CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena offered his thoughts following Saturday's 2-0 LA Galaxy victory over Sporting Kansas City.
Arena's thoughts are below.
(On his general thoughts following the game...)
ARENA: "A more complete match for us, pretty solid over 90 minutes. Obviously not perfect, but I think that we haven't closed games out the right way this year, we haven't played well in the last 15 minutes of games and I think tonight, we did that. Obviously, the second goal was important, it was a great combination between [Robbie] Keane and [Landon] Donovan and obviously, the first half, [Marcelo] Sarvas' goal was a big goal. Overall, a pretty solid performance by our team over 90 minutes."
(On Landon Donovan's performance...)
ARENA: "A much improved performance. He played well...You see every game, he's getting better."
(On the back four's play...)
ARENA: "I think the entire back line played a good game tonight, obviously, A.J. [DeLaGarza] and Omar [Gonzalez] are pretty comfortable with each other, I thought Sean [Franklin] and Todd [Dunivant] did well, but collectively as a team, it was much more complete, which certainly helps our back line."
(On how Jack McBean's decision making is improving...)
ARENA: "Fine. He's still a young player at 18-years-old and I thought that he gave us a solid performance tonight."
CARSON, Calif. -- We're hours away from Saturday night's match between the LA Galaxy and Sporting KC. Before you head to the match, check out a series of links, matchups to watch and my predicted lineup....
*Landon Donovan is hoping that this is the week that it "all comes together."
*Jose Villarreal suffered a shoulder knock during a Reserve League game on Monday, but he is confident that he'll be available against Sporting.
*LA will look to break the Sporting KC shutout streak which currently sits at 512 minutes. I talk to the Galaxy about snapping the streak here.
*Could Gyasi Zardes make the gameday roster or is it a bridge too far for the youngster?
*LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan has provided his preview of the game.
*Lastly, check out my Three Points to the match.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Robbie Keane vs. Aurélien Collin
Keane is expected to return to the Galaxy starting lineup and will be greeted by the flamboyant French center back, who is fresh off shutting down Thierry Henry in Sporting's midweek match against New York Red Bulls. Expect Keane to attempt to pull Collin -- and his partner in central defense Matt Besler -- out of position to open up space for the likes of Donovan and Mike Magee.
Todd Dunivant vs. Graham Zusi
The technical right midfielder will provide fits for Dunivant, who is expected to return to the Galaxy starting XI. Positioning will be key in this battle as Zusi has a knack for getting behind opposing defenses and firing crosses into the box.
Omar Gonzalez vs. Claudio Bieler
Bieler has been one of the best additions in MLS so far this season with four goals to date, but he'll face a stiff challenge in Gonzalez, who is currently in the best form of his career right now.
Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Donovan, Juninho, Sarvas, Magee; Keane, McBean
What are your prediction for Saturday's match? What lineup do you see LA using?
Share your thoughts below.
In the game notes for Saturday's clash against Sporting Kansas City, the LA Galaxy revealed their injury report.
The report is below...
In the wake of this week's tragic events in the city of Boston, the LA Galaxy Foundation will donate 10,000 dollars to the One Fund Boston, which was created to help those most affected by the events on April 15.
The club will also be hanging flags of the New England Revolution, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and Boston Red Sox as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the grass berm during Saturday's match against Sporting Kansas City. The Galaxy will also observe a Moment of Silence pre-game to honor the victims.
“The LA Galaxy have been tremendously moved by the outpouring of support from around the world to those who have been affected by the recent Boston Marathon bombings and wanted to assist those families by making this donation,” said Galaxy President Chris Klein in a release issued through the club's website. “We consider our club to be a family and we were pained to learn that Southern California native John Odom, the father-in-law of our former goalkeeper Matt Reis, was one of those who were injured in Monday’s attacks. Matt will always be a member of the Galaxy family and we are all thinking of him and his family in this time of need.”
CARSON, Calif. – It has been an extremely positive week for Gyasi Zardes, who trained fully with the LA Galaxy for the first time this week and even made a brief appearance for the Galaxy reserves on Monday.
