MLS Regular Season
The MLS Regular Season is upon us and before the start of the season, I'll be offering readers of LA Galaxy Insider, the chance to "Beat the Insider" in MLS Fantasy.
The rules of the game are simple as fans will simply need to make an entry in MLSsoccer.com's MLS Fantasy game and set their favorite team to Los Angeles Galaxy. By joining, you'll be entered into the club's supporters league and have a chance at a $200 dollar prize and as the season goes on, LAGalaxy.com will be providing additional prizes (think: jerseys, scarves and game tickets). Now, I'm a relative neophyte to Fantasy MLS, but I'll be taking this season seriously and will be providing fantasy MLS coverage throughout the 2014 season.
My team for the first week of the season is below.
Think that you've got what it takes to "Beat the Insider"? Be sure to join now.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s season opener is fast approaching and it appears that the team is rounding into fitness.
Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo (broken finger and abductor injury) and defender Todd Dunivant (hamstring injury) have returned to full training while Robbie Rogers (ankle injury) has begun running and according to head coach Bruce Arena will “be ready to go soon.”
Penedo had been dealing with a broken pinky finger prior to the team’s trip to Mexico, but during the team’s trip to face Pumas UNAM, the Panamanian goalkeeper suffered an abductor injury that caused him to miss the club’s next three preseason matches. However, the goalkeeper is bullish that he’ll be ready to suit up once the March 8 season opener against Real Salt Lake rolls around and possibly as soon as Saturday’s closed-door scrimmage against Minnesota United.
“I've been training in the gym [after the injury] but now I’m back with the team in training,” said Penedo. “The opener is the goal and we’re working for that, but we’ll see what happens this weekend.”
Another player who has returned to action is midfielder Stefan Ishizaki who has overcame a stomach illness that kept him bedridden for two days last week. Now with the season opener less than two weeks away, the Swede is hitting the gym to make up for lost time.
“Last week, it wasn't that good; I ate something bad and had to stay in bed for two days. I couldn’t train so that set me back. This week, I've done a lot of extra work and I’m feeling better,” said Ishizaki. “[The season opener] is almost two weeks away and I know that I can get a lot of extra work in during that time.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy added a new defender to their roster on Tuesday with the addition of veteran right back James Riley.
Following Tuesday's training session, head coach Bruce Arena stated that it was "safe to say" that Riley would be staying with the Galaxy after an impressive preseason, but the veteran defender went a step further stating that he put pen to paper just before heading out to training.
For the nine-year MLS veteran, the move to the Galaxy left him overjoyed.
“I'm ecstatic . It’s been a work in progress, but I came with that goal in mind and I put pen to paper [Tuesday] morning," said Riley. “But I need to continue to work and earn the trust of my teammates, the club, the coaches and the fans. That’s my objective.”
This preseason, Riley has made five preseason appearances, playing almost entirely at left back due a hamstring injury to first team regular Todd Dunivant.
“He’s having a good preseason with us. He’s made a good impression and it’s safe to say that we’re going to keep him,” said Arena. “He’s a veteran player who can play both sides of the field and I think that he’ll be a valuable player for us during the season.”
The Galaxy still have yet to make a decision with their other outside back trialist Dan Gargan, who remains with the club and is likely to sign if LA can fit his contract under the league’s salary cap.
“Still evaluating him,” said Arena. ‘He’s another player that is experienced. He’s had a few knocks over the last few weeks and we want to make sure that his fitness is good. We always have an exercise with the salary cap so we have to make sure that we can offer him a contract that keeps us compliant with the cap.”
Thoughts on the signing of Riley? Think LA will keep Gargan?
Share thoughts below.
Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes release broadcast talent and LA Galaxy TV schedule
The LA Galaxy will have a familiar voice on the call when Time Warner Cable SportsNet broadcasts games this season.
Veteran play-by-play man Joe Tutino, who has covered the Galaxy since 1997, will make his return to the television booth alongside color commentator and fellow LA legend Cobi Jones for the station's 21 televised matches this season. Tutino served as the radio “voice” of the Galaxy from 2003 to 2013 and held both television and radio play-by-play spots from 1999 to 2002. During the team’s inaugural season, Tutino served as the public address announcer at the Rose Bowl. They will be joined by sideline reporter Kelli Tennant who held the position during the 2013 season.
On the Time Warner Cable Deportes side, play-by-play man Samuel Jacobo, color commentator Martin Zúñiga, and sideline reporter Elmur Souza all return after working the 2013 season. Deportes will broadcast 16 Galaxy regular season games this season.
Also returning will be LA oriented programing like Backstage: Galaxy, Galaxy Confidencial, Galaxy Compacto, Timeless Galaxy, Access SportsNet: Galaxy and Tu Show Deportivo.
The complete Galaxy television schedule is below.
