Bruce Arena talks Jose Villarreal, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Landon Donovan and more

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media on Thursday just a day before the team departs on their upcoming road trip.

Arena’s comments are below…

(On the status of Robbie Keane and Todd Dunivant….)

ARENA: “They’re looking good. Anything is possible...We’re watching these players and they’re heading back into full fitness so there is no reason to believe that they’re not going to be a choice for one of these games.” 

(On the team getting healthier…)

ARENA: “There are a few guys that have a few knocks, but for the most part we’re doing pretty good.”

(On the upside of Charlie Rugg…)

ARENA: “That remains to be seen, but it’s just the start for him so it’s going to take some time and we need to be patient. All the young players, we’ve seen that they obviously have their peaks and valleys in their development which is natural. Unfortunately each and every one of them seems to have suffered an injury where they were just in form and they’ve gotten hurt, fallen behind the group, and come back again. It is always a little issue with our guys. Charlie started the year where he probably missed about a month in a lot of ways and same with Gyasi [Zardes] and Jose [Villarreal] so he’s good player and hopefully he can continue to get better and we see more improvement.”

(On what he remembers from Jose Villarreal’s goal vs. Vancouver last year…)

ARENA: “There are a couple of parts to it. [David] Beckham delivers a terrific ball to Juninho and Juninho takes it down unbelievably and gets it to Jose, who does his little shake and bake and obviously gets it on his left foot and beats Joe Cannon to his right. Great goal.”

(On  that goal being many people’s first introduction to Villarreal…)

ARENA: “Jose is not shy about shooting. He has a look at the goal; he’s going to take it, which is obviously an important quality for a forward. We don’t have enough guys that have that kind of mentality.”

(On Villarreal’s maturity…)

ARENA: “He’s a good kid. It’s going to take him a little time to understand being a professional and getting at it every day. This year, it’s been a little difficult for him with the U-20 call-ups and it takes him out of rhythm with our group a little bit, but it is all part of the process. He’s going to miss likely about a month with the U-20 World Cup so it’s all that little stuff that plays a role in how he’s moving along. Sometimes it doesn’t help his development and sometimes he’s okay with it, but we tend to see with the young players that there in those peaks and valleys because of that.”

(On his thoughts on Vancouver Whitecaps FC….)

ARENA: “Good team. A lot of talented players a lot of speed up front with the kid [Darren] Mattocks, their young kid Kekuta Manneh has done well. Camilo is an excellent player, [Gerson Koffie] has been an excellent pick-up. They have a bunch of good players…they’ve been pretty solid in that part of it, but they haven’t gotten the results so this will certainly be a big game for them.”

(On the team being fortunate to earn a tie last year at BC Place…)

ARENA: “Anytime that you score in the closing minutes of the game, you have to feel fortunate whether you think that you’ve played well or not. If I’m not mistaken, we were down two goals at halftime and they got an early goal on us. There was a play [Koffie] stripped Beckham with the ball early and played it and got back and scored. Then they got another goal late in the first half and we were down 2-0 at halftime. Then we got a goal and we were fortunate to get Jose’s goal.”

(On the issues that go into where Landon Donovan plays on the field…)

ARENA: “It’s not an easy question to answer. It depends on how he is feeling and the kind of rhythm that he’s in as a player, the needs that we have as a team, and I’ve said this a lot of times that we often use Landon to help complement our team. Maybe sometimes, he gets the short end of the stick because of that, but he likes playing both positions…I think that he’s better facing goal, but he’s also with the right players around him, pretty good as a striker.

(On whether he has a preference where Donovan plays…)

ARENA: “No. I’d like him to basically say that this is the best spot for me. He has to help give us that answer as well. His versatility is terrific and it is quality.”