— Chivas USA (@cdchivasusa) June 28, 2014
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) June 28, 2014
— Chivas USA (@cdchivasusa) June 28, 2014
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) June 28, 2014
“I have an obligation,” he said after finishing practice with the Galaxy, which resume MLS play Saturday against San Jose at Stanford.
That didn’t sit well. His opinion is exclusive to TV viewers for a certain network? Never mind the fact that the dozens of current and former athletes in all sports who have broadcast duties are happy to share their thoughts with anyone who asks from a different platform.
It was a completely strange juxtaposition, then, to have Galaxy coach Bruce Arena happy to opine on the United States’ standing in the World Cup. The Galaxy held off their practice until 11:30 on Thursday so they could watch the Americans face off against Germany.
And give a little leeway for Donovan’s segment of Q&A.
Arena, it should be mentioned, has time and again in the past been reticent to assess the play of the U.S., not wanting to step on the toes of his successors as the national team coach.
But he didn’t mind talking about the road of the U.S. and the tournament in general as it headed into the round of 16.
“It’s good to advance. The game wasn’t particularly good,” Arena said after Germany’s 1-0 victory. “They are playing one of the better teams in the world but that’s the way the U.S. is going to play. They’re going to grind it out, get good goalkeeping, create an odd chance every now and then but they’re a battling team, they’re a fit team, they’re an organized team.”
Arena on the next U.S. challenge:
“Belgium’s certainly a good team. It’s not a bad matchup for (the U.S.). It’s a good matchup for the U.S.”
Arena, of course, was coaching when the U.S. reached the final eight in 2002 following a landmark win over Mexico. The U.S. hasn’t been that close since, but has now advanced out of the group stage in two consecutive tournaments for the first time.
“I think it’s a sign of progress,” Arena said. “I think we need to obviously improve as a team but that’s not going to happen in this World Cup. We’re one or two World Cups away from competing with the big boys.”
And surviving the “Group of Death” with Germany, Ghana and Portugal?
“It’s good. There’s one very good team in the group in Germany,” Arena said. “The others were pretty close to each other and we managed to be the team that came out in the end. Ghana was a pretty talented team. Inconsistent, obviously, going into an important game more worried about the cash being on the plane. Very odd preparation.”
“Give the U.S. credit. They persevered in a very difficult group. I thought all along that they needed to get three points against Ghana and one point against Portugal and that’s the way it played out.”
And that means what?
“I should do (prognostication) rather than coaching,” he said with a smile. “I’m better at that I think than working with this team right now.
“Believe me, I don’t think anybody could have predicted this World Cup. At the end of the day when the dust settles, the big boys are going to be around, there aren’t going to be any Cinderellas. However, I think Costa Rica may make it to the last eight.”
Sorry, Greek fans.
And Arena on the first start for Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez:
“He did a good job.”
And Donovan would rather have talked about the Galaxy against San Jose.
Chivas USA has signed former Japanese international Akira Kaji from J-League Division 1 club Gamba Osaka, the club announced today.
The 34-year-old right back played for his country at the 2006 World Cup.
“Akira is a very experienced player who is going to help us solidify our back four,” said Chivas USA coach Wilmer Cabrera. “He brings World Cup experience along with an impressive career in a league that is very strong, athletic, competitive and that has a very fast pace. He is a very technical and smart player capable of not only defending but also distributing and possessing the ball when going forward. We are very happy to have Akira join Chivas USA, as his addition will strengthen our team in all aspects.”
Kaji, who has made more than 225 J-League appearances, will be eligible to make his MLS debut after the international transfer window opens on July 8.
Chivas USA resumes action after the MLS World Cup break Saturday against Real Salt Lake in Carson.
Phil Collin has the game story.
— Chivas USA (@cdchivasusa) June 8, 2014
Los Angeles News Group MLS writer Phil Collin has the preview and will be in attendance this afternoon taking in the game between two teams having sub-par seasons so far.
