31 July 6:36 pm

LOS ANGELES— A pair of Arizona Diamondbacks got a chance to take in a Real Madrid training session on Monday and test the baseball skill of the Spanish giants.

Diamondbacks players’ catcher Miguel Montero and outfielder Gerardo Parra observed Real Madrid’s training session on Monday prior to their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After taking photos, both players played a game of baseball with several members of Los Blancos.

For the two natives of Venezuela, the chance to see the Spanish giants was an exciting experience.

Quotes from Montero below…

MONTERO: “It was great, I grew up watching a lot of soccer and I was checking the website and the schedule because I know that every year, they do a US tour so it worked out pretty good. I saw that they were going to come [to Los Angeles] the same time that we do and I talked to our PR guy to see if we could go see them and [Monday] it was a great experience.”

(On what he and Parra did during the Madrid training session…)

MONTERO: “We got to meet the guys, take a couple of pictures and they played around with a baseball bat, a glove and a baseball. It was great just to be there and shake their hands.”

(On the Real Madrid player with the best baseball skill...)

MONTERO: “Xabi Alonso. He was pretty good man, he impressed me. We talked and he said that he had been in a baseball game one time and after that, he got to hit a bit then he went to find a batting cage. He went there and he took some extra swings and it looked like he did. I didn’t get him a deal, but he’s pretty good.”

(On the player that he was most excited to see…)

MONTERO: “Iker Casillas. My family is from Spain, my dad and mom were born and raised in Spain so I always followed soccer. I played a little bit, but I was born in Venezuela and the national time is baseball, but I always kept watching. I always watch the World Cup, Euro Cup and growing up; I watched Real Madrid and Barcelona.”

31 July 5:35 pm

LOS ANGELES --The members of the LA Galaxy are excited to face Spanish giants Real Madrid this Thursday at The Home Depot Center and according to Madrid's star defender Pepe, the excitement goes both ways. 

Thursday's match will be the third consecutive year that Los Blancos have faced the Galaxy in Southern California and according to the Portuguese International, the Spanish giants are increasingly impressed with the rising level of MLS. During Tuesday's press conference on the campus of UCLA, Pepe told reporters that he is excited about the chance to face the Galaxy. 

Pepe's quotes below...

PEPE: “It’s the third year that I’ve come here [for preseason] to the United States and the truth is that every year that goes by, the players here have more quality and are much more competitive.  Soccer is a universal sport and with certainty, this [match against the Galaxy] will be a difficult game for us."

(On an apparent injury to Xabi Alonso in a Tuesday morning training session...)

PEPE:  “It is normal that these things happen in a training session. There has been a test and he is already with the doctor, but I believe he will be in the afternoon session."

31 July 2:49 pm

Chad Barrett’s move to Norway is official.

Barrett’s loan to Norwegian club Vålerenga has been finalized and according to the 27-year-old forward --who says his contract with MLS ends after this season -- the deal comes with an option to buy. Barrett departs for Oslo on Wednesday morning, but spent Tuesday morning training with his LA Galaxy teammates for one final time.  Following training on Tuesday, Barrett spoke to the local media about his move to Norway and his future with his new club.

Below are Barrett’s quotes…

(On how did the move come about…)

BARRETT: “It’s one of those things, one of those reasons that you don’t want to use. But I love the guys in this team, even when I was away on my trial, I missed playing with them. At the same time, it was something that I needed to do for me personally. The guys were on fire here and we’re really deep at forward. I was approached by my agent, who said there was interest overseas and it was a team that I almost went with when I was with Toronto. The coach was still there and asked if I’d be interested, he said yes. Bruce was nice enough to let me go so I went on trial there. I loved it; it was a different kind of good, in every aspect. I lose the beach, I get the culture. I lose the team; I get a new set of good guys. The best thing is that they all speak English over there so it’s not too bad.”

(On what he wants to accomplish there…)

BARRETT: “I think that every American-born soccer player always wonders if they have what it takes to play overseas and play in other leagues. If anything else, it’ll be good for me to go on this loan and see how other countries play. We know what they play like when they come here and play against us in the World Football Challenge, but how does their league stack up to our league. From what I’ve seen in the Norwegian league is that it’s not too dissimilar. Technically, they’re all very technically good. Athletically, I think that we’re a little more athletic over here. That’s where we have to make up for our technically ability, but there are a bunch of great players and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”

(On whether his contract ending at years-end being a reason to head to Norway…)

BARRETT: “It could be. Without all the pay raises for next year and obviously, I didn’t produce as well as I should of, so there are a lot of factors that go into it.  Ultimately, this is probably what is best for me at this particular juncture. Like I said, I hate bringing politics into this locker [room], but that’s why we have agents and sometimes you got to do it.”

