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05 July 11:13 am

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy erased a one-goal deficit late on the heels of a pair of Robbie Keane penalty kick goals on Thursday, to seal a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.

But while the Galaxy were jovial after the match, Columbus was left fuming about the calls made by referee Sorin Stoica.

“Unfortunately for us, the referee called [the penalties],” Columbus coach Robert Warzycha told reporters after the match. “From my point of view, it’s difficult to judge. What I can tell you is [Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum] said he didn’t initiate contact [on the first penalty], then on the second penalty [Bernardo Anor] said he was just going for the ball. The referee called both of them, and that’s the game, unfortunately.”

The second penalty, which was drawn when Keane was fouled in the box by Anor in the waning moments of the match, drew the most contention postgame for Crew and Galaxy players alike.

But what did members of the LA Galaxy think of the calls? Reporters asked Keane, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, and center back Omar Gonzalez about the penalty calls after the match, and all seemed to bring up the second penalty.

Their responses are below…

KEANE: “The second one I’m looking at the ball and someone comes into the back of you. If someone runs into the back of you without you knowing the fact is you’re going to fall over. I didn't see him behind me when I wanted to take the ball down and he just ran into me. When you’re in the penalty box you obviously have to be very careful.”

ARENA: “The second one—we might have been fortunate on. I haven’t seen them on tape. The first one I think Jose was taken down, but I think there wasn’t any of them you could say 100 percent penalty. The Crew is going to feel a little disappointed, for sure.”

GONZALEZ: “Several times this season, I think we’ve played great games but have let up late, or things just don’t go our way. Tonight, maybe the second PK wasn't such a great call, but hey, it went in our favor and I can’t ask for anything more than that. It was a great call by the referee, especially at home, and getting the win for the fans, it was great. It just showed a lot of character, going down 1-0 after dominating the entire game. Showing the character to come back and win the game 2-1 was great.”

What are your thoughts?

Watch the video of the second penalty call below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

05 July 2:10 am

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy earned a dramatic comeback victory over the Columbus Crew on Thursday as two Robbie Keane penalty kick goals sealed a 2-1 win for LA. 

My Three Points to the game can be found here

Post game notes can be found below...

*The victory was the Galaxy's first win when allowing the first goal. LA is now 1-6-0 in that situation. LA's last come from behind victory in the MLS Regular Season came on July 14, 2012 vs. the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field.

*LA outshot the Crew 23 to eight. 

*Robbie Keane is now the LA Galaxy's 2013 MLS Regular Season goal scoring leader with seven goals. Keane was already the leader in goals among current Galaxy players, but bypassed Mike Magee's mark of six with two strikes on Thursday. Keane has scored four of his goals on penalty kick attempts. Keane now has 25 goals in 42 career regular season games with the Galaxy. He is the eighth different player to score 25 or more regular season goals for LA.

*LA has completed five of their seven penalty kicks this season. 

*LA’s seven penalty attempts this year are tied for the second most in club history. Only in 2003, when the Galaxy drew eight penalties, did they attempt more spot kicks. The last time LA had seven penalties in a single season was 2007, when they also went 5-for-7.

* The Galaxy have now scored eight times in the final 15 minutes during regular season play while conceding 14. Additionally, of the nine goals scored and allowed in the Champions League, six came in the final 15 minutes.

* 28 of the 60 goals scored in Galaxy games in all competitions this year have been scored in the final 15 minutes.

*The Galaxy are now 10-5-3 all-time on the Fourth ofJuly. LA has played at home on Independence Day for 18 consecutive seasons, which according to Elias Sports Bureau is an American sports record. 

*LA is currently in fourth place in the Western Conference with 27 points. They sit seven points back of MLS Supporters' Shield leaders Real Salt Lake with a game in hand. 

 

04 July 11:43 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane played the role of hero for the LA Galaxy against the Columbus Crew and the Irish forward broke down the match in an interview with reporters after the game.

Keane’s quotes are below…

(On the result of tonight’s match…)

KEANE: “Of course after the result on Sunday it’s important to get a win no matter which way we did it. We’re certainly the better team there’s no question about it when you win down a goal with ten minutes to go.”

(On his the second penalty call…)

KEANE: “The second one I’m looking at the ball and someone comes into the back of you. If someone runs into the back of you without you knowing the fact is you’re going to fall over. I didn't see him behind me when I wanted to take the ball down and he just ran into me. When you’re in the penalty box you obviously have to be very careful.”

(On the team’s many opportunities tonight…)

KEANE: “We certainly should have put away a few. We had a lot chances where we went over the bar and stuff like that. I think the most important thing is getting into the spots. If we were not getting any chances I’d be certainly worried but the fact that we are getting them. It’s only a matter of time before we start putting them in and we start scoring a lot of goals.”

