The California Clasico is always a heated affair, but the San Jose Earthquakes will need to make due without three key contributors for their match against the LA Galaxy.
Defenders Justin Morrow and Victor Bernardez were sent off in the final 10 minutes of San Jose's 2-2 draw with FC Dallas. Meanwhile, Rafael Baca will miss the match due yellow accumulation after picking up his fifth yellow card on a foul that led to FC Dallas midfielder Michel's penalty kick equalizer in the 72nd minute.
Thoughts on the absences? Expect LA to win?
Jaime Penedo still learning and acclimating to MLS after five save performance in win over Vancouver Whitecaps
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Jaime Penedo made a highlight-reel save to help preserve a 1-0 LA Galaxy victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but the Panamanian refuses to rest on his laurels and declare the starting ‘keeper job his.
Penedo has started LA’s last three matches in all competitions while accumulating a 3-0-0 record. After being tested sparingly in the matches against Real Salt Lake and C.S. Cartaginés, he earned his stripes in the victory over Vancouver.
Throughout the match, he controlled the penalty area by repeatedly coming off his line to head away dangerous chances for Vancouver. But where he truly shined was his ability to make timely saves to keep LA ahead of a hard-charging Whitecaps side. Penedo made five saves on the evening, but his finest came in the 82nd minute with his acrobatic reaction stop of a close-range shot by Jordan Harvey attempt.
Despite his performance, Penedo rejects the idea that he is the Galaxy’s new starting ‘keeper.
“Absolutely not, absolutely not. I'm not saying I'm the No. 1,” Penedo told media after the win. “There are four goalkeepers that are working hard, and I have to work hard and learn. That's what I have to do.”
As he continues to settle into in MLS, he has been aided by LA’s center back tandem of Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo, who are both able to speak to the monolingual Penedo in his native Spanish tongue.
“Very much,” Penedo answered when asked about Gonzalez and Leonardo’s role in his acclimation. “The fact they speak Spanish, and they’re both good central defenders helps a lot.”
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Jaime Penedo tallied a remarkable save in the 82nd minute off a Jordan Harvey save that will likely be remembered for years to come.
Following LA's 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Penedo's Galaxy teammates and Vancouver 'keeper David Ousted reacted to the save...
ROBBIE KEANE: "Yeah. Obviously, the one that hit the post and came back…the save was unbelievable, it was a world class save. Thankfully it kept us in the game.”
LANDON DONOVAN: “The save could potentially be save of the year. Other than that he was really solid. He came off his line, he was aggressive, he made solid saves when he needed to, he came and got the ball off crosses when he needed to. You can’t ask more of a goalie in a game like this, and I thought he was excellent.”
A.J. DELAGARZA: "It's important for a goalie to make one or two big saves a game and he made that save. Obviously, he made the save against Harvey and it saved us three points."
OUSTED: “Incredible! Probably save of the week. That was amazing he got back on that one. A really really great save.”
The save is below...
VANCOUVER, B.C. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s quotes following LA’s 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday…
Check it out below…
(On whether the victory was meaningful…)
ARENA: “Sure. They all are at this time of year. There wasn’t a need to get a win but it’s important to get wins now, we’re in a tight battle for the playoffs and for the guys to get a win on the road in these type of circumstances is real good.”
(On goalkeeper Penedo’s huge save…)
ARENA: “Great save! What more can you say? We’ve not had a lot of these opportunities this year where we can close out a game but we got it done tonight.”
(On the performance of LA’s defense…)
ARENA: “Obviously they got a couple chances at the end but I thought our guys held up well. The conditions are tough here but the artificial field; it’s not easy playing under those circumstances with a closed roof. You could see our guys were fatigued. I was real pleased our guys came up on top.”
(On the impact of Landon Donovan’s early goal…)
ARENA: “Landon played a good game and he scored a big goal. Well… it’s like starting a game with a one goal lead. It put them under a lot of pressure. At times, our team played real well, we had a couple chances to get a second but give Vancouver a lot of credit; they fought real hard, put us under a lot of pressure. They haven’t lost many games here at home, so that’s an impressive win for our group.”
On the defensive pairing of Leonardo and Gonzalez…)
ARENA: “It’s good. They’ve played together on and off over the years. I think it’s important to have center backs with the profile of center backs. Leonardo gives us that. You see a lot of these games when you’re under a lot of pressure. The ball’s in the air, we’re being challenged. Our center backs can hold up to those battles.”
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Landon Donovan is just four goals away from breaking Jeff Cunningham's MLS all-time goal scoring record, but the record is not on Donovan's mind.
After he scored the game-winning goal in LA's 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Donovan was asked about being so close to Cunnigham's record. Although Donovan has stated that he'd like to be the league's all-time record holder, he asserted that he's more focused on becoming the first MLS player to win the MLS Cup six times.
“The record I want right now is the sixth MLS cup, if the other one comes along the way then great," said Donovan.
The goal was Donovan's seventh of the season which goes with his seven assists this year in just 16 appearances. During the week, Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie stated that Donovan's improved play was due to his contract expiring at the end of the season, but Donovan was quick to answer to those assertions.
