CARSON, Calif. – Sooner or later, Landon Donovan is going to find the back of the net, but just when he does remains a question mark for the 31-year-old attacker and the rest of the LA Galaxy. But he hopes that the breakthrough comes this weekend against Sporting Kansas City.
The Galaxy attacker started a pair of matches last week against C.F. Monterrey and FC Dallas and has appeared in all four of LA's fixtures since returning from his hiatus from the sport. Following training on Thursday, Donovan admitted that he was feeling confident heading into Saturday’s match.
“I feel last week was really good for me personally, this has been a good week of training and my hope is that this is the week that it all finally comes together,” said Donovan. “I’m a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident. My touch is back naturally so I’m not really focusing on it anymore so I can focus on other things on the field and that’s when I’m at my best. So I’m hopeful this will be the week that it comes together.”
Donovan also addressed the status of the U.S. Under-17 side who failed to qualify for the 2013 U-17 World Cup with a defeat to Honduras last week in Panama. The defeat marked the first time in 14 tournaments that the Americans failed to qualify. Donovan’s commentary is not random as his career truly took flight in the 1999 U-17 World Cup in New Zealand when he was awarded the tournament’s Golden Ball trophy as the tournament’s MVP for the fourth-place American side.
“It's sad for those players and for [head coach] Richie Williams, because it's such an awesome experience and opportunity. I'm sad for those kids, that they don't get a chance to experience it. For me, it was some of the best memories of my life,” said Donovan. “It's disappointing. At the same time, there's no question with Olympic qualifying, 20s and 17s, we need to take a pretty honest look at what's going on, and we all have to do a better job. That falls on all of us. It's not one coach or a few coaches or certain players, it's everybody who's involved in soccer in this country. We need to take a look at ourselves and do a better job. No question.”
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CARSON, Calif. -- There's many staff that make The Home Depot Center tick each and every day and on Thursday, the LA Galaxy honored one special member, who is moving on.
LA presented a team-autographed jersey to security guard Thurman Edwards, who retired on Thursday after working at AEG venues for 10 years. A frequent sight at in front of Galaxy training sessions and at The HDC entrance, LA honored the man whose face has been a constant around the club for many years.
Here at the LA Galaxy Insider and LAGalaxy.com, I'd like to take the time to thank Mr. Edwards for all of his work at The HDC and wish him all the luck in the future.
CARSON, Calif. -- A red card suspension will prevent LA Galaxy center back Leonardo from suiting up in this Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City, but the Brazilian defender remains in high spirits despite being forced to the sidelines.
Leonardo picked up a costly red card for a foul on FC Dallas forward Blas Perez in the 60th minute of LA’s 1-0 defeat to FCD last Saturday. The suspension will cost Leonardo his unblemished streak of appearances in all nine games this season across all competitions and allow either A.J. DeLaGarza or Tommy Meyer to slide into central defense.
The Brazilian may have lost his starting role for one match, but he’s simply targeting regaining that spot against Real Salt Lake on April 27.
“I’m taking this week very calm. I can’t be worrying about things like that,” Leonardo told reporters. “[Galaxy head coach] Bruce [Arena] is the one who has to worry about things like that. He has the options and he knows the players that he has and he’ll make the call as to who plays and he who doesn’t. I can’t go into the week worrying about it, I just have to be respectful and work in training.”
During the first nine games this season, LA has developed a nasty habit of conceding goals late as seven of the club’s eight goals that they’ve conceded in 2013 have come in the last 12 minutes of matches. For Leonardo, solving this problem comes down to concentration.
“We need to keep our concentration for 90 minutes to make sure those things that doesn’t happen. We also need to work at training and as games go on,” said Leonardo. “Right now, we’re only on our fifth game of the [regular] season and while it’s never okay to lose points, it is okay to drop points early in the season, but as the season continues, we need to sharpen those things and not lose points.”
CARSON, Calif. – Sean Franklin has been LA Galaxy’s rock along the right flank (either at right back or at right midfield) for many years, but a recurring tightness in his right hamstring prevented him from appearing in last Saturday’s defeat to FC Dallas.
