Tag Archives: LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy Advance to Western Conference Semifinal

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Los Angeles Galaxy was the only away team to make it out of the first round in the playoffs on October 20, 2019.

LA Galaxy defeated Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field 2-0 on a chilly, autumn evening. The first half was sloppy and the blue, white, and gold didn’t have control of the ball. Overall, the typical and predictable play had fans worried and doubting they could move forward–both the ball and in the playoffs.

The starting line up featured Perry Kitchen, who hadn’t played with the team in over six weeks, but with Joe Corona out on a toe injury, he was the best bet.  The Galaxy’s defense has been the weak spot for a few seasons now. So, Rolf Feltscher was replaced by Giancarlo “Pipo” Gonzalez. By playing Pipo back and pulling Kitchen deep, pushing up Jonathan Dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget worked. 

Lletget’s breakthrough goal came in the 71st minute.

In the 73rd minute, Romain Alessandrini made his long-awaited return when he was subbed in for Uriel Antuna. Within three minutes, he had assisted Jonathan Dos Santos’s winning goal. He was back in full force and was looking to score. He had a few good runs and chances himself.

LAG conceded a goal late in what turned out to be a physical game, but they’re lucky that’s all because MNUFC had shot after shot and just couldn’t finish the chances they were given, even right in front of net. Per the usual, David Bingham pulled off some major saves. 

As for head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s late subs, the question was, who else could he sub even with two players, Gonzalez and Polenta, with yellow cards in the backline?  Servando Carrasco got subbed in for Lletget during stoppage time. 

There were no Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals this time, but I am more than okay with that because it proves this LA Galaxy team doesn’t rely on him to win and it makes the lion that much hungrier for the next round.

It turns out, LA Galaxy still have a chance to host MLS Cup should they make it to a final against Toronto, which finished the first round with one point less.

The stage is set as the El Trafico saga continues. LA Galaxy are undefeated against LAFC. The conference semifinal is set for Thursday, October 24th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm PST at Banc of California Stadium. Ticket prices are already rising above $200 a person. Watch on ESPN/ESPN Deportes or come to a viewing party.

In 24 seasons, this is the 19th time in club history that LA Galaxy are part of postseason play. Of any team in MLS, LA Galaxy have the most playoff wins, with a record 45, and MLS best five Cup victories.

LA Galaxy are hosting a viewing party again at Dignity Health Sports Park at Legends Plaza. The event is free and open to the public. All fans are encouraged to bring their own seating. Food trucks will be on site. Drink specials include 12 oz Modelo and Corona for $5 and Michelada for $8. Fans may not bring their own alcohol. The clear bag policy is enforced.

Entertainment includes DJ Vick One, the LA Galaxy Star Squad, and Cozmo.

Cozmo poses for photos with fans. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Fans are also given a 20% discount on player products at the LA Galaxy Team Store. There will be a silent auction on site.

Hundreds of fans turned out to the Watch Party on Sunday Oct. 20th at “the Diggity”

I had the opportunity to participate in Sunday’s Watch Party. I felt more appreciated as a fan on this day than even on Fan Appreciation Day. We were given a t-shirt, a $10 food voucher (after signing up for AARP info) and LA Galaxy themed pins (after recommending a family member or close friend as a season ticket member).

At the LA Galaxy Foundation booth, there were tins with secret contents for $20, some of which included a fanny pack, an autographed locker name, or a signed movie-themed poster featuring one of the star players. Unfortunately, the tin was not included. There were other fun festivities such as raffles, and a spin-the-wheel for a chance to get a Galaxy Koozie, pop socket, or key chains.

Fans received a free t-shirt voucher upon entering Legends Plaza. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
LA Galaxy Foundation featuring cellular auction and $20 mystery prizes. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
Spin-a-wheel for free items. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
Yours truly with her haul of pins and a Koozie (pop socket not pictured). Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink
Your official LA Galaxy reporter for MLS Female, Michelle Huitink. Michelle is wearing a shirt with Lletget’s name on the back and believes it brought luck for him to score and will be wearing the shirt again Thursday. Photo Credit: Delmy Barillas.

I couldn’t help but reflect on being a part of previous playoffs and ultimate MLS Cup wins at home in 2011, 2012, and 2014. I know we fans have been deprived of this exhilarating feeling for two seasons. It’s good to be back with such a stellar roster, whose reputations exceed the club’s name, and to have a real chance at adding a sixth star to our jersey. We get to witness history again, and I hope the Galaxy can bring the competition home.

