And then there were two.
With Vancouver Whitecaps FC's 4-0 victory over Chivas USA--which featured a little Gangnam Style courtesy of Camilo-- there are just two teams left in contention for the final MLS Cup Playoff berth in the Western Conference.
The victory eliminated Chivas, the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers from playoff contention. With 32 games played, Vancouver is five points ahead of FC Dallas, who have played one fewer game than their Western rival for the fifth and final playoff spot. The Whitecaps sit seven points adrift of the fourth place Seattle Sounders, who Vancouver would face if the playoffs began today.
The LA Galaxy had a special visitor at training on Tuesday, the Stanley Cup Trophy.
The trophy was at training due to a season ticket event for the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. The trophy came out towards the end of practice and numerous players able to take their photo with one of professional sports most storied prizes.
More photos courtesy of Evan Gole / Bernstein Associates below
Coaches and players inspect the Stanley Cup and read the names engraved on the trophy.
Donovan taking part in a Stanley Cup superstition. If you touch it, you'll never win it.
A Team Photo with the Cup
If you've been following along on Twitter today, you'd know it's been a busy day for me.
I'll be making an appearance on Time Warner SportsNet's Access: SportsNet show tonight at 7pm and 10pm talking about the LA Galaxy. Also, I'll be on Galaxy Revealed with Chris McGee on Thursday and Friday talking about LA's latest turnaround.
Never one not to poke fun at myself, below is a photo of me in the makeup chair snapped by an intrepid Galaxy staffer earlier today.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 4, 2012
CARSON, Calif. -- A.J. DeLaGarza is listed as out with a left knee sprain in the LA Galaxy's injury report that was released on Monday evening.
The club preliminarily diagnosed DeLaGarza's injury as a left knee sprain during the club's 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids, but DeLaGarza revealed during his red carpet appearance at the Time Warner Cable SportsNet launch event that it was an MCL injury. The Galaxy defender told reporters that he expects miss a month, which would rule him out for the duration of the regular season, but admitted that he is hopeful that he can return in time for the playoffs.
DeLaGarza wasn't the only name of note as Swedish midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson was listed as questionable with a left calf strain. The very same strain that prevented Wilhelmsson from appearing in last week's tie in Colorado.
The complete Galaxy injury report is below.
OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (L ankle sprain); MF Christian Wilhelmsson (L calf strain)
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy have a host of options in the back to replace A.J. DeLaGarza, but Brazilian centerback Leonardo is not one of them.
Leonardo has been on the disabled list due to right knee inflammation and needed to be activated by the league's roster freeze deadline on Sept 14.
At training on Wednesday, Bruce Arena told reporters that Leonardo was "not ready to play" and will essentially be out for the remainder of the season.
A couple of notes to start your morning.
*The LA Galaxy return to practice on Wednesday morning for the first time since their 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. LA have a total of three training sessions before Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake.
*For an update on the playoff race: Read my playoff update on LAGalaxy.com. Remember, LA can finish no lower than fourth, but no higher than second in the Western Conference.
*For a recap of the Time Warner Cable SportsNet event on Monday, read my piece on the event with thoughts from the likes of Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, David Beckham and Landon Donovan.
*Speaking of Time Warner Cable SportsNet, I'll be on Access: SportsNet talking Galaxy this afternoon. If you've got the station be sure to tune in.
*Lastly, speaking of the match with RSL, I spoke on Salt Lake City's ESPN 700 "On Frame" radio show on Monday to provide an LA Galaxy perspective of the match. My segment begins at 11:09, give it a listen below.
Good Evening everyone, it's time for the tenth edition of Ask the Insider.
This evening's question comes from Steven Kippel How will the injury to AJ affect the upcoming matches?
The knee injury to A.J. DeLaGarza came at an unfortunate time for the LA Galaxy ahead of a pivotal four game stretch that will determine the club's seeding in both the MLS Cup Playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League. However, the Galaxy have a number of options to fill in for DeLaGarza including Andrew Boyens, David Junior Lopes and even Bryan Gaul, but it is likely that Tommy Meyer will play alongside Gonzalez while DeLaGarza is on the mend.
Although Meyer looked very much like a 22-year-old rookie at the beginning of the year, Meyer appeared right at home in the Galaxy back four during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids. Despite the match being Meyer’s first appearance alongside Omar Gonzalez this season, the pair showed great chemistry helping LA earn a point on the road. As the Galaxy begin a grueling three game stretch against Real Salt Lake (Oct. 6), San Jose Earthquakes (Oct. 21) and the Seattle Sounders (Oct. 28), this chemistry will be crucial as LA look to secure a top three seed in the Western Conference.