This week represents a new opportunity, however, and Franklin seems poised to contend for a spot in LA’s starting XI.
Franklin trained with the Galaxy on Wednesday and Thursday and was noticeably confident about his condition even admitted that he could go 90 minutes if asked.
“It was my first full training and I felt pretty good. A little bit tired towards the end, but it’s all about recovering and doing the right things to be ready to go on Saturday,” he said. “I’ve done as much as I can as far as seeing the trainers and taking care of my body and getting as much treatment as I can so they’re moving me along in the right way. My body has been feeling better each day and I’m looking forward to playing this weekend.”
Training was not the only exciting portion of Franklin’s day as he also met up with Venezuelan Indy Car driver E.J. Viso, who visited Galaxy practice ahead of Sunday’s Long Beach Grand Prix. Viso, whose Andretti Autosport ride dons the number five was presented with his own Galaxy uniform in the exchange.
Photos and video from the interaction are below.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) April 18, 2013
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) April 18, 2013
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) April 18, 2013
LA Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas spoke to LAGalaxy.com's Joe Tutino in this week's segment of the Galaxy All-Access Podcast.
Listen to the interview below...
CARSON, Calif. – Former Columbus Crew midfielder and Southern California native Robbie Rogers retired from the game of soccer after coming out as gay in February, but has left the door open to a possible return.
In multiple interviews since his announcement, Rogers has stated that he may like to train with an MLS club and has identified the LA Galaxy as a place of interest. Rogers trained with LA during the summer of 2012 while on the books at English outfit Leeds United.
On Wednesday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, who coached against Rogers when the Rancho Palos Verdes-native played for the Columbus Crew said that he would be welcomed on the training field with open arms. However, the Galaxy boss did not divulge if he has had any conversations with Rogers.
“He’d always be welcome to train with us. He hasn’t talked to me about it,” Arena told reporters. “I’m in contact with players and people all the time in the game and I don’t make my conversations or communications public if they don’t need to be, but he’s always welcome to train with us.”
But when asked if the Galaxy would be interested in the player, if Rogers does decide to return to MLS, he was quick to mention that his rights are owned by the Chicago Fire, who acquired his rights in a deal that sent Dominic Oduro to Columbus and Dilly Duka to Chicago.
CARSON, Calif. – A knock to Jose Villarreal’s left shoulder forced the LA Galaxy forward from Monday’s 1-1 Reserve League draw with Seattle Sounders FC, but the forward insists that he will healthy for Saturday’s clash against Sporting Kansas City.
Villarreal was removed in the 40th minute after what he described as a bad landing on his left shoulder, which has absorbed several knocks in recent weeks. The 19-year-old has logged plenty of minutes early this season with seven appearances across all competitions as well as a stint with the U.S. Under-20’s earlier this year.
On Wednesday, in the club’s first full training session of the week, the 19-year-old was upbeat about his fitness level.
“I feel good. Today, I had a good fitness session aside from the team, but it’s all good,” Villarreal told reporters. “I took a little knock in the game, but the trainers are looking at it and I feel good.”
Galaxy Bruce Arena echoed Villarreal’s optimism, not just for the forward, but for Robbie Keane (left ankle), Sean Franklin (right knee), and Todd Dunivant (left thigh), who each missed out on last Saturday’s match against FC Dallas.
“All the players are out today [at training] and we’re confident that they’ll all be available for Saturday,” said Arena. “Everyone should be available; I don’t think that there are any issues.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy announced on Wednesday that the club will participate in the inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup, an eight-team competition that will take place across the United States and Europe this summer from July 27 to Aug. 7.
Following training on Wednesday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena discussed the club's participation in the tournament.
