CARSON, Calif. – Two titans of MLS will likely play their final match against one another on Sunday when Landon Donovan’s LA Galaxy faces off against Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls.
The similarities for the two players are easy to see: both players are stars for their club teams and the leading goal scorers for their respective national sides. While Donovan has pledged to hang up his boots at the end of the 2014 season, speculation has swirled that Henry will end his own storied career at the end of the year—a fact that he has denied.
Even if Henry stays with New York another year, Donovan says that he is relishing what may be his final chance to face the French maestro.
“Sometimes we forget how special his career has been. When you’re caught up in the moment and you’re caught up in the game, you just see him as an opponent to stop. But when you think about it historically, it’s pretty special that we get to play against him,” said Donovan. “We’re certainly not in awe of him when we’re playing, but when you step back and take a look at his career, it’s special that we get to play against a player of his caliber.”
But will Sunday’s match be the last time that the Red Bulls face the Galaxy this year? Donovan hopes not.
“Hopefully, it’s not the last time. Hopefully they see us again in December,” Donovan said. “We’ve had very different careers, but he’s meant a lot to French Football, Arsenal and the Red Bulls. He’s brought them back to prominence after a longtime of not being a prominent team on the national scope. It’s been impressive what they’ve done with him and I’m going to try to enjoy the last encounter.”
LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo will rejoin the club this week from the Copa CentroAmericana, but even though Panama did not win the Central American championship, Penedo will leave with some silverware.
Penedo was awarded the tournament’s Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper after conceding just two goals during Panama’s three games. Panama finished the tournament in third place after defeating El Salvador 1-0 in the third place match on Saturday afternoon at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The award comes on the heels of Penedo's Golden Gloves showing at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup when Penedo was instrumental in Panama’s run to the final. By finishing in the CentroAmericana's top four spots, Panama earned a berth in the 2015 edition of the Gold Cup.
CARSON, Calif. -- A.J. DeLaGarza is back with the LA Galaxy.
The club confirmed on Saturday that the defender has rejoined the team after the burial of his infant son Luca earlier in the week. DeLaGarza will be available for selection for the Galaxy's match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The return of DeLaGarza is a major boost for the club's outside back depth as Dan Gargan is suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation while Todd Dunivant remains injured with a groin issue. Both outside backs James Riley and Robbie Rogers are returning from injury.
CARSON, Calif. –The LA Galaxy will be without defender Todd Dunivant for at least the next month.
The Galaxy's 33-year-old left back told reporters at training on Sunday that the he will be out for around six weeks with a left groin tear. Dunivant needed to be stretchered off the field in the 26th minute after suffering the injury during a collision with a Rapids attacker minutes earlier. The injury is the second long-term injury for Dunivant this season as he only recently returned from abdominal surgery that was needed to repair an abdominal tear suffered in April.
"I had the MRI yesterday. It was a pretty significant tear," said Dunivant on Sunday. "I can't walk straight. It sucks."
With Dunivant out, the Galaxy's outside back depth appears thin as veteran James Riley is only now returning from a left meniscus tear, and made his first gameday roster on Friday since suffering the injury in March. Meanwhile Robbie Rogers is continuing to deal with a left hamstring strain that forced him from the gameday squad against the Rapids.
“It’s been bizarre in that outside back is where we’ve had the most trouble [with injuries],” said Landon Donovan. “Guys have stepped in and they’ve done a great job. It’s been a bit a mish-mash of guys throughout the year, but through all of that, we still have the best defensive record in the league and we’re still playing well defensively.”
At training on Sunday, Rogers revealed that he will be traveling with the team to Montreal, but expects to only be limited to reserve duty against the Impact as he looks to return to full starting duty against the San Jose Earthquakes three days later.
For both Dunivant and Rogers, the injury-riddled 2014 campaign has been a frustrating one, but Rogers insists that the two will overcome—by any means necessary.
“Todd and I were saying that someone needs to walk the field with incense and use voodoo,” Rogers joked. “For whatever reason this year, our [outside] defenders have had trouble with injuries, but that’s just part of the job.
“We've been dealing with injuries all season to different guys, but the team has done a great job of stepping up,” Rogers added. “Our team isn’t just one player obviously.”
"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?
Share your thoughts below.
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?
Share your thoughts below.
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.