LA Galaxy Mid-week Update: Feb. 22

Galaxy Arrive in Arizona Ahead of the Start of the Desert Diamond Cup

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Photo Credit: 
LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) – The LA Galaxy began their final phase of their preseason when they travelled to Arizona on Tuesday morning ahead of the start of the 2012 Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson. The club will play four games against fellow MLS teams while in Tucson, starting with their tournament opener against the New England Revolution on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. (PT). All games during the tournament, which runs through Saturday, March 3, will be streamed live online at www.lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive where fans will be able to chat and interact with one another during the game.

TEAM NOTES

WATCH: Galaxy arrive in Arizona

GALAXY HEAD TO TUCSON: The Galaxy made their way to Tucson on Tuesday ahead of the start of the Desert Diamond Cup with 28 of the 34 players on the Galaxy roster making the trip east. Of the six players that did not accompany the team to Arizona, only Landon Donovan and Michael Stephens are scheduled to join the club for a portion of the trip. Robbie Keane remains in England to finish out his loan with Aston Villa while Omar Gonzalez, Kyle Nakazawa and Jose Villarreal are all recovering from injuries.

Donovan is scheduled to arrive in Tucson on Wednesday ahead of the tournament opener against New England, while Stephens is scheduled to arrive on March 1 after representing the U.S. Under-23’s in a friendly against Mexico.

All games at the Desert Diamond Cup will be streamed live online at www.lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive where fans will be able to chat and interact with one another during the game.

LA Galaxy Roster for Desert Diamond Cup

GOALKEEPERS (4) – Bill Gaudette, Nick Noble, Brian Perk, Josh Saunders
DEFENDERS (10) – Andrew Boyens, Justin Davies, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, Bryan Gaul, Bryan Jordan, Leonardo, Tommy Meyer, J.T. Murray
MIDFIELDERS (11) – David Beckham, Paolo Cardozo, Landon Donovan (arrives February 22), Rafael Garcia,  Hector Jimenez, Juninho, Dan Keat, Mike Magee, Marcelo Sarvas, Michael Stephens (arrives March 1), Kenney Walker
FORWARDS (5) – Chad Barrett, Edson Buddle, Adam Cristman, Jack McBean, Pat Noonan
HEAD COACH – Bruce Arena

DONOVAN AND JUNINHO RETURN: The Galaxy welcomed two familiar faces back to Southern California on Sunday as Landon Donovan returned from his loan spell with Everton and Juninho arrived from Brazil. Juninho went straight into training with the club, taking part in Monday’s training session before flying to Tucson with the rest of the squad on Tuesday. Donovan, who missed last weekend’s FA Cup home win over Blackpool for Everton because of the flu, is scheduled to join up with his Galaxy teammates for the first time on Wednesday. He finished his second loan spell at Everton by appearing in nine games in all competitions, tallying six assists while helping his team climb into the top half of the Premier League and earn a berth in the FA Cup.

Last season, Juninho and Donovan, who were each named to the MLS All-Star Team, combined for 22 goals and eight assists in all competitions, with Donovan playing in a combined 34 games while Juninho played in 40.

STEPHENS JOINS U.S. UNDER-23’S: While Donovan and Juninho were returning, third-year midfielder Michael Stephens was leaving as he made his way to Texas to join up with the U.S. Under-23 National Team. This is the third straight camp that Stephens has been included in ahead of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying by head coach Caleb Porter after heading to Florida with the group in December and spending the first three weeks of January at The Home Depot Center and in Costa Rica.

READ: Michael Stephens named to U.S. Under-23 camp roster

The U.S. Under-23’s will face Mexico on Wednesday, February 29 at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas in their final scheduled exhibition before the start of Olympic Qualifying in Nashville on March 22.

A versatile midfielder, Stephens has appeared in 50 regular season games during his first two seasons with the Galaxy, scoring once and adding nine assists.

KEAT TO HEAD TO NEW ZEALAND ON FRIDAY: After being included in the full New Zealand National Team by head coach Ricki Herbert for the first time, Galaxy second-year midfielder Dan Keat will make his way to Auckland, New Zealand on Friday. Keat, who has scored twice so far this preseason for LA, is expected to be available for selection in the Galaxy’s Desert Diamond Cup opener against New England on Wednesday evening before flying to his native land on Friday. Keat will be looking for his first cap for the All Whites when they take on Jamaica in a friendly that will be played at Mt. Smart Stadium.

READ: Galaxy midfielder Dan Keat to join New Zealand for friendly against Jamaica

MLS RESERVE SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED: Major League Soccer announced the complete Reserve League schedule on Monday with the Galaxy once again playing in the Western Conference along with Chivas USA, Portland, San Jose, Seattle and Vancouver. Those six teams will meet one another twice during the season, once at home and once away, for a 10 game season starting on Monday, March 12 when the Galaxy host Chivas USA.

Last year, following a two-year hiatus, the Reserve League returned with the Galaxy going 1-6-2 for five points from nine games with Hector Jimenez leading the team with three goals.

The complete Galaxy Reserve League schedule, which will consist of five home games and five road games, can be found at www.lagalaxy.com/schedule/reserve.

KEANE CALLED IN FOR IRELAND FRIENDLY: Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, who will complete his loan to Aston Villa this week, has been called into the Ireland squad for their upcoming friendly in Dublin against the Czech Republic. Ireland’s all-time leader in goals with 53 goals in 114 appearances for his country, Keane last played for Ireland shortly before MLS Cup, scoring twice and helping them beat Estonia 5-1 on aggregate to earn a berth at the 2012 European Championships.

Ireland’s game against the Czech Republic will be played on February 29 with the forward, who scored four times in 11 games after joining the Galaxy last year and helped to set up Landon Donovan’s MLS Cup winning goal, scheduled to return to Los Angeles shortly there after in order to be ready for the club’s trip to Toronto for the CONCACAF Champions League in early March.

NUMBER CHANGES: Three Galaxy players used the final week of preseason training in California to change their uniform number ahead of the start of the season. Rookie defender Tommy Meyer will now wear the #21 shirt after wearing #31 through the first month of preseason. Kyle Nakazawa, who was wearing #34 after being acquired from Philadelphia at the start of the month, will now wear #28. Finally, Kenney Walker, who began preseason with the #39 shirt, is now the third player to wear the #34 shirt in the preseason, along with Nakazawa and Yuri Gorentzvaig.

SEASON BEGINS

The LA Galaxy will play their first official game of 2012 on Wednesday, March 7 when they face Toronto FC in the first leg of their 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, which will be played at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They will open the 2012 MLS season three days later on Saturday, March 10 when they host Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center in MLS First Kick 2012, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. That game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and tickets are on sale now as part of season ticket packages as well as three and six-game plans. For more information about this game or to purchase tickets, please visit twww.lagalaxy.com/tickets.