(On his impression of Norway…)

“It was the first time that I had been, it was a beautiful city. It’s in Oslo, there’s an old Oslo and a new Oslo.  The training grounds are in old Oslo and the stadium is in new Oslo…it has the old beauty and culture and the new modern stuff around it so it’s cool to see the mixture. The cobblestone streets and amazing parks with the great statues so I did a bit of that and then a bit of shopping, I’m not going to do that again."

(On the reception from the Norwegian players reception…)

BARRETT: “Right from when I got there, they were really welcoming. It’s a really close-knit group of guys; most of them are Norwegian so they got good chemistry with each other. But I know that [Portland Timbers goalkeeper Troy] Perkins played over there so when we were going up to Portland, I was going to talk to him then and pick his brain. But he contacted my agent when I was over there and told me to say hello to the guys for him. I talked to Pat Noonan; he played in Norway for six months as well. He was just giving me the lowdown about what to expect. When the sun is out, the sun is out and when it’s dark, it’s dark so it’s going to be an interesting and eye-opening experience. But I moved every three years of my life so I’m used to it and I take it as a new adventure and I look forward to it."

(On what the club wants to see from him…)

BARRETT: “Goals. Put the ball in the back of the net. They’re pretty upbeat about me coming up there so as soon as I get there, I’m sure that it’ll take me one or two weeks to get my sleep schedule right and the jet lag gone. Once that is gone, I’m looking forward to getting down to business and try to help them finish in the top three."

(On the team’s playing style…)

BARRETT: “I don’t know yet. I’ve seen some highlights of their games, but I haven’t watched a full game yet. I was there for a week where they had a good amount of training because that’s what they wanted to see so I wasn’t able to see their games. They play a game on Friday that I’m maybe dressing for or maybe not. It’s going to be pretty tough; it’s pretty close to when I land."

(On the team’s performance…)

BARRETT: They’re in fifth place, five points out of third. It’s a sixteen team league and the top three go to Europa so that's the goal."

(On how close he was to joining the club earlier…)

BARRETT: “It was almost a coin toss. I just wasn’t mature enough to go overseas and live on my own and accept the four year deal there. It was too much at the time plus I still wanted to take classes [at UCLA]. It was 50/50 for awhile there, and then Toronto won me over while I was there.”

(On missing this team…)

BARRETT: “These guys are like my family. Every team that you get on, you build a brotherhood with these guys. I think a bunch of them are going to help me move today. I wanted to spend one last day with them and it was great to be able to practice with them and knock the ball around one last time. I wish them all the best; I know that they’re going to win it again this year especially with the way that they’ve been playing. There’s no team that can stand in their way. There are good teams on paper, but with the trio playing the way that they’re playing and everyone else stepping up…I’m excited for the way that they’re heading. I wish that I could stay and help them do it again, but I’m sure that they can do it without me.”

(On what he takes from his time with the Galaxy…)

BARRETT: “Winning that trophy. You know, this was the first team that I’ve been on since college where there was just a winning attitude in every game. Every time that we approached the game, every field that we stepped on, it didn’t matter who it was, it didn’t matter if we played Real Madrid—we thought we could win. I’m going to try and take that with me and apply it to any team that I’m on from now on. It was just a good experience, playing with the class players like Beckham, Donovan and Keane. What they bring to the game and the IQ that they have and the class that they show, day in and day out makes you better as a player. Then all the guys, up and coming, I’m really excited to see what happens with their careers. Guys like Juninho, Jose Villarreal, Hector Jimenez; they’ve all really impressed me since last year. Then as soon as Omar Gonzalez gets back from his knee injury, I know that he’ll move on to bigger and better things. I could go down the list and say how I’m going to miss each guy, but I’ll just say collectively that they’re a group of guys and heading in the right direction and I’m going to miss them."

(On where he envisions himself in nine months…)

BARRETT: “It’s going to be a crazy five months. Everything is going to happen quickly, this has happened very quickly. It is part of our profession, it’s something that you have to do, you have to pick up and move. I was joking with everybody that I wish I had a wife right now to pack up the kitchen or something  because I’m doing everything myself right now. It’s just part of the game, and it’s an unfortunate part of the game because you never want to leave, but in this case, I had to.” 

