In what might be my favorite holiday video this year, Juninho offers his own special Happy Holidays message after firing a free kick in front of a wall made of Christmas trees.
Check it out below.
Villarreal was presented alongside fellow MLS players Rafael Baca and Michael Farfan on Saturday ahead of the move to the Mexico City club.
“Sending Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul provides one of our Homegrown players an opportunity to gain additional experience,” said Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement. “We’ll monitor Jose’s play with Cruz Azul and wish him well while in Mexico.”
On Saturday, LA Galaxy Insider reported that the deal is a year-long loan with an option to buy. Any loan fee that the Galaxy receive could net the club significant funs that should be able to improve a squad that has dealt with salary cap issues this offseason.
During the presentation of their new winter signings, Cruz Azul sporting director Agustín Manzo admitted that Mexican club’s idea to add Baca, Farfan and Villarreal came, at least, partially through his “very good friendship” with Galaxy assistant Curt Onalfo who had told him “many times about the players.”
The Cruz Azul brass may be high on Villarreal, but with La Maquina boasting talented attackers like Marco Fabian, Joao Rojas and Christian Gimenez, Villarreal will have his work cut out for him when it comes to breaking into the first team. If the Galaxy Homegrown forward is unable to crack the first team, then he’ll likely be given significant minutes with the club’s reserve side.
“It’s not going to be easy here, I’ll have to win a place,” said Villarreal after the presentation in Mexico. “With a lot of effort on the field, it can happen.”
The three goals selected were Omar Gonzalez's classy finish that helped the LA Galaxy defeat Juventus in the Guinness International Champions Cup on Aug. 3 at Dodger Stadium, Robbie Keane's brilliant chip of Nick Rimando in LA's victory over Real Salt Lake later in the month, and Sean Franklin's goal against RSL in the Western Conference Semifinal first leg at StubHub Center on Nov. 3.
Check it out below.
Jose Villarreal is joining Cruz Azul.
The 20-year-old striker was presented alongside new Cruz Azul signings for the upcoming Clausura tournament Rafael Baca, Xavi Baez, Marco Fabian, Michael Farfan, and Fausto Pinto on Saturday afternoon in Mexico. On Friday, the LA Galaxy declined comment on the reports of Villarreal's move to Mexico, but the club is expected to make an announcement early next week.
Although there are no official details on the move, it is my understanding that the deal is expected to be a year-long loan for Villarreal with an option for the Mexican side to purchase the forward. This could be a major boost for the Galaxy as Villarreal is likely to attract a hefty fee if he is successful in Mexico which would be used to further strengthen an LA side that fell in the Western Conference Semifinal round in 2013.
Presentación de los nuevos integrantes del equipo. José Villareal pic.twitter.com/lGBTdcHeFq
— CRUZ AZUL FC™ (@Cruz_Azul_FC) December 21, 2013
Presentación de los nuevos integrantes del equipo. pic.twitter.com/M7djGjqTcs
— CRUZ AZUL FC™ (@Cruz_Azul_FC) December 21, 2013
Is Jose Villarreal heading off to Mexico?
On Friday, Mexican club Cruz Azul issued a report on their club’s official website stating that Villarreal had joined the club for the upcoming Clausura tournament. That was followed by a report from ESPNFC also stating that Villarreal, San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Rafael Baca and Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan were off to Cruz azul and were currently in Mexico City to undergo medical exams. It is worth mentioning that Villarreal has Mexican citizenship through his parents and would not count as an international if he were to join the Mexico City club.
When reached, the LA Galaxy declined comment on the report.
Landon Donovan is widely considered one of the most accomplished players in U.S. Soccer history and it was no surprise on Friday when he was named to the federation's all-time Best XI.
Donovan was the leading vote-getter with a total of 52 votes in a list that included such luminaries like Carlos Bocanegra, Eddie Pope, Clint Dempsey and Eric Wynalda.
The LA Galaxy forward has a total of 144 appearances for the U.S. and holds the all-time leads for goals (46) and assists (47). Due to his success with the U.S., Donovan has made a total of three FIFA World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and is expected to make his make fourth tournament next year when the U.S. head to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Donovan has 12 World Cup appearances with five goals.
The 31-year-old also had a storied career with the U.S. youth national teams as he was awarded the Golden Ball award when he helped the U.S. Under-17's to a fourth place finish at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand while also appearing in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina with the U.S. Under-20's.
The complete list is below:
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 20, 2013
There's a heavy LA Galaxy contingent among the eligible players for the U.S. Soccer All-Time Best XI that will be announced on Friday.
The list of 13 Galaxy players is highlighted by Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones who were mainstays on LA and the U.S. National Team
The list of ex-Galaxy players can be seen below.
