10 August 2:15 pm

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.  

10 August 8:36 am

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. 

09 August 10:40 pm

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. 

09 August 4:28 pm

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.

09 August 2:35 pm

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.” 

09 August 12:58 pm

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.” 

08 August 4:27 pm

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.”

08 August 12:41 pm

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?

08 August 12:00 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, the 18-year-old Jose Villarreal does not look like the most physical player, but during the Galaxy Homegrown player's recent rise, physicality has become an important part to the young forward's game. 

After battling against the likes of Real Madrid's Pepe and Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen's Villarreal has become skilled at holding up the ball against larger and more physical defenders. Throughout Tuesday's Reserve League victory over Chivas USA, Villarreal was not afraid to mix it up with burly Chivas center backs Nelson Akwari and Rauwshan McKenzie, this was most apparent late in the first when Akwari attempted to force the diminutive Villarreal off the ball near the Chivas box, but Villarreal was able to out-muscle the veteran defender and ultimately push him away to fire a shot on  frame. 

For a young forward, who is less than a month removed from is professional debut, physicality is just the latest weapon added to his arsenal.

"It was a tough game," said Villarreal. "They were very physical in the back and if you take a lot more touches than you're supposed to then they'll hit you so I was able to hold up the ball and make some good runs and help us get the win." 

08 August 10:54 am

We may be three months way from the start of the MLS Cup playoffs, but each and every game from August until October is extremely vital for playoff seeding. 

If the season ended today, the fifth-seeded LA Galaxy would take on fourth-seeded Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place in the Western Conference First Round knock out round on either October 31st or November 1st. The winner would take on the current first place San Jose Earthquakes in the Western Conference semifinals, a two-leg series starting either November 3rd or November 4th. Currently the Galaxy have ten games left on the docket starting with Sunday's Superclásico against Chivas USA. 

Below are the tiebreakers determined by the league's Board of Governors. One note, however, unlike in years past head-to-head records will not be used a tie-breaker as teams do not play every opponent an equal number of times. 

1)     Goals For (See column labeled GF on page)

2)     Goal Differential (GD)

3)     Fewest Disciplinary Points (Posted here)

4)     Road Goals

5)     Road Goal Differential

6)     Home Goals

7)     Home Goal Differential

8)     Coin Toss (2 teams) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)