DAY DATE OPPONENT TIME (PT) TELEVISION
Saturday March 8 vs. Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Wednesday March 12 vs. Club Tijuana 7:00 p.m. Fox Soccer Plus
Tuesday March 18 at Club Tijuana 7:00 p.m. Fox Sports 2
Saturday March 22 at Real Salt Lake 1 p.m. NBCSN
Sunday April 6 at Chivas USA 12 p.m. TWCSN/UniMas
Saturday April 12 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Saturday April 19 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4:00 p.m. TWCSN/TWC
Saturday May 3 at Colorado Rapids 6 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Sunday May 11 at Portland Timbers 11:30 a.m. NBCSN
Saturday May 17 at Houston Dynamo 5:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Wednesday May 21 vs. FC Dallas 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Sunday May 25 vs. Philadelphia Union 5 p.m. TWCSN/UDN
Sunday June 1 at Chicago Fire 1:00 p.m. TWCSN/TWC
Sunday June 8 vs. Chivas USA 5 p.m. TWCSN/UDN
Saturday June 28 at San Jose Earthquakes 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Friday July 4 vs. Portland Timbers 8 p.m. NBCSN
Saturday July 12 vs. Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Wednesday July 16 vs. New England Revolution 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Saturday July 19 at Sporting Kansas City 3 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday July 26 at Seattle Sounders FC 7 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday August 2 vs. Portland Timbers 11:30 a.m. NBC
Friday August 8 vs. San Jose Earthquakes 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Saturday August 16 at Columbus Crew 4:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Wednesday August 20 at Colorado Rapids 6 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Saturday August 23 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Wednesday August 27 vs. DC United 7:30 pm TWCSN/TWCD
Sunday August 31 at Chivas USA 5 p.m. TWCSN/UDN
Friday September 5 vs. Colorado Rapids 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
Wednesday September 10 at Montreal Impact 4:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWC
Sunday September 14 at San Jose Earthquakes 12 p.m. TWCSN/UniMas
Saturday September 20 vs. FC Dallas 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWC
Sunday September 28 vs. New York Red Bulls 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Saturday October 4 vs. Toronto FC 7:30 p.m. TWCSN/TWCD
Sunday October 12 at FC Dallas 4 p.m. ESPN2
Sunday October 19 vs. Seattle Sounders FC 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Saturday October 25 at Seattle Sounders FC 11:30 a.m. NBC
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane will not be taking the field for the LA Galaxy in Saturday’s preseason friendly against FC Shirak, but his return is not too far off.
After undergoing offseason surgery on both of his Achilles, Keane has been reduced to jogging this offseason while his teammates train. However according to head coach Bruce Arena, he may return to training next week.
“We’re doing all the necessary things with him in a very conservative way. If Robbie had it his way, he’d probably be training now but we’re going to let him move along accordingly,” Arena told LAGalaxy.com. “We want to make sure that he’s not rushed back too soon. There’s no reason to believe that next week with a little more work and off, he’ll be ready to go at full speed the following week.”
Is MLS on the way to Miami?
Former LA Galaxy midfielder and world soccer legend David Beckham is set to deliver a special announcement on Wednesday on the state of a potential new expansion club in Miami, Florida.
Watch the announcement in the video below and feel free to comment on the proceedings.
CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan among those praising Toronto FC’s reported capture of star U.S. National Team midfielder Michael Bradley.
Although the deal has not yet been announced by MLS or Toronto FC, the widely reported transfer was confirmed by Bradley’s Italian club A.S. Roma on Thursday. Bradley is the latest U.S. National Team standout to return to MLS or elect to stay in the league and the highest profile returnee since Seattle Sounders FC’s signing of Clint Dempsey in August.
When asked about Bradley’s reported move, Donovan admitted that the return of the 26-year-old was “great” for Toronto FC, MLS and his national team teammate.
“I think that it’s a testament to our league that people want to come back and play here particularly six months before a World Cup,” said Donovan ahead of U.S. National Team training on Thursday.” It makes a strong statement, obviously, [Tim Leiweke] made it clear to him that it was something that he wanted, and Mike is a smart guy, I’m sure that he’s thought about this a lot and it’s something that he wants to do so I think that it is great.”
If any U.S. National Team player is familiar with Bradley’s current situation, it would be Donovan who made a high-profile return to MLS from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan then opted to extend his stay in MLS last summer when he inked a multi-year deal to stay with the Galaxy.
Although the moves of players like Bradley and Dempsey may be criticized, Donovan attests that the two players are simply “following their dreams” in a much improved MLS than the one the Galaxy forward returned to in 2005.
