Because I have been so busy as of late, and have somehow gotten way behind on my blogging. Today I will offer up an “All things LA Galaxy” update! So lets look back at the week that was and then forward to some very interesting games coming up.
I admit it… I was not at this home game. On the bright side of things, my home record is still unbeaten. However, the Galaxy are no longer unbeaten at home as the fell 3 – 2 in a game that was quickly out of control. Within the first 5 minutes our once stout and perfect defense had allowed Chicago to go up 2 – 0.
I watched the replay and highlights and both of the call were close as to whether or not they were offside, but the bottom line is that the defense couldn’t stand up to the pressures of the Chicago offense. The one glaring weakness in the Galaxy back line is that they play a very high offside trap. By doing this they allow a lot of room behind the defense for speedy players to run through.
Even with PK’s in both halves, the Galaxy were unable to catch Chicago. However, our captain, Landon Donovan did score his 100th MLS career goal. I don’t care what you say about Donovan and the fact that he has scored so many of his goals on PK’s. The bottom line is he puts them in the net on a consistent basis. That all I ask!
This game really threw the Galaxy into a confirmed funk, as they seemed rather uninspired in the opening part of the game. This is obviously something that Bruce Arena needs to focus on.
Puerto Rico Islanders:
So unless you have been living under a rock you remember the horrible loss at home the Galaxy suffered against the Puerto Rico Islanders. So needing to win by four goals or more, the Boys traveled to a small island in the Atlantic to try and salvage a CONCACAF Champions league berth.
However, it just wasn’t meant to be as the officiating crew gave away a horrible PK to Puerto Rico in the 33 minute. Although I am never really a great fan of the referees, their is a reason only one crew from CONCACAF went to the world cup. CONCACrap is more like it.
The Galaxy didn’t give up though, and were able to score a goal 4 minutes later. Although it was deemed an own goal, the Galaxy were at least able to push the game and the momentum again as the Islanders were content to live off the counter attack.
Although the Galaxy were able to finally pull out a victory, thanks to a beautifully struck ball by Sean Franklin, the 2-1 win was not enough to overturn the events of the week before.
My overall reaction to this game is that the Galaxy showed some real determination, especially against a team that was content to put 10 men behind the ball. In fact, if head coach Colin Clarke could have moved his bench behind the goal I wouldn’t have been shocked to see it. But this is what happens when you allow a team to beat you 4-1 at home!
First off I love international friendlies. It really gives a larger audience the chance to experience the quality improvements that Major League Soccer has made since its inception. But don’t think I sit there the whole time praying that none of my guys get hurt. After all, we have a league game against New York at the brand new Red Bull Arena.
The Rose Bowl is always a special place to watch a soccer game. And by special I mean PLEASE RENOVATE THIS STADIUM! I will argue that the Rose Bowl is possibly the best place in the United States to tailgate. Where else do you get to park on a Golf Course, BBQ next to the bunker and take a nap in the fairway?!
But the stadium itself looks like it hasn’t been touched in 20 years. The seats are too small, the bathrooms insufficient an the vendor stations scary! Paint can only do so much. On a high note my good friend Chad (@OCGalaxyFan) did notice the stadium tunnels no longer smelled like urine. (But please, Home Depot Center, please take note of all the awesome food they have to offer here. It was delicious!)
Somehow this is all forgotten once you emerge from the tunnel and see the beautiful pitch. The crown on this field just makes it feel closer. And I was very happy with my seats- only 6 rows off the field right in front of the 18 yard box on the Galaxy Bench side. However, this prime location did put me smack in the middle of the the “Chosen One” fan girl screaming section.
I’ll sum up the night by saying that if you asked me to pick between FC Barcelona last year and Real Madrid this year, I would easily choose Barca. Barcelona seemed more friendly and welcoming to the crowd. Messi waved to the crowd many times during his pregame and warm-up. And Barcelona wasn’t afraid to go head to head with first teams.
I found Real Madrid arrogant. From Jose Mourinio to Christiano Ronaldo there was a sense of disrespect towards the fans and the team they were playing. This arrogance was especially noticeable once Ronaldo started playing. Although I have always considered him to be one of the greatest players in the world I knew he was more individual than team player. This game simply increased these feelings by 10 times.
Whereas I felt as though I had seen some truly great players that respected the team and the sport when FC Barcelona came to town, I felt the complete opposite from Real Madrid.
I still have to hand it to Real Madrid for scoring all of their goals in the second half. Bruce Arena said it best “The performance put on by Ronaldo and Higuain in the second half was something special.” It was. I was just left missing something from this game.
But the real Galaxy hero in my opinion was Bryan Jordan. Not only did he attempt to guard “the chosen one” in the second half but he was also a big enough man to ask to trade Jerseys with that monstrous head. After initially brushing off Jordan Ronaldo relented and Mr. Jordan is now the proud owner of an unbelievable piece of soccer history. He can now say he played against him and got his jersey afterward. But in my opinion Jordan was the brighter start than Christiano that night simply for jumping over him to get to a head ball. Sometimes its just about hustle.
