COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The LA Galaxy Insider project is continuing to evolve on a daily basis and part of that evolution is creating more engagement with the readers.
As part of that pursuit, allow me to introduce a new segment to the blog called "Ask the Insider." After each match, readers are encouraged to provide their questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page and one question will be answered right here on the blog, with the winner receiving tickets to an upcoming game.
Below is the first installment of "Ask the Insider":
From Marvin G. Machón: How difficult was it for the big four (A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Sean Franklin and Todd Dunivant) to start a game together for the first time this year? Did everything just click or was it hard to adjust to each other again?
Thanks for the question, Marvin.
If it was difficult for LA's "big four" to play together again for the first time in nearly a year, they hardly showed it on Sunday against Chivas USA. Throughout the match, the back four looked like the organized and cohesive unit that anchored the Galaxy to the 2011 MLS Cup championship as they repeatedly shut down the Rojiblancos attack--limiting them to just three shots on goal.
The back four appeared in sync from the opening whistle and it showed during one of the game's definitive moments, which came in the 48th minute of play. With LA up by just a single goal, Chivas were able to take possession inside the Galaxy's 18-yard-box following a flubbed clearance by goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Rather than panic, the back line maintained their shape amid the onslaught as they deflected a pair of Chivas shots from close range—including a goal line clearance by DeLaGarza—before Juninho cleared the ball out of danger. This moment would prove decisive as less than 20 minutes later; Juninho doubled LA’s lead setting the stage for LA's 4-0 rout.
While all matches won't be as smooth as last Sunday -- and Wednesday's emotional match against the Crew promises to provide a stiff test to LA’s back line -- the quartet's performance was certainly a step in the right direction for a Galaxy team that has aspirations of climbing up the Western Conference standings.
Thanks again to Marvin, you can get your tickets by e-mailing email@example.com. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following Wednesday's match for the chance to have your question featured.
We'll have more coverage of Wednesday's match following Tuesday's training session.
CARSON, Calif. -- A day after defeating Chivas USA 4-0 in the SuperClásico, the LA Galaxy spent much of Monday in the clouds as part of a marathon travel day en route to Columbus for Wednesday's match against the Columbus Crew.
Above is a photo that I snapped on the plane during the club's final approach into Columbus.
CARSON, Calif. -- A day after a record setting night against Chivas USA, LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan took off for Mexico for the U.S.' friendly at the Estadio Azteca on Wednesday. Before departing for Mexico, Donovan spoke to reporters following the Galaxy's 4-0 victory over Chivas.
Below are Donovan's thoughts ahead of the friendly.
(On playing at Azteca...)
DONOVAN: “Any time that we play in Azteca, it’s pretty raucous, but I think that it will be a pretty exciting night, I would guess. We’ve been saying for a number of years how good their youth is and how well they’re producing players. Their 17s, their 20s and now their Olympic team so the future certainly looks bright for them and it’s going to be a big test for us.”
(On the importance of the friendly...)
DONOVAN: “Candidly, I don’t think it’s that important, but for a lot of guys that don’t get a lot of experience, I think that this will be a good experience, but it’s an awkward fixture date and I would say that most if not all the players don’t like this fixture date, we’d much rather do away with it, but it’s still a good opportunity to get a game like this.”
(On whether playing Mexico makes it more important...)
DONOVAN: “Sure, all things being equal it’s still against Mexico so we’ll be ready to play.”
(On former teammate Alan Gordon's call up...)
DONOVAN: “I just heard that, is that true? I didn’t even know that he was healthy, he didn’t play last night, did he? I think that we can say that he’s been as effective as a forward as anybody has been in the last few months of the season. I’m really happy for him, I’ll be happy to see him and if he gets a chance to play, what a great experience. We’ll see.”
CARSON, Calif. -- On both sides of the ball, the play of Brazilian midfielder Juninho was vital for the LA Galaxy in their 4-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday.
