CARSON, Calif. -- Ahead of Saturday's clash against Real Salt Lake, reporters caught up with Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant.
Dunivant touched on a number of topics including RSL's attack, playing without A.J. DeLaGarza and LA's vital month of October.
Dunivant's thoughts are below...
“He’s tough to keep track of because he’s moving sometimes to the wing, sometimes up high and sometimes underneath and that’s when he’s at his best when he’s dribbling and making plays and being a distributor as well as a finisher. It causes a lot of headaches for defenses that’s for sure.”
(On RSL being a team of unsung heroes…)
DUNIVANT: “They’re a good team all around. Over the years, they’ve been very good defensively and part of that is just the way that they keep the ball and limiting the chances. Their midfield is the key to that. Will Johnson, Ned Grabavoy, Beckerman all those guys and Morales, it’s a very good midfield and it’s certainly key to their team.”
(On the role of Javier Morales to RSL’s midfield…)
DUNIVANT: “He can make the special play and he’s a wildcard because at any point, he can change the game. In playoffs in crucial times, those are the types of plays and players that you need and he’s been able to do that throughout the years. You’ve seen it in MLS, you’ve seen it in Champions League. He steps up when it counts.”
(On heading into October…)
DUNIVANT: “We’ve only got three games left [in league play] and it’s against three teams that we’re battling with playoff position so you can’t ask for anything more than that really. When it comes down to it, we have to win to get in, we control our destiny and that’s what you want. It’s certainly not easy, but you have it no other way . The way that we made up grown this season is by beating Western Conference teams and climbing up the table that way and now we have a chance again to play teams that are right there with us. For the second, third, and fourth spot.”
(On the postseason atmosphere of the last four games…)
DUNIVANT: “Absolutely, these games are going to be playoff intensity and these games matter. These games really matter and when you get down to these last couple then you know exactly what you need to do and that’s fun.”
(On LA being happy with their place in the standings heading into the last month…)
DUNIVANT: “We’ve set ourselves up well, but we’ve got to finish it off now. Like you said, three months ago, a lot of people didn’t think we could be in this position, but we always believed and we knew that we had a good team and we’ve stuck together and the club has stuck by us and we’ve rewarded that with some good results.”
(On playing without DeLaGarza…)
DUNIVANT: “It’s tough to lose A.J. at this stage, but you have to deal with those things and it’s certainly not easy and guys are going to have to step up and the whole team is going to have to step up.”
(On the role the comeback victory to RSL played in LA’s comeback this summer…)
DUNIVANT: “That was right when we started putting results together….we needed wins and we needed them fast and we started to put those on and suddenly we were eight points out of the playoffs at that point and for 3-8-2, that’s not that bad. Suddenly we win those games and we’re two points out of the playoffs and it’s a whole different ballgame with 20 games to go.”
(On chemistry concerns among the back four without DeLaGarza…)
DUNIVANT: “We haven’t had this where A.J. has been out. He’s been real reliable for us when he’s been in there and we’ve been working this weekend in practice in getting things right so certainly , it’s not going to be easy without him, he’s a huge part of our defense so we’re going to have to not use it as an excuse and just plow forward.”
(On Meyer being a different type of defender than DeLaGarza…)
DUNIVANT: “It’s going to be on us, so only time is going to tell. We’ve got to have baptism by fire in these last three games and we have confidence in Tommy or whoever goes in there and if we continue to play well as a group and we continue to play as we have a team then we’re going to continue to get shutouts, we’re going to continue to get results. It hasn’t just been the starting four that has gotten results, it’s been the other group as well in Reserve games and Champions League games so as a team we’ve improved well defensively and we need to keep that going if we want to win the championship. “
As promised, LAGalaxy.com has provided a behind the scenes look at Monday night's launch of Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. Check out the video below...
*Also at 3:30pm PDT, I'll be on Galaxy Revealed. TWCSN's newest 30 minute show dedicated to the Galaxy.
A few notes and links to start your Wednesday morning.
*The LA Galaxy train at 10 am this morning and I expect to have some updates on the status of Swedish winger Christian Wilhelmsson, who is listed as questionable for Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake
*A story that I missed last week that is still worth telling...Brian Straus of the Sporting News wrote this piece on LA's turnaround focusing on the impact of Omar Gonzalez.
One fun link for you this morning is the new American Soccer Now website by John Godfrey. The longtime New York Times writer has compiled a list of the top 100 American soccer players -- which features six Galaxy players -- and offers a few introspective Q&A's with a pair of Galaxy players Edson Buddle and A.J. DeLaGarza.
And then there were two.
With Vancouver Whitecaps FC's 4-0 victory over Chivas USA--which featured a little Gangnam Style courtesy of Camilo-- there are just two teams left in contention for the final MLS Cup Playoff berth in the Western Conference.
