Former LA Galaxy Academy player Paul Arriola’s career path could have taken him to MLS, but instead he opted for Liga MX side Club Tijuana, and the one-time LA Academy forward isn’t at all surprised that young players like LA’s Jose Villarreal are heading south of the border.
Villarreal is the latest in a slew of players who have left MLS for Mexico after he joined Cruz Azul last month on a year-long loan. Although Villarreal left LA on a loan, Arriola opted to sign with Tijuana last May after spurning a Homegrown contract from the Galaxy.
Arriola and Xolos will take on the LA Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on March 12 at StubHub Center before the return leg on March 18 in Tijuana. Although hypothetically, Arriola could have been lining up for LA in the CCL quarterfinals if things had gone differently, he applauds players opting to play in Mexico.
“It’s good for American players who want to take a different route. Sometimes in [the United States] we’re not given the opportunity so there are other options and places to go,” Arriola told LAGalaxy.com. “Luckily for myself, my opportunity came and I was able to take it. Now here I am [with the first team].”
While Villarreal’s status with the Cruz Azul first team remains in question at the moment as he finds his feet in Mexico, Arriola is already in new head coach César Farías’ plans after making the game day roster for the club’s scoreless draw with Atlas on Saturday.
“It was a bit different last season because I went from a wing player to a second striker who sometimes switches out wide,” said Arriola. “It’s been different and I’m getting the opportunity to play so I’m thankful for that."
LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez were named to the U.S. National Team’s annual January camp by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on Friday.
Donovan and Gonzalez are among 26 players called in by Klinsmann for the camp which will serve as a prelude ahead of the U.S. National Team’s match against the Korea Republic on Feb. 1. The camp runs between Jan. 6 - Feb. 1 and will see the team split time between the U.S. Soccer National Training Center at StubHub Center and Sao Paulo, Brazil. From Jan. 13-25, 23 of the 26 players called will travel to South America for a dry run ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Joining the two Galaxy players is their former LA teammate and Chicago Fire striker Mike Magee who won the 2013 MLS MVP award after scoring 21 goals last year.
The complete roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids), Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
It’s that time again when we make our resolutions for the New Year in hopes of making our lives just a little bit better.
To properly ring in what promises to be an eventful 2014, I decided to make a list of LA Galaxy New Year’s Resolutions. Now this list ranges from my own thoughts about what the team needs to a few other ideas on how to improve the team and MLS in the New Year.
* Build toward the future: continue to offer playing time to younger players like Jack McBean, Rafael Garcia and Greg Cochrane. One of the team’s greatest successes of 2013 was that head coach Bruce Arena afforded plenty of valuable game time to players like the three aforementioned youth. With international commitments and injuries likely to cause problems yet again, the Galaxy boss should continue his policy of giving time to emerging young talent.
*Deal with change: There will be some notable absences from the LA Galaxy roster in 2013, but none will be bigger than the departures of longtime right-sided player Sean Franklin—who was selected in Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Process by D.C. United—and Jose Villarreal who was sent on a year-long loan with Cruz Azul. Both players were frequent contributors a year ago and will need to be replaced in the coming weeks.
*Allow Juninho to receive more responsibility in the attack especially on free kick situations. The Brazilian midfielder saw his offensive impact stunted in 2013, but he’ll be expected to carry more of the load next season especially on set piece opportunities.
*That being said, LA must show more resilience on defending set pieces and second ball opportunities to prevent the deficiencies that caused the club to fail last season. We've gone over this one many, many times.
*Find a new center forward to play alongside Robbie Keane to add a natural target striker to the Galaxy attack. During the club’s final media availability of 2013, Arena stated that finding this type of player was priority number one for LA ahead of the next campaign and with the transfer window open; the Galaxy will have the chance to get their man. With a target presence alongside Keane, Landon Donovan could transition back to the right midfield and offer greater width to the midfield.
*Build off what was learned in 2013: Continued production from Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo. LA’s two breakout stars in 2013 were Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo who became regular members of the Galaxy starting XI by season’s end, but production must continue to progress into 2014. For Sarvas, he’ll likely need cede some of his offensive responsibilities to his midfield partner Juninho and contain his physical exuberance that caused him to lead MLS in fouls committed last year. Meanwhile, Penedo must continue to progress as a goalkeeper and cut down on mistakes that led to goals down the stretch.
*More professional growth from Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Rogers. The two attackers experienced inconsistent seasons in 2013, but the New Year brings greater expectations for both to provide reliable contributions for LA. If the pair can develop into offensive weapons, LA may have an added attacking dimension—particularly on the flanks— that was sorely lacking last season.
