CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that “it was in everyone’s best interest” that Brazilian forward Samuel returned to Brazilian Serie A club Fluminense.
The Galaxy announced on Thursday that the club had terminated the loan of the 23-year-old who scored just a single goal in 10 appearances across all competitions for the Galaxy. Samuel is likely to receive considerable minutes upon returning to the Brazilian giants with incumbent starter Fred likely angling for a move after his stint with Selecao at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“It’s a good move for him. [Fluminense] had an interest in him coming back and we thought that it was an appropriate time to do that,” said Arena on Friday after the club's training session ahead of their match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. “He was a player that got better , but our style of play and our league is different and this was a new experience so it would have taken some time. At the same time, since the loan arrangement was only for one year, it would have taken him a year to make a [full] adjustment.
“At this point, it was probably in everyone’s best interest that he returned to Fluminense,” Arena added before mentioning that he was not surprised that the forward’s transition took as long as it did. “He was a really good guy who got better and we liked him. We’re sorry that it didn’t work out as quickly as we’d want, but it is not surprising. Sometimes the transitions can be quicker, but sometimes they take a little bit longer.”
With Samuel gone, the Galaxy boss said that the club is looking to make a move as they seek to contend for a fifth MLS Cup title.
“We’re looking to make an addition to our team at some point,” said Arena. “We do anything that we can to make our team better.”
The LA Galaxy are off this weekend and as a way to recharge their batteries ahead of the long MLS season, the team's Brazilian contigent got into the Samba-spirit after training on Thursday and had a little bit of sing-a-long through the halls of StubHub Center.
Check it out below.
POLL: How confident are you heading into the LA Galaxy's CCL quarterfinal second leg against Club Tijuana?
CARSON, Calif. -- We're at Matchday Minus-Five before the LA Galaxy take on Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg at the Estadio Caliente.
After the Galaxy earned a 1-0 victory over Tijuana at StubHub Center on Wednesday thanks to some clinical finishing by Samuel and cat-like reactions from goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, setting up a do-or-die match south of the border. Following the match, Club Tijuana were adamant that the series was merely at "halftime" as the two teams prepare to head down to the Estadio Caliente where they have won 18 of their last 19 league matches.
While Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena stated that the club was in a "good, but not great" position heading into the match in Tijuana, just how confident are you feeling heading into the second leg?
Samuel pleased with his "poacher's goal" that seals victory over Club Tijuana in CCL Quarterfinal first leg
CARSON, Calif. - New Brazilian forward Samuel was brought to the LA Galaxy to finish the chances that the team often squandered in 2013 and on Wednesday against Club Tijuana, he did just that.
Samuel tallied the game-winner in the 11th minute off a sequence that began when Marcelo Sarvas launched a cross that bounced off Robbie Keane to the path of the Brazilian for the easy finish that sealed LA's 1-0 victory in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg. The goal wasn't the only high point for the Brazilian who provided a physical presence up top during his 70 minute shift.
"We played against a very difficult team so it was very important for me to score," said Samuel after the match. "I saw it come off Keane's knee and I was right there ready to score. ... Of course, I was expecting that ball to bounce to me. With a player like Robbie Keane, you have to expect everything so I was ready for the play."
Added Landon Donovan, "It was a good poacher's goal. He does that in training, he is always around the goal. It was good for him, an important goal, and he did very well tonight."
But one question remains: did Keane intend for that deflection to bounce in the path of the waiting Brazilian?
"Of course, you know me," asserted a chuckling Keane postgame.
CARSON, Calif. -- Samuel just tries... stuff.
In his MLS debut, new LA Galaxy forward Samuel did not shrink under the pressure as the club's new Brazilian put in a strong debut going 77 minutes alongside LA captain Robbie Keane.
Where the Brazilian was particularly effective was in his ability to hold up the ball while also creating chances for himself -- like a 31st minute shot that forced one of RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando's nine saves -- but one moment of flair stole the show. During the 33rd minute while attempting to escape RSL defender Aaron Maund, Samuel attempted to fire a rainbow kick over the defender that ultimately resulted in a Galaxy free kick.
Although his thoughts on the rainbow remain unknown, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was pleased with the Brazilian's debut performance.
"I thought Samuel had a real good game," said Arena following training on Monday. "He's still getting a feel for our team and the league, and the preseason was a period of adjustment, but I think that he's going to get better each game. You see the potential there."
Check out Samuel's audacious rainbow below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s roster is pretty much set heading into the season opener against Real Salt Lake, but one question mark remains.
Trialist Dan Gargan has been with the team since the start of the preseason, but as of yet, there has been no word about a contract offer from the Galaxy. But that doesn’t mean that LA isn’t interested according to head coach Bruce Arena.
“We’re going to try,” said Bruce Arena when asked about if the team is planning to sign the 31-year-old defender.
Outside back depth is vital for LA at the moment as the club dispatched youngsters Bryan Gaul (waived) and Greg Cochrane (traded to Chicago) in recent weeks.
RILEY EXPECTING TO START IN DEFENSE
While Gargan’s status is still up in the air, the newest member of the LA Galaxy, James Riley is expecting to get the start at left back this Saturday against Real Salt Lake due to an injury to Todd Dunivant.
Riley has seen significant time this preseason at left back due to Dunivant’s nagging hamstring injury and is likely to get the nod against RSL.
“I’ll be ready to go,” said Riley. “Whatever Bruce decides, I feel fit and ready to go.”
Dunivant is improving rapidly; however, as the veteran left back went 45 minutes in a recent scrimmage with LA Galaxy II against Cal-State Fullerton as he seeks to be available for selection for Saturday.
“I’m ready to be available,” said Dunivant. “It’s a good guess [that Riley starts]. I’m still working on [being 90 minutes fit], but first thing is first is getting healthy and I’m moving forward.”
ARENA ADMITS EXPERIENCE RULES ALL AS SEASON OPENER APPROACHES
The LA Galaxy’s new found experience has been a major plot line this preseason and on Thursday, head coach Bruce Arena went into detail about how he expects the team to be different during the 2014 campaign.
“I think the priorities were addressed with the new players,” said Arena. “We needed more experience in midfield; we got that with [Stefan] Ishizaki. We needed some help on our forward line, and we got that with Samuel and [Rob] Friend. We needed some experienced players in the back; we have that now with [James] Riley. Obviously [Baggio] Hušidić is another experienced player in the midfield as well. I think that’s what we needed to address. This year, we’re looking at Friend or Samuel or Hušidić or Riley or [Dan] Gargan or Ishizaki. Last year it was [Jack] McBean, [Jose] Villarreal, [Hector] Jimenez, and [Rafael] Garcia, I think that’s an improvement.”