CARSON, Calif. -- Gyasi Zardes endured a brief three-game scoring drought in his career season, but kicked back into gear with an impressive two goal showing in the LA Galaxy's 3-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday.
Zardes opened the scoring in the 44th minute with a clinical one-time finish that sailed past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and curled inside the far post. The 22-year-old coupled his lovely individual effort with a tidy finish for LA's third goal in the 71st minute as tapped in a Landon Donovan cross to provide the finishing touch of an 11 pass combination by the Galaxy. With his two goals against Chivas, Zardes now has 12 goals in 25 matches this season, and is the top scoring American-born player in MLS.
Five of Zardes' 12 goals this season came during the Galaxy's impressive 19 goal month of August that saw LA rocket to second place in the Western Conference and second in the standings for the MLS Supporters' Shield. Although the 22-year-old with the unforgettable hairdo is pleased to play his part in the Galaxy's offensive explosion, he's quick to recognize his teammates' role in getting him the ball.
“To be honest, our midfield is just killing it in terms. You look at the stats, and we’re just touching the ball a lot. And the defenders are just keeping a clean sheet, so the whole team is really working together," said Zardes. "As a team, we’re just really building off each other and really being aggressive.”
And according to Galaxy captain Robbie Keane as long as Zardes gets into those dangerous positions, he'll continue to be a threat to score.
"Ultimately as a striker you’re judged on scoring goals," Keane said. "So if he continues to get himself in the right position, certainly myself and Landon, and the lads up there can certainly get him goals."
With Zardes scoring in bunches and even going as far to admit that he'd like to one day be the league's top goal scorer, one question remains: could a national team call-up be far behind? Even the always humble Zardes admits that he's hoping to get a call from Jurgen Klinsmann soon.
"Everybody wants to make the national team. That's always a goal for a soccer player," said Zardes. "If that's not your goal then I don't think that you should be playing soccer."
CARSON, Calif. -- Stefan Ishizaki began the road back to the starting lineup on Friday by returning to full training for the first time since the club's 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 20.
Ishizaki picked up what he described as a "lower body injury" in the 54th minute of the Galaxy's win in Colorado when Ishizaki won the free kick that ultimately resulted in Omar Gonzalez's goal off an LA free kick. Just two days before the Galaxy's final SuperClasico match against Chivas USA, the Swedish winger made his return to full training, but is still unsure if he'll be available for Sunday's clash.
"We'll have to see how my injury reacts and we'll go forward from there. I'll have to see tonight and check in with the medical staff and we'll evaluate it from there," Ishizaki told LA Galaxy Insider. "I'm optimistic. I couldn't really do much a couple of days ago, but now I'm back in full training. It wasn't good, but now I'm feeling like I'm on the way to a speedy recovery."
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy return home on Saturday to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the first match of a two game stretch at home.
Below are a series of links, matchups to watch and a predicted score ahead of Saturday's clash with Vancouver.
*Remember to get to the match early because the first 15,000 fans through the gates at StubHub Center will receive a special edition LA Galaxy lunch box.
*The LA Galaxy may be in the middle of a brutal congested schedule, but they'll face a Vancouver team that they've enjoyed plenty of success against in the past.
*It took Alan Gordon only two games to find the back of the net for the LA Galaxy, could the forward who adds a "different dimension" to the club see more minutes against the Whitecaps?
*Lastly, my preview of the match for LAGalaxy.com.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
MARCELO SARVAS vs. PEDRO MORALES
The active LA Galaxy midfielder will have his hands full on Saturday as he looks to contain Morales who is the focal point of the Whitecaps attack. Expect Sarvas -- and Juninho -- to put pressure on the playmaker to prevent him from enjoying the type of space that he needs to create chances for Vancouver.
ROBBIE KEANE vs. ANDY O'BRIEN
In this battle of Irishmen, Keane will seek to lure the physical O'Brien out of position and open up the Whitecaps defense for the likes of Gyasi Zardes and Landon Donovn.
WHAT THEY SAID:
“The Vancouver game is a six point game. When you play games at home, you have to get points. The way that the league is going, we might find ourselves at the top at the end [of the season] and that starts Saturday against the Whitecaps.” - Landon Donovan.
LA Galaxy 1 (Keane) Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at season’s end, but the long time U.S. international knows that MLS is in safe hands because of players like Colorado Rapids youngster Dillon Serna.
A favorite in youth soccer circles, Serna has enjoyed a strong first full season in MLS with three goals and three assists in 20 appearances for the Rapids. Serna's finest strike came in last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to D.C. United when the 20-year-old launched a 35-yard volley that sailed into the back of the United net.
Even though the U.S. Under-20 midfielder may not be old enough to drink, he has a fan in Donovan.
