As the year comes to a close, here’s an opportunity to get caught up on three episodes of HBO’s investigative “Real Sports” that looks at issues surrounding the World Cup and the under-covered issue of global match-fixing:
Event includes speeches by Galaxy President Chris Klein, coach Bruce Arena, captain and MLS MVP Robbie Keane, defender Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan, who will say a final goodbye to fans before retiring.
“I’ve said it before, this is my best year on the field, and my worst year off the field personally,” said defender A.J. DeLaGarza. “At the end of the game, you guys saw I just kind of laid there and sobbed a little bit. Obviously, I wish my son was here, so that was all I thought about.”
For the first time since 2009, all three finalists – Robbie Keane of the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders FC’s Obafemi Martins and the New England Revolution’s Lee Nguyen – took part in the MLS Conference Championships, which concluded last weekend.
“We knew before the game that we needed a goal,” said Galaxy striker Robbie Keane. “Them scoring two goals didn’t really change much to be honest. The only thing it did do is help us come out and attack a bit more. They were creating a hell of a lot of great chances. I think actually in a weird way them scoring two goals helped us.”
Since the start of the 2009 season, the LA Galaxy have hosted 14 playoff games in Carson, including MLS Cup 2011 and 2012. In those 14 games, the Galaxy are 12-2-0 and 28-5-1 all-time in home playoff games.
Gyasi Zardes hasn’t scored a goal for the Galaxy since recording his 16th of the regular season on Sept. 28. That covers a span of seven games, including the club’s three postseason outings.
He may be only 23 years old, but he refuses to show any signs of impatience. Not with the Galaxy one game away from playing in the MLS Cup.
“Yeah, just because I’m not scoring doesn’t mean anything,” Zardes said. “It’s a team effort and I feel like I’m making runs to allow other players to be open. I’m just trying to be a help to the team and the most important thing is to win games. It’s OK that I’m not scoring if we’re winning.”
The Galaxy hold a 1-0 lead over Seattle heading into Sunday’s second leg of the Western Conference finals in Seattle. Even without a goal, Zardes has adopted the Robbie Keane striker rule: Never look back and enjoy the moment.
“Oh yeah. Words cannot describe it for myself,” he said of his first playoff run. “This is my first time going this far, second year going pro, so I’m enjoying the moment and trying to work extremely hard.
“I brush it off. I can’t dwell on that. It’s a team and you’ve got to look toward the future. You can’t sit back and say ‘Oh, I didn’t score.’ Just keep working on the field like I’ve been doing and the results will come. If they don’t hey, it’s OK, our team is winning.”