We're just hours away from tonight's friendly between the LA Galaxy and Real Madrid so here are a few links and reminders ahead of tonight's clash.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early to the match due to the massive crowds expected.
Before heading to The HDC, remember to check out my Three Points to the game.
For more coverage on the match check out LAGalaxy.com's Match Report.
PREDICTED LINEUP vs. Real Madrid: GK: Saunders; RB: DeLaGarza, CB: Gonzalez, CB: Lopes; LB: Gaul; RM: Franklin, CM: Juninho, CM: Beckham, LM: Magee; F: Donovan, F: Keane
During a slow start to the season, the LA Galaxy needed someone to step up to lead the club back into the playoff chase and in the month of July, Robbie Keane delivered.
Major League Soccer announced on Thursday that Keane was voted as MLS' Player of the Month for July by the North American Soccer Reporters. After returning from European Championship duty with Ireland, Keane went on a tear during the month of July tallying five goals while notching four assists during the Galaxy's 4-1-1 run. Keane and the Galaxy's other Designated Players were integral during the club's run in the month of July as Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Keane combined for 11 goals and 11 assists in July.
The award is Keane's first MLS Player of the Month and the first for a Galaxy player during the 2012 season.
The LA Galaxy are asking fans to arrive to The Home Depot Center early for Thursday's friendly with Real Madrid as a potential record-breaking crowd is expected.
With the parking lots expected to reach capacity due to the expected crowd of over 30,000, fans are being asked to arrive early or utilize public transportation when traveling to the game. The Galaxy have also teamed up with the Artesia Transit Center and South Bay Pavilion to offer shuttles to The HDC from those locations. Shuttle buses began running at Artesia -- fine location, I've traveled from there several times -- at 10 a.m. and will do so until 3 a.m on Friday morning while shuttles will run from South Bay Pavilion from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m on Friday.
For those fans that arrive early, The HDC will provide $2 hot dogs and $5 beers from the time that the gates open at 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
A couple of other notes and links on Tonight's game below:
* The Galaxy will be wearing their "Punjab" kits against Real Madrid, who are expected to wear their iconic all-whites.
A video preview of the match is below:
The LA Galaxy are still three weeks away from the start of their CONCACAF Champions League campaign, but the rest of Group 5 is already in full swing.
On Wednesday, A.D. Isidro Metapán (El Salvador) defeated the Puerto Rico Islanders, 3-1 at the Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez in Metapán, El Salvador.
Puerto Rico struck first blood in the 25th minute with a goal by Islanders' Nicolas Addlery, but allowed Metapán back in the match when the Islanders went down to 10 men after Jay Needham was sent off in the 35th minute. With a man advantage, Metapán's Nicolás Muñoz tallied three second half goals to lead the Salvadoran club to victory.
The LA Galaxy start CCL play when they host Metapán at The Home Depot Center on August 23rd.
CARSON, Calif. -- Todd Dunivant is on the comeback trail, but it remains to be seen when the left back will return to the Galaxy starting XI.
Dunivant has been on the shelf since suffering an injury that was diagnosed as a right calf hematoma during the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 19th. In the meantime, the left back position has been manned quite successfully by rookie defender Bryan Gaul.
The 31-year-old left back returned to full training on Tuesday and while Dunivant is optimistic about his recovery, he has not set a clear timeline for a return to action. Following Wednesday’s practice session, I caught up with Dunivant and discussed his recovery process.
Dunivant’s quotes are below…
(On his condition…)
DUNIVANT: “I’m feeling a lot better. I had a good day of training for the first time and yesterday was a hard day since it was really my first day of doing anything substantial on the field. I did some fitness work and some ball work so now two days back and I’m feeling stronger and I’m hoping to be back soon.”
(On how the injury happened…)
DUNIVANT: “It was a really freak play, it was the four minute mark in the Vancouver game. I kind of caught tangled up with Dane Richards and I think he just ended up kicking me in the back of my lower leg right beneath my calf. Just immediately when I took a step down, I could feel extreme pain in the back then in the front, it felt like shin splints and felt like a bad strain in the back. I pushed through it for another 20 minutes, but it was painful and by halftime, I could hardly walk to the locker room. It turned out to be a hematoma with all the blood and swelling filled up in the different compartments in my lower leg. It was one of those things where we just had to get rid of it. And it took about ten days to do it. All in all, compared to what I was doing a week ago when I couldn’t put weight on it running, today I was training and I’m pretty happy about that.”
