In the latest LA Galaxy Insider breakdown, I take a look at the three things that the Galaxy will need to do if they're to beat Real Salt Lake in their Western Conference Semifinal second leg.
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Ahead of Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal second leg against Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy players Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Dan Gargan previewed the match.
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CARSON, Calif. –To advance from the Western Conference, the LA Galaxy understand that they must breach the man lovingly referred to by Real Salt Lake fans as the “Wall of Wasatch.”
Since his triumph over the Galaxy in the 2009 MLS Cup, Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando has proven himself to be one of the finest ‘keepers in all of MLS. And amid that rise, Rimando has consistently been a thorn in the Galaxy’s side as his stellar goalkeeping has proven to be Salt Lake’s primary weapon against LA’s dynamic attack.
"He's quick and sharp. He's very agile and there's a reason that he's in the national team. He's a good goalkeeper," said Galaxy striker Robbie Keane. "But hopefully, he's not too good on Sunday."
During the first leg, Rimando was rarely tested as the Galaxy forced him to make just one save in the scoreless draw. But if LA are to advance on Sunday, Landon Donovan says the Galaxy must challenge RImando early and often.
"We have to put him under pressure, we have to create chances, we have to hit the target," said Landon Donovan who has scored eight goals all-time against Rimando. "You have to keep making him make spectacular saves. He's not going to give us any goals, we know that. If we're going to get a goal then we have to earn it and we're prepared to do that."
Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane expect LA Galaxy offense to come alive in decisive second leg with RSL
SANDY, Utah— No team found the back of the net more during the 2014 MLS regular season than the LA Galaxy, but the team’s recent struggles in front of net threaten to deny LA a chance to win their fifth MLS Cup.
Since the end of their 10-game unbeaten run that saw the Galaxy tally 31 goals -- nearly half of their season total of 69 --the LA offense has fallen silent. In their last four games, the Galaxy have scored only four times including a scoreless effort in their Western Conference Semifinals first leg draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
LA’s inability to find the back of the net in their final three regular season matches were cited as reasons that the team’s bid for the Supporters’ Shield fell short, but despite failing to find the back of the net at Rio Tinto Stadium, the Galaxy are confident of breaking out of their recent offensive malaise with their season on the line next week
"We're fine on offense. We know how to score goals. It wasn't crucial tonight that we score,” said Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan. “We had some chances where we need to make a better pass or pull off a play that we didn't, but we have a lot of confidence that when we play at home, we'll create a lot of chances. It's creating the chances - which we'll do - and then hitting the net."
With the Galaxy unable to maintain the possession needed to place Salt Lake under sustained pressure and the blustery conditions limiting their service from wide positions, the LA attack became heavily reliant on counter attacks. But despite several dangerous thrusts forward, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando needed to make just a single save in Saturday's scoreless draw.
But heading back to StubHub Center where the Galaxy held a 12-1-4 record in the regular season, captain Robbie Keane says that LA's gameplan will look considerably different than at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“We’re fairly comfortable and confident that we can get them at our place," said Keane. "Most teams that come into [StubHub Center] find it hard to play there and hopefully with the tempo that we usually play and the offensive mind that we have when we do attack then we’ll be okay.”
CARSON, Calif. –The addition of Los Angeles Football Club to MLS in 2017 may not change much for LA Galaxy club president Chris Klein, but LA’s players admit that they hope a new rivalry will be born in Southern California.
After the dissolution of Chivas USA earlier this week, MLS unveiled the powerhouse ownership group of LAFC—a “working title” and not the team’s official name—at a press conference along Sunset Boulevard on Thursday. The group included many of the same faces that took ownership of the Dodgers several years earlier including Lakers great Ervin “Magic” Johnson.
While not much is known about what the team once they finally take the field in two years, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane said that he was excited to see the club join MLS.
“I think it will be exciting. What I will say about Chivas is that when you’re around the dressing room and locker room and you see these guys walking and people in the background, unfortunately they’ve lost their jobs, you know? For me it’s a shame,” said Keane. “Maybe the league could do something about that. But I think it’s exciting for the league. I’m sure if they get a new team, whatever they call it, it’ll get more [players] that want to come here. I’m excited about it.
“I think it’s good though because we need a fierce rivalry. If you look at Seattle and Portland, they’re good rivalries. With Chivas, I wouldn’t really call that a rivalry, to be honest with you,” he added. “We were in the same building, but with the declared attendance what they had … I’m used to playing these derby games where you had 60,000 people throwing abuse at each other, which is good in a friendly way. We didn’t really have that hear, hopefully we can have that with the new team.
Landon Donovan agreed that the addition of LAFC in 2017 will only enrich the local soccer landscape.
“I think it’s great. This city, when Chivas were good, it made this rivalry good and made it special for everyone,” Donovan said. “Obviously they’ve had a tough time with a lot of different things over the years, but I think having a chance to have new ownership obviously a new brand and a new team is fantastic for this market. I think it can only bring positives.”
Following the LA Galaxy's 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC, the club honored Landon Donovan on the ocassion of his final regular season home game at StubHub Center.
Club president Chris Klein stepped up to the mic to thank Donovan as well as Galaxy supporters, but when the Galaxy star stepped up to mic, he offered a bold guarantee. During his brief thank you message to fans and teammates, Donovan was curt stating that not only will the Galaxy bounce back from their 2-2 draw with Seattle, but the team will "win the Cup" come December.
You can see Donovan's pledge above.
Do you think Donovan is right? Will his guarantee come true?
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CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy didn’t get the win on Landon Donovan’s final regular season game at StubHub Center, but the club legend was honored from start to finish by the 27,244 in attendance for LA’s 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC.
Before the match, Donovan’s close personal friend John Ondrasik of the band “Five for Fighting” serenated the soccer legend with a surprise tribute at midfield. Minutes later, Donovan’s favorite band R&B legends Boyz II Men performed the national anthem which brought the Galaxy midfielder to tears.
Then it was the fans turn as the Angel City Brigade and LA Riot Squad honored him with tifos before the entire crowd got into the act by chanting the name of the MLS all-time leading scorer at the 10th minute. Once the final whistle blew, the two Supporters’ Groups and the Galaxians had a chance to present Donovan with gifts before the Galaxy star made a bold guarantee stating that the Galaxy "were still going to win the MLS Cup" despite the draw.
"The atmosphere was incredible," said Donovan afterward. "It's just, I keep using the word overwhelming because I think I need to go to college and learn some synonyms but I can't figure out a better word. It is incredible, it really is. I am so appreciative of all of it, I certainly dated myself with some of the artists who came out to perform but it was enjoyable for me and really a memory that will definitely last a lifetime."
And it all happened with Donovan being completely in the dark.
"I was not aware that Boyz II Men was there,” he said. “I didn't know that John Ondrasik from Five For Fighting who has become a really good friend and mentor to me, was going to do that pre-game so those were incredible.”
Ahead of his final regular season match at the StubHub Center, Landon Donovan sits down with ESPN's Kenny Mayne to discuss his plans after he retires at the end of the LA Galaxy's 2014 campaign.
In addition to discussing his plans to put on weight after his career ends, Donovan tells Mayne about his favorite moment at StubHub Center and his reasoning on why he deserved to be on the U.S. squad during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Check it out above.
In honor of Landon Donovan's final regular season home game at StubHub Center, the good folks at MLSsoccer.com have created an infographic recognizing all of the LA Galaxy great's accomplishments through the years in MLS.
Check it out below.