The victory eliminated Chivas, the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers from playoff contention. With 32 games played, Vancouver is five points ahead of FC Dallas, who have played one fewer game than their Western rival for the fifth and final playoff spot. The Whitecaps sit seven points adrift of the fourth place Seattle Sounders, who Vancouver would face if the playoffs began today.
The LA Galaxy had a special visitor at training on Tuesday, the Stanley Cup Trophy.
The trophy was at training due to a season ticket event for the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. The trophy came out towards the end of practice and numerous players able to take their photo with one of professional sports most storied prizes.
More photos courtesy of Evan Gole / Bernstein Associates below
Coaches and players inspect the Stanley Cup and read the names engraved on the trophy.
Donovan taking part in a Stanley Cup superstition. If you touch it, you'll never win it.
A Team Photo with the Cup
If you've been following along on Twitter today, you'd know it's been a busy day for me.
I'll be making an appearance on Time Warner SportsNet's Access: SportsNet show tonight at 7pm and 10pm talking about the LA Galaxy. Also, I'll be on Galaxy Revealed with Chris McGee on Thursday and Friday talking about LA's latest turnaround.
Never one not to poke fun at myself, below is a photo of me in the makeup chair snapped by an intrepid Galaxy staffer earlier today.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 4, 2012
CARSON, Calif. -- A.J. DeLaGarza is listed as out with a left knee sprain in the LA Galaxy's injury report that was released on Monday evening.
The club preliminarily diagnosed DeLaGarza's injury as a left knee sprain during the club's 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids, but DeLaGarza revealed during his red carpet appearance at the Time Warner Cable SportsNet launch event that it was an MCL injury. The Galaxy defender told reporters that he expects miss a month, which would rule him out for the duration of the regular season, but admitted that he is hopeful that he can return in time for the playoffs.
DeLaGarza wasn't the only name of note as Swedish midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson was listed as questionable with a left calf strain. The very same strain that prevented Wilhelmsson from appearing in last week's tie in Colorado.
The complete Galaxy injury report is below.
OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (L ankle sprain); MF Christian Wilhelmsson (L calf strain)
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy have a host of options in the back to replace A.J. DeLaGarza, but Brazilian centerback Leonardo is not one of them.
Leonardo has been on the disabled list due to right knee inflammation and needed to be activated by the league's roster freeze deadline on Sept 14.
At training on Wednesday, Bruce Arena told reporters that Leonardo was "not ready to play" and will essentially be out for the remainder of the season.
A couple of notes to start your morning.
*The LA Galaxy return to practice on Wednesday morning for the first time since their 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. LA have a total of three training sessions before Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake.
*For an update on the playoff race: Read my playoff update on LAGalaxy.com. Remember, LA can finish no lower than fourth, but no higher than second in the Western Conference.
*For a recap of the Time Warner Cable SportsNet event on Monday, read my piece on the event with thoughts from the likes of Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, David Beckham and Landon Donovan.
*Speaking of Time Warner Cable SportsNet, I'll be on Access: SportsNet talking Galaxy this afternoon. If you've got the station be sure to tune in.
*Lastly, speaking of the match with RSL, I spoke on Salt Lake City's ESPN 700 "On Frame" radio show on Monday to provide an LA Galaxy perspective of the match. My segment begins at 11:09, give it a listen below.
Good Evening everyone, it's time for the tenth edition of Ask the Insider.
This evening's question comes from Steven Kippel How will the injury to AJ affect the upcoming matches?
The knee injury to A.J. DeLaGarza came at an unfortunate time for the LA Galaxy ahead of a pivotal four game stretch that will determine the club's seeding in both the MLS Cup Playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League. However, the Galaxy have a number of options to fill in for DeLaGarza including Andrew Boyens, David Junior Lopes and even Bryan Gaul, but it is likely that Tommy Meyer will play alongside Gonzalez while DeLaGarza is on the mend.
Although Meyer looked very much like a 22-year-old rookie at the beginning of the year, Meyer appeared right at home in the Galaxy back four during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids. Despite the match being Meyer’s first appearance alongside Omar Gonzalez this season, the pair showed great chemistry helping LA earn a point on the road. As the Galaxy begin a grueling three game stretch against Real Salt Lake (Oct. 6), San Jose Earthquakes (Oct. 21) and the Seattle Sounders (Oct. 28), this chemistry will be crucial as LA look to secure a top three seed in the Western Conference.
While Meyer may not be the speedy and cerebral DeLaGarza, the 22-year-old defender has his own attributes including an impressive size –standing 6-foot-2—and a smooth distribution that have developed by leaps in bounds during his rookie season. Central to Meyer’s development have been his appearances in the CCL and with the club’s Reserve League squad. These matches have offered Meyer a chance to not only maintain his fitness, but have allowed the rookie the opportunity to play in meaningful games that will come in handy during a crucial three game league stretch.
If Meyer can be successful then it could lead to some difficult choices for head coach Bruce Arena during the MLS Cup playoffs once DeLaGarza returns to full fitness.
Thanks for your question Steven. You can get your tickets by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against the Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6 for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.