CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s roster is pretty much set heading into the season opener against Real Salt Lake, but one question mark remains.
Trialist Dan Gargan has been with the team since the start of the preseason, but as of yet, there has been no word about a contract offer from the Galaxy. But that doesn’t mean that LA isn’t interested according to head coach Bruce Arena.
“We’re going to try,” said Bruce Arena when asked about if the team is planning to sign the 31-year-old defender.
Outside back depth is vital for LA at the moment as the club dispatched youngsters Bryan Gaul (waived) and Greg Cochrane (traded to Chicago) in recent weeks.
RILEY EXPECTING TO START IN DEFENSE
While Gargan’s status is still up in the air, the newest member of the LA Galaxy, James Riley is expecting to get the start at left back this Saturday against Real Salt Lake due to an injury to Todd Dunivant.
Riley has seen significant time this preseason at left back due to Dunivant’s nagging hamstring injury and is likely to get the nod against RSL.
“I’ll be ready to go,” said Riley. “Whatever Bruce decides, I feel fit and ready to go.”
Dunivant is improving rapidly; however, as the veteran left back went 45 minutes in a recent scrimmage with LA Galaxy II against Cal-State Fullerton as he seeks to be available for selection for Saturday.
“I’m ready to be available,” said Dunivant. “It’s a good guess [that Riley starts]. I’m still working on [being 90 minutes fit], but first thing is first is getting healthy and I’m moving forward.”
ARENA ADMITS EXPERIENCE RULES ALL AS SEASON OPENER APPROACHES
The LA Galaxy’s new found experience has been a major plot line this preseason and on Thursday, head coach Bruce Arena went into detail about how he expects the team to be different during the 2014 campaign.
“I think the priorities were addressed with the new players,” said Arena. “We needed more experience in midfield; we got that with [Stefan] Ishizaki. We needed some help on our forward line, and we got that with Samuel and [Rob] Friend. We needed some experienced players in the back; we have that now with [James] Riley. Obviously [Baggio] Hušidić is another experienced player in the midfield as well. I think that’s what we needed to address. This year, we’re looking at Friend or Samuel or Hušidić or Riley or [Dan] Gargan or Ishizaki. Last year it was [Jack] McBean, [Jose] Villarreal, [Hector] Jimenez, and [Rafael] Garcia, I think that’s an improvement.”
The new kits feature the same traits that we saw during the reveals that were on LA Galaxy Insider all of last week. Below are a series of interesting videos related to the jerseys including a shot from adidas which describes the kit and one from the Galaxy with statements from LA legends, fans, players from all Galaxy teams.
Remember you can already purchase the kit at the TeamLA Store at StubHub Center and on MLSgear.com.
Check it out below.
The wait is almost over, the LA Galaxy's new primary kit will be unveiled on Monday morning.
The jersey is set to be officially released on LAGalaxy.com at 11:11 am and be immediately available for purchase. In the final look at the jersey, we can see the "This is LA" blue-and-gold jock tag placed on the bottom of the kit. As you know, the tag is also on the team's current secondary jerseys.
Remember that you can pick up the jersey tomorrow at the Team LA Store and at MLSGear online. Season ticket holders will also be able to use their discounts to purchase the kit at the StubHub Center's Team LA Store.
Excited for the new kit? Below are the other four jersey reveals.
Jersey Look #1: Back collar
Jersey Look #2: Logo
Jersey Look #3: Sash stripes
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy added a new defender to their roster on Tuesday with the addition of veteran right back James Riley.
Following Tuesday's training session, head coach Bruce Arena stated that it was "safe to say" that Riley would be staying with the Galaxy after an impressive preseason, but the veteran defender went a step further stating that he put pen to paper just before heading out to training.
For the nine-year MLS veteran, the move to the Galaxy left him overjoyed.
“I'm ecstatic . It’s been a work in progress, but I came with that goal in mind and I put pen to paper [Tuesday] morning," said Riley. “But I need to continue to work and earn the trust of my teammates, the club, the coaches and the fans. That’s my objective.”
This preseason, Riley has made five preseason appearances, playing almost entirely at left back due a hamstring injury to first team regular Todd Dunivant.
