LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was immense as the United States were eliminated from the 2014 FIFA World Cup by Belgium in a 2-1 loss.
Making his second straight start for the Americans in central defense alongside Matt Besler, the U.S. defense held thanks to 16 saves by Tim Howard before conceding two extra time goals that sealed their fate. Following the match, the stat sheet was kind to the Galaxy defender who made a team-high 20 clearances as well as four interceptions and three blocked shots.
"What a battle. Belgium is no easy team to play against and it took a great effort to come back, especially in that extra time. Everyone was tired on both teams, but we never gave up and it’s something that we can really be proud of," sid Gonzalez. "I think that we can hold our heads up high. A lot of guys had great games tonight. We almost came back. We had a few great chances to get back and could have brought it to pks so I’m happy for my teammates and for myself.”
Although the result was a painful one, after the match Gonzalez admitted that the U.S. could hold their heads up high after the defeat.
“The energy is all about the passion for the game. It is something that is ingrained in the American spirit that we will never give up; we will never stop fighting,” said Gonzalez. “I really hope the fans across the world saw that today—that we never stop fighting.”
Despite all the heartbreak, Gonzalez and the rest of the U.S. were keenly aware about the way that the nation rallied around the team both in Brazil and back at home.
“I want to thank all the fans that made it out tonight [in Salvador]," he said. "The support, hearing the U.S. chant that late in the game was an unbelievable feeling and I know that the fans back at home were cheering their hearts out as well.”
The United States face a stiff test in the World Cup round of 16 match against Belgium, but LA Galaxy striker Landon Donovan believes that they're up for the task.
Speaking to reporters after the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium, Donovan spoke about the USMNT's chances ahead of Tuesday's match in Salvador.
"I think that it's going to be a good game and a difficult game," Donovan told reporters. "Belgium are a little inexperienced at this level, but a good team. If Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany can't play then it'll help us greatly. Let's hope that they win."
Donovan's supportive comments came just a day before an interview with Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke was released where he admitted that after being left off the World Cup roster, he rooted internally against the USMNT.
"I'll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn't go very well today. In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn't perform well, that would feel good," Donovan told the L.A. Times. "Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that's a really crappy way to feel. That's a bad way to live your life, it doesn't help me, it doesn't help the team, it doesn't help the energy that the team needs."
Will the U.S. get past Belgium? Thoughts on Donovan's comments?
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The U.S. National Team will take on Portugal without the services of Jozy Altidore due to a left hamstring injury, the federation announced on Thursday.
Altidore injured his left hamstring midway through the first half of the Americans 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday and was stretchered off the field. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters on Tuesday that he was optimistic about Altidore’s ability to return from the injury at some point during the 2014 World Cup, but was awaiting the results of an MRI of the striker’s hamstring.
With Altidore unavailable, Klinsmann may be forced to tinker with his formation as neither of his two remaining strikers Aron Johannsson or Chris Wondolowski are as capable at holding possession as the injured Altidore.
The injury news wasn’t all negative for the U.S., however, as Matt Besler and Clint Dempsey were each given a clean bill of health for Sunday’s game in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
Who do you believe should replace Altidore in the starting XI? Vote in the poll below.'
The U.S. National Team received mixed news about the injury status of starters Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler Clint Dempsey ahead of Sunday’s Group G match against Portugal.
In a press conference just a day after the team’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Ghana, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann revealed that Dempsey suffered a fractured nose after a clattering challenge in the first half while both Altidore (hamstring injury) and Besler (hamstring tightness) have undergone MRIs to determine the severity of injuries that they also endured in the opening 45 minutes. During his briefing with the press, Klinsmann said that Besler and Dempsey will likely be available for the Portugal match, but Altidore’s injury may require a bit more time.
“With Jozy, we’ve got to see now how he reacts the next couple of days with his hamstring and we are full of hope that he comes back still in this tournament,” said Klinsmann. “That’s what we kind of work on every day; the medical staff is doing a tremendous job. We still have the hope that Jozy will be back. How quickly? That is down to his healing process.”
Think Altidore will come back in time? Who will start if Altidore can not play against Portugal?
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In the latest edition of "What to Watch For," Cobi Jones and Joe Tutino analyze the SuperClasico between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA.
Check it out below.
Time Warner Cable Deportes provides some of the best LA Galaxy content around and they offered yet another interesting look inside the club with their latest piece "Confesiones de Landon Donovan" or Confessions of Landon Donovan."
In the brief video, Donovan answers a number of questions from his favorite goal (2010 vs. Algeria), his favorite Superhero (Captain America) and a host of other questions. The video is in Spanish, but you should have no trouble understanding when Donovan confesses his love for the R&B group Boyz II Men.
