Tag Archives: LA Galaxy

Coffee​ with Tomas Hilliard-Arce of the LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy Key Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

Watching Tomas Hilliard-Arce walk into an L.A. Starbucks, you’d think he was any average 20 something college student grabbing a cup of coffee before class. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The 23-year-old center back, a twice PAC-12 defensive player of the year, lead his team at Stanford to three consecutive NCAA National Championships. He was then picked up by the L.A. Galaxy as the second pick of the first round in 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

Debbie Haar: Are you ready to do this?

Tomas Hilliard-Arce: Let’s do it.

DH: The day after you were picked up by the Galaxy in the SuperDraft, what was going through your mind?

THA: I was scared. It was overwhelming. I’m confident in myself, but I just went from somewhere where I knew how to control the situation in college to where I’m at the bottom of the totem pole. There were a lot of stars on the team who probably wouldn’t respect someone coming right out of college, so I had everything to prove. I was fortunate to come into a situation where I had 30 automatic friends and a club that cares about me.

DH: Do you have any pregame rituals?

THA: The team manager would give me smelling salts, then I would just hit him as hard as I could, like a chest bump or I’d smack myself in the head and get myself completely fired up. Makes me feel like if someone else were to hit me, I’m ready for it.

DH: What is your family like?

THA: We are very competitive. My Dad has set a very high standard so I’ve always feared failure.

DH: Did you fight with your sisters growing up?

THA: I started soccer late, like 11-12. My older sister and I were in karate growing up and she used to physically dominate me.

DH: Was there that pivotal moment when the tides turned?

THA: She just channeled her dominance into being emotionally abusive. (laughs)

DH: Are you a dog or a cat person?

THA: I really wanted a dog. My Dad said I had to train myself to be responsible, so I had to get a fish and keep it alive for 6 months first. (laughing) We used to leave and go on road trips and there was no one to feed it. I would just dump an unbelievable amount of food in there. It didn’t even make it 3 months.

Tomas-Hilliard-Arce,-Stanford
       Tomas Hilliard Ace playing for Stanford during the 2017 College Cup. Image: Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

DH: I’ve seen you talk about faith, do you think your faith impacts you on the soccer field?

THA: My big moment of finding faith was on the field, so I feel like that is the place where it comes out the most. I’ve been able to play for those in my family who have passed away or gotten sick and I get a lot of strength from them. This year I was looking for something to really play for and put my heart on the field for. My 44-year-old cousin who lives in Costa Rica, who is just an amazing person, recently died unexpectedly a couple days after our vacation there ended. I was with her the day before we left, and being a pro soccer player here in the USA might not mean anything, but there it’s everything. My mom called me the day after the funeral and said I was my cousin’s hero, so I need to play for her this season. I have so many people supporting me, the least I can do is give them my all.

DH: What household chore do you hate to do?

THA: My mom is Latina and my Dad is American. My mom is a stay at home mom and loved to baby us kids. I was the only son, so she super babied me. Now that I live alone, I am really, really bad at laundry. It costs $3 in quarters and I feel bad going to the cashiers and asking for all their quarters. Plus, it always comes out wrinkly.

DH: Do you play video games?

THA: I am a video game guy! Right now I’m all Fortnite. A lot of my friends are professional soccer players so we get home at 1pm. What are you going to do all day?

DH: I see other players on the Galaxy playing [Fortnite], like David Bingham.

THA: I play [Fortnite] with him, he’s a fun guy to play with. He’s super competitive on the field and at video games.

DH: Do you have a favorite TV show?

THA: I’m pretty religious about The Bachelor.

DH: Do you have a favorite movie?

THA: I’m a big RomCom guy. I’m supposed to be a big tough center back so I can’t say The Notebook, but it’s such a good movie. I’m a big Rachel McAdams fan. I’m a hopeless romantic.

DH: Toilet paper roll, over or under?

THA: I live in a little apartment with another guy who plays soccer and we have the most male apartment ever. We don’t have any essentials. We don’t have scissors or anything sharper than a butter knife. We don’t even have a toilet paper dispenser thing.

DH: Tell me something you are bad at?

THA: Cooking! I never cook. Most of the time when they give us lunch at the facilities I take a bunch of to-go boxes and eat it for dinner.

DH: Do they tease you about that?

THA: Oh for sure! They say learn how to cook or stop looking like a homeless dude when you’re leaving.

DH: Tell me about a time in your life when you were being tested or challenged.

THA: To make it to pro soccer you have to have been “the man” on the team you came from and to get here and be competing with 30 other men is challenging. I realized I was a college player and now a rookie, and pretty much the youngest out there. You can either get frustrated with it or create a lesson learned from it. I remember sometimes when I felt like I deserved something, and it wasn’t given to me, I was on the verge of anger or frustration or even tears because I felt helpless, I had done everything I could but I still wasn’t getting what I wanted. That’s part of being a professional, putting the last play behind you and moving on. This year when I face those things I’ll be prepared.

usa_today_10978457.0.jpg
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

DH: What’s a phrase you say a lot?

THA: I say this in just the weirdest situations. I like to say “let the kids play!”. It started in college when the players who didn’t play much, on the days after games, would be so excited to play. Coming into last season when I wasn’t playing much, I always just wanted to get out there and play, and have fun, and show what I can do. So I’d say, “let the kids play.” Now I say it in any situation. If there’s a really good lunch buffet they’ve given us, “let the kids play!” (laughing) Doesn’t really make sense.

DH: Do you have huge goals you want to achieve?

THA: Actually I don’t with soccer. When I got recruited for soccer, Stanford wasn’t very good, they were ranked like 100th in the nation. I went to this prestigious private high school where people looked down on me for either my intelligence or my dedication to soccer. Then when I got into a very good school because of [soccer], I thought that was the end of it. I’ll go to Stanford, get a degree and a good job and show those people. Playing pro soccer is like the icing on the cake. My goal is to continue to prove people wrong. After my first year in pro soccer, I now have doubters. People have said I can’t do something, now I can prove to them that I can. I think I’ve always just wanted to be a really good dad. I want to push my kids to exhaustion. My kids have no choice, they have to play soccer.

DH: What if they are derpy and uncoordinated?

THA: I will force that out of them through exercise! (both laughing)

DH: You do well under pressure, clearly, you play professional soccer.

THA: My first game I started playing in front of 30,000 people was my best game ever because of the pressure. I like being the guy at the front of the sled and helping push it along. Even now being one of the younger people on the team I try to be a leader.

DH: What is the best gift you’ve ever been given, like a birthday or Christmas gift?

THA: My parents don’t give birthday or Christmas gifts. I feel like my parents love me so much and don’t get me presents. When someone does I’m like, “holy crap you love me.” My ex-girlfriend did that. I’ve only been in one relationship. She did so much, it wasn’t even a [specific] gift, it was her heart, every day.

DH: That’s so cute. :gives sappy look: (both start laughing)

I’m excited to see how Tomas brings his competitive personality and drive to the field. The Galaxy had a rough season defensively last year and I’ll be watching Hilliard-Arce to see how he can contribute to the back line.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

A Candid Conversation with Uriel Antuna

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

After much anticipation, the L.A. Galaxy announced on January 29, 2019, a one-year loan deal with Manchester City for 21-year old Mexican International midfielder Uriel Antuna. Antuna signed a four-year contract with Manchester City in 2017, spending last season on loan with FC Groningen in the Netherlands. In November 2018, he was called up for the senior Mexican National Team for friendlies against Belgium and Poland but saw no play time.

I was lucky enough to sit down and talk to him just a few hours after his loan deal was officially announced by the Galaxy.

Debbie Haar: Welcome to L.A. How’s it feel to be here and with the Galaxy?

Uriel Antuna: Good. It’s very exciting.

DH: How have the practices been?

UA: Hard, but it needs to be that way. I’m used to them now.

DH: So, when did you start playing soccer?

UA: Probably age 3. My Dad loves futbol.

DH: What kind of kid were you?

UA: I talked a lot to my Mom. Sometimes I was a little crazy.

DH: What’s your Mom like?

UA: (big smile) She is crazy! (laughs) She used to bang on the drums in the stands during my games.

DH: Would you like if we said hi to your Mom in this article?

UA: Yes! (Hi Bertha, you did a good job Mom!)

DH: Do you get recognized in public?

UA: I did in the Netherlands.

DH: Did it feel like an invasion of privacy?

UA: No! I love the fans.

DH: Do you get homesick?

UA: I miss my family – this is futbol life.

DH: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

UA: I have two younger brothers age 16 and 12. My brother Kevin plays in Mexico.

DH: We heard about your Mom, what is your Dad like? What does he do?

UA: He is very proud and supportive. He delivers chips to stores for a living.

DH: If you weren’t a soccer player what career would you pursue?

UA: I don’t know, I always wanted to play soccer. I’d like to study. I’m good at math. You show me once and I know it.

DH: Are you superstitious or have any pregame rituals?

UA: I used to. I put my left sock on, then my right sock. Then my left shoe, then my right. But I stopped that.

DH: What’s your favorite thing to eat?

UA: I eat a lot! I like pizza and sushi.

DH: Question. Do you like pineapple on pizza?

UA: Yes.

DH: You’re awesome! On your days off do you wake up early or like to sleep in?

UA: I like to sleep.

DH: Do you drink coffee?

UA: Of course!

DH: What kind of coffee do you like?

UA: Caramel. I love caramel and I don’t like my coffee hot.

