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.”
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The news wasn't the best, but it was good enough for injured LA Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza.
DeLaGarza underwent a scan on Monday before the club's appearance at the Time Warner Cable Sports Net launch (more on this later this afternoon) and while DeLaGarza was reluctant to provide any specifics on the injury-- the team should issue a formal announcement sometime on Tuesday--, he stated that he is targeting a playoff return.
The 24-year-old picked up the injury, which was preliminarily diagnosed as a knee sprain--television analyst Marcelo Balboa described an medial collateral ligament issue during the match telecast -- in the 30th minute of LA's 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids when he suffered a hard collision with Jamaican forward Omar Cummings.
DeLaGarza caught up with reporters on the red carpet of the Time Warner event and offered his thoughts on the injury...
DELAGARZA: "I'll be out a little bit. [A playoff return] is my goal right now."
(On what he felt during the injury...)
DELAGARZA: "I never felt anything like that, I'm used to having bone bruises so I could tell that it wasn't a bone bruise. But we have the best medical staff so I think that I'll be fine."
(On whether he'll require surgery...)
DELAGARZA: "No, no surgery, but I'll miss a few games."
(On how he braced himself for learning the diagnosis...)
DELAGARZA: "I expected the worst, but hoped for the best. I'm glad that I'm not missing a couple months or I have to have surgery so it's positive, but at the same time, it's the end of the season and you want to be in there with the guys and especially in these last three games which are crucial."
(On whether the diagnosis was what he wanted to hear...)
DELAGARZA: “I knew I was hurt. I didn't know how bad. I didn't think it was something little, but I didn't think it was something major. I prayed that it wasn't something major. To miss a month or so, I'll take it. I think the playoffs start in early November. That's my goal for right now.”
(On what was running through DeLaGarza's head on Sunday evening...)
DELAGARZA: "Just the pain...I was just thinking about it the what if's...I was up at 4:30am tweeting and playing Words with Friends and Scrabble with Friends. Just waiting to go to the doctors."
(On his teammates reaction to the scan...)
DELAGARZA: "It was all positive. It could have been a lot worse, but it wasn't."
(On whether his absence will alter LA's defensive chemistry...)
DELAGARZA: "We have a lot of depth, we've got David [Junior Lopes], [Bryan] Gaul, Tommy [Meyer] and [Andrew] Boyens who are all experienced and have all played this year. And Boyens, he's a veteran in this league, David's a veteran, Gaul has got some minutes at centerback this year so I don't think we're going to have any letdowns. Especially the way that everyone is playing in front of us."
The Time Warner Cable sports networks launch at 7:00pm PDT with a launch party that will feature the entire LA Galaxy team as well as the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Sparks. SportsNet can be found on channel 1400 while channel 1481 will be Deportes and both are available to all TWC subscribers. A video previewing LA's coverage of the Galaxy can be found here.
I'll be present at the event when media availability begins at 6:00pm and will provide all the updates on the blog later this evening as well as on the LA Galaxy Insider twitter account.
LA Galaxy forward Jose Villarreal has been called up to the United States Under-20 squad for the upcoming Marabella Cup by head coach Tab Ramos.
The Marabella Cup will take place from October 6-17 in Marabella, Spain and feature matches against Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan. Villarreal's participation in the tournament will not cause him to miss any league matches, but will prevent him from participating in the club's final Reserve League match on Oct. 12 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Joining Villarreal is former LA Galaxy youth product Mario Rodriguez, who is now with German club FC Kaiserslautern.
The complete roster is below...
U.S. Under-20 MNT Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Zackary Steffen (FC Delco Academy; Downington, Pa.).
DEFENDERS (7): Anthony Brooks (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Birmingham City FC; Concord, Mass.), Walker Zimmerman (Furman; Lawrenceville, Ga.).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina; Mission, Tex.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool FC; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg; Holly, Mich.).
FORWARDS (5): Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Mario Rodriguez (1. FC Kaiserslautern; North Hollywood, Calif.), Jonathan Top (FC Dallas; Fort Worth, Tex.), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- The injury to a contributor as valuable as A.J. DeLaGarza would rattle any team, but the LA Galaxy remain resolute despite the injury.
In the 30th minute of LA's 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids, DeLaGarza went down after knocking knees with Colorado forward Omar Cummings,suffering what has been preliminarily diagnosed as a left knee sprain. DeLaGarza remains optimistic that he'll be able to return at some point in the final month of the season, but his absence could be significant for LA. The 24-year-old defender has become one of LA's most steady defenders over the past two seasons, appearing in 30 of the Galaxy's 31 league matches this season as well as three Champions League contests and both international friendlies.
Below are thoughts from David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Todd Dunivant on the impact of DeLaGarza's injury....
BECKHAM: "It’s always disappointing that we got A.J. injured because we want to keep every player fit towards the end of the regular season and then take everyone into the start of the playoffs. These games are important and we want to get maximum points and today we didn’t, but we came away with a point."
DONOVAN: "Injuries are a part of sports, A.J. for years now has been as an important player as any and if he’s out for any significant time then it’s going to hurt, but Tommy has done a really good job. He’s arguably our most improved player from the beginning of the year till now. We have to depend on him then I’m fine with that."
DUNIVANT: “It’s a tough loss losing A.J. and it’s disappointing to see him go down like that,” defender Todd Dunivant said of DeLaGarza’s injury. “We’re pulling for him and hopefully for the best with his scan and we’ll see what comes of it.”
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. --Physical play reigned supreme in Sunday's 1-1 draw between the LA Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids, but both teams were left stunned by the decisions of referee Allen Chapman.