CHICAGO -- LA Galaxy midfielder Baggio Husidic got an opportunity to return to his old stomping grounds with his new club on Saturday as the LA Galaxy trained at his former college, the University of Illinois-Chicago as they prepare to take on his old team, the Chicago Fire.
Husidic was a standout for the Flames during his three years at UIC before joining the Fire and remaining there until a trade to the Colorado Rapids prompted him to move to Sweden. To date, the 27-year-old has enjoyed a strong season with the Galaxy with 10 appearances -- eight of them being starts -- and one goal, and will likely be in contention to start against the Fire on Sunday.
"It's nice. I've spent a lot of time here and it's great to be back," Husidic said after training. "It's always nice to be back home."
CARSON, Calif. -- Below are a few notable quotes from Landon Donovan's media availbility.
Donovan was told after training on Thursday that he'd be excluded from the U.S. National Team's 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Check it out below...
(On whether he'd still go sabbatical again back in 2013 in retrospect...)
DONOVAN: Yeah, I would absolutely do the same thing. My performances and my stats and the way I've played since my sabbatical, I think, stand for themselves and speak for themselves, so I actually think I've been a much better player since I've came back.
(On Jonathan Klinsmann's tweet on his exclusion...)
DONOVAN: "To be honest, I don't really know his son well, so I'm not really sure where that came from.
(On whether he was pigeonholed by Klinsmann into being a forward...)
DONOVAN: "I think one of the real good attributes in my entire career has been my ability to play in a lot of different positions, a lot of different roles. Also, although I'm an attacking player, I think I help the team defend in certain ways. I think I help the team get results in certain ways, even when it's not attacking-wise. I think I have a lot of versatility, and I think my experiences over the years have contributed to me being able to do that, so I think I would have been able to help in a lot of ways."
(On if he thought the snub was personal...)
DONOVAN: "I think if I'm being judged solely on what happens in camp, then I absolutely deserved to be going to Brazil."
(On whether he'd retire from international duty...)
DONOVAN: "Honestly, I haven't had much time to think about that. I love this country. I love playing for this country. I've always loved representing this country, so I can't imagine that if I'm given another opportunity that I would say no, but assuming that I'm still capable. But at this point, I'm just trying to deal with the disappointment."
Former U.S. National Team boss Bruce Arena gives coaches' perspective to cutting players ahead of World Cup
CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan’s omission from the U.S. World Cup roster is still sending shockwaves through the American soccer universe.
In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, I get the Galaxy’s reaction to Landon Donovan’s ouster from the U.S. National Team’s World Cup squad.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, who led the U.S. National Team to the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups provided some insight to reporters on Friday about the coaches’ perspective when making cuts for a World Cup.
“When coaches make decisions, you’ve got to support those decisions unless they’re proved otherwise. The last thing that I’m going to be is a Monday morning quarterback like everyone else in this world,” said Arena. “These are hard decisions, I’m sure that Jurgen has his reasons for it and you’ve got to respect that. It’s never easy. If it was my decision, he’d be on the team, but it’s not my decision. I have to leave at that. Only time tells if these things make sense or don’t make sense.
“In all fairness, I’m going to tell you from the coaches’ perspective, I’m not going to listen to one fan about how the team should play or you people [reporters]. Not to disrespect, but it’s our job to make those decisions,” he added. “You make those decisions and you live with them. That’s the decision that he made. He has his reasons and that’s in his realm of responsibility about how he wants to articulate that and move his team forward.”
CARSON, Calif. – Marcelo Sarvas is making his steady return from injury, but don’t expect the midfielder to be ready for either of the LA Galaxy’s two matches this week.
Sarvas trained for the first time on Tuesday since suffering left MCL strain prior to the Galaxy’s match with the Colorado Rapids earlier this month. Since the injury, Sarvas has been steadily trying to return to fitness and after his first full training session, the 32-year-old set his target date for a return to the field.
“I felt very good and this is the last step, which is always the hardest one because it’s the transition from physical therapy to the field. I’m happy and I feel so let’s see because maybe in one or two weeks I’ll be ready,” said Sarvas. “It was a fast rehab and we did the right work and treatment so I’m happy with how it goes.”
“The target is Chicago," said Sarvas. "But you never know because a soccer player could sleep and the next day feel better. It could even be Sunday [against the Philadelphia Union] but you never know.”
And the fiercely competitive Sarvas is eager to get back to the field and help turn around a Galaxy team that currently finds itself in last place.
“It’s frustrating to be injured and be outside [the team]. The team has been playing good with some mistakes, but of course, I would like to be there to help the team,” said Sarvas. “Let’s see how it goes because we'll have a chance against Dallas to get things right."