“He’s done well. It’s exciting for this league to have all sorts of young Homegrown Players do well,” Donovan told LA Galaxy Insider. “That’s the future of this league in my opinion and to see another one like him do well is very good. It’s very early for him and he still has a lot to prove, but he has done well.”
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Robbie Keane pulled the LA Galaxy to within a single goal late in their 2-1 defeat to Sporting Kansas City, but the Irishman could help but think about one shot that got away from the goal scorer.
The event occurred in the 54th minute with the Sporting up by a single goal when Keane barreled down on the Sporting KC goal and collided hard with SKC goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum before unleashing a shot that flew just over the bar. Despite the hard challenge, referee Allen Chapman refused to award a foul on the play and seven minutes later, the home side found their eventual game winner on Lawerence Olum’s goal.
“If you’d have seen my leg, you’d have thought it was a foul. Seeing the replay, it doesn’t matter if I had an opportunity to score,” said Keane who now has 10 regular season goals for a third consecutive season. “The fact is if [the keeper] isn’t there, it’s a goal probably. I didn’t think I was going to be doing that kind of cartwheel today, I’ll tell you that.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena also had pointed words for Chapman.
“I think it should have been a foul [on Gruenebaum],” said Arena.” I don’t think it’s a red card but if a field player passes a ball and a player goes through, it’s a foul. So it’s a foul on the play; it’s a free kick. It doesn’t need to be a red card. But it’s a foul and it has to be a free kick. Like the foul they had that they scored a goal on—those are fouls. And the referee needs to call them.”
Was it a foul? Could that call have changed the game?
Share your thoughts below.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media following the team's 2-1 defeat to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
The defeat snapped LA's eight game unbeaten run.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters following his team's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.
Check it out below.
(On the result...)
ARENA: “I think we played a fairly solid 90 minutes tonight. Had chances to get a second goal on a few occasions in the second half. We could have made the game a little easier. It’s good for us to win a game like this. It’s what I would call a good ugly game against a good team. We did a job good on the defensive end of the field. That was encouraging. Any time you get a shut out speaks volumes for the whole team. I think for the most part we played well and deserved to get the three points tonight. We know we need to get a little bit better. That’s certainly not a perfect performance.”
(On the goal by Gyasi Zardes...)
ARENA: “Good goal. If I remember correctly, Marcelo [Sarvas], on the right side, cut a ball in and I think Landon [Donovan] dummied it to Gyasi [Zardes]. And, obviously a pretty good finish off the two posts.”
(On the play of Robbie Rogers...)
ARENA: “He’s getting a lot of experience in that position. He’s been very good defensively and does a good job going forward. We are very pleased with his performance.”
(On Zardes, Donovan and Keane...)
ARENA: “They did alright. We could be better. We were playing against three good players in [Kyle] Beckerman, [Nat] Borchers and [Chris] Schuler. It was a good battle for 90 minutes, but I think they did well.”
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez took part in a brief conference call with Los Angeles based reporters ahead of Tuesday's World Cup round of 16 match between the U.S. and Belgium.
During the call, Gonzalez was asked about a myriad of topics including defending the Belgian attack, whether or not he'd start the match and the U.S.' attacking plans.
Check it out below.
(On what Belgium offers as an opponent…)
GONZALEZ: “Well I think that what we’ve talked about as a team is that they aren’t much different than what we’ve seen so far. They pretty much field sort of the same lineup that we’ve seen and it’s going to be no surprise tomorrow. We know that they have very talented players, but they are definitely not more talented than what we faced already and the talent that we’ve seen in Germany and also going up against the likes of Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo. We know that it is going to be a tough challenge. Belgium is a young talented team and I think we are ready. I think we’ve prepared well and it’s going to be a fun game tomorrow.”
(On Belgium’s talented attackers and their movement up top as a challenge…)
GONZALEZ: “Their movement is very good up top and it’s going to be very challenging for us but as long as we can keep them in front of us and give support to our wide guys when they have [Eden] Hazard or [Dries] Mertens coming at them. Just provide support so that we don’t get a lot of one versus one out wide, and if they do get a one versus one out wide, we need to be sure to follow runners inside the box because they have some big guys who can definitely get to the ball.”
(On his confident performance against Germany and on how he can have a confident performance against Belgium…)
GONZALEZ: “I am feeling good. [My] Body has recovered well and I am looking forward to getting on the field tomorrow and putting on a solid performance. What I can do is do is basically what I did last game… be mobile, provide cover for my other defenders, I think we want to be a bit more aggressive. I think that we were too late to getting to the German guys the last game and we want to make sure to not let them have too much possession. If they do have possession then [we want to make it] not make it easy for them. That’s something that I want to help [shore] up and I can do that [through] a lot of communication and getting down in the right position so that they are able to get to the ball further.”
