CARSON, Calif. – Brazilian center back Leonardo is no strange to scorn from LA Galaxy fans, but in 2014, the defender made major strides that may see him start 2015 as the principal partner beside Omar Gonzalez.
Free of the injury issues that plagued him during his first four seasons with the club, Leonardo became a regular in Bruce Arena’s lineup as the Brazilian made 24 appearances and 20 starts—each of which were career-highs. Leonardo also added a goal which was his first tally since the 2011 campaign.
Although Leonardo struggled at times—LA’s CONCACAF Champions League second leg against Club Tijuana was a particularly difficult game—the Brazilian defender showed steady improvement over the course of the season. During the last three months of the team’s campaign in particular, Leonardo blossomed into one of the team’s finest defenders as his physicality and passing ability were vital to LA’s postseason campaign. In addition to his ability to shut down opposing offenses, Leonardo also developed a tendency to push forward into the attack to give the team numbers on set pieces.
Next season, the onus will be on the frequently maligned central defender to stake a claim as Bruce Arena’s primary option alongside Omar Gonzalez in the middle of the back four. To do so, he must continue to be the steady defender of the final months of the season and minimize the mistakes that were apparent at the start of the season.
How would you rate Leonardo’s 2014 season? Read my review of the defenders on LAGalaxy.com and rate his season in the poll and comment section below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Other MLS players are attracting interest from abroad, but LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez says that his focus is on helping LA compete for MLS Cup.
In an interview with Time Warner Cable Deportes' Elmur Souza, the Galaxy defender said that he has not received any offers from foreign clubs and is simply putting his focus in LA's 2014 MLS campaign. The statement comes amid speculation from Goal.com's Ives Galarcep that Gonzalez has interest from LigaMX club Cruz Azul.
When asked later about his teammates interest abroad and his goals for the remainder of the season, Gonzalez said that his sole focus is on the Galaxy.
"My goals right now are to get back on the field with the LA Galaxy and hit the ground running so that I can continue with the way that I'm playing," said Gonzalez. "I'm just looking to win another MLS Cup that's the only thing that is on my mind."
— Elmur Souza (@elmursouza) July 8, 2014
The LA Galaxy will take on Manchester United this July in what will be the English Premier League side's first visit to Southern California since 2003.
The last time that Manchester United traveled to Los Angeles, United defeated Liga MX giants Club America at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with two goals from Uruguayan star Diego Forlan and a single tally from Dutch legend Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Check out the highlights of that match and relive some great commentary by Allen Hopkins below.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Tendonitis in Landon Donovan’s knee led the LA Galaxy star to be a shock omission from the U.S. National Team starting lineup for their 2-2 draw against Mexico.
What Donovan jokingly described as “old man issues,” helped lead to contribute to a poor training session by the Galaxy midfielder according to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann leading the U.S. boss to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the start of the match.
“He had no tempo in his training sessions, he had no kind of higher pace, higher rhythm, he didn’t take people on, so I sat him down [Wednesday] morning and we actually went through his training session yesterday,” said Klinsmann. “I told him based on what I saw the last three days, ‘I can’t leave [Chris Wondolowski] out there because Wondo deserves after two goals against South Korea. He’s working so hard.’
“[Donovan] understood it.” Klinsmann added, ‘[He said,] Yeah, I didn’t have good training sessions and I have a little bit of issues with my knee,’ and I told him, ‘You’re ready coming off the bench.’ He was ready; he came off the bench, so no problem at all.”
Once he came on in the 59th minute, Donovan did not look out of sorts as he made several dangerous runs up field as he attempted to kick start the U.S. offense amid a dominating second half showing by El Tri.
“I felt good tonight. It was nice to get some minutes on the field, obviously, I wanted to start the game, but circumstances didn’t allow that,” said Donovan. “It was fun to be a part of this game and another great game between these two teams.
“When I’m healthy and I train, I train well. This week, I had some tendinitis and I couldn’t play the way that I want to,” he said. “It was good to back off a little bit and still get some minutes tonight.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dos a cero.
Chris Wondolowski put the United States up 2-0 with his clinical finish off a Tony Beltran cross.
Check it out below.
Michael Bradley put the U.S. National Team ahead 1-0 off an impressive volley off a Graham Zusi corner kick. The play was set up by an Omar Gonzalez header that led to the subsquent corner.
Check it out below.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The matches between the United States and Mexico does not need attention, but Wednesday's match will get significant publicity as it may be the U.S. debut of Bayern Munich wunderkind Julian Green.
The addition of Green -- a former hockey star -- to the USMNT fold has been a hot button issue in the American soccer circles prompting considerable hype of a player that SB Nation's Ryan Rosenblatt labels "the best prospect that the USA has ever had." Prior to the match, Green did not speak to the media, but U.S. captain Clint Dempsey and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann each said that he has acclimated well to the team ahead of the Mexico match.
Ahead of the Mexico match, Green spoke to the federation's website about switching to the United States.
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was profiled by USA Today as a representative of "New America" ahead of the U.S. match against Mexico on Wednesday.
CARSON, Calif. – Another year, another CONCACAF Champions League semifinal that will be dominated by Mexican clubs.
A day after the LA Galaxy fell 4-3 on aggregate to Club Tijuana, the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City were also eliminated with defeats to Mexican clubs Toluca and Cruz Azul. The results all but assure that the competition will have an all-Mexican final for the sixth time in the competition’s history unless Central American underdog Alajuelense can upset Toluca.
Following the loss to Tijuana, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan stated that the wage disparity may have played a part in LA’s defeat and veteran Todd Dunivant was quick to agree after LA training on Thursday.
“Our owners are competitive and we want to be the best league in this region and I don’t think that’s too far off to be honest. We’ve made big strides and we’re closer and closer. I think even two or three years ago, you see all Mexican teams playing second teams in these games and now you don’t see that,” said Dunivant who played 45 minutes in the loss. “At the end of the day, we’re still a ways away, but the funny part is that we’re really close. … It’s not that far off, but the difference is pretty big in terms of the depth of the roster and the economics between the two league and, at the end of the day, that makes enough of a difference to consistently get the same results.”
While Dunivant believes that there are “no easy answers” to the league's failures in CCL, but was quick to admit that the wage disparity between MLS and Liga MX “might be brought up” as the players union heads into negotiations for the new CBA at the end of the year.
“Everyone out here is trying to put a 1000 percent into this and we’re not making excuses before about losing, but at the end of the day, when you keep seeing the same results, it’s difficult to argue with the conditions that we have,” said Dunivant. “We’re competitive and we’re going to do everything that we can, but the disparity is pretty obvious.”