CARSON, Calif. – At the moment, the competition between right backs Matheau Hall, Dan Gargan and James Riley is a friendly one –they do carpool to the stadium every morning after all—but each has a simple goal: prove to the LA Galaxy coaching staff that they deserve a spot on the team’s roster in 2014.
With Sean Franklin and Hector Jimenez departing in the offseason, the Galaxy have sought out cover at the right back spot which led to camp invitations for Hall and 31-year-old Gargan at the start of preseason, and Riley a week later.
Hall, 26, went 45 minutes in strong performance during LA’s 2-2 draw with Chivas USA in a closed-door scrimmage, repeatedly challenging the Rojiblancos defense as he pressed forward early and often. Neither of the veteran defenders appeared in the scrimmage on Wednesday, but Riley, 31, expects to return see time during LA’s preseason friendly against Armenian side FC Shirak this weekend.
HALL: “The camp has been going great. I’ve been given a lot of work in short period of time, but it is going really well. Every day is a challenge because you have come ready to play since it is a position that everyone is hungry to earn. … I think that I add pace out of the back as well as versatility."
GARGAN: “Bruce is looking for competition in the backline and I’m an experienced guy with a lot of games in this league. I think that Bruce is looking for quality players who can compete every day, and this team has a lot of them.”
RILEY: “LA tries to set the bar and I think that’s a fantastic environment to come into. I love the challenge and I love the opportunity, and I am prepared for it. … I just want to build on my first two days [in training]. It’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint. The tortoise won that race, not the hare so I keep that in mind.”
Which of the three players will earn a spot on the roster?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy battled to a 2-2 draw with cross-hall rivals Chivas USA in a preseason scrimmage on Wednesday.
The Galaxy were dominant in the first half and needed just five minutes to pull ahead when Rob Friend finished a side-footed volley off a Juninho free kick. The Brazilian midfielder scored a goal of his own in the 20th minute after finishing a brilliant strike from beyond 25-yards that curled past the Chivas USA goalkeeper.
However, in the second half, Chivas USA was able to capitalize on a Galaxy lineup that went through a near complete change at the half and was totally different 10 minutes into the second stanza. Chivas leveled the score in the 72nd minute with a finish by Jacob Barron before equalizing less than 10 minutes later after Matthew Fondy buried a header past Brian Perk.
The result may not have been ideal, but Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena affirmed that it was simply part of the process of getting the team ready for their MLS season opener which is a little more than a month away.
“It was just another day of practice in all honesty. It was about getting guys in a full field situation,” said Arena. “The group we played in the first half did a good job of pressuring and creating some chances while the group in the second half was definitely outplayed and it was a sloppy performance.”
LA Galaxy Starting XI First Half: Penedo; Hall, DeLaGarza, Opare, Cochrane; Ishizaki, Husidic, Juninho, Zardes; Friend, Samuel
LA Galaxy Starting XI Second Half: Perk; Sorto, Leonardo, Venter, Gaul; Jamieson IV, Sarvas, Garcia, Hoffman; Rugg, McBean
LA Galaxy XI at the Final Whistle: Perk; Sorto, Leonardo, Venter, Gaul; Mendiola, Sarvas, Garcia, Hoffman; Rugg, McBean
A new season means new uniforms and new merchandise, and on Tuesday, I obtained the first look at the LA Galaxy's training tops for 2014.
The training kits come in two colors: a dark blue with blue-green and gold trim on the shoulders and a gold version with blue and black shoulder trim. These tops will be available for sale at the Team LA store at StubHub Center starting Friday.
Now that the training kits have been released, I’m hearing that the first tease of the new Galaxy primary kit will take place at Legends Night on Feb. 22 prior to the “Blue and White Game” between the LA first team and LA Galaxy II, with the full unveil taking place on March 3. Although there have been images of the kit floating around online, sources have confirmed to me that the jersey making the rounds on the internet is not what will be released in March.
Thoughts on the new training top? Excited for the unveil of the primary kit?
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Ahead of the all-important 2014 season, LA Galaxy club President Chris Klein took a moment to speak to Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl about the upcoming season, the Galaxy Academy and a number of other topics.
Check out the interview below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Add another right back into the mix for the LA Galaxy.
Veteran right back James Riley has joined training camp and joins trialists Dan Gargan and Matheau Hall who have been with the team since the start of training camp. According to a source, the 31-year-old attack-minded full back received a call from the Galaxy over the weekend and has just begun to train with the club over the past two days.
