— AEG (@AEGworldwide) August 7, 2014
— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) August 7, 2014
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) August 7, 2014
After careful deliberation and after many conversations with those closest to me, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player.
I don’t write these words lightly and this day carries mixed emotions for me. I am sad to leave a profession that has brought me so much joy. I will miss all of the teammates who helped me create so many incredible memories on-the-field, and who I have shared many wonderful experiences with off-the-field. I will miss my coaches, at both the club and national team levels, who have helped me develop throughout my career and helped make me the player I am today. However, after spending half my life as a professional soccer player, I also am excited to begin a new chapter and pursue other opportunities that will challenge me and allow me to grow as a person.
There are so many people I want to thank who have inspired me, guided me and helped me on this incredible journey. I simply could not have accomplished what I did during my playing career without an overwhelming amount of support from my family, my friends and many others. I plan to express my gratitude to everyone in a more detailed manner at a later date; however, for now, I want to single out the fans. You are the lifeblood of this sport and, without you, none of us would be fortunate to call ourselves professional soccer players in MLS.
I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career. And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.
As we enter a transformative time for the sport, I will do everything I can to help the continued growth of soccer in the United States. I look forward to making a difference, pursuing my passions and meeting all of you along the way in this next phase of my life.
After careful deliberation, I have decided that this will be my last season as a professional soccer player https://t.co/UuxXkXlYi1
— Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) August 7, 2014
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 7, 2014
Take that Jurgen Klinsmann.
Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan grabbed the biggest mid-season stage in MLS with a star turn in Portland Wednesday (while Chivas USA striker “Cubo” Torres didn’t have a bad night, either).
Guess we know what that Galaxy press conference is (and is not) about this afternoon:
Contrary to some reports, I have not signed for LA Galaxy and I am still an Anderlecht player. Thanks for the continued support!
— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) August 7, 2014
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) August 6, 2014
— World Soccer Talk (@worldsoccertalk) August 6, 2014
— Chivas USA (@cdchivasusa) August 6, 2014
— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) August 5, 2014
Full disclosure; I’m no fan of the artificial MLS All-Star game that frankly is a lot more about marketing than soccer as even Landon Donovan admits:
“I think this year I’m realizing more than ever how important this is,” Donovan said. “When you have the opportunity to promote our game and our league, we want to do it.”
I’m still not convinced a meaningless game like this will convert new fans, but at least the sole LA Galaxy participant sounds excited — for the sponsors. Still, at least soccer-mad Portland sounds up for the event even if the players involved have had little time to prepare.
However, I will follow the lead of selected, but absent Galaxy All-Stars Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane and skip the whole thing with an eye on Friday’s Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes game — just like those missing players from LA.
Could the Galaxy add to their back to back MLS Cup titles of a couple of years ago? Maybe.
But it’s clear after the disappointment of last season, no one is taking anything for granted including rising hotshot Gyasi Zardes who seems to have exactly the right attitude:
“I just take it in by day,” he said after Saturday’s game. “Now this game is over, I don’t look back. I don’t fantasize over all the goals I scored. I start looking at now. When I’m in the game, in that moment, in my head, I’m thinking ‘zero goals, nothing. ‘Prove myself.’”
Read more in this week’s column here.
— Sporting USA (@StatesideUnited) August 2, 2014
On a Saturday afternoon when the eyes of most American soccer fans was on Michigan and the spectacle of the largest crowd ever to see a game in this country, the LA Galaxy burnished their MLS Cup credentials with a dominating performance over the Portland Timbers before just a touch over 20,000 at almost exactly the same time in Carson.
Meanwhile, a crowd of almost 50,000 watched the San Jose Earthquakes do the Galaxy a huge favor by knocking off the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders, tightening the playoff race in the division ahead of Friday’s game in the South Bay against LA.
I’ll take a look at the Galaxy’s season so far in Tuesday’s column as we reach the halfway point of the season with the MLS All-Star Game set for Wednesday in Portland.
Check out the highlights of the Galaxy game:
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 1, 2014
While the Galaxy reportedly pursue former Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan, they make a rare TV network appearance Saturday almost exactly a month after drawing Portland 2-2 in Carson before a sellout Independence Day crowd.
The Timbers are seeking to move into a playoff spot with a win that would give the club the first three-game winning streak in history against the Galaxy, who have moved up to third in the Western Conference after their road win in Seattle last time out.
In related news, Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal, 20, has returned from his loan stint with Cruz Azul and has joined younger brother Jaime on the LA Galaxy II roster.
The USL Pro team plays the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at 4 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be streamed at the club’s website.
Meanwhile, Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto is heading to a U.S. U-23 camp in the Bahamas along with two Southern California products who are with Mexican clubs.
Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, but not Landon Donovan, withdrew from Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game roster because the Galaxy plays San Jose in Carson Friday, two days after the annual exhibition game.
After dealing lightly used defender Kofi Opare to D.C. United the day after Monday’s 3-0 road win over Seattle, coach Bruce Arena admitted on the club’s website he is positioning the club to make an acquisition, prompting a round of speculation on Twitter:
— Jeff Crandall (@jefecrandall) July 29, 2014
— david soto (@Edge4L) July 29, 2014
— Corner Of The Galaxy (@GalaxyPodcast) July 29, 2014
What if LA traded Opare to be able to sign Gooch to a non- DP role and then sell Omar to open up a DP spot while replacing Omar with Gooch.
— Chris✌️ (@ChrisV323) July 29, 2014
The speculation has begun because despite the dominant win over the Sounders Sunday — which may have more to do with a unexpected Seattle collapse, than anything else — the Galaxy have proven wildly inconsistent so far this season and were actually out of the Western Conference playoff spots in the tight division until the impressive road performance.
But in recent days the Galaxy have jettisoned Opare and his $48,500 salary as well as Brazilian forward Samuel and his $50,000 wage packet.
Could the likes of central defender Leonardo (not a fan favorite, to put it mildly) and his $105,000 salary be next as well as perhaps veteran left back Todd Dunivant, ($160,750) who is seemingly being supplanted because of injuries and age by the younger Robbie Rogers, who has made the Galaxy a greater attacking threat out of the back after switching from a winger role? And, let’s not forget DP Omar Gonzalez, who still harbors European ambitions, despite the World Cup not being quite the shop window he may have envisioned.
The key question: just what will moving up in the allocation order do for the Galaxy.
Thoughts?: Comments? (More) speculation?
Will the lopsided Wednesday night game at the Rose Bowl (and elsewhere in other games between clubs in the two leagues) help or hinder MLS’ efforts to broaden its fan base? Discuss:
— Alan Brazil (@sportsbreakfast) July 24, 2014
— Kyle Martino (@kylemartino) July 24, 2014
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) July 24, 2014
— Lisa Bregman (@LisaMBregman) July 24, 2014
— Brian Smith (@Brians_Myth) July 24, 2014
— Brian Smith (@Brians_Myth) July 24, 2014
— AlextheLion21 (@fountainman2195) July 24, 2014
— Michael Catanzarite (@mpcatanzarite) July 24, 2014
— Kevin Lewis (@TheKevinLewis) July 24, 2014
— JCoulter (@jcoulterbrown) July 24, 2014
— LAGalaxy SportSpyder (@LAGalaxySpyder) July 24, 2014
— Sachin Ganesh (@NotRealSachin) July 24, 2014
— Jared Greenbaum (@JaredBGreenbaum) July 24, 2014
— Have Another Donut (@HavAnotherDonut) July 24, 2014