But will the Homegrown forward make the gameday roster for Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City?
Zardes has been impressed with his fitness level during the week’s training and did well during a brief 17 minute shift in a Reserve League match against Seattle Sounders FC on Monday, but whether he makes the roster on Saturday remains a question mark.
“I would definitely be surprised, but I’m working my way into it and that is what I’m looking forward to it,” Zardes told LA Galaxy Insider. “[Head coach Bruce Arena] keeps everyone on their toes [in terms of roster selection], but it’d be very exciting and my dream come true because I haven’t stepped on the field.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) April 18, 2013
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, defender Omar Gonzalez and forwards Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan preview Saturday's clash against Sporting Kansas City.
Watch the video below...
CARSON, Calif. – A red card suspension to Leonardo has created a vacancy in the center of the LA Galaxy defense for this weekend’s match against Sporting Kansas City and who fills it may help LA snap their recent four-game winless run.
One of the primary options is A.J. DeLaGarza, who has started all nine of the Galaxy’s matches in 2013 across all competitions. A staple in the LA back four at central defense, DeLaGarza has primarily played at right back this year making six of his nine appearances out wide.
With Leonardo suspended and the Galaxy developing a habit of conceding late goals— seven of the eight goals allowed this season have come in the last 12 minutes of games—a return to the pairing of DeLaGarza and Gonzalez may be necessary.
“It’s something that we’ve done for years now. We’ve had Todd, myself, Sean and Omar back there for a number of years now so we’re all comfortable and know each other pretty well,” said DeLaGarza. “If that happens, we have to get back to what we’re good at, which is shutting opponents down for 90 minutes plus.”
If DeLaGarza is stationed at center back, it could help LA shut down an athletic Sporting attack led by Graham Zusi and Claudio Bieler. Known for his speed and positioning, DeLaGarza is aptly suited to stop Sporting’s fleet-footed attackers
That may not be the only benefit for DeLaGarza, who admits to feeling more confident at central defense than he is out wide.
“I’m probably more confident in that I know the game better from that position,” said DeLaGarza. “In terms of reading the game well and just giving the ball to people who are going to make the plays for us in Juninho and Marcelo [Sarvas] instead of me trying to be a playmaker from the center back spot.”
CARSON, Calif. – Central to Sporting Kansas City’s efforts this season has been the play of reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Jimmy Nielsen.
The Danish ‘keeper has followed up his strong award-winning 2012 season with yet another strong performance this year having only conceded three goals while making 11 saves and keeping a 0.43 goals against average. Currently Sporting have a five-game shutout streak and have kept their opponents scoreless for the last 512 minutes.
LA’s own goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini admitted that Nielsen is quite the weapon for Kansas City, but he’s more focused on stopping their high-octane attack.
“He’s doing very well. Last year, he was the best goalkeeper in the league. It’s a team that looks pretty solid and this year they have a very good striker in [Claudio] Bieler, who is a very good goleador. They’re getting stronger and last year they were first in their conference so they’re a team to beat.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will face a stiff test this week as they look to crack a strong Sporting Kansas City defense that has not conceded a goal in their last 512 minutes. However, LA will have a boost in the attack as Robbie Keane looks set to return to the lineup after missing last week’s defeat to FC Dallas.
Keane was sidelined with a left ankle issue last week that he says occurred during LA’s 1-0 defeat to C.F. Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal second leg. On Thursday, Keane returned to the training field and declared his ankle at 90 percent, a major indicator that he could play as “50 percent is good enough to play” in the Galaxy captain’s eyes.
“That was my first session since the Monterrey game. I’ve been doing a lot of fitness in the last three days so it was nice to be back on the field,” said Keane.
The Irishman and the rest of the LA offense will have stiff test on their hand to crack the Kansas City defense that blanketed Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, but Keane is confident that a goal will come.
“They haven’t conceded in a five games, they’re certainly a strong team,” said Keane. “It’s going to be a tough game, but listen, we’re a good team and we’re playing at home so we’ll be hoping to get the three points.”
Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones preview this Saturday's clash against Sporting Kansas City the newest edition of View from the Booth.
Check it out below...