Featured image: LA Galaxy 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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LA Galaxy Playoff Set in Minnesota

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

September 29, 2019 was fan appreciation day and the last home game of the season at Dignity Health Sports Park, yet fans were left disappointed as LA Galaxy lost to Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3. 

LA Galaxy then finished in 5th place on Decision Day after a 4-2 loss in Houston, Texas on October 6th. Zlatan Ibrahimovic didn’t get the golden boot and the team failed to get home advantage for their first playoff game in two seasons. 

The extreme heat and humidity in Houston were definitely a factor. Water breaks were given. The Galaxy’s backline didn’t do its job to even when the team was up 2-1. Zlatan couldn’t finish in front of net. In the stands, fans were nearly suffering from heat stroke.  It was a very familiar feeling to last season and one to be forgotten.

Fans stood in sweltering heat and humidity to cheer on LA Galaxy for 90+ minutes

The team is now headed to Minnesota and contrasting weather conditions; it had already snowed some, the forecast predicts rain, and temperatures have dipped to the 40s at Allianz Field. Kickoff is scheduled for October 20 at 5:30PM PST. 

Rapper MURS collaborated with LA Galaxy to hype up fans as the journey for the sixth championship begins

LA Galaxy have set many records in the league. Final numbers on 2019 MLS attendance had more LAG supporters travel this year than any other club, with a league high of 27,118. 

The new MLS playoff format begins with single game eliminations. If LA Galaxy advance, the bracket still gives them a chance of hosting the Western Conference Final or MLS Cup. 

Efrain Alvarez had been called up to the Mexico National Team for the U-17 World Cup, so LA Galaxy need to make it to MLS Cup final on November 10th for him to be back on the field, otherwise, this ends his season.  

Boca Juniors loan, Cristian Pavon, has made quite the impact and can service the ball to feed the lion in ways that still don’t reflect statistically since he joined late in the season. His presence on the field really has made all the difference to fans and to the LA Galaxy’s attack with assists and three goals of his own. 

Romain Alessandrini is expected to be available after being out most of the 2019 season recovering from knee surgery, though another key midfielder Joe Corona is questionable since his toe was injured in Houston.

To further wrap up the regular season, 2019 LA Galaxy Team Awards include Player of the Year to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  Diego Polenta was officially awarded LA Galaxy’s Defender of the Year. Back up Goal Keeper Matt Lampson gets Humanitarian of the Year. 

Additionally, Ibrahimovic had the most sold jersey in MLS. Teammates Alessandrini and Sebastian Lletget were also top sellers.

LA Galaxy has what it takes in the race to seis. Don’t miss history being made and support the Gs at the Dignity Health Sports Park watch party.

Other viewing parties are available. Check below for your area: 

Featured image: LA Galaxy 

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7-2 Blowout Places LA Galaxy Within Playoff Standings

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

LA Galaxy lineup: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Diego Polenta, Dave Romney; Joe Corona, Jonathan dos Santos (Servando Carrasco 87’); Uriel Antuna (Efrain Alvarez 80’), Sebastian Lletget, Cristian Pavon (Chris Pontius 83’); Zlatan Ibrahimović ©.

September 15, 2019 was a big day at Dignity Health Sports Park.  Fans rolled in early around 2pm (7pm kick off) to enjoy Central American Night celebrations,  which included a DJ, cumbia band, pupusas, a photobooth, micheladas, Cachiporras, and more.  (See below for highlights of the festivities.)

At the tailgate, Academia de Futbol Juvenil Amatence (AFJA) was set up in both supporters’ groups, LA RiotSquad and Angel City Brigade, accepting both monetary donations, and new and gently used soccer equipment for kids in Central America. AFJA is a U.S. based non-profit that helps underserved communities in El Salvador, particularly by providing a fully funded youth soccer academy.

It was also Laker Night to celebrate another leading championship team in Los Angeles.  Fans could bid on exclusive co-branded jerseys. The LA Galaxy Foundation auctioned off jerseys with custom Lakers kit numbers.

LA Galaxy was finally playing at home again. After the International break and a loss in Colorado. 

Every game at this point is a must-win, especially with the West being such a tight race. Literally 2 points separate teams from second place and even 11th place isn’t yet mathematically eliminated.

Every Galaxy fan hoped the team would come out to play with passion, but no one could have guessed that LA Galaxy would hammer it the way they did.

Warm ups. Photo Credit Michelle Huitink

But, we fans of the blue, white, and gold are scarred from the previous season(s) and held our breath until we were up 5 goals.

