CARSON, Calif. – Adapting to MLS is always a challenge for newcomers to the league especially during the hectic preseason schedule, but by all accounts, Rob Friend is fitting in quite well.
Friend scored the opening goal during a 45-minute shift in the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw with Chivas USA in a closed-door scrimmage at StubHub Center on Wednesday. Playing alongside fellow newcomer Samuel, the 6-foot-5 striker bullied the Rojiblancos defense particularly on set pieces which only bodes well for the prospects of the target man who was signed after an 11-year European career.
“It's a friendly, so obviously, [the goal is] not that important, but as a striker and early on in the preseason, it's nice to get a goal,” Friend told reporters following the match. “Goals come and go. When they start coming, it gets easier, they come easier, and they go in easier. I know that I can score and what I can do, so it's nice to show other people that I'm confident in what I can do for the season.”
Friend was particularly impressed with another Galaxy newcomer Stefan Ishizaki who fired in a number of dangerous crosses into the Canadian forward as he caused havoc for the Chivas defense along the right side of midfield.
“He's a winger that likes to put the ball in the box,” said Friend. “I'm a striker who likes to get in the box and get on the end of them. So it's perfect.”
The attackers were not the only recent arrivals to get a run out against Chivas as Galaxy second round draft pick Kyle Venter saw extended minutes in the second half. However, the match was a tad more touch and go for the center back, who was pressured incessantly by forwards Matthew Fondy and Thomas McNamara throughout the second half, leading to two Rojiblancos’ goals.
“They were pressing high [in the second half] and we tried to play out of the back too much which led to some trouble. After that, we never got the game back on our terms and it was just 45 minutes of playing in our half,” Venter told LAGalaxy.com. “Obviously, there are little things that we have to be better at, but the more experience that we get, the better.”
And it is that type of gradual progression that the Galaxy hope will have the team peaking by the start of March.
“It’s only going to get better with every practice and every game,” said Friend. “I think that there are a lot of positives to take from it, but we still have a long way to go.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxy.com/Insider