CARSON, Calif. -- Gyasi Zardes returned to the LA Galaxy before the team's trip to Europe loaded with confidence after his successful stint with the U.S. National Team.
During the USMNT's annual Winter camp, Zardes made his first two appearances for the national side including an influential start during their 2-0 victory over Panama last Sunday. Following two days off after a month-long training camp, Zardes rejoined the Galaxy where he admitted that he was feeling an extra pep in his step.
"This preseason has been wonderful for me. Just jumping in a new environment [with the USMNT]," said Zardes. "You always gain confidence the more you play, no matter what team you play on. Being with the camp helped me grow. My method is once you find rhythm try to keep it. Bring that to a new atmosphere. I’m just trying to get better and take advantage of every opportunity I get. Stay humble and level-headed. That’s how I grow."
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will have an opportunity to meet with new Designated Player Steven Gerrard for the first time during the club’s trip through Europe.
The Galaxy head coach and general manager will meet with Gerrard for the first time during the Galaxy trip to Europe and also attend Liverpool’s Europa League knockout round match against Beşiktaş on Feb. 19 at Anfield. Gerrard is unlikely to suit up as he is expected to miss the next three weeks due to a hamstring injury.
“Yes, I will meet with him,” Arena said. “We’ll just have an opportunity to talk, about our club and expectations, those types of things.”
Arena and the rest of the Galaxy brass famously signed Gerrard without a face-to-face meet as the club needed just phone conversations to secure Gerrard's signature.
Preseason Notes: Foot injury likely to keep A.J. DeLaGarza from playing in European trip, Ryo Fujii talks LA Galaxy II deal
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza has yet to play a minute for the club during their 2015 preseason preparations, and it appears that a nagging foot injury will keep him on the shelf at least through the team’s trip to Europe.
A mainstay in 2014, DeLaGarza has been hampered by a bone bruise on his left foot since the beginning of the preseason which has kept him from participating in full training this preseason. Although DeLaGarza is eager to return to action, he admits that it is best to err on the side of caution with the MLS regular season opener looming in less than a month.
“It’s best to let it rest and get ready for the season to start,” DeLaGarza said. “If I go out here now and have a misstep, I could have to start all over again so it’s about being patient and know what [I] can handle right now.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as we first thought so I’m happy to miss a couple weeks rather than a couple of months. “
The Galaxy defender told reporters on Tuesday that he will be part of the team’s traveling party, but he admits that he is unlikely to suit up in either of the club’s two games in Europe.
“If it gets better and I can take a pass and trap with no pain or kick the ball with no pain then I’d play,” he said. “There’s no time table. You never know with these types of things. It just takes time."
ARENA: EUROPEAN TRAVEL ROSTER NOT YET FINALIZED
The Galaxy depart for an 11-day, two game European trip on Wednesday, but LA head coach Bruce Arena has yet to decide which of his trialists will join the club in Europe.
LA currently have five players not under contract in camp (draft picks Ignacio Maganto and Daniel Keller as well as preseason invitees Andre Auras, Edson Buddle and Ramon Martin Del Campo) who have each logged minutes during the club’s preseason slate. When asked of their status after training on Tuesday, Arena shed light on the travel situation of only one of his four trialists.
“I haven’t finalized our travel roster,” Arena said. “But Buddle is going.”
RYO FUJII SPEAKS ON NEW LA GALAXY II DEAL
LA Galaxy II bolstered their squad on Tuesday with the signing of LA Galaxy Academy product Ryo Fujii.
The 18-year-old midfielder spent 2014 with U.C. Santa Barbara where he made 19 appearances tallying two assists in his first and only season with the Gauchos. In addition to signing a deal with Galaxy II, the Galaxy will also provide the midfielder with the resources to continue his education at neighboring Cal-State Dominguez Hills.
“It’s a big step for me because as such a young age, I have the opportunity to play at a professional club,” Fujii told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “It’s my dream to become a professional soccer player, but I want to be more than that. It’s a big step for me in general.”
Fujii joins forward Jaime Villarreal and goalkeeper Eric Lopez as one of three Academy products who have signed directly with Los Dos.
Bradford Jamieson IV pleased with the U.S. Under-20's draw for the upcoming U-20 World Cup in New Zealand
CARSON, Calif. – Bradford Jamieson IV and the U.S. Under-20’s learned their opponents for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in New Zealand late Monday night.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A alongside hosts New Zealand as well as Myanmar and Ukraine. Tab Ramos’ squad will open the tournament against Myanmar in Whangarei on May 30 before facing the Kiwis on June 2 in Auckland. They'll end the group stage just three days later against Ukraine.
