CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane knows a thing or two about rivalries.
The Ireland international has played in some of the most renowned club rivalries in the world from Celtic vs. Rangers—which is Keane’s personal favorite battle—, Liverpool FC vs. Everton to Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal, and he’d like to see the SuperClasico blossom into a great MLS rivalry.
But the LA Galaxy captain admits that the rivalry just isn’t there yet largely due to the lackluster crowds at Chivas home matches.
“A derby is about everyone getting involved. The atmosphere is electric and the place is full,” said Keane. “Unfortunately, there won’t be a great crowd and it’s a shame because we want this rivalry to be important as there are two teams in LA, but it’s not going to work unless we get a real hostile atmosphere and we probably won’t get that.”
Keane has shined against the cross-hall rivals with four goals and a single assist all-time against the Rojiblancos. But even though he’s had great success against Chivas, he’s hoping that their fans can breathe some life into the SuperClasico.
“I want the fans to support them. To have a rivalry, you need the whole package and fortunately the whole package isn’t there,” said Keane. “They get more people when they play us, but against Chicago for example they get around 2,000 to 4,000 people. Every atmosphere that I’ve played in has had a crazy atmosphere but it’s not just about the name of the two teams, it’s about the whole package. The half package is there, but not full just yet.”
CARSON, Calif. – Jaime Penedo is set to return to the fold this Sunday when the LA Galaxy take on Chivas USA in the SuperClasico.
Penedo was unable to suit up in LA’s last MLS match against Real Salt Lake on March 22 as he returned to Panama to finalize his visa, but is expecting to be back in the fold for Sunday’s match against LA’s cross-hall rivals.
“I feel good. I feel ready to play and to be able to support the team,” Penedo, who admitted that he, is still smarting over LA’s CCL defeat to Club Tijuana. “I think that I’m ready to support the team as soon as we play this weekend.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena also gave Penedo the green light stating that the goalkeeper is “close to 100 percent” and will “definitely be available” for the Chivas USA match.
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LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, captain Robbie Keane and defender Todd Dunivant each spoke to LAGalaxy.com's Chris Thomas and Paolo Ferrari ahead of Sunday's SuperClasico.
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MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle broke down the SuperClasico in the latest edition of the website's "Scouting Report"
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CARSON, Calif. – Once the Galaxy kick off on Sunday, it will have been 182 days since Landon Donovan tied up Jeff Cunningham’s MLS all-time regular season goal scoring record last October against Chivas USA. Now Donovan will have an opportunity to gain sole possession of the league’s goal scoring record against that same Chivas side.
The 32-year-old has yet to find the back of the net in LA’s two MLS regular season matches or their CONCACAF Champions League series against Club Tijuana, but has tallied a great strike record against Chivas with 12 goals in all MLS competitions. Donovan is expecting to be in the lineup on Sunday despite suffering from tendonitis in his knee during his time with the U.S. National Team earlier in the week which prevented him from starting against Mexico.
Although the SuperClasico is always a heated match despite LA’s dominance in the series standings, Donovan downplayed the idea that breaking the league’s goal scoring record against the cross-hall rivals would mean any more to him.
“I don’t think it would mean more because it’s against them, but I just like to score goals," said Donovan after training on Friday. "I feel like I've played pretty well in the first four games and I played okay the other night [against Mexico]. I feel like I’m doing well and moving well, but it’s always nice to hit the goal and I want to hit the goal.”
Donovan admits that he needs to be more selfish toward goal, but was quick to dispel any notion that the hunt for goal 135 is wearing on the attacker.
“I’m in a different phase. I don’t judge how I play based on if I score,” Donovan said. “I've played a lot of bad games where I scored then thought ‘oh, I’m great’ but I’d rather continue playing well and not score. I deserve for myself, I deserve to score. I deserve to score and I’m looking to score.”
LAGalaxy.com was on the ground for the United States vs. Mexico and I spoke to fans of both side about their teams heading into the World Cup and the fiercest rivalry in CONCACAF.
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GLENDALE, Ariz. – It was a tale of two halves for U.S. National Team defender Omar Gonzalez.
In the opening stanza, Gonzalez was sold on both sides of the ball as he helped in the build-up of the Americans opening goal while also repeatedly snuffing out scoring attempts by a Mexican attack that was toothless early. But in the second half, Gonzalez found himself the victim of a Mexico screen play that allowed Rafael Marquez to score Mexico’s first goal before he and Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran were caught out of position on Alan Pulido’s goal.
After the match, Gonzalez which the Galaxy defender stated resembled a World Cup game, he admitted that there is still plenty of work to be done as he looks to lock down a starting spot for the USMNT in Brazil.
“These games are all about preparations and building team chemistry and I thought that overall, the team played well,” said Gonzalez. “We just had to get better at set pieces, I got picked on that set piece goal, but it’s something that I’m happy had in a friendly rather than a world cup. I’m definitely working on it.”
And despite declaring the race for the center back role alongside Matt Besler open, Klinsmann stated that he’d stick by Gonzalez and allow him to state his case for starting in Brazil.
“It’s normal that they struggle right now because they barely start their season. They have two to three games in their season, so Mexico is far ahead of us in terms of rhythm and stuff like that,” said Klinsmann.” We are patient in the process. Obviously, in two months from now, I will make the decisions who is going to be the ideal pairing and the two center backs.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Tendonitis in Landon Donovan’s knee led the LA Galaxy star to be a shock omission from the U.S. National Team starting lineup for their 2-2 draw against Mexico.
What Donovan jokingly described as “old man issues,” helped lead to contribute to a poor training session by the Galaxy midfielder according to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann leading the U.S. boss to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the start of the match.
“He had no tempo in his training sessions, he had no kind of higher pace, higher rhythm, he didn’t take people on, so I sat him down [Wednesday] morning and we actually went through his training session yesterday,” said Klinsmann. “I told him based on what I saw the last three days, ‘I can’t leave [Chris Wondolowski] out there because Wondo deserves after two goals against South Korea. He’s working so hard.’
“[Donovan] understood it.” Klinsmann added, ‘[He said,] Yeah, I didn’t have good training sessions and I have a little bit of issues with my knee,’ and I told him, ‘You’re ready coming off the bench.’ He was ready; he came off the bench, so no problem at all.”
Once he came on in the 59th minute, Donovan did not look out of sorts as he made several dangerous runs up field as he attempted to kick start the U.S. offense amid a dominating second half showing by El Tri.
“I felt good tonight. It was nice to get some minutes on the field, obviously, I wanted to start the game, but circumstances didn’t allow that,” said Donovan. “It was fun to be a part of this game and another great game between these two teams.
“When I’m healthy and I train, I train well. This week, I had some tendinitis and I couldn’t play the way that I want to,” he said. “It was good to back off a little bit and still get some minutes tonight.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The jury is still out on U.S. National Team German-American wunderkind Julian Green.
The Bayern Munich youth product played for a little over half an hour in the USMNT’s 2-2 draw with Mexico at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The highlight of Green’s shift came in the waning moments of the second half when he appeared to earn a penalty kick after deftly bypassing two Mexico defenders, but referee Roberto Moreno waved play-on.
Although Green could not help the U.S. earn a victory against their CONCACAF archrival, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was pleased with his showing.
“I think you saw in some moments how he goes into the box and draws two guys and should have drawn a penalty,” said Klinsmann. “Obviously, he was nervous too, and he plays his first cap in front of 60,000 against Mexico. Here and there maybe you slip and lose your balance like it happened to him once there. But the team welcomed him with open arms. When you’re among other players you check each other out, and you understand within 10 minutes if it’s a good player or not. Julian is a very good player.”
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