“I’ve been motivated my whole life. I think people are quick to forget what people have done. We’re back-to-back MLS champions, I’ve scored the game-winning goal in both games so I think I’m plenty motivated.”
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Ahead of tonight's match between the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, I give a brief lookahead to tonight's match...
*Lastly, my Three Points to the game
MATCH UPS TO WATCH:
Gyasi Zardes vs. Y.P. Lee
A match of speed against cunning, expect this match to be an important factor to Saturday's game. Zardes' breakneck speed makes him a danger every time that he touches the ball and he'll likely look to test Lee frequently from the start.
Nigel Reo-Coker vs. Marcelo Sarvas
"Reo-C" as his jersey reads feasted on the Galaxy midfield in their last meeting at BC Place, but match flipped to StubHub Center, it was "Marcelo" that had the better of Englishman. Look for Sarvas to press Reo-Coker, who will attempt to get forward and use his size to break up attacks.
Robbie Keane vs. Johnny Leverón
Another key match up as Keane as well as Landon Donovan will look to use their movement on and off the ball to open up space behind the Whitecaps defense.
CARSON, Calif. – Finally healthy after knee injuries decimated his last two seasons, burly LA Galaxy center back Leonardo is making the most of his opportunities in the Galaxy back four.
Leonardo has started five of the Galaxy’s last six matches in all competitions, which includes three starts in the Guinness International Champions Cup. During those appearances, Leonardo has looked confident alongside a variety of center back partners, but he has shined with Omar Gonzalez to form a formidable and sizable combination.
After his impressive showings, it is likely that Leonardo will lineup against Gonzalez again on Saturday when the Galaxy take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“I feel good right now,” Leonardo said earlier this week. “I didn't play a whole year, then I came back last year and I played some, then I didn't play some games, then I played again, didn't play again. Right now I have to thank God I am getting games, and I have to keep working hard to maintain that rhythm.”
Key to Leonardo building a rhythm has been his ability to stay healthy, which he attributes to a new workout regimen that includes pilates and more time in the weight room. This added commitment to staying fit has not gone unnoticed by the Galaxy coaching staff.
“He just continues to get better,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We knew it was going to take time. He had a few minor setbacks this year but now is headed in the right direction.”
“Now that he's gotten this good, long stretch of being available, he's gotten into a rhythm,” associate head coach Dave Sarachan said. “And when you get into that rhythm and you get minutes, you get confidence. ... Now the true player that we felt we knew a year and a half ago is starting to emerge.”
In the latest video preview, Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan and Todd Dunivant preview the match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Tale of the Tape: LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan vs. Vancouver's Camilo and Kenny Miller
Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane have formed one of the most effective forward pairings in MLS over the past two years, but the Vancouver Whitecaps FC duo of Camilo and Kenny Miller has drawn great acclaim this season.
To date, Camilo and Miller have tallied more goals than Donovan and Keane at 21 to 16. That being said, Keane and Donovan easily eclipse the Whitecaps pair in assists: 16 to four.
So which is more effective?
I looked at the numbers and came up with this…
Keane currently leads all four forwards in his average points per game as he has tallied 10 goals and nine assists in just 14 matches with an average point per game mark of 1.35. Donovan comes in second with six goals and seven assists in 15 appearances for an average point per game mark of .87. The Whitecaps duo lag behind in this regard, with Camilo’s hefty appearance total of 25 weighing down his 14 goal and seven assist season for an average point per game mark of .78. Miller is by far the lowest with his seven goals and four assists equating to an average of .47 points per game.
This gives the Galaxy the edge in an individual numbers, but LA is also more effective when the Keane and Donovan are on the field together. When the Galaxy have had Keane and Donovan on the field together, the team’s record is 5-2-2 with the pair scoring 12 goals and 13 assists while Vancouver is 8-5-1 when their forwards are together with a tally of 18 goals and two assists.
As you can plainly see, Keane and Donovan are far more statistically significant to their club than Vancouver’s pairing, but who are the better forwards?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy rookie Kofi Opare gave a confident performance in LA’s 2-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over C.S. Cartaginés and showcased LA’s depth at center back.
In a piece for LAGalaxy.com, I speak to Opare about his competitive debut for LA, which left me incredibly impressed with the rookie defender, but Opare did not just impress me, but also Galaxy associate head coach Dave Sarachan.
Ko“We learned a lot from that game knowing now that we have even more depth in that position,” said Sarachan. “Opare was a little bit of a wildcard because we hadn’t seen him. Knowing now that he pulled through it with high marks, gives us good flexibility and depth.”
Opare is the latest young Galaxy center back to step in and perform well for LA, joining Tommy Meyer who shined down the stretch run last season after A.J. DeLaGarza went down with an injury. Meyer started LA’s final four MLS Regular Season matches and then throughout the MLS Cup playoffs.
After Opare’s performance, the Sarachan is confident the rookie is continuing to progress in his development.
“We’ve seen this now and this is a function of being together for a while that these guys grow and develop in the system and gain confidence through reserve games and good training,” said Sarachan. “I think when he got on the field, I’m sure internally, he was a little nervous, but externally, he showed a lot of confidence and having Omar next to him and veterans near him helped.”