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09 October 10:58 am

Robbie Keane will not be returning to the LA Galaxy early from international duty ahead of the team's vital Oct. 16 match against the Montreal Impact. 

On Wednesday, the Republic of Ireland FA issued a press release stating that interim manager Noel King had chosen not to release the Galaxy captain from international commitments during this window.

"The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that Noel King has responded this afternoon to the manager of LA Galaxy, Bruce Arena, to inform him that he has decided not to release Robbie Keane and trusts that he understands the position, having been an international manager himself," the FAI said in a statement. "Bruce Arena had requested that the release of Robbie Keane be considered after the Germany match and before the international match against Kazakhstan in Dublin on October 15."

The wording of the release is important because remember that with a loss or a draw against Germany on Friday, Keane's Irish side would be eliminated from contention for the World Cup. Arena told reporters on Tuesday that he had been in contact with U.S. Soccer and the FAI about potentially releasing Landon Donovan and Keane following their respective first international matches, which could in effect mean nothing in terms of qualification. 

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Thoughts on the Irish FA's decision?

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08 October 5:35 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez will not be heading out on international duty with the U.S. National Team, but could the LA Galaxy get Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane back before next Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Impact?

“It's possible” says Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.

Gonzalez has already withdrawn from U.S. duty with a hip injury, but following training on Tuesday, the Galaxy boss stated that the club has communicated with the national teams of Ireland (Robbie Keane) and the U.S. (Landon Donovan) about having the players return in time for Montreal.

“They're well aware of the fact that we'd like to bring the players back,” Arena said, who reiterated that the decision is in the hands of their respective national team coaches. “We've been in contact. We know what we're doing there. We didn't make a decision, but we in a timely fashion have requested to see if the players could return.”

Donovan indicated following Sunday’s 5-0 victory over Chivas USA that he’d like to help out the Galaxy next Wednesday while Robbie Keane downplayed any return “as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to play for my country, and that's it.”

Meanwhile, in an interview with LA Galaxy Insider after the SuperClasico, Jaime Penedo also indicated that he was unlikely to return due to the importance of the October World Cup qualifiers to Panama’s hopes of reaching Brazil next year.

As for Gonzalez's status for Montreal, Arena stated that there was no update on his status, but said that the team will "just see how he responds."

08 October 4:53 pm

It looks like we may have the schedule in place for the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Multiple sources including SI.com’s Brian Straus and Seattle Times reporter Joshua Mayers have provided the complete schedule for this year’s MLS postseason.

As for how the Galaxy's quest for the postseason is shaping up, check my Playoff Picture piece for LAGalaxy.com

The full schedule is below…

Knockout Round: October 30 and 31 (single game, No. 4 seed hosts No. 5)

Conference semifinals: November 2-3 and 6-7 (home and home series hosted with the higher seed hosting the second leg. Scoring based on aggregate goals.  No. 1 seed playing the Knockout Round winner while the No. 2 seed plays No. 3)

Conference finals: November 9-10 and 23-24 (home and home series hosted with the higher seed hosting the second leg. Scoring based on aggregate goals. Higher seed hosts second leg. Two-week break between games due to FIFA international window)

MLS Cup: December 7 (hosted by team with best record in the regular season)

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Thoughts on the postseason schedule? 

 

08 October 4:07 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy clinched their second consecutive MLS Reserve League West Division title with a 2-0 victory over Chivas USA.

The victory is the perfect cap to a season that saw the Galaxy reserves go undefeated in their last eight matches after going winless in their first two matches.  On Monday, LA controlled the tempo against Chivas USA with Hector Jimenez and Jose Villarreal scoring in the win.

“To win the Reserve League title for a second year in a row is great," said Galaxy reserve league head coach and LA assistant coach Curt Onalfo. "The thing with the reserve league is that it has a lot of functions: developing players, bringing guys back from injury, and you’re keeping guys sharp so you’re trying to balance all of that as a coach, but at the same time, you’re the Galaxy so every time you step on the field, you win. So being able to accomplish all things two years in a row has me very pleased.”

“We take this real seriously and these guys don’t get many days off. When the first team is off, we’re plugging away with reserve games and getting guys sharp,” Onalfo added. “We put in a good effort and it shows because when they were called upon in [the CONCACAF Champions League], they stepped up. Today was a big game for them and they stepped up again and how we stepped up to the challenge.”

08 October 2:50 pm

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender Leonardo continued his return from injury on Monday with a 45 minute shift in LA reserves 2-0 victory over Chivas USA.

 

Leonardo has missed the Galaxy’s last two league matches with left adductor fatigue that he states occurred in the closing moments of the team’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Sept. 21 and then became re-aggregivated during LA's trip to Costa Rica for CONCACAF Champions League play. 

 

“It was the first time that I’ve played or trained with the group. The last couple days, I’ve been training off to the side and it was good for me to do that. I realized that there are a couple things that I need to work on and I’ll work on that.”

 

Rookie Kofi Opare has performed well in Leonardo’s absence, but following the reserves victory, assistant coach Curt Onalfo admits that the Brazilian center back is back in the mix for a starting role—possibly as soon as LA’s Oct. 16 game against the Montreal Impact.

 

“[This appearance keeps] him sharp. He’s been out two weeks and it keeps him in the mix for the next game,” said Onalfo. “We just wanted to be smart [with playing him 45 minutes] and moving him along slowly. He’s on target [for Montreal].”

 

The Brazilian center back agrees that Montreal could be a target for him.

 

“My fitness is not that far off where it was just two weeks ago, I didn’t lose that much,” said Leonardo. “I’m confident that I can get it back in the next couple of days. Yes, we’re off for a few days this week, but I’ll have a few individual sessions to do that.” 