31 July 9:51 am

The LA Galaxy were honored at Dodger Stadium on Monday night during the Los Angeles Dodgers game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.       

Galaxy players Bryan Gaul, Juninho, David Junior Lopes, Kenney Walker, Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas AJ DeLaGarza, Bryan Jordan, Hector Jimenez, Dan Keat, Rafael Garcia and assistant coach Dave Sarachan all took part, throwing out the first pitch before the Dodgers 7-2 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Below are quotes from DeLaGarza on the event...

(On the experience of throwing out the first pitch…)

DELAGARZA: “It was a great experience, it kind of felt like we were getting ready for a game actually with the anthem and all that. It was a great atmosphere; everyone threw a good pitch except for me.”

(On his pitch, which was the only one to bounce in front of the catcher…)

DELAGARZA (says jokingly): “They were set up all wrong so when I threw it. I didn’t want to hit anybody so I got scared so I threw it to the ground.”

(On his juggling with the baseball seen above…)

DELAGARZA: “That’s two touch, I do it every day before practice, but it’s a little bit harder with a baseball. It was fun for everyone out there to interact with guys like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and those guys that we see on TV every day.”

(On his own baseball career as a child…)

DELAGARZA: “I played T-ball growing up for like three years, maybe. If you’re even allowed to play for that long, but I was actually a pretty good t-ball player, but I lost my touch.”

(On his favorite baseball team…)

DELAGARZA: “My favorite team growing up was the Orioles and then in college, it was the Nationals, but now I’m a Dodger fan.” 

Below are a few photos from the night:

30 July 2:03 pm

Chad Barrett is Norway bound.

A Galaxy spokesman confirmed to LA Galaxy Insider on Monday that Barrett will join Norwegian club Vålerenga on loan.  Word of the loan was first reported by Yanks Abroad's Brian Sciaretta on Twitter.
Barrett made 18 appearances for the LA Galaxy this season, tallying one goal and three assists for the club. The 27-year-old striker made his final appearance for the Galaxy last Tuesday with a brief stint during LA’s friendly with Tottenham Hotspur. 
The 27-year-old forward departs after nine-year stint in MLS with stops at the Chicago Fire, Toronto FC and the Galaxy. 
30 July 11:27 am

There's still one more day left in July, but let's look back at what was a month to remember for the LA Galaxy's three Designated Players.

The play of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane was to spur the Galaxy to their current five game unbeaten streak -- six if you factor in a 1-1 draw in a friendly with Tottenham Hotspur -- and an overall record of 4-1-1 in league play during the month of July. With that record, the Galaxy currently sit in the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference on 33 points and are just a single point behind third place Seattle Sounders and fourth place Vancouver Whitecaps. The Galaxy take on Seattle on Sunday and could catapult over the Sounders with a victory at CenturyLink Field. 

For a closer look at how important the three DP's were during the month of July look at the numbers:

Beckham:  Three goals and four assists in three games played. 

Donovan:  Three goals and three assists in five games played.

Keane: Five goals and Four assists in six games played. 

That's a total of 11 goals and 11 assists for the Galaxy's star-studded trio during the month of July. By comparison, the rest of the Galaxy squad accounted for three goals and seven assists on the whole in the month of July. Meaning that 68% -- 68.75% to be exact -- of total points came from Beckham, Donovan or Keane. 

30 July 8:54 am

Before we turn the page to Thursday's friendly against Real Madrid, a few more notes and links on the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over FC Dallas.

* With the sellout of 22,565 at FC Dallas Stadium, the LA Galaxy have now sold out all 14 road matches this season including matches in CONCACAF Champions League play against Toronto FC and the US Open Cup vs. Carolina Railhawks. 

* Josh Saunders earned his fourth shutout of the season against FC Dallas. 

*David Junior Lopes was not shown a yellow card against FC Dallas, meaning that if he is not booked in his next game, he will have one yellow card cleared from his record. However, if he shown a yellow card then he will be suspended. 

Check out the "First XI" stories on the game  and the "Three Points" to the victory. 

Below is the postgame interview with goal scorer Mike Magee.

29 July 1:41 pm

The LA Galaxy have landed in Southern California after extending their unbeaten streak to five games with a 1-0 road victory over FC Dallas on Saturday. 

