In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's What to Watch For, I join Joe Tutino to break down the LA Galaxy's match against Real Salt Lake.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that “it was in everyone’s best interest” that Brazilian forward Samuel returned to Brazilian Serie A club Fluminense.
The Galaxy announced on Thursday that the club had terminated the loan of the 23-year-old who scored just a single goal in 10 appearances across all competitions for the Galaxy. Samuel is likely to receive considerable minutes upon returning to the Brazilian giants with incumbent starter Fred likely angling for a move after his stint with Selecao at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“It’s a good move for him. [Fluminense] had an interest in him coming back and we thought that it was an appropriate time to do that,” said Arena on Friday after the club's training session ahead of their match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. “He was a player that got better , but our style of play and our league is different and this was a new experience so it would have taken some time. At the same time, since the loan arrangement was only for one year, it would have taken him a year to make a [full] adjustment.
“At this point, it was probably in everyone’s best interest that he returned to Fluminense,” Arena added before mentioning that he was not surprised that the forward’s transition took as long as it did. “He was a really good guy who got better and we liked him. We’re sorry that it didn’t work out as quickly as we’d want, but it is not surprising. Sometimes the transitions can be quicker, but sometimes they take a little bit longer.”
With Samuel gone, the Galaxy boss said that the club is looking to make a move as they seek to contend for a fifth MLS Cup title.
“We’re looking to make an addition to our team at some point,” said Arena. “We do anything that we can to make our team better.”
There are just two games left in the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the action culminating on Sunday with the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina.
Ahead of the World Cup final and the third place game between Brazil and The Netherlands, check out ESPN FC's video of all the 167 goals scored in the tournament. If just five goals are scored in the last two games, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will set a tournament record for most goals scored.
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.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are throwing out the records when they take on the Portland Timbers on the Fourth of July.
Both the Galaxy (5-3-5) and Portland (4-5-8) have endured frustrating seasons that featured up-and-down form that has the two sides are currently outside the five Western Conference playoff places. For all the Timbers struggles, they still boast one of the league's most talented attacks that includes Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe and Fanedo Adi.
Against the Timbers, the Galaxy will look to extend their league unbeaten run to five games and build upon last Saturday's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
"[Portland Timbers] are a little bit of a tricky team to scout. If you watch them last week against Kansas City, they lost the game, but you see so many flashes of greatness which is what you saw last year," said Landon Donovan. "It's dangerous because they're a team that if they turn it on then they're a very good team and they can beat you. We don't know what we're going to get, but we expect a really good game."
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was immense as the United States were eliminated from the 2014 FIFA World Cup by Belgium in a 2-1 loss.
Making his second straight start for the Americans in central defense alongside Matt Besler, the U.S. defense held thanks to 16 saves by Tim Howard before conceding two extra time goals that sealed their fate. Following the match, the stat sheet was kind to the Galaxy defender who made a team-high 20 clearances as well as four interceptions and three blocked shots.
"What a battle. Belgium is no easy team to play against and it took a great effort to come back, especially in that extra time. Everyone was tired on both teams, but we never gave up and it’s something that we can really be proud of," sid Gonzalez. "I think that we can hold our heads up high. A lot of guys had great games tonight. We almost came back. We had a few great chances to get back and could have brought it to pks so I’m happy for my teammates and for myself.”
Although the result was a painful one, after the match Gonzalez admitted that the U.S. could hold their heads up high after the defeat.
“The energy is all about the passion for the game. It is something that is ingrained in the American spirit that we will never give up; we will never stop fighting,” said Gonzalez. “I really hope the fans across the world saw that today—that we never stop fighting.”
Despite all the heartbreak, Gonzalez and the rest of the U.S. were keenly aware about the way that the nation rallied around the team both in Brazil and back at home.
“I want to thank all the fans that made it out tonight [in Salvador]," he said. "The support, hearing the U.S. chant that late in the game was an unbelievable feeling and I know that the fans back at home were cheering their hearts out as well.”
You'd be hard pressed to get through the next few hours before the U.S. takes on Belgium without watching any number of intense World Cup hype videos.
For those that have had enough of the booming music and inspirational speeches, Kick TV's Jimmy Conrad offers a different take as he teams up with comedian WIll Ferrell for a light-hearted look at the World Cup.
Watch it above.
— Sean Dennison (@SeanDennisonMLS) July 1, 2014
The United States take on Belgium in the Round of 16 on Tuesday in a do-or-die match.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's "By The Numbers," we look into the USMNT's must-win game.
Check it out below.
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.”
STANFORD, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media after his team's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
(On the team finally rewarding their good performances with goals...)
ARENA: "We did that tonight. It wasn't an easy game. Obviously, it was a great atmosphere for the Earthquakes and for the league. Our guys did well, our young center backs did well defensively, and I think that overall, this was our best effort defensively as a team. This is a game that we deserved to win and we've been certainly pushing our group to perform like this. Great win."
(On the team's ability to bounce back from the Carolina RailHawks loss...)
ARENA: "The game in Carolina, I'm not sure it was a soccer game, whatever the heck that was. We have to accept the responsbility for the result."
(On Tommy Meyer and Kofi Opare...)
ARENA: "They have enough experience and they're primed to play...Tommy was outstanding, the best game of his career."
(On the midfield play...)
ARENA: "Good balance. I thought that Landon did a good job and I think the whole group. This is a night that we've been waiting for where you look around and call it a complete team effort. That's what I'm most pleased about.... We're going to have a tough game on Friday and hopefully, we'll be able to get the guys ready. It's been a tough couple of weeks with all the travel involved. Hopefully, we get them ready for next Friday."
Soccer has caught the attention of America over the past month and now MLS kicks back into full swing with a slate of games this weekend.
MLSsoccer.com gets you excited for the action with this hype video.