(On his timeline to return to the field…)
DUNIVANT: “We’ll see. So far, we’ve been taking it day by day and even yesterday, we didn’t know that I’d be able to train as much as I did today so that’s a good sign. We’re targeting as soon as possible, but we’ll see about the weekend and so far so good in training.”
(On Bryan Gaul’s performance filling in for him…)
DUNIVANT: “He’s stepped in and done a great job. We knew that he would, he’s been training all year, but he’s still new to the position so from that standpoint, he’s done fantastic. He’s just picking it up as he goes and it’s not easy when you go up against guys like Jackson [FC Dallas] and Ryan Smith at Chivas so hats off to him because he’s done great.”
(On whether or not Gaul’s performance spurs him to return faster…)
DUNIVANT: “We got to have people step up and we’re starting to see that with our team. Earlier in the year, nobody was performing up to their capabilities and now everyone is. That’s why we’re doing well and guys are going to be out with injuries and various things so people are going to have to step up. I think you saw that in Dallas with a Landon [Donovan] out and David [Beckham] out, that’s a sign of a good team and we need that.”
Despite "terrible" timing of Real Madrid friendly, Keane motivated to lead Galaxy over Spanish giants
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are ready for Thursday’s friendly against Real Madrid, but admit that the friendly could not have come at a more difficult time for the club.
In the middle of their league schedule—with their third game in ten days—and with CONCACAF Champions League dates on the horizon, the Galaxy will host the Spanish giants while simultaneously preparing for a vital league game against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday. Although each Galaxy player admitted that the friendlies serve a valuable purpose for the club, when asked about the timing of the friendly, forward Robbie Keane provided an honest response.
“Terrible. That’s being totally honest with you,” said Keane. “We have a game on Sunday, which is obviously more important than [Thursday’s] game. The timing in these situations are never great because we have games on the weekend so the only time that we can fit them in during the week.
“It’s a friendly game, this game is probably more for Real Madrid then us to be honest with you. It’s for them for the preseason,” Keane added later. “We’re not going to win the championship by beating Real Madrid tomorrow. For us, it’s a great honor and great privilege against a massive club and great players, but like I said our bread and butter is Sunday against teams that we can do something, which is Seattle. If we get three points, it pushes further up the table.”
However, despite the difficult scheduling, Keane told reporters that he and the rest of his Galaxy teammates are not planning to just roll over for Real Madrid.
“Of course, every player wants to win regardless of when you’re playing,” said Keane. “Listen, we’re not going into tomorrow’s game thinking that we’re going to do Real Madrid a favor and just let them pass the ball around and get their fitness out in preparation for their season. The players that haven’t been playing a lot of minutes, it’ll be good for them. Listen, every game that we want to play, we want to win.”
While Keane admitted that the timing of the friendly is difficult for the Galaxy, he is confident that head coach Bruce Arena will regulate minutes to ensure that players do not overspend themselves with the important match against Seattle looming.
“It’ll be one of those things that I don’t think anybody will be playing 90 minutes so a lot of players will play 45 minutes,” said Keane. “So I’m sure that it won’t be too bad.”
CARSON, Calif. – Slowly but surely, LA Galaxy forward Edson Buddle is making his way back to full fitness.
Buddle has been unavailable since undergoing surgery in his right knee on June 5th to repair damage to his meniscus, which was suffered during the Galaxy's match against the Houston Dynamo in late May. Over the past couple weeks; Buddle has gradually returned to action, but on Wednesday, the forward admitted that he is feeling better than ever.
“I’m feeling good. It’s the best my knee has ever felt right now,” Buddle told LAGalaxy.com on Wednesday. “I did a series of shots and it feels pretty good. It’s the best that I’ve ever felt today and I’m really happy about that.”
Buddle told LA Galaxy Insider on Wednesday that while he has not undergone a full training session with the team, he expects to train fully with the club at the end of the week. As far as returning to the field, however, Buddle is optimistic that he’ll be able to take the field on August 7th during a reserve league match against Chivas USA.
“I’m looking to play in the reserve match against Chivas,” said Buddle “We’re going to start there and then work our way up to more minutes.”
LOS ANGELES— A pair of Arizona Diamondbacks got a chance to take in a Real Madrid training session on Monday and test the baseball skill of the Spanish giants.
