Blog

25 April 5:04 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will take on fellow Western Conference foe Real Salt Lake this weekend at Rio Tinto Stadium in a match that is always a competitive one. 

So competitive that RealSaltLake.com has provided this nifty infographic that offers a breakdown on the series between the two Western Conference powers. Whether it is the 2009 MLS Cup or 2011 Western Conference Championship or just regular season clashes, matches between the two teams are always intriguing, but does that make them rivals?

I asked several Galaxy about their view of RSL and whether or not they consider them to be a rival.

Their thoughts are below...

SEAN FRANKLIN: "They are. I feel like they've been a rival since we lost to them in MLS Cup in 2009. Our games are always hectic against them. We've played them a couple times now in the playoffs and in the regular season, it's tough against them. Last year, we went [to Rio Tinto Stadium] and got a big come from behind win against them. It's always a tough game against those guys and they're a good team, a smart team that is well-coached. We're looking forward to the challenge this weekend."

MIKE MAGEE: "This is my fifth year here and every [year], you get the feeling that if you want to win an [MLS Cup] or [Supporters' Shield], you're going to have to play Salt Lake. It's obviously good to try and get in their heads early and win one at their place because you know that there's a decent chance that if you want to win a Cup then you're going to have to play a game in Salt Lake so that's the feeling." 

A.J. DELAGARZA: “I think so. The last few years, there’s been some pretty good games between us two. Obviously losing in the MLS Cup final left a bitter taste so that’s why it makes them a rival for me, I guess.”

LANDON DONOVAN: "I guess, yeah, every team is a rival...We’ve had some really good games with them over the years and I guess you create rivalries by playing important games against teams that mean something and we’ve had a lot of that over the last few years,” said Donovan. “All that says to me is that we’re two teams that are consistently very good and that comes down to the stability of the organizations, the stability of the coaches and having good players and leaders on the field, which I think both of our teams have.”

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Is Real Salt Lake a rival of the LA Galaxy? 

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25 April 4:22 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is not the only question mark for the LA Galaxy heading into this Saturday’s match against Real Salt Lake as Robbie Keane’s status appears up in the air due to a left ankle issue.

Keane was spotted walking off the club’s training field prior to the opening of media availability on Friday, but when asked about the matter, Galaxy Associate head coach Dave Sarachan stated that the move was purely precautionary.

“We’re still sort of getting our legs back from a number of games and travel and Robbie has a little bit of an issue with his [left] ankle,” said Sarachan. “He was just being a little bit precautionary in terms of making sure that he didn’t push it too much. He may have tweaked it a little bit, but I think he’ll probably be fine.”

Donovan, who is dealing with an injury of his own after suffering a strained right leg against Sporting Kansas City last Saturday, is confident that Keane can return to action.

“He’s been iffy for a long time with his ankle and played through it,” said Donovan. “He’s a tough guy and this is the same as any week and hopefully he’s okay to go.”

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Expect Keane to participate? Who should start if Donovan and Keane are unable to go?

Share your thoughts below. 

25 April 12:18 pm

CARSON, Calif. – In an interview with reporters in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stated that Landon Donovan still has a ways to go before he earns his way back into the U.S. setup and on Thursday, the LA Galaxy attacker agreed.

Klinsmann talked to reporters at length on Wednesday about Donovan’s status with the National Team stating that there are “players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan in how we see things.”

The Galaxy forward is coming off a stellar game in which he notched a goal and an assist in LA’s 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City with Klinsmann in attendance at The Home Depot Center. However, he is clearly aware that he’ll have to have more than just one solid game to work his way back into the national team.

“I agree with him. Just because you score a goal and have a good game doesn’t mean that you’re a National Team player. I’ve said from the beginning that I have to earn my way back and playing one good game doesn’t earn your way back. I still have a long way to go.”

Donovan has made just eight appearances for the National Team in their last 25 fixtures and during his conversation with reporters, Klinsmann touched on concerns about Donovan mixing into the team’s chemistry, forged during their recent World Cup Qualifying campaign.

“[Chemistry] is important. That’s been in the staple of our national team all the years that I’ve been there,” said Donovan. “What makes us able to compete with the best teams in the world is that we have this strong bond and this strong group and chemistry that I don’t think other teams have. So when you’re away from the team for a time, you’re a bit of an outsider. I want to get back in; I want to get back involved so that I can be a part of it.

“I don’t worry about fitting in, but I need to be there to be able to gel with everybody.”

Following his strong performance in his fifth game since his absence from the club, Donovan believes that the answer to earning his spot is simple. He’s got to play well.

“I have to continue to build on what I did last weekend, but after that there’s still no guarantee,” said Donovan. “Like Jurgen said, I’m well behind the group in a lot of ways and I’m aware of that. All I want is a chance to prove that I belong and I’m going to have to work hard just to get that chance.”

But do Klinsmann’s comments provide any extra motivation or incentive for Donovan? Not at all.

“I know how to motivate myself now. Listen, Jurgen was asked a question and he was answering honestly. I would answer the same way if I was in his position,” asserted Donovan. “I don’t need extra incentive. I’m motivated and I want to get back there. If it doesn't happen, it doesn’t happen, but I’m going to try my best.” 

25 April 8:34 am

New LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski is hoping to bring his unique experience –which includes being the first American to win the UEFA Champions League—to the Galaxy.

I spoke to Kirovski as well as club President Chris Klein for this feature on the club’s new Technical Director.

A few of quotes from my conversation with Kirovski are below…

(On whether the goal is to have a unified playing style between the Academy and the first team....)

