CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy host the Houston Dynamo this Saturday in their third match of the 2015 MLS regular season.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we take a look at the club's recent struggles against the Dynamo.
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LA Galaxy deal Kofi Opare and 2015 second round draft pick to D.C. United for third spot in MLS allocation order
The LA Galaxy obtained the third spot in the MLS allocation order in exchange for second-year center back Kofi Opare and a 2015 MLS SuperDraft second round selection on Tuesday.
Opare has made a total of 12 MLS regular season appearances for the LA Galaxy and last started for LA during their 2-1 defeat to Sporting Kansas City on July 19. The second-year center back out of Michigan also started LA's two postseason matches in 2013 as well.
“This is a move that gives us the necessary flexibility to strengthen our roster,” said Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena said in a statement. “We thank Kofi for his contributions here and wish him the best in D.C.”
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Omar Gonzalez for this Sunday’s match against the Portland Timbers, but with the U.S. international unavailable, head coach Bruce Arena will have options at center back.
The primary option for Arena appears to be a tandem of Kofi Opare and Leonardo, who were able to keep the Colorado Rapids scoreless after Gonzalez was substituted with a left knee injury in Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat last Saturday. However, Arena could also slide in Tommy Meyer, who has enjoyed a strong season with LA Galaxy II as well as 2014 MLS SuperDraft first round draft pick Kyle Venter.
While there are other options for the two central defense positions, Leonardo and Opare seem like the safe bet for the Timbers match, which sits well with the second-year defender.
“I’ve played with him quite a bit in reserve games and in practice. Like myself, Leonardo is a big presence. He’s a more experienced player who is able to guide me and help me with my movements,” said Opare. “We are similar in our physicality and when Leonardo steps on the field he gives me confidence as a player which helps me be more at ease on the field.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy II will play their first match on Saturday against the Orange County Blues at StubHub Center's Track and Field Stadium, and one day before the historic event, the team received their first official players.
The Galaxy announced on Friday that they had loaned first team players Rafael Garcia, Bradford Jamieson IV, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola, Charlie Rugg, and Oscar Sorto for the duration of the season. In addition, the club also announced that LA has sent first teamers Kofi Opare, Kyle Venter and Kenney Walker for Galaxy II's first match. All nine players will be available for the match against the Orange County Blues.
It can be expected that more signings for Galaxy II will be announced prior to their match against Orange County.
Tickets for the match against the Blues are on sale and are available for $10 dollars.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 21, 2014
It couldn’t have gotten much harder for the U.S. National Team at the FIFA World Cup Draw as they were drawn into a “Group of Death” in Group G against Germany, Ghana and Portugal. However, at a closer glance, the draw is not a mission impossible for Jurgen Klinsmann’s group.
The U.S. opens the World Cup in Brazil on June 16 against Ghana at the Arena das Dunas in Natal. The match is undoubtedly the most important one for the U.S. as they must get past the team that eliminated them from the past two World Cups in order to have a reasonable chance to advance from the group. As the U.S. are well-aware, the Black Stars are a major challenge as they have a mix of physicality and technical skill that should give the Americans a major test. That being said, if the U.S. midfield can control the game and the Americans can capitalize on their opportunities, they may get past the African side.
In their second game, the U.S. will face Portugal in the Amazonian outpost of Manaus on June 22. Not only must the Americans best a side that boasts one of the world’s finest players in Cristiano Ronaldo, they must deal with the crippling heat and humidity of the Amazon. In June, the average temperatures in Manaus are typically in the high-80’s with more than 80 percent humidity, which promises to be a muggy game that could favor an American squad that should be better acclimated to the conditions due to a potentially high presence of North American-based players. However sticking to strictly on the field matters, Portugal may seemlike a stiff test, but the nation struggled during UEFA World Cup qualifying as they finished second in their group to Russia—with two draws against Israel as well as a draw against Northern Ireland—before defeating Sweden in a playoff to advance to Brazil.
Lastly, The U.S, have traditional powerhouse Germany in the final game on June 26 in Recife is the Americans’ best case scenario as they should face a German team that may already have a ticket into the second round. Against a German team that could be loaded with reserves, the U.S. should be able to stay competitive against a side that promises to be organized and immensely talented.
What will make their draw even more difficult is the immense travel that they must undertake for all three matches. With three games in Natal, Manus and Recife, the U.S. could travel nearly 9,000 miles round trip during their Group G campaign. The one benefit for the Americans however is that their MLS players should be accustomed to immense travel as well as heat and humidity, however, the benefit of charter flights should cut down on the exhaustion.
My prediction for a best case—and relatively realistic— scenario for the U.S. is a simple one: a victory against Ghana coupled with a Germany win over Portugal during the first match day. In the second match day, the U.S. must earn a draw—or a close win—against Portugal with a Germany victory over Ghana in the second day setting up a draw or close loss to an already qualified Germany in the final match day. If the Americans can find a way to earn points in their first two games, at the very least, they should negate the impact of Portugal's final match against Ghana.
What are your thoughts? Remember, the U.S. open up the year at StubHub Center against South Korea on Feb. 1.
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CARSON, Calif. – Back after a knee infection caused him to miss two training sessions and a reserve match, Kofi Opare is eager to fill the starting spot vacated by Omar Gonzalez, who is currently away on international duty.
Opare has become a regular on LA’s game day roster since the start of August and performed well during his first competitive start for the club in their 3-0 victory over C.S. Cartaginés earlier this month. However, Opare was unable to get in the squad in LA’s 3-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes and the subsequent reserve match due to a knee infection called cellulitis.
Even though the injury cost him a reserve league appearance, Opare believes that it didn’t hurt his sharpness.
“I’m just glad to be back in training,” said Opare. “The good thing was that even with the injury, I was still able to run and even though I wasn’t in training, I was still able to do fitness work and keep my sharpness.”
It’s vitally important that Opare is fit and ready because with Gonzalez away on international duty, the 22-year-old is in the midst of a battle for a starting role with the likes of Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza, and possibly even Pablo Mastroeni.
“With Omar gone, the center back is spot and players are competing for that spot. I’m trying to do that same thing so that I can impress the coaches so I get that spot,” said Opare. “To be honest, I still go through the same steps that I do every week. I just want to come in with the attitude to work hard and play well in practice. Nothing changes. Now there is a spot and we’re all competing, I just want to bring the same attitude.”