Diamondbacks players’ catcher Miguel Montero and outfielder Gerardo Parra observed Real Madrid’s training session on Monday prior to their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After taking photos, both players played a game of baseball with several members of Los Blancos.
For the two natives of Venezuela, the chance to see the Spanish giants was an exciting experience.
Quotes from Montero below…
MONTERO: “It was great, I grew up watching a lot of soccer and I was checking the website and the schedule because I know that every year, they do a US tour so it worked out pretty good. I saw that they were going to come [to Los Angeles] the same time that we do and I talked to our PR guy to see if we could go see them and [Monday] it was a great experience.”
(On what he and Parra did during the Madrid training session…)
MONTERO: “We got to meet the guys, take a couple of pictures and they played around with a baseball bat, a glove and a baseball. It was great just to be there and shake their hands.”
(On the Real Madrid player with the best baseball skill...)
MONTERO: “Xabi Alonso. He was pretty good man, he impressed me. We talked and he said that he had been in a baseball game one time and after that, he got to hit a bit then he went to find a batting cage. He went there and he took some extra swings and it looked like he did. I didn’t get him a deal, but he’s pretty good.”
(On the player that he was most excited to see…)
MONTERO: “Iker Casillas. My family is from Spain, my dad and mom were born and raised in Spain so I always followed soccer. I played a little bit, but I was born in Venezuela and the national time is baseball, but I always kept watching. I always watch the World Cup, Euro Cup and growing up; I watched Real Madrid and Barcelona.”
LOS ANGELES --The members of the LA Galaxy are excited to face Spanish giants Real Madrid this Thursday at The Home Depot Center and according to Madrid's star defender Pepe, the excitement goes both ways.
Thursday's match will be the third consecutive year that Los Blancos have faced the Galaxy in Southern California and according to the Portuguese International, the Spanish giants are increasingly impressed with the rising level of MLS. During Tuesday's press conference on the campus of UCLA, Pepe told reporters that he is excited about the chance to face the Galaxy.
Pepe's quotes below...
PEPE: “It’s the third year that I’ve come here [for preseason] to the United States and the truth is that every year that goes by, the players here have more quality and are much more competitive. Soccer is a universal sport and with certainty, this [match against the Galaxy] will be a difficult game for us."
(On an apparent injury to Xabi Alonso in a Tuesday morning training session...)
PEPE: “It is normal that these things happen in a training session. There has been a test and he is already with the doctor, but I believe he will be in the afternoon session."
Chad Barrett’s move to Norway is official.
Barrett’s loan to Norwegian club Vålerenga has been finalized and according to the 27-year-old forward --who says his contract with MLS ends after this season -- the deal comes with an option to buy. Barrett departs for Oslo on Wednesday morning, but spent Tuesday morning training with his LA Galaxy teammates for one final time. Following training on Tuesday, Barrett spoke to the local media about his move to Norway and his future with his new club.
Below are Barrett’s quotes…
(On how did the move come about…)
BARRETT: “It’s one of those things, one of those reasons that you don’t want to use. But I love the guys in this team, even when I was away on my trial, I missed playing with them. At the same time, it was something that I needed to do for me personally. The guys were on fire here and we’re really deep at forward. I was approached by my agent, who said there was interest overseas and it was a team that I almost went with when I was with Toronto. The coach was still there and asked if I’d be interested, he said yes. Bruce was nice enough to let me go so I went on trial there. I loved it; it was a different kind of good, in every aspect. I lose the beach, I get the culture. I lose the team; I get a new set of good guys. The best thing is that they all speak English over there so it’s not too bad.”
(On what he wants to accomplish there…)
BARRETT: “I think that every American-born soccer player always wonders if they have what it takes to play overseas and play in other leagues. If anything else, it’ll be good for me to go on this loan and see how other countries play. We know what they play like when they come here and play against us in the World Football Challenge, but how does their league stack up to our league. From what I’ve seen in the Norwegian league is that it’s not too dissimilar. Technically, they’re all very technically good. Athletically, I think that we’re a little more athletic over here. That’s where we have to make up for our technically ability, but there are a bunch of great players and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”
(On whether his contract ending at years-end being a reason to head to Norway…)
BARRETT: “It could be. Without all the pay raises for next year and obviously, I didn’t produce as well as I should of, so there are a lot of factors that go into it. Ultimately, this is probably what is best for me at this particular juncture. Like I said, I hate bringing politics into this locker [room], but that’s why we have agents and sometimes you got to do it.”