Tallying two goals on the night, Juninho was a frequent threat going forward as he showed his range, scoring a marvelous chip over goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the 64th minute. Then, just ten minutes later, Juninho was able to finish a Landon Donovan pass from close range for the game's third goal of the night. Meanwhile, on the defensive side, Juninho teamed up well with countryman Marcelo Sarvas as LA's high pressure midfield was able to shut down the Chivas attack.
Below are Juninho's postgame thoughts:
(On the win being a statement...)
JUNINHO: "We knew we needed to win. We needed to get points to keep moving up in the table. We hope to get all the way to the top."
(On his two goal performance...)
JUNINHO: It was very good. Very good win for the team. And I think I showed I can score from outside the box."
(On celebrating in front of the Chivas supporters after his goal...)
JUNINHO: "It's the Clásico. Its very important."
(On his combination with Sarvas...)
JUNINHO: "We're two good players and we know we needed to work hard, and that's what we did."
(On the play of Donovan...)
JUNINHO: "He was huge. The win was very big, and he was a huge part of it."
Carson, Calif. -- It was a night to remember for Landon Donovan.
The LA Galaxy captain set a career-high for assists -- while also tying an MLS record for most assists in a match -- with four during LA's 4-0 domination of Chivas USA on Sunday evening. With the performance, Donovan lifted his MLS career assist number to 105 moving into fourth place all-time in MLS' career assist list bypassing D.C. United legend Jaime Moreno. That wasn't all, however, as Donovan brought his 2012 assist total to 11, giving him sole possession of the league lead in assists.
In 21 regular season matches against Chivas, Donovan has nine goals and 12 assists against the Rojiblancos
Below are Donovan and head coach Bruce Arena's thoughts on the Galaxy captain by passing Moreno:
DONOVAN: "In my opinion, he’s the best player that has played in this league. I’m honored to be mentioned in that company and I’m just doing my job and if I can get more then that’s great.”
ARENA: "Jaime was one of the great players in the history of this league. And a great person and I’d say the same with Landon. Landon really was focused on playing well tonight, and when he wants, he’s as good as any player in this league and I thought he and Robbie once again were in great form."
CARSON, Calif. -- We're just several hours away from the final Superclásico of the year and here are a few links to get you to kick off.
Read Larry Morgan's game preview of the Superclásico, focusing on bouncing back from last week's defeat to the Seattle Sounders
Meanwhile, Scott French discusses the impact that new Chivas USA midfielder Shalrie Joseph will have on the match.
Lastly, once the game begins, follow the action along with me on MLSsoccer.com's live chat and also, I'll be answering one select question from the Galaxy's Facebook page tonight so leave your comments and questions there.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant; Jimenez, Juninho, Sarvas, Magee; Donovan, Keane
LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan has been called up to the United States national team roster for next Wednesday's friendly against Mexico.
Donovan was named to the U.S. travel roster on Sunday by national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the USMNT's August 15th friendly against El Tri at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Due to his call up, Donovan will miss Wednesday's league match against the Columbus Crew.
Wednesday's friendly against Mexico will be an precursor for Donovan and the U.S. as they prepare to resume World Cup Qualifying, which ramps up this fall starting with a September 7th match against Jamaica in Kingston.
CARSON, Calif. -- In the wake of last week's disappointing 4-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders knows that the club's defense must change for LA to pick up an important victory in Sunday's Superclásico against Chivas USA.
There has been considerable talk this week -- and numerous articles written by yours truly and others -- on a potential return of the back four of Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant, a quartet that along with Saunders, helped anchor the Galaxy to the 2011 MLS Cup Championship. While Saunders would welcome their group's return, he believes that it is far more important for the club's defensive mentality to change rather than simply the personnel.
"It's always welcome to see something like that because we know it works, but it's more than just a back four, it's a collective unit that has to defend. You put a lot on the back, but in the end, it's everybody defending."
A Good Superclásico Morning to everyone out there,
For those looking for some early morning reading before you head out to The Home Depot Center, check out my Three Points to the SuperClasico.
A note from last night's MLS results:With the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes picking up victories over Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders respectively, the LA Galaxy now sit four points behind fourth place Vancouver ahead of tonight's match.
I'll have a few more updates as we get closer to the 8pm PST kick off.