Above is a sign that greeted the team upon landing earlier this afternoon. 

For more on the Saturday's victory, check out my "Three Points" to the win as well as my sidebar on the forward combination of Mike Magee and Robbie Keane

28 July 10:55 pm

FRISCO, Texas -- A enormous weight was lifted off the shoulders of Omar Gonzalez on Saturday night.

In front of more than 100 family and friends, the LA Galaxy center back -- and Texas native -- went a full 90 minutes for the first time since offseason knee surgery. In the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over FC Dallas, Gonzalez was solid while partnered alongside David Junior Lopes in LA's central defense. Amid the triple-digit temperatures at FC Dallas Stadium, Gonzalez repeatedly stifled Dallas' scoring chances and was even able to help create a scoring chance of his own in the first half.

After a difficult six month rehabilitation period, Gonzalez told reporters after the match that the Dallas match was an important -- physical and mental -- step in his recovery. 

Gonzalez’s post game thoughts are below…

(On playing the full 90 minutes...)

GONZALEZ: “I didn’t think I’d come back after the first half because it was so hot and I had cotton mouth the whole time, but I’m happy I did get through it. I knew I was fit enough to get through it and we’d already made two subs. I knew that I was going to have to push through it and I’m happy to get through it for the team, I’m happy to get the three points and happy to get the shutout.”

(On playing in his home state with the intense heat...)

GONZALEZ: “I really wanted to play well here, especially because I had so many friends and family here. They were behind me throughout the whole surgery and all the rehab. I’m happy I got to play here, start the game and play well.  It was crazy heat here, but I think that it was a good test and this is a good step in the right direction for me.”

(On the play of the defense...)

GONZALEZ: “We had good shape the whole game. We didn’t really sit back. We actually put a lot of pressure on them. We actually got around [David] Ferreira and we got around [Andrew] Jacobson and didn’t really allow them to do much of anything. I thought that we brought the game to them and played really good soccer. If it was a cooler day, I think it would have been even better for us because we would have worked harder and played a little bit faster.”

(On how many friends and family, he had in the stands…)

GONZALEZ: “I don’t know, I’ll see when I get out there, but from what I saw, there was at least a hundred.”

(On if he had doubts that he’d ever reach his peak form after his injury…)

GONZALEZ: “Yeah, sometimes I still think about it. Yesterday during training, I made a boneheaded play and I thought ‘man, what am I doing?’ I got pretty down on myself yesterday, but those are just things that I have to get over and I thought I did a good job here today. Putting it behind me and just focusing on the game.” 

28 July 9:17 pm

FRISCO, Texas. –The following quotes are Bruce Arena’s post game thoughts following the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over FC Dallas.

(On the result…)

ARENA: “It was a good result for our team tonight. We’ve played awfully well over the last month so we’re getting ourselves in good shape and making progress.”

(On players stepping up without Landon Donovan or Bruce Arena…)

ARENA: “That’s all part of it. It’s issues that we deal with all the time and it’s not an excuse. It’s not an excuse. I think [FC Dallas] played the LA Galaxy tonight so whatever 11 shirts are on the field, it’s the Galaxy. You always miss players so that’s all part of the challenge.

(On Robbie Keane and Mike Magee combination up top…)

ARENA: “It was okay. I think that, obviously, the goal was big but they were pretty dangerous. They did a good job, no question about it.”

(On Omar Gonzalez’s first 90 minute performance…)

ARENA: “Remarkable. We didn’t think that he’d quite make it to 90 minutes so it was a good week for him with 65 minutes against Tottenham and 90 minutes tonight. He’s well on the road to recovery.”

(On the defensive performance...)

ARENA: "The guys did well. We just did well. They hit a lot of crosses. And you know when we have two big centerbacks and big goalkeeper in there.. It’s a little bit easier for us when we haven’t had that situation this year. In a lot of ways those are balls that, you know that fall in our favor. It’s a good effort. [Bryan] Gaul had another good game and A.J. DeLaGarza continues to play well in defense [Sean] Franklin played well at right midfield and Keane’s leadership was critically important for us tonight."

(On how the team managed the heat…)

ARENA: “How do I think that the team managed the heat? Survived. It’s very difficult playing in these conditions tonight. Our guys hung in there and they were pretty efficient with the way that they played. They handed the heat pretty well.