COLUMBUS, Ohio – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at season’s end, but the long time U.S. international knows that MLS is in safe hands because of players like Colorado Rapids youngster Dillon Serna.
A favorite in youth soccer circles, Serna has enjoyed a strong first full season in MLS with three goals and three assists in 20 appearances for the Rapids. Serna's finest strike came in last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to D.C. United when the 20-year-old launched a 35-yard volley that sailed into the back of the United net.
Even though the U.S. Under-20 midfielder may not be old enough to drink, he has a fan in Donovan.
“He’s done well. It’s exciting for this league to have all sorts of young Homegrown Players do well,” Donovan told LA Galaxy Insider. “That’s the future of this league in my opinion and to see another one like him do well is very good. It’s very early for him and he still has a lot to prove, but he has done well.”
With Robbie Rogers on the mend, left back Todd Dunivant aiming to return to the LA Galaxy starting lineup
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Veteran left back Todd Dunivant made his first MLS appearance since April during the LA Galaxy's 4-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew last Saturday and now he may be in line to start Wednesday’s clash with the Colorado Rapids.
Incumbent left back Robbie Rogers started the match against the Crew despite suffering a quadriceps injury earlier in the week, but was forced to exit the defeat midway through the second half. After Rogers’ injury, the Galaxy switched to a 3-5-2 formation as they looked to erase a one goal deficit, but after falling behind 4-1 in the 84th minute, Dunivant was inserted into the match.
The minutes were the first for Dunivant since the left back suffered an abdominal tear in April. Dunivant has been in full training since early August and recently went nearly 80 minutes for LA Galaxy II on Aug. 9.
“It wasn’t the best circumstances [to return] because we’re down three goals, but it was great to get back on the field and get some minutes,” Dunivant told LA Galaxy Insider at training at Ohio State on Monday. “It’s not easy as a defender to get minutes because there’s not a lot of circumstances where it makes sense to insert a defender so I was happy to be on the field, but it would have been nice if the score was the other way around.”
With Rogers admittedly “day to day,” Dunivant may have a chance to make his first start against the Rapids on Wednesday where the Colorado native is expected to have more than 80 friends and family in attendance.
Although the 33-year-old admits that he’d be overjoyed to return to the field, he knows the decision will ultimately be made by head coach Bruce Arena.
“It’s a great opportunity, but we’ll see what Bruce decides. I’m definitely ready to go and I’m anxious to get back on the field,” said Dunivant. “We’ve been on a great run and I want to be able to contribute to that.”
If both players are healthy, who should get the start at left back: Todd Dunivant or Robbie Rogers?
Share your thoughts below.
SEATTLE— It had been quite some time since Omar Gonzalez donned the LA Galaxy uniform, but the center back made sure that his first stint for LA since May was a successful one as he helped the Galaxy keep a clean sheet in a 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.
In his first appearance back, Gonzalez and center back partner A.J. DeLaGarza were rarely tested as the Galaxy sought to maintain possession and press the Sounders early. When Seattle did push forward, outside backs Robbie Rogers and Dan Gargan limited the Sounders’ service in wide position allowing Gonzalez and DeLaGarza to focus solely on containing the likes of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
It’s been maybe like three months since I’ve worn the Galaxy jersey and been out there with my teammates and so coming out here tonight in beautiful Seattle, in front of so many fans, was just a great feeling. Specifically getting three points and doing it in the fashion that we did was just amazing,” Gonzalez said. “[Getting the shutout] meant everything to us. There were a couple of times when even Robbie [Keane] and Landon [Donovan] were saying [to the team] ‘we don’t give up a goal.’
“And that just goes to show how committed we were to really making a statement and showing that this is the second half of the season and we’re ready. And even though we were up 3-0, but we didn’t want to give any goals.”
Despite all the optimistic surrounding the victory, Gonzalez insisted that the Galaxy back four still had plenty of work left to accomplish if they’re to make a push for the Supporters’ Shield during the stretch run.
“I think we still need a little bit of work, going forward I think there are some things that we need to work on but tonight I thought we did well,” said Gonzalez. “Seattle didn’t have much going [forward]; I don’t think they got a shot [on goal] until maybe the 70th minute or something, so if we can keep on doing that, we’re going to be in a good spot.”
SEATTLE -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters following the LA Galaxy's 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.
His quotes are below.
(On the game…)
ARENA: “The team played well. It was a good performance on the road and a good performance if you were at home. Our guys played well tonight. They looked sharp.”
