Daniel Steres has helped solidified the Galaxy defense this season

Things have moved rapidly for Daniel Steres since December.

Steres, who was the Defender of the Year for the Galaxy II last season, was signed to galaxysenior club in December. He earned three consecutive All-League selections for Galaxy II.

One week later, Omar Gonzalez was transferred to Pachuca in Mexico, essentially opening up a spot in central defense for someone, anyone.

Steres, who was born in Burbank and raised in Calabasas, has been a gem for the Galaxy this season, becoming a fixture on the backline. As the team enters the final month of the season, Steres leads the way in minutes played (2,490).

“He’s doing well,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “It has probably been a typical year for a young defender, he’s had his ups and downs a little bit, but for the most part he’s been fairly steady, but we still see little dips in his performance and other times where it is quite good.

“Obviously, we want him to stabilize that a little bit and be a bit more consistent.

Steres made his Galaxy debut in the opening game, going 90 minutes and scoring a goal.

He’s started 27 of 29 games so far this season.

“I’ve definitely grown throughout the season, playing at this level,” Steres said. “There are still things, mistakes, plays that I have to work on to get better and better.

“It is just a sense of knowing that I’ve gotten into the squad now, before at the beginning of the year it might have been how am I’m going to get into the squad. Now, that I’m in it, it’s trying to stay in it and help the team as much as possible.”

Steres, 25, knows he is far from being a finished product and he said he agrees with Arena’s assessment.

“Hopefully, peak as much as I can toward the end of the playoffs. I feel like I’ve got the trust of a lot of the veteran guys. I pride myself on staying healthy and staying on the field and being someone that’s consistent, week in and week out and someone the team can count on.

 

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Giovani dos Santos, Cozmo and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. meet in ESPN video

Giovani dos Santos and Galaxy mascot Cozmo ran into legendary champion Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. in the latest ESPN This is SportsCenter video.

 

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Galaxy can clinch playoff berth Sunday against Seattle

The Galaxy (11-4-15, 48 points) can clinch a berth in the upcoming MLS Playoffs with a victory against the Seattle Sounders, Sunday at StubHub Center (1 p.m.; ESPN).

The Galaxy is current in second place in the Western Conference. The Sounders are in seventh place, five points outside the sixth and final spot, currently held by Sporting Kansas City (40 points).

This will be the third meeting this season between the teams. The Galaxy is 1-0-1.

Toronto FC is the lone team that has clinched a playoff berth so far.

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Galaxy recap: Landon Donovan saves a point thanks to late goal

It was one of those games where the Galaxy should have lost, but thanks to the magic from Landon Donovan, the Galaxy escaped with one point a 2-2 draw against Sporting Kansas City, Sunday.

Donovan entered the game in the 74th minute with the Galaxy trailing 2-1. Two minutes later, Donovan took the feed from Robbie Rogers and slotted the ball by Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Mejia.

The Galaxy (48 points) moves into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference, four behind first-place FC Dallas with four games remaining, two against FC Dallas.

The Galaxy took an early 1-0 lead on an Alan Gordon in the seventh minute. That was the only life the Galaxy showed in the first half.

SKC tied the game in the 50th minute on a goal from Jacob Peterson and then took a 2-1 lead on Dominic Dwyer’s goal in the 69th minute, setting the stage for Donovan’s heroics.

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Galaxy preview: Galaxy look to move closer to top of Western Conference

Saturday night was a good one for the Galaxy and the club didn’t even play. galaxy

First-place FC Dallas played to a draw as did Colorado and Real Salt Lake suffered a 1-0 defeat to Houston.

With a victory today against Sporting Kansas City, the Galaxy can move to within two points of first place FC Dallas, which is huge considering they will meet twice next month.

Sporting Kansas City begins the day in the sixth and final playoff spot in the West with 39 points, four ahead of Seattle.

This should be fun. Tune in to KCOP/13 at 11 a.m. for kickoff

Game day read: Giovani dos Santos providing much-needed spark

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Former Galaxy star Carlos Ruiz returns to MLS

Carlos Ruiz, who played with the Galaxy from 2002-2004 and in 2008, is back in Major League Soccer, signing with FC Dallas. The move was announced Thursday ahead of the MLS Roster Freeze deadline.

Ruiz recently ended his international career with Guatemala by scoring five goals in a victory against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Galaxy has two meetings with FC Dallas next month.

Ruiz led the Galaxy to the 2002 MLS Cup, scoring 24 goals and eight more in the playoffs

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100 Percent Soccer column: Is Giovani dos Santos the second coming of Galaxy star Landon Donovan?

gio10Mexican star Giovani dos Santos was unveiled as the successor to Landon Donovan in August 2015, when he showed off a jersey with the same number the Redlands native made his own (Photo by Staff Photographer Steve McCrank.)

There were a lot more Landon Donovan No. 10 shirts than ones reading dos Santos on the back Sunday on display at StubHub Center as Donovan returned to MLS after an almost two-year absence.

Is dos Santos worthy of wearing that No. 10 jersey?

Read more in this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

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Galaxy’s Rafael Garcia sees his hard work starting to pay off

On a team full of stars, players like Rafael Garcia are important to the potential success, either on the training field or in game action.galaxy

What he lacks in star power, Garcia, who attended CS Northridge, makes up for with sheer determination that helped him crack the starting lineup for the first time this year in Sunday’s 4-2 victory over Orlando City SC.

Garcia had played sparingly this season, getting three minutes in the 3-3 draw against Real Salt Lake (Sept. 7), 10 minutes against Columbus (Sept. 3). His first appearance this season came all the way back on Apr. 10.

That would have been enough to frustrate the 27-year-old from Canoga Park.

“Mostly patience,” he said Sunday as one of the keys to earning the starting nod. “It has been a long year, filled with ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I think my hard work and being patient, paid off in the end. It is one match, but it is the first start of the year for me and I was happy to be on the field and help my teammates.

You have some good days, you have some bad days, but at the end of the day, hard work and perseverance pays off.”

Garcia started in midfield and found himself around Brazilian superstar Kaka for the majority of the game.

“He was a hand full,” Garcia said. “My job was to kind of frustrate him by being all over him and kind of did that.”

Garcia went the full 90 minutes and along, with Raul Mendiola, drew high praise from coach Bruce Arena. Mendiola has started two of the last three games for the Galaxy.

“They work real hard in training and they have a great work ethic,” Arena said. “They understand what they can bring to the team and they forced themselves on you. These are the guys, when you pick sides, you don’t mind picking them because they compete so well and they know how to play through mistakes and they give great effort.”

Since Garcia has been with the Galaxy he’s been fortunate to watch and learn from some world class players and he’s relishing every day he’s around them.

“They’re world class players,” Garcia said. “They played in World Cups and they’ve played in big games. More than anything, what rubs off on me is their confidence. How they deal with games and move forward.

 

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Giovani dos Santos earns MLS Player of the Week honors

Giovani dos Santos said Sunday that he believes that he’s in the “best moment of my career.”

And after the last two games, he would certainly know.

Giovani dos Santos in action Sunday (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Giovani dos Santos in action Sunday (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Dos Santos scored four goals and added three assists last week and Tuesday was selected MLS Player of the Week.

Dos Santos had two goals and an assist in a 3-3 draw against Chicago Wednesday and two goals and two assists in Sunday’s 4-2 victory over Orlando City SC.

So far this season, dos Santos has scored 14 goals and added 11 assists.

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