CARSON, Calif. -- A day after defeating Chivas USA 4-0 in the SuperClásico, the LA Galaxy spent much of Monday in the clouds as part of a marathon travel day en route to Columbus for Wednesday's match against the Columbus Crew.
Above is a photo that I snapped on the plane during the club's final approach into Columbus.
CARSON, Calif. -- A day after a record setting night against Chivas USA, LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan took off for Mexico for the U.S.' friendly at the Estadio Azteca on Wednesday. Before departing for Mexico, Donovan spoke to reporters following the Galaxy's 4-0 victory over Chivas.
Below are Donovan's thoughts ahead of the friendly.
(On playing at Azteca...)
DONOVAN: “Any time that we play in Azteca, it’s pretty raucous, but I think that it will be a pretty exciting night, I would guess. We’ve been saying for a number of years how good their youth is and how well they’re producing players. Their 17s, their 20s and now their Olympic team so the future certainly looks bright for them and it’s going to be a big test for us.”
(On the importance of the friendly...)
DONOVAN: “Candidly, I don’t think it’s that important, but for a lot of guys that don’t get a lot of experience, I think that this will be a good experience, but it’s an awkward fixture date and I would say that most if not all the players don’t like this fixture date, we’d much rather do away with it, but it’s still a good opportunity to get a game like this.”
(On whether playing Mexico makes it more important...)
DONOVAN: “Sure, all things being equal it’s still against Mexico so we’ll be ready to play.”
(On former teammate Alan Gordon's call up...)
DONOVAN: “I just heard that, is that true? I didn’t even know that he was healthy, he didn’t play last night, did he? I think that we can say that he’s been as effective as a forward as anybody has been in the last few months of the season. I’m really happy for him, I’ll be happy to see him and if he gets a chance to play, what a great experience. We’ll see.”
CARSON, Calif. -- On both sides of the ball, the play of Brazilian midfielder Juninho was vital for the LA Galaxy in their 4-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday.
Tallying two goals on the night, Juninho was a frequent threat going forward as he showed his range, scoring a marvelous chip over goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the 64th minute. Then, just ten minutes later, Juninho was able to finish a Landon Donovan pass from close range for the game's third goal of the night. Meanwhile, on the defensive side, Juninho teamed up well with countryman Marcelo Sarvas as LA's high pressure midfield was able to shut down the Chivas attack.
Below are Juninho's postgame thoughts:
(On the win being a statement...)
JUNINHO: "We knew we needed to win. We needed to get points to keep moving up in the table. We hope to get all the way to the top."
(On his two goal performance...)
JUNINHO: It was very good. Very good win for the team. And I think I showed I can score from outside the box."
(On celebrating in front of the Chivas supporters after his goal...)
JUNINHO: "It's the Clásico. Its very important."
(On his combination with Sarvas...)
JUNINHO: "We're two good players and we know we needed to work hard, and that's what we did."
(On the play of Donovan...)
JUNINHO: "He was huge. The win was very big, and he was a huge part of it."
Carson, Calif. -- It was a night to remember for Landon Donovan.
The LA Galaxy captain set a career-high for assists -- while also tying an MLS record for most assists in a match -- with four during LA's 4-0 domination of Chivas USA on Sunday evening. With the performance, Donovan lifted his MLS career assist number to 105 moving into fourth place all-time in MLS' career assist list bypassing D.C. United legend Jaime Moreno. That wasn't all, however, as Donovan brought his 2012 assist total to 11, giving him sole possession of the league lead in assists.
In 21 regular season matches against Chivas, Donovan has nine goals and 12 assists against the Rojiblancos
Below are Donovan and head coach Bruce Arena's thoughts on the Galaxy captain by passing Moreno:
DONOVAN: "In my opinion, he’s the best player that has played in this league. I’m honored to be mentioned in that company and I’m just doing my job and if I can get more then that’s great.”
ARENA: "Jaime was one of the great players in the history of this league. And a great person and I’d say the same with Landon. Landon really was focused on playing well tonight, and when he wants, he’s as good as any player in this league and I thought he and Robbie once again were in great form."
CARSON, Calif. -- We're just several hours away from the final Superclásico of the year and here are a few links to get you to kick off.
