CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy added a new defender to their roster on Tuesday with the addition of veteran right back James Riley.
Following Tuesday's training session, head coach Bruce Arena stated that it was "safe to say" that Riley would be staying with the Galaxy after an impressive preseason, but the veteran defender went a step further stating that he put pen to paper just before heading out to training.
For the nine-year MLS veteran, the move to the Galaxy left him overjoyed.
“I'm ecstatic . It’s been a work in progress, but I came with that goal in mind and I put pen to paper [Tuesday] morning," said Riley. “But I need to continue to work and earn the trust of my teammates, the club, the coaches and the fans. That’s my objective.”
This preseason, Riley has made five preseason appearances, playing almost entirely at left back due a hamstring injury to first team regular Todd Dunivant.
“He’s having a good preseason with us. He’s made a good impression and it’s safe to say that we’re going to keep him,” said Arena. “He’s a veteran player who can play both sides of the field and I think that he’ll be a valuable player for us during the season.”
The Galaxy still have yet to make a decision with their other outside back trialist Dan Gargan, who remains with the club and is likely to sign if LA can fit his contract under the league’s salary cap.
“Still evaluating him,” said Arena. ‘He’s another player that is experienced. He’s had a few knocks over the last few weeks and we want to make sure that his fitness is good. We always have an exercise with the salary cap so we have to make sure that we can offer him a contract that keeps us compliant with the cap.”
Thoughts on the signing of Riley? Think LA will keep Gargan?
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CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy announced on Thursday that they have signed their latest Homegrown Player, Bradford Jamieson IV.
A Los Angeles native from Culver City, Jamieson is a former U.S. youth international and NSCAA All-American who has scored three goals in 11 appearances for the Galaxy U-18 side during the 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy season. Prior to signing with the Galaxy, the 17-year-old had committed to the University of California, Berkeley.
“We are thrilled to add Bradford Jamieson IV to our roster and continue our tradition of signing local players to the Galaxy,” LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said in a club statement. “Bradford is a talented forward who will continue to develop and grow as a player within our system.”
My conversation with Jamieson for LAGalaxy.com is below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy bolstered their depth in midfield on Thursday with the signing of Swedish international Stefan Ishizaki.
The 31-year-old spent the last eight years with IF Elfsborg while also making stints with Sweden's AIK, Italian side Genoa, Norway's Valerenga. Ishizaki will be added to the Galaxy's roster pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate. Per league and club policy terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ishizaki had been on the radar of MLS teams in the past, but the Swede admits that once he heard the Galaxy were interested, he had to make the move.
“I had an offer from MLS a couple years ago, but I still had a long contract with my old club, but once my agent told me that LA was interested, it was just an easy decision,” said Ishizaki. “I’m quite calm with the ball. I usually play on the right wing. I’ve had experience playing with the national team, in Italy and I think that I bring experience here to the Galaxy.”
Although Ishizaki has enjoyed a strong career in Europe, he garnered the attention of the world in April of 2012 scoring off a volley from inside his own half during a match against Obero. You can see that goal below.
The LA Galaxy are moving ever closer to bolstering their midfield with the acquisition of Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki.
A report in the Los Angeles Times on Monday cited an unnamed Galaxy team official who states that the club has a photocopy of a signed contract from the Swedish international. Ishizaki, 31, is expected to head to Southern California later this week to make the deal official. According to the official, the Galaxy were drawn to the midfielder due to his proficiency at delivering set pieces, a distinct problem for LA in 2013 as the club tallied just seven goals off dead ball opportunities.
When asked about the deal, Ishizaki stated that he has had prior interest from MLS clubs including Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact as well as American colleges when he was younger.
“The American way of living attracts me. When I was younger, I had offers for scholarships in the U.S," Ishizaki told reporters in Sweden on Monday. “It has to suit my family and it has to be an interesting team. There is always some cities of the world that you'd rather live in."
Ishizaki has spent the last eight seasons with Elfsborg while tallying 46 goals and 58 assists in 156 appearances for the Borås-based club.
On Tuesday, the LA Galaxy dealt midfielder Hector Jimenez and their 14th overall selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft to the Columbus Crew for a second round pick (23rd overall) and allocation money.
Jimenez, a Los Angeles native who was drafted with the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of California, made a total of 43 MLS regular season appearances for the Galaxy during his three year stint with the club. With their first round pick dealt, it is the first time that the Galaxy have entered the SuperDraft without a first round selection since 2007.
Where the deal has the most ramifications for the Galaxy is in the midfield where LA suddenly find themselves thin along the flanks. Currently, Bruce Arena’s side will enter the preseason with just two options in right midfield with Landon Donovan and Robbie Rogers occupying the top two slots on the depth chart while Marcelo Sarvas, who played on the right at times in 2012, is a possibility as well. Meanwhile, along the left side, Gyasi Zardes, Rogers, and Greg Cochrane are potential options for Arena.