DEFENDERS: Gregg Berhalter, Paul Caligiuri, Frankie Hejduk, Alexi Lalas, Pablo Mastroeni
MIDFIELDERS: Chris Armas, Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Eddie Lewis, John O'Brien, Tony Sanneh
FORWARDS: Brian Ching, Clint Mathis
On Thursday, U.S. Soccer revealed their Women's Best XI of all time which can be seen below:
Goalkeeper - Briana Scurry 1994-2008
Defender - Brandi Chastain 1988-2004
Defender - Joy Biefeld (Fawcett) 1987-2004
Defender - Carla Werden (Overbeck) 1988-2000
Defender - Christie Rampone (Pearce) 1997-present
Midfielder - Michelle Akers 1985-2000
Midfielder - Julie Foudy 1988-2004
Midfielder - Kristine Lilly 1987-2010
Forward - Mia Hamm 1987-2004
Forward - Alex Morgan 2010-present
Forward - Abby Wambach 2001-present
In their annual End of the Year review, MLSsoccer.com has compiled all of the goals that the LA Galaxy scored in 2013.
Check it out below.
The LA Galaxy stood pat during Wednesday's Stage Two of the MLS Re-Entry Draft Process as the Galaxy elected to pass.
Although LA did not make a move, there were several notable selections including Fabian Espindola being chosen by D.C. United and Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario returning to Toronto FC. Also chosen was former Galaxy forward Chad Barrett who will join LA’s Western Conference rival Seattle Sounders FC. Another one of LA’s chief rivals, the San Jose Earthquakes made a pair of selections as they chose defenders Shaun Francis and Brandon Barklage.
Not among those selected were LA’s entrants Colin Clark and Laurent Courtois, who are now free to join a team of their choosing.
Thoughts on LA standing pat?
Share your thoughts below.
Dwayne De Rosario and David Ferreira highlight list of players available for Stage Two of MLS Re-Entry Draft Process
There’s considerable talent on the board as MLS prepares for Stage Two of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process which will take place on Wednesday at 12pm PT.
During the Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, the LA Galaxy lost longtime right back Sean Franklin who was selected by D.C. United while Steve Zakuani (Portland Timbers), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union) and Marc Burch (Colorado Rapids) were also selected.
That amount of players available has been whittled down however, with several choosing to opt out in order to re-sign with their previous clubs or being dealt to other teams. Most notably, Kenny Cooper, Mauro Rosales and Bobby Convey were traded while players like Chris Rolfe, Andre Akpan and Logan Pause opted out with looks to return to their former clubs.
If a player is chosen in Stage Two, a club has seven days to make a bona fide offer to the selected individual, and if an agreement can’t be reached that club will have the right of first refusal for that player in MLS. Should a player not be chosen then they will be able to reach an agreement with the club of their choosing.
Prior to stage one, I evaluated several players who could be good fits for the Galaxy and while several have come off the board, former MLS MVPs David Ferreira and Dwayne De Rosario as well as New York Red Bulls forward Fabian Espindola remain the most talented players available. However with the Galaxy losing Sean Franklin, it would not be surprising to see LA go after depth at right back which makes players like Ugo Ihemelu, Brandon Barklage and James Riley intriguing choices.
The complete list of available players for stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Process are below:
Chicago Fire: D Shaun Francis, M Joel Lindpere, F Maicon Santos, M Wells Thompson*, M Michael Videira
Chivas USA: D Ante Jazic*, D Steve Purdy, M Josue Soto
Columbus Crew: M Danny O'Rourke, M Konrad Warzycha
Colorado Rapids: GK Steward Ceus, D Brian Mullan, M Jamie Smith
D.C. United: M Dwayne De Rosario, D James Riley, F Carlos Ruiz, M Marcelo Saragosa, D Daniel Woolard
FC Dallas: M David Ferreira, D Ugo Ihemelu
Houston Dynamo: F Calen Carr*, M Alex Dixon, F Cam Weaver
LA Galaxy: M Colin Clark, M Laurent Courtois
Montreal Impact: M Sinisa Ubiparipovic
New England Revolution: F Chad Barrett, F Ryan Guy, M Clyde Simms, M Juan Toja
New York Red Bulls: D Brandon Barklage, F Fabian Espindola, D Heath Pearce
Portland Timbers: D Ryan Miller
Real Salt Lake: D Brandon McDonald, GK Josh Saunders, M Khari Stephenson
Seattle Sounders: M Blair Gavin
San Jose Earthquakes: D Nana Attakora, M Mehdi Ballouchy, D Dan Gargan, GK Evan Newton
Toronto FC: F Justin Braun
Vancouver Whitecaps: GK Joe Cannon, F Corey Hertzog