee was tremendously succcessful in 2013 as he scored 21 goals and four assists in a year that included a May trade from the LA Galaxy to his hometown Fire who narrowly missed out on the postseason. The 29-year-old ran away with the voting -- which was preformed by club employees, players and media -- earning a weighted total of 98.81 while Keane earned a weighted total of 58.57 finishing second to Magee. Montreal Impact forward Marco Di Vaio and New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill finished third and fourth respectively in the voting
Magee becomes the second MLS MVP that did not make the playoffs joining D.C. United's Dewayne De Rosario who won the award in 2011.
Thoughts on Magee's win over Keane?
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In honor of Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez's Best XI selections on Tuesday, LAGalaxy.com has created this video highlight reel of their 2013 seasons.
Check it out below.
One year ago today, the LA Galaxy lifted their fourth MLS Cup trophy with a come from behind 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on a rainy afternoon at The Home Depot Center.
Like LA's title winning performance in 2011, the match was a rain soaked one as a December shower descended upon Carson just before kick off and like the year before, I was stationed high above the field on the roof at The Home Depot Center. The match was the finest performance of the year for Omar Gonzalez, who had endured a difficult year recovering from knee surgery only to put in a dominating performance en route to winning the 2012 MLS Cup MVP award, due to his game-tying goal in the 60th minute that kick started a Galaxy rally.
However, there was also a sense of finality about the Galaxy's accomplishment as the match served as the final game in a Galaxy uniform for David Beckham ending his six-year tenure with the club. When Beckham exited the field just moments before full time, he was given a rousing cheer from the capacity crowd at StubHub Center. Beckham wasn't the only established player that moved on after that match as winger Christian Wilhemsson and goalkeeper Josh Saunders each parted ways with the club after the game.
Earlier on Sunday, I asked Galaxy fans for their memories of that match and had to give a special mention to Raul Pena and his wife Vanessa, who went to attended the match having just completed their wedding ceremony.
— Raul Peña (@rpena03) April 20, 2013
Check out a series of highlights for the game and celebration videos below.
Omar Gonzalez's goal from all angles
David Beckham leaves the field for the final time
Locker room Celebration
David Beckham drinks from MLS Cup
The complete LA Galaxy MLS Cup Celebration