MLS Regular Season
It's week two of the MLS season and even though the LA Galaxy will not be playing, MLS Fantasy participants will be keeping a close eye on the action.
In my first week, "The LA Galaxy Insider" fantasy team finished with a total of 52 points in what was a disappointing week, but according to MLS Fantasy guru Ben Jata, just above average. Thanks to the Galaxy's scoreless performance against Real Salt Lake and zero points from starting midfielder Oriol Rosell, my team managed only 54 points and finished the week ranked No. 267 in the Los Angeles Galaxy group. The showing could have been even worse if it wasn't for 12 points from Chivas USA midfielder Mauro Rosales and 11 points from FC Dallas forward Blas Perez.
Betting heavily on LA wasn't the only issue for my team in week one as I also selected two players from the New England Revolution, who were demolished 4-0 by the Houston Dynamo in week one.
My performance from the first week is below.
Well, out with the old and in with the new.
With the Galaxy on a bye this week, my two transfers were to remove Robbie Keane and Juninho from the starting lineup, while I replaced A.J. DeLaGarza with Houston Dynamo full back Kofi Sarkodie. To replace Keane, I opted for Dynamo forward Will Bruin, who tallied 15 points in week one with two goals and one assist. Bruin and Sarkodie appear to be safe selections as the Dynamo prepare to take on a Montreal side that is coming off a 3-2 defeat to FC Dallas. In that defeat, the Impact struggled to contain Perez, making Bruin a safe play heading into the second week of the season.
Meanwhile, Juninho was switched out for new Vancouver Whitecaps FC Designated Player Pedro Morales who takes on Chivas USA at StubHub Center on Sunday after scoring a goal and an assist in a substitute performance during Vancouver's 4-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls. Although the Rojiblancos were victorious on a late goal last week, they were frequently tested by the Chicago Fire attack and should be pressured early and often by a Vancouver offense that smashed the defending Supporters' Shield winning Red Bulls last week. If needing some punch in your attack, signing Morales appears to be a safe option as he is likely to be in the starting lineup against Chivas.
My team for the second week of MLS Fantasy is below.
What changes are you making to your lineup? What position are you in at the moment?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s comments from the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
(On his general thoughts from the game…)
ARENA: “Obviously a disappointing result, but I thought that it was a good game between two good teams. They made the most of their opportunities but we had a couple of good chances as well. I think Rimando was outstanding and certainly saving the penalty in extra time was outstanding and the play of the game. We could have got a goal or two tonight, but I think that both teams played pretty well.”
ARENA: “Samuel had a good night, I thought. His first game in the league and I thought that he worked really hard. I was surprised that he went as long as he did and was as strong as he was on the evening. I’m encouraged by his effort.”
(On James Riley’s play…)
ARENA: “James played well. He’s a good player; we discovered that early in camp. He’s going to be a valuable member of our team this year.”
(On whether the team wasted chances like they did in 2013…)
ARENA: “It was a 1-0 game. They had some good chances, but we did as well. We didn’t finish any of our chances and with the penalty at the end of the game, what more can you say? Those are wasted chances. We should have gotten at least a point out of this game.”
(On Penedo’s play…)
ARENA: “Jaime played well. The two goalkeepers were outstanding tonight.”
(On what the Galaxy did well…)
ARENA: “For the most part, we defended pretty well. At times, our passing was quick and sharp but at other times, it was not. In the first half… there were good chances and there was good ball movement and for the most part, the play was pretty solid. You could see at the end of the game that a couple of our players hit the wall and that we needed to have more energy.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The MLS season may have just started, but LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo is already in midseason form.
Check out his impressive stops that he made during the first half of LA's season opener with RSL below.
LA Galaxy's Bruce Arena and James Riley weigh in on MLS opening up the season with replacement referees
CARSON, Calif. – MLS will begin the 2014 MLS Regular Season without its usual referee crews as replacements will be taking over the officiating duties for opening weekend.
On Friday, the Professional Referee Organization announced that it will lock out its officials after the Professional Soccer Referees Association had rejected a no strike/no lockout agreement. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two sides for several months as they seek to reach their first Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, like all other teams playing in opening weekend, will be affected as they saw their referee assignment changed from 2012 MLS Referee of the Year Silviu Petrescu to veteran CONCACAF official Javier Santos. A member of FIFA Puerto Rico, the Colombian official was an official during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2013 CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying tournament in Mexico. Santos has also gained substantial experience in the CONCACAF Champions League in the last three years, officiating over eight CONCACAF Champions League matches and even served as the fourth official for LA’s 4-0 loss to Isidro Metapán in CCL group play last year.
Although the men in the yellow shirts will be different, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena believes that his team and the rest of the clubs in MLS are prepared for the replacement officials.
“We’ve been aware of it. The referee is going to be the same for both teams. Hopefully they’re all prepared to do their job and we get on with it,” said Arena. “In all fairness, players have to adjust more than the referee. The referee is going to have a style of play and he’s not going to be fully informed on the qualities of MLS. He’s going to referee the way that he’s always refereed and we’re going to have to adjust quickly.”
