MLS Regular Season
Everyone knows about Landon Donovan's famous habit of kissing his wrists before each penalty, but there is another ritual that the LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team star is infamous for that takes place before each and every game.
Since joining the Galaxy, Donovan has preformed the ritual -- which he claims isn't necessary, but has been performed in every game since 2005 -- which involves him taking a drink of water from a Gatorade bottle before spraying both head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra and assistant athletic trainer Kurt Andrews in the face.
"It kind of gets the training staff a little bit fired up and prepared for the game and hopefully makes them feel a little bit part of what's going on," Donovan told the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter. "They're a part of what we do, and we want to make them feel involved."
Added Andrews, " "It's a bond, We as a staff spend a lot of time with him. I could see it as an honor, for sure."
The complete story on Landon Donovan's pregame ritual can be found here on the Los Angeles Times website.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza was awarded the 2014 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year award on Tuesday according to a league release.
DeLaGarza, who is heavily involved in the LA Galaxy Foundation's charitable works, drew considerable attention this season due to the passing of his newborn son Luca and his substantial involvement with the heart ward at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The 27-year-old is the first-ever Galaxy player to receive the award.
A complete release about DeLaGarza's award can be found here.
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez finished third in the 2014 MLS Defender of the Year voting as Seattle Sounders FC center back Chad Marshall took home the top honors.
Marshall finished ahead of D.C. United central defender Bobby Boswell who led both the media and club voting, but the Sounders defender's advantage in the player voting were enough to give him the Defender of the Year. The award is an unprecedented third for Marshall who won the honor twice in 2008 and 2009 while with the Columbus Crew.
Gonzalez was nominated for the league's top honor despite A.J. DeLaGarza winning the team's honor which is voted on by local media.
LA Galaxy with the most conference final appearances since 1996 across all major U.S. professional sports
By advancing to the Conference Championship this season, the LA Galaxy will be returning to the Conference Final for the 13th time since the league's inception in 1996. While that is a record in MLS, just where does it stack up in other leagues? Well, according to Elias Sports Bureau, it measures quite favorably.
Since 1996, the Galaxy's mark is highest among the top U.S. professional sports leagues ranking higher than the MLB's New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals' mark with 10, the NFL's New England Patriots record of nine, the NBA's San Antonio Spurs' total of nine, and the NHL's Detroit Red Wings' record of six.
In addition to stacking up well nationally, the Galaxy's conference finals appearances are the highest marks locally, eclipsing the Los Angeles Lakers' record of eight "final four" appearances since 1996.
— Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey) November 19, 2014
The 2014 MLS dispersal draft came and went with the LA Galaxy opting to make no picks with the 16th overall selection.
Despite having the option to select any former players from Chivas USA, the Galaxy opted to pass with their choice in the draft.
With the top selection in the draft, FC Dallas selected former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year candidate Dan Kennedy who was one of seven picks. Also selected were Matthew Dunn (NYCFC), Thomas McNamara (D.C. United), Donny Toia (Montreal Impact), Caleb Calvert (Colorado Rapids), Kristopher Tyrpak (San Jose Earthquakes), and Marco Delgado (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Robbie Keane returns from international duty fit for Western Conference Championship clash with Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy welcomed back captain Robbie Keane from international duty on Tuesday ahead of this weekend's Western Conference Championship first leg clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
Keane spent the last week with the Republic of Ireland and saw limited second half action in their 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland last Friday. The match was the first time that Keane had been left on the substitute’s bench for a competitive international match in 13 years.
“I was disappointed with the result which wasn’t what [the Irish squad] wanted, but I move on and I’m fully focused on the game on Sunday,” Keane said on Tuesday following the team’s training session. “[Coming back early] gives me six days to get back into the swing of things for Sunday after the travel back from Europe.”
The 34-year-old noted that conversations between the Galaxy coaching staff and the Republic of Ireland allowed Keane to miss out on their 4-1 defeat over the United States on Tuesday. Not only does Keane’s return aid in his preparation for the Sounders match, but the Irish striker notes that he is “90-ish percent” back from a left hamstring ailment that plagued him for the last month.
Keane returns to a Galaxy squad that is the midst of their preparations for their clash with a Seattle side that clinched the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the Galaxy on Oct. 25 at CenturyLink Field. Although the Galaxy felt the sting of that defeat after the Seattle match, Keane says that loss will have no impact on what happens on Sunday at StubHub Center.
“There’s no fear. You can’t have fear going into game like this. These are the games that you want to be playing in,” Keane said. “We can’t change about what happened in the past, but we can change what will happen on Sunday. We have to make sure that we go into the game with the right mentality and not thinking that is revenge.
“This is where we wanted to be. We wanted to have a chance to play for a championship and we have every opportunity to do so.”
The MLS Playoffs are in full swing but at the college level, the postseason has only just begun with the start of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament this week.
Local power house UCLA were awarded the No. 2 seed in the tournament earlier this weekend. The Bruins boast a considerable contingent of former LA Galaxy Academy players including goalkeepers Juan Cervantes and Alex Padilla, forward Christian Chavez, defenders Nathan Smith and Javan Torre and midfielders Grady Howe, Brian Iloski and Willie Raygoza. UCLA open up the tournament on Nov. 23 at Drake Stadium in Westwood.
UCLA will play the winner of the first round match between Cal-State Fullerton and University of San Diego which will take place on Nov. 20 at Torero Stadium in San Diego The Big West tournament champion Titans feature four former Galaxy Academy players (midfielder Mark Vasquez, Spencer Johnson, midfielder Ritchie Gonzalez and forward Dyllan Stevens).
On the other side of the bracket, former Galaxy Academy defender Matthew Tilley and UC Irvine will open the tournament at home at Anteater Stadium against UNLV. If the Anteaters defeat the Runnin’ Rebels then they will travel to Palo Alto to face Pac-12 tournament champion Stanford in Palo Alto.
Landon Donovan is used to being nominated for awards based on his skill on the soccer field, but on Tuesday, the U.S. soccer legend was nominated for an award for his acting prowess.
Univision Deportes nominated Donovan for Best Artistic Performance by an Athlete, based on his portrayal in a commercial in their annual Premio Univision Deportes (Univision Deportes Awards). Donovan is nominated for his infamous "Always in the Game" advert with EA Sports.
Fans can vote once a day here until Sunday, Dec. 14 at 8:59 p.m. PT. The winners will be announced on UniMas on Dec. 18 at 6:00 p.m. PT.
Kevin Stott to ref the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship first leg with Seattle Sounders FC
The Professional Referee Organization announced on Monday that veteran official Kevin Stott will preside over Sunday’s Western Conference Championship first leg between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC.
This season, Stott called an average of 24.25 fouls per game (388 in all) while awarding a total of 42 yellow cards (2.6 per game), three red cards and calling for nine penalty kicks. The 47-year-old refereed three Galaxy games (Sept 14 v. FC Dallas, Aug. 27 v. D.C. United and Aug. 2 vs. Portland) this season and one match involving the Sounders (Sept. 12 vs. Real Salt Lake).
LA hold a 10-0-0 record in the last 10 games with Stott officiating—a list that includes playoff victories against San Jose in 2012 and Real Salt Lake in 2013—while Seattle are 5-1-4.
The refereeing team for Sunday’s match is below.
REFEREE: KEVIN STOTT
AR1: Adam Wienckowski
AR2: Greg Barkey
4TH: Ricardo Salazar