LA Galaxy paced themselves to beat a Sporting Kansas City side that came out hot. SKC had their playoff chances snuffed out by a final score of 7-2. See highlights from the evening below including festivities and all seven goals:

Despite MLS referees’ decisions not being in the Galaxy’s favor, the home team broke through the opposition. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick, and with his 26th goal broke Carlos Ruiz’s 2002 club record for leading goal scorer in an MLS regular season. 

Joe Corona’s header was the second of the night and was his first goal with the club.

Uriel Antuna scored in the 69’ which made him the second top goal scorer, currently for the club with 4 goals.  

Sebastian Lletget got a brace, scoring back to back goals.  He’d been having a rough season and seemed to be in a bit of a slump, but this was just what was needed to regain his confidence. 

As I type this on Thursday September 19th, the majority of the games in the Western Conference have resulted in the Galaxy’s favor to keep them within playoff standings. It’s up to LA Galaxy to solidify their place on the table. The five-time championship franchise seems to be well on its way now. 

Final look at the pitch on September 15, 2019. Game over, but it’s not over for LA Galaxy.

There will have to be a starting line up change as Rolf Feltscher will be suspended for the next match due to yellow card accumulation. Corona and Romney found themselves back in the starting XI. It looks like this 2019 team finally has depth, too.

Key LA Galaxy pieces come together again at home, this time against Montreal Impact on Saturday, September 21st at 7:30pm PST. Watch on Spectrum SportsNet.  

Featured image: LA Galaxy

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LA Galaxy Rivalry Round-Up and Aftermath

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Friday, July 19: 3-2 win

Saturday, July 27: 4-0 loss

Rivalry week started rough and made LA Galaxy fans nervous to face Los Angeles Football Club after losing to San Jose Earthquakes at home on June 29th. But, that game was soon to be forgotten.

On July 19, LA Galaxy were down early after LAFC’s Carlos Vela scored a penalty. Then Blue, White, and Gold roared to life with a Zlatan hat trick. The team played with the passion and urgency that fans had called for. The energy at the stadium was loud and intense.  LA Galaxy ended up winning 3-2.

Critics say LA Galaxy shouldn’t rely on a single player, namely Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but that day all of the Galaxy players worked well together to feed the ball to Zlatan and create chances. Even the defense held it together despite Vela scoring a late goal (that should have been called offside and gone to VAR).

The game against LAFC proves that Zlatan works well when the team plays well together.

The same line-up from El Tráfico was used against Portland Timbers, but this time Perry Kitchen and Sebastian Lletget were back from injuries. Efrain Alvarez was also available on the bench. 

Lineups:

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Diego Polenta, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Daniel Steres, Rolf Feltscher; Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 80’), Julian Araujo (Sebastian Lletget 56’), Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona, Favio Alvarez (Efrain Alvarez 69’); Zlatan Ibrahimovic ©.

Substitutions not used: Matt Lampson, Dave Romney, Perry Kitchen, Jorgen Skjelvik.

The Timbers punished the Galaxy for problems that have plagued them for most of this season (and the past two seasons if we’re being completely honest).

After defeating LAFC, fans hoped the Galaxy had made a turning point, but the match at Providence Park, this late in the season, brought to reality fans’ concerns. If Galaxy’s inconsistent play and dropping points continues this team won’t make the playoffs again this year. 

Fans are looking to head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto for answers and are holding him accountable. But, not much responsibility has really been taken and there aren’t any solid solutions in sight. 

Rumors that Cristian Pavón would join during transfer week and save the Galaxy have been dispelled. One man cannot and should not carry the team. We see that when they rely too much on Zlatan. The tactic of feeding the lion only worked against LAFC because the entire team came out with a fighting heart and spirit. 

But, again, they’re inconsistent. There are times when it looks like the defense doesn’t want to play. An attacking midfield would be highly essential to Galaxy living up to their potential and success. Jonathan Dos Santos did not play well on Saturday, but he is the strongest in the midfield. Though understandably frustrated, it’s no excuse and not a good look when the captain and co-captain don’t stay to talk to the media.  It begs the question: Who is leading this team?

David Bingham came up with major saves once again and kept the Galaxy in the game most of the time. But, he’s one man and has his limits, often getting scored on by rebounds. That night in Rose City, it was the defense and midfield that could be blamed for the loss.

This game against Portland saw the Galaxy losing possession and being taken advantage of on counter attacks. 

Turf is no excuse. The next matches are in Atlanta and Seattle, both of which are turf stadiums. The Galaxy will have to adjust. 

Lack of bench depth and players not being on their A-game also contributed to the Gs’ struggle.  Lletget hasn’t had a good game in a while, so why wasn’t Perry Kitchen the sub of choice? 

