The LA Galaxy were sorely lacking a target presence during their ill-fated 2013 campaign, but over the past seven days, LA have added two legitimate scoring options to their attacking arsenal.
Over the past week, the Galaxy have added two forwards in Brazilian forward Samuel and now Canadian international Rob Friend. Friend, 32, joins the Galaxy after an 11-year career in Europe that saw him tally 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.
Friend has spent the last two seasons with 1860 Munich making 24 appearances, but over the past season, he has played in 10 matches for the Die Löwen (The Lions) scoring a single goal. The 6-foot-5 forward’s final goal for Munich came on Sept. 21 when he notched a goal and an assist during a 3-1 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue. Friend’s performance against the Saxony-based club was a vintage target forward display as he was able to aid in the build-up of a goal with a well-time knockdown of a cross before tallying a goal himself off a corner kick minutes later.
Such aerial skills were at a premium for the Galaxy in 2013 as center back Omar Gonzalez was often the lone target for the Galaxy on set pieces and often heavily marked by opposing defenses. The presence of a target forward like Friend will only stand to aid LA on attacking set pieces by freeing up space for LA’s other attackers like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Although Friend brings a strong European pedigree to StubHub Center his minutes won’t be guaranteed as he’s expected to compete for the starting spot alongside Keane with the 22-year-old Samuel. Should either of the forwards lock down a starting place next to the Irishman, expect Donovan to drift back into the right side of midfield.
Highlights of Friend’s final goal for Munich are below.
LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez have been named to the 26-man roster for the upcoming U.S. National Team camp in Brazil.
The U.S. will take part in a “dry run” of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at Sao Paulo FC's facilities from Jan. 13-25 before returning to Southern California ahead of their Feb. 1 friendly against Korea Republic at StubHub Center. During the time, the U.S. has scheduled a pair of closed-door scrimmages against the Sao Paulo FC first team. Sao Paulo will serve as the base of operations for the Americans during upcoming World Cup.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had stated prior to the January camp at StubHub Center that he may take just 23 players on the 12-day trip to Brazil, but instead opted to take the complete squad after a week of training.
“We’ve been extremely pleased with the performance of the group in the first week,” Klinsmann said in a statement. “The players came in very fit and have done really well in training. Therefore, we believe they have all earned a chance to go down to Brazil for these next 12 days. We’re very excited about getting down to Sao Paulo and continuing the work. This is a huge opportunity to get to know our environment for the World Cup.”
Earlier in the week, Donovan stated that he expects the group to gain a great deal from their 12 days in Brazil.
“Getting a test run for 10 days in Brazil is very important,” said Donovan. “I remember in 2009 that playing in the [FIFA Confederations Cup] was very beneficial when we went back to South Africa a year later. It’s a really good and important step for the team.”
We’re less than a week from the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and on Friday, the 2014 MLS adidas Players Combine kicked off the draft week festivities.
In the first match, Team Predator defeated Team Nitro Charge 4-1 off goals from Zach Boldon (Denver), Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of Mines), Mamadou Diouf (Connecticut), and Pierre Omanga (So. New Hampshire). Akron’s Reinaldo Brenes scored the lone goal for Team Nitro Charge.
The final match of the evening, Team Brazuca defeated Team adiZero 2-0 off goals from Michigan’s Fabio Pereira and Maryland’s Schillo Tshuma.
MLSsoccer and Soccer by Ives each provided an update on the players who succeeded—and failed— during Day One. On Saturday, the teams will interview the combine participants before the players return to action on Sunday.
CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan among those praising Toronto FC’s reported capture of star U.S. National Team midfielder Michael Bradley.
Although the deal has not yet been announced by MLS or Toronto FC, the widely reported transfer was confirmed by Bradley’s Italian club A.S. Roma on Thursday. Bradley is the latest U.S. National Team standout to return to MLS or elect to stay in the league and the highest profile returnee since Seattle Sounders FC’s signing of Clint Dempsey in August.
When asked about Bradley’s reported move, Donovan admitted that the return of the 26-year-old was “great” for Toronto FC, MLS and his national team teammate.
“I think that it’s a testament to our league that people want to come back and play here particularly six months before a World Cup,” said Donovan ahead of U.S. National Team training on Thursday.” It makes a strong statement, obviously, [Tim Leiweke] made it clear to him that it was something that he wanted, and Mike is a smart guy, I’m sure that he’s thought about this a lot and it’s something that he wants to do so I think that it is great.”
If any U.S. National Team player is familiar with Bradley’s current situation, it would be Donovan who made a high-profile return to MLS from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan then opted to extend his stay in MLS last summer when he inked a multi-year deal to stay with the Galaxy.
Although the moves of players like Bradley and Dempsey may be criticized, Donovan attests that the two players are simply “following their dreams” in a much improved MLS than the one the Galaxy forward returned to in 2005.
“The league is a lot better. The league is different because financially more stable, but in all ways, coaching is better, youth development is better, there’s more media, there’s more attention, everything is different and constantly changing,” said Donovan. “We always say that [MLS] is not where we want it to be, but when guys like Michael and Clint make decisions like that, when [Omar Gonzalez], Matt Besler, Graham Zusi make the decision to stay here when they could have gone abroad, it makes a big statement.
“The way that you make the league better is by having better players and certainly in the last six months, it has gotten two of our best [American] players back in the league.”
What do you think about the move?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bolstered their forward corps on Tuesday with the addition of Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Fluminense, but head coach and general manager Bruce Arena says LA won’t be stopping there.
While observing U.S. National Team practice, Arena caught up with reporters to discuss the signing of the new Brazilian target forward and without getting into any specifics, mentioned that LA hope to lock down the signature of another forward within the next two weeks.
“We’re going to follow up this week with probably another player who can play that position as well. We’re trying to shore up our target position,” said Arena.
The addition of a second target striker could be a boon for the Galaxy who lacked a significant physical presence up top in 2013 as only 19-year-old Homegrown forward Jack McBean provided a true target forward presence.
Thoughts on Arena’s comments?
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LA Galaxy bolster their attack with the addition of Brazilian forward Samuel on a loan from Fluminense
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy stated that acquiring a target forward was at the top of their wish list for the 2014 season and just seven days into the year, they may have got their man.
LA announced the acquisition of 22-year-old Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Brazil’s Fluminense on Tuesday. The 6-foot-1 center target striker who tallied 15 goals in 72 appearances over the last two years with the Fluzão will be added to the Galaxy’s roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and his P-1 Visa.
“We are pleased to add Samuel to our roster,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement released by the club. “Samuel is a young, talented forward with both size and skill. We are confident his addition will help boost our attack in 2014.”
Samuel's signature is a coup for the Galaxy as the Brazilian striker who served as the strike partner for Brazilian international Fred at Fluminense had been linked with a number of clubs in Spain, Brazil and China in recent weeks. Most notably, Samuel nearly completed deals to Real Madrid B and Barcelona-based Espanyol, but saw the moves fall through that kept him in Brazil.
Thoughts on the Brazilian signing?
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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.