The bottom line is that the Galaxy first team was able to control the game against the Real Madrid 2nd team in the first half. Goals by Todd Dunivant and Landon Donovan (PK) provided the perfect table in which to bring in the first team of Real Madrid.
With the stars on the field for the second half and the Galaxy first team on the bench, Real Madrid showed why they are a perennial world power every year. Quick passing and perfect possession saw them easily jump back on top to beat the MLS side 3 – 2.
It was a fun night at the Rose Bowl and I was proud to share it with nearly 90,000 fans.
Clint Mathis Retires:
Before the Game at the Rose Bowl, Clint Mathis played his last game in MLS. His retirement, announced almost two weeks ago, was really not a surprise. He had a knee operation at the beginning of this year and he really wasn’t making it on the pitch for too much playing time. It was fitting that he got to retire in the same building his MLS career started. He is still the only MLS player to ever score 5 goals in one game.
It is widely believed that Mathis could have accomplished a lot more in his career. His popularity peaked in 2002 when he scored the tying goal against South Korea in the host nations World Cup.
We’ll miss you Clint! Thanks for the memories and I might even be willing to forget that you were on that RSL team last year!
USA vs Brazil
Three Galaxy Players were named to Bob Bradley’s US team to face Brazil. Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and Omar Gonzalez will all be suiting up for the red white and blue as we take on the hosts of the the 2014 world cup.
There is hope that Gonzalez will get some significant minutes and earn his first cap for the United States. He is a great defender and I am sure he will do us proud. But its time for him to start getting some international experience.
Also, just a not for Bob… START EDSON BUDDLE! That is all…
Another Call up worth note is that Donovan Ricketts has been chosen for Jamaica’s friendly against Trinidad & Tobago. Ricketts last played for Jamaica in 2009 during the Gold Cup.
That makes four players now playing a midweek game away from the Galaxy.
New York Red Bulls:
First thing is firts – This is a huge game!
New York is coming off of playing against Chicago last week. That game marked the first time 5 designated players took the field at the same time. The additions of Henry and Marquez to the Red Bulls is something most fans can only dream of. The rest of the league needs to take notice as this team learns to play with its new pieces. I think the Galaxy will do well just to play for a point in this game.
New York certainly has had issues as of late with their ability to win games. They have only 1 win in their last 4 MLS regular season games. But this team will only get better as the season continues on and the newly acquired players become used to their surroundings.
It is very likely that Thierry Henry will play in the Red Bulls Midweek game against Toronto. Henry was pulled in stoppage time of the first half against Chicago. The injury was initially reported as a strained groin but was quickly downplayed by the Red Bulls attacker. In all likelihood he should play on Wednesday vs Toronto and then again on Saturday vs the Galaxy.
This will be a big game for the Galaxy as well due in part to that fact they haven’t had a real good run of success in the league recently. But they did show some excellent skill vs Real Madrid. This leads me to believe the recent dip in form was due to focus. And nothing will get you focused like a sell out crowd in the brand new Red Bull Arena!
Lets Get three points boys!
Galaxy Player Moves & Rumors:
After weeks of speculation the Galaxy finally made a significant roster move. Alan Gordon was traded to the locker room across the hall and became an integral part of Chivas USA. This is probably a good move for Gordon who should see much more playing time. In the deal the Galaxy received allocation money. With the retirement of Clint Mathis and now the allocation cash and roster spot opened by Alan Gordon the Galaxy look poised to make a big signing. Who that could possibly be has been all the talk on twitter and the blogs.
The newest person to be linked with the Galaxy is 21 year old Freddy Adu. Adu is currently owned by Portuguese club Benefica. He has played for AS Monico, Belenenses, and finally for Greek club Aris. The interesting part to this whole story is that Benefica seem willing to part with Freddy sans a transfer fee. Major League Soccer is known to have never paid a transfer fee so perhaps this deal gets done. But I certainly don’t expect them to go and put DP type of money on Adu. He really hasn’t proven himself to be worth of the DP moniker yet. But with Mathis and Gordon gone perhaps the addition of Adu with some of that freed up cash makes some sense.
Someone who has already made it onto the end of the Bench is goalkeeper Brian Perk. Brian was picked up off of waivers from Philadelphia. The Union had drafted Perk in the 4th round of the MLS draft. He is a former teammate of midfielder Michael Stephens. Its good to see two Bruins reunite at the Home Depot Center. Perk had also previously played on the Galaxy youth team.
Again sorry for the long delay on getting all this stuff updated. Some times my real job gets in the way.
Hope to see everyone at the Olde Ship in Santa Ana this weekend for the NYRB game. I am going to be there probably along with my buddy Chad. So come join us and lets hope for an LA Victory!