CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan went through his final training session as a professional athlete on Saturday as the LA Galaxy went through their final preparations for Sunday's MLS Cup Final against the New England Revolution at StubHub Center.
Photos from Donovan's final training session are below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Nothing says MLS Cup week in Southern California quite like a little rain.
On Tuesday, the LA Galaxy kicked off their prepration for the 2014 MLS Cup Final with an early morning session that was plagued by rain showers. Rain has become a staple of LA's MLS Cups as both finals in 2011 and 2012 happened during rare Southern California rain showers.
Although the rain was intense during the session, it didn't affect the Galaxy's preparations.
"It was good. For the starters, we didn't do much, but it was good to let them run around a little bit," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "We'll have a day out tomorrow so by Thursday, they'll be fresh and ready to play."
Don't worry though: the forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions and temperatures of 72 degrees on Sunday afternoon.
Check out photos from Galaxy photographer Hana Asano below.
LA Galaxy fans celebrate the team's airport arrival after winning the Western Conference Championship
More than 100 LA Galaxy fans greeted the team at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday morning after the team clinched the Western Conference Championship by defeating Seattle Sounders FC.
In this fan video by "DJ Elixx", we get an insight into the fans that greeted the Galaxy at Atlantic Aviation and their celebration with Cozmo and the Western Conference Trophy afterward. I do have to warn you that I do make a few brief cameos.
Check it out above.
LA Galaxy stalwarts A.J. DeLaGarza and Juninho expecting to be ready for MLS Cup Final date with New England Revolution
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are expecting to be back to full fitness -- or at least close to it, when they kick off in the MLS Cup Final against the New England Revolution on Sunday.
A.J. DeLaGarza (left hamstring strain) was the most glaring absence from the squad that dispatched Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, but in an interview with reporters the morning after, the 27-year-old said that he expects to play in MLS Cup this weekend.
"I feel a lot better. I've been working out the last couple of days, but I didn't train too much in the buildup to the last game against Seattle so it wasn't right to go out in a situation like that especially on that turf. You saw that Osvaldo Alonso was not himself and he had two weeks to get ready for that," said DeLaGarza. "I'll be fine this weekend. I'm going to get back into full training."
Another question mark is Juninho who played the hero for the Galaxy with the series-clinching goal against the Sounders. It appeared that the Brazilian suffered an injury in the 87th minute that forced Bruce Arena to pull him from the match when a subsitution of another banged up player (Marcelo Sarvas) was already in the cards.
Despite needing to be helped off the field, Juninho insisted after the game that he'll be ready for Sunday's meeting with the New England Revolution.
"It was so cold out there and at the end of the game there is a lot of pressure so I felt a cramp," said Juninho. " I'm good though. I'll be good for the next game."
Alonso missed out on the Galaxy’s 1-0 first leg win in Southern California last week with a hamstring injury, but has trained with Seattle throughout the week including their session at StarFire Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Galaxy boss was asked about Seattle’s optimism about their star midfielder’s status on Sunday and was quick to provide a terse response on Alonso’s availability.
“I wouldn't think so, but if he does [play] then good for him,” Arena quipped.
LA Galaxy feeling healthy ahead of Western Conference Championship second leg with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy trained for the final time at StubHub Center on Friday morning and in the final session, head coach Bruce Arena continued to reiterate that team is expected to be fully ready which includes A.J. DeLaGarza and Marcelo Sarvas who are expected to be available for selection for Sunday's Western Conference Championship second leg at CenturyLink Field.
"We think that we're good," said Arena. "Seattle has to come out in pretty aggressive and get a goal early. There's no surprises, it's the same game that you've seen for the last month."
A.J. DelaGarza (left hamstring) and Marcelo Sarvas (left leg injury) who both suffered injuries in last week's 1-0 Galaxy victory spoke on Friday and told reporters that they believe that they'll be ready come Sunday.
"If I’m called upon like every weekend I’ll go out there," said DeLaGarza who noted that he trained "a lot' this week. "I’m ready to go."
Added Sarvas, " I trained yesterday (full) and I’m feeling good. Today we just had an easy day, I feel normal...I can play, of course...This was a bruised muscle, it goes away with days, every day is better and better. Sunday will be 100 percent for sure."
