The news this week that Mike
Magee would be lost for 4-6 weeks after having sports hernia surgery was met
with concern but not necessarily dread by the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy have been
progressing nicely despite the absence of several key players throughout the
year, and those preparing for Saturday's resumption of the MLS regular season
in Toronto expect nothing less.
"Yeah, it's a big loss,
but we have a deep squad to get through it," midfielder Chris Birchall
said. "It's an impressive squad when you look at each player and see how
many positions each player can play in. I think it's a good problem for Bruce
(head coach Arena) to have. When the circumstances arrive where we do have
injuries it's nice to know we have players who can fit in."
Two of those who have filled
in for Magee, who has been limited to eight games (including six starts) are
Jovan Kirovski and Tristan Bowen. Kirovski, a 34-year-old now in his seventh
MLS season, has played in nine games, including five starts, and is second on
the team in goals with three. Now fully recovered from a knee injury suffered
early in training camp, Kirovski said that he continues to be impressed with
the depth of this year's squad.
"Landon (Donovan) and
Edson (Buddle) have been out with the national team and everyone has been
stepping in and doing well," he said. "Mike (Magee) is a great
player, but other players have to step up and play, and we've been doing that. I'm
not surprised we're so versatile. I knew going in the quality of players we
Bowen, who has scored twice and
added an assist this season, said the loss of Magee is a tough one but he is
confident the club will persevere.
"Mike is a good player
and he brings a lot of things to the game,” Bowen said. He's definitely going
to be missed, but at the same time we have other players that can step in and
fill that void. We worked hard this preseason and everybody knew coming in
there would be a lot of competition for spots. You see it every day when we
step on the field ... we're competing and making it hard for each other.
"The competition gets
us better as a team and individually. I'm just really happy that anybody is
able to step in when we lose key players."
Arena, understandably, has
been happy as well.
"It's unfortunate, but
it's been the story of our season," Arena said. "We've had a number
of players who have been out a long period of time. It hasn't been perfect, but
the guys have really hung in there together and played hard for most of the
games and have been position to make some plays in difficult games and that
makes a difference."
OPEN CUP BEGINS
The Galaxy will play at home
for the first time since June 5 when they host AC St. Louis in a Lamar Hunt
U.S. Open Cup Third Round game.
Louis reached this stage of the competition with a 1-0 victory over
NSC Minnesota on Tuesday, with former FC Dallas SuperDraft pick Mike Ambersley
scoring the game’s only goal in the 35th minute. They defeated the Des Moines
Menace of the PDL in the Open Cup First Round, winning 1-0 on June 15 behind
another Ambersley goal.
Playing their inaugural
season, AC St. Louis is currently in last place in the USSF Division 2 Pro
League with a 2-7-1 record for just seven points, though they did win their
last league game, a 1-0 win on Puerto Rico on
June 13. Coached by Claude Anelka, the older brother of French international
striker Nicolas Anelka, who was banished from the French team at the World Cup in
the days leading up to their final group game because of harsh criticism of
head coach Raymond Domenech, St. Louis has struggled to score this season,
recording just seven goals in 10 league games and scoring more than one goals
in a game just once.
The Galaxy plays at Toronto
FC this Saturday and would love nothing better than another visit to the Canadian
city in November. Toronto
is hosting the MLS Cup Final on Sunday, Nov. 21 at BMO Field.
Arena, however, isn't
interested in making predictions. The Galaxy have the best record in MLS with a
10-1-2 mark, but Arena wouldn't say if his club is good enough to quality for
its second consecutive appearance in the Cup final. They lost to Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks in the 2009 championship in Seattle.
"I have no idea at this
point in time," he said. "It's way too early. If you had asked me
that question last year at this time, what kind of answer could I have given
you? You just need to let this stuff play itself out. It's way too early to
make predictions where we're going to end up after 30 games. We'll just have to
wait and see."
Watching the World Cup,
especially the U.S. national
team's thrilling 1-0 victory over Algeria on Wednesday morning, has
brought back some pleasant memories for midfielder Eddie Lewis.
The 36-year-old, who
competed in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, admitted he gets caught up in the
excitement of the event.
"Honestly, it's been so
emotional," he said. "This morning was so great. There was so much
pressure on them, everybody expected us to beat them (Algeria). Algeria was a
good team that played a very difficult game. We kept pressing and trying to get
chances and at one point it looked like we weren't going to get it. But in the
end we finally caught them on the break and just exploded with excitement.
It was justification for a
lot of hard work.
"It's important for the
perception and everything else. I'm not sure how much the average fan
appreciated the level of a Slovenia
or even an Algeria.
Not advancing out of that group would have been seen certainly as a failure.
But to get out of it and win it is fantastic for us. They deserve everything
GALAXY U-18’S HEAD TO
the Galaxy first team will fly to Toronto
on Thursday for this weekend’s game against TFC, they will not be the only
Galaxy squad that is flying the friendly skies this week.
Galaxy U-18 squad will make their way to Greensboro,
N.C. for the annual U.S. Soccer
Development Academy Playoffs.
Galaxy qualified for the Academy Playoffs by finishing second in the SoCal
Division standings with a 10-4-2 record in divisional games and a 16-7-5 record
overall. This year’s U-18’s join last season’s U-16 squad, a team that many of
this year’s U-18 squad played for as the two Galaxy Academy teams to have reach
the Academy Playoffs in their two years of competing in the league.
Coached by Mathes Mennell, who is also an assistant
coach at Loyola Marymount, the Galaxy U-18’s are one of 32 teams that qualified
for the U-18 Academy Playoffs, with the Galaxy garnering the #15 seed in the
tournament. The 32 playoff teams are divided into eight groups of four, with
all eight group winners moving on to the Development Academy Finals, which will
be held at The Home Depot Center from July 10-17.
The Galaxy will open postseason play against FC
(#22 seed) on Saturday, June 26 at 9 a.m. (PT). They are back in action the
next day, Sunday, June 27 at 2 p.m. (PT) when they take on the Clearwater
Chargers (#27 seed) before rounding out group play on Tuesday, June 29 when
they play FC Dallas (#7 seed) at 8 a.m. (PT).