(On if he feels he locked down his starting spot for the Belgium game…)
GONZALEZ: “I can’t speak too much about locking down any kind of spots right now. Right now my mind is just about the team here and so I’m not looking for any personal gain here. If my name gets called upon again then I’m going to work just as hard as anyone else on that field. Tomorrow it’s going to take another great team effort and I’m hoping that I believe our team is very strong. We put together good team performances so that’s where I am at right now and I’m going to fight for the guy next to me.”
(On the support the team is receiving in the United States…)
GONZALEZ: “I have a pretty good idea just by following social media, you hear about the watch parties and you see the pictures and videos and you see the amount of fans that are going. It makes me really happy to see the fans back home rallying up behind us and it’s definitely not any more added pressure, I think it makes us want to work harder [because] we want to give them a great performance. I think as long as we put forth everything we’ve got, everyone can be happy about that but hopefully we can give them a win.”
(On criticism coming his way and feelings turning around after his performance against Germany…)
GONZALEZ: “I’m not really worried about what people say out there. It’s pretty telling how quickly people can go from talking crap, or criticizing and then all of the sudden being in your corner if you have a good performance. My worry isn’t what people are thinking, what I am staying focused on is my team, the 23 guys that are here, and my coaches and all I have to worry about is what they think. As long as they feel that I am doing a great job, then I’m happy. One thing that I want to do is stay consistent. I’m coming off a good performance against Germany and now I want to have another good performance against Belgium.”
(On whether he was surprised to get the call to start against Germany…)
GONZALEZ: “I think that I was definitely surprised about getting the start. Jurgen [Klinsmann] wasn’t making too many changes in the lead up matches and then we had two pretty good performances against Ghana and Portugal so my mind set the whole time was if my name gets called then I’ll be ready. I definitely prepared and worked hard like the rest of the guys during the preparation camp and also leading up to the first couple of games. I wasn’t worried too much about what are the coaches thinking, or [wondering] am I going to get called now, am I going to get called before the first game? I was patient, I worked hard and I am happy that my name got called and I just basically went out there and do what I do.”
(On his goals for the tournament and whether he had any going in…)
GONZALEZ: “I think earlier on in the year I had more of a goal that I want to be starting every single game, but with my injury that happened leading up to the camp, there was even a question me not making the 23 man roster. Right before the World Cup happened all those goals went out the window and I just wanted to get myself ready for whatever happened. I worked hard to make the 23 man roster and then after that I worked hard to be whatever asset I can to this team.”
(On the importance of capitalizing on set pieces…)
GONZALEZ: “We think our set pieces are very important and we just need to be able to be more lethal when we have those opportunities. We are ready. Everyone knows their role. And when we do get set pieces we want to capitalize on those chances, but we don’t want to just count on set pieces. We want to get chances through the run of play, we want to find Clint [Dempsey], we want to get the ball out wide and get numbers in the box and capitalize on chances within the run of play and, of course, once we do get some corner kicks, some free kicks, we are going to do everything we can to score on those chances because we know that in these tight games that we’ve seen so far a lot of good chances come off of set pieces.”
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team will need to make do without target striker Jozy Altidore for their “win and you’re in” group stage match against Portugal on Sunday.
Just how head coach Jurgen Klinsmann replaces the physical forward who is out with a hamstring injury remains to be seen and Galaxy forward Landon Donovan is among those wondering just how he’ll go about it against the Portuguese in Manaus.
“I don’t know. I wish I knew the answer to [how to replace Jozy]. It’s going to be interesting to see how the coaches adjust," Donovan said. "Whether you leave[Clint Dempsey] up there by himself or you play another forward with him. I’m sure they’ve watched the Portugal tape over and over and they’ll have an idea how to beat them. At the end of the day, it’s still 11 v. 11 but there’s no question that the team will miss Jozy.”
But no matter who fills in for Altidore, Donovan is confident that the U.S. can earn the win needed to get through to the knockout round for the second consecutive tournament.
“It’s amazing how results change things and even one goal changes things,” said Donovan. “That goal by John Anthony Brooks coupled with Portugal losing, now you look at a scenario where you win the game then you’re through against a somewhat beaten up Portuguese team. It’s amazing how it is coming together, but it can go the other way too. You have to be prepared and it’s going to be a fascinating match.”
The excitement was high after the U.S. National Team's 2-1 victory over Ghana, but LA Galaxy striker Landon Donovan issued a note of caution in a interview on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday.
Donovan, who was controversially left off U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, spoke about the injury to Jozy Altidore and his impression of the team's mood heading into their second group stage match against Portugal. However, his most telling comment was regarding the allegations that Klinsmann had overtrained the team resutling in injuries to Altidore and center back Matt Besler.
“My guess is if you’ve having a bunch of muscle injuries and cramping and stuff like that, there was some factor involved, whether it was overtraining, whether [they] weren’t prepared for the heat," he said. "There was something that went on there, so you could be a little critical.”
Watch the complete interview below.