(On Marcelo Sarvas’ play…)
ARENA: “He played well. He played a good 90 minutes on both sides of the ball. It was a really good performance.”
(On what he said at halftime…)
ARENA: “Win the game. Our objective is to win the game and we did a pretty smart job in the second half. It could’ve been a little bit better, but good enough to get the win.”
(On why they dominated so much in the first half…)
ARENA: “We played well. We looked sharp and, you know, it’s mid-year right now. Everyone is still finding themselves. We’re just beginning to get our team on the field. After a half a season of misery, having to deal with the injuries and the absences and all that, hopefully we’ll get a little bit more of a solidified unit.”
(On the return of Omar Gonzalez…)
ARENA: “Omar hasn’t played with us for three months so it was great to get him back on the field.”
(On Robbie Rogers and Dan Gargan’s play…)
ARENA: “They played well. Our entire team played well tonight. It was a good performance and it was nice to get that group on the field. It was probably the first time they’ve played together this year.”
(On if the slow schedule at the beginning of the year helps with getting momentum now…)
ARENA: “The schedule at the beginning of the year helps nobody. It was a terrible schedule and made it very awkward and difficult to get our team moving in the right direction. That’s all part of it as well. We’re trying to catch up now. We’re only 18 games in at this point in the season and we’d like to have a few more. We have a real challenge ahead of us going into the second half of the season.”
(On the intelligence of his team’s play…)
ARENA: “We didn’t have to be pretty in the second half. Our goal is to win the game and I thought they played a smart game. Getting a clean sheet was important.”
(On if Chad Marshall playing would’ve made a difference for Seattle…)
ARENA:“Everybody misses players. It’s all part of it. He certainly is a good player. Would he have made a difference in the game? I don’t know.”
(On the team’s play as of late…)
ARENA:“I think over the last 10 games, we’re like 6-1-3 or something. It’s not like we’re playing bad.”
(On if the result against Manchester United may have motivated the team…)
ARENA: “It has nothing to do with anything. It’s just an exhibition. We could’ve cared less whether we won or lost that game. It’s an exhibition. It’s good for Manchester United. It’s good for the Galaxy. It’s good for the fans that came to the game, and that’s the most important thing. If you read anything more into exhibitions, then you probably don’t know what you’re watching. Having said that, if we play them 10 times, there’s a good chance they’ll beat us 10 times so let’s be fair about that.”
PASADENA, Calif. – The LA Galaxy admitted that they received a major lesson in the “little things” in their 7-0 defeat to Manchester United at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Throughout the defeat—which was LA’s largest defeat in a friendly match— United. Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and captain Robbie Keane stressed that LA could learn plenty from the crisp passing and quick movement that United displayed throughout their runaway victory.
A lesson that second-year Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes took to heart.
“I felt like we learned that when the pressure is on that we have to deal with it,” said Zardes after the defeat. “We can definitely learn from United who are a fast team whose speed of play is superb. We can definitely start working on our own speed of play…I still feel like this was a good game going into our Seattle game so we get prepared mentally and physically.”
But for Landon Donovan, it’ll be important that the players apply those lessons heading into the all-important match against Seattle Sounders FC on Monday.
“You see what happens at higher level [where] everything happens at least a second or two faster. The speed of thought, the speed of play, the way they move, the way they react to things—technically, tactically, all those things,” said Landon Donovan. “And you hope when you come out of the game, especially the young guys, that they are not saying ‘Oh my god, they were so amazing,’ but ‘they do all the little things right’ and ‘how can I be better individually.’”
PASADENA, Calif. – Manchester United have been in Los Angeles for less than a week, but on Tuesday they received a true Southern California experience—getting stuck in rush hour traffic.
United were 45 minutes for their open training session at the Rose Bowl Stadium as their team bus found itself stuck in L.A. traffic driving from their base hotel in Beverly Hills in Pasadena. Despite the inconvenience, United manager Louis van Gaal was chipper upon his team’s arrival at the stadium’s press room.
“Of course, we were late. It was the first time that I was late for a press conference, but Los Angeles traffic,” van Gaal told reporters.
On Wednesday, the Dutchman and his side will face a stiffer test when they take on the Galaxy in the Chevrolet Cup at the world-famous Pasadena venue. Although Europeans are traditionally criticized for their blasé attitude toward friendlies with MLS sides, van Gaal insists that he’s done his homework on the Galaxy.
“We have analyzed the Galaxy and I expect a very organized and technical team that is aggressive in attack,” said van Gaal. “They are already in the rhythm of the season and we started just three days ago. We are not well prepared, we are not fit yet, but I hope that we can give a good performance and it’s a process.