“It was a good draw for us,” Jamieson told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “We’re going to be playing against the hosts so obviously it’ll be a good game with a great turnout. We know that no team can be taken lightly and if we are considered the favorites then we have to prove everyone right and top the group.”
Heading into a tournament as favorites is nothing new for the U.S. U-20’s as they entered into the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championship as top favorites to not only advance but win the group. However, the competition hardly went according to plan as the U.S. needed to defeat El Salvador in a playoff match to lock down a World Cup berth.
According to Jamieson that experience should aid the U.S. side as they look to make a name for themselves in New Zealand.
“[That tournament] just goes to show that anything can happen in these tournaments,” said Jamieson who scored two goals in six appearances at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. “Those teams came from smaller countries like some of the teams in our World Cup group so they’re coming to prove themselves. It’ll be a place where our players can showcase our talents to the world.”
Soon after returning from Jamaica, the 18-year-old quickly put himself in the conversation for the Galaxy’s left midfield role with strong shift against Seattle Sounders FC in a preseason scrimmage. But despite his recent success, Jamieson understands that there is still plenty of work to be done before he locks down a spot on Ramos’ final roster for New Zealand.
“My mentality has to be on point and my physicality has to be as close to 100 percent as possible,” said Jamieson. “I just need to keep working hard and stick to what I know and do what I’ve been doing to get to where I am now.
“It gives me confidence that Bruce has been giving me time in the [left midfield position] because obviously I want to continue to prove them right and give back to the team and the club. I just want to keep working so that I can solidify my spot in that position.”
Preseason notes: Robbie Rogers gets run out at right back, decision on LA Galaxy trialists may come before Europe Trip and more
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Rogers excelled with the LA Galaxy as a left back last season, but during Friday’s 2-1 scrimmage victory over Seattle Sounders FC, he showcased his versatility.
Rogers started and went 45 minutes at right back while Todd Dunivant started along the left side. The switch allowed Dunivant to slide into his natural position while Rogers—who is naturally right footed—was slide into a new place along the back four.
"That's an option and obviously we're in preseason, we'll look at all options,” Arena told reporters of the outside back switch. “As we experienced last year during the season, we have to have players prepared to play a number of spots along the back line and that's a good exercise for us to get in today.”
Added Rogers, “I can play on both sides wherever Bruce needs me. It is a little different in terms of finding the space on the field so I have to get used to that, but it comes pretty quickly.
For Dunivant, Rogers’ move to the flank could be his path back into the starting lineup after an injury-riddled 2014 season.
“It is still the preseason so we’re still trying to figure out what combination works. It’s all about getting better,” he said. “I need to earn the spot in training and continue to learn every day and get better. I’ll let the cards fall where they may and I think if I’m healthy and Robbie is healthy then we’ll both be on the field one way or the other.”
Decisions on trialists upcoming
The LA Galaxy will likely have a decision on whether they will keep trialists Andre Auras, Edson Buddle and Ramon Martin Del Campo with the club prior to the trip to Europe.
In an interview with reporters earlier this week, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said that a decision was a possibility before the team departs for the Republic of Ireland at the end of the week.
Draft picks Ignacio Maganto and Daniel Keller are expected to travel to Europe while injured goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton will not join the team until they return from Europe. Meanwhile, defender Daniel Steres who had been training with the club since the start of the season has been dealing with a calf injury.
A.J. DeLaGarza may return to practice next week
Right back A.J. DeLaGarza has yet to suit up for the Galaxy in a scrimmage during the preseason due to a leg injury, but head coach Bruce Arena assured reporters earlier this week that he'll be back in practice before the team departs for Europe.
"It's possible that he'll be training next week," Arena told reporters after the club's 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC. "We're not sure yet at this point."
LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes says time with U.S. National Team and Jurgen Klinsmann has improved his fitness
CARSON, Calif. -- Many have taken U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to task for his recent comments about the fitness of members of the U.S. National Team, but LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes believes that he is a true success story of Klinsmann's conditioning program.
Superior fitness has long been the hallmark of American soccer players, but Klinsmann called that into question following the team's 3-2 defeat to Chile last week , leading to considerable condemnation from former players and the American soccer media. In a interview earlier this week, Klinsmann stated that the reason the U.S. has won just a single match in their last nine and suffered repeated late game collapses were because of the team's lack of emphasis on offseason fitness preparation.