The Galaxy will face a Chivas USA team Sunday desperately adrift in MLS before making way for the World Cup for a couple of weeks. It’s a doubleheader: LA Galaxy II (7-2-3) host the Dayton Dutch Lions (2-6-2) after the main event on the same field.
Other MLS games may offer more exciting options especially since it is a free MLS Live trial weekend. (if you haven’t seen a game on the MLS iPad app, you’re missing a thing of beauty. Check it out).
There’s a trio of international games today I’m watching:
No time to watch the USMNT and Chicago Fire-LA Galaxy games Sunday?
Get caught up on the two games in about two minutes distilled down to two excellent goals.
The first from Fabian Johnson for the U.S. was the highlight of an entertaining game against Turkey, with a fragile U.S. defense and a sporadically dangerous attack (we’re looking at you goalless Jozy Altidore) unlikely to convince neutrals the Americans will even flirt with getting out of its tough group.
The second from Landon Donovan for the Galaxy was created by Robbie Rogers, who was playing some of his first senior minutes at full back for the injured Dan Gargan and looked far more dangerous going forward as a defender than he ever did as an attacking midfielder. Really.
The goal capped a woeful spectacle done in by the heat and humidity in Chicago. Don’t take my word for it, here’s what Irish striker Robbie Keane had to say:
“I don’t know who makes these (expletive) stupid decisions. Play a (expletive) game at three o’clock in the afternoon? Who wants to watch that crap? Do you? I don’t want to watch that crap. These people who haven’t got a clue about soccer make these decisions when we play a game. Why not play at eight o’clock? It wasn’t on national television. It’s so stupid. They need to look at these games and use their head and be clever. No player wants to play in that humidity. Everyone was affected by the heat. Why would you want to play at three o’clock in the afternoon? On the hottest day of the year so far here in Chicago, knowing it is going to be that hot. And you can’t blame the Kings-Hawks game because you didn’t know that was going to happen until two days ago. This is absolutely ridiculous. We have to stop. We have to listen to the players instead of listening to people who have never kicked a soccer ball in their whole life.”
Next for the Galaxy: Against Chivas USA Sunday in Carson.
While you’re hanging around the house awaiting game 7 of the Kings series with a Stanley Cup berth at stake (5 p.m. NBCSN), there’s a Sunday soccer doubleheader made for Southern California: at 11 a.m. on ESPN2 the U.S. plays Turkey, followed by the Galaxy renewing acquaintances with Mike Magee and the Chicago Fire at 1 p.m. on TWCSN.
Oh, and reporter Phil Collin watched the latest Chivas USA loss last night in Carson, so we didn’t have to. Boxscore.
Not only will Chivas USA play a game in the main stadium, but the LA Galaxy II will play a U.S. Open Cup game at 7:30 p.m. in the track and field stadium against amateur team PSA Elite, with the winner facing the Seattle Sounders in the next round. Tickets are $5.
With Mexico on television at 6 p.m. against Israel, it will be interesting to see how many people show up for a midweek Chivas USA game, especially one between two teams that have a total of four wins between them and are both sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Phil Collin filed the game story headlined by the triumphant Landon Donovan who yet again demonstrated a flair for the dramatic in his timing and performance.
Notable: Donovan scored 104 of his 136 regular season goals for the Galaxy, the remainder for the Earthquakes. He now has 120 regular season MLS assists, including 91 as a member of the Galaxy. Donovan tied Cobi Jones (91 assists) for the most assists in club history and is now 16 behind Steve Ralston for the most in MLS history.
“Candidly, I’m exhausted. I won’t lie. I took a long nap today. I’m exhausted. I’m glad today’s done. I’m glad the record is done. My goal now and my challenge is don’t stop playing now. We aren’t even half way through the season. We’ve won a couple games. And now, we have two more games until the World Cup game. We feel should win both and we need to win both. That is our focus now. It’s going to be difficult. Chicago is a much improved team than their first couple of games. The Chivas game will be difficult. That’s my goal—to help us win those two games.”
The Galaxy play in Chicago Sunday against the Fire before returning home to face Chivas USA the following Sunday.
Enjoy the exhilarating videos of the game and all his best MLS goals: