CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan is well aware that when the LA Galaxy take on Chivas USA on Sunday, the Rojiblancos will be a far improved side from the one that LA defeated in late-July.
Much of that improvement stems from Chivas' recent acquisition of tenacious midfielder Shalrie Joseph from the New England Revolution on August 1st. Long considered -- alongside Donovan -- to be one of MLS' finest players over the last decade, Joseph is expected to make his Chivas debut during Sunday's SuperClásico. With Joseph most-likely attempting to ignite a recently stagnant Chivas attack, Donovan admits that his teammates must be cognizant of the midfielder on Sunday.
"He is my opinion has been one of the best probably 10 or 15 players in this league for a long time now, and we fully expect him to play, to start. How they use him, we're not quite sure, and maybe they're still finding out, too. But he's an influential player and a good leader ... I think he's going to give an influence on their team in a very positive way.So he's someone that we have to be aware of."
CARSON, Calif. -- Last week's defeat to the Seattle Sounders left a bitter taste in LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane's mouth; one that he hopes to remove with a good performance in Sunday's SuperClásico against Chivas USA.
After scoring either a goal or an assist in five of the Galaxy's last six matches, Keane was unable to break through during the club's defeat against the Sounders last Sunday. The Irish forward will look to regain his scoring touch on Sunday against a Rojiblancos' defense has allowed just 21 goals this season, the second lowest total in MLS. Keane has enjoyed some success against Chivas, however, as he scored a goal and an assist during the last meeting between the two clubs on July 21st.
Below are Keane's thoughts from training on Friday...
(On erasing the sting from the Seattle loss...)
KEANE: “Of course, it’s always important to bounce back when you get a bad defeat which obviously we did last week so it’s important that we bounce back and it’s always good to bounce back against your rival so it’s a game that I know the lads are looking forward to, getting back on the field and eradicating the mistakes and the way we played last week.”
(On a victory in the SuperClásico putting distance between the Galaxy and other teams in the playoff hunt…)
KEANE: “Yeah, I think that’s important as well. We’re coming to the end [of the season] with ten games or so. It’s important that we create that gap and once you do that, you sort of guarantee the playoffs and then you never know what could happen. We could go on a good run again, which we hope that we can do so that’s what we’re looking for.”
(On thinking about playoff positioning after spending most of his career in Europe…)
KEANE: “It’s like the Champions League isn’t it? Getting that third spot. I think that it’s the same thing and of course, you have to have a goal, you know? Obviously our goal is to get into the playoffs. I think that it would be a tragedy if we didn’t do that. I think once we get a couple of results and we make a stand and we know that we’re in the playoffs then who knows what could happen? We could go on a good run and we want to finish as high as possible and that starts on Sunday against Chivas.”
CARSON, Calif. -- One question has circulated throughout the LA Galaxy camp this week: Could the the back four that led the LA Galaxy to the 2011 MLS Cup make an appearance for this Sunday's SuperClásico against Chivas USA?
With injury concerns seemingly a thing of the past, the quartet of Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant, a group that lined up together 17 times last season -- including the 2011 MLS Cup Final -- could play together again starting this Sunday.
Read my story on the possibility of the back four of Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez and Dunivant teaming up again this Sunday and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Ever steadily, Edson Buddle is making his return from recent knee surgery.
Buddle recently returned to full training with the Galaxy. Check out my story on Buddle's progression from injury which can be found here.
We'll have more from the Galaxy training session and SuperClasico press conference this afternoon.
As part of the festivities for SuperClásico week, front office staff and fans of the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA took part in the BarraClásico on Thursday evening at The Home Depot Center.
In the night's first match, the Galaxy staff fell 4-3 to their Chivas counterparts. With the victory, the Chivas' staff swept the season series, 3-0. Meanwhile in the second match of the night, the LA Riot Squad defeat Chivas' Black Army 1850, 2-1. The victory gave LARS a three-game sweep of the Chivas supporters group.
In the night cap, the Galaxy supporters group the Angel City Brigade played to a scoreless draw with Chivas' Union Ultras. The season series ended 1-1-1, but the Ultras were awarded the "Supporters' Cup" on aggregate. This result could have some barring on Sunday's result as the Galaxy are undefeated in the SuperClásico when the Union Ultras win the BarraClásico.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy U15s finished third in the U15 GA Cup tournament and the LA Galaxy U17s finished sixth in the U17 tournament on Thursday.
The LA Galaxy U15's defeated the Chicago Fire U15's 1-0 on Thursday at StarFire Sports Complex in the third place contest while the U17s fell 3-1 to Chicago's U17s in the fifth place match.
The U15s finished the tournament with a record of 3-1-1 while the U17s went 2-1-2 at the GA Cup.
CARSON, Calif. – A day after the MLS unveiled their new set of standings tiebreakers to the public, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena issued his criticism—not of the new standings tiebreakers—but of the league’s decision to use an unbalanced schedule for the 2012 season.
MLS revealed the unbalanced schedule for the 2012 season at the MLS Cup Final on November 20th, 2011. Citing concerns about travel and an uneven number of teams, the league opted to switch to the conference-based schedule in which clubs would play in-conference opponents three times and out of conference rivals, just once.
Below are Arena’s comments on the unbalanced schedule in their entirety...
“You don’t have control of that stuff. The playoff thing is one thing, but I think that the whole construction of the schedule this year with an unbalanced schedule is stupid. Absolutely stupid. To have a Supporters' Shield for that is stupid. I don’t know how that ever got through,” said Arena after training on Thursday. “I think I can tell you that most people think it’s stupid. It has not achieved anything or doing anything better in marketplaces and I think that without a doubt, the way to put together a schedule in this league is home and away. Period, end of discussion, Period, end of discussion. And if they need somebody to help them figure it out, the coaches would be happy to sit down with the people in the front office in MLS and show them how to do it. We’d be glad to do that; actually we’d prefer to do that honestly.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are steadily approaching full fitness as a club and the latest player to near an injury return is midifielder Kyle Nakazawa.
Nakazawa has been unavailable since June due to back spasms –which he describes as a herniated disc--, an injury that he suffered during a Reserve League match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on June 12th. After a long injury recovery, the 24-year-old winger from Torrance, Calif. has become a regular fixture at Galaxy training once again, even taking part in ball work on Thursday.
Although there is no timetable yet for the winger’s return to the field, Nakazawa is pleased with his recuperation
Below are Nakazawa’s thoughts on returning to full fitness...
(On his rising level of fitness…)
NAKAZAWA: “It’s going well. I’m just trying to get my fitness back and since I’ve been out for almost two months, it’s going to take a little time. I’m just trying to be patient and not get too frustrated just trying to get into game fitness again.”
(On his fitness level currently…)
NAKAZAWA: “I’m pretty much back, I’m just trying to get my fitness level right. I was on the ball today and I felt pretty sharp on the ball, but I have to build on my fitness because when I get in game situations there’s going to be a lot more pressure.”
(On any frustrations at being out for nearly two months…)
NAKAZAWA: “No one likes to be injured and you definitely see things from a different perspective when you’re injured. Sometimes when you’re playing, you can take things for granted, but when you’re hurt it makes you appreciate it a lot more. So I’ve kind of been taking the last few weeks to watch the game and get stronger mentally so I’ll be stronger when I come back.”
CARSON, Calif – Following in the footsteps of the likes of Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean, LA Galaxy Academy player Raul Mendiola is the latest Galaxy youth player to make a splash at the Reserve League level.
With LA needing a spark off the bench in a match against the Chivas USA reserves on Tuesday, the Galaxy brought on the fleet-footed Mendiola in the 72nd minute for Kenney Walker. Using his trademark speed, the 18-year-old winger made an immediate impact, helping create the game’s only goal just six minutes later. After slicing through the Chivas defense, Mendiola fired a shot on frame that was blocked by Rojiblancos goalkeeper Tim Melia, the rebound fell perfectly for McBean who tapped in the game’s only goal.
“Raul is a very talented player,” said Villarreal after the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory. “He’s not the strongest player, but he’s a very smart player and he’s skillful with the ball. He came in [during Tuesday’s Reserve League game] and gave us energy and because of him, we got the goal.”
The past year has been a rollercoaster of sorts for The Mexican native from Rialto High School. After a successful stint with Temecula-based youth club Arsenal, Mendiola embarked on a pair of trials with European giants Manchester City and Valencia before returning to the Galaxy.
Upon returning from a brief sojourn in Europe, Mendiola immediately showed why he is considered one of LA’s top prospects for a Homegrown contract as he helped the Galaxy’s U-17s to a GA Cup title last August.
“He’s a young player and his strength is as a guy that can come off the bench,” said Reserve League head coach Curt Onalfo, who has compared Mendiola to DC United’s Andy Najar. “To help him understand tactically how to help out on both sides of the ball and get a fitness level where he’s able to complete at longer stretches that’s all part of his development and those are all of the things that we’re working with him.”
Friends on and off the field, Villarreal and Mendiola are inseparable during Galaxy training sessions, frequently taking part in goalscoring contests long after practice is over. While Villarreal has become one of the most talked about academy products in MLS in recent weeks, he believes that Mendiola is capable of even greater things.
“We’re on the same level,” said Villarreal. “We’re there with each other and we support each other and I’m very happy to see him do some good stuff.”
As Mendiola continues his development, Villarreal has been quick to provide a few words of wisdom to his friend.
“I just tell him to keep working. He’ll get his minutes,” said Villarreal. “It’s like me, I had to go through the same thing and now I’m getting more minutes, but he just has to keep working.”
On Wednesday, the MLS' Board of Governors unveiled their new tie-breaker rules for the 2012 playoffs to the public and the change could have a major impact on the LA Galaxy.
The most important change is that MLS has opted to use Goals For as the first standings tie-breaker with Goal Differential being moved to the second determinant of standings positioning (A complete look at the tiebreaker rules can be found here). This could benefit the Galaxy as the club is has currently scored 39 goals this season -- the second best total in MLS, six behind the first place San Jose Earthquakes -- and goal differetial of zero.
What are your thoughts on the tie-breaker switch? Will this help the Galaxy or hurt them?