PASADENA, Calif. – Manchester United have been in Los Angeles for less than a week, but on Tuesday they received a true Southern California experience—getting stuck in rush hour traffic.
United were 45 minutes for their open training session at the Rose Bowl Stadium as their team bus found itself stuck in L.A. traffic driving from their base hotel in Beverly Hills in Pasadena. Despite the inconvenience, United manager Louis van Gaal was chipper upon his team’s arrival at the stadium’s press room.
“Of course, we were late. It was the first time that I was late for a press conference, but Los Angeles traffic,” van Gaal told reporters.
On Wednesday, the Dutchman and his side will face a stiffer test when they take on the Galaxy in the Chevrolet Cup at the world-famous Pasadena venue. Although Europeans are traditionally criticized for their blasé attitude toward friendlies with MLS sides, van Gaal insists that he’s done his homework on the Galaxy.
“We have analyzed the Galaxy and I expect a very organized and technical team that is aggressive in attack,” said van Gaal. “They are already in the rhythm of the season and we started just three days ago. We are not well prepared, we are not fit yet, but I hope that we can give a good performance and it’s a process.
“The preparation time is a process, so I hope that we can make every [preseason] match a step in that progress, but I'm also anxious to see how we do it tomorrow against the Galaxy.”
CARSON, Calif. – Don’t count on LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez making a move in the summer transfer window. At least that was the message from the defender on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s match against Manchester United.
The defender will be looking to make his return on Wednesday from a right ankle injury that he suffered during his participation with the U.S. National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. While other USMNT players have dealt with post-World Cup transfer speculation, there has been little chatter surrounding Gonzalez and on Monday, the defender said that while Europe is a dream of his, he’s committed to LA.
“I still want to ply my trade in Europe, but right now I’m committed to the Galaxy,” said Gonzalez who signed a new Designated Player contract a year ago. “That’s something that my agent handles, but right now I’m looking to get back to full fitness and I’m looking to get a result against United and go to Seattle and have a tough game.”
Although the Galaxy currently boast three Designated Players, the unsettled club situation of Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez has led to some speculation that he may be bound for a move to MLS. However, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena refused to entertain any speculation about a move for the El Tri star.
“You don’t talk about other players that are under contract with other clubs,” said Arena. “We don’t talk about that stuff publicly.”
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has been named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week after scoring three goals last week.
Keane tallied two goals in LA's 5-1 victory over the New England Revolution on Wednesday and then added another in LA's 2-1 road defeat to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. With his three goals, Keane has now scored 10 goals this season which gives him a double digit goal total for the third consecutive season.
In addition to Keane meaning the Team of the Week, Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes was placed on the bench after notching a brace of his own against New England.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 21, 2014
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?
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Mexican National Team star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will be joining Manchester United for their U.S. tour after all.
A day after United released their 25-man squad for their upcoming tour of the United States, the English club released on Twitter that Hernandez will be joining the club on Tuesday evening in Los Angeles ahead of Wednesday's Chevrolet Cup at the Rose Bowl. The move comes amid a time of considerable speculation around Hernandez's future after his frustrating 2013/14 campaign that saw him score just four goals in 24 appearances.
Tickets for the Chevrolet Cup can be found here.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 19, 2014
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez has his sights set on returning to the field for the LA Galaxy, but don’t count on him participating in Saturday’s clash with Sporting Kansas City.
The Galaxy center back participated in training on Thursday for the first time since returning from World Cup duty with the U.S. National Team where he endured a right ankle injury during the USMNT’s round of 16 defeat to Belgium.
“The ankle is moving along well,” Gonzalez told reporters. “I practiced today for the first time and it feels good to be back on the field with the team.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena echoed Gonzalez’s optimism stating that the defender is “moving along” in his recovery, but is “unlikely” to play a role in Saturday’s match in Kansas City.
Although Arena did not reveal a timetable on Gonzalez’s return, the defender himself admitted that he is hoping to earn minutes in LA’s match against Manchester United next week before making a potential full-fledged return against Seattle Sounders FC on July 28.
“I think that [Seattle] is the target game. It’ll be a crucial game for us. It’ll our first game at their place and we need points,” he said. “The United game is definitely a good game to get some minutes so that I can get back out there and get ready for Seattle.”
CARSON, Calif. – Stefan Ishizaki has spent plenty of time practicing his free kicks in recent weeks and on Wednesday his hard work paid off.
In the 75th minute after Juninho won a free kick just outside the penalty area, Ishizaki let loose a curling shot that bounced off a defender and into the net for LA’s fourth goal of their 5-1 rout of the New England Revolution. The strike capped a performance that also featured a first half assist of Gyasi Zardes’ goal just before the 20 minute mark.
With his goal, Ishizaki has the distinction of scoring 50 percent of LA’s free kicks since David Beckham left the club as the Galaxy have scored just two goals off free kicks since the Englishman’s departure.
“That’s what I’ve kind of built my career on, my right foot. I have always been taking corners and free kicks,” said Ishizaki. “Recently, I’ve had a couple injuries in the past couple of years that kept me from practicing free kicks and now I feel fit and I feel good. I’ve been making a lot of free kicks in practice, so that gives you the confidence you need when you step up in games.”
The Galaxy will need that confidence heading into Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City, but before the team turns the page to Sporting, Ishizaki admits that the victory was a needed one for LA.
“We’ve been waiting on one of these games to really score a lot of goals,” he said. “We felt a little bit unlucky at times, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t go in you’ve not done well enough. So it was a good feeling today to get a couple in.”
With Omar Gonzalez likely absent, Leonardo targeting return to action against New England Revolution
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s 2014 regular season campaign is complete with several players who are enduring stop start seasons, and one of the names on that list is Brazilian center back Leonardo.
The 26-year-old Brazilian has been much maligned among Galaxy fans for his inconsistent play throughout the campaign, which has seen him make nine starts across 11 appearances. A start at the beginning of the year alongside Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo has not started since early June as Tommy Meyer has begun to cement his place along the back four.
However, Leonardo may be given a lifeline back into the starting XI on Wednesday with the Galaxy’s match against the New England Revolution which will be the team’s second match in a two week; five game swing.
“I think it’d be good for the group to rotate players. We want to have a full squad so that we can change if we need to. You don’t want players who are not playing over a long period and you want them to fight for an opportunity,” said Leonardo. “I feel good and Bruce [Arena] has told me that when I have an opportunity that I need to take it. I think that this will be my time to take the opportunity and show what I can do.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Stefan Ishizaki knows that the last few weeks haven't been his best and now the LA Galaxy's Swedish midfielder is looking to get back on the scoresheet.
The Swedish midfielder saw his four-game starting streak snapped on Saturday when he came on as a late substitute in the LA Galaxy's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. Despite making four consecutive starts, Ishizaki has seen his production decline after a strong start to the 2014 season with just one assist in his last five games and no goals since his tally against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 19.
Despite his recent frustrations, Ishizaki admits that he feels that things are starting to come together ahead of Wednesday's match against the New England Revolution.
"I feel really good," said Ishizaki. "I got to rest last game and I only played 15 minutes so I'm fresh and ready to go if Bruce wants me on Wednesday."
Thoughts on Ishizaki's start to the season?
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The 2014 FIFA World Cup has finally concluded, but as the old saying goes: we’ll always have the memories of a thrilling month of action in Brazil.
On Sunday night, I nominated my two breakout stars of the tournament on Twitter, but ESPN FC went into greater depths to offer the best moments of the month-long tournament in this stunning montage.
Just an FYI: the video may not be available abroad, but if you click this link then you should be able to see the clip.