Despite the chippy nature of the match, Chapman called just 14 fouls on the night -- seven for each team. Although Chapman allowed much of the physical play to persist, he negated a Galaxy goal in the 29th minute when he whistled Landon Donovan for a foul on Hunter Freeman after the Galaxy captain scored the go-ahead goal.
Chapman's decision to call a foul left Donovan incensed, ultimately leading to a yellow card for dissent as television replays appeared to show the two players tussling for position before the foul was awarded. Colorado had a penalty shout of their own when goal scorer Jaime Castrillon pleaded for a call in the 67th minute when he took an awkward tumble in the box that caused Chapman to wave play on.
Following the match, LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane sounded off the decisions that he believed impacted both teams...
KEANE: "It was obviously a tough game; it’s disappointing to concede, probably, 10 minutes after we scored. I think the altitude probably played a big factor. The game was a bit dead, to be honest. Probably didn’t help with the referee making some ridiculous decisions to be honest with you. I don’t mind referees that made bad decisions, but when you try to speak to them and they’re so arrogant. That really annoys you...For both teams, there were some [referee] decisions that were terrible to be honest with you. It’ll be fine, he’ll be reffing next week so we’ll be moving on."
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- David Beckham was pleased with his first appearance for the LA Galaxy in more than three weeks, but the veteran Englishman admitted that his showing was less than perfect.
Beckham went 87 minutes during LA's gritty 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. The night started off on the right foot for Beckham and the Galaxy as LA jumped out to an early lead due to Marcelo Sarvas' goal, but quickly turned sour as the Rapids equalized six minutes later and then centerback A.J. DeLaGarza suffered an apparent left knee sprain that caused him to be removed from the match.
Following the match, Beckham told reporters that the Galaxy were "sloppy" and played "without experience" as they were unable to hold the lead.
Below are Beckham's postgame thoughts from Sunday...
BECKHAM: "I was out for three and a half weeks and it’s always tough when you come back at altitude. It was always going to be difficult for me, but it’s good to get the minutes in and we’ve got a tough three games coming before the playoffs so it’ll be good to be fully fit for that."
(On LA's play...)
BECKHAM: “We were sloppy. We didn’t play with experience once we got that early goal. Sometimes that happens. That kind of thing we learn from, but it was a tough game all around and we’ve got to be happy to come away with a point at the end."
(On going forward from the draw...)
BECKHAM: "We have to up our game and we know we should be doing that. Today was kind of a weird atmosphere, it was kind of a little bit dead and both teams looked a little bit tired, but I think if we played the soccer that we know we can play then we go through teams pretty easily and create chances. I think that 00 you come away to a place like Colorado, it’s a tough place to play. Especially for a team that is trying to stay in the playoffs. It’s always going to be tough."
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The LA Galaxy may have picked up a valuable point on the road against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, but may have lost the services of defender A.J. DeLaGarza in the process.
In the 30th minute of play, DeLaGarza suffered an apparent knee injury during a crushing collision with Colorado’s Omar Cummings that has been preliminarily diagnosed as a left knee sprain. The injury prevented DeLaGarza from placing any weight on his knee as he was helped into the locker room by the Galaxy training staff. With DeLaGarza sidelined, LA head coach Bruce Arena called upon rookie centerback Tommy Meyer who shined in 56 minutes of action.
DeLaGarza is expected to undergo a series of tests this week to determine the severity of the injury. Losing DeLaGarza could be a blow to LA’s postseason hopes as he has played a key role—starting 30 of 31 MLS games this season—in LA’s recent steady defensive play that has been the backbone to the club’s turnaround during the summer months.
Following the match, I caught up with DeLaGarza to discuss his condition...
(On the play leading to the injury…)
DELAGARZA: “I don’t even remember. I just tried to clear a ball and Cummings and I both challenged for it.”
(On what he felt after the collision…)
DELAGARZA: “Just Pain. That’s all I can say, I don’t know what’s wrong. They don’t me what they think is wrong, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.”
(On the preliminary diagnosis of the injury being a left knee sprain…)
DELAGARZA: “We’ll go with that for now, until we find out otherwise.”
(On making a late season return to action…)
DELAGARZA: “It’s late in the season. Hopefully, I’ll be back for the playoffs or a couple games before that hopefully to get my rhythm back, depending on how bad it is.”
(On the play of Tommy Meyer…)
DELAGARZA: “I have faith in him, David [Junior Lopes]. [Andrew] Boyens, [Bryan] Gaul. We have a deep squad. We’ll see who is going to be in there and how long we’re going to need them for.”
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Below are Bruce Arena's postgame thoughts from the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday evening.
(His thoughts on tonight’s match:)
ARENA: "I thought that it was a fair result. We didn’t play our best match by any means. I think we could have been a little bit better. Our passing wasn’t good on the night. I think in the second half, our defensive shape was better, which we needed because we fell apart towards the end of the first half. I would have liked to see us, obviously, get the second goal and get out of here with three points."
(On return of some players, and play of Tommy Meyer...)
ARENA: "Tommy did very well. We had to use the game to get David [Beckham] some fitness, some minutes, and the same with Landon [Donovan] coming back. Those are important minutes for those players as we move forward as well."
(On the adjustments made at halftime...)
ARENA: "We just simply wanted to do a better job defensively. From there, it would help open up our passing game a bit. They improved there. I thought we did a better job with the number 10 [Martin Rivero] and the number 23 [Jaime Castrillón] in the second half."
(On the remainder of the season...)
ARENA: "There’s a lot of season left. Obviously, the month of October is going to be important for us. We’re coming around. We’re slowly getting some guys back on the field and getting in better form, but obviously the next three league matches are important."