MLS Regular Season
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Landon Donovan is hanging up his boots at season’s end, but the long time U.S. international knows that MLS is in safe hands because of players like Colorado Rapids youngster Dillon Serna.
A favorite in youth soccer circles, Serna has enjoyed a strong first full season in MLS with three goals and three assists in 20 appearances for the Rapids. Serna's finest strike came in last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to D.C. United when the 20-year-old launched a 35-yard volley that sailed into the back of the United net.
Even though the U.S. Under-20 midfielder may not be old enough to drink, he has a fan in Donovan.
“He’s done well. It’s exciting for this league to have all sorts of young Homegrown Players do well,” Donovan told LA Galaxy Insider. “That’s the future of this league in my opinion and to see another one like him do well is very good. It’s very early for him and he still has a lot to prove, but he has done well.”
On this day in LA Galaxy history just six years ago, Bruce Arena was hired to be the Galaxy's head coach and general manager, forever changing the club's history.
The now 62-year-old Arena was hired amid a tumultuous 2008 campaign for the manager and his current team as the Galaxy as the team limped out of the gate with a 6-8-6 record under Ruud Guillit and interim head coach Cobi Jones before the former U.S national team head coach took the reins. Immediately after taking the helm, Arena's Galaxy went 8-13-9 to finish second to last in the Western Conference, but the club reached the Superliga final before falling to Mexican side Pachuca in penalties.
By the 2009 campaign, Arena had reshaped the Galaxy by drafting Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza and acquiring goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts who all helped lead the team to the MLS Cup final where they fell in penalties to Real Salt Lake. For Arena's role in reshaping the Galaxy from laughingstock to MLS Cup contender, the LA boss was awarded the MLS Coach of the Year Award.
Since that 2009 season, the Galaxy have won two MLS Cups, two Supporters' Shields and reached the Western Conference Final each year except two with Arena at the helm. During his time with the Galaxy, Arena has gone 91-51-51 in regular season play and 13-4-2 in the postseason as well as 2-1 in MLS Cup matches.
Arena's success with the Galaxy has helped bolster the legacy of a head coach that is already widely considered the best American coach ever. Overall, Arena has a 60 percent winning percentage in 331 games coached which is the highest winning percentage among coaches with 50 or more games coached. The Galaxy boss' 72.5 percent winning percentage in the postseason is also a league record.
In terms of total regular season wins, Arena is second in MLS history with 168 victories which is behind only Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. But despite being second in regular season victories, Arena is first all-time in playoff victories which 27 which is four better than Schmid's mark.
Interesting side note, Arena is fourth in all-time career winning percentage among MLS head coaches to have ever coached in the league. Tied for first is former Galaxy assistant Ralph Perez who won his only game as a head coach when Los Angeles defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in June 1999.
With Robbie Rogers on the mend, left back Todd Dunivant aiming to return to the LA Galaxy starting lineup
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Veteran left back Todd Dunivant made his first MLS appearance since April during the LA Galaxy's 4-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew last Saturday and now he may be in line to start Wednesday’s clash with the Colorado Rapids.
Incumbent left back Robbie Rogers started the match against the Crew despite suffering a quadriceps injury earlier in the week, but was forced to exit the defeat midway through the second half. After Rogers’ injury, the Galaxy switched to a 3-5-2 formation as they looked to erase a one goal deficit, but after falling behind 4-1 in the 84th minute, Dunivant was inserted into the match.
The minutes were the first for Dunivant since the left back suffered an abdominal tear in April. Dunivant has been in full training since early August and recently went nearly 80 minutes for LA Galaxy II on Aug. 9.
“It wasn’t the best circumstances [to return] because we’re down three goals, but it was great to get back on the field and get some minutes,” Dunivant told LA Galaxy Insider at training at Ohio State on Monday. “It’s not easy as a defender to get minutes because there’s not a lot of circumstances where it makes sense to insert a defender so I was happy to be on the field, but it would have been nice if the score was the other way around.”
With Rogers admittedly “day to day,” Dunivant may have a chance to make his first start against the Rapids on Wednesday where the Colorado native is expected to have more than 80 friends and family in attendance.
Although the 33-year-old admits that he’d be overjoyed to return to the field, he knows the decision will ultimately be made by head coach Bruce Arena.