Veteran defender James Riley, who is expected to start on the left side of defense on Saturday, agrees.
“We just have to control what we can control and not worry about who is assigned to the game, but just go out and do what we can do,” said Riley. “The cadence and rhythm are a bit different. He may call things a bit differently, but I’m sure that he’ll get direction on how the game should be called and he’ll use his ability to do so. We won’t think too much about it and just hope that there is a speedy resolution.
“I think the referees overall do a fantastic job and that’s a very difficult position,” Riley continued. “They’ve been criticized a lot over the years since I’ve been in the league. We know that they’re an integral part of this game and we want it to get better. We want the overall product both on and off the field to get better and they have a significant role in that. We as players support a quick resolution, but the season is going to go on and that’s the reality of it.”
Ahead of the start of the 2014 MLS Regular Season, Landon Donovan spoke to "The Sports Dude" Jeff Garcia of Hip Hop radio station Power 106 to preview the year and provide a little insight into his life.
The interview has six parts, but you can see the first where Donovan previews the upcoming season below.
PART TWO: Donovan on the USMNT's World Cup draw.
PART THREE: Donovan on his relationship with Mexican soccer fans.
Some league season previews are informative, some are a bit stale, but this video preview by MLSsoccer.com may be just right.
In an interestingly presented video, MLSsoccer.com previews the LA Galaxy's 2014 campaign in a very creative way full of headlines and colorful graphics.
Check it out below.
We know what jerseys that the LA Galaxy will be wearing once the season starts on Saturday, but now we have details on shorts and socks.
On the shorts, we see the familiar Adidas three stripes as well as the blue and gold lining, but also the leticular crest that is present on the primary kit. Meanwhile, the socks provide a retro feel that takes me back to my AYSO days.
Full disclosure, I have to say that the socks may be my favorite touch of the kit so don't be surprised if you stop me on the StubHub Center concourse and find out that I'm wearing them under one of my blue suits.
Check it out below.
The shorts and socks together
The LA Galaxy crest
LA Galaxy jersey socks
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s roster is pretty much set heading into the season opener against Real Salt Lake, but one question mark remains.
Trialist Dan Gargan has been with the team since the start of the preseason, but as of yet, there has been no word about a contract offer from the Galaxy. But that doesn’t mean that LA isn’t interested according to head coach Bruce Arena.
“We’re going to try,” said Bruce Arena when asked about if the team is planning to sign the 31-year-old defender.
Outside back depth is vital for LA at the moment as the club dispatched youngsters Bryan Gaul (waived) and Greg Cochrane (traded to Chicago) in recent weeks.
RILEY EXPECTING TO START IN DEFENSE
While Gargan’s status is still up in the air, the newest member of the LA Galaxy, James Riley is expecting to get the start at left back this Saturday against Real Salt Lake due to an injury to Todd Dunivant.
Riley has seen significant time this preseason at left back due to Dunivant’s nagging hamstring injury and is likely to get the nod against RSL.
“I’ll be ready to go,” said Riley. “Whatever Bruce decides, I feel fit and ready to go.”
Dunivant is improving rapidly; however, as the veteran left back went 45 minutes in a recent scrimmage with LA Galaxy II against Cal-State Fullerton as he seeks to be available for selection for Saturday.
“I’m ready to be available,” said Dunivant. “It’s a good guess [that Riley starts]. I’m still working on [being 90 minutes fit], but first thing is first is getting healthy and I’m moving forward.”
ARENA ADMITS EXPERIENCE RULES ALL AS SEASON OPENER APPROACHES
The LA Galaxy’s new found experience has been a major plot line this preseason and on Thursday, head coach Bruce Arena went into detail about how he expects the team to be different during the 2014 campaign.
“I think the priorities were addressed with the new players,” said Arena. “We needed more experience in midfield; we got that with [Stefan] Ishizaki. We needed some help on our forward line, and we got that with Samuel and [Rob] Friend. We needed some experienced players in the back; we have that now with [James] Riley. Obviously [Baggio] Hušidić is another experienced player in the midfield as well. I think that’s what we needed to address. This year, we’re looking at Friend or Samuel or Hušidić or Riley or [Dan] Gargan or Ishizaki. Last year it was [Jack] McBean, [Jose] Villarreal, [Hector] Jimenez, and [Rafael] Garcia, I think that’s an improvement.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan will have the MLS all-time regular season goal scoring record, it's just a matter of time.
On Saturday in the LA Galaxy's MLS season opener against Real Salt Lake, Donovan will resume his hunt for the MLS all-time regular season goal scoring record and ahead of his quest, I spoke to the Galaxy star about his feelings about the record.
It's MLS preview season and the latest of interest is this funny -- and informative -- exchange between Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman for their "Big Head Red Head" feature on ESPNFC.com.
Check it out below.