CARSON, Calif. -- It's that time again, time for the "Ask the Insider" segment....
Today's question comes from: Christopher Aaron What do you think of the quality of refs that CONCACAF has for these games? Do you think the calls they are and aren't making change the outcome of the games in big ways?
The level of refereeing in the CONCACAF Champions League has certainly left something to be desired and in an important tournament such as the CCL, it is certainly a shame that the officiating has taken on such importance.
The decisions by referee Alfredo Peñaloza to send off Robbie Keane drew considerable headlines and took away from what was an entertaining match between the LA Galaxy and Isidro Metapán. Certainly, errors by CONCACAF referees have been known to play a role in matches and the Galaxy are no stranger to this.
In last year's edition of the tournament, the Galaxy found themselves the victim to suspect officiating during their group stage game against Monarcas Morelia in Mexico. In the closing stages of an intense match at the Estadio Morelos, Keane appeared to score the would-be game winning goal, but his goal was ruled offside by Honduran linesman Oscar Velasquez. Despite video replays appearing to show the contrary, Keane's goal was disallowed and moments later, Morelia would score a goal of their own -- a goal that also received protests for offside -- to give them a 2-1 victory.
To prevent these types of errors, CONCACAF must have provide a review process to assess referees as well as open them up for questioning from a pool reporter upon request as is the practice in MLS. Although these measures are unlikely to cause immediate change on the quality of the officiating, they will provide some needed transparency.
Thanks Christopher, you can get your tickets by e-mailing email@example.com. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against FC Dallas on August 26th for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.
CARSON, Calif. -- A left hamstring strain prevented LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan from taking part in the club's 5-2 victory over Isidro Metpan on Thursday and LA head coach Bruce Arena is taking a wait and see approach when it comes to Donovan's availability for Sunday's match against FC Dallas.
Donovan was placed on the club's injury report on Friday and listed as questionable due to a left hamstring strain. Following training on Friday, Arena told reporters that the Galaxy captain's status remains in question for Sunday.
“Don’t have anything at this point. There’s a chance that he’ll play," said Arena. "We have to have lineup by 3pm on Sunday so we’ll try to take advantage of that time as best we can.”
The Galaxy head coach also provided an update on the status of forward Edson Buddle, who remains listed as out due right knee surgery. Arena admitted that he was hopeful that the 31-year-old forward would be able to make his return soon, but no return date has been set.
“He’s getting there. He trained today," Arena said. "We expect him to be back in action in the near future. Don’t have a date for that.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Make no mistake, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is not stressing over Thursday night's wild 5-2 LA Galaxy victory over Isidro Metapan in CONCACAF Champions League play. But that does not mean that the head coach is pleased with the way the match was run.
Following the game, Arena was vocal with his displeasure about the decisions by referee Alfredo Peñaloza to award a red card to Robbie Keane in the 70th minute and then a yellow card to Michael Stephens in the 80th minute as the midfielder was stepping on the field. Just hours later, reporters caught up with the Galaxy head coach following LA's training session and Arena admitted that the team will have no problem getting over the wild result.
"Get over it? It wasn’t a funeral. Just a classic CONCACAF game. It really doesn’t change, we probably could have written that script a week ago. Every game looks like that in CONCACAF."
(On perhaps getting a Canadian referee in CCL?)
ARENA: “They should give us a Canadian referee or an English speaking referee, a Jamaica or anyone in those kind of games. We’ve opened up with Mexican referees in the last two years of the competition and it’s been very bizarre. Very bizarre.”
CARSON, Calif. – Much of the publicity from last night’s wild finish to the LA Galaxy’s 5-2 victory over Isidro Metapán will revolve around the controversial red card given to forward Robbie Keane, but midfielder Michael Stephens had a bit of a bizarre moment of his own.
In the 80th minute, as Stephens prepared to come on for David Beckham, the young midfielder was awarded a yellow card—seemingly— for time wasting. The moment was a strange one for the midfielder, but Stephens was able to shake it off quickly as he helped set up Juninho’s second goal capping off a five goal performance for LA.