“It’s a great opportunity, but we’ll see what Bruce decides. I’m definitely ready to go and I’m anxious to get back on the field,” said Dunivant. “We’ve been on a great run and I want to be able to contribute to that.”
If both players are healthy, who should get the start at left back: Todd Dunivant or Robbie Rogers?
Share your thoughts below.
A.J. DeLaGarza insists that staying on the road could benefit the LA Galaxy as they look to overcome Crew loss
COLUMBUS, Ohio— Typically after a road match, the LA Galaxy immediately return to Southern California, but this time around the script has been flipped.
The Galaxy fell 4-1 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday in their worst defeat of the 2014 regular season. LA suffered their biggest margin of defeat, but rather than fly cross-country to return home, the club will remain in Columbus for two days before heading to Colorado for Wednesday’s clash with the Rapids.
Following the team’s crushing defeat, there was understandable concern that the loss may put a damper on the Galaxy’s week-long road trip, but defender A.J. DeLaGarza insists that the opposite is true.
“We can’t let this loss linger. We have a game in a couple of days and it might be good for us all to be together. We get to all go through this together and not just head home [separately],” he said. “We’re going to go have dinner together and do whatever we can to get the morale back up so that we don’t let this game affect us for the rest of the season.”
Galaxy captain Robbie Keane agreed that LA will need to put the loss behind them quickly ahead of Wednesday’s match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“The good thing about the season is that there is always a game around the corner,” Keane said. “We have a game on Wednesday and have to pick ourselves up fairly quickly…let’s see what we’re made of [against the Rapids].”
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The LA Galaxy suffered their worst defeat of the season, but the club received a silver lining as Gyasi Zardes continued his torrid scoring streak.
Zardes scored in the 49th minute of the Galaxy’s 4-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew to bring his goal total to 10 on the season. The 22-year-old second-year forward has now scored in four straight matches to go with nine goals in his last 10 games.
“It’s my teammates, definitely. It’s not just me,” Zardes said of his scoring streak after the match. “It’s the whole combination of play and when we combine I just make that hard run into the box and my teammates just put it right there on my foot and I just put it on frame.”
Despite adding to his scoring goal run, Zardes was unlucky not to add a second in the 83rd minute. With the Galaxy down 3-1, Zardes was unable to get to a Robbie Keane pass that had the forward alone in front of an empty net.
“There were various times in the game when we had opportunities,” Zardes said. “The only difference is they put away their opportunities as opposed to us.”
Although Zardes kept up his scoring streak, don’t expect him to celebrate or dwell on the defeat to the Crew—he’s already set his sights on Wednesday’s match against the Colorado Rapids.
“We are definitely forgetting about this game and just working hard to prepare for Wednesday,” said Zardes.
Robbie Rogers says he's "day to day" after quad injury forces him from LA Galaxy defeat to Columbus Crew
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's safe to say that this wasn't the Ohio homecoming that Robbie Rogers was expecting.
In his first match against his former club, Rogers was forced to exit in the 64th minute as the Galaxy fell 4-1 in their worst loss of the MLS season. Feeling the effects of a quad injury that he suffered in training on Wednesday, Rogers was forced to leave midway through the second half which led the Galaxy to play three defenders in the back, a move that ultimately resulted in two unanswered goals by Columbus.
"I felt good in the first half, but in the second half I couldn’t play anymore," Rogers said. "I couldn’t move. It’s kind of why I was just sitting back," said I had to go out. I tried to play through that injury. It was effecting too much of the way I was playing. I couldn’t cover ground so I had to take myself out, unfortunately."
Rogers referred his injury status as "day to day" and noted that it is not expected to be a long term thing as he looks to recover in time for Wednesday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
But even though he's hopeful that he can return Wednesday, Rogers was frustrated about his return to Ohio.
"It’s a 4-1 loss. I don’t think we matched their intensity. I don’t think we stepped to press the ball. I don’t think we finished our chances when we created them," he said. "Overall, it’s a really disappointing night because I came back here and obviously you want to beat your friends. I was really disappointed."
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The LA Galaxy fell 4-1 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening.
Following the match, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed reporters.
His thoughts are below.
(On the Crew's performance in the victory...)
