Beat

25 September 2:08 pm

CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham was back at LA Galaxy training on Tuesday.

For the first time since picking up a left ankle sprain during LA’s 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sept. 1, Beckham was out at training with the entire team taking part in full training, which included a short-sided game as well as a brief jogging period.  (I snapped a pic of that below)

After the training session, the Englishman took a moment to shake hands and sign autographs for the U.S. Army Men’s Soccer team that was in attendance during practice today. Beckham even offered his cleats to one lucky serviceman.

Bruce Arena told reporters following practice that while it was “nice to have David” back on the field, his status for Sunday’s game vs. the Colorado Rapids is “day to day.” 

 

25 September 8:24 am

The biggest news in the soccer world  this morning is the release of extremely popular video game, FIFA 13. 

The soccer video game that was created by Vancouver-based Electronic Arts was released at midnight and is immensely popular among players, coaches, media and fans alike. I have never been much of a gamer, but I decided to see how the video game rated the LA Galaxy and a few other key players in Major League Soccer. 

As a team, the Galaxy are ranked three stars out of five and hold MLS' highest rating in attack (74 rating), midfield (72 ranking) and defense (68 rating) categories. All of FIFA 13's rankings for team categories and players are all out of a hundred. While the Galaxy are at the top in all three categories, a different MLS team has come in second in each category New York Red Bulls (attack rating:73), Seattle Sounders (midfield rating: 71) and Real Salt Lake (defense rating: 67). 

In terms of player ratings, the Galaxy's complete ratings in order by position are below:

GK: Josh Saunders (69), Brian Perk (62), Brian Rowe (56) 

DEF:  Omar Gonzalez (74), Sean Franklin (71), A.J. DeLaGarza (70), Todd Dunivant (68), DJ Lopes (64), Leonardo (64), Bryan Gaul (63), Tommy Meyer (61), Andrew Boyens (60)

CM: David Beckham (79), Christian Wilhelmsson (77), Juninho (75), Marcelo Sarvas (70), Mike Magee (67), Hector Jimenez (66), Michael Stephens (64), Kyle Nakazawa (60), Kenney Walker (59), Dan Keat (58), Bryan Jordan (58), Rafael Garcia (56)

FWD: Landon Donovan (81), Robbie Keane (78), Edson Buddle (66), Jose Villarreal (63), Jack McBean (60), Pat Noonan (60)

By comparison:

NY's three highest rated offensive players are Thierry Henry (77), Tim Cahill (76) and Rafael Marquez (73) 

Seattle's three highest rated midfield players are Osvaldo Alonso (78), Mauro Rosales (77) and Steve Zakuani (74) 

RSL's three highest rated defense players are Jamison Olave (73), Nat Borchers (71) and Nick Rimando (71)

--

What are your thoughts on the ratings? Are you going to buy the game? Have you done so already?

Leave your thoughts.

24 September 6:48 pm

Good Evening, it's time for the ninth edition of Ask the Insider.

Monday's question is from: Eddy Saar Now that we're in the playoffs. Do you think the Galaxy play the young bench players, or get the starters and make a run for the #2 seed

The LA Galaxy may have clinched a berth in the Western Conference playoffs , but the work is far from over for the defending MLS Cup champions. 

With the San Jose Earthquakes likely to win the Supporters' Shield, the Galaxy have put their emphasis in locking down a spot amongst the top three in the West. Currently, LA sit in second place in the West, tied with Real Salt Lake -- albeit leading them in the total goals scored tiebreaker -- and a single point ahead of the Seattle Sounders, who have played one fewer game than both LA and RSL. The spot in the top three is vital as the teams that finish on top will be able to avoid a taxing play-in game against likely either the Vancouver Whitecaps or FC Dallas on either October 31st or November 1st.  With the play-in game, teams that finish fourth or fifth would have to play five games in order to reach MLS Cup rather than four. 