A nine-year veteran in MLS, Riley has made a total of 211 appearances for a total of five clubs. Riley spent the 2013 season with D.C. United, making 21 appearances in league play while helping the team win the 2013 U.S. Open Cup, but was released by the team through the league's Re-Entry Draft process. The defender has also made stops with the New England Revolution, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, and Chivas USA
Thoughts on Riley?
CARSON, Calif. – Preseason is typically loaded with battles for positions, but no competition will be more closely watched this season than the fight to start up top alongside LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane.
The two top contenders vying for head coach Bruce Arena’s attention are Canadian target man Rob Friend and Brazilian striker Samuel, both of whom were brought in last month to add height and physicality to the Galaxy forward line. Each carries their own traits to the tussle as the 6-foot-5 Friend brings more than a decade of European experience with him while Samuel is considered a highly-touted prospect by LA brass.
Although Friend acknowledges the competition between the two similar players is beneficial for the Galaxy, he believes that two players should push each other over the long season.
“I don’t think that [Samuel] is exactly like me. I’m more of a straight up target man and he roams a little bit as well,” said Friend. “We’re all different players and I think that we can bring something. It’s a long season and it gives Bruce the option to use different players with different qualities up front.”
Who do you think should start alongside Keane?
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CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team completed their tenth January camp in Carson on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Korea Republic, but before next year’s 11th edition changes may be coming.
Following a Chris Wondolowski-fueled victory over Korea, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann noted that he may hit the reset button on the camp in 2015. In particular, Klinsmann stated that while this particular camp was vital for his team with the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the horizon, future January camps may have a different a different makeup.
“Maybe in the future…it’ll be more likely used as a developmental camp. Maybe we cut it down to younger players and see how we can develop those younger players because it shouldn’t be our job to cut their season shorter and get them fit, that’s actually the job of MLS,” said Klinsmann in his press conference following the U.S. victory. “I always mention that I would like to see the MLS season getting lengthened now we’re going to get more teams in 2015, so hopefully that happens.
“We will kind of rethink the January camp in a non-World Cup year,” Klinsmann added. “Maybe we change some things with this camp because of the possibility of looking at the next generation of players coming through the ranks.”
Should January camp change?
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CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal made his first appearance in a Cruz Azul kit on Saturday as he scored a goal for the team’s U-20 side in a 1-1 draw with the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20’s.
Villarreal’s goal came five minutes into the match and comes less than a week after he made his first appearance for the team as a whole in a friendly against a non-professional team from the Mexican Armed Forces.
The Galaxy attacker was joined in the lineup by San Diego-native Michael Farfan who also made his first showing for the Cruz Azul U-20 side.
The StubHub Center was packed to the brim with 27,000 for the U.S. National Team’s 2-0 victory over Korea Republic on Saturday. The crowd was the first sell-out for the U.S. at the StubHub Center and just the second time that the national team had sold out the venue.
The last time that the U.S. sold out the stadiun? Nearly seven years prior on June 9, 2007 for a CONCACAF Gold Cup match between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago.
Whether it was the boisterous American Outlaws U.S. Supporters Group or the loyal fans of Korea, the stadium was rocking for a complete 90 minutes—a fact that did not go unnoticed by the players on the pitch.
“I was surprised to be honest,” said LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. “I thought that the energy was great, the national anthem was great. It’s a lot of fun to play in that environment especially in my home stadium. It was just great.”
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando agreed: “It was a great crowd. I've never played here with the U.S. team when it was sold out like this. It was fantastic to see everyone come out and support us.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 1, 2014
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team got off to a winning start in 2014 with a 2-0 victory against Korea Republic in front of a capacity crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center.
Chris Wondolowski scored two goals in the victory, tallying in the fourth and 60th minute for the Americans. Both LA Galaxy players Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez each went 90 minutes for the U.S. in the win.
The pro-American crowd at StubHub Center did not get a chance to see former Galaxy striker Mike Magee who did not make the game day roster due to food poisoning. There was one other local connection as Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil of Garden Grove made his debut for the U.S. in the 75th minute of the victory.
The U.S. National Team return to action on March 5 when they take on Ukraine in Kharkiv.
The U.S. press conference is below...
Thoughts on the U.S. performance?
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