(On his impression of Norway…)
“It was the first time that I had been, it was a beautiful city. It’s in Oslo, there’s an old Oslo and a new Oslo. The training grounds are in old Oslo and the stadium is in new Oslo…it has the old beauty and culture and the new modern stuff around it so it’s cool to see the mixture. The cobblestone streets and amazing parks with the great statues so I did a bit of that and then a bit of shopping, I’m not going to do that again."
(On the reception from the Norwegian players reception…)
BARRETT: “Right from when I got there, they were really welcoming. It’s a really close-knit group of guys; most of them are Norwegian so they got good chemistry with each other. But I know that [Portland Timbers goalkeeper Troy] Perkins played over there so when we were going up to Portland, I was going to talk to him then and pick his brain. But he contacted my agent when I was over there and told me to say hello to the guys for him. I talked to Pat Noonan; he played in Norway for six months as well. He was just giving me the lowdown about what to expect. When the sun is out, the sun is out and when it’s dark, it’s dark so it’s going to be an interesting and eye-opening experience. But I moved every three years of my life so I’m used to it and I take it as a new adventure and I look forward to it."
(On what the club wants to see from him…)
BARRETT: “Goals. Put the ball in the back of the net. They’re pretty upbeat about me coming up there so as soon as I get there, I’m sure that it’ll take me one or two weeks to get my sleep schedule right and the jet lag gone. Once that is gone, I’m looking forward to getting down to business and try to help them finish in the top three."
(On the team’s playing style…)
BARRETT: “I don’t know yet. I’ve seen some highlights of their games, but I haven’t watched a full game yet. I was there for a week where they had a good amount of training because that’s what they wanted to see so I wasn’t able to see their games. They play a game on Friday that I’m maybe dressing for or maybe not. It’s going to be pretty tough; it’s pretty close to when I land."
(On the team’s performance…)
BARRETT: They’re in fifth place, five points out of third. It’s a sixteen team league and the top three go to Europa so that's the goal."
(On how close he was to joining the club earlier…)
BARRETT: “It was almost a coin toss. I just wasn’t mature enough to go overseas and live on my own and accept the four year deal there. It was too much at the time plus I still wanted to take classes [at UCLA]. It was 50/50 for awhile there, and then Toronto won me over while I was there.”
(On missing this team…)
BARRETT: “These guys are like my family. Every team that you get on, you build a brotherhood with these guys. I think a bunch of them are going to help me move today. I wanted to spend one last day with them and it was great to be able to practice with them and knock the ball around one last time. I wish them all the best; I know that they’re going to win it again this year especially with the way that they’ve been playing. There’s no team that can stand in their way. There are good teams on paper, but with the trio playing the way that they’re playing and everyone else stepping up…I’m excited for the way that they’re heading. I wish that I could stay and help them do it again, but I’m sure that they can do it without me.”
(On what he takes from his time with the Galaxy…)
BARRETT: “Winning that trophy. You know, this was the first team that I’ve been on since college where there was just a winning attitude in every game. Every time that we approached the game, every field that we stepped on, it didn’t matter who it was, it didn’t matter if we played Real Madrid—we thought we could win. I’m going to try and take that with me and apply it to any team that I’m on from now on. It was just a good experience, playing with the class players like Beckham, Donovan and Keane. What they bring to the game and the IQ that they have and the class that they show, day in and day out makes you better as a player. Then all the guys, up and coming, I’m really excited to see what happens with their careers. Guys like Juninho, Jose Villarreal, Hector Jimenez; they’ve all really impressed me since last year. Then as soon as Omar Gonzalez gets back from his knee injury, I know that he’ll move on to bigger and better things. I could go down the list and say how I’m going to miss each guy, but I’ll just say collectively that they’re a group of guys and heading in the right direction and I’m going to miss them."
(On where he envisions himself in nine months…)
BARRETT: “It’s going to be a crazy five months. Everything is going to happen quickly, this has happened very quickly. It is part of our profession, it’s something that you have to do, you have to pick up and move. I was joking with everybody that I wish I had a wife right now to pack up the kitchen or something because I’m doing everything myself right now. It’s just part of the game, and it’s an unfortunate part of the game because you never want to leave, but in this case, I had to.”