The Columbus Dispatch’s Adam Jardy spoke with Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter who offered a few thoughts on Jimenez in the tweets below.
Gregg Berhalter said it was easy working out a deal with mentor Bruce Arena. Also, Berhalter played with Hector Jimenez in L.A. #crew96
— Adam Jardy (@AdamJardy) January 14, 2014
And yes, Berhalter envisions Jimenez playing on the wing, likely the right side. Could move Oduro up top more. He'll be pleased. #crew96
— Adam Jardy (@AdamJardy) January 14, 2014
A new chapter in my career starts today. Excited and looking forward to the future. LA will always be my home. ✌️
— Hector Jimenez (@HectorJimenez09) January 14, 2014
Thoughts on the deal?
The LA Galaxy were sorely lacking a target presence during their ill-fated 2013 campaign, but over the past seven days, LA have added two legitimate scoring options to their attacking arsenal.
Over the past week, the Galaxy have added two forwards in Brazilian forward Samuel and now Canadian international Rob Friend. Friend, 32, joins the Galaxy after an 11-year career in Europe that saw him tally 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.
Friend has spent the last two seasons with 1860 Munich making 24 appearances, but over the past season, he has played in 10 matches for the Die Löwen (The Lions) scoring a single goal. The 6-foot-5 forward’s final goal for Munich came on Sept. 21 when he notched a goal and an assist during a 3-1 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue. Friend’s performance against the Saxony-based club was a vintage target forward display as he was able to aid in the build-up of a goal with a well-time knockdown of a cross before tallying a goal himself off a corner kick minutes later.
Such aerial skills were at a premium for the Galaxy in 2013 as center back Omar Gonzalez was often the lone target for the Galaxy on set pieces and often heavily marked by opposing defenses. The presence of a target forward like Friend will only stand to aid LA on attacking set pieces by freeing up space for LA’s other attackers like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Although Friend brings a strong European pedigree to StubHub Center his minutes won’t be guaranteed as he’s expected to compete for the starting spot alongside Keane with the 22-year-old Samuel. Should either of the forwards lock down a starting place next to the Irishman, expect Donovan to drift back into the right side of midfield.
Highlights of Friend’s final goal for Munich are below.
The LA Galaxy bolstered their forward corps with yet another target forward on Monday signing Canadian international Rob Friend.
The 32-year-old striker spent the last two seasons with Bundesliga 2 club TSV 1860 Munich making 24 appearances for the German club while scoring five times. Throughout his 11-year career, Friend has scored 75 goals in nearly 260 league appearances with eight clubs.
“The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack,” said LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena in a club statement. “Rob is a veteran player with a scoring pedigree and we are excited to bolster our roster by bringing him to LA.”
Friend, who played a portion of his college soccer at U.C. Santa Barbara, also earned a total of 32 appearances for the Canadian National Team with two goals and two assists. The 6-foot-5 target forward is the second striker that the Galaxy have signed this year, with the club adding Brazilian striker Samuel earlier this month on loan from Brazilian side Fluminense.
Thoughts on Friend's signing? Do you think Samuel or Friend will earn a starting role alongside Robbie Keane?
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CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan among those praising Toronto FC’s reported capture of star U.S. National Team midfielder Michael Bradley.
Although the deal has not yet been announced by MLS or Toronto FC, the widely reported transfer was confirmed by Bradley’s Italian club A.S. Roma on Thursday. Bradley is the latest U.S. National Team standout to return to MLS or elect to stay in the league and the highest profile returnee since Seattle Sounders FC’s signing of Clint Dempsey in August.
When asked about Bradley’s reported move, Donovan admitted that the return of the 26-year-old was “great” for Toronto FC, MLS and his national team teammate.
“I think that it’s a testament to our league that people want to come back and play here particularly six months before a World Cup,” said Donovan ahead of U.S. National Team training on Thursday.” It makes a strong statement, obviously, [Tim Leiweke] made it clear to him that it was something that he wanted, and Mike is a smart guy, I’m sure that he’s thought about this a lot and it’s something that he wants to do so I think that it is great.”
If any U.S. National Team player is familiar with Bradley’s current situation, it would be Donovan who made a high-profile return to MLS from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan then opted to extend his stay in MLS last summer when he inked a multi-year deal to stay with the Galaxy.
Although the moves of players like Bradley and Dempsey may be criticized, Donovan attests that the two players are simply “following their dreams” in a much improved MLS than the one the Galaxy forward returned to in 2005.