Finishing in the top 2 would certainly be nice for the Galaxy as they would have the ability to host the second leg of their Western Conference semi-final series, but it is avoiding the play-in game that is most important. As LA looks to accomplish this, they are in firm control of their own destiny as they have games against RSL (Oct.6th), San Jose (Oct. 21st) and Seattle (Oct. 28th) on the docket as they close out the season. Expect head coach Bruce Arena to allow his starters to log heavy minutes in these matches while choosing to save his reserves for their CONCACAF Champions League date against Isidro Metapán on October 25th.  

--

Thanks, Eddy. You can get your tickets by e-mailing socialmedia@lagalaxy.com. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against the Colorado Rapids on September 30th for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.

24 September 4:56 pm

In honor of last Saturday's commeration of the LA Galaxy's 2002 MLS Cup winning side, I decided to write a feature about the experiences of the first Galaxy side to hoist the MLS Cup. 

While the last two features that I've done have looked at players for the future, this one was a blast from the past with a three part oral history of the LA Galaxy 2002 MLS Cup title win. I spoke to various former players, media and fans to get a broad perspective of that event.

Read the feature in all three parts here:  Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3 . 

Be sure to leave your thoughts about the feature in the comments section below. 

24 September 3:21 pm

U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy play continued last Saturday with the LA Galaxy Under-16 and Under-18 splitting results. 

The Galaxy U-16's fell 2-1 to Temecula-based Arsenal FC with Christian Chavez from Fontana scoring the lone goal for LA. LA's goal wasn't the only note of interest from the match as Galaxy academy starlet Raul Mendiola's brother Jonathan tallied a goal for Arsenal. Meanwhile, LA's U-18's picked up a dramatic 3-2 victory in a match that featured temperatures in the triple digits at Riverside Community College. Galaxy Homegrown player Jack McBean scored twice for the Galaxy with Mendiola rounding out the scoring for the LA U-18's against his former youth club. The match served as the season debut for right back Oscar Sorto, who has spent considerable time training with LA's first squad this summer. 

Although LA's Academy players participated in tough matches in the morning, many were called into action during the Galaxy Alumni game hours later with the Academy players picking up a victory over the LA legends.

24 September 10:47 am

Juninho and Robbie Keane each scored two goals in last Saturday's 4-2  LA Galaxy victory over Toronto FC and now both players are up for Goal of the Week honors.

Juninho's second goal, a blistering shot from distance as well as Keane's second -- one that I dubbed "the shake and bake'' -- are available for selection. 

View all the nominated goals below and vote for your favorite here.

23 September 9:49 am

CARSON, Calif. -- We'll have more from Saturday night's 4-2 LA Galaxy victory later tonight. 

Below is a video of Bruce Arena's press conference following the win over TFC.  It was a very introspective presser for Arena, who discussed his role in LA's early season slide as well as the play of Juninho and Robbie Keane as of late. 

23 September 12:30 am

CARSON, Calif. -- Juninho is the toast of the LA Galaxy at the moment and with two goals, he helped lift the club to a 4-2 win over Toronto FC. 

With his two goal showing, Juninho now has an MLS career high seven goals along with four assists this season. The Brazilian also have six goals in his last six league games for the Galaxy. 

Following the win against Toronto, Juninho's coaches and teammates were quick to heap praise on the Brazilian.

Below are thoughts from Bruce Arena, Todd Dunivant, Mike Magee and Landon Donovan on Juninho's run of form and his goals." 

ARENA: Juninho’s obviously on a terrific run, the free kick was a terrific free kick. The goal on the run of play was awesome, simply outstanding."

DUNIVANT: “He’s incredible. You can see, not just the goals. The way he’s playing, the way he’s spraying the ball, the confidence that he has, the bite that he has on defense, I think it’s everything.” 

MAGEE: “I think that you all saw our reactions after our goal, we all got into a little huddle and sang Bruce happy birthday and we all just told him to shoot. If he wasn’t already, whenever he gets it, he needs to shoot because the form that he’s in right now is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Not in practice, not in games, not on tv or anything. Anytime he shoots, its either going in or hitting a post or something...“[All Juninho's goals] all look the same right, every time that he scores a goal, it’s like déjà vu. I don’t know which one was better, but it’s actually bizarre the streak that he’s on.”

