Galaxy 2 FC Shirak 1
— Robert Mora (@Moraphotography) February 9, 2014
Southern California’s large Armenian population came out in force (despite the above Tweeted pic they made up most of the crowd) to watch reigning champions FC Shirak provide a lively challenge for the Galaxy in the club’s opening preseason game yet were turned back by goals from Brazilian newcomer Samuel and Hawthorne’s Gyasi Zardes.
Galaxy fans got their first glimpse of newly-signed homegrown player Raul Mendiola who the Galaxy have yet to formally announce has turned pro along with Bradford Jamieson, another Academy player. He made a few alert runs and generally telegraphed he was the sort of player to attract foreign clubs’ attention in the past.
“He is a little raw, but he plays with confidence,” coach Bruce Arena said. “A lot of good plays, some not so good. But good for his first time.”
The overall performance pleased Arena:
“FC Shirak played really well, they put a lot of pressure and they tested us,” he said. “Tthey 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.”
Arena had words of praise for Zardes, too:
“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.”
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) February 9, 2014
And here’s newly-signed Canadian striker Rob Friend on his interaction with Landon Donovan and other attackers:
“We are all getting used to each other, everyone is getting used to my game, what I can offer,” he said. “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.”