CARSON, Calif. – The status of Juninho remains in question, but the LA Galaxy and the Brazilian midfielder are hopeful that he’ll be available for Sunday’s Western Conference Championship Second Leg against Seattle Sounders FC.
The Brazilian midfielder was substituted after the first half of LA’s 3-0 victory due to a right Achilles issue that was later specified as right Achilles inflammation on the club’s injury report on Tuesday.
Juninho was present for the portion of Galaxy training that was open to the media on Friday, but the Brazilian told reporters that his participation in training was limited, “just run on the field and a couple passes, that’s it.”
“He’s moving along fine,” said head coach Bruce Arena of Juninho’s status. “We think he’ll be available on Sunday.”
Juninho was quick to share the confidence of his coach, stating that he still had time to recover.
“I have time for the game, two more days,” said Juninho. “I hope that I’ll better for the game.”
CARSON, Calif. – Marcelo Sarvas has been in this situation in a two-leg aggregate series before, albeit from the opposite side.
In the 2010 Campeonato de Verano, Sarvas’ Alajuelense dropped the first leg of their Semifinal Round series with Herediano 4-2 on the road, heading into the second leg at Alajuela’s Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto. In the second leg, Sarvas’ rojinegros jumped on Herediano from the start, scoring four goals to advance to the final—a series that Alajuelense would win handily.
That situation in the back of his mind, Sarvas believes that he knows what Seattle will be feeling once the first whistle is sounded on Sunday evening.
“In that situation, it’s much more about emotion. You go inside the field and say, ‘we have to beat them because after 90 minutes we’ll be out,’” said Sarvas. “People around you help a lot so you have to push yourself. For sure, [Seattle]’ll come hard, they will press us and the people in the stadium will push them for 90 minutes so we have to be ready for that.”
The Galaxy will need Sarvas to be ready as he may be pressed into action due to the question marks surrounding Juninho. The Brazilian midfielder is currently suffering from right Achilles inflammation that forced him to exit LA’s 3-0 first leg victory over Seattle after the first half.
“We are waiting till the last moment to see what happens. I hope Juni can feel better and can be ready to be on the pitch and Bruce [Arena] can decide what formation and what players we will play,” said Sarvas. “I hope that we will have everybody healthy, but if I have to play, I will play and I will do my job as I’ve been doing every game.”
But no matter the situation that he’s pressed into, Sarvas is expecting a knock-down drag-out match on the turf at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
“My mentality is to go there and fight,” said Sarvas. “For me, it’s like a war and I go there to win and to fight for 90 minutes, but it will be a hard game. At the same time, we have players here who can manage this very well.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Following the lead of his representatives, David Beckham himself shot down reports linking him with a potential move to Australia.
Word came on Friday morning in Australia after the Football Federation of Australia issued a press release stating that there had been contact between Beckham's representatives and the federation. However, Beckham's represenatives were quick to deny the reports hours later stating that the LA Galaxy midfielder has "no plans" to play in Australia.
After the Galaxy's final training session in California on Friday ahead of the Western Conference Championship Second Leg against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field, Beckham shot down the rumor.
"Bruce [Arena] told me this morning, this the first that I've heard about it," said Beckham, who was interjected with by a Arena, who said 'we booked his ticket already. "Like I said, that's the first that I've heard about it this morning, definitely, not true."
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy second-year midfielder Dan Keat made his longest international appearance on Wednesday, earning a start and going 75 minutes in New Zealand's 1-1 draw with China at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai.
Chris Wood tallied for the Kiwis while Zhao Peng scored for China. Keat is currently en route back to Southern California from China.
Below are a few other interesting links to get you through the evening...
Mike Magee has been deserving of an added media presence due to his electric play as of late and he's finally getting it.
Meanwhile, back in Sweden, former LA Galaxy captain Gregg Berhalter discusses his first season coaching Swedish side Hammarby IF.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender Tommy Meyer has seen the impressive crowds at CenturyLink Field up close, having served as an unused substitute in both LA defeats this season, but on Sunday, the rookie will truly experience their ferocity from the Galaxy starting XI.
OnSunday in the Western Conference Championship Second Leg, Meyer will start alongside fellow center back and backline leader Omar Gonzalez as the Galaxy look to advance to advance to their third MLS Cup Final in four years. Although Meyer has seen the crowd at CenturyLink, he’s excited about the prospect of stepping onto the field on Sunday, in front of the largest crowd that he’s ever played in front of.
“It something that I look forward to,” said Meyer. “You always want to play in front of a crowd like that and it kind of gets you going. It’ll be a fun environment to play in.”
Although the noise is deafening from the outside, Meyer attests that he does a good job of tuning out the crowd.
“I don’t really hear anything; I’m just focused on the game,” said Meyer. “Everything tunes out when the game starts.”
While the atmosphere promises to be a festive one off the field, but LA understand that it will be a battle on the field as Seattle look to erase a three goal deficit after falling in the first leg at The Home Center. For Seattle to overturn the deficit at home, head coach Sigi Schmid will need greater production from forward Fredy Montero, who was a non-factor in the first leg in large part due to Meyer.
During the first leg, Meyer and Omar Gonzalez stifled Sounders FC's all-time leading goal scorer through consistent pressure, holding the Colombian to a single attempt at goal—a shot from 35-yards-out in the 16th minute that was blocked by Galaxy right back Sean Franklin. For LA to continue to keep Montero under wraps in the second leg, Meyer believes that the Galaxy must follow the same game plan.
“Obviously, we have to do the same way that we did last game, win steps to him and stay tight,” said Meyer. “[Gonzalez and I] are good at covering each other just like we’ve been doing for last two games.”
Although the crowd and a motivated Sounders FC will provide a stiff test for the rookie, Franklin and the rest of the Galaxy have confidence that Meyer can help LA silence Seattle.
“Earlier this year, he was not playing many games, so [he didn’t] have a lot of confidence, but by getting in the rotation more, you can tell that he’s playing with more confidence,” said Franklin. “He has no fear out there, he’s not afraid to make mistakes and if he does, he forgets about it and goes to the next play and he can tell you that he’s growing as a player."
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are fully aware that Seattle Sounders FC have been in this exact position heading into a decisive second leg in a postseason series before, but whether it impacts their own game plan remains up for debate.
During the 2011 Western Conference Semifinal First Leg, Real Salt Lake jumped on Sounders FC to defeat Seattle by the score of 3-0, setting up a decisive tie at CenturyLink Field. Needing to win by three goals to force extra time, Seattle went on the warpath and put RSL on their heels early. Clutch saves by goalkeeper Nick Rimando and a clearance off the line by right back Tony Beltran held Seattle scoreless in the first half, but the Sounders tallied two quick goals in the second, but could not find a third.
Ahead a frighteningly similar situation heading into this Sunday’s match, LA expect the same approach from Sounders FC.
“I remember watching that game and they had almost 30-some shots [Seattle had 26 attempts on goal] and it’s going to be a similar game to that one last year,” said defender Sean Franklin. “For them, they have confidence; they know how close they were to closing a 3-0 deficit so we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
But head coach Bruce Arena begs to differ that RSL’s experience bares any consequence for the Galaxy.
“You waste a lot of energy trying to think all that stuff out. They weren’t successful last year; they didn’t advance so I’m sure their blueprint is to advance and not, not to advance,” said Arena. “It is what it is. Every game is different, you can’t compare a game last year to this year, and we can’t compare the last game that we played to the next one. They’re all different.”
“I’ll be honest with you; everyone always has the answers the day after the game,” Arena added. “Everyone is the expert and this time around, we have to be flexible with our thinking, flexible on how we deal with the game and hopefully, on Monday, all the experts agree with us as opposed to disagreeing. That’s the way it is, there’s no way of predicting what is going to happen.”
Time Warner Cable Sports announced via Twitter on Thursday a deal to broadcast the Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes networks on Direct TV.
TWC SportsNet can be found on channel 691 and TWC Deportes on channel 458 starting Thursday night.
Dish Network remains the lone satellite or cable provider to not air Time Warner's networks.
Two LA Galaxy Under-18 players have been called up to the United States Under-18 squad for a week-long camp at The Home Depot Center.
Galaxy U-18 forwards Paul Arriola and Justin Dhillon were included in the list of 24 players chosen by head coach Javier Perez for the camp that spans from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24. During the camp, the U.S. U-18's will take on their Canadian Under-18's on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23, both matches will take place at 3 p.m. PT.
Meanwhile three LA Galaxy Under-14 players midfielder Ateno Ajeakwa, goalkeeper Erik Lopez and forward Jose Ortiz were selected for a U.S. Under-14 training camp at The HDC scheduled from Nov. 17 to Nov. 25.
The complete U.S. Under-18 roster is below...
GOALKEEPERS (3): Santiago Castaño (New York Red Bulls Academy; Union City, N.J.), Ethan Horvath (Unattached, Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zackary Steffen (Maryland; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (6): Michael Amick (De Anza Force; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Suliaman Dainkeh (D.C. United Academy; Reston, Va.), Trevor Haberkorn (Solar Chelsea SC; Roanoke, Texas), Jalen Markey (Seattle Sounders FC Academy; Renton, Wash.), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy; Clifton, N.J.), Christian Sady (New England Revolution Academy; Boston, Mass.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marco Delgado (Chivas USA; Glendora, Calif.), Jacori Hayes (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Bowie, Md.), Piakai Henkel (Amiens FC; Arcata, Calif.), Brian Iloski (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Antonio Murillo (Real Salt Lake AZ, Las Vegas, Nev.)
FORWARDS (9): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake AZ; Rochester, N.Y.), Paul Arriola (LA Galaxy Academy; Chula Vista, Calif.), Justin Dhillon (LA Galaxy Academy; Rancho S.M., Calif.), Benjamin Lopez (Real Salt Lake AZ; San Diego, Calif.), Kosta Koukladas (Rot-Weiss Essen; Orange County, Calif.), Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls Academy; Morganville, N.J.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Ben Spencer Jr. (Chivas USA Academy; Albuquerque, N.M.), Travis Wannemuehler (Indiana Fire Academy; Evansville, Ind.)
MLS announced the 2012 Award Finalists on Thursday morning.
No member of the LA Galaxy organization was nominated for an award for the first time since 2006 when the Galaxy finished the season fifth in the Western Conference with a 11-5-6 record.
The awards will be released throughout a 10-day period starting on Nov. 19 with the reveal of Xbox Fair Play Individual & Team of the Year, and Rookie of the Year awards before ending with the announcement of the AT&T Goal of the Year, MLS Save of the Year, and Volkswagen Most Valuable Player award on Nov. 29.
Rookie of the Year Finalists
Austin Berry (Chicago Fire)
Nick DeLeon (D.C. United)
Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Xbox Individual Fair Play Finalists*
Ante Jazic (Chivas USA)
Logan Pause (Chicago Fire)
Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls)
Xbox Team Fair Play Finalists*
New England Revolution
Defender of the Year Finalists
Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes)
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City)
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year Finalists
Kei Kamara (Sporting Kansas City)
Michael Lahoud (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Seitz (FC Dallas)
Referee of the Year Finalists
Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists
Coach of the Year Finalists
Ben Olsen (D.C. United)
Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City)
Frank Yallop (San Jose Earthquakes)
Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes)
Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)
Chris Pontius (D.C. United)
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Michael Gspurning (Seattle Sounders FC)
Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA)
Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)
Newcomer of the Year Finalists
Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes)
Michael Gspurning (Seattle Sounders FC)
Federico Higuain (Columbus Crew)
Volkswagen Most Valuable Player Finalists
Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Mario Martinez went 18 minutes during Honduras' scoreless draw with Peru at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
The Sounders FC midfielder was not the only MLS player still involved in the postseason to play as D.C. United's suspended midfielder Andy Najar started and went 73 minutes before being replace Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia who played the remaining 17 minutes. Martinez is expected to return to Seattle for training on Thursday.
*Meanwhile in Krasnodar, Russia, the United States drew Russia 2-2 on goals from Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud. With the result, the U.S. finishes 2012 with a 9-2-3 record and a .750 winning percentage, tying the modern era record set in 2005 by then-head coach Bruce Arena's team that went 13-3-4.
*While not Galaxy related, I'd be remiss if I didn't share a video of Zlatan Ibrahimović's fantastic overhead goal that the Swede scored during his nation's 4-2 win over England.
Check out the spectacular goal below...