(On what he says to Gyasi Zardes amid his slump…)

KEANE: “Keep putting them away. It happens to all of us. When you don't score its in the back of your mind. When you’re younger it's a little bit different than when you’re old and you’ve been playing for a long time you know how to deal with it better. Someone like Gyasi, I’m sure he’ll be thinking about it, something that I used to do when I was younger, conjuring it in your head for days. The only thing you can do is just keep plugging away, and as I said if he keeps getting put on spots its only a matter of time before he starts putting a few goals away.”

(On whether he was worrying that he’d miss his second goal…)

KEANE: “No, not really, the same as the first one. I was waiting for him to go early but this one he didn't. The first one he went early so that's why I put it that way, but the second time he waited for the last second. I said if he was going to wait I’m going to put it in the same corner. So luckily enough for me it went through.”

(On the quick turnaround against FC Dallas…)

KEANE: “Obviously it’s been a really tough week for us. I think that's why we have all of the trainers to make sure we get ready for the game Sunday. It's a quick turnaround but I think it's the same for everybody so it doesn't make a difference.”

(On if the team had lost…)

KEANE: “I think we would have been completely shattered, to be honest our heads would have been down. But, because you do win a game, its amazing how confidence can get you through games and get through a few more days. Yeah we lost the game on Sunday, but the fact that we’ve got the three points is huge. “

(On the overall play tonight…)

KEANE: “We defended well and we played a lot of chances. It's a game where there no way we should have lost. They had one chance and that was with the header. We had a lot of chances, just didn't put them away, and that's the way it goes. As long as we keep plugging away and keep getting in position then we’ll be fine.”

04 July 10:50 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena's postgame thoughts from the LA Galaxy's 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.

Arena's thoughts are below...

(Overall thoughts on the game...)

ARENA: “We fought hard to try and win the game. We were fortunate to capitalize on two penalty kicks. On the night, we played OK—the second half a little bit better than the first half. We can certainly be accused of not finishing our chances, and putting ourselves in a poor position, which certainly happened. Give Columbus credit, they certainly played hard, got a great goal. Not to take anything away from them, it was a great goal. We just had to battle and try to create some chances at the end and we were fortunate to get a couple of calls that made a difference. We’ve been on the other side of those games a couple of times this year. At this point in the season, we should have 11, 12 victories, but we’ve shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times. We got to battle and keep moving forward. We have to move up the ladder in a very competitive conference.”

(On Galaxy going forward...)

ARENA: “There’s an awful lot of work to be done. Finishing our chances is one of them. Defensively on the night, we were, for the most part, pretty good. Columbus really wasn’t that dangerous and 10 minutes to go we’re chasing the game, and that’s not good. So, we got to get better in all aspects and hopefully we can.”

(On Columbus’ goal...)

ARENA: “I don’t know how you look at that goal tonight, that’s one of those once in a lifetime-type of goals. I haven’t seen it on tape or anything, but it looked like he stuck that in the corner pretty well and he’s 16 yards out, so it’s one of those plays that happened.”

(On the penalties...)

ARENA: “The second one—we might have been fortunate on. I haven’t seen them on tape. The first one I think Jose was taken down, but I think there wasn’t any of them you could say 100 percent penalty. The Crew’s going to feel a little disappointed, for sure.”

(On the struggles of Gyasi Zardes...)

ARENA: "That's what separates the men from the boys generally. The players that finish off those chances make a pretty good living around the world. Goal scorers, you got to have a lot of respect for. Gyasi is still young in the trade. He's probably been healthy for three months this year and hopefully, he's going to get better in the penalty area. That's the goal. The positive part is that each and every game, he's getting a bunch of good chances, so hopefully he'll start putting some of those away." 

(On the possibility of losing Omar Gonzalez during the transfer window...)

ARENA: "That's not likely to happen."

--

Share your thoughts below...

04 July 3:27 pm

CARSON, Calif. – We’ve gotten away from it in the past few weeks, but here is the triumphant return of the LA Galaxy Insider match look ahead.

On Independence Day, the LA Galaxy take on the Columbus Crew at StubHub Center. 

Thursday's match will mark the 18th consecutive season in which LA has playing at home on the Fourth of July. LA is 9-5-3 all-time on the date, including a 1-1-0 mark against Columbus. 

LA is 0-1-1 in the last two Independence Day matches. 

LINKS TO READ:

The pregame game notes are here

Defensive breakdowns plagued the LA Galaxy against the San Jose Earthquakes, but LA is adamant that there will be no such meltdowns against the Crew. Omar Gonzalez also had a few strong words as the Galaxy head into the match.