The Galaxy were outplayed, which wasn’t the case against San Jose, per se. It was a physical match that seemed to become a competition for which side could get more yellow cards. 

Ibrahimovic, Diego Polenta, and Efrain Alvarez will all be suspended for the next match – Polenta and E. Alvarez due to being issued red cards, Ibrahimovic due to yellow card accumulation.

LA Galaxy sit in third place in the western conference.  They have their moments when they play as well on the pitch as they look on paper. It doesn’t matter how capable the team is if they don’t deliver though. 

They’re on the road to face Atlanta United on August 3 and then D.C. United on August 11th. Their next home match is August 14 against FC Dallas. 

With this season already runs a tight schedule, the Galaxy lost in their second round of Open Cup to Portland, but managed to move on to semi finals in the Leagues Cup and are the only MLS team still in. They’re set to face Cruz Azul on August 20th at Dignity Health Sports Park.  Then 5 days later, they have to be ready to face LAFC again.

Featured image: LA Galaxy Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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L.A. Galaxy’s ‘Mate Behind the Muscles’

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

There’s a large number of people in the background working to help the L.A. Galaxy be the best team in the league. Those people have jobs ranging from dietitians to equipment managers to technical director. I had the opportunity to get a peek into the career of the Galaxy’s Australian Ace-up-the-sleeve, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam “Adds” Waterson.

Waterson2

Debbie Haar: Tell me about your career with the NSW (New South Wales) Police Force.

Adam Waterson: I started as a strength and conditioning coach with Sydney Football Club in the A-League in 2005. I then worked with various football teams in Australia before opting for a break from football and took up a great role as lead S&C coach for the NSW Police Force. I was there for approximately 2 years before I returned to football and a role with LA Galaxy.

DH: What’s your favorite part of your job?

AW: I really enjoy coaching the players and helping them develop their physical capabilities to perform at the highest level they possibly can. Seeing all their hard work on the training pitch and gym pay off with good performances in the games is really rewarding.

Waterson7

DH: How long have you been in LA? What’s the best part of living in LA?

AW: Coming on 2 years in LA. The weather is great, South Bay is great, the amount of sports on TV is brilliant.

DH: Does everyone comment on your accent?

AW: Yes, some enjoy it and request me to repeat myself where others take the piss out of it (translation: To mock or make fun of). I like the banter.

DH: Which player can mimic your accent the best?

AW: They are all terrible. Dave Romney tries hard though. Matt Lampson has a terrific South African impersonation.

Waterson5

DH: There are players from many different countries who speak many different languages. How do you work through language barriers?

AW: The great thing is most speak very good English, those that don’t I try some very basic Spanglish or get one of the boys to translate. Generally, football has its own language through movements, so it’s not too bad.

DH: Do you do all the drills with the players?

AW: I coach a lot of the drills at the start of the training session, then in rehab/gym sessions I tend to observe and correct form and communicate with the players during the drills rather than join myself.

Waterson9
Photos courtesy of Adam Waterson

DH: Do you give the players pep talks?

AW: Ha ha, sometimes the players do require a little pep talk which I’m happy to do, but most of them are pretty self-motivated to train hard when we do.

DH: Tell me something interesting that happens during daily training sessions that might surprise people.

AW: Every session every player is monitored through GPS and heart rate so we can track their physical output each day.

DH: Do you travel with the team?

AW: Yes, I travel to every away game.

DH: When you are traveling what’s one thing you don’t leave home without?

AW: My pillow, hotel pillows are always too soft!

Waterson3

DH: Is there a specific drill the players hate to do more than others?

AW: Any isolated running drill in season is frowned upon but they know it’s required.

DH: What the hardest part of your job?

AW: The hardest part is the time away from home due to the regular travel and congested schedule. We work most weekends and public holidays so you tend to miss out on a lot of parties, weddings, etc.

DH: What’s a phrase you say a lot at work?

AW: Grab some water, have a stretch, weight of pass, timing of run, more intensity boys lets go. They take the piss out of my accent on most.

Waterson6

DH: What’s one of your stand out memories with the team?

AW: The 4-3 come from behind win against LAFC the first time we played them. It was Zlatan’s first game and he scored a golazo.

DH: Do you have a pet?

AW: No, I can’t wait for the day I live in a house with a yard so I can buy a German Shepherd.

DH: What is your guilty pleasure?

AW: Probably too many slices of pizza after games is my biggest one right now.

DH: What’s your favorite thing to eat and drink?

AW: Butter chicken and when I’m out I enjoy a bourbon and soda water.

DH: Last and most important question? Does pineapple belong on pizza?

