CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will be without the services of captain Robbie Keane and defender Omar Gonzalez this weekend as both players seek to help their respective nations reach the 2014 World Cup.
For Keane, a bid in the World Cup would be Ireland's first since 2002 when then 22-year-old Keane bagged three goals as Ireland reached the Round of 16 before falling to Spain in a penalty kick shootout. If Ireland is to return, they'll need a strong showing this week as they face massive ties against Sweden in Stockholm on March 22 and Austria in Dublin on March 26.
My piece on Keane's goals with the Irish is below.
Can Ireland advance back to the World Cup?
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CARSON, Calif. – Prior to the SuperClasico, much was made about how the intra-stadium rivalry between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA had become well, less super than it used to be.
Chivas had only earned one win against the LA Galaxy in five years and the Galaxy held a 16-4-5 regular season record in the series. Following Sunday’s 1-1 draw, the overall regular season record of 16-4-6 does not look any less flattering for the Galaxy, but some intensity just may have returned to the SuperClasico.
The match was a physical draw that saw two late goals, 30 fouls, four yellow cards, a red card as well as plenty of sound bites and gripes to sustain both sides. Following the match, Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza told reporters that the cagey play may have brought some life back into the SuperClasico.
“I think so,” said DeLaGarza. “Just how many fouls they gave up; it was kind of like American football. You get the ball and you foul. You get the ball and you tackle. Neither team got into a rhythm. We’ll know that next time going into it, not just watching on video.”
Agree or disagree?
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LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez was once again called up to the U.S. national team ahead of vital World Cup Qualifiers and judging by the comments made by national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the center back figures to play a major role in the upcoming matches.
Gonzalez was one of six defenders named to Klinsmann's 23-man roster for the U.S.’ matches against Costa Rica on March 22 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and Mexico at Estadio Azteca on March 26. The Galaxy center back is joined by three other central defenders including Geoff Cameron, Clarence Goodson, and Matt Besler.
During a media conference call following the roster announcement, Klinsmann praised Gonzalez’s 90 minute performance on Feb. 6 against Honduras and tabbed him to be an important figure going forward.
“To me, he has the opportunity to grow and mature in our environment. I think he’s done well in Honduras. Even though the second goal happened because of a sequence of mistakes by several players involved that manipulated the game, but overall, he played an absolute okay game,” said Klinsmann. “I had him with me the whole January camp which has been a pleasure to see his potential. Now for him, to get to another level, it is only by playing and gaining experience and growing. I think he’s done well so far. We believe that there is a real special player coming through the system.”
U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 23-man roster for the nation’s March World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, and while the names on the list drew plenty of attention, one name that was absent drew a mention as well.
Galaxy forward Landon Donovan was a topic for discussion during Klinsmann’s post-announcement teleconference. Donovan is currently taking a break from the game and is scheduled to return to the Galaxy sometime next week.
During the teleconference, Klinsmann revealed that he last spoke to Donovan in late-January, but admitted that Donovan's inclusion to the national team will depend on his fitness once he returns.
“Maybe he will become a part of our plans again, but it will depend on how he comes back and how I look at the whole picture and the development of this team,” said Klinsmann during a teleconference with reporters. “The door is always open as I said, but at the end of the day, I will make decisions based on what I think is best for this team going forward. And as of today, he’s not in the plans because simply, he’s not even playing or training.”
However, the U.S. national team boss was quick to reiterate that lines of communications between him and Donovan remain open.
“We’re always in touch. That’s no problem at all. We live in kind of the same neighborhood in the L.A. area so that should be no problem.”
Expect Donovan to be a member of the U.S. national team at some point this year?
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CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy backup goalkeeper Brian Perk underwent sports hernia surgery on Saturday, the club revealed during Sunday's 1-1 draw against Chivas USA.
According to a Galaxy official, Perk will not be added to the team's disabled list. Typically sports hernia injuries take four to six weeks to heal.
With Perk injured, Brian Rowe slides into the backup role behind starter Carlo Cudicini. Rowe made four appearances for the Galaxy in 2012 as he made three in Reserve League play and one in a friendly against Tottenham Hotspur.
Omar Gonzalez was named to the 23-man U.S. National Team squad on Monday ahead of World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on March 22 and Mexico at Estadio Azteca on March 26.
Gonzalez started the last U.S. World Cup Qualifier, a 2-1 defeat to Honduras on February 6. Following the match, Gonzalez received praise from head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for his performance and is expected to be in contention to start both qualifiers.
Due to his national team call-up, he will not be with the Galaxy for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy will also be without captain Robbie Keane on Saturday, who was called up by Ireland for their World Cup Qualifiers against Sweden and Austria. Both players will rejoin the team before LA's March 30 match against Toronto FC.
The complete U.S. Squad is below…
GOALKEEPERS- Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson.
DEFENDERS- Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Tony Beltran, Justin Morrow, Clarence Goodson, Matt Besler.
MIDFIELDERS- Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Graham Zusi, Brek Shea, Joe Corona, Sacha Kljestan, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman.
FORWARDS- Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, Eddie Johnson, Terrence Boyd.