Everyone knows about Landon Donovan's famous habit of kissing his wrists before each penalty, but there is another ritual that the LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team star is infamous for that takes place before each and every game.
Since joining the Galaxy, Donovan has preformed the ritual -- which he claims isn't necessary, but has been performed in every game since 2005 -- which involves him taking a drink of water from a Gatorade bottle before spraying both head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra and assistant athletic trainer Kurt Andrews in the face.
"It kind of gets the training staff a little bit fired up and prepared for the game and hopefully makes them feel a little bit part of what's going on," Donovan told the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter. "They're a part of what we do, and we want to make them feel involved."
Added Andrews, " "It's a bond, We as a staff spend a lot of time with him. I could see it as an honor, for sure."
The complete story on Landon Donovan's pregame ritual can be found here on the Los Angeles Times website.
Robbie Keane returns from international duty fit for Western Conference Championship clash with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy welcomed back captain Robbie Keane from international duty on Tuesday ahead of this weekend's Western Conference Championship first leg clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
Keane spent the last week with the Republic of Ireland and saw limited second half action in their 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland last Friday. The match was the first time that Keane had been left on the substitute’s bench for a competitive international match in 13 years.
“I was disappointed with the result which wasn’t what [the Irish squad] wanted, but I move on and I’m fully focused on the game on Sunday,” Keane said on Tuesday following the team’s training session. “[Coming back early] gives me six days to get back into the swing of things for Sunday after the travel back from Europe.”
The 34-year-old noted that conversations between the Galaxy coaching staff and the Republic of Ireland allowed Keane to miss out on their 4-1 defeat over the United States on Tuesday. Not only does Keane’s return aid in his preparation for the Sounders match, but the Irish striker notes that he is “90-ish percent” back from a left hamstring ailment that plagued him for the last month.
Keane returns to a Galaxy squad that is the midst of their preparations for their clash with a Seattle side that clinched the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the Galaxy on Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field. Although the Galaxy felt the sting of that defeat after the Seattle match, Keane says that loss will have no impact on what happens on Sunday at StubHub Center.
“There’s no fear. You can’t have fear going into game like this. These are the games that you want to be playing in,” Keane said. “We can’t change about what happened in the past, but we can change what will happen on Sunday. We have to make sure that we go into the game with the right mentality and not thinking that is revenge.
“This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to have a chance to play for a championship and we have every opportunity to do so.”
CARSON, Calif. –To advance from the Western Conference, the LA Galaxy understand that they must breach the man lovingly referred to by Real Salt Lake fans as the “Wall of Wasatch.”
Since his triumph over the Galaxy in the 2009 MLS Cup, Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando has proven himself to be one of the finest ‘keepers in all of MLS. And amid that rise, Rimando has consistently been a thorn in the Galaxy’s side as his stellar goalkeeping has proven to be Salt Lake’s primary weapon against LA’s dynamic attack.
"He's quick and sharp. He's very agile and there's a reason that he's in the national team. He's a good goalkeeper," said Galaxy striker Robbie Keane. "But hopefully, he's not too good on Sunday."
During the first leg, Rimando was rarely tested as the Galaxy forced him to make just one save in the scoreless draw. But if LA are to advance on Sunday, Landon Donovan says the Galaxy must challenge RImando early and often.
"We have to put him under pressure, we have to create chances, we have to hit the target," said Landon Donovan who has scored eight goals all-time against Rimando. "You have to keep making him make spectacular saves. He's not going to give us any goals, we know that. If we're going to get a goal then we have to earn it and we're prepared to do that."
CARSON, Calif. – The season may be over for LA Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant as head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday that he is “not likely” to return for the remainder of the season.
Dunivant has yet to return to full training since tearing his left groin muscle during LA’s 6-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids back in September that ruled him out for six weeks. Injuries have been a frequent problem for Dunivant who missed out on four months of the season due to an abdominal tear.
The 33-year-old has made some progress over the last week by taking part in fitness work, but he revealed to reporters on Tuesday that he is still unable to train without experiencing pain.
“Injuries are part of the game and you have to deal with it accordingly,” said Arena. “On the team side, it can’t be an excuse and on the player side, you certainly feel for the player, but we have to move on and take care of business.
“We’ve had eight guys who have helped us in the back and they’ve all been needed.”