CARSON, Calif. – Preseason is typically loaded with battles for positions, but no competition will be more closely watched this season than the fight to start up top alongside LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane.
The two top contenders vying for head coach Bruce Arena’s attention are Canadian target man Rob Friend and Brazilian striker Samuel, both of whom were brought in last month to add height and physicality to the Galaxy forward line. Each carries their own traits to the tussle as the 6-foot-5 Friend brings more than a decade of European experience with him while Samuel is considered a highly-touted prospect by LA brass.
Although Friend acknowledges the competition between the two similar players is beneficial for the Galaxy, he believes that two players should push each other over the long season.
“I don’t think that [Samuel] is exactly like me. I’m more of a straight up target man and he roams a little bit as well,” said Friend. “We’re all different players and I think that we can bring something. It’s a long season and it gives Bruce the option to use different players with different qualities up front.”
Who do you think should start alongside Keane?
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Club Tijuana's road woes continued as they dropped a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Pumas UNAM on Sunday afternoon in Mexico City.
UNAM took the lead after just 15 minutes with Daniel Ludueña screamer from 30 yards out that sailed into the Xolos net. Pumas doubled their margin in the 34th minute when defender Diego Veron found himself unmarked on the far post and cooly placed a header past Xolos goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo. In the second half, Tijuana attempted to cut the lead to one, but the home side added a third less than four minutes from full time as Pumas midfielder Martin Bravo dashed up field and fired a well-timed cross to David Cabera who buried a leaping header into the back of the net.
The LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal opponents are now winless in their last 17 matches away from Estadio Caliente and have taken just four away points out of a possible 51 over the past year. Three Americans earned the start for Xolos as Herculez Gomez, Edgar Castillo and Paul Arriola each started in the defeat.
The Galaxy will face Pumas next week in a closed-door scrimmage in Mexico City.
Highlights of Tijuana's defeat are below.
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team completed their tenth January camp in Carson on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Korea Republic, but before next year’s 11th edition changes may be coming.
Following a Chris Wondolowski-fueled victory over Korea, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann noted that he may hit the reset button on the camp in 2015. In particular, Klinsmann stated that while this particular camp was vital for his team with the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the horizon, future January camps may have a different a different makeup.
“Maybe in the future…it’ll be more likely used as a developmental camp. Maybe we cut it down to younger players and see how we can develop those younger players because it shouldn’t be our job to cut their season shorter and get them fit, that’s actually the job of MLS,” said Klinsmann in his press conference following the U.S. victory. “I always mention that I would like to see the MLS season getting lengthened now we’re going to get more teams in 2015, so hopefully that happens.
“We will kind of rethink the January camp in a non-World Cup year,” Klinsmann added. “Maybe we change some things with this camp because of the possibility of looking at the next generation of players coming through the ranks.”
Should January camp change?
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CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal made his first appearance in a Cruz Azul kit on Saturday as he scored a goal for the team’s U-20 side in a 1-1 draw with the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20’s.
Villarreal’s goal came five minutes into the match and comes less than a week after he made his first appearance for the team as a whole in a friendly against a non-professional team from the Mexican Armed Forces.
The Galaxy attacker was joined in the lineup by San Diego-native Michael Farfan who also made his first showing for the Cruz Azul U-20 side.
The StubHub Center was packed to the brim with 27,000 for the U.S. National Team’s 2-0 victory over Korea Republic on Saturday. The crowd was the first sell-out for the U.S. at the StubHub Center and just the second time that the national team had sold out the venue.
The last time that the U.S. sold out the stadiun? Nearly seven years prior on June 9, 2007 for a CONCACAF Gold Cup match between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago.
Whether it was the boisterous American Outlaws U.S. Supporters Group or the loyal fans of Korea, the stadium was rocking for a complete 90 minutes—a fact that did not go unnoticed by the players on the pitch.
“I was surprised to be honest,” said LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. “I thought that the energy was great, the national anthem was great. It’s a lot of fun to play in that environment especially in my home stadium. It was just great.”
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando agreed: “It was a great crowd. I've never played here with the U.S. team when it was sold out like this. It was fantastic to see everyone come out and support us.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 1, 2014
The U.S. National Team defeated Korea Republic 2-0 on Saturday in front of 27,000 at StubHub Center.
Below is a photo gallery of the event.
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team got off to a winning start in 2014 with a 2-0 victory against Korea Republic in front of a capacity crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center.
Chris Wondolowski scored two goals in the victory, tallying in the fourth and 60th minute for the Americans. Both LA Galaxy players Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez each went 90 minutes for the U.S. in the win.
The pro-American crowd at StubHub Center did not get a chance to see former Galaxy striker Mike Magee who did not make the game day roster due to food poisoning. There was one other local connection as Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil of Garden Grove made his debut for the U.S. in the 75th minute of the victory.
The U.S. National Team return to action on March 5 when they take on Ukraine in Kharkiv.
The U.S. press conference is below...
Thoughts on the U.S. performance?
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On Saturday, the Jurgen Klinsmann coached U.S. National Team will take on Hong Myung-Bo's Korea Republic at StubHub Center, but it is not the first meeting between the two international legends.
Klinsmann and Myung-Bo faced off was on June 24, 1994 when Klinsman's Germany defeated Korea Republic 3-2 at the group stage match at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. In the match, Klinsmann tallied two goals -- beating the former Galaxy defender twice -- to lead Germany to an early three goal lead before Korea Republic roared back with two late goals, Myung-Bo tallying the final strike in the German victory.
Watch the video below.
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez is growing into his own as a member of the U.S. National Team, but according to U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, he’s still got plenty of work to do before this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Gonzalez was named to the U.S. squad earlier this month after solidifying his place on the national team with 14 appearances in 2013. During his formative year with the squad, Gonzalez formed a solid partnership with Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler that Klinsmann himself sees as a center back pairing for the future.
“From a coaches’ perspective, you want to see a development of players: over a season and across a number of years. With Matt and Omar, you’ve seen them mature,” said Klinsmann in his final press conference before the Americans’ match against Korea Republic on Saturday. “They’ve become calmer; they’ve become more responsible and have really grown into their own feet.”
But due to the duo’s relative inexperience, the job is hardly finished.
In particular, Klinsmann wants to see much better possession from his defenders and prevent the type of reliance on long balls up field that had been a staple of U.S. teams in years past.
“Their biggest challenge is to be ahead of things and to be alert while not allowing mistakes because mistakes at an international level will be punished, and the team will go home,” said Klinsmann. “This is something that we tell every position but especially on the back line because you can’t make mistakes at an international level. You have to be on top of your game for 90 minutes and not make passing mistakes in the defensive area because the transition is going to happen so quickly from those teams that we’ll be facing this year.
“We don’t want to see balls played long because [they] don’t know what to do and [they’re] getting closed down, we want them to stay calm and find the solution.”
The formation and implications of LA Galaxy’s USL PRO side LA Galaxy II have been at the forefront of the conversation among American soccer circles over the past week.
Whether it was LA Technical Director Jovan Kirovski’s assertion that the project will be duplicated league wide or head coach and general manager Bruce Arena stating that the team will have a chance to close “black hole” that has existed in American player development.
On Friday, new LA Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo joined the conversation with an interview by NASN’s Jason Davis to discuss the project.
During the interview, Onalfo revealed that Galaxy II players will be training as early as Tuesday while also stating that the team will be loaning as many as seven Galaxy first team players to the USL PRO side. Onalfo also mentioned that he opted to for the position with Galaxy II rather than take the head coaching gig with Chivas USA.
Listen to his interview which starts at the 30 minute mark below.