AW: Yes, it has a place I believe.

Waterson played an integral part of helping the Western Sydney Wanderers win the 2014 AFC Champions League. With his knowledge and expertise on board, the L.A. Galaxy has the foundation needed to go after their next MLS Cup. Next time you are watching a game keep in mind the people behind the scenes like Adam Waterson who spend their days making the Galaxy players the best they can be.

Featured and other images: @LAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

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Clasico Calamity For LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

The LA Galaxy took on the San Jose Earthquakes in front of 50,850 at Stanford Stadium in the first of this season’s California Clásico  games on Saturday, June 29. The Clásico is notorious for last-minute action and this game was no different.

The Galaxy was missing five key players, leaving the team on the back foot before the game even began. Romain Alessandrini is still out recovering from his April meniscus root surgery. Uriel Antuna, Jonathan dos Santos, Rolf Feltscher and Giancarlo Gonzalez were all unavailable due to being called up to their national teams so the Galaxy with few options on the bench.

LA struggled to find their rhythm from the very beginning of the game. Eleven minutes in, San Jose dealt their first blow when Vako sent in a ball from outside of the box that was just too fast for David Bingham to react to. Vako has been hot recently, scoring 6 goals in the last 4 games.

In the 38th minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic passed the ball to Dave Romney for a failed shot on goal. Ibrahimovic appeared slow and uninterested on the field and was not effective on either end which contributed to the chaos and inability for the Galaxy to make anything happen.

Throughout the game the Galaxy’s midfield was overrun and outplayed, spotlighting just how much Jonathon Dos Santos was missed. Efrain Alvarez came in for an injured Sebastian Lletget at halftime, but the midfield chaos continued for the Galaxy.

It’s tradition to wait until the end of the game for all the excitement to surface in a California Clásico and this one did not disappoint. In the 82nd minute, Shea Salinas doubled San Jose’s lead with a shot from the right side of the box that made it into the bottom left corner of the goal.

Just three minutes later the Earthquakes struck again when Salinas set up Tommy Thompson for a shot that deflected off of Perry Kitchen resulting in a goal. Although David Bingham made five saves during the course of the game, it just wasn’t enough.

This win was not only important for the Quakes due to the satisfaction of beating an interstate rival; this win also helps them continue to advance up the Western Conference table after finding themselves in a playoff position earlier this week.

Next up for the L.A. Galaxy is an Independence Day home game against Toronto FC at 7:30 PST.

Featured image: Noel Danseco // IG @drive_x_strike

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

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The Dark Horse of Los Dos

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

In a tiny authentic Mexican restaurant in Hermosa Beach I sat down with Abraham Romero, goalkeeper for L.A. Galaxy II, and talked over enchiladas and french toast. He engaged in polite conversation in Spanish with the restaurant staff and rerouted the conversation when our server asked if he was a professional athlete. Romero, who is 6’2″,  has been described by Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese as “a hard-working kid that has a big presence and is very fast for a big guy”. I sat down to find out more about who Romero is.

Debbie Haar: Off the soccer field, what is something you are really good at?

Abraham Romero: I’m a decent bowler, I can play ping pong but I’m bad at pool.

DH: What were you like as a child?

AR: I was a fat baby!! (laughs) I was 10 pounds when I was born. I was a cry baby when I was little but I was raised in a very loving household.

DH: When you are traveling, what is something you can’t live without?

AR: My phone charger and I have this little teddy bear dressed in a bomber jacket and goggles I got in France. I don’t know why but he’s my sidekick.

DH: Does pineapple belong on pizza?

AR: oh no! (shakes head)

DH: Tell me something else food related you don’t like.

AR: butter!

DH: Do you play video games?

AR: no, don’t play them. I don’t enjoy them. I like reading?

DH: What’s your favorite book?

AR: I like Brida. I have a quote from that book tattooed on my ribs.

DH: So what is a typical Saturday night for you? What are you doing after this interview?

AR: I might meet up with some friends or stay home and drink some tea. Just depends.

DH: Do you have any pets?

AR: (smiles big) I have two pit bulls, Bubba is a big blue nose and Hope is brown. He tells on her when she is doing something bad. He barks at her.

DH: Tell me something most people don’t know about you.

AR: I take a nap every day.

Romero Image 1

DH: What would you say is your spirit animal?

AR: I’d say a king penguin, awkward and elegant. Or the turtle in Finding Nemo! Fin! Noggin!

DH: What is the best advice you’ve received during your soccer career?

AR: I remember Marco Garces, the Director at Pachuca, telling me that I am not as good as I think I am, I need to just work to get better.