Klinsmann's claims were met with major pushback from numerous places including by former national team defender Alexi Lalas but such condemnation of Klinsmann meant little to LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes who is in camp with the national team and is expected to play a major role when they take on Panama on Sunday at StubHub Center.
In fact, Zardes believes that he's gotten even fitter just by training with the U.S. over the last month.
"Fitness is a key component of the game because you need to be good for 90 minutes. I'm glad that we do a lot of fitness with the national team and it's wonderful to experience different types of fitness because each coach has different methods. [Jurgen's] philosphy toward fitness is incredible," Zardes told LA Galaxy Insider. "I personally think that it is helping me improve as a player because I feel myself able to run longer. My stamina is up and my acceleration is growing even more. I think that I'm growing in this field."
Baggio Husidic and Ignacio Maganto score as the LA Galaxy defeat Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 in preseason scrimmage
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 in a preseason rematch of the two club's epic 2014 Western Conference Championship series.
The Galaxy and Seattle traded goals in the first half as LA's Baggio Husidic and Seattle's Marco Pappa scored. LA took the lead for good with an Igancio Maganto tally in the 54th minute.
The Galaxy are now 4-0-0 this preseason and will return to action on Feb. 16 against Hammarby in Stockholm.
Goals and lineups are below:
ICYMI the first half #LAGalaxy lineup: Rowe; Rogers, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Dunivant; Ishizaki, Husidic, Juninho, Jamieson; Keane, Buddle
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 6, 2015
#LAGalaxy second half lineup: Rowe; Gargan, Meyer, Martin del Campo, Sorto; Garcia, Walker, Auras, Maganto; Villarreal, Gordon
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) February 6, 2015
New Designated Player Steven Gerrard will don the No. 8 for the LA Galaxy once he arrives in July, the club announced on Thursday.
The English midfielder is expected to play his first team on July 17 when the Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clasico at StubHub Center. Gerrard has donned the No. 8 jersey for Liverpool since 2004.
Check out Albert Lanzillo and LAGalaxy.com's video of the LA Galaxy's new No. 8 above.
LA Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto relishes quick return to U.S National Team camp and pleased with overall USMNT experience
CARSON, Calif. -- Oscar Sorto had just received our nation's highest honor when he was honored along with the rest of the LA Galaxy by President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, but within minutes of being recognized by the commander in chief, he learned that nation's top soccer coach was in need of his services.
Immediately after the ceremony that honored both the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Kings for their respective championships, Sorto was motioned over by Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena for a quick chat.
Jurgen Klinsmann was calling and he needed the 20-year-old defender to jet back to California immediately.
"Right after the President gave his speech, Bruce told me that Jurgen Klinsmann called and he wanted me back for two days," Sorto,who was called back to the Galaxy just before the USMNT departed for Chile, said. "I flew back right away and I think that was good because now the coaches know that I really want to be with the team. It was a good two days of training."
Sorto will not be in the picture for the USMNT when they take on Panama on Sunday at StubHub Center, but the Galaxy Homegrown product took pride in the fact that he was able to experience life with the national team, not just for two quick days, but throughout the last month.
"It helped me a lot because it made me realize that I could compete with any player," he said. "No matter who they are, I know that I can be competitive and I can compete. And at the end of the day, it'll be up to me to earn a spot with the Galaxy. ."
Bruce Arena says LA Galaxy still looking to add player and shoots down Freddy Adu rumor in Washington Post interview
Bruce Arena reiterated his desire to acquire an additional player to bolster the LA Galaxy ahead of their 2015 MLS campaign in an exclusive interview to the Washington Post’s Steven Goff on Tuesday.
In his brief Q&A with the Washington Post, Arena reiterated prior comments that the club is looking to add to their roster at some point in the near future.
“We’ll add some more players at some point, either before the season or later,” Arena told Goff.
Should that player be a particularly prominent one particularly after the Galaxy came up short in the chase for U.S. international Sacha Kljestan?
“Anyone who can help us. Whether he fits that definition or not, we think he will be an important player. If we find the right player, we will try to bring him in.”
One name that you can completely rule out is Freddy Adu who Arena vehemently stated that he has had zero contact or interest in bringing the former U.S. international into the fold.
“I don’t think he is a target for us at the moment,” Arena said. “Freddy Adu’s name always comes up. He has come up for the last 10 years. He will not be on trial with the LA Galaxy.”