The United States face a stiff test in the World Cup round of 16 match against Belgium, but LA Galaxy striker Landon Donovan believes that they're up for the task.
Speaking to reporters after the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium, Donovan spoke about the USMNT's chances ahead of Tuesday's match in Salvador.
"I think that it's going to be a good game and a difficult game," Donovan told reporters. "Belgium are a little inexperienced at this level, but a good team. If Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany can't play then it'll help us greatly. Let's hope that they win."
Donovan's supportive comments came just a day before an interview with Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke was released where he admitted that after being left off the World Cup roster, he rooted internally against the USMNT.
"I'll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn't go very well today. In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn't perform well, that would feel good," Donovan told the L.A. Times. "Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that's a really crappy way to feel. That's a bad way to live your life, it doesn't help me, it doesn't help the team, it doesn't help the energy that the team needs."
Will the U.S. get past Belgium? Thoughts on Donovan's comments?
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STANFORD, Calif. -- Tommy Meyer's fledging career has been one of peaks and valleys, but on Saturday night, the young center back enjoyed one of his finest games in an LA Galaxy uniform.
Teamed up alongside Kofi Opare, the Galaxy were able to shut down a cagey San Jose Earthquakes attack in LA's 1-0 victory. Throughout the match, Meyer’s positioning was steady as he managed 16 clearances compared to 14 for his partner in central defense. While San Jose’s feisty forward Steven Lenhart caused some problems for the pair throughout the match, Meyer and the LA defense prevented the danger.
“We talked before the game about having each other’s back. With Lenhart, he flicks the ball on and gets in dangerous positions, so we had to make sure he was marked up. Even going forward, we were able to keep the ball, which kept a lot of pressure off of us in the back.”
Arena gave Meyer his highest praise after the victory stating that the third year center back enjoyed the "best game of his career."
With Omar Gonzalez still away on international duty with the U.S. National Team, Meyer is likely to see more action on Friday when the Galaxy take on the Portland Timbers. Ahead of the Timbers match, the normally reserved Meyer admits that his confidence is high at the moment.
"I've been getting better each match," said Meyer. "We wanted to finally get a shut out and we did that. Now we have to build upon it."
Former LA Galaxy defender Michael Umaña converted the winning penalty for Costa Rica to send his side to the World Cup quarterfinals at the expense of Greece.
Moments before, Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas made an impressive save off of Theofanis Gekas.
STANFORD, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media after his team's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
(On the team finally rewarding their good performances with goals...)
ARENA: "We did that tonight. It wasn't an easy game. Obviously, it was a great atmosphere for the Earthquakes and for the league. Our guys did well, our young center backs did well defensively, and I think that overall, this was our best effort defensively as a team. This is a game that we deserved to win and we've been certainly pushing our group to perform like this. Great win."
(On the team's ability to bounce back from the Carolina RailHawks loss...)
ARENA: "The game in Carolina, I'm not sure it was a soccer game, whatever the heck that was. We have to accept the responsbility for the result."
(On Tommy Meyer and Kofi Opare...)
ARENA: "They have enough experience and they're primed to play...Tommy was outstanding, the best game of his career."
(On the midfield play...)
ARENA: "Good balance. I thought that Landon did a good job and I think the whole group. This is a night that we've been waiting for where you look around and call it a complete team effort. That's what I'm most pleased about.... We're going to have a tough game on Friday and hopefully, we'll be able to get the guys ready. It's been a tough couple of weeks with all the travel involved. Hopefully, we get them ready for next Friday."
Jaime Penedo saves a header from Steven Lenhart.
The LA Galaxy have routinely dominated possession, but at last, their ability to hold the ball paid off.
Gyasi Zardes scored a lovely team goal that featured more than six passes before the second-year forward's finish. After the stellar finish, Landon Donovan could not restrain his admiration for LA's tally.
"If Barcelona scored that goal, we'd be talking about it for weeks. It was a good sequence where we kept the ball well," said Donovan. "Great ball by Robbie [Keane], Great run by Marcelo [Sarvas] and Gyasi Zardes peeled off with a great run and the finish. I think that it was as good a team goal as you'll see in the league."
Soccer has caught the attention of America over the past month and now MLS kicks back into full swing with a slate of games this weekend.
MLSsoccer.com gets you excited for the action with this hype video.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will return to a stadium that has been a house of horrors for them in recent years on Saturday when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium.
At Stanford, the Galaxy have slumped to a 0-2-0 record despite playing the Earthquakes to a pair of highly-entertaining results that saw San Jose win 4-3 in 2012 and 3-2 in 2013. In both instances, the Galaxy earned a two goal lead only to surrender it late and see the crowd at The Farm erupt into bedlam as the Earthquakes emerged victorious.
“It’s a hostile environment where the fans are right on top of you. The field is small and when you have 40,000 fans rooting for the other team, it’s always difficult,” DeLaGarza said of the matches at Stanford. “Those are the games that you get up for though and those are the crowds that you want to play in front of than other stadiums in this league. It’s exciting and always fun when you get to play at such a unique situation.”
With the Galaxy coming off a disappointing 1-0 Extra Time defeat to the Carolina RailHawks that saw them bounced from the U.S. Open Cup, DeLaGarza believes that the time is now for LA to get a victory down on the Farm.
“We’ve been up several times and they’ve come back and beat us,” said DeLaGarza. “We need to be strong and really dig deep.”
The LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes renew their hostilities on Saturday at Stanford Stadium as the MLS returns to full swing.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we look at the team's match against San Jose.
Check it out below.