"We’ve been involved each and every summer in international matches. It’s more of the same. I didn't read the press release in its entirety, but it certainly, seems like a great collection of international teams, I recall Madrid...Juventus, Inter Milan. Those are great teams for the fans to see in this country," said Arena, who also mentioned the possibility of Tottenham Hotspur participating. "I think the fans always enjoy even if it’s just preseason exhibitions, they’re the greatest players in the world so it’s a fabulous opportunity for not only our players to get on the field with the likes of those players , but for the fans it’s also exciting."
The tournament will fall in the club's normally hectic summer schedule, though the Galaxy have no league matches scheduled between July 27 and August 11, but Arena believes that there is plenty for the Galaxy to gain against top-tier competition.
“It’s always good to see those players. Sometimes those games don’t come at a perfect time, but I think overall, there’s a clearly a benefit for our club in terms of recognition playing against some of the great clubs in the world," said Arena. "Obviously, for our players to be up close and personal with great players in the world and see how they conduct themselves on and off the field. That’s always a great learning experience especially for our younger players."
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy confirmed on Wednesday that they will participate in the eight-team Guinness International Champions Cup this summer.
The tournament will open on July 27 in Europe at a venue to be determined before heading to the United States where the rest of the tournament will be contested over the course of six days in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Indianapolis. The tournament will wrap up at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL on August 6-7. LA will be joined in the tournament by Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan and the remaining four clubs will be announced on May 7. The tournament's schedule will be announced at a later date.
“It is an honor for the Galaxy to be able to represent Major League Soccer against some of the world’s top clubs in the inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup,” Galaxy President Chris Klein said in a club release, “Our fans are accustomed to seeing their team take on the world’s elite club teams in summer friendlies and we are excited to be able to continue that tradition here in the Southern California as well as in other cities throughout the United States.”
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CARSON, Calif. – The attention and acclaim for LA Galaxy Homegrown forward Gyasi Zardes was completely understandable once the flashy 21-year-old striker signed with LA in January. Now nearing a full recovery after a crack in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot cut him down in preseason, Zardes is ready to turn some of that potential into production.
Zardes went 17 minutes in the Galaxy’s 1-1 Reserve League draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Monday in his first action since starting a 3-0 preseason victory over USL Pro side Los Angeles Blues on Feb. 5. The attacker’s speed and nose for goal was clearly unmistakable in two preseason appearances, but on Feb. 11, Zardes was forced to the sidelines after undergoing surgery to foot surgery after a freak incident with a pair of running shoes.
Since the injury, Zardes has drawn positive reviews for his recovery and after training with the team during their six day, two-country road trip last week and an appearance in a reserve match; he is feeling more positive than ever.
“I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't played a game in so long, but it felt good to be out there again. I felt fatigued after a couple of sprints, but that's normal coming back from injury,” said Zardes. “For me coming in, I definitely need to work on my fitness. It's a practice game and that's how they told me to consider it so I did.”
Immediately after coming on, Zardes wasted no time creating a chance against Seattle, but despite receiving a pass inside the penalty area, he was unable to find a waiting teammate to create a chance on goal. Zardes made several more dangerous runs during his brief shift, but was unable to fire a shot on frame. After the match, Galaxy assistant coach and Reserve League head coach Curt Onalfo took note of Zardes’ performance.
“Gyasi brought some good energy when he came on, he had a chance,” Onalfo said. “He did well and it would have been nice to sneak in a goal there.”
Key to Zardes’ recovery was that trip to Monterrey and Dallas where he was able to experience life on the road with his team for the first time in his young career. During that sojourn, LA head coach Bruce Arena allowed the youngster to train briefly with the team, leading to Zardes’ Reserve League appearance.
“The coaches have been utilizing me and helping me get in slowly,” said Zardes. "[Monday], they gave me the last 10 to 15 minutes, which I'm thankful of to get back in the swing of things.”
Zardes’ recovery will undergo another benchmark on Wednesday as the rookie forward will train with the club fully for the first. Hungry to finally make his mark with his hometown club, Zardes can’t wait to make his debut.
“I'm so excited and I've been out for so long,” said Zardes. “I've been anxiously waiting and it’s going to feel great coming back.”