Read Larry Morgan's game preview of the Superclásico, focusing on bouncing back from last week's defeat to the Seattle Sounders
Meanwhile, Scott French discusses the impact that new Chivas USA midfielder Shalrie Joseph will have on the match.
Lastly, once the game begins, follow the action along with me on MLSsoccer.com's live chat and also, I'll be answering one select question from the Galaxy's Facebook page tonight so leave your comments and questions there.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant; Jimenez, Juninho, Sarvas, Magee; Donovan, Keane
LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan has been called up to the United States national team roster for next Wednesday's friendly against Mexico.
Donovan was named to the U.S. travel roster on Sunday by national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the USMNT's August 15th friendly against El Tri at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Due to his call up, Donovan will miss Wednesday's league match against the Columbus Crew.
Wednesday's friendly against Mexico will be an precursor for Donovan and the U.S. as they prepare to resume World Cup Qualifying, which ramps up this fall starting with a September 7th match against Jamaica in Kingston.
CARSON, Calif. -- In the wake of last week's disappointing 4-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders knows that the club's defense must change for LA to pick up an important victory in Sunday's Superclásico against Chivas USA.
There has been considerable talk this week -- and numerous articles written by yours truly and others -- on a potential return of the back four of Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant, a quartet that along with Saunders, helped anchor the Galaxy to the 2011 MLS Cup Championship. While Saunders would welcome their group's return, he believes that it is far more important for the club's defensive mentality to change rather than simply the personnel.
"It's always welcome to see something like that because we know it works, but it's more than just a back four, it's a collective unit that has to defend. You put a lot on the back, but in the end, it's everybody defending."
A Good Superclásico Morning to everyone out there,
For those looking for some early morning reading before you head out to The Home Depot Center, check out my Three Points to the SuperClasico.
A note from last night's MLS results:With the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes picking up victories over Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders respectively, the LA Galaxy now sit four points behind fourth place Vancouver ahead of tonight's match.
I'll have a few more updates as we get closer to the 8pm PST kick off.
CARSON, Calif. – The mood surrounding American soccer circles in the wake of Mexico’s 2-1 Olympic gold medal winning victory over Brazil on Saturday ranged from anguish to jubilation, frustration to anger, but for two members of the LA Galaxy, the match provided only motivation.
Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens was on the U.S. Under-23 squad that defeated the Mexican U-23s in March -- a team that contained many of the same players that went on to win the gold medal for Mexico -- as well as the roster for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games. After a fast start to Olympic qualifying, a pair of disappointing results ultimately led to the Americans ouster from Olympic contention.
While the sting of missing out on the Olympics has long since passed for Stephens, the 23-year-old midfielder admits that watching Mexico win gold has provided motivation for himself and the rest of U.S. Soccer.
“Absolutely, if you watch those teams, those are really good teams. It’s true that the U.S. is always competing with and those [Olympic players] are the guys that are going to coming onto the full team so it’s a wake-up call to the U.S. for sure,” said Stephens after Galaxy training on Saturday. “I think that anyone that and see players that are in the same age bracket as that and see players that are the same age as them, they’re always going to want to get better and get to that level. I’m no different.”
Stephens’ dream of the Olympics may never come true, but for his teammate forward Jack McBean, the dream is just beginning.
Having spent considerable time in the U.S. youth set up at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels, the 17-year-old may play a role for the Americans as they look to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Qualification for that tournament is not for another four years—when McBean will be 21— but the young forward is already thinking about helping the U.S. qualify for the Olympics.
“I know that [players born in 1994; like McBean] are the next oldest cycle for the Olympics and to be on that team would be a big honor,” McBean said Saturday. “It is motivation to feel that atmosphere and see the stadium filled with fans. It’d be really cool to play in.”
Although Mexico is providing a stiff test for the Americans and the rest of CONCACAF, the young McBean is optimistic that the U.S. can catch up to their archrivals.
“[Mexico] is just getting better and better. They’re doing all the things right. And obviously, they won the U-17s and finished third in the U-20s so they’ve been at the top of all the recent youth tournaments,” admitted McBean. “But we’re not far off so we just have to keep working hard and we’ll be up there…It is slowly getting better, but it’s definitely coming up.”