CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be up against an old friend and an unfamiliar foe when they take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
LA will be facing a Crew team that currently finds itself in the thick of the postseason chance with 27 points which is good enough for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Leading the Crew is former Galaxy center back and assistant coach Gregg Berhalter, who took the top job with Columbus in the offseason.
“They started off pretty strong, but they hit a little bit of a lull and have come back as of late and have played better,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “They’re a certainly a team that goes forward and attacks. As you look at them, you can see that their attacking scheme is built around [Fredrico Higuian] and rightfully so because he’s a terrific player and a great play maker.”
While Arena focused on the specific strengths that Columbus boast, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan made a broader claim about the difficulties of facing Eastern Conference competition.
“The east games present a different challenge [because] stylistically [because the team’s play is different and we have to make sure that we are well prepared which we will be for Saturday,” said Donovan. “I think inn the west, teams put more emphasis on possession while the teams in the east are more direct.
“When I watch the [Eastern Conference] games, there’s not the same flow to the games as there is in the Western Conference games, it’s different, but we have to adjust.”
LA must use the match against Columbus as a chance to adapt to a different style of play as the club will play five of their last 14 games of the season against Eastern Conference opponents. As Arena’s side seeks to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield, the Galaxy boss believes that taking full points from their Eastern Conference is vital.
“It’s important that we take advantage of those kinds of games,” said Arena. “Because it’s likely that most of our opponents in the west are not getting three points. That’s just probability.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bolstered their attack on Monday by acquiring veteran forward Alan Gordon.
LA acquired the forward from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for allocation money, the club announced on Monday. Gordon has 180 appearances and 39 goals as well as 26 assists in his 11 years in MLS.
“Alan is a proven MLS player who adds another scoring threat to our roster going forward,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement. “We are pleased to welcome him back as a member of the Galaxy.”
Gordon joins a Galaxy strike force that includes Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes, Rob Friend and Chandler Hoffman.
CARSON, Calif. — Omar Gonzalez found the back of the net for the first time in 2014 during Friday’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, but the LA Galaxy center back was smiling after the result.
Despite a comprehensive performance against their archrivals, the Galaxy were forced to battle back from a pair of deficits after a pair of quick transition goals by San Jose. During both San Jose tallies, Gonzalez—and the rest of the Galaxy defense— were caught out of position as the Earthquakes notched a pair of counterattack goals.
“[It was] not one of his better games,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena of Gonzalez’s performance after the draw. “I think he could’ve defended a little bit better on the two goals, but they obviously weren’t too dangerous going forward and somehow we managed to concede two goals. That’s the story line.”
Gonzalez redeemed himself in the 49th minute when he broke free of Atiba Harris on a corner kick and placed a Stefan Ishizaki effort off the pitch and into the bottom corner of the Earthquakes net. Set piece finishes have become a specialty of Gonzalez, who has drawn considerable pressure from opposing defenses since his memorable tally in the 2012 MLS Cup final.
“I finally got my goal,” said Gonzalez. “When players don’t hold on to me [on set pieces], I can find the ball, so I’m happy that I could get open, and get my head on the ball.”
Even though he broke free against San Jose, Gonzalez doesn’t expect to be as open in the future.
“I definitely expect the [defenders] to be holding me. That’s the way it is,” said Gonzalez. “My job is to make the run, and it’s up to the referee to see that. I will just keep on doing that, and I’m sure I will keep getting held.”
Landon Donovan proved to be the hero of MLS yet again on Wednesday evening.
In a brief cameo, Donovan scored the game-winning goal in the 70th minute as the MLS All-Stars defeated the reigning German champions FC Bayern Munich 2-1 at Providence Park in Portland. For his strike, Donovan was awarded the MLS All-Star Game MVP award. Bradley Wright-Phillips added the first goal for the All-Stars while Robert Lewandowski scored the lone goal for the Germans.
With the score tied at one goal apiece, Donovan broke the deadlock in the 70th minute with stellar finish past Germany World Cup champion goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the game-winning strike after a pass from Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri. After scoring the eventual game winner, Donovan was promptly pulled from the match after his brief 26 minute appearance.
Omar Gonzalez was not available for the match, but the Galaxy defender was present for the match as he was honored after the game along with the rest of the MLS and Bayern Munich members of the U.S. World Cup squad.
CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal is back and the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player believes that he has plenty to prove returning to Southern California.
In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, Villarreal talks about his frustrations with his stint with Cruz Azul and his eagerness to shine for Galaxy II. Villarreal failed to register a single appearance for the Cruz Azul first team, but scored in his first appearance for Los Dos last weekend in their loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
More of Jose Villarreal's thoughts on coming back are below.
(On whether he regrets his transfer to Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “I wouldn’t say regret, but it was a challenge. But it was a challenge that I learned a lot from. It wasn’t really a failure or a little disappointment. It was something like I went to Mexico with a mentality to do well, and it didn’t go my way. I came back with the same mentality, and I will try to do the same thing that I’ve been doing here.”
(On whether he was disappointed in the way it ended…)
VILLARREAL: “Maybe if I had gotten few more games, then my decision would have been a lot tougher. So it is what it is, and I’m happy with that.”
(On the main lesson that he learned in Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “Lifestyle is different obviously, but the society isn’t as wealthy as it is here. So, you can see the difference of the way players live versus the way that the people live. So that was the learning off the field. And on the field, it was a different kind of soccer, and got to learn it the first two years that I was here, so from the five months that I was there, I will try to bring what I learned over there and mix it up with the style over here.”
(On whether the biggest regret at Mexico was not getting enough minutes…)
VILLARREAL: “I think that was what it was. I was coming from being on the bench and getting few minutes with the Galaxy here and there, and few starts, and Champions League. So, I went down there and I couldn’t play the Champions League because of the rule, and those games were good, and we ended up winning the Champions League, so it would have been good to get into those games, but as you said not being able to get minutes. Maybe I could have waited, but I didn’t so, we’ll see what happens from now. Most of the minutes that I was getting were with the U-20s. I think I played 10 minutes with the Hidalgo team, so it was a bit frustrating but it was just some bumps on the road and I just got to keep going.”
(On the differences between top players in Mexico and in the USA…)
VILLARREAL: “From the top players like top players like Robbie Keane, who is from oversea, 90% chance is a goal. So he is the guy that you want on your team. You could see the difference. For example, Gyasi has been great this season. Last season, he had a lot of opportunities and he was working on it. Now you give this player minutes there is confidence when he steps on the field. Just keep going and the result is going well so I’m happy for him.”
(On any first team aspirations that he holds…)
VILLARREAL: “I haven’t really talked about that. I’m focused, right now, and I’m looking to make a full commitment with [Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo] and the second team. I am happy to be with Curt. I’ve been working with him for a while and he is a good coach.”
CARSON, Calif. – Todd Dunivant returned to the LA Galaxy game day roster on Saturday after a lengthy injury spell and now the veteran left back is continue his recovery by appearing in a match for LA Galaxy II.
In an interview with LAGalaxy.com’s Larry Morgan, Dunivant states that he’s expecting to suit up for Los Dos on Saturday when they take on Arizona United SC at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium. If Dunivant does play, it’ll be his first action since he suffered an abdominal tear during LA’s April 6 match with Chivas USA.
Following Galaxy II’s training session on Monday, Los Dos head coach Curt Onalfo stated that all signs point to Dunivant suiting up against Arizona.
“We just have to see how the week progresses, but he could certainly be a guy that we could give minutes to as he continues to progress from injury,” said Onalfo. “As long as he’s healthy then he’s going to get minutes.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez may not be taking part in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game, but there will be an LA Galaxy player available when the All-Stars take on Bayern Munich at Portland's Providence Park -- Landon Donovan.
The Galaxy announced late last week that Keane and Gonzalez would miss out on the event due to the team's clash with their archrival San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, but Donovan -- who went 90 minutes in LA's 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday -- remained on the squad. Although Donovan will be available for the match against his former club, he expects to see limited minutes for the All-Stars.
"In the end, I don't get to make that decision [about staying behind]. I'm happy to go and I'm excited to go. I've already spoken with [MLS All-Star head coach Caleb Porter] and I won't be playing a lot, and that's okay. I understand because there has been other All-Star Games where I haven't been able to play. It's good for [our] guys to rest and it'll be fine because I'll be ready for Friday."
