CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are fully aware that Seattle Sounders FC have been in this exact position heading into a decisive second leg in a postseason series before, but whether it impacts their own game plan remains up for debate.
During the 2011 Western Conference Semifinal First Leg, Real Salt Lake jumped on Sounders FC to defeat Seattle by the score of 3-0, setting up a decisive tie at CenturyLink Field. Needing to win by three goals to force extra time, Seattle went on the warpath and put RSL on their heels early. Clutch saves by goalkeeper Nick Rimando and a clearance off the line by right back Tony Beltran held Seattle scoreless in the first half, but the Sounders tallied two quick goals in the second, but could not find a third.
Ahead a frighteningly similar situation heading into this Sunday’s match, LA expect the same approach from Sounders FC.
“I remember watching that game and they had almost 30-some shots [Seattle had 26 attempts on goal] and it’s going to be a similar game to that one last year,” said defender Sean Franklin. “For them, they have confidence; they know how close they were to closing a 3-0 deficit so we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
But head coach Bruce Arena begs to differ that RSL’s experience bares any consequence for the Galaxy.
“You waste a lot of energy trying to think all that stuff out. They weren’t successful last year; they didn’t advance so I’m sure their blueprint is to advance and not, not to advance,” said Arena. “It is what it is. Every game is different, you can’t compare a game last year to this year, and we can’t compare the last game that we played to the next one. They’re all different.”
“I’ll be honest with you; everyone always has the answers the day after the game,” Arena added. “Everyone is the expert and this time around, we have to be flexible with our thinking, flexible on how we deal with the game and hopefully, on Monday, all the experts agree with us as opposed to disagreeing. That’s the way it is, there’s no way of predicting what is going to happen.”
Time Warner Cable Sports announced via Twitter on Thursday a deal to broadcast the Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes networks on Direct TV.
TWC SportsNet can be found on channel 691 and TWC Deportes on channel 458 starting Thursday night.
Dish Network remains the lone satellite or cable provider to not air Time Warner's networks.
Two LA Galaxy Under-18 players have been called up to the United States Under-18 squad for a week-long camp at The Home Depot Center.
Galaxy U-18 forwards Paul Arriola and Justin Dhillon were included in the list of 24 players chosen by head coach Javier Perez for the camp that spans from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24. During the camp, the U.S. U-18's will take on their Canadian Under-18's on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23, both matches will take place at 3 p.m. PT.
Meanwhile three LA Galaxy Under-14 players midfielder Ateno Ajeakwa, goalkeeper Erik Lopez and forward Jose Ortiz were selected for a U.S. Under-14 training camp at The HDC scheduled from Nov. 17 to Nov. 25.
The complete U.S. Under-18 roster is below...
GOALKEEPERS (3): Santiago Castaño (New York Red Bulls Academy; Union City, N.J.), Ethan Horvath (Unattached, Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zackary Steffen (Maryland; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (6): Michael Amick (De Anza Force; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Suliaman Dainkeh (D.C. United Academy; Reston, Va.), Trevor Haberkorn (Solar Chelsea SC; Roanoke, Texas), Jalen Markey (Seattle Sounders FC Academy; Renton, Wash.), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls Academy; Clifton, N.J.), Christian Sady (New England Revolution Academy; Boston, Mass.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marco Delgado (Chivas USA; Glendora, Calif.), Jacori Hayes (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Bowie, Md.), Piakai Henkel (Amiens FC; Arcata, Calif.), Brian Iloski (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Antonio Murillo (Real Salt Lake AZ, Las Vegas, Nev.)
FORWARDS (9): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake AZ; Rochester, N.Y.), Paul Arriola (LA Galaxy Academy; Chula Vista, Calif.), Justin Dhillon (LA Galaxy Academy; Rancho S.M., Calif.), Benjamin Lopez (Real Salt Lake AZ; San Diego, Calif.), Kosta Koukladas (Rot-Weiss Essen; Orange County, Calif.), Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls Academy; Morganville, N.J.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Ben Spencer Jr. (Chivas USA Academy; Albuquerque, N.M.), Travis Wannemuehler (Indiana Fire Academy; Evansville, Ind.)