*Be more successful: Make a strong run in the U.S. Open Cup. The LA Galaxy have gone out in the third round in the U.S. Open Cup to the Carolina RailHawks each of the last two years, but with no CONCACAF Champions League waiting for them in the fall, a long run in the Open Cup should be beneficial for the team to provide minutes to their entire roster. Also, winning the USOC will help place the team back into the CCL for the 2015-16 tournament.
*Continue see the LA Galaxy Academy grow and produce players who could become valuable members of the first team in the future. LA Academy forawrd Haji Wright garnered a lot of the headlines toward the end of the year, but LA’s academy teams are continuing to show promise in the form of players like Adonis Amaya, Jaime Villarreal and many others.
*Good health to Robbie Keane who is recovering from surgery on both of his Achilles as he looks to get ready for the preseason. The Galaxy are hoping to have their captain back to full health by the start of preseason, but what is most important is having him fit and ready for the start of the season and the all-important CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal against Club Tijuana in March.
*Travel More: Get off to a strong start against Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal and keep dreams of the FIFA Club World Cup alive. The LA Galaxy’s quest for continental glory begins in March as they host the first leg of the CCL quarterfinals against Club Tijuana. With a victory at home, the Galaxy will be in strong standing as they look to advance past Xolos and reach the CCL semifinals for a second consecutive year in front of a hostile crowd at Estadio Calliente.
*Prosperity for Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan as they look to make their World Cup dream come true. Both Galaxy Designated Players appear to be strong candidates to make U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but both will need to stay healthy and in form to ensure a place on the plane to Brazil. If they’re able to reach Brazil, the pair is likely to be in Klinsmann’s starting XI and can expect to be major contributors as the U.S. hopes to advance from Group G over the likes of Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Here’s hoping for more moments like this one from four years ago.
*New ventures for the coming year: New MLS Television deals. Southern California is spoiled with the great Galaxy coverage on the Time Warner SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, but in 2014, MLS will look to negotiate their new national television deals which will play a major role in the league’s growth going forward. More financial resources from national television partners can only help grow the league which hopes to be among the world’s best during the next decade.
*Continue to foster a connection with the readers of this blog and all content on LAGalaxy.com. What truly makes my job worthwhile is interacting with all of those that enjoy my work on the LA Galaxy Insider Blog and LAGalaxy.com, and in 2014, I hope to have greater interaction with you the readers so that we can place the type of content that you’re looking for on this space.
Happy New Year.
Robbie Keane enjoyed an impressive year as he finished as one of the league's MVP finalists with 16 goals and 11 assist and our friends at KICKTV compiled this impressive set of highlights of Keane's goals and assists from 2013.
View Keane's goals below.
Villarreal was presented alongside fellow MLS players Rafael Baca and Michael Farfan on Saturday ahead of the move to the Mexico City club.
“Sending Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul provides one of our Homegrown players an opportunity to gain additional experience,” said Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement. “We’ll monitor Jose’s play with Cruz Azul and wish him well while in Mexico.”
On Saturday, LA Galaxy Insider reported that the deal is a year-long loan with an option to buy. Any loan fee that the Galaxy receive could net the club significant funs that should be able to improve a squad that has dealt with salary cap issues this offseason.
During the presentation of their new winter signings, Cruz Azul sporting director Agustín Manzo admitted that Mexican club’s idea to add Baca, Farfan and Villarreal came, at least, partially through his “very good friendship” with Galaxy assistant Curt Onalfo who had told him “many times about the players.”
The Cruz Azul brass may be high on Villarreal, but with La Maquina boasting talented attackers like Marco Fabian, Joao Rojas and Christian Gimenez, Villarreal will have his work cut out for him when it comes to breaking into the first team. If the Galaxy Homegrown forward is unable to crack the first team, then he’ll likely be given significant minutes with the club’s reserve side.
“It’s not going to be easy here, I’ll have to win a place,” said Villarreal after the presentation in Mexico. “With a lot of effort on the field, it can happen.”
In their annual End of the Year review, MLSsoccer.com has compiled all of the goals that the LA Galaxy scored in 2013.
Check it out below.
Dwayne De Rosario and David Ferreira highlight list of players available for Stage Two of MLS Re-Entry Draft Process
There’s considerable talent on the board as MLS prepares for Stage Two of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process which will take place on Wednesday at 12pm PT.