DH: What are your bad habits?

AR: (laughs) I do not pick up my clothes. I just drop them where ever.

DH: Who picks them up?

AR: My Mom, I live at home with my family.

DH: What household chore do you hate the most?

AR: I will mop floors, take out the trash, wash clothes but I HATE doing the dishes.

DH: What is something your mom cooks that you love?

AR: She makes this pasta with tomato sauce…

DH: Is it like spaghetti?

AR: Ya, it’s a lot like spaghetti. Chili Relleno or she makes this squash with meat and cheese that’s really good.

DH: Has there been a person who has mentored you, really invested in you?

AR: My Dad first and foremost. Other than him is my goalkeeper coach Ruben Messina. I started training with him when I was 8 and I still train with him now. He built me. The first time I trained with him was terrible! I didn’t want to go back, (laughs) but he has made me an overall decent goalkeeper in all areas.

DH: What’s one of your goals in life that’s not soccer related?

AR: Write a book, a romance.

DH: What’s your favorite movie?

AR: The Godfather. I wear a ring with a Godfather quote, “You can do anything. But never go against the family.”

Bill Reno of Everybody Soccer had this to say about Romero when asked who he sees as the young front-runner who could supplant the old guard.

Some dark horse candidates could be Abraham Romero, who is a very good Mexican-American goalkeeper”

If you get a chance to watch Romero play you’ll see a promising young talent with a passion and determination for the game. What you may not notice is his wisdom beyond his years and his kind soul.

Featured image: Etzel Espinosa

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

LA Galaxy 2-0 Win Over SKC First Since 2007

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

LA Galaxy: David Bingham; Dave Romney, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik; Sebastian Lletget (Chris Pontius 88’), Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos; Favio Alvarez (Joe Corona 72’); Zlatan Ibrahimović ©, Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 90’+1’).

A day after a major tornado skirted the stadium, Sporting Kansas City hosted your Los Angeles Galaxy.

LAG was diverted to St. Louis en route to Kansas City due to thunderstorms and a major tornado that had dropped debris at the international airport. The players didn’t use the unusual travel conditions as an excuse. They ended up with a 2-0 win, breaking a 12 year streak of not winning when away at SKC.  The game didn’t initially look to be going that way though.

Last look at the scoreboard . Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Both teams came out wearing Pride shirts, then LA Galaxy kicked off in night navy. Back in the line-up were Perry Kitchen, Dave Romney, and Jorgen Skjelvik. Zlatan Ibrahimovic also returned after serving a 2- game suspension. Corona took the bench, but offensive sparks included Pontius, Emil Cuello, and Ema Boateng.

Sunset at halftime at Children’s Mercy Park. It was a personal goal to check visiting this stadium off my list. It was a treat to be able to travel here. The fans really create a passionate atmosphere all their own. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

The first half started slow; both teams looked evenly matched. The Galaxy seemed to lack confidence and were unable to connect to finish goals. Sporting gave their opponents a run for their money.

In the 25th minute, Romney nearly headed in a goal off a 4th corner kick from Lletget, but it was stopped by Melia and cleared by SKC’s defense.

In the 37th minute, Zlatan took on three defenders to get the ball to Antuna, who just couldn’t get on it to score.

The stats read in favor of Sporting KC.

The second half started with Russell threatening the Galaxy. There were corner kicks aplenty, but by the 53rd minute the match was still level.

Finally, Favio Alvarez broke through in the 56th minute with a header, making his first goal with the LA Galaxy.  

The G’s were not satisfied with only being up one goal. The strategy was to wear out SKC and it worked. In the 69th minute,  Ibrahimovic went one on one against Melia who denied him and kept the lion hungry.

Zlatan finally got his goal in the 86th minute.

Besides #9, Kitchen was essential to getting the numbers on the scoreboard. With Rolf Feltscher and Diego Polenta out on injuries and Araujo called up to the US U-20’s World Cup in Poland, Kitchen was back playing defensive midfield and seemed to be everywhere, actually creating chances and defending. 

Bingham came up with big saves again to keep the clean sheet. He had help from Steres In the 16th minute, who made a last-second block on a shot from Rowe.

Overall, the Galaxy looked good and got their second away win in a row.

I had the opportunity to interview a few of the players and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto post-match.

Zlatan, on his chemistry with Alvarez and Antuna: “It was good. We played with two strikers in the first half and we created good chances. I think we should have scored one or two goals. In the second half we changed the system again and it helped because we could close the spaces more because Kansas plays good football. They have a good system. You need to have patience against them and then punish them when you steal the ball or they make a mistake.”

