It appears that LA Galaxy stalwarts Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane may have a chance to face one another at the international level in November.
The Irish FA announced on Monday that the U.S. National Team will take on Ireland on Nov. 19 in a friendly at Dublin's Aviva Stadium. Whether the two Galaxy players take part in the friendlies will likely depend on the team's status in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs. Ireland last face the U.S. in April 2002 when they defeated the Americans 2-1 as defender Eddie Pope scored the lone goal for the Stars and Stripes.
Ireland begin their Euro 2016 qualification campaign on Sept. 7 against Georgia before taking on Scotland on Nov. 15 just four days before they face the USMNT. Qualification won't be easy for Keane's charges as Ireland will be joined in the group by defending World Cup champions Germany, Poland as well as Scotland and Georgia.
Interesting side note: with Miroslav Klose's announcement of retirement from international football, Keane is now the highest scoring active player in international play with a total of 62 goals for his country.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bolstered their attack on Monday by acquiring veteran forward Alan Gordon.
LA acquired the forward from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for allocation money, the club announced on Monday. Gordon has 180 appearances and 39 goals as well as 26 assists in his 11 years in MLS.
“Alan is a proven MLS player who adds another scoring threat to our roster going forward,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena in a statement. “We are pleased to welcome him back as a member of the Galaxy.”
Gordon joins a Galaxy strike force that includes Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes, Rob Friend and Chandler Hoffman.
Robbie Keane never backs down from a challenge and he proved that the infamous “ice bucket challenge” is no different.
Keane was challenged by former Galaxy player Mike Magee earlier last week to complete the challenge which has gained internet notoriety as a way to increase awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The Galaxy captain completed the task on Sunday as his wife Claudine soaked the Irishman with a bucket of ice water.
The video is below.
CARSON, Calif. — Omar Gonzalez found the back of the net for the first time in 2014 during Friday’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, but the LA Galaxy center back was smiling after the result.
Despite a comprehensive performance against their archrivals, the Galaxy were forced to battle back from a pair of deficits after a pair of quick transition goals by San Jose. During both San Jose tallies, Gonzalez—and the rest of the Galaxy defense— were caught out of position as the Earthquakes notched a pair of counterattack goals.
“[It was] not one of his better games,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena of Gonzalez’s performance after the draw. “I think he could’ve defended a little bit better on the two goals, but they obviously weren’t too dangerous going forward and somehow we managed to concede two goals. That’s the story line.”
Gonzalez redeemed himself in the 49th minute when he broke free of Atiba Harris on a corner kick and placed a Stefan Ishizaki effort off the pitch and into the bottom corner of the Earthquakes net. Set piece finishes have become a specialty of Gonzalez, who has drawn considerable pressure from opposing defenses since his memorable tally in the 2012 MLS Cup final.
“I finally got my goal,” said Gonzalez. “When players don’t hold on to me [on set pieces], I can find the ball, so I’m happy that I could get open, and get my head on the ball.”
Even though he broke free against San Jose, Gonzalez doesn’t expect to be as open in the future.
“I definitely expect the [defenders] to be holding me. That’s the way it is,” said Gonzalez. “My job is to make the run, and it’s up to the referee to see that. I will just keep on doing that, and I’m sure I will keep getting held.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media following the team's 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
(On the play Omar Gonzalez...)
ARENA: “Not one of his better games. I think he could’ve defended a little bit better on the two goals, but they obviously weren’t too dangerous going forward and somehow we managed to concede two goals. That’s the story line. Pretty sloppy defending on a couple of plays, and I give San Jose credit, good finishing on their part. In general, I think we played a fairly inefficient game tonight. Quality of our passing wasn’t good, the chances we created fell short on the night where we had the chance to score a bunch of goals, and didn’t get that done and conceded way too many given the kind of game it was.”
(On the importance of Galaxy dominating the game statistically...)
ARENA: “No, I don’t think it really matters that the statistics show that we had 70 percent possession. The only statistic that really matters in this game is the score. This time of year, and for the most part in our league, there is a lot of teams that play to get results, which they should be doing. That’s the name of the game, and tonight with the kind of defensive posture San Jose had to concede two goals in the first half, you make things real difficult. To our credit, we came back behind the goal on two occasions, that’s a real positive. But I think technically we weren’t good tonight and it ultimately cost us the game.”
(On the performance Landon Donovan...)
ARENA: “Landon [Donovan] had a solid game. He had a bunch of good plays during the game, Landon played well.”
(On the play of Gyasi Zardes...)
