CARSON, Calif. – Brazilian center back Leonardo is no strange to scorn from LA Galaxy fans, but in 2014, the defender made major strides that may see him start 2015 as the principal partner beside Omar Gonzalez.
Free of the injury issues that plagued him during his first four seasons with the club, Leonardo became a regular in Bruce Arena’s lineup as the Brazilian made 24 appearances and 20 starts—each of which were career-highs. Leonardo also added a goal which was his first tally since the 2011 campaign.
Although Leonardo struggled at times—LA’s CONCACAF Champions League second leg against Club Tijuana was a particularly difficult game—the Brazilian defender showed steady improvement over the course of the season. During the last three months of the team’s campaign in particular, Leonardo blossomed into one of the team’s finest defenders as his physicality and passing ability were vital to LA’s postseason campaign. In addition to his ability to shut down opposing offenses, Leonardo also developed a tendency to push forward into the attack to give the team numbers on set pieces.
Next season, the onus will be on the frequently maligned central defender to stake a claim as Bruce Arena’s primary option alongside Omar Gonzalez in the middle of the back four. To do so, he must continue to be the steady defender of the final months of the season and minimize the mistakes that were apparent at the start of the season.
How would you rate Leonardo’s 2014 season? Read my review of the defenders on LAGalaxy.com and rate his season in the poll and comment section below.
WATCH: Robbie Keane speaks to Shamrock Rovers F.C. about the LA Galaxy's preseason match in the Republic of Ireland
The man from Tallaght is returning home in 2015 when Robbie Keane leads the LA Galaxy to the Republic of Ireland where they'll face 17-time Irish league champion Shamrock Rovers F.C. at Tallaght Stadium on Feb. 21.
Keane was on hand at Tallaght Stadium on Monday morning to reveal that the match will take place during the Galaxy's 2015 preseason preparations. During his press conference, Keane spoke to Shamrock Rovers' SRTV about the match and his thoughts on playing in his home town.
Watch Keane's thoughts on the match above.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Homegrown Player Jack McBean is heading to Europe for the rest of the month on a pair of training stints, a source close to the situation told LA Galaxy Insider.
The 19-year-old forward is currently training with Championship side Charlton Athletic and will train there for the next eight days until joining up with Scottish club Hibernian for another 10 day training period. A club spokesman confirmed McBean’s training stint.
McBean, who trained in England last year with Blackburn Rovers and Wolves, endured a trying year with Galaxy II in 2014 as he scored five goals in 26 appearances.
CARSON, Calif. -- The day is finally here.
In the latest edition of "What To Watch For," Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones break down the MLS Cup Final between the LA Galaxy and New England Revolution
Check it out above.
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena on New England Revolution boss Jay Heaps: "He's an outstanding coach"
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will be the elder statesman on Sunday when he takes on fourth-year New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps.
On paper, the gap in experience between the pair could not be more different.
Arena, a four time MLS Cup champion, will be coaching in his seventh final while Heaps will lead the Revs for the very first time. Although there is a considerable experience gap between the two head coaches, Arena admires the growth that Heaps has shown in four years of coaching the Revolution.
"He's a person that I recruited at the University of Virgina, but he chose to go to Duke, so I hold that against him a little bit. He was a great athlete in both soccer and basketball, and he played for one of the great basketball coaches in Mike Krzyzewski and he was a big influence in coaching career. He put in a great shift with the Revs and became an understudy then went into coaching. He got help from Mike and other coaches and in a few years, he's become an outstanding coach.
"He's a work horse who puts in a lot of hours, he's very dedicated, very bright and obviously very good."
CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan went through his final training session as a professional athlete on Saturday as the LA Galaxy went through their final preparations for Sunday's MLS Cup Final against the New England Revolution at StubHub Center.
Photos from Donovan's final training session are below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Nothing says MLS Cup week in Southern California quite like a little rain.
On Tuesday, the LA Galaxy kicked off their prepration for the 2014 MLS Cup Final with an early morning session that was plagued by rain showers. Rain has become a staple of LA's MLS Cups as both finals in 2011 and 2012 happened during rare Southern California rain showers.
Although the rain was intense during the session, it didn't affect the Galaxy's preparations.
"It was good. For the starters, we didn't do much, but it was good to let them run around a little bit," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "We'll have a day out tomorrow so by Thursday, they'll be fresh and ready to play."
Don't worry though: the forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions and temperatures of 72 degrees on Sunday afternoon.
Check out photos from Galaxy photographer Hana Asano below.
LA Galaxy fans celebrate the team's airport arrival after winning the Western Conference Championship
More than 100 LA Galaxy fans greeted the team at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday morning after the team clinched the Western Conference Championship by defeating Seattle Sounders FC.
In this fan video by "DJ Elixx", we get an insight into the fans that greeted the Galaxy at Atlantic Aviation and their celebration with Cozmo and the Western Conference Trophy afterward. I do have to warn you that I do make a few brief cameos.
Check it out above.
LA Galaxy stalwarts A.J. DeLaGarza and Juninho expecting to be ready for MLS Cup Final date with New England Revolution
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are expecting to be back to full fitness -- or at least close to it, when they kick off in the MLS Cup Final against the New England Revolution on Sunday.
A.J. DeLaGarza (left hamstring strain) was the most glaring absence from the squad that dispatched Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, but in an interview with reporters the morning after, the 27-year-old said that he expects to play in MLS Cup this weekend.
"I feel a lot better. I've been working out the last couple of days, but I didn't train too much in the buildup to the last game against Seattle so it wasn't right to go out in a situation like that especially on that turf. You saw that Osvaldo Alonso was not himself and he had two weeks to get ready for that," said DeLaGarza. "I'll be fine this weekend. I'm going to get back into full training."
Another question mark is Juninho who played the hero for the Galaxy with the series-clinching goal against the Sounders. It appeared that the Brazilian suffered an injury in the 87th minute that forced Bruce Arena to pull him from the match when a subsitution of another banged up player (Marcelo Sarvas) was already in the cards.
Despite needing to be helped off the field, Juninho insisted after the game that he'll be ready for Sunday's meeting with the New England Revolution.
"It was so cold out there and at the end of the game there is a lot of pressure so I felt a cramp," said Juninho. " I'm good though. I'll be good for the next game."
Alonso missed out on the Galaxy’s 1-0 first leg win in Southern California last week with a hamstring injury, but has trained with Seattle throughout the week including their session at StarFire Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Galaxy boss was asked about Seattle’s optimism about their star midfielder’s status on Sunday and was quick to provide a terse response on Alonso’s availability.
“I wouldn't think so, but if he does [play] then good for him,” Arena quipped.