KIROVSKI: “We want our teams to play the same way in an attacking style. We’re the Galaxy and we want to play attractive and attacking soccer. That’s what we try to do across the whole club. We want to entertain, but we also want to win. We want to win championships in the first team, we want to win at the Academy level in doing that, we want to play our way which is attractive and attacking soccer with flair and entertainment because that’s what we are.”

(On what the Academy learned from participating in Dallas Cup…)

KIROVSKI: “For me it was seeing the standard of play in Europe and across the world. We had a good showing, but I know that we’re still a little bit behind. In that group, we have a few very good players like Drew Murphy, Nathan Smith, Raul Mendiola, Paul Arriola, who are very good, but as a group we’re still a little bit behind those teams like Fulham, the Brazilian teams and others. We’re close, but we’re still behind and that’s our job to try and be at that level.”

(On how to bridge the gap between those teams…)

KIROVSKI: “They’ve been around longer, they’re in a soccer environment, the kids watch soccer all the time, but we’re creating that more and more. When I played, club soccer teams trained twice a week now we have a program where we have our kids training four times a week and playing on the weekends. We’re playing all the time and have a structure and philosophy that says how we want to play. We’re getting better and better. It’s getting there and it takes times, but if you look at some of the players that have come through in our first team, it’s unbelievable. We’re going to get bigger and better and have more players coming through.”

(On building a professional environment while going up against Residency programs…)

KIROVSKI: “The way we set up our sessions, the way that we train every day. These people have residency, but our kids live nearby it’s better for them. They get to be with their families and they get professional coaching at a high level and they get that environment here. For me, it’s better for our kids to be home in Southern California and get that. I believe that we’re better than the U.S. Soccer residency program for sure.”

25 April 8:32 am

For the first time ever, the LA Galaxy appointed a Technical Director in experienced forward and former Galaxy assistant coach Jovan Kirovski.

I spoke to Kirovski as well as club President Chris Klein on the new role. 

My feature on Kirovski can be read here.

24 April 1:57 pm

With their 4-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund appear to have one foot firmly planted in the UEFA Champions League Final.

The Germans victory is a special one for LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, who was on the books at Dortmund during their last victory in the Champions League. Kirovski became the first American to ever win the Champions League when Dortmund knocked off Italian giants Juventus to win the 1996/1997 UEFA Champions League title. To date, Kirovski remains the only American to ever win the Champions League and subsequently the only American to win the Intercontinental Cup, which was the predecessor of the World Club Championship. 

Kirovski admits to pulling for his former club despite being close friends with Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who was Kirovski's teammate in 2006 with the Colorado Rapids. Now more than a decade removed from Dortmund's last Champions League triumph, Kirovski looks back on his distinction as the first American to lift the European Cup. 

“Back then, I didn’t even think about it, but now when I do, it’s special. I was part of a team that was full world superstars and to be a part of that was special," Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. "Not many people get an opportunity to do that not only with the Champions League, but the World Club Championship and to be a part of something like that as an American, not many get that opportunity and it’s a great experience.” 

24 April 9:48 am

Might the LA Galaxy be prepared to sign another Homegrown Player?

According to a report by Top Drawer Soccer, the LA Galaxy are set to sign 18-year-old Raul Mendiola, who has spent the last two years with the club’s Under-18 side. Mendiola, who was raised in San Bernardino, would be the club’s sixth Homegrown signing ever.

Mendiola has been a regular with the club’s Reserve side over the past year and participated in the club’s Dallas Cup campaign last month.

LA Galaxy Insider reached out to the club and they did not comment on the report.

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What are your thoughts about the report?

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23 April 4:59 pm

The LA Galaxy Foundation held their annual Reading Garden event this Tuesday at Annalee Avenue Elementary School in Carson.

Several LA Galaxy players participated in the event, but I spoke to midfielder Rafael Garcia about his participation in the video below.

Check it out. 

23 April 4:10 pm

The LA Galaxy finalized their Reserve League match with USL Pro side Los Angeles Blues earlier this week.

LA will take on the Blues on May 7 at The Home Depot Center's U.S. Soccer Field #1 at 7 p.m. Admission and parking for that match is free. The second match between the two clubs will take place at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that match are available through the USL Pro side's website

23 April 4:00 pm

CARSON, Calif. –In his third season in MLS, Jack McBean appears to be settling into a role as a regular member in the LA Galaxy starting XI.

McBean has started in four of the Galaxy’s six games in all competitions while amassing two goals and an assist. I wrote this piece about McBean’s rise and his desire to turn his appearances into goals for LAGalaxy.com.

Following practice on Tuesday, McBean touched on a number of topics including his status with the U.S. Under-20’s, how his life is different than other teenagers his age and the rise of Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney.

McBean’s comments are below…

(On his status with the Under-20’s after not being called up to the April training camp…)

MCBEAN: “Not really worrying about it, I’m just focusing on the Galaxy and my role with the team right now. I know that if I do well with this team then it’s up to [U.S. Under-20 head coach] Tab [Ramos]. He’s called me in before and there’s a bunch of good players.”

(On how his life is different than other teenagers…)

MCBEAN: “I had to grow up a lot, but it’s easier to go back home. I’m still living at home and seeing all my best friends every day. My life is different than most people, but at the same time, I’m still doing most normal things that high school kids do.”

(On the rise of young forward Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney…)

MCBEAN: “It’s awesome. He’s been scoring a lot of goals…It’s cool to see another young kid get opportunities and he’s making the most of it.”