DONOVAN: "He’s got a lot [of goals] man. The first one was, he just struck it well and there were so many people in the wall that the goalie really had no chance, he couldn’t see it. And the second one, it’s a goal anywhere in the world, and he’s had a lot of them, he does it in training all the time and we’re encouraging him to keep going forward and shooting, and when he’s doing that we’re really hard to play against because eventually, teams are going to have to step to him and that’s going to open up a lot of space. If they don’t step to him, he can just keep scoring and we’re happy with that."

But what did Donovan think of Juninho's sixth place finish in MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24 list?

DONOVAN: "That’s a joke, we all know that. He’s by far the best player on that list. There’s no question."

22 September 11:57 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee went 78 minutes, notching an assist in the LA Galaxy's 4-2 victory over Toronto FC.

Below are Magee's thoughts on the victory... 

(On clinching a playoff berth…)

MAGEE: First of all, I didn’t know that and second of all, it’s big. A lot of people counted us out a couple months ago so to clinch it with four games to go is a pretty large statement.”

(On whether being in second is vindication after slow start...)

MAGEE: "It’s huge. With the playoff format, you don’t want to be in the play-in game, but I think it says a lot to see the form that we’ve been on in the last two months. I think we’ve only lost one game and we’re still not top of the league so I think it shows how poorly we played to start the season.”

(On playing with Wilhelmsson...)

MAGEE: “It’s easy, it’s nice to be able to float around and find spots. At times, you’re searching for the ball and it’s not coming your way, it’s nice to be able to make a long diagonal run and know that instead of having to run 60 yards to get back, the other guy is going to cover. It’s been great, we’re still getting him fit and we’re still going accustom to each other, but it’s been great to be able to play with a little bit more freedom."

(On whether it is more difficult to be in first place or to be in playoff chase…)

MAGEE: “What’s tougher? It’s easy being in first place for starters so this is definitely tougher. Before you’re only looking at teams behind you and we’re now we’re trying to move up the table, but you got to be weary of the guys behind you as well. Obviously, you can’t have any let downs so I like being in first place better for sure.”

(On the form of Juninho…)

MAGEE: “I think that you all saw our reactions after our goal, we all got into a little huddle and sang Bruce happy birthday and we all just told him to shoot. If he wasn’t already, whenever he gets it, he needs to shoot because the form that he’s in right now is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Not in practice, not in games, not on tv or anything. Anytime he shoots, its either going in or hitting a post or something.”

(On Juninho’s second being his best ever…)

MAGEE: “They all look the same right, every time that he scores a goal, it’s like déjà vu. I don’t know which one was better, but it’s actually bizarre the streak that he’s on.”

(On Keane’s form…)

MAGEE: “Robbie’s in great form, when he scores it’s not necessarily like Juninho by dropping 40 yard bombs, but we’ve grown accustomed to Robbie scoring so it’s not as impressive because he scores so many, but it’s vital to our success at the moment.”

22 September 11:37 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Another game, another fantastic performance for Juninho. 

The LA Galaxy midfielder scored two impressive goals in Saturday night's 4-2 victory for the Galaxy over Toronto FC. Juninho opened the scoring in the 11th minute after a Luis Silva foul on Christian Wilhelmsson forced a free kick on the edge of the box that Juninho curled past goalkeeper Freddy Hall. The Brazilian added a second in the 33rd, firing a shot from distance that left Hall helpless. With his brace, Juninho has now scored seven goals on the season setting an MLS career high for the Brazilian. 

 “Every single time that there is space in front of me, I’m going to take a shot," said Juninho after the match. "And today, I just got lucky."

But even though the Brazilian was admittedly pleased with his performance, the goal was by no means his favorite as he admtited that the strike below from the July 4th, 2010 against the Seattle Sounders was his all time favorite.

What do you think? What's your favorite Juninho goal.