It seems the Galaxy are really getting ahold of the formation and utilizing individual talents to connect as a team.

They just had four losses a couple of games ago and while no one really wants to look back, the Galaxy are seen as champions and leaders of the league, so when they’re not performing as such and still have the shadow of the 2017-2018 seasons hanging over them, I really wanted to know how the Galaxy dealt with criticism to make it proactive for them as a team and individually.

Skjelvik on how he handles criticism: “There’s always going to be people criticizing you and criticizing the team, as well. We had a bad stretch where we lost a lot of games. Of course, people have opinions. That’s good – it shows that people care about the team. We just use that as motivation for the next games. Now we’ve turned things around so that’s good.”

Lletget on criticism from fans: “I think we have some guys, including myself, that have really sort of experienced it. You get criticized as a team, especially with the four losses in a row. A club of this stature is obviously not used to that and the fans are not used to that. It’s something that I think we managed well. We got together. We didn’t crumble. More than anything, we should be proud of ourselves from that standpoint. We move on now and I think we’ve turned the table.”

Zlatan gave a classic response on how he deals with criticism: “Criticism is everywhere. I like it. I eat it for breakfast… and then for lunch.”

This game is psychological and I want to see the team in top form all around. It’s good to see their passion for the game fueled. This win moves the Galaxy up to second place in the Western Conference for now. It definitely helped boost their confidence for the next match, which is at home and will be the Galaxy’s turn to host Pride Night against the New England Revolution.

Schelotto: “We will keep working and trying to get better every day and to get another three points on Sunday in LA.”

Featured image: Perry Kitchen on Instagram @perrykitchen23

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LA Galaxy Still a Work In Progress a Quarter into the 2019 MLS Season

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

As an educator, we are trained to give feedback, so applying that to the Los Angeles Galaxy progress so far, I have to say it’s “difficult to assess.”

The same problems still plague the team. They concede goals after allowing teams to slip by the usual holes in the defense.

As if losing at home 2-0 to NYCFC wasn’t already a stab wound, they lost again at home 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids, the worst team in the league.

Gameday Program May 11th against NYCFC

But, the Galaxy’s problems til now had been covered up by wins.

All 4 of these losses were winnable games. The first 2 were away against New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew respectfully; teams that weren’t particularly challenging, but it was like the Galaxy struggled with itself.  The fortress is breached once again and fans are more frustrated than the players. Still, hold off on pressing that panic switch.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not the reason LA didn’t win. It’s true that he’s overly relied on and he delivers goals, but we’ve seen this team be able to pull it off without him. And they did against Orlando City SC on May 24th.

The Lion was out on suspension for 2 matches, his frustrations and poor sportsmanship getting the better of him when he grabbed NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson by the neck on May 11th. Fans really thought the team would be given a chance to step up their game. Instead, we saw the same strategy of poor crossing and ineffectiveness to finish goals against Colorado.

LA Galaxy building momentum in the first half against Colorado Rapids on May 19th

For some, it’s easier to focus on what went wrong, especially as the problems don’t get rectified and cost games. There’s lack of communication and creativity in the team’s play. They often look lost with what to do with the ball. Others are ready to leave these games in the past and move on to the next one.  

The Galaxy finally broke its losing streak with the win against Orlando FC. But, it’s hard to tell how well the team actually did since Orlando is not a very good team.

LA Galaxy’s roster looks pretty good and is packed with talent. Restructuring takes getting used to, especially with the backline which has seen the most changes. The team needs time to stabilize. It appears Guillermo Barros Schelotto is thinking long term with the depth he’s building, especially for ability to rotate the squad.  The head coach has to be held accountable when the team’s formation isn’t conducive to attacking or when offensive play is predictable and without tactical direction.

We are a quarter of the way through the 2019 MLS season so, while they are figuring it out, the team needs patience and support from fans.

There are players besides Zlatan that are key to the Galaxy finding further success.

The blue, white, and yellow was able to hang on 1-0 this last match thanks to Gonzalez, Jonathan Dos Santos, and Bingham.

When J. Dos Santos was out on precautionary injury against NYCFC, he was sorely missed on the field and it was clear that he had been the one carrying the team. Zlatan was present, but he’s not a playmaker. It seemed without Jona, no one could create chances.

Against Orlando, Jona scored with a rocket shot. It was refreshing to see the Galaxy play with urgency, but tackles were just too hard and careless. JDS gave up a penalty which, luckily, David Bingham managed to save.

Jonathan Dos Santos scores a banger against Orlando City SC

David Bingham came up big with saves that night in Orlando City and as he has for most of the 2019 season.