“The league is a lot better. The league is different because financially more stable, but in all ways, coaching is better, youth development is better, there’s more media, there’s more attention, everything is different and constantly changing,” said Donovan. “We always say that [MLS] is not where we want it to be, but when guys like Michael and Clint make decisions like that, when [Omar Gonzalez], Matt Besler, Graham Zusi make the decision to stay here when they could have gone abroad, it makes a big statement.
“The way that you make the league better is by having better players and certainly in the last six months, it has gotten two of our best [American] players back in the league.”
What do you think about the move?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. -- On Tuesday, the LA Galaxy made a splash adding Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Brazilian side Fluminense.
To learn a bit more about Samuel and his background with Fluminense, I spoke to Jack Lang, a noted Brazilian soccer specialist who has written about the nation's soccer culture for many publications including ESPN, Yahoo and Eurosport.
My conversation with Lang is below.
LA Galaxy Insider: How would you describe Samuel as a player? He tallied just 15 goals in 72 games for the club over a two year period.
LANG: He's a number nine who can lead the line alone or combine with a partner. Much was expected of him after he graduated from youth football, but he hasn't yet hit the heights – as his record illustrates. He did well coming into the Fluminense side as a relative unknown in 2012, netting a few goals, but things were trickier for him in 2013. When Brazil striker Fred picked up an injury midway near the start of the Brazilian season, Samuel was thrust into the frontline and expected to perform a similar role. But he never got to grips with the job, scoring just once after May.
Admittedly he wasn't starting week-in, week-out - but that further underlines the point that he didn't manage to make the position his own. Hopefully the move to LA Galaxy will help him rediscover his confidence and form.
LAGI: During the last year, he's been linked with a number of big clubs in Spain from Espanyol to Real Madrid B, do you feel like this interest may have hindered or aided his professional development?
LANG: It probably didn't help. Brazilian youngsters often have their heads turned by European interest early in their careers, so they begin to dream big before even establishing themselves. Some knuckle down but countless others have drifted into mediocrity on a wave of misplaced ambition. I don't know whether Samuel was one of the latter group, but you'd imagine he will have been brought back to earth by his middling form in 2013.
LAGI: The scuttlebutt on Samuel is that he's been described a talented player but one limited speed wise. Is this a fair assessment?
LANG: I would say so. He's certainly got attributes that will help him plunder goals: he has good anticipation, for instance, and is great in the air. He's also a tidy finisher with both feet. But he's certainly not going to win any prizes for pure athletics; he often looks a touch leaden-footed and isn't one to speed past his marker.
LAGI: Fluminense was nearly relegated a year ago after their poor showing, what's the current state of the club at the moment?
LANG: They had a turbulent 2013, to say the least. Champions in 2012 (their second title in three years), they looked to be ushering in a bright new era on the back of funding from medical insurance giant Unimed. They had invested in proven talent (Fred, Thiago Neves, Deco) new training facilities, while coach Abel Braga was making all the right noises about building a dynasty.
But things went awry. Braga was dismissed in July after five consecutive defeats. His replacement, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, also struggled, leading the side to just seven wins in 26 games. Fred's injury didn't help, while their once-solid defence went missing too often.
They were actually relegated in the final week of the season, only to earn a controversial reprieve in the courtroom. It turned out that Portuguesa had fielded an ineligible player in their last game, and the Brazilians sports tribunal saw fit to dock them just enough points to save Flu's skin. They may have retained their top-flight status, but the side Samuel is leaving behind is unlikely to be too popular among neutrals for the foreseeable future.
LAGI: Several Brazilian players are currently flourishing in MLS, what's the perception of the league in Brazil and the U.S. National Team?
LANG: It's still viewed as something of a novelty by some – a league with the financial power to lure players away (like Middle Eastern leagues often do) but not one with any great footballing gravitas. That's clearly a fairly outmoded view, especially as the MLS trumps the Brasileirão in many ways: bigger attendances (in the last few years at least), better organisation, more advanced commercial streams.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bolstered their forward corps on Tuesday with the addition of Brazilian forward Samuel on a year-long loan from Fluminense, but head coach and general manager Bruce Arena says LA won’t be stopping there.
While observing U.S. National Team practice, Arena caught up with reporters to discuss the signing of the new Brazilian target forward and without getting into any specifics, mentioned that LA hope to lock down the signature of another forward within the next two weeks.
“We’re going to follow up this week with probably another player who can play that position as well. We’re trying to shore up our target position,” said Arena.
The addition of a second target striker could be a boon for the Galaxy who lacked a significant physical presence up top in 2013 as only 19-year-old Homegrown forward Jack McBean provided a true target forward presence.
Thoughts on Arena’s comments?
Share them below.
It’s that time again when we make our resolutions for the New Year in hopes of making our lives just a little bit better.
To properly ring in what promises to be an eventful 2014, I decided to make a list of LA Galaxy New Year’s Resolutions. Now this list ranges from my own thoughts about what the team needs to a few other ideas on how to improve the team and MLS in the New Year.
* Build toward the future: continue to offer playing time to younger players like Jack McBean, Rafael Garcia and Greg Cochrane. One of the team’s greatest successes of 2013 was that head coach Bruce Arena afforded plenty of valuable game time to players like the three aforementioned youth. With international commitments and injuries likely to cause problems yet again, the Galaxy boss should continue his policy of giving time to emerging young talent.
*Deal with change: There will be some notable absences from the LA Galaxy roster in 2013, but none will be bigger than the departures of longtime right-sided player Sean Franklin—who was selected in Stage One of the MLS Re-Entry Process by D.C. United—and Jose Villarreal who was sent on a year-long loan with Cruz Azul. Both players were frequent contributors a year ago and will need to be replaced in the coming weeks.
*Allow Juninho to receive more responsibility in the attack especially on free kick situations. The Brazilian midfielder saw his offensive impact stunted in 2013, but he’ll be expected to carry more of the load next season especially on set piece opportunities.
*That being said, LA must show more resilience on defending set pieces and second ball opportunities to prevent the deficiencies that caused the club to fail last season. We've gone over this one many, many times.
*Find a new center forward to play alongside Robbie Keane to add a natural target striker to the Galaxy attack. During the club’s final media availability of 2013, Arena stated that finding this type of player was priority number one for LA ahead of the next campaign and with the transfer window open; the Galaxy will have the chance to get their man. With a target presence alongside Keane, Landon Donovan could transition back to the right midfield and offer greater width to the midfield.
*Build off what was learned in 2013: Continued production from Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo. LA’s two breakout stars in 2013 were Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo who became regular members of the Galaxy starting XI by season’s end, but production must continue to progress into 2014. For Sarvas, he’ll likely need cede some of his offensive responsibilities to his midfield partner Juninho and contain his physical exuberance that caused him to lead MLS in fouls committed last year. Meanwhile, Penedo must continue to progress as a goalkeeper and cut down on mistakes that led to goals down the stretch.
*More professional growth from Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Rogers. The two attackers experienced inconsistent seasons in 2013, but the New Year brings greater expectations for both to provide reliable contributions for LA. If the pair can develop into offensive weapons, LA may have an added attacking dimension—particularly on the flanks— that was sorely lacking last season.
*Be more successful: Make a strong run in the U.S. Open Cup. The LA Galaxy have gone out in the third round in the U.S. Open Cup to the Carolina RailHawks each of the last two years, but with no CONCACAF Champions League waiting for them in the fall, a long run in the Open Cup should be beneficial for the team to provide minutes to their entire roster. Also, winning the USOC will help place the team back into the CCL for the 2015-16 tournament.
*Continue see the LA Galaxy Academy grow and produce players who could become valuable members of the first team in the future. LA Academy forawrd Haji Wright garnered a lot of the headlines toward the end of the year, but LA’s academy teams are continuing to show promise in the form of players like Adonis Amaya, Jaime Villarreal and many others.
*Good health to Robbie Keane who is recovering from surgery on both of his Achilles as he looks to get ready for the preseason. The Galaxy are hoping to have their captain back to full health by the start of preseason, but what is most important is having him fit and ready for the start of the season and the all-important CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal against Club Tijuana in March.
*Travel More: Get off to a strong start against Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal and keep dreams of the FIFA Club World Cup alive. The LA Galaxy’s quest for continental glory begins in March as they host the first leg of the CCL quarterfinals against Club Tijuana. With a victory at home, the Galaxy will be in strong standing as they look to advance past Xolos and reach the CCL semifinals for a second consecutive year in front of a hostile crowd at Estadio Calliente.
*Prosperity for Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan as they look to make their World Cup dream come true. Both Galaxy Designated Players appear to be strong candidates to make U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but both will need to stay healthy and in form to ensure a place on the plane to Brazil. If they’re able to reach Brazil, the pair is likely to be in Klinsmann’s starting XI and can expect to be major contributors as the U.S. hopes to advance from Group G over the likes of Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Here’s hoping for more moments like this one from four years ago.
*New ventures for the coming year: New MLS Television deals. Southern California is spoiled with the great Galaxy coverage on the Time Warner SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, but in 2014, MLS will look to negotiate their new national television deals which will play a major role in the league’s growth going forward. More financial resources from national television partners can only help grow the league which hopes to be among the world’s best during the next decade.
*Continue to foster a connection with the readers of this blog and all content on LAGalaxy.com. What truly makes my job worthwhile is interacting with all of those that enjoy my work on the LA Galaxy Insider Blog and LAGalaxy.com, and in 2014, I hope to have greater interaction with you the readers so that we can place the type of content that you’re looking for on this space.
Happy New Year.