MLS announced the 2012 Award Finalists on Thursday morning.
No member of the LA Galaxy organization was nominated for an award for the first time since 2006 when the Galaxy finished the season fifth in the Western Conference with a 11-5-6 record.
The awards will be released throughout a 10-day period starting on Nov. 19 with the reveal of Xbox Fair Play Individual & Team of the Year, and Rookie of the Year awards before ending with the announcement of the AT&T Goal of the Year, MLS Save of the Year, and Volkswagen Most Valuable Player award on Nov. 29.
Rookie of the Year Finalists
Austin Berry (Chicago Fire)
Nick DeLeon (D.C. United)
Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Xbox Individual Fair Play Finalists*
Ante Jazic (Chivas USA)
Logan Pause (Chicago Fire)
Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls)
Xbox Team Fair Play Finalists*
New England Revolution
Defender of the Year Finalists
Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes)
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City)
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year Finalists
Kei Kamara (Sporting Kansas City)
Michael Lahoud (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Seitz (FC Dallas)
Referee of the Year Finalists
Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists
Coach of the Year Finalists
Ben Olsen (D.C. United)
Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City)
Frank Yallop (San Jose Earthquakes)
Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes)
Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)
Chris Pontius (D.C. United)
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Michael Gspurning (Seattle Sounders FC)
Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA)
Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)
Newcomer of the Year Finalists
Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes)
Michael Gspurning (Seattle Sounders FC)
Federico Higuain (Columbus Crew)
Volkswagen Most Valuable Player Finalists
Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Mario Martinez went 18 minutes during Honduras' scoreless draw with Peru at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
The Sounders FC midfielder was not the only MLS player still involved in the postseason to play as D.C. United's suspended midfielder Andy Najar started and went 73 minutes before being replace Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia who played the remaining 17 minutes. Martinez is expected to return to Seattle for training on Thursday.
*Meanwhile in Krasnodar, Russia, the United States drew Russia 2-2 on goals from Michael Bradley and Mix Diskerud. With the result, the U.S. finishes 2012 with a 9-2-3 record and a .750 winning percentage, tying the modern era record set in 2005 by then-head coach Bruce Arena's team that went 13-3-4.
*While not Galaxy related, I'd be remiss if I didn't share a video of Zlatan Ibrahimović's fantastic overhead goal that the Swede scored during his nation's 4-2 win over England.
Check out the spectacular goal below...
CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza has not fully recovered from the MCL sprain in his left knee that has sidelined him since September, but on Wednesday, the central defender took a major step in his recovery.
DeLaGarza took part in the club’s training session on Wednesday participating in a passing drill with the team as well as warm ups and individual work with assistant coach Jovan Kirovski. According to DeLaGarza, the on-field portion of his recovery process—which began last week—is ongoing, but by no means complete.
“This has been the worse injury that I’ve ever had,” said DeLaGarza on Wednesday. “Being out six weeks is a long time for me so it’s different and I handle it alright at times, but sometimes you want to rush it and sometimes you get down on yourself because you want to help the team, but they’re winning right now. All I can do is support them, I’m happy because what they’ve been able to do is tremendous. When this team wants to turn it on, I don’t think many teams could stop us.”
While DeLaGarza has remained upbeat about his injury throughout his recovery, he admits that he has missed suiting up for the Galaxy, after a season that included a total of 30 Regular Season appearances for LA.
“I try to do stuff at home to loosen it up as well. When I first got the injury, they said six to eight weeks and I got an injection and it might take it down two weeks, so that’s why at the very beginning, I said four weeks I’ll be back,” said DeLaGarza. “That’s my mindset obviously; I guess that I guessed wrong. At around three weeks when I wasn’t running and it wasn’t getting much better, that’s when I was getting down on myself, but it takes time to heal.”
While his recovery remains a work in progress, DeLaGarza has set a goal of being available for the MLS Cup Final, should LA advance.
