CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal made his first appearance in a Cruz Azul kit on Saturday as he scored a goal for the team’s U-20 side in a 1-1 draw with the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20’s.
Villarreal’s goal came five minutes into the match and comes less than a week after he made his first appearance for the team as a whole in a friendly against a non-professional team from the Mexican Armed Forces.
The Galaxy attacker was joined in the lineup by San Diego-native Michael Farfan who also made his first showing for the Cruz Azul U-20 side.
The StubHub Center was packed to the brim with 27,000 for the U.S. National Team’s 2-0 victory over Korea Republic on Saturday. The crowd was the first sell-out for the U.S. at the StubHub Center and just the second time that the national team had sold out the venue.
The last time that the U.S. sold out the stadiun? Nearly seven years prior on June 9, 2007 for a CONCACAF Gold Cup match between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago.
Whether it was the boisterous American Outlaws U.S. Supporters Group or the loyal fans of Korea, the stadium was rocking for a complete 90 minutes—a fact that did not go unnoticed by the players on the pitch.
“I was surprised to be honest,” said LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. “I thought that the energy was great, the national anthem was great. It’s a lot of fun to play in that environment especially in my home stadium. It was just great.”
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando agreed: “It was a great crowd. I've never played here with the U.S. team when it was sold out like this. It was fantastic to see everyone come out and support us.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 1, 2014
The U.S. National Team defeated Korea Republic 2-0 on Saturday in front of 27,000 at StubHub Center.
Below is a photo gallery of the event.
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team got off to a winning start in 2014 with a 2-0 victory against Korea Republic in front of a capacity crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center.
Chris Wondolowski scored two goals in the victory, tallying in the fourth and 60th minute for the Americans. Both LA Galaxy players Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez each went 90 minutes for the U.S. in the win.
The pro-American crowd at StubHub Center did not get a chance to see former Galaxy striker Mike Magee who did not make the game day roster due to food poisoning. There was one other local connection as Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil of Garden Grove made his debut for the U.S. in the 75th minute of the victory.
The U.S. National Team return to action on March 5 when they take on Ukraine in Kharkiv.
The U.S. press conference is below...
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On Saturday, the Jurgen Klinsmann coached U.S. National Team will take on Hong Myung-Bo's Korea Republic at StubHub Center, but it is not the first meeting between the two international legends.
Klinsmann and Myung-Bo faced off was on June 24, 1994 when Klinsman's Germany defeated Korea Republic 3-2 at the group stage match at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. In the match, Klinsmann tallied two goals -- beating the former Galaxy defender twice -- to lead Germany to an early three goal lead before Korea Republic roared back with two late goals, Myung-Bo tallying the final strike in the German victory.
Watch the video below.
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez is growing into his own as a member of the U.S. National Team, but according to U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, he’s still got plenty of work to do before this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Gonzalez was named to the U.S. squad earlier this month after solidifying his place on the national team with 14 appearances in 2013. During his formative year with the squad, Gonzalez formed a solid partnership with Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler that Klinsmann himself sees as a center back pairing for the future.
“From a coaches’ perspective, you want to see a development of players: over a season and across a number of years. With Matt and Omar, you’ve seen them mature,” said Klinsmann in his final press conference before the Americans’ match against Korea Republic on Saturday. “They’ve become calmer; they’ve become more responsible and have really grown into their own feet.”
But due to the duo’s relative inexperience, the job is hardly finished.
In particular, Klinsmann wants to see much better possession from his defenders and prevent the type of reliance on long balls up field that had been a staple of U.S. teams in years past.
“Their biggest challenge is to be ahead of things and to be alert while not allowing mistakes because mistakes at an international level will be punished, and the team will go home,” said Klinsmann. “This is something that we tell every position but especially on the back line because you can’t make mistakes at an international level. You have to be on top of your game for 90 minutes and not make passing mistakes in the defensive area because the transition is going to happen so quickly from those teams that we’ll be facing this year.
“We don’t want to see balls played long because [they] don’t know what to do and [they’re] getting closed down, we want them to stay calm and find the solution.”
The formation and implications of LA Galaxy’s USL PRO side LA Galaxy II have been at the forefront of the conversation among American soccer circles over the past week.
Whether it was LA Technical Director Jovan Kirovski’s assertion that the project will be duplicated league wide or head coach and general manager Bruce Arena stating that the team will have a chance to close “black hole” that has existed in American player development.
On Friday, new LA Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo joined the conversation with an interview by NASN’s Jason Davis to discuss the project.
During the interview, Onalfo revealed that Galaxy II players will be training as early as Tuesday while also stating that the team will be loaning as many as seven Galaxy first team players to the USL PRO side. Onalfo also mentioned that he opted to for the position with Galaxy II rather than take the head coaching gig with Chivas USA.
Listen to his interview which starts at the 30 minute mark below.
Bruce Arena: LA Galaxy to be "guinea pigs" with USL PRO project as they seek to bridge development "black hole"
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy made MLS history on Wednesday by becoming the first team to operate a lower division club with the foundation of USL PRO side LA Galaxy II, and head coach Bruce Arena fully expects the rest of the league to follow in the club’s footsteps.
On Thursday, USL PRO unveiled the Galaxy II’s schedule for the upcoming 2014 season which will begin with their March 22 match against the Los Angeles Blues. Following LA’s training session, Arena stated that the creation of LA Galaxy II was a necessary step in the development of the American soccer player.
“We’ve lacked the next step for academy players or our players that are just outside of our first team. We’ve had a bit of a black hole in our development. This makes everything more natural,” said Arena on Thursday. “A young player can go from the U-18 to the USL team to the first team for those players that need those steps. That’s a majority of players so it’ll be a benefit for us.”
Arena also cleared up a few logistical questions noting that teams will train separately and that he will have “a lot of freedom” as they loan LA first team players back and forth between Galaxy and Galaxy II.
For all the confidence, Arena admits that the experience won’t be an easy one, but one that the club expects to pay dividends in the future.
“It’s definitely the future,” said Arena. “We’re going to be guinea pigs in the first year, it’s not going to be easy but it’ll be good going forward.”
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.
CARSON, Calif. – There was a time when youth players in the U.S. turned to the U.S. U-17 Residency program to develop the best and brightest, but according to LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, those days may be coming to a close.
On Wednesday, the club announced the creation of a USL PRO team LA Galaxy II which will serve as yet another path to develop young players for LA’s first team. During my Q&A with Kirovski – who was one of the spearheads of the USL PRO project — for LAGalaxy.com, the Technical Director was asked about whether the Galaxy Academy could one day surpass the development that players receive at residency.
“We’re at that stage now. We feel like we have quality coaches who are just as good if not better than [Bradenton], we have a USL team that no one has. With young kids, it’s better to be at home and be close to your family. When I left to go to Europe, I had nothing like this,” Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. “Now we have coaches in place, we have teams in place, and just a place to develop young local kids to be close to their family. It’s an ideal set up and way different than before. Back then, going to Europe made sense, but now, I’m not so sure.”
And Kirovski was quick to note that it is the league’s development that is the reason that players of all age are choosing to stay in the U.S. rather than head to Europe.
“We’re moving forward,” said Kirovski. “If you look at how far we’ve come in the last 10 years in terms of the fan support in places like Seattle, Portland and L.A., the new clubs coming in, the resources put into Academies league wide and companies like AEG investing in the USL PRO team and the Academy. We’re moving forward. It’s still going to take time, but we’re going in the right direction.”