Christian Wilhelmsson is providing a new attacking dimension to the LA Galaxy and it's causing teams around MLS to take notice.
In LA's 4-2 victory over Toronto FC, Wilhelmsson was active on both sides of the flank and despite starting on the right hand side, often drifted to the left when need be, causing shifts in the Galaxy midfield. Frequently when Wilhelmsson would swap flanks, it would allow midfielders Mike Magee, Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho to rotate throughout the midfield (check out the chalkboard from that match here) causing problems for the Toronto defenders.
Read more about the midfield adjustment here, but for a defensive perspective, I spoke with right back Sean Franklin about his own adaptations with Wilhelmsson on the flanks...
FRANKLIN: "It’s a little bit of adjustment; each player that has played on the wing is different. Christian is different from Magee, Magee is different from Hector [Jimenez]. Everyone is different so when we’re practicing, it’s about getting the repetitions of how the player is playing. I think that it is coming along well with Christian, not just on my side on the right, but Todd [Dunivant] as well on the left side with Magee. It’s been a good team effort."
CARSON, Calif. -- Scoreboard watching has become a regular occurrence with the LA Galaxy as they look to move up the table in the Western Conference, but on Thursday, their focus will be on the CONCACAF Champions League.
If the Puerto Rico Islanders defeat Salvadoran club Isidro Metapán (5pm/Univision Deportes Network), then the Galaxy will secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the CCL for the second consecutive season. An Islanders victory would prevent Metapán--who are currently at three points, four behind LA's seven-- from tying the Galaxy for the top spot in Group 5 even if Metapán were to defeat LA in their final CCL match on October 25 in El Salvador.
A victory would help the Galaxy in CCL, but also in MLS play as the trip to El Salvador is sandwiched in-between LA's final two games of the season--a road fixture against San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 21 and the season finale at The Home Depot Center against the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 28.
Following LA's training session on Thursday, Marcelo Sarvas and Sean Franklin admitted that they're throwing their full support behind Puerto Rico...
SARVAS: “It’s good. One of our targets is to qualify for the next stage in CONCACAF, if Puerto Rico can help us today then it’ll be good and we can be focused more on our MLS games. Of course, you save travel and game time so it can help us.”
FRANKLIN: “It’d be nice to get a little help from Puerto Rico, but at the end of the day, if we got to go down there and handle business then we got to do what we got to do. If we clinch today or we don’t clinch and we have to go down and get a win in El Salvador, the team is prepared for that.”
In an interview with Joe Tutino, the LA Galaxy's Swedish winger Christian Wilhelmsson discusses his new life in LA.
During his interview, Wilhelmsson touched upon his adaptation to Southern California and admitted that he is still on the radar for Sweden's national team heading into the next round of World Cup qualifiers.
Check out the video below...
The LA Galaxy can clinch a berth in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday without even playing a minute.
Later this evening, the Puerto Rico Islanders host Isidro Metapán at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, Puerto Rico (5pm PDT/CONCACAF.com) and if the NASL side can defeat the Salvadorans, the Galaxy will clinch Group 5. However, if Metapán can earn either a draw or a victory in Puerto Rico then it would set up a decisive match between Metapán and the Galaxy in El Salvador on October 25.
Currently, the Galaxy are in the lead in group 5 with seven points in three games, Metapán has tallied three points in two games while Puerto Rico rounds out the group with one point in three games.
I posted my look back at last Saturday's LA Galaxy Alumni game earlier in the day and now LAGalaxy.com has provided us with a video highlights package of the evening.
Check it out below.
After missing the LA Galaxy's last four matches with a left ankle sprain, David Beckham is hopeful that he'll be able to return to the field in this Sunday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
In a phone interview with MLSsoccer.com's Scott French on Wednesday, Beckham told French that he believes his condition is improving and may allow him to participate on Sunday.
“It's better,” Beckham told MLSsoccer.com of his injury. “Still a little bit of discomfort, but it's good to be back on the field. [I was out] three weeks in the end. I wasn't expecting that, but I'm back now.“I hope [I can play in Colorado]. I hope so. Trying to get my fitness back – I was working on fitness while I was injured, but nothing, obviously, like playing games and being in training. Hopefully, I can get out on the field and stay fit this week and be involved [against the Rapids].”
