"I would be pretty shocked if he’s not called into the U.S. team soon," Landon Donovan on Gyasi Zardes' USMNT prospects
CARSON, Calif. -- The U.S. National Team buzz surrounding Gyasi Zardes is at a fever pitch and now the striker's LA Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan is getting into the conversation.
Zardes scored twice during the Galaxy's 6-0 rout of the Colorado Rapids on Friday night to continue his impressive streak of 17 goals in 18 games in all competitions this summer. With 14 goals in his sophomore season in MLS, Zardes now holds the highest single-season total for an MLS Homegrown Player breaking the record previous held New England Revolution's Diego Fagundez who scored 13 goals last year.
As Zardes continues to score, the national team chatter will continue to intensify, but to have the seal of approval from Donovan is likely to aid the striker's case for the USMNT.
"He deserves everything he has got; success is not an accident. People think you’re just born a certain way and everything either comes to you or doesn’t and it’s not true," said Donovan. "Last year, we saw the other side of that where he wasn’t quite there yet. He put in a lot of work last year and a lot of work this year and it’s starting to pay off. I would be pretty shocked if he’s not called into the U.S. [Men’s National] Team soon.”
Throughout Zardes' impressive performance against the Rapids, the 22-year-old displayed not only his trademark speed, but also a variety of tricks learned from players like Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan. Whether it was Keane’s ability make a dummy run and set up a chance for a teammate or Donovan-esque turn and shoot, Zardes showcased that he’s steadily adding tricks to his growing arsenal of offensive moves.
And as he displays some of their trademark moves on the field, Zardes credits the role that Keane and Donovan have played in his maturation.
“My teammates are helping me. All these guys are older than me and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from them," Zardes said. “Landon is a phenomenal player and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from him. As you can see in the recent games, he’s the one giving me all my assists and I’m just trying to build off that as much as I can from these guys because they’ve played professional soccer longer than I have.”
Does Zardes get a national team call for the match against Ecuador?
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CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addresses the Galaxy's 3-0 victory over Chivas USA.
(On Gyasi Zardes’ performance...)
ARENA: “He obviously played really well. The first goal was a big goal in this game. Chivas USA played very well in the first half. They were tough to break down. Kennedy was difficult to beat. To get that goal at the end of the half was a big advantage, not only on the scoreboard but psychologically as well.”
(His assessment on Keane and Donovan as a pair...)
ARENA: “It’s a good combination. I think the whole group has played well together. This has been a difficult couple of weeks for us. I don’t know how many games they’ve been in the past couple of weeks but it has been challenging and demanding for the team physically and mentally. They’ve been held up and did well. In a game like today, bringing Robbie [Keane] in with 30 minutes left, they are chasing the game because they need a goal, and it opens up a little bit. Certainly, it became advantageous to our team.”
(On missing Penedo and Keane in the following fixtures...)
ARENA: “You make slight adjustments to your team. We’ve been preparing for this. Robbie [Keane] didn’t play in the D.C United game on Wednesday, he missed 60 minutes tonight, so we’ve played without him. We have some good options in the goal. This is all part of it. When the league plays on the international fixture dates, there are going to be occasions where you lose some players, and others have to step up. That will be the case [next week].”
(On Nigel Reo-Coker’s performance...)
ARENA: “Reo-Coker is a really good player. You could see his experience. I was surprised that he could play 90 minutes given the fact that he did not play whole a lot of minutes this year for Vancouver. It was a pretty impressive performance. He is obviously a very good player, and they are fortunate enough to have him.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The Last SuperClasico is upon us.
The LA Galaxy will face the team soon to be formerly known as Chivas USA for a final time on Sunday in what is being billed by the Rojiblancos as "The Last Clasico." In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, rather than look at LA's statistical dominance over Chivas throughout the rivalry, we take a look at LA's recent success in the black kits that they will don on Sunday evening.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane has declared himself fit enough to be in consideration for the LA Galaxy's SuperClasico match with Chivas USA, but what role the club's Irish captain will play on Sunday is still undecided.
The Galaxy's 34-year-old Irish captain confirmed that he suffered a strained adductor during the match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC which has kept him on the shelf since. Keane made his return to training on Friday, but with another training shift completed a day later, the Galaxy forward is optimistic about his chances for Sunday's SuperClasico.
"I feel fine. We just have to see how the injury reacts today and tomorrow. We'll see how it is tomorrow. It's not 100 percent, but I'll be involved tomorrow and there's a good chance of that, but whether I start or not will depend on the reaction," said Keane. "It feels okay, but whether it's good enough to start is more of a precaution than anything else. Maybe I could be in reserve, but we'll have to see how it reacts."
Keane's optimism about his status for the SuperClasico was echoed by Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
"It's possible," he said. "He looked good today in training."
Adding to the intrigue surrounding Keane's status for Sunday will be his role in Ireland's two upcoming matches after being named to the team's 21-man squad on Saturday. The Irish will play two matches next week including a Sept. 3 friendly against Oman in Dublin before kicking off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Georgia on Sept. 7 in the Georgian capital of Tblisi. Although there might be some concern on Keane's part about saving himself for those matches, he insists that any participation against Chivas will not hinder his availability for the national team.
"I have to listen to the trainers as well. Its their job to make sure that they get me right and I'm not pushing it. I can only go on how I feel. I felt good today in training so we just have to see how it is today and tomorrow. I'm not one of those people that leave something for a couple weeks time. I'm a now man and I like to play now.
"I'll certainly be ready for Ireland. There is no question about that. If I practice today and the game is not until next Sunday, then I certainly have a chance," Keane continued. "I'll have a chance for tomorrow, but starting or not is another thing."
Think Keane will play?
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CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan's farewell tour pulled into StubHub Center on Wednesday as the LA Galaxy legend received several gifts from D.C. United ahead of LA's 4-1 victory over the Eastern Conference side.
Prior to the match, Donovan was presented with a seat from RFK Stadium, a place where he notched 10 goals in 18 career appearances. The gifts didn't end there, however, as he was also presented with a framed photo from the U.S. National Team's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in 2009 and a paddleboard.
When prompted about the gifts after the game, Donovan couldn't help but flash a smile at his newest toys.
"I'm going to sit in my chair [from RFK] and paddle," Donovan joked after the game. "I've paddleboarded once in Bora, Bora. It was sweet."
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Rogers will miss another game with a quadriceps injury according to head coach Bruce Arena.
The LA Galaxy boss said that Rogers is still on the mend from an injury that forced him from the Galaxy's 4-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew last weekend. With Rogers still recovering from the knock, Arena will likely turn to veteran defender Todd Dunivant at left back against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday.
"[Rogers] is doing good," said Arena. "He'll be back next week."
Arena had identical diagnoses for forward Rob Friend who has been unavailable since late July and James Riley, who suffered an ACL tear in the club's March 22 game against Real Salt Lake. Riley told LA Galaxy Insider on Wednesday that he is expected to be available for Galaxy II in Sunday's match against Wilmington Hammerheads.
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?
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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.”