Postgame Quotes: LA Galaxy top FC Shirak 2-1 in the first preseason friendly of 2014

Arena, Friend, Zardes, Samuel and Ishizaki all chime in following the LA Galaxy's preseason win

LA GALAXY HEAD COACH BRUCE ARENA

 On tonight’s game

“I thought it was a good exhibition. I thought FC Shirak played really well, they put a lot of pressure and they tested us. Obviously they looked like a team that was a little more fit than we were. I think it was a good game.  They are very well organized, good pace on the counter. They put our guys in some difficult situations, which is good. I think it was a very good exhibition match at this time of the year, obviously there is a lot of things we have to work on.”

 On the team’s performance

“The group in the second half played well. They were tested a bit more in the first half. We can detect some areas we need to work on, but I’m pleased overall, being able to play all of tonight’s players. Just getting a better feel for our team.”

 On Samuel scoring

“Anytime a striker scores a goal it’s good for his confidence. I think he has a way to go, his fitness has to get better, he’s still not on the same page as all the guys. But he has worked real hard, and has made progress since he’s been here so that’s good to see.”

 On Gyasi Zardes Scoring

“Very good finish, I don’t think he would’ve finished that play last year. He had a good night, and we are going to be playing him in both positions.”

 On Raul Mendiola

“He is a little raw, but he plays with confidence. A lot of good plays, some not so good. But good for his first time.”

 On Dan Gargan and James Riley

“Both are experienced players, I was surprised Riley had as much in him because he just came in this week and hadn’t trained much. To get 30 solid minutes is good.”

On FC Shirak players

A lot of them, 5 was good, pace of number 8, number 4 the center back, number 10, a bunch of good players. It’s an experienced team, played in Champions Cup and Europa Cup.

LA GALAXY FORWARD ROB FRIEND

 On the team’s performance

“It was fun, they were better than we expected. Better than we all expected.  Some good things, positive, also a lot of things we can build on. It’s still early on; it’s only the second week of preseason.”

 On FC Shirak’s style of play

“Every game with a quality opponent like this is important for us. And then we are going to be going to Mexico playing another good team. It’s a good test for us, especially early on in the preseason; obviously we have a lot of things to work on. The flow of the game wasn’t perfect, but overall they were a good opponent, a quick technical team. They gave us a good run.”

 On playing with Landon Donovan for the first time

“Good, we are all getting used to each other, everyone is getting used to my game, what I can offer. There were more direct balls; Landon can run off really well with me. There are a lot of positive things that can come out of that. He moves well off the ball, I try to focus to stay more central, stay high in the pitch to stretch the team. It works better when guys like Samuel and Kean can run off me, I’ll try to run the ball and do the dirty work. We’ve only played two full 90 minutes together, so like I said, we are still learning from each other, but a lot of positives.”

 On set pieces

“After speaking with a lot of the players after the game, they are excited that we can offer some more size, I just need to figure out where I can find my spots. I can take away defenders off of that physical presence. So with Omar and I, and a few more guys, we are going to have a lot more goals of some pieces.”

 On preseason

“I feel that I am getting a lot stronger physically. It’s taking me a while to adjust, I’ve never done this kind of preseason, totally different training than I’m used to in Germany. This is the best I’ve felt, every week I’m getting better and stronger so I’m excited. Another 4-5 weeks of preseason, and I think I’ll be sharp.”

LA GALAXY FORWARD GYASI ZARDES

On his goal

“It feels wonderful. You work hard in training and putting one in the back of the net during a game it feels great.”

On his finishing

“Last year I wanted to blast everything. I felt I was more composed once I collected the ball and I just looked up and placed my shot. It's all due to a game we play with Dave [Sarachan] called ‘Knockout.’  The ball comes at you at the top of the D and you control it and place it. I felt like that repetition helped me on that goal.”

On playing with Rob Friend and Samuel

“I'm the type of player that learns from his teammates. Just having Rob [Friend] he's a veteran of the game. He played 10 years in Germany. He's a great finisher. I try to observe his attributes and get as much as I can from him. He may not know it but every time he talks to me I just try to listen to what he says because he's a great striker. I see it in him and I try to learn as much as I can from him and also Samuel. The way they check the ball and the way they handle the ball.”

LA GALAXY FORWARD SAMUEL

(Translated from Portuguese)

On his goal

“It was a good play. It was a play we worked on. I found myself in front of the net and I was able to score.”

On playing with Rob Friend

“He's a different player. We have different styles of play but I think he's a great player. Throughout the season I think we will be able to connect better.”

On playing with Landon Donovan

“I think he's a great player. He's obviously known around the world. Up top I was prepared knowing that he can give a great pass and that I need to be ready to score.”

LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER STEFAN ISHIZAKI

On playing with Landon Donovan

“My game wasn't at my best. I'm still struggling a bit with fitness but he's a good player and a lot of guys on the team are good players. I just have to link up with them and get to know the players a little bit better.”

On tonight's game

“They were a good team. A lot better than what I expected. They played good football and they were really good in their counterattack with their speedy striker number eight up front, he was very good. I felt like we had a bunch of chances we could have scored on and then we have them a one nil goal but we came back and the first half ended 1-1. It was an alright result. We could have played a little better but it was an alright game from our end.”

On FC Shirak's style of play

“When they pressured us you had to be a lot quicker on the ball. The game was a lot faster and you had to move the ball a lot quicker than the scrimmages we played. So it was a completely different game.”