Stefan Ishizaki was heralded as a potential third attacking weapon in the LA Galaxy attack when he was signed last offseason, and while the Swede never truly blossomed into that type of offensive asset, he still put forth a strong season as he helped LA to a championship.
Appearing in all but four games during the entirety of the Galaxy’s MLS slate, Ishizaki’s ball skills played an important role in helping create the Galaxy’s possession-oriented offense that tallied a league-leading 69 goals in 2014. Ishizaki’s abilities led the Galaxy to trot the Swede out at the top of a midfield diamond early on in the season before he transitioned to a steady role as an attacking option along the left side of midfield as LA pushed toward their trophy. In total, Ishizaki ended the season with five goals and eight assists in all league competition in his first full season
With Landon Donovan gone, Ishizaki is among several will need to shoulder the burden left by the retiring U.S. soccer star during the 2015 season. If Ishizaki can truly become a true offensive weapon alongside Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes, the Galaxy will have every opportunity to retain their MLS Cup title.
How would you rate Ishizaki’s 2014 campaign? Read my review of the LA Galaxy midfielders on LAGalaxy.com while also voting and commenting below.
LA Galaxy midfielder Stefan Ishizaki finished third in the voting for the 2014 MLS Newcomer of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Pedro Morales took home the award after scoring 10 goals and nine assists for a Whitecaps side that returned to the postseason in 2014. Ishizaki came in third with just under seven percent of the vote while New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones finished second with nearly 35 percent of the vote.
Ishizaki's Galaxy and Jones' Revolution will face one another on Sunday in the 2014 MLS Cup final at StubHub Center.
LA Galaxy issue warning to FC Dallas/Seattle Sounders FC series winner ahead of Western Conference Finals
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in six years on Sunday with their 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake, but their opponent in that series remains a mystery.
LA will play the winner of the FC Dallas/Seattle Sounders FC series which will be decided on Monday at CenturyLink Field. Seattle need only a victory or a scoreless draw to advance while FC Dallas must defeat the Supporters’ Shield winners or earn a high scoring draw.
Both teams gave the Galaxy all they could handle in the regular season with LA winning the season series with Dallas 2-1-0 while splitting their three matches with Seattle 1-1-1. Given those records, is there a preference for the Galaxy as they seek to qualify for a third MLS Cup in four seasons?
Not at all.
“Between Seattle and Dallas, they gave us a lot of problems during the season so we’ll watch the game very closely tomorrow,” said hat trick hero Landon Donovan. “We’ll be sure to get proper rest this week and we’ll be ready to go.”
Even though the Galaxy had struggled results wise with a four game winless streak prior to their explosion on Sunday, LA believe their clicking at the right time as they look to their next opponent.
“I know that we haven’t had good results, but even against Seattle we had moments that were very good. We did break down at the end, but they sat back and defended against us in Seattle, which is weird,” said Robbie Rogers. “We’re confident in whomever we play be it Seattle or Dallas that we can compete.
“I think that anyone has to come into a stadium where the last team lost 5-0, they know it’s going to be difficult, but it is the playoffs so anyone can win.”
But Stefan Ishizaki, who shined in his start against Salt Lake, offered the tersest message to LA’s future opponents.
CARSON, Calif. –The Swedish soccer world was shaken on Wednesday with the announcement of the passing of former national team star and Elfsborg head coach Klas Ingesson due to bone marrow cancer.
A member of Sweden’s teams at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and the 1994 team that finished third, Ingesson enjoyed a lengthy professional career that included stops at IFK Göteborg (Sweden), Mechelen (Belgium), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Sheffield Wednesday (England), Marseille (France) as well as IBari, Bologna and Lecce (Italy).
Despite being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2009, Ingesson continued his coaching career and in 2013, he coached Stefan Ishizaki in what was the current Galaxy midfielder’s final season in Sweden.
“When anyone passes away it is a terrible thing but it hurts more when you’re so close to that person,” Ishizaki told reporters on Wednesday. “Klas was a fantastic human being, a fantastic player back in the day and a great coach.
“He was one of those men that spread joy around him, always had a happy face, and had a keen soccer mind. He was one of the true greats in Swedish soccer over the years and he’ll be missed.”
When Ishizaki was first approached by the Galaxy back in 2013, it was Ingesson who allowed the midfielder—a long tenured member of the club—to speak with LA and eventually orchestrate a move to MLS.
“I talked to him last year and sought his advice. Of course, he wanted me to stay with Elfsborg and help rebuild the squad for a new year, but he said, ‘I understand that you have to go and do your own thing.’
“He allowed me to take this adventure to join MLS and I will be forever grateful for him allowing me to leave,” he continued. “A lot of coaches come into their first full season and want to build a new team and many of them would have said that ‘you can’t go.’ But he gave me this opportunity to come to MLS and I’ll be forever grateful."
Stefan Ishizaki nominated for MLSsoccer.com's Goal of the Week after stunning chip against FC Dallas
LA Galaxy midfielder Stefan Ishizaki was nominated for MLSsoccer.com’s Goal of the Week for his impressive chip shot in the club’s 2-1 defeat to FC Dallas on Sunday.
The goal came in the 22nd minute when off a failed clearance, Ishizaki chipped an out of position Chris Seitz to give LA an early lead that they could not maintain. The Swedish midfielder now has five goals on the season in his first year in MLS.