Below are Stephens' thoughts from the match.
(On what the referee said to him as he awarded a yellow…
STEPHENS: “Nothing. He didn’t even say anything to me; he just gave it and kept on going, but who knows.”
(On the game’s emotional end…)
STEPHENS: “I think that the referee let the game get away from him for a bit and things got out of control there for a second. I thought that overall, we responded pretty well. Obviously, it’s unfortunate that Robbie got the red card, but we scored two goals after and I think that even once we conceded, we scored again so we responded well.”
(On whether the Galaxy were facing the refs and Metapán…)
STEPHENS: "You could say that definitely. There were some bizarre calls, but what are you going to do. We knew that coming into it, but I thought that we got on with it fine.”
(On facing Dallas…)
STEPHENS: “Obviously, we have a game this weekend, a really big game. I don’t think that[the Metapán] game was too physically demanding so I think that we will recover well.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Before we turn the page from Thursday's 5-2 LA Galaxy CONCACAF Champions League victory over Isidro Metapan, a few notes:
*Following the match, head coach Bruce Arena said that he was "hopeful" that LA captain Landon Donovan will be able to play on Sunday against FC Dallas.
*David Beckham's first half goal was the 1,000th goal in CONCACAF Champions League history. This dates back since the tournament was rebranded from the former CONCACAF Champions Cup.
*Juninho is now the Galaxy's all-time leading goal scorer in the tournament with four goals.
*Robbie Keane's red card will render him unavailable for next week's CCL match against the Puerto Rico Islanders.
Below are the highlights from the match.
CARSON, Calif. -- Following the LA Galaxy's 5-2 victory over Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League, LA Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant was dumbfounded by the events surrounding the last 20 minutes of the match.
Below are Dunivant's thoughts postgame...
(On the emotions at the end of the game…)
DUNIVANT: “Yeah it was emotional. I think that we felt unjustly given a PK against us and strange sequence on the red card. It’s frustrating when people try and take over the game like that, and don’t let the playing do the talking. So we had a three goal lead, and goal difference is important in this tournament, so getting that fifth goal to put us up three goals was huge. We had a lot of emotion with that.”
(On his perspective of the Keane red card…)
DUNIVANT: “Your guess is as good as mine. First he gives a yellow card for diving, and then compounds that mistake by giving him a red card. But a lot of times referees like to be bigger than the game and that was the case tonight.”
(On whether or not the referee was a typical CCL moment…)
DUNIVANT: "It was strange. You’d have to ask him. It’s crazy that a professional referee would come out and want to take over a game like that. It’s about the guys on the field; it’s not about the guys in the stripes. It blows your mind when things like that happen. There was a lot of frustration on our part with that, and we’ve got to learn from it and on move on.”
(On whether referees were a topic pre-game…)
DUNIVANT: “Absolutely it is. That was said. Robbie’s our captain; he should be allowed to talk to the referee. That’s part of how that relationship works. The captain is the guy that’s able to talk and to be a professional referee and have skin that thin is remarkable to me. You’ve got to have thicker skin than that.”
(On his perspective on Metapan’s first goal…)
DUNIVANT: “I don’t particularly remember the play leading up to it. I remember the ball kind of started to loop to the back post over Josh and I got a little piece of it, kept it out initially and then there was a scramble in front and I don’t know if David hit it or if their guy hit it. But it went off the post, across the goal and in, so kind of a fluky weird play. There was a little stretch in the first half where we kind of lost our composure a little bit but we responded well and got a goal back pretty quickly.”
(On whether or not he could hear what Robbie said…)
DUNIVANT: “I did not, no.”
(On whether Keane was simply frustrated…)
DUNIVANT: “Yeah, understandably so. That’s part of the game, to not know that as a referee is crazy to me.”
