Everyone knows about Landon Donovan's famous habit of kissing his wrists before each penalty, but there is another ritual that the LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team star is infamous for that takes place before each and every game.
Since joining the Galaxy, Donovan has preformed the ritual -- which he claims isn't necessary, but has been performed in every game since 2005 -- which involves him taking a drink of water from a Gatorade bottle before spraying both head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra and assistant athletic trainer Kurt Andrews in the face.
"It kind of gets the training staff a little bit fired up and prepared for the game and hopefully makes them feel a little bit part of what's going on," Donovan told the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter. "They're a part of what we do, and we want to make them feel involved."
Added Andrews, " "It's a bond, We as a staff spend a lot of time with him. I could see it as an honor, for sure."
The complete story on Landon Donovan's pregame ritual can be found here on the Los Angeles Times website.
LA Galaxy Academy Under-17 defender Hugo Arellano was among 20 players selected to U.S. U-17 head coach Richie Williams for the team’s upcoming tournament in Chile.
The US will face Chile, Brazil, and Qatar in the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins from Nov. 18-22. During the tournament, the U.S. will face Chile on Nov. 18, Brazil on the 20th, and Qatar on the 22nd.
Also included in the squad is former LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright, who is currently with German side Schalke. Wright and his brother Hanif are expected to remain with the German club.
GOALKEEPERS: William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo.) Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS: George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Unattached; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas, El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS: Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Kai Koreniuk (Vitesse; Ormond Beach, Fla.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Haji Wright (Unattached; Los Angeles, Calif.)
Robbie Keane returns from international duty fit for Western Conference Championship clash with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy welcomed back captain Robbie Keane from international duty on Tuesday ahead of this weekend's Western Conference Championship first leg clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
Keane spent the last week with the Republic of Ireland and saw limited second half action in their 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland last Friday. The match was the first time that Keane had been left on the substitute’s bench for a competitive international match in 13 years.
“I was disappointed with the result which wasn’t what [the Irish squad] wanted, but I move on and I’m fully focused on the game on Sunday,” Keane said on Tuesday following the team’s training session. “[Coming back early] gives me six days to get back into the swing of things for Sunday after the travel back from Europe.”
The 34-year-old noted that conversations between the Galaxy coaching staff and the Republic of Ireland allowed Keane to miss out on their 4-1 defeat over the United States on Tuesday. Not only does Keane’s return aid in his preparation for the Sounders match, but the Irish striker notes that he is “90-ish percent” back from a left hamstring ailment that plagued him for the last month.
Keane returns to a Galaxy squad that is the midst of their preparations for their clash with a Seattle side that clinched the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the Galaxy on Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field. Although the Galaxy felt the sting of that defeat after the Seattle match, Keane says that loss will have no impact on what happens on Sunday at StubHub Center.
“There’s no fear. You can’t have fear going into game like this. These are the games that you want to be playing in,” Keane said. “We can’t change about what happened in the past, but we can change what will happen on Sunday. We have to make sure that we go into the game with the right mentality and not thinking that is revenge.
“This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to have a chance to play for a championship and we have every opportunity to do so.”
Landon Donovan is used to being nominated for awards based on his skill on the soccer field, but on Tuesday, the U.S. soccer legend was nominated for an award for his acting prowess.
Univision Deportes nominated Donovan for Best Artistic Performance by an Athlete, based on his portrayal in a commercial in their annual Premio Univision Deportes (Univision Deportes Awards). Donovan is nominated for his infamous "Always in the Game" advert with EA Sports.
Fans can vote once a day here until Sunday, Dec. 14 at 8:59 p.m. PT. The winners will be announced on UniMas on Dec. 18 at 6:00 p.m. PT.
A.J. DeLaGarza went 90 minutes but Guam’s dreams of reaching the 2015 EAFF Asian Cup took a major hit on Sunday when the Pacific Island nation fell 5-1 to North Korea at the Taipei Memorial Stadium.
The North Koreans took an early lead on a goal in the 13th minute by Jong Il-gwan but Guam pulled one back in the 58th minute when Jason Cunliffe tallied. However, the 2010 FIFA World Cup participants soon took charge soon after.
In the 69th minute, Jong put the Chollima ahead for good with a half-volley before Ri Sang-Choi added to the lead less than 10 minutes later. Ri added another in the 85th minute before Song Hyok tallied in stoppage time to complete the rout.
North Korea needs only to avoid defeat in their match against winless Chinese Taipei to clinch a berth in the competition. Due to the upcoming Western Conference Championship, DeLaGarza is not expected to be available for Guam’s final match against Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Robbie Keane sees limited minutes as Republic of Ireland fall 1-0 to Scotland in Euro 2016 qualifier
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane went 12 minutes as the Republic of Ireland fell 1-0 to rival Scotland in their Euro 2016 qualifying match at Celtic Park in Glasgow.
Keane started off the match on the bench as the two teams played to a tense scoreless draw until Shaun Mahoney's remarkable curling shot put the Scots up in the 74th minute. The Galaxy captain came on 74th minute, but was unable to help the Irish earn a draw. With the result, the Irish are now second in Group D behind top ranked Poland.
The Republic of Ireland return to action next week when they take on the United States on Wednesday, Nov. 19. Whether or not Keane participates in that match or returns to the Galaxy remains to be seen.
A.J. DeLaGarza's Guam defeats Chinese Taipei in 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup preliminary round semifinal
LA Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza started and went 90 minutes as Guam defeated host nation Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) 2-1 in their 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup preliminary round two match.
A penalty kick goal by former Santa Clara soccer star Jason Cunliffe in the 14th minute gave Matao an early advantage that was doubled just three minutes before half time when Shane Malcolm scored. Chen Hao-wei scored for Chinese Taipei in the 57th minute, but the DeLaGarza-led Guam defense held firm to prevent a comeback.
Guam will take on group stage favorite North Korea on Sunday in a match that will likely decide which team advances to the 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup. North Korea started the qualifying group off on a high note on Thursday with a 2-1 victory over Hong Kong.
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane is not a full fitness ahead of the LA Galaxy’s Western Conference Semifinal second leg, but the team’s captain refuses to allow a hamstring issue to hinder him heading into Sunday’s match against Real Salt Lake.
“It’s okay, it’s getting there,” said Keane. "It's not 100 percent but it's getting there."
The Galaxy will need Keane to be at his best as the forward has been unable to find the back of the net in his last two games as LA have gone winless in their last four matches. Although the Galaxy has struggled as of late, Keane says the Galaxy are ready to go.
“When our backs are up against the wall, we usually come up good. We know exactly what we have to do. We have to not concede and we have to score goals,” said Keane. “We know that we can do it because we have the players and the squad to do it. That’s why we’ve been one of the best teams over the last three years. We know how to perform in big situations and it doesn’t get any bigger than Sunday.”
The Irishman, who expects a cautious start from a Salt Lake side that can advance with a draw in which goals are scored, says that the Galaxy must simply get down to basics if they’re going to advance to the Conference Finals.
“I think that we just have to concentrate on what we’re good at. We’re good at counterattacking and getting at people,” said Keane. “We’re not going to change how we’ve been playing all season. We know that we’re good at that and we’re going to keep that.”
CARSON, Calif. -- A day after signing with LA Galaxy II, 15-year-old Los Dos goalkeeper Eric Lopez was among the 22-man U.S. Under-16 roster that will take part in a training camp in France from Nov. 13-21.
The nine day training camp will be overseen by U.S. Soccer technical advisor and former U.S. U-17 assistant coach Clint Peay. Lopez will be joined in France by nine other players from California including former Galaxy Academy star Hanif Wright.
The complete roster is below.