“It was a cross that they headed out to me and I took a good first touch,” Ishizaki said recalling the goal. “but I had two guys rushing me so I couldn't shoot it. I took a touch past those two guys and I saw the goal was open so I chipped it and it went in.”
Fans can vote for Ishizaki’s goal here and watch it below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Stefan Ishizaki began the road back to the starting lineup on Friday by returning to full training for the first time since the club's 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 20.
Ishizaki picked up what he described as a "lower body injury" in the 54th minute of the Galaxy's win in Colorado when Ishizaki won the free kick that ultimately resulted in Omar Gonzalez's goal off an LA free kick. Just two days before the Galaxy's final SuperClasico match against Chivas USA, the Swedish winger made his return to full training, but is still unsure if he'll be available for Sunday's clash.
"We'll have to see how my injury reacts and we'll go forward from there. I'll have to see tonight and check in with the medical staff and we'll evaluate it from there," Ishizaki told LA Galaxy Insider. "I'm optimistic. I couldn't really do much a couple of days ago, but now I'm back in full training. It wasn't good, but now I'm feeling like I'm on the way to a speedy recovery."
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says Stefan Ishizaki and Robbie Rogers moving forward in injury recoveries
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Rogers and Stefan Ishizaki are on the mend, but according to LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, the two players are inching closer to a return to action.
Rogers has missed the last two games due to quadriceps injury that he aggravated during the second half of the Galaxy's 4-1 loss to the Columbus Crew on Aug. 16 while Ishizaki was unavailable for the club's 2-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC last Saturday after suffering an injury in Wednesday's win in Colorado.
When asked about the pair following Monday's training session, Arena confirmed that both are moving forward in their recoveries stating that "he would think" both players will be available for Wednesday's match against D.C. United.
With the Galaxy preparing their fourth game in 12 days and players like Rogers returning from injury even more rotation is expected heading into the match against United.
"Bruce has made it pretty clear that he's going to need everyone to be ready and healthy for these games," said forward Alan Gordon. "He's going to make a couple of adjustments each game if need be. If not, everyone still stays ready to play on the bench. We're going to have a full squad ready for this game."
CARSON, Calif. – Stefan Ishizaki has spent plenty of time practicing his free kicks in recent weeks and on Wednesday his hard work paid off.
In the 75th minute after Juninho won a free kick just outside the penalty area, Ishizaki let loose a curling shot that bounced off a defender and into the net for LA’s fourth goal of their 5-1 rout of the New England Revolution. The strike capped a performance that also featured a first half assist of Gyasi Zardes’ goal just before the 20 minute mark.
With his goal, Ishizaki has the distinction of scoring 50 percent of LA’s free kicks since David Beckham left the club as the Galaxy have scored just two goals off free kicks since the Englishman’s departure.
“That’s what I’ve kind of built my career on, my right foot. I have always been taking corners and free kicks,” said Ishizaki. “Recently, I’ve had a couple injuries in the past couple of years that kept me from practicing free kicks and now I feel fit and I feel good. I’ve been making a lot of free kicks in practice, so that gives you the confidence you need when you step up in games.”
The Galaxy will need that confidence heading into Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City, but before the team turns the page to Sporting, Ishizaki admits that the victory was a needed one for LA.
“We’ve been waiting on one of these games to really score a lot of goals,” he said. “We felt a little bit unlucky at times, but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t go in you’ve not done well enough. So it was a good feeling today to get a couple in.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Stefan Ishizaki knows that the last few weeks haven't been his best and now the LA Galaxy's Swedish midfielder is looking to get back on the scoresheet.
The Swedish midfielder saw his four-game starting streak snapped on Saturday when he came on as a late substitute in the LA Galaxy's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. Despite making four consecutive starts, Ishizaki has seen his production decline after a strong start to the 2014 season with just one assist in his last five games and no goals since his tally against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 19.
Despite his recent frustrations, Ishizaki admits that he feels that things are starting to come together ahead of Wednesday's match against the New England Revolution.
"I feel really good," said Ishizaki. "I got to rest last game and I only played 15 minutes so I'm fresh and ready to go if Bruce wants me on Wednesday."
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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – “We just blew it.”
Those were the words from head coach Bruce Arena after the LA Galaxy’s frustrating 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday. Although the candid Arena is known for his tough love approach after defeats—and sometimes even positive results—the Galaxy took his words to heart after their poor showing.
“I don’t want to make any excuses. We weren't ready from the get-go,” midfielder Stefan Ishizaki told reporters. “I’d say that we're a better team than they are, but if you don’t work hard then you're not going to get the points. The team that works harder gets the results so we have to work harder as a group. I thought that my performance wasn't good enough but there are a lot of guys who I think would say the same thing.”
Ishizaki was among those who struggled during the loss as the normally active Swede found himself stifled by the constant pressure of the Colorado midfielders. Whereas Ishizaki was active and managing at least a goal or an assist in each of his last three games, the midfielder earned just one attempt on frame against the Rapids which was cleared off the line by Rapids defender Drew Moor in the second minute of play.
With the sting of the Colorado performance still fresh in his mind, Ishizaki admitted that the Galaxy must accept the lessons of the defeat if they are to rebound next weekend.
“We have to show that we're strong enough as a team and that we can bounce back straight away,” said Ishizaki. “And we can only do that by getting a result in Portland.”