(On scoring five goals…)
DUNIVANT: “Yeah for sure it’s a positive. I mean, we won the game by three goals tonight and that’s huge. Goal differential is going to be big and there’s a chance that, last year there was a tie breaker with three teams and we won the group on it, so goal differential is big and we used that to our advantage last year and we started off well again in this tournament.”
CARSON, Calif. – It was without doubt an emotional game for all of the LA Galaxy players and defender Sean Franklin was no different.
Franklin found himself targeted for wide stretches of the match by Metapán’s left sided midfielders—particularly Paolo Suarez—but the right back did not budge as he by and large prevented the Salvadorans from exploiting the flanks.
Below are Franklin’s thoughts on the match. On the emotional end to the match…) FRANKLIN: “It was pretty crazy. There was a lot of calls that obviously were a little unfair. It’s part of the game, there’s going to be bad calls and at times, you’ll have to play with a man down and I thought our team did well and handled that over the last 20 minutes of the game.”
(On dealing with the referees…)
FRANKLIN: “It’s all part of the game, it’s all about our character and how we handle it and I thought our team did well. I think we got two goals after we were down a man and we got to do the same thing next week when we play against Puerto Rico. We don’t know how the refs are going to be, we don’t know how the games are going to go. It’s all about adjusting to it and making sure that we do our part.”
(On getting a result…)
FRANKLIN: “It’s big, we got to win the games at home. We don’t want to drop points here and we knew that they were going to come in and play for a point. I thought that we did well at attacking them and I think the score could have been even higher if we finished our chances. They had some great chances too, but at the end of the day, we got three points.”
(On Metapán’s targeting of his side of the field…)
FRANKLIN: “They threw a lot of numbers on their left side. They had some good chances with a lot of crosses and they’re a little bit dangerous. But once we settled down and started playing our soccer, we showed why we won the game 5-2.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy may have picked up a 5-2 victory over Isidro Metapan in their CONCACAF Champions League opener, but the story of the match was referee Alfredo Penaloza's decision to send off Galaxy forward Robbie Keane in the 70th minute of play.
Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was particularly vocal about the way that the match was officiated and his comments are below...
ARENA: "Making a transition into this circus sometimes is unbelievable. It's very difficult on MLS teams. I sometimes wonder why we spend all the resources and time we do in this competition when sometimes it looks really bizarre. But we've had enough time to be ready for this game. Maybe little bit of the layoff affected us. But there's no excuses on our part, it should be -- that game should be five or six goal margin playing with 11 players. Period.
(On Robbie Keane's red card...)
ARENA: "I don't know. The ref missed the call and typical, we've seen in these competitions, the referees think they're bigger than the game itself and they've got to put themselves ahead of everything, I guess he felt he should not be, I don't know. Robbie spoke, said something, whatever, but when a referee misses a call like that, he's got to be big enough to kind of ignore it and let the game go on. So a player gets a yellow card for diving when he's fouled and then obviously a red card for, I don't even know. They didn't explain anything to us."
(On Stephens' yellow...)
ARENA: "I've never seen a player like Mike Stephens come into a game and get a yellow card like that so that's a mystery in itself. Its something that's part of the CONCACAF experience and there's no excuses for it. At this time in this competition, after all these years, it's got to be better."
We're just hours away from tonight's CONCACAF Champions League match between the LA Galaxy and Isidro Metapán.
For a little bit of pregame reading, check out LAGalaxy.com staff writer Larry Morgan's preview of the match as well as MLSsoccer.com's Scott French's own take on the important CCL game.
PREDICTED LA GALAXY LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant; Sarvas, Beckham, Juninho, Jimenez, Magee, Keane
A good gameday morning to everyone out there.
As we inch closer to tonight's CONCACAF Champions League match between the LA Galaxy and Salvadoran club Isidro Metapán, be sure to check out my Three Points to the match before heading out to The Home Depot Center.
I'll have a few more updates as we get closer to tonight's 7pm kick off time.