While Meyer may not be the speedy and cerebral DeLaGarza, the 22-year-old defender has his own attributes including an impressive size –standing 6-foot-2—and a smooth distribution that have developed by leaps in bounds during his rookie season. Central to Meyer’s development have been his appearances in the CCL and with the club’s Reserve League squad. These matches have offered Meyer a chance to not only maintain his fitness, but have allowed the rookie the opportunity to play in meaningful games that will come in handy during a crucial three game league stretch.
If Meyer can be successful then it could lead to some difficult choices for head coach Bruce Arena during the MLS Cup playoffs once DeLaGarza returns to full fitness.
Thanks for your question Steven. You can get your tickets by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against the Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6 for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to an upcoming Galaxy game.
Marcelo Sarvas and Josh Saunders are up for MLS Goal of the Week and Save of the Week honors this week.
Sarvas has been nominiated for his rocket strike in the 10th minute of play of the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. Meanwhile, Saunders is up for Save of the Week -- which Sarvas won two weeks ago -- for his 80th minute one-handed palm save on a header by Drew Moor.
The nominaees for both awards can be seen below...
GOAL OF THE WEEK
SAVE OF THE WEEK
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There was plenty of glitz and glamour at Monday's launch of Time Warner's duel television networks Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes.
Joining the LA Galaxy on the marquee were the Los Angeles Lakers, who are the station's flagship holding. While on the Red Carpet, I spoke to several members of the Los Angeles Lakers to get their impression of the Galaxy and soccer in the United States.
As a diehard Lakers fan, it was certainly an overwhelming experience to speak to the likes of Showtime Lakers' Magic Johnson and James Worthy as well as current Laker Dwight Howard about the prospects of soccer in the City of Angels.
LAGalaxy.com will have a video with thoughts from many Lakers as well as members of the Galaxy, but the quotes from the Lakers are below...
(On the importance of the new Time Warner Cable sports networks....)
MAGIC: "It's great. The Lakers are so loved and it's a team and organization that is used to winning championships. It is no question that they have captured the imagination of fans all over the world so with Time Warner having the Lakers now, it's great for Time Warner, it's great for the Lakers organization and I think that everyone can't wait to get started."
(On the Galaxy sharing the station with the Lakers...)
MAGIC: "Exactly, you have David Beckham here [in Los Angeles] and that's great, but it's always the Lakers."
(On attending the event...)
WORTHY: "These are always fun, they're always new, it's always something different because you see new faces and in this case a totally new network so we're very happy to be here. It's always exciting."
(On whether he ever considered playing soccer...)
WORTHY: "My daughter played club soccer for many years so I was one of the assistant coaches, at one point. It's a tough game, I just saw [David] Beckham and Landon Donovan [at the event] and I've gone to see the Galaxy a few times. I have a lot of respect."
(On any connections to soccer...)
HOWARD: "I've played FIFA [video game] a couple times. I’m just happy to be here in LA and I think that it’s going to be great for the [Lakers], the league and we’ll be good."
(On being around a series of stars in Los Angeles like David Beckham...)
HOWARD: "David Beckham is here? He is? Oohhhh. I’m just excited to be here [in Los Angeles], it’s a blessing, it’s a dream come true and I’m just looking forward to stepping on the court and playing."
(On getting a Galaxy snapback for his collection of hats...)
HOWARD: "I need a Galaxy snapback [hat], I have probably about 150 snapbacks and I need one of those."
COMMERCE CITY, COLO. -- The LA Galaxy may be without the services of defender A.J. DeLaGarza for at least a month, but the Galaxy are ready to trust in rookie centerback Tommy Meyer.
Filling in for the injured DeLaGarza, Meyer went 56 minutes in Sunday's 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids, in his first league appearance since May 5 and his first appearance alongside Omar Gonzalez. Meyer was stellar facing occasional heavy pressure from a desperate Rapids attack. I caught up with Meyer after the match to discuss his first appearance and his expectations going forward.
If there was any idea that the Galaxy were apprehensive about calling on the rookie during a crucial October stretch, Galaxy captain Landon Donovan quickly put any worries to rest.
“Injuries are a part of sports,” said Donovan. “A.J. for years now has been as important a player as any. If he's out for any significant time, it will hurt. But Tommy did a really good job. He's arguably our most improved player this year from the beginning of the year until now, and if we have to depend on him, we'll depend on him.”