ARENA: “Gyasi [Zardes] played well. He didn’t get a whole lot of chances, but certainly he held the ball up well, scored an important goal for us; he continues to play well.”
(On San Jose’s attack...)
ARENA: “I don’t think they were that interested to start the game, but they certainly got two goals so give them credit. They came here to obviously get a result, whether that’s three points or one point, and give them credit, they accomplished that. And as I said, I think the difference in the game was probably our inability to do better in the last third of the field and attacking with our passing and just taking advantage of the opportunities that we created. Certainly I would say the first half our defending in those two goals could certainly be better, but again every goal is a mistake on both sides. We always look at is as we made a mistake, and they look at it as a great play and vice versa. At the end of the day, I think we created enough chances tonight to win the game despite the fact that we conceded two goals.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan's legacy is assured now, but there was a point when his status as the greatest American soccer player was in doubt.
Prior to end of the 2009 season, Donovan had a lukewarm relationship with U.S. fans who basked in his accomplishments for the U.S. National Team, but still felt that America's greatest soccer player should test himself abroad rather than stay in MLS. Donovan had succeeded winning three MLS Cups, but failed stints in Germany led to criticism for the star midfielder.
Fast forward to 2014 and the perception of Donovan has clearly evolved. Donovan enjoyed a pair of successful loan stints with English Premier League side Everton, won two more MLS Cups with the LA Galaxy and provided U.S. Soccer with its watershed moment with his iconic goal in the 2010 World Cup against Algeria. When the Galaxy star was omitted from the U.S. national team's roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, an upspring of popular support flowed for Donovan.
During his press conference on Wednesday, Donovan addressed his role in growing MLS and how the preception of his decision to remain in the league through the years changed.
"The perception of playing in the Major League Soccer has certainly changed. I think when you see the success of the teams here and the players here, the level of plays, the talents, and the desire for players in the other world to make this the league of choice if they want to play in, it’s important. I played here, the majority of my career with this squad because I wanted to be happy," said Donovan. " And my happiness always lay here playing close to my friends and family. I always thought it was much more important to be here doing that, than be lost in the shuffle somewhere in Europe or elsewhere. So, that for me was the perfect fit. It doesn’t mean that it is everyone’s choice, and that’s ok. But, for me, that was the perfect fit. I was fortunate that had some people who wanted come along and join the journey with me."
But once the final ball has been kicked in 2014, what will be next for America's greatest soccer player?
Donovan insisted that he hopes to travel with his girlfriend Hannah, but after that he's hoping to play role in youth development with the Galaxy going forward.
"I absolutely want to work with kids," said Donovan. "I spoke to [Chris] Klein extensively about working with the academy, and that for me will be a really good way to come closer to home. I fully expect that it will happen at some point."
And when Donovan decides he wants to return, Klein and AEG President Dan Beckerman insist that the club will welcome him back with open arms.
"Landon will always be the member of the LA Galaxy, always be the member of the AEG family, and when he decides what it is that he wants to do—what he wants to put his energy and heart into next—we will be there to talk to him about that," said Klein.
Added Beckerman, "Landon will be able to do whatever he wants. He has accomplished so much on the field, and for the love of the game. He will be able to do whatever he wants, whether that is working with the kids or working with the Galaxy. Whatever he does, he will obviously be successful. He is the best American player in the history of this country, and he will be equally successful in what he decides to do in the next chapter of his life."
CARSON, Calif. -- U.S. international Stuart Holden is training with the LA Galaxy, but according to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, the Galaxy are not interested in the midfielder.
Holden was spotted training with the Galaxy on Thursday as he looks to recover from a March surgery to repair ligaments on his right knee. The U.S. international's club Bolton Wanderers revealed after the surgery that the former Houston Dynamo midfielder will be out for six to nine months.
When asked if the club was interested in the oft-injured Holden, Arena denied any link, instead insisting that LA are simply allowing the player to train as he prepares for a return to England.
"He's just a player that is working his way back from injury," said Arena.
The plans for Holden to train with the Galaxy were in the works for several days according an interview that Holden held with ESPN FC earlier in the week. During his conversation with ESPN FC's Dan Thomas, Holden confirmed that he is worked with Galaxy Head Trainer and Director of Sports Science Armando Rivas, but is intending to return to Bolton.
"Technically I'm out of contract, but there's been discussions. I still feel the loyality [to Bolton] and I still want to go back there if we can make it work. There's no formal contract offer for me right now, but it's been the plan all along that I will be going back there when I'm fully ready to play and get into full training," said Holden. "I look forward to getting back there and get over all the struggles that I've had over the last couple years and have a healthy run at it."