08 October 1:10 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Los Angeles is still buzzing following the Los Angeles Dodgers dramatic 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday evening, and as the Boys in Blue advanced to the National League Championship Series, LA Galaxy right back Sean Franklin was there to enjoy the action.

The lifetime Dodgers fan and two-time MLS Cup champion was in the stands at Chavez Ravine on Monday evening and on Tuesday, still marveling at the atmosphere in the crowd as the Dodgers moved to within four victories of their first World Series appearance since 1988.

“It was crazy. I’ve been in the stadium and seen some games, but to see the stadium like it was on Wednesday and the way that it ended was amazing. I was fortunate to get tickets and go with my closest friends. It was a great feeling.

But what was the moment like when Los Angeles’ newest hero Juan Uribe belted his National League Division Series winning home run in the 8th inning?

“The moment that he hit you knew that it was gone and everyone just went crazy,” said Franklin. “I had my hands up and once the ball went in the stands we were all high-fiving and jumping around. We were high-fiving strangers and that was one of those night’s that you made a friend with everybody.”

08 October 8:29 am

Omar Gonzalez will not be joining the U.S. National Team after all as the LA Galaxy defender pulled out of the squad with a left hip strain suffered during the first half of LA's 5-0 victory over Chivas USA last Sunday.

The injury caused Gonzalez to exit LA's SuperClasico rout at half time, but following the match, associate head coach Dave Sarachan -- and Gonzalez himself -- described the substitution as precautionary. Gonzalez will now have less than 10 days to get fit for the Galaxy's match against the Montreal Impact on Oct. 16. 

Puebla defender Michael Orozco replaces Gonzalez in U.S. camp as they prepare for World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica on Oct. 11 in Kansas City, Kan. and Panama on Oct. 15. 

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Expect Gonzalez to be fit in time for Montreal? Upset that he's not with the U.S. this week?

Share your thoughts below. 

07 October 1:11 pm

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo has the hopes of a nation resting upon his shoulders this week as he seeks to help Panama slay Mexico at the vaulted Estadio Azteca and reach the World Cup for the first time.

Panama currently sit in fourth place in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tied on points with Mexico, but ahead on the goals scored tiebreaker. A victory against El Tri on Oct. 11 would help Panama inch closer to locking down fourth place, which would allow them to face New Zealand in a two-leg playoff for a berth in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Penedo’s Panama have had plenty of success against Mexico over the past year with the Central Americans picking up a 2-0-1 record in all competitions against El Tri. However, this time they’ll have to do so at the Estadio Azteca where Mexico are traditionally dominant, but dropped their last home World Cup qualifier to Honduras 2-1.  With Mexico coming off their first defeat in 27 competitive matches at Azteca, Penedo knows that Los Canaleros are in for a battle.

“It’s going to be a tough game. A complicated game,” Penedo told LA Galaxy Insider on Sunday. “Playing in that stadium against that team is always difficult, but we have lots of confidence that we can have a good game. That’s what we want and that’s what the entire country wants.”

Although there is speculation that his U.S. National Team teammates Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan may return before the match between their two countries on Oct. 15, don’t look for Penedo to return if Los Canaleros can’t get a result in Mexico.

“If the result in Mexico doesn’t matter, we’d still have an opportunity [to qualify for Brazil] with the last game, but that will take care of itself. Right now, I just want to concentrate on Friday,” said Penedo. “Today was an important game, we got three points that we needed and it keeps us in the fight and on the right track.”

06 October 7:19 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan's tying of the all-time MLS regular season goals record is no doubt a great accomplishment, but let's look at it by the numbers. 

134: Goals scored in Donovan's career 

301: Number of games that it took Donovan to reach the mark compared to 365 for Cunningham. 

25765: Number of minutes that Donovan has played in his career compared to the 22751 that Jeff Cunningham played. 

102: Goals scored by Donovan for the LA Galaxy

32: Goals scored by Donovan for the San Jose Earthquakes

3: Number of regular season games left this season for Donovan to break Cunningham's record. 

Now that you've looked at those numbers and read my sidebar on Donovan's accomplishment, I ask a simple question: 

06 October 7:05 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes got the goals in the LA Galaxy’s 5-0 demolishing of Chivas USA, but midfielder Michael Stephens was one of the true unsung heroes in the victory.

Stationed on the right side of midfield, Stephens was efficient as he completed 59 of 68 passes on the evening while frequently testing Chivas left back Jaime Frias. The 24-year-old assisted in LA’s build up play in the final third throughout the match, but he nearly got on the score sheet in the 57th minute when he launched a pass to Robbie Keane that was deflected off a Chivas defender in the penalty area.

 After being afforded the chance to start for the first time since June 28, Stephens admitted that he was desperate to capitalize on the opportunity.

“I had a good game. I just kept it simple because there was not much running to do with how hot it was out there. It made my job easy and I just played small touches which is what Bruce wanted of me and it worked out,” said Stephens. “Any time that you get an opportunity, you want to do well with it and this year, I haven’t always taken the most of my opportunities, but today was a good one. I’m trying to build on it at the end of the year.”

Following the match, associate head coach Dave Sarachan took notice of Stephens’ stellar play.

“Mikey competes. The guy competes. He’s tactically very sharp in terms of knowing where to position himself. You never have to question his desire and his effort that he’s going to put in,” said Sarachan. “I think he made good decisions today. Fair enough, we had some space to play, but I think Mikey, in that role, both sides of the ball, did a very good job.”

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Should Stephens get more opportunities? 

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