Landon Donovan’s away with the U.S. National Team, so Hector Jimenez may step in his spot in the right side of midfield.

The match with the Crew will be a “strange” one for Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers, who was a mainstay for Columbus in years past.

Remember, if you bought tickets to the “Messi and Friends” exhibition, you’ll be able to purchase tickets at a discounted rate for the Galaxy matches on Thursday and Sunday.

For a match preview, here’s LAGalaxy.com Larry Morgan’s view of the game.

Lastly, my Three Points to the game.

PREVIEW QUOTE: 

“If we look back at the games that we tied or lost in the last five minutes, with those points, we would easily be at the top of the table. But I don’t like to look back, we need to look forward and make sure that every game is a battle and be sure to as get as much points as possible.”

            - LA Galaxy Goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

ROBBIE ROGERS vs. TYSON WAHL

Facing his old club, Rogers is expected to be plenty motivated to bag his first goal with the LA Galaxy and he should have plenty of opportunities against Wahl. Look for Rogers to use his speed on and off the ball to get behind Wahl and create scoring chances for himself and his LA teammates.

JUNINHO vs. MATIAS SANCHEZ

Back from suspension, the Crew midfield will be bolstered by the return of the Argentine defensive midfielder. Not only does Sanchez attempt to break up chances, but he'll also try to get forward to open up space for the likes of playmaker Frederico Higuain.

DOMINIC ODURO vs. A.J. DELAGARZA

A match of speed, DeLaGarza will be expected to use his quickness to match up with the quick Ghanaian.  Although no one is expecting DeLaGarza to beat Oduro in a foot race, if LA’s defense can stay organized, they may be able to put the brakes on the fleet-footed Crew forward.

PREDICTED LINEUP:

Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Jimenez, Sarvas, Juninho, Rogers; Zardes, Keane

04 July 1:38 pm

In honor of the Fourth of July (Happy Fourth Everyone!), MLSsoccer.com Editor and Chief Greg Lalas complied a list of the five greatest American players in MLS history and after watching this, I started thinking of my own list. 

Full Disclosure: I was nine-years-old during the inaugural season in MLS, so this list is going to be subject to my own bias. 

5. COBI JONES

No list is complete without the man in the dreadlocks -- Cobi Jones. The league's first true superstar, Jones helped the Galaxy win two MLS Cup titles (2002, 2005), two MLS Supporters' Shields (1998, 2002), the CONCACAF Champions' Cup (2000), and two U.S. Open Cups (2001, 2005). While Jones helped the Galaxy to club titles, he racked up a host of individual accolades including an MLS Best XI selection (2000) and eight MLS All-Star nods. 

4. STEVE RALSTON

The league's all-time leader in assists with 135 and a mainstay during the great New England Revolution teams of the last decade, Ralston is an automatic selection. 

3. JEFF CUNNINGHAM

The Jamaican-born U.S. international was an enigma throughout his 13-year career in MLS, but Cunningham was also a pure goal scorer. The league's all-time leader in goals scored 134 goals in 365 appearances, Cunningham was simply a class finisher.

2. KEVIN HARTMAN

Goalkeepers hardly get the respect that they deserve, but to date, Kevin Hartman is the most accomplished goalkeeper to ever play in MLS. Hartman has set league records in appearances (416), wins (180), saves (1474), and shutouts (112). And he’s still ticking, mind you, as a member of the New York Red Bulls. 

1. LANDON DONOVAN

Simply put the greatest American soccer player of all-time. Landon Donovan’s club resume is littered with titles including five MLS Cup titles (2 with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 and 2003 as well as three with the LA Galaxy in 2005, 2011 and 2012), two Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011), and a U.S. Open Cup (2005). At the age of 31, Donovan is third all-time in goals scored with 127 and second all-time in assists with 114. I wouldn't be surprised if by the time he's done playing, he holds the league records in assists and goals. And we said all that without ever mentioning his success with the U.S. National Team.

(Honorable Mention: Alexi Lalas, Jeff Agoos, Robin Fraser, Nick Rimando, Preki, Taylor Twellman, Clint Mathis)

Lalas' list is below.

What's your list? Tell me below.

04 July 10:22 am

The cancelation of the “Messi and Friends” exhibition has been major news over the past two days, but amid the debacle, the LA Galaxy are offering fans that were scheduled to attend the exhibition, a bit of solace.

LA is offering a special discounted ticket rate—which starts at $30.50—for the club’s next two home games at StubHub Center against the Columbus Crew on July 4 and FC Dallas on July 7. Fans can secure tickets by calling 877-3GALAXY (342-5299) or by coming to the StubHub Center box office and mentioning “Messi and Friends.”