“He’s having a good preseason with us. He’s made a good impression and it’s safe to say that we’re going to keep him,” said Arena. “He’s a veteran player who can play both sides of the field and I think that he’ll be a valuable player for us during the season.”
The Galaxy still have yet to make a decision with their other outside back trialist Dan Gargan, who remains with the club and is likely to sign if LA can fit his contract under the league’s salary cap.
“Still evaluating him,” said Arena. ‘He’s another player that is experienced. He’s had a few knocks over the last few weeks and we want to make sure that his fitness is good. We always have an exercise with the salary cap so we have to make sure that we can offer him a contract that keeps us compliant with the cap.”
Thoughts on the signing of Riley? Think LA will keep Gargan?
Share thoughts below.
MEXICO CITY— Stefan Ishizaki’s experience with playing at altitude is quite limited due to his long playing career in the lowlands of Scandinavia and Italy, but on Tuesday, he received a major test.
The Swede started as the Galaxy fell 2-1 to Pumas UNAM in a closed-door scrimmage at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario in Mexico City. Playing in “D.F.” presents a number of challenges for opposing players, but none greater than the suffocating elevation of a city that sits at an altitude of 7,350 ft.
During his 45 minute shift, Ishizaki was stationed in the center of midfield in front of defensive counterweight Baggio Hušidić as LA tried out a 4-1-3-2 formation during the first stanza. However, Ishizaki admittedly struggled to make an impact early.
“It was brutal. My first 25 minutes, I could not catch my breath. It was very tough. After 25 minutes, I got into the game and felt a lot better,” said Ishizaki. “But we played against a Mexican team with a style that we’re probably going to face when we play Tijuana and it was good to see that style first hand.”
“In our half, we did an okay job. We didn’t move our feet quick enough and we let them play through us too easily. I think that was because we didn’t have the energy to be quick,” Ishizaki continued. “The elevation played a part a little bit, but we train every day to be able to do these things. We weren’t able to do it today against a team in the middle of their season, despite having a month left of preseason.’
Although he was unable to get forward frequently on Tuesday, Ishizaki, who is likely to play wide on the right during the regular season, was pleased with the chance to play centrally against Pumas.
Said Ishizaki, “I like it. I like it a lot better when I’m fitter and I can make runs and support the strikers while also go down and get the ball from the back four. I like it when I’m fitter, but it was okay, particularly in the last 25 minutes of the half.”
And as for the altitude and travel to Mexico City? Ishizaki believes that the experience will serve LA well as the season begins.
“It was a good exercise. We have to get use to the travel and we’re going to play at elevation so it’s good to get used to it,” said Ishizaki. “I’m not used to it after playing in Europe. It was a good experience for me and now I have some idea what to expect.”
Bruce Arena: LA Galaxy to be "guinea pigs" with USL PRO project as they seek to bridge development "black hole"
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy made MLS history on Wednesday by becoming the first team to operate a lower division club with the foundation of USL PRO side LA Galaxy II, and head coach Bruce Arena fully expects the rest of the league to follow in the club’s footsteps.
On Thursday, USL PRO unveiled the Galaxy II’s schedule for the upcoming 2014 season which will begin with their March 22 match against the Los Angeles Blues. Following LA’s training session, Arena stated that the creation of LA Galaxy II was a necessary step in the development of the American soccer player.
“We’ve lacked the next step for academy players or our players that are just outside of our first team. We’ve had a bit of a black hole in our development. This makes everything more natural,” said Arena on Thursday. “A young player can go from the U-18 to the USL team to the first team for those players that need those steps. That’s a majority of players so it’ll be a benefit for us.”
Arena also cleared up a few logistical questions noting that teams will train separately and that he will have “a lot of freedom” as they loan LA first team players back and forth between Galaxy and Galaxy II.
For all the confidence, Arena admits that the experience won’t be an easy one, but one that the club expects to pay dividends in the future.
“It’s definitely the future,” said Arena. “We’re going to be guinea pigs in the first year, it’s not going to be easy but it’ll be good going forward.”