CARSON, Calif. -- Colorful Chivas USA manager Jose Luis Sanchez Sola had a few choice words following the 1-1 draw between Chivas and the LA Galaxy.
Following the match, "Chelis" described the Galaxy as being favored by the league.
"This team, [the Galaxy], is the team of the league office in New York and somehow they affect, not in something as serious or as big as a foul in the box that was not in the box, or in an ejection that was not an ejection, but with a series of fouls calls that really cut my defense or that amplifies their offense. And, that’s is very tendentious, it exists in Spain with Real Madrid or with Boca Juniors in Argentina. In each state there is a team of the state and this is the team of the state,” Sanchez Sola said.
“Tomorrow, they can fine me, they can tear up my passport, but I’m not joking. I’m not a subordinate, I’m not here for this," Sanchez Sola added. "I came here to coach a serious team, because (my players) give a tremendous effort, what they do is tremendous, I don’t want them to be affected by these type of decisions (of favoritism).”
Sanchez Sola also stated that he believed Joaquin Velasquez was awarded a red card due to his unfamilarity in MLS.
“He’s already under the spotlight because he’s not a league player, he’s not a player from New York, he’s not a player that came from the league offices.”
What are your thoughts on Sanchez Sola's statement?
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Fouls and hard challenges are a staple of the SuperClasico and Sunday's match was no different.
One challenge in particular by Chivas USA midfielder Oswaldo Minda on LA Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee left the LA attacker with a few choice words on the matter. Minda issued a rough challenge to Magee in the 13th minute that left Magee on the field after the tackle. Although Magee looked injured, he continued and it was actually Minda that was taken off with an injury five minutes later. Following the match, Magee did not hold back when speaking of the tackle.
“That tackle, Minda had me feeling he was going to try to end me and I got a couple gashes on my leg to prove it,” Magee said. “As I was getting up, at least three of their people said to watch out because that’s what he’s known for. It’s frustrating because at that point you want to get somebody back, but you can’t get sent off, and on that tackle he had to leave the game which, for the first time in my life, I kind of smiled when the guy was leaving the field.”
However, Magee's teammates admitted that the challenges were common place during the SuperClasico.
"There is no lesson this game. I didnt see anything," said midfielder Marcelo Sarvas. "It was one team trying to play, the other team trying to destroy."
My Three Points to the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw to Chivas USA in the SuperClasico.
A few notes from the game below...
*Joaquin Velasquez's red card was the first red to be awarded during the 2013 MLS regular season.
*Jack McBean now has two MLS goals to his credit. The first came in 2011.
* Los Angeles-native Carlos Alvarez made his MLS debut and scored the first goal of his MLS career.
*11 on the gameday roster for both teams were from Southern California.
*Foul totals: Chivas USA: 22 and LA Galaxy: 8
*Possession: LA Galaxy with 61.8% to Chivas USA's 38.2%
*Duels won: LA Galaxy 61% to Chivas USA's 39%
What are your thoughts on the match...
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CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena held no punches on the LA Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on Sunday afternoon.
The Galaxy boss described his team’s performance as poor on the day and admitted that the Galaxy did a “terrible” job of closing out the game as an 89th minute goal by Carlos Alvarez negated a goal from Jack McBean that was scored six minutes earlier.
Below are Arena’s thoughts on the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw…
(On his general thoughts on the performance…)
ARENA: “I think it was a poor performance on our part today. Bad game, a lot of fouls, a lot of time wasting. Not well played on our part, and a terrible effort in closing the game out at the end."
(On whether fitness was a reason for the poor showing…)
(On the performance of referee Ricardo Salazar…)
ARENA: “He could have done a little bit better job understanding the game from the beginning, with the fouling and the time wasting and that. He punished them for some of the fouling, so we certainly can't point to the referee.”
(On what he attributed the poor play to…)
ARENA: “Not playing well. It has nothing to do with fitness, we played a game Wednesday obviously it's a little bit difficult week for us this time of year, but we didn't play well. Our passing was poor, we didn't play well today.”
(On why the team played poorly….)
ARENA: “Certainly give [Chivas USA] credit, they played real hard they got in on every play. There was a lot of fouling, I don't even know what the fouls would be, but he didn't get all of them either. They fouled us as much as they could, and got away with as much as they could. That's all part of the game, it's not surprising. Going into the game, their style of play, that's what we anticipated. There’s no excuse on our part.”
(On if the players took the victory for granted…)
ARENA: “Yeah I would say that and it was just a sloppy effort right there at the end of the game. I don't think...I don't even know if our goalkeeper faced a shot all day to be honest with you, until the end there. We didn't do well.”
(On Jack McBean's play…)
ARENA: “Jack did well. It was going to take an ugly goal, in all honesty. They had everyone behind the ball; it wasn't going to be easy. Our passing wasn't good today and our play in and around the penalty area wasn't good. Not surprising that the goal was going to look like that at the end.”
(On the reason for the Colin Clark substitution…)
ARENA: “I didn't think he was effective and I made that change. The way we looked to start the second half is the way we played the other night, in all honesty.”
(On the change at Chivas USA between 2012 and 2013…)
ARENA: “I think it's too early in the year to say that. That's not for me to even comment on.”