“The league is a lot better. The league is different because financially more stable, but in all ways, coaching is better, youth development is better, there’s more media, there’s more attention, everything is different and constantly changing,” said Donovan. “We always say that [MLS] is not where we want it to be, but when guys like Michael and Clint make decisions like that, when [Omar Gonzalez], Matt Besler, Graham Zusi make the decision to stay here when they could have gone abroad, it makes a big statement.
“The way that you make the league better is by having better players and certainly in the last six months, it has gotten two of our best [American] players back in the league.”
What do you think about the move?
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Villarreal was presented alongside fellow MLS players Rafael Baca and Michael Farfan on Saturday ahead of the move to the Mexico City club.
“Sending Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul provides one of our Homegrown players an opportunity to gain additional experience,” said Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement. “We’ll monitor Jose’s play with Cruz Azul and wish him well while in Mexico.”
On Saturday, LA Galaxy Insider reported that the deal is a year-long loan with an option to buy. Any loan fee that the Galaxy receive could net the club significant funs that should be able to improve a squad that has dealt with salary cap issues this offseason.
During the presentation of their new winter signings, Cruz Azul sporting director Agustín Manzo admitted that Mexican club’s idea to add Baca, Farfan and Villarreal came, at least, partially through his “very good friendship” with Galaxy assistant Curt Onalfo who had told him “many times about the players.”
The Cruz Azul brass may be high on Villarreal, but with La Maquina boasting talented attackers like Marco Fabian, Joao Rojas and Christian Gimenez, Villarreal will have his work cut out for him when it comes to breaking into the first team. If the Galaxy Homegrown forward is unable to crack the first team, then he’ll likely be given significant minutes with the club’s reserve side.
“It’s not going to be easy here, I’ll have to win a place,” said Villarreal after the presentation in Mexico. “With a lot of effort on the field, it can happen.”
Dwayne De Rosario and David Ferreira highlight list of players available for Stage Two of MLS Re-Entry Draft Process
There’s considerable talent on the board as MLS prepares for Stage Two of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process which will take place on Wednesday at 12pm PT.
During the Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, the LA Galaxy lost longtime right back Sean Franklin who was selected by D.C. United while Steve Zakuani (Portland Timbers), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union) and Marc Burch (Colorado Rapids) were also selected.
That amount of players available has been whittled down however, with several choosing to opt out in order to re-sign with their previous clubs or being dealt to other teams. Most notably, Kenny Cooper, Mauro Rosales and Bobby Convey were traded while players like Chris Rolfe, Andre Akpan and Logan Pause opted out with looks to return to their former clubs.
If a player is chosen in Stage Two, a club has seven days to make a bona fide offer to the selected individual, and if an agreement can’t be reached that club will have the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Should a player not be chosen then they will be able to reach an agreement with the club of their choosing.
Prior to stage one, I evaluated several players who could be good fits for the Galaxy and while several have come off the board, former MLS MVPs David Ferreira and Dwayne De Rosario as well as New York Red Bulls forward Fabian Espindola remain the most talented players available. However with the Galaxy losing Sean Franklin, it would not be surprising to see LA go after depth at right back which makes players like Ugo Ihemelu, Brandon Barklage and James Riley intriguing choices.
The complete list of available players for stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Process are below:
Chicago Fire: D Shaun Francis, M Joel Lindpere, F Maicon Santos, M Wells Thompson*, M Michael Videira
Chivas USA: D Ante Jazic*, D Steve Purdy, M Josue Soto
Columbus Crew: M Danny O'Rourke, M Konrad Warzycha
Colorado Rapids: GK Steward Ceus, D Brian Mullan, M Jamie Smith
D.C. United: M Dwayne De Rosario, D James Riley, F Carlos Ruiz, M Marcelo Saragosa, D Daniel Woolard
FC Dallas: M David Ferreira, D Ugo Ihemelu
Houston Dynamo: F Calen Carr*, M Alex Dixon, F Cam Weaver
LA Galaxy: M Colin Clark, M Laurent Courtois
Montreal Impact: M Sinisa Ubiparipovic
New England Revolution: F Chad Barrett, F Ryan Guy, M Clyde Simms, M Juan Toja
New York Red Bulls: D Brandon Barklage, F Fabian Espindola, D Heath Pearce
Portland Timbers: D Ryan Miller
Real Salt Lake: D Brandon McDonald, GK Josh Saunders, M Khari Stephenson
Seattle Sounders: M Blair Gavin
San Jose Earthquakes: D Nana Attakora, M Mehdi Ballouchy, D Dan Gargan, GK Evan Newton
Toronto FC: F Justin Braun
Vancouver Whitecaps: GK Joe Cannon, F Corey Hertzog