PHILADELPHIA - The LA Galaxy got a little deeper at center back on Thursday by drafting New Mexico defender Kyle Venter with the 23rd overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.
I spoke to Venter and Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena for about the defender's Galaxy connections for LAGalaxy.com. In addition, I spoke to both about where the New Mexico defender fits into LA's system.
Check it out below.
PHILADELPHIA— The LA Galaxy may have traded out of the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, but if history tells us anything, there could be value with their 23rd pick in the second round.
There have been quite a few high value 23rd picks from U.S. National Team midfielder Graham Zusi and LA Galaxy legend – and Galaxy Academy Director – Peter Vagenas to U.S. National Team veteran and former LA Galaxy left back Eddie Lewis among others. In fact, the history of the 23rd selection—in my opinion—is much more illustrious than that of the 14th pick which was headlined by Shalrie Joseph, George John and Ned Grabavoy.
The complete history of the 23rd pick is below:
2013— Luke Spencer, New England Revolution -- Suffered an ACL tear in preseason and did not make the Revolution's roster. Spencer resumed training with New England at the end of the 2013 season.
2012—Lucky Moksana, Chicago Fire -- Did not make the Fire roster out of preseason. Currently a member of the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies.
2011—Michael Farfan, Philadelphia Union -- Finished third in rookie of the year voting in 2011, signed with Liga MX side Cruz Azul after three seasons with the Union.
2010—Ross LaBauex, Colorado Rapids -- Made 18 appearances with the Colorado Rapids before being waived in September 2012, signed with USL Pro club Rochester Rhinos in March 2013.
2009—Graham Zusi, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- A regular with Sporting Kansas City and the U.S. National Team, Zusi was an MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI Selection in 2012 and 2013. Zusi was an MLS MVP finalist in 2012.
2008—Yomby William, Kansas City Wizards (Sporting Kansas City) -- Did not make a competitive appearance for Kansas City and has spent the last five years with USL Pro side Rochester Rhinos.
2007—Ty Harden, Los Angeles Galaxy -- Galaxy defender of the year in 2007, Harden retired in 2008 to pursue philanthropic endeavors in Africa. Harden returned to soccer in 2009 and is currently with the San Jose Earthquakes.
2006—Willie Sims, New England Revolution -- Made nine appearances with the Revolution from 2006 to 2007 and last played with USL Premier Developmental League side Los Angeles Misioneros.
2005—Domenic Mediate, Columbus Crew -- Played three seasons in MLS with the Crew and D.C. United before ending his career in 2009 with the Puerto Rico Islanders.
2004—Jeremiah White, New England Revolution -- Spent most of his career in Europe and earned his lone U.S. National Team cap in 2008 during a friendly against Sweden at The Home Depot Center.
2003—Roger Levesque, San Jose Earthquakes -- Spent three seasons with San Jose winning MLS Cup in 2003, but then moved onto Seattle Sounders FC for the next 10 seasons where he became a club icon. Levesque is currently a University of Washington grad student.
2002—Jon Busch, Columbus Crew -- Currently with the San Jose Earthquakes, Busch is one of only six MLS goalkeepers all-time with more than 100 wins.
2001—Justin Evans, Chicago Fire -- Played in MLS for two seasons with three clubs. Current head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
2000—Peter Vagenas, Los Angeles Galaxy -- A two-time MLS Cup champion, Vagenas captained the LA Galaxy's 2005 MLS Cup winning side. After a 13-year career in MLS, Vagenas became the LA Galaxy Academy Director.
1999—Greg Sutton, Chicago Fire -- Longtime MLS goalkeeper who last played with the Montreal Impact.
1998—Jason Boyce, Colorado Rapids -- Bounced around MLS for three seasons and last played in MLS with the LA Galaxy reserves in 2010.
1997—Todd DeNault, Columbus Crew -- Released during preseason training camp, but no other information on DeNault was found.
1996—Eddie Lewis, San Jose Clash -- A left-sided defender who played four seasons with the San Jose Clash and was named to MLS Best XI in 1999. Lewis went on to play for Fulham, Leeds United and Derby County before joining the Galaxy in 2008. A U.S. National Team regular, Lewis appeared in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup.
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.”