The offer is good until 5 p.m. on July 7.

 “There are a lot of soccer fans throughout the region that were hoping to be able to see world class soccer players this holiday weekend and while they were not able to at the Coliseum, they can at StubHub Center,” LA Galaxy President Chris Klein said in a statement. “As soccer fans ourselves, everyone at the Galaxy recognizes the difficulty of this situation but we hope that our offer can help heal some of the disappointment.”

The complete breakdown of the deal is below:

Section                        Price

General Admission   $30.50

Endline                        $36.00

Sideline                       $45.25

Reserved Sideline      $59.25

03 July 3:29 pm

CARSON, Calif. –International commitments have cost the LA Galaxy the services of Landon Donovan for, perhaps, the entire month of July. But with Donovan off on Gold Cup duty, the player that seems most likely to slide into his spot on the right side of midfield is Hector Jimenez. 

Jimenez scored his second goal of the year last weekend in LA’s 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes and was unlucky not to bag another in the 88th minute when he saw his attempt from close range saved by goalkeeper Jon Busch. Even though Jimenez couldn't lead the Galaxy to a win at Stanford Stadium, the midfielder is confident that he can step into Donovan's spot and contribute.  

“I feel good. Obviously, we're going to miss Landon for a couple of games and I think that I'm going to find some time out wide. Hopefully, I can contribute and we get back on the board with three points [on Thursday],” said Jimenez, who has 12 appearances this season. “I'm definitely feeling confident. Sometimes it’s tough being outside watching [from the bench], but when I get in, I just have to take advantage of that [confidence] and hopefully I can produce again.”

If Jimenez does slide into Donovan’s midfield spot, he'll have the support of Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, who has been impressed with the 24-year-old's play lately.

“Hector has been very good, coming into games late. It'd be good for him [if he plays],” said Keane. “The manager has good options on the wing.”

03 July 1:48 pm

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy believe that they’ve moved on from last Saturday’s disappointing defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes, now all they have to do is prove it on the field.

No player exemplified this mindset better than center back Omar Gonzalez, who after being asked by about the team moving on from Saturday’s defeat offered a clever response.

“What game?” Gonzalez asked. The San Jose game, of course, the reporter answered. “When was that?” Gonzalez quipped.

Exactly.

Jokes aside, Gonzalez understands that the Galaxy defense must sharpen especially in the closing stages of games, when LA has conceded 13 goals of their 21 goals in the final 15 minutes.

“There’s little things that we need to fix. We play well for long stretches of the game, but it is those little things that are hurting us,” said Gonzalez. “Whether it’s letting guys get crosses or not marking in the box, it is just the little things that we’ve been getting punished for all year.”

“Hopefully, things will start turning our way and the bad luck will turn into good luck,” added Gonzalez. “But if a game was 80 minutes, then we’d be in first place, but unfortunately, the game is 90-plus minutes, and we’ve been falling short toward the end of games.”

Gonzalez’s provided a comprehensive description of LA’s recent struggles, but how does LA turn that around?

“It has to come from the veteran guys and myself in particular. When we’re up with the lead, stop sending guys forward—stop sending Sean [Franklin] and Todd [Dunivant] forward to get an extra goal. Maybe keep them back so we can stop any kind of attack that they start,” said Gonzalez. “Just be smarter with the way that we manage games. If we start doing that then we start being more cerebral in the way that we’re play and maybe we can start building points up.”

Gonzalez and company will need to be on point on Thursday, if they are to earn a victory against the Crew, who boast the talented forward tandem of Dominic Oduro and Frederico Higuain. Providing a mix of speed and playmaking ability, Gonzalez believes that positioning will be key.

“We’ve played against Oduro plenty and we’ve done pretty well against him. His speed is a bit of an X factor. He can get places faster than most in this league,” said Gonzalez. “I think that he’s having a very good year this year and he’s definitely one to watch and whenever you have a guy like Higuain, who is going to be serving him balls quick and putting balls over the top, it’s something that we have to look out for.

“We have to be good on our line, make sure that we drop early and keep them in front of us.” 

03 July 8:48 am

The MLS Disciplinary Committee has suspended San Jose Earthquakes Shea Salinas one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for nearly landing an elbow to the head of LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane during the fifth minute of San Jose's 3-2 victory over LA last Saturday. 

The Disciplinary Committee ruled that action endangered Keane's safety despite referee Armando Villarreal awarding a foul on Keane during the run of play . The move seems to be a just one by the Committee as Salinas came close to landing an elbow to Keane's head as the pair jostled for position.

Video of the action is below.