WATCH: My Insider Breakdown of the Western Conference Championship between the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC
In my latest edition of "Insider Breakdown," I look at the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Championship first leg against Seattle Sounders FC
Check it out above.
Omar Gonzalez among three LA Galaxy players on yellow card watch heading into Seattle Sounders FC match
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are heading into their Western Conference Championship series with Seattle Sounders FC with a boatload of confidence after the way that they dispatched Real Salt Lake, but three players will need to be cautious heading into the first leg.
Landon Donovan, Robbie Rogers, and Omar Gonzalez are both on yellow card watch heading into Sunday’s first leg. Should either of the three earn a caution from referee Kevin Stott, they will miss out on next week’s second leg at CenturyLink Field. It bears mentioning, however, that no player can be suspended for MLS Cup based on yellow card accumulation.
While Donovan and Rogers are at risk, Gonzalez faces a particular challenge as he looks to avoid a yellow card and mark dynamic strikers Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey.
“I have to be very smart with how I defend and how aggressive I am,” said Gonzalez. “But having said that, I have to leave it all on the field and not worry about the referees or about anything out of my control. I have to worry about how I show up, how I approach the game and how focused I am over 90 minutes."
Robbie Keane says Gyasi Zardes must get back to basics if he's going to score against Seattle Sounders FC
CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes took MLS by storm with 16 goals in his second season with the LA Galaxy, but since finding the back of the net on Sept. 28, the forward has been silent.
Recently, Zardes has seen his amount of chances dwindle from an average of just over a shot on goal per game after the New York Red Bulls match to just two chances in the entirety of his six-game scoring drought.
Although the 23-year-old forward has failed to bury his chances as of late, his strike partner, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane says Zardes must get back to basics if he’s going to find the back of the net against Seattle Sounders FC this weekend.
“He has to get back to understanding what got him here in the first place. The most important thing that he has to understand is to be a team player first. If you’re a team player first then everything else will take care of itself,” Keane said after training earlier this week. “He needs to get back to what he’s good at, which is getting behind the defense and creating opportunities. But when he gets those opportunities then he has to take them and in the last few games, he hasn’t. He needs to get back to that.
“Like any striker, you always go through stages where you don’t score and it plays in your mind. The most important thing is that he has to get that out of his head fairly quickly, because when you’re going into games thinking that you haven’t scored for a while, it’ll work against you. One thing that I would say is that when you get an opportunity, rather than be clever and try to place it, sometimes just put your foot through and try to smash it. Usually that has worked for me over the years when I haven’t scored in a few games.”
To his credit, Zardes agrees that if he’s going to find the back of the net in LA’s Western Conference Championship series, he has to be sharper in front of the net
“To be honest, I’m working extremely hard and there are numerous opportunities, but I'm just going to keep doing the same things that I've been doing. I've been unlucky, but the [chances] are there,” said Zardes. “I just think that I have to get on the end of crosses because if you look at my goals, they typically come with solid link-up play with Robbie.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Way back in July, the LA Galaxy were walloped 7-0 by Manchester United in the Chevrolet FC Cup at the Rose Bowl. Although the match meant nothing in the MLS regular season standings, a certain segment of the Galaxy believe that the "embarrassment" from that win helped propel the club to the Western Conference Championship.
In front of droves of fans at the Rose Bowl, the Galaxy fell flat to a fierce United side that made quick work of LA's defense, particularly once the home side's first team was off the field. But since that defeat, LA has been a much different squad
Starting with a 3-0 domination of the very same Seattle Sounders FC team that they'll face on Sunday, the Galaxy have gone an impressive 10-3-4 since their defeat to the English Premier League club.
"It was embarrassing and we just turned a corner," said A.J. DeLaGarza. "Every year there is a game that turns everything around...it happened to Omar [Gonzalez] and I in college, it happens to us here."
Added Landon Donovan, "We don't put much stock into the final score, but we didn't play well. When we play well and lose then we can live with that and Bruce [Arena] can live with that. But when we lose and don't play well then that is unacceptable."
But Robbie Keane, who famously said that the defeat to Manchester United was a "kick in the ass" for the Galaxy, said that the match had no impact on his own thinking about LA's season.
"I literally haven't thought about Manchester United since that game," said Keane. "I don't pay any mind to preseason games, and it's even less when it's not our own preseason."
In the latest edition of the LA Galaxy TV's Top Five, I look at the best Galaxy postseason performances.
Check it out above and comment in the section below.
In the latest edition of my Top Five lists of LA Galaxy playoff moments, I look at Landon Donovan's best moments.
Check out the video above and provide your thoughts on the list below.
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)
Brazilian center back Leonardo is expected to be a “candidate to play” in the Western Conference Championship first leg against Seattle Sounders FC according to LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, but that does not mean that the defender will be in the starting XI come Sunday.
The 26-year-old defender left Galaxy’s 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in their Western Conference Semifinal second leg with a right hamstring strain that has prevented him from training with the club since. However, following training on Tuesday, Arena noted that Leonardo and fellow injured defenders Todd Dunivant (groin) and James Riley “are candidates to play” on Sunday.
But despite his initial optimism, Arena did state that the unpredictability of hamstring injuries will continue to make him a doubt until the Brazilian central defender returns to the field.
“There are all different degrees with those things,” said Arena. “Every athlete is different, but hamstrings are hard to figure out until the player goes full tilt which hasn’t happened yet so we don’t know.”
LA Galaxy Academy Under-17 defender Hugo Arellano was among 20 players selected to U.S. U-17 head coach Richie Williams for the team’s upcoming tournament in Chile.
The US will face Chile, Brazil, and Qatar in the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins from Nov. 18-22. During the tournament, the U.S. will face Chile on Nov. 18, Brazil on the 20th, and Qatar on the 22nd.
Also included in the squad is former LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright, who is currently with German side Schalke. Wright and his brother Hanif are expected to remain with the German club.
GOALKEEPERS: William Pulisic (Richmond United; Mechanicsville, Va.), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)
DEFENDERS: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion; Allentown, Pa.), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ; Nashville, Tenn.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; St. Louis, Mo.) Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS: George Braima (Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic; Baltimore, Md.), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy; South Orange, N.J.), Christian Pulisic (Unattached; Hershey, Pa.), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas, El Paso, Texas)
FORWARDS: Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Kai Koreniuk (Vitesse; Ormond Beach, Fla.), Josh Perez (Unattached; La Habra, Calif.), Haji Wright (Unattached; Los Angeles, Calif.)
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.”