Beckham's injury first surfaced during LA's 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sept. 1. The sprain prevented Beckham from participating in practice for three weeks, but the 37-year-old English midfielder made his return to the Galaxy training ground on Tuesday.
“This injury came at a tough time for me. I was enjoying playing, scoring goals, and that was a disappointing moment. But I'm back and hopefully I can get my fitness back and be back out there,” Beckham added.
Below is a video from LAGalaxy.com on Beckham's first training session on Tuesday morning.
As part of his "Between the Lines" segment, MLSsoccer.com's "Armchair Analyst" Matt Doyle breaks down Robbie Keane's goal against the Colorado Rapids on September 14.
Doyle's analysis of Keane's goal is part of his three part video breakdown on the importance of possession, titled "For love of the Long Build."
The video is below and Doyle's analysis of Keane's goal begins at the 1:46 mark...
Omar Gonzalez believes that he is still not playing at his best. And that should cause serious worry throughout MLS.
In ten league appearances this season, the Galaxy have conceded just eight goals when Gonzalez has been on the field, notching five shutouts. Although the Galaxy’s defense has improved, the centerback admits that he is still returning to full fitness.
Below Gonzalez discusses his confidence as of late as well as his inclusion by some among the front runners for MLS MVP…
GONZALEZ: “With me personally, my confidence is still not perfect and that’s understandable, but there are some plays where I might not be at my best, like the one that I whiffed and Marcelo had to save and plays like that so if I can just minimize those mistakes then I’ll be on the right way. As a group, last game, we had a few miscommunications like the throw in that led to the goal, but we still got the win so it was good that we had those mistakes and got the win as opposed to the mistakes costing us the game.”
(On being considered an MVP candidate…)
GONZALEZ: “That’s really flattering because there are a ton of guys that are doing great. If my name is being tossed out there then great, but I’m not really focused on that. My focus is on winning another championship, first and foremost.”
CARSON, Calif. -- When Toronto FC midfielder Terry Dunfield scored in the 38th minute of the LA Galaxy's 4-2 victory over TFC on Monday, Dunfield snapped LA's five game shutout streak.
Prior to TFC's goal, the Galaxy's shutout streak stood at 491 minutes spread across five matches in all competitions. The league mark was slightly smaller, spanning three games and 381 minutes.
Although LA lost their shutout streak, defender A.J. DeLaGarza said that it was of little concern to the back four as long as they continue to earn victories.
DELAGARZA: “I don’t even think we even think about it, we just go out there and play. We’re not worried about getting a shutout for seven games in a row; we’re just trying to win games. If we get a shutout, it’s a bonus for our fans that love chicken and for us. We’re able to get the win and that’s what matters.”
Last Saturday, the LA Galaxy's future met the club's past in an Alumni match.
The match was a part of the festivities honoring the 2002 MLS Cup winning side that was inducted into The Home Depot Center Wall of Legends. In the match, the Academy side composed of Under-16 and Under-18 players defeated the Alumni by the score of 2-1 with Jack McBean and Cobi Jones being among the scorers.
Following the match, I caught up with Galaxy Vice President Chris Klein, Galaxy U-18 player Oscar Sorto and former LA midfielder Dema Kovalenko.
Below are their thoughts...
KLEIN: "It was fun. We want the future of the Galaxy to beat the past. It was great, it was really amazing to see all these guys back here on the same field and talking to each other again. We all have something pretty cool in common that we played for the best club in Major League Soccer so they all feel it so it was nice to get out here and play. The whole idea is that we're trying to tie the young guys into the organization and we're trying to bring the old guys back to be a part of our organization so it works well."
(On playing against his childhood hero, Mauricio Cienfuegos...)
SORTO: "It was a dream come true. I never thought that I would be playing against him and going hard against him. I was so happy to be playing against him. He's a big role model to all Salvadorans so it was a great experience."
(On returning to the Galaxy...)
KOVALENKO: "It was nice to be back and being around the stadium brings so many memories back. It's been only a year and a half, but it seems like yesterday that I was playing for the Galaxy. It's nice to be back, but I'm humbled. I'm still in soccer coaching kids, but it nice to be back and see everyone as well as all the guys that played that used to be on the team. It's really good."