While Donovan will see, at least, some time in the league's showpiece event, Keane and Gonzalez will remain behind in Southern California and prepare for Friday's match against the Earthquakes. While missing out on the All-Star Game was a tad frustrating for the Galaxy's Irish captain, he sent well wishes to the league's best as they prepare to take on Bayern.
"I'm happy that I was selected, but first and foremost my priority is the Galaxy and we have an important game on Friday," said Keane. "I wish the All-Stars well and I'm sorry that I couldn't be there, but I'll be watching on TV."
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 2, 2014
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena spoke to reporters following the team's 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers.
Check his thoughts below.
(On the team’s performance in the win….)
ARENA: “It wasn’t similar to the other day. We fell behind a goal. It’s good for our team to be in a hard game against a good team. We prevailed, obviously. The goal at the end of the first half was big. Second half, they came at us with a little bit more energy and created a couple of chances. Obviously, the Keane goal was the difference. But I thought overall it was a good 90 minutes for our team. We were sloppy at times in the first half. We could have been a little bit cleaner. Technically, in and around the goal area, we could have create another goal or two, but overall it was a good performance. We are on a good run, and hopefully we keep getting better.”
(On success of Gyasi Zardes…)
ARENA: “He’s doing well. Big goal obviously. A lot of little things, he’s getting better. He’s running off the ball better .He’s holding the ball better. He’s passing better. Everything’s improved and I think playing next to Robbie [Keane] is important. Robbie’s doing a good job helping him move along .Landon [Donovan] had another good effort tonight. Backline performed well.”
(On Robbie Rogers playing left back…)
ARENA: “I think that coming from a deeper position is good for him. But the thing about Robbie in that position is he’s an excellent defender, which is the number one box you need to check when you are going to play as a defender. He does that exceptionally well. The other stuff like going forward is icing on the cake.”
(On coming back from behind to win…)
ARENA: “I think anytime you win a game when you are trailing is important. It shows character. The goal came against run of play. [Stefan] Ishizaki got his head onto the ball and deflected it. Then end up getting a goal. Probably their only shot of the first half. It was a little bit against run of play.”
(On the team’s performance so far this season…)
ARENA: “We are, what, second place now in the Western Conference, against teams that have a couple games in hand on us. We have the best defensive record in the league. We are probably in the top three or four in attacking categories. We are getting healthier. I give the team a B plus. [For] the coach [i give] a C-minus goes with my grade point average in college.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday in a brunch time 11:30 a.m. PT match.
In the latest edition of "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's success against Portland at home.
Check it out below.
SEATTLE – Robbie Rogers has been searching for a position to call home with the LA Galaxy after a vagabond first season with the club, but it appears that the defender has, at last, found his place at left back.
Back for the first time since early-July after overcoming an ankle injury, Rogers provided needed width along the left side of the defense while also aiding the Galaxy attack with piercing runs forward. After playing his sixth match across all competitions along the left side of defense, Rogers went as far to admit that he feels as though he has become a full-fledged left back.
“It felt great, especially the first half. My ankle still feels sore, so I didn’t know if I was going to be ready to play, but I’ve played through injuries and I really wanted to play in this one,” Rogers told LA Galaxy Insider. “I really wanted to play in the Kansas City game, but I wasn’t ready and I tried to train and be ready for that but I’ve really enjoyed playing left back and right back when I played against Chicago.
“I feel more comfortable [at the [position] the more games I play,” he added. “I was happy to participate and contribute, but I still think that I can improve a lot more.
In arguably his best performance along the flank, Rogers worked well with midfielder Landon Donovan to shut down the Sounders right sided attackers while also making overlapping runs that pinned Seattle back in their own end. Following the match, Rogers’ stat sheet was indicative of his efforts as he finished the game with an impressive stat line that included seven interceptions and seven recoveries.
Rogers’ quick ability to adapt to his new defensive role has led some to compare him to DaMarcus Beasley, another former midfielder who extended his career several years by making the move to the back line.
Quite familiar with Beasley’s game due to their time on the U.S. national team, Rogers admits that the move may look similar to the new Houston Dynamo Designated Player’s change on the surface, but he shrugged of any comparisons.
“DaMarcus and I are just different. Even when we played left wing we were different,” said Rogers. “Even though they are the same position, I wouldn't compare the way that we play. I don’t think that the way that we play is similar.”