During the Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, the LA Galaxy lost longtime right back Sean Franklin who was selected by D.C. United while Steve Zakuani (Portland Timbers), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union) and Marc Burch (Colorado Rapids) were also selected.
That amount of players available has been whittled down however, with several choosing to opt out in order to re-sign with their previous clubs or being dealt to other teams. Most notably, Kenny Cooper, Mauro Rosales and Bobby Convey were traded while players like Chris Rolfe, Andre Akpan and Logan Pause opted out with looks to return to their former clubs.
If a player is chosen in Stage Two, a club has seven days to make a bona fide offer to the selected individual, and if an agreement can’t be reached that club will have the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Should a player not be chosen then they will be able to reach an agreement with the club of their choosing.
Prior to stage one, I evaluated several players who could be good fits for the Galaxy and while several have come off the board, former MLS MVPs David Ferreira and Dwayne De Rosario as well as New York Red Bulls forward Fabian Espindola remain the most talented players available. However with the Galaxy losing Sean Franklin, it would not be surprising to see LA go after depth at right back which makes players like Ugo Ihemelu, Brandon Barklage and James Riley intriguing choices.
The complete list of available players for stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Process are below:
Chicago Fire: D Shaun Francis, M Joel Lindpere, F Maicon Santos, M Wells Thompson*, M Michael Videira
Chivas USA: D Ante Jazic*, D Steve Purdy, M Josue Soto
Columbus Crew: M Danny O'Rourke, M Konrad Warzycha
Colorado Rapids: GK Steward Ceus, D Brian Mullan, M Jamie Smith
D.C. United: M Dwayne De Rosario, D James Riley, F Carlos Ruiz, M Marcelo Saragosa, D Daniel Woolard
FC Dallas: M David Ferreira, D Ugo Ihemelu
Houston Dynamo: F Calen Carr*, M Alex Dixon, F Cam Weaver
LA Galaxy: M Colin Clark, M Laurent Courtois
Montreal Impact: M Sinisa Ubiparipovic
New England Revolution: F Chad Barrett, F Ryan Guy, M Clyde Simms, M Juan Toja
New York Red Bulls: D Brandon Barklage, F Fabian Espindola, D Heath Pearce
Portland Timbers: D Ryan Miller
Real Salt Lake: D Brandon McDonald, GK Josh Saunders, M Khari Stephenson
Seattle Sounders: M Blair Gavin
San Jose Earthquakes: D Nana Attakora, M Mehdi Ballouchy, D Dan Gargan, GK Evan Newton
Toronto FC: F Justin Braun
Vancouver Whitecaps: GK Joe Cannon, F Corey Hertzog
CARSON, Calif. – Any chance for LA Galaxy to acquire Seattle Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson is a “long shot” according to Club President Chris Klein.
A report in the Washington Post on Saturday stated that the Galaxy were among three teams (D.C. United and Chivas USA being the others) interested in Johnson, who scored nine goals and two assists during a tumultuous 2013 season for Seattle. The rumor comes amid statements from LA head coach and general manager Bruce Arena and Klein himself, that the Galaxy are interested in acquiring a target forward ahead of the 2014 season.
“The rumors are out that we’re interested in him… it’s an odd thing, but he will not be back in Seattle, we know that for sure. Eddie’s a player that has done great things, he’s scored a lot of goals and he’s part of the national team,” Klein said. “I don’t want to say that we’re not interested in Eddie, but I think that it will be a longshot for him to be in a Galaxy uniform come 2014. However, we’re always looking for players who can add to what [our team does]. We’ll always be in the market."
Klein also noted that the Galaxy will have Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho returning for 2014 stating that the club feels “good about what they have” in central midfield which includes Baggio Husidic who was signed last month.
Thoughts on Klein’s statements on the Eddie Johnson rumors? Happy Sarvas is likely returning?
Share your thoughts below.
Below is a series of tweets from the LA Galaxy's Meet Your Seat Event and the townhall style Q&A with Landon Donovan and Club President Chris Klein.
Check it out below.
#lagalaxy club president Chris Klein states that there will not be too many changes from the squad in 2013.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) December 15, 2013
Chris Klein mentions that Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho are returning for 2014. Also says club needs FWD & wide player.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) December 15, 2013
Klein mentions that he'd like the @LAGalaxy to have one of the top academies in the world. Mentions the growth of players like Haji Wright
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) December 15, 2013
Klein doesn't say that the @LAGalaxy aren't interested in Eddie Johnson but says it is a "long shot." Does say team looking for additions.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) December 15, 2013
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?
Share them below.