CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez has his sights set on returning to the field for the LA Galaxy, but don’t count on him participating in Saturday’s clash with Sporting Kansas City.
The Galaxy center back participated in training on Thursday for the first time since returning from World Cup duty with the U.S. National Team where he endured a right ankle injury during the USMNT’s round of 16 defeat to Belgium.
“The ankle is moving along well,” Gonzalez told reporters. “I practiced today for the first time and it feels good to be back on the field with the team.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena echoed Gonzalez’s optimism stating that the defender is “moving along” in his recovery, but is “unlikely” to play a role in Saturday’s match in Kansas City.
Although Arena did not reveal a timetable on Gonzalez’s return, the defender himself admitted that he is hoping to earn minutes in LA’s match against Manchester United next week before making a potential full-fledged return against Seattle Sounders FC on July 28.
“I think that [Seattle] is the target game. It’ll be a crucial game for us. It’ll our first game at their place and we need points,” he said. “The United game is definitely a good game to get some minutes so that I can get back out there and get ready for Seattle.”
CARSON, Calif. – Stefan Ishizaki has spent plenty of time practicing his free kicks in recent weeks and on Wednesday his hard work paid off.
In the 75th minute after Juninho won a free kick just outside the penalty area, Ishizaki let loose a curling shot that bounced off a defender and into the net for LA’s fourth goal of their 5-1 rout of the New England Revolution. The strike capped a performance that also featured a first half assist of Gyasi Zardes’ goal just before the 20 minute mark.
With his goal, Ishizaki has the distinction of scoring 50 percent of LA’s free kicks since David Beckham left the club as the Galaxy have scored just two goals off free kicks since the Englishman’s departure.
“That’s what I’ve kind of built my career on, my right foot. I have always been taking corners and free kicks,” said Ishizaki. “Recently, I’ve had a couple injuries in the past couple of years that kept me from practicing free kicks and now I feel fit and I feel good. I’ve been making a lot of free kicks in practice, so that gives you the confidence you need when you step up in games.”
The Galaxy will need that confidence heading into Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City, but before the team turns the page to Sporting, Ishizaki admits that the victory was a needed one for LA.
“We’ve been waiting on one of these games to really score a lot of goals,” he said. “We felt a little bit unlucky at times, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t go in you’ve not done well enough. So it was a good feeling today to get a couple in.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters after the team's 5-1 win over the New England Revolution.
His quotes are below.
(On the team’s mistakes...)
ARENA: “I think in the first half when New England had a player sent off, our guys relaxed and I thought our last 15 minutes in the first half were poor.”
(On Robbie Keane...)
ARENA: “He’s picked it up over the last two or three weeks. Robbie is going to score goals and strikers at time get into a bit of a slump, they go scoreless a while, but there is never a doubt in our minds that Robbie will produce goals for us. Whether it’s directly from him, or assisting, we know he is going to be in and around the goal and be dangerous. So it was just a matter of time he hit the back of the net again.”
(On the team’s defense...)
ARENA: “Just working with those players since preseason, getting them organized and getting them enough games. So tonight, obviously the first half we start with A.J. [DeLaGarza] at left back and match up Leonardo and Tommy [Meyer], which we probably haven’t done a whole lot. With Dan getting sent off, it was a good exercise playing with three in the back, so I thought that was good. They’ve reacted in a positive way all year. As you know, we’ve lost Omar [Gonzalez] for a while, Todd Dunivant really most of the season, James Riley. Yet when a player’s name is called, they step up so I’m really pleased with the group. Kofi [Opare] was ready to go tonight as well. We’ve got good depth in our back line, and I think as we get into the second half of the season, I think it’s going to pay dividends for our group.”
(On Kenney Walker...)
ARENA: “Good job, Kenney [Walker] has played a fair amount for us over the last couple of months and did a good job. I thought he got a little tired in the second half and made the change. I thought Marcelo Sarvas was brilliant in his 20 minutes; did exactly what we needed him to do.”
(On Gyasi Zardes...)
ARENA: “He’s grown as a player, more confident. We put him in a difficult position in the second half, having to play out on the right and I thought he was excellent. He played on both sides of the ball so we’re real pleased with him. He is getting a lot more confident, and he has been a really good player over the last couple of months.
With Omar Gonzalez likely absent, Leonardo targeting return to action against New England Revolution
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s 2014 regular season campaign is complete with several players who are enduring stop start seasons, and one of the names on that list is Brazilian center back Leonardo.
The 26-year-old Brazilian has been much maligned among Galaxy fans for his inconsistent play throughout the campaign, which has seen him make nine starts across 11 appearances. A start at the beginning of the year alongside Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo has not started since early June as Tommy Meyer has begun to cement his place along the back four.
However, Leonardo may be given a lifeline back into the starting XI on Wednesday with the Galaxy’s match against the New England Revolution which will be the team’s second match in a two week; five game swing.
“I think it’d be good for the group to rotate players. We want to have a full squad so that we can change if we need to. You don’t want players who are not playing over a long period and you want them to fight for an opportunity,” said Leonardo. “I feel good and Bruce [Arena] has told me that when I have an opportunity that I need to take it. I think that this will be my time to take the opportunity and show what I can do.”