Giancarlo Gonzalez has been phenomenal. He’s gotten three starts in a row and wins contested balls. Check out this flip save against Colorado that shows his ability to emergency-defend:

He paired with Daniel Steres, who is fighting to keep his spot in the backline, and their defending against Orlando was unwavering.

Favio Alvarez provided a boost by getting into good spots and brought some dangerous looks to the team.

Joe Corona and Uriel Antuna really hustle on the pitch. Efrain Alvarez is a game changer and makes all the difference as soon as he steps onto the pitch, creating chances and taking shots himself. Chris Pontius is a spark on the bench and has just been unlucky not to score, instead ricocheting off the post against Orlando.

Diedie Traore is promising. Julian Araujo, Rolf Feltscher, and Diego Polenta all put in the work.

Emil Cuello is still a rookie, so the only way for him to learn is to give him minutes. Ema Boateng really shouldn’t be in the starting line up or be crossed to, but he makes the effort. Sebastian Lletget just hasn’t been playing well and often passes when he should be taking shots.

LA Galaxy play away in Kansas City this Wednesday, May 29th. Sporting, despite being plagued by injuries, is coming off a win against second place Seattle Sounders. The G’s are going to have Zlatan back, but it’s going to take more than that to beat SKC.

The next match at home at Dignity Health Sports Park is before the international break on June 2nd against New England Revolution. The Revs have a new coach: Bruce Arena.

We’ve got quite the challenge ahead, including many Galaxy players who will be busy with international duty, so every available man on this roster is going to have to really step it up.

Featured image: LA Galaxy on Twitter

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LA Galaxy Undefeated for 7 Consecutive games with 2-1 win Against Real Salt Lake

Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher (Giancarlo Gonzalez 88’), Diego Polenta, Daniel Steres, Diedie Traore; Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Joe Corona (Servando Carrasco 84’); Chris Pontius, Zlatan Ibrahimović ©, Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 73’).

Substitutions not used: Matt Lampson, Jorgen Skjelvik, Juninho, Emil Cuello.

After many chances, Jorgen Skjelvik was finally taken out of the line up and replaced with DieDie Traore, who made his first MLS start, and he was terrific. It will be great to see him against a tougher team to really tell just how good he is.

Entrance . Photo Credit Michelle Huitink

The Los Angeles Galaxy won by an unconvincing 2-1. They’re playing like their own worst enemy based on the game against Real Salt Lake on Sunday April 28.

For the second home game in a row, the team has been late returning to the pitch after half time.

Zlatan Ibrahimović doesn’t seem to make any effort to control his frustrations and even got out of hand.  The trash talk happened between opponents, but he shown a yellow card for dragging Nedum Onuoha to the ground by his neck on an off-ball incident in the 60th minute.

Ibrahimović is the captain and he should be setting an example, especially as the current “face of MLS.” It’s no secret he has an ego and is intimidating. He did attempt to apologize, but it was not accepted. His experience as a captain seemed helpful to Efrain Alvarez, who we haven’t seen since he’s now on the bench for the Mexican National U-17. Team

There’s so much talent! At this point, it has to be psychological. The team has lost key teammates due to injury, the hardest blow being Romain Alessandrini’s knee injury.

At least the strategy wasn’t just to pass to Zlatan this time, but once they did have the ball, it looked like the Galaxy didn’t know what to do. The first half was full of pretty passes and nice footwork. Antuna scored his first senior team goal in the 16′.

Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto has done a good job in keeping the LA Galaxy undefeated at home. However, his decisions and strategies are still being questioned since the Galaxy can barely keep it together. Why hasn’t he played Giancarlo González?

The midfield is the best part of the team, yet they’re looking at another possible midfielder. A new deal is expected to be done by the Transfer Window closing on May 7.

Jonathan Dos Santos takes a corner kick in the first half. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Goalkeeper David Bingham has also been playing his best to keep the Galaxy on the winning streak. He made six saves this match!

Donny Toia leveled the game with a goal that could be seen coming in the 64′ after the Galaxy lost possession and control of the game.

The Lion saved the Galaxy once again with a goal in the 78′, his 8th of the season, on an assist from Sebastian Lletget.

We’ll have to see how the Galaxy perform against more challenging teams. The next few matches are very winnable or draws at least, if they start communicating better, delivering better crosses and passes, and finish goals. Stronger teams are going to take advantage of their weaknesses, especially if the team keeps coming apart at the seams like they have been in the second half.

The Galaxy’s next test is on the East Coast against the New York Redbulls, Saturday May 4.

Featured image: LA Galaxy on Instagram

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