ARENA: "[Federico] Higuain had a very good game tonight. His passing was good and their movement was good. In the first half, they clearly out played us and their passing and finishing was better on the night. There were a lot of goals for us tonight, but our passing and finishing was poor. We had opportunities to do a better job getting around the goal and we didn't do it. A lot of the basics, we got beat on tonight. Give them credit."
(On Gyasi Zardes' goal...)
ARENA: "We're going to have a party once we get back to the hotel. No, give him credit, it was a good goal and he probably should have had another one."
(On facing Gregg Berhalter...)
ARENA: "He did a great job. He has a great future in the coaching profession."
(On the Crew honoring Landon...)
ARENA: "I think it is very nice. Landon has had a great career and to be recognized in these markets we go into, it is tremendous. Hopefully, the results don’t all end up like they did tonight, but It was a tremendous gesture on behalf of the Crew. We are very grateful for that."
(On if the pregame ceremony was a distraction...)
ARENA: "It’s going to be happening every time. It certainly looked distracting tonight."
(On Clark’s performance...)
ARENA: "He played well and made some big saves. Our finishing was pretty poor and I remember two or three good saves on Robbie [Keane]. On the night, we were pretty poor on finishing. To his credit, the goal he conceded was a very good finish. He was pretty solid. It was a good game."
On if he was surprised by the Crew’s performance:
I think they are better commenting on it than I am. They probably played their best game of the year. They played very well. You have to give them a lot of credit. We knew it would be a good game. I kind of liked the game that I saw. I thought it was a game that was perfectly suited for our team, but we came up short.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The LA Galaxy will hope to start their two-game road trip in a winning way on Saturday when they take on the Columbus Crew at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Below are a series of links, matchups to watch and a predicted score of the match.
*The match against the Crew will mark the start of a week-long road trip for the Galaxy that the club hopes will foster the type of bonding that will strength the club down the stretch run.
*Retiring Galaxy star Landon Donovan will be honored prior to Saturday's match at Columbus Crew Stadium. Marvelous at the venue for the U.S. national team, will he be able to score his first goal at Crew Stadium in a Galaxy uniform?
*Former Columbus midfielder Robbie Rogers admits that it will be "weird" to return to Crew Stadium for the first time since returning to MLS last year.
*New Galaxy acquisition Alan Gordon has traveled with the club to Columbus, but will the target forward make the impact that he's hoping to in his second stint with LA?
*Lastly, LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan provides a preview of the match that focuses on the Galaxy taking on former teammate turned Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Juninho vs. Fredrico Higuain
Perhaps the most important matchup of the evening, Juninho -- and midfielder Marcelo Sarvas -- must be mindful of the dynamic Argentine who will seek to pull the LA midfielder out of position and create offense for the attack-minded Crew.
Gyasi Zardes vs. Michael Parkhurst
A battle of blistering speed and intelligent defensive positioning. Look for Zardes to attack Parkhurst early and often as he works in tandem with Robbie Keane to create space in the Columbus defensive end.
WHAT THEY SAID:
"It’s going to be an interesting matchup for us. They like to throw a lot of numbers into the attack and we like to as well. It’ll be important for us to maintain a good shape defensively and pick our spot where we can go at them." - Galaxy right back Dan Gargan on LA's game plan against the Crew.
LA Galaxy 2 (Zardes and Donovan) Columbus Crew 1 (Higuain)
LA Galaxy II player-assistant coach Laurent Courtois is retiring from professional soccer.
Courtois, 35, confirmed to LA Galaxy Insider on Friday that he has retired from soccer in order to focus on a career in coaching. The player-coach announced via Instagram earlier in the week, that he'll be returning to France as he seeks to earn his coaching credentials from the French Football Federation.
In 2014, Courtois made 11 appearances for Los Dos while tallying two goals for the Galaxy's USL PRO affiliate.
"It has been an honor to play for a great club like the LA Galaxy over the past year," Courtois told LA Galaxy Insider on Friday.
Courtois hangs up his boots after an 16-year career that included stops in the top leagues in England, Spain, France and the United States. During his time as a professional, the Lyon Academy product played for such clubs as Ajaccio, Tolouse, West Ham United, Levante, and the LA Galaxy.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's clash with the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
Check it out below.