“That’s my goal, just to dress and if I’m called upon be able to help the team,” said DeLaGarza. “Whether it is off the bench or starting or not starting, not dressing, whatever it may be.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy were back on the training ground on Wednesday for the first time since their 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC in the Western Conference Championship First Leg at The Home Depot Center on Sunday.
For the Galaxy, who have played seven games in the last 22 days, compiling a record of 5-1-1 over that time, the rest and a week-long period between games is a welcome change for the club.
“We needed it. We’ve been playing a lot of games,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “If we had to play in the middle of this week, it would have been tough. It’s good to have the time off and hopefully, we can slowly build our team back to Sunday.”
Building the team back up to full fitness remains the primary concern as Landon Donovan (R hamstring tightness), Edson Buddle (L plantar inflammation), and Juninho (R Achilles inflammation) are currently listed as questionable for Sunday's match. Donovan and Juninho both suffered their injuries that led to their substitution from the first leg, while Buddle’s issue stems from a knock received in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinal against the San Jose Earthquakes.
While the team is upbeat that the trio can return, they’re confident that others can step in and contribute, if called upon.
“At this time of the year, everyone is battling a little something. It’s all about being smart, doing the right things to get healthy and if they can’t go and aren’t 100% then the next guy steps up,” said defender Sean Franklin. “It’s all about being smart and not putting players on the field in a position where they can get hurt worse so, as much as we want those guys to be healthy, if they’re not, we go onto the next player. Obviously though, we’d love to have those guys in our lineup this weekend.”
The Professional Referee’s Organization announced on Wednesday that Mark Geiger will officiate Sunday’s Western Conference Championship Second Leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
The 38-year-old served as the top official for just one LA Galaxy match and two Sounders FC matches this season. Seattle is 0-3 in their last three matches with Geiger as the referee; he served during Seattle’s 3-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake in the 2011 Western Conference Semifinal First Leg. Geiger brings a strong pedigree to the match having officiated two matches at the 2012 Olympic Games in London as well as four matches during the 2011 Under-20 World Cup in Colombia including the final.
Geiger’s last postseason game was a wild Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg between New York Red Bulls and D.C. United. During the Conference Semifinal, Geiger called 26 fouls, issued three yellow cards and two reds in a match that saw D.C. advance to the Eastern Conference Championship.
Geiger’s complete breakdown of Galaxy and Sounders FC matches is below.
LA GALAXY (0-1-0)
5/19 – CHIVAS USA 1 LA GALAXY 0. FOULS: 22 (10 for Chivas USA and 12 for LA); CAUTIONS: 2 (one each.); RED CARDS: 1 (LA); PENALTIES: 1 (Converted by Chivas)
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (0-2-0)
5/12 – SOUNDERS FC 0 REAL SALT LAKE 1. FOULS: 28 (13 for Seattle and 15 for RSL); CAUTIONS: 2 (one each.)
6/16 – MONTREAL IMPACT 4 SOUNDERS FC 1. FOULS: 28 (18 for Montreal and 20 for Seattle); CAUTIONS: 4 (1 for Montreal and 3 for Seattle); RED CARDS: 1 (Seattle)
Both the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC released their midweek injury reports on Tuesday ahead of Sunday's Western Conference Championship Second Leg.
The Galaxy's report saw the additions of Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan and Juninho with different ailments while David Junior Lopes (L facial fracture) and Christian Wilhelmsson (R quad tightness) were removed from the report. Meanwhile, Seattle's list is unchanged from the week prior.
LA GALAXY -- OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: FW Edson Buddle (L plantar inflammation); FW Landon Donovan (R hamstring tightness); MF Juninho (R Achilles inflammation)
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC -- OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL surgery); DF Andrew Duran (L ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (R hamstring strain); DF Leo Gonzalez (R hamstring strain); DF Patrick Ianni (R calf strain)
The LA Galaxy may be back on the practice field tomorrow, but Seattle Sounders FC returned to the training ground on Tuesday.
Sigi Schmid caught up with reporters in Seattle to discuss his game plan in the first leg and how he will modify it in the second leg as well as the call up by Mario Martinez.
Watch the video below.