“The preparation time is a process, so I hope that we can make every [preseason] match a step in that progress, but I'm also anxious to see how we do it tomorrow against the Galaxy.”
CARSON, Calif. – Don’t count on LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez making a move in the summer transfer window. At least that was the message from the defender on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s match against Manchester United.
The defender will be looking to make his return on Wednesday from a right ankle injury that he suffered during his participation with the U.S. National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. While other USMNT players have dealt with post-World Cup transfer speculation, there has been little chatter surrounding Gonzalez and on Monday, the defender said that while Europe is a dream of his, he’s committed to LA.
“I still want to ply my trade in Europe, but right now I’m committed to the Galaxy,” said Gonzalez who signed a new Designated Player contract a year ago. “That’s something that my agent handles, but right now I’m looking to get back to full fitness and I’m looking to get a result against United and go to Seattle and have a tough game.”
Although the Galaxy currently boast three Designated Players, the unsettled club situation of Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez has led to some speculation that he may be bound for a move to MLS. However, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena refused to entertain any speculation about a move for the El Tri star.
“You don’t talk about other players that are under contract with other clubs,” said Arena. “We don’t talk about that stuff publicly.”
Mexican National Team star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will be joining Manchester United for their U.S. tour after all.
A day after United released their 25-man squad for their upcoming tour of the United States, the English club released on Twitter that Hernandez will be joining the club on Tuesday evening in Los Angeles ahead of Wednesday's Chevrolet Cup at the Rose Bowl. The move comes amid a time of considerable speculation around Hernandez's future after his frustrating 2013/14 campaign that saw him score just four goals in 24 appearances.
Tickets for the Chevrolet Cup can be found here.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 19, 2014
CARSON, Calif. – The question of who should be the starting striker tandem is one of the main topics among LA Galaxy circles. However, based on the meteoric rise of Gyasi Zardes, it may not be a debate much longer.
The Galaxy won two titles with the strike force of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, but in recent weeks it has been Zardes who has started alongside the Irishman thanks to his torrid scoring run of six goals in five contests. LA’s pairing of Keane and Zardes bore fruit again on Wednesday with both strikers tallying a brace in the team’s 5-1 victory over the New England Revolution.
While Donovan and Zardes have often swapped positions in recent months, Keane told reporters that it may be time stop thinking of the second-year attacker as a midfielder.
"As long as he keeps continuing to learn and keeps continuing to score goals, and understanding how to be a striker and playing with someone else," said Keane. "It’s not about just running in behind, it’s about linking up and playing with people and understanding when you play up front it’s a partnership and understanding when I have the ball he has to run off and understand where he’s going to go.
“Most of the time I’ll find him. If not, I’ll try to find him. I keep telling him just get in behind and I’ll find him."
And it’s Keane’s vocal nature that Zardes attributes to his ability to find spaces behind opposing defenders and create dangerous scoring opportunities.
“I definitely have been listening to Robbie," Zardes told reporters on Wednesday night. "He’s constantly talking to me, even throughout the game. He’s giving me little tips on what he’s going to do, and he told me to pay attention to the first ball once you’re running through. We worked on it in practice, and we did it in the game. When Robbie gets the ball at his feet, I know he’ll find me.”
Who should start up top for the LA Galaxy when they play Sporting Kansas City on Saturday? Do you prefer the tandem of Keane and Donovan or Keane and Zardes?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez has his sights set on returning to the field for the LA Galaxy, but don’t count on him participating in Saturday’s clash with Sporting Kansas City.
The Galaxy center back participated in training on Thursday for the first time since returning from World Cup duty with the U.S. National Team where he endured a right ankle injury during the USMNT’s round of 16 defeat to Belgium.
“The ankle is moving along well,” Gonzalez told reporters. “I practiced today for the first time and it feels good to be back on the field with the team.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena echoed Gonzalez’s optimism stating that the defender is “moving along” in his recovery, but is “unlikely” to play a role in Saturday’s match in Kansas City.
Although Arena did not reveal a timetable on Gonzalez’s return, the defender himself admitted that he is hoping to earn minutes in LA’s match against Manchester United next week before making a potential full-fledged return against Seattle Sounders FC on July 28.
“I think that [Seattle] is the target game. It’ll be a crucial game for us. It’ll our first game at their place and we need points,” he said. “The United game is definitely a good game to get some minutes so that I can get back out there and get ready for Seattle.”