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

UA: I gave up soda eight years ago. I only drink water, apple juice or orange juice. Sometimes sparkling water but not too much.

DH: I watched you score a hat trick in the CONCACAF U20 Championship game, you did some very impressive gymnastics after. Where did you learn to do flips like that?

UA: (laughs) I learned on my bed, then just started doing them on the field.

DH: Do you play video games?

UA: Of course! PlayStation, Call of Duty.

DH: What has been your achievement when it comes to soccer?

UA: Signing with Manchester City.

DH: Does it ever bother you when fans boo or get upset?

UA: No, you get used to it. We don’t want to lose either. I like when fans are fans through the good and bad.

DH: We’re all excited to watch you play. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

UA: Of course.

(Some communication was done via translation app)

L.A. is excited to see you on the field, Uriel. Welcome to the Galaxy.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Spotlight on LA Galaxy player: Matt Lampson

LA Galaxy Key Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

On January 23 the LA Galaxy signed veteran goalkeeper Matt Lampson in the 2nd stage of the re-entry draft. During his seven seasons with MLS, the 29-year-old has played for Columbus Crew SC, Chicago Fire and Minnesota United FC. During his career, he has made 60 appearances, 194 saves and had 16 shutouts. He once admitted as a kid he wanted to be a goalie because he wanted the “cool gloves”. Goal achieved.

Although soccer is a huge part of his life, I wanted to know and share who Matt Lampson is off the soccer field.

Lampson is a two-time winner of MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with cancer patients and survivors, most recently winning again in 2018. After donating blood during his senior year of high school he received the devastating news he had stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. He stated he never once thought about losing his battle with cancer.

We look forward to watching him bring that kind of motivating positivity to the soccer field. He sent out a celebratory tweet on September 24, 2018 stating he has been cancer free for 11 years. He also confessed that there is no doubt in his mind that if he didn’t have cancer he would not be a professional athlete.

In 2014, Matt Lampson founded the LampStrong Foundation, a non-profit with the mission of positively changing the lives of those battling cancer and encouraging survivors and their families to make the most of their second chance at life. After games, you may see him on the field, at both home and away games, with kids who are fighting or survived cancer and their families. Kudos to him for taking the time to inspire and motivate those who need it most.

Who doesn’t like doughnuts? Lampson is no different. The L.A. Galaxy now has it’s own “doughnut snob” and proud owner of an array of doughnut shirts. During an interview last year he took the time to describe the perfect old fashioned doughnut with well thought out phrases such as “texture of a crunch”, “delicately dense” and “velvety smooth on the inside”. He often plans doughnut shop counter takeovers and doughnut tours to raise money for his foundation. Doughnuts are not his only food favorite, he also is a self-proclaimed meat lover.

He has a thing for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He mixed his hobby of art and his fondness of the TMNT and drew impressive pictures of each turtle, painted them, then displayed them proudly on his walls. He has even been known to celebrate with TMNT birthday cakes. At one time he even had a turtle he affectionately called as his precious lil ninja Leonardo.

The fans look forward to seeing Matt Lampson bring his positivity and resilience to the field. Welcome to L.A., we look forward to watching you play!

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s introductory press conference in LA

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

The press conference for Guillermo Barros Schelotto began with kind words about late former head coach Sigi Schmid. The impact he had on soccer in the United States was prevalent, especially after his passing, as many in the industry shared stories about him.

LA Galaxy president, Chris Klein, mentioned how Schmid influenced the sport and the club. Schelotto then added how important Schmid was to him and thanked him for also bringing him to play for the Columbus Crew.  

jerseyschelotto
Head coach Schelotto jersey debut. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

interviewschelotto
Media scrum with Schelotto. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

The LA Galaxy have looked good on paper. Schelotto is no exception. He has many honors and championships with Argentina and in MLS despite being only 45 years old. His experience makes him worthy of the position as head coach.  

He’s dealt with much higher profile players and teams and he’s developed younger players, as well. As a player with the Columbus Crew, the team won the MLS Cup in 2008. The Boca Juniors final was wild. It had been postponed due to a bus attack by fans. That aside, it was Boca’s decision to let him go according to GBS.

laioh_dtk
General Manager Dennis te Kloese. Photo credit: LA is Our House.

The focus is on moving forward, having patience, and doing the work needed to start winning. I was able to ask general manager Dennis te Kloese a couple of questions:

MH: Come opening day, what first impression can fans expect?

DTK: There’s a lot of things that will take a little bit of time. There are [some things] on the roster that need to be figured out, as we saw, and I don’t want to be judgemental because I don’t want to look back. I want to look forward, but there has been an imbalance defensively–with Guillermo coming in, with the experience that he has, in the coming weeks, with an intensive search for some players–that is one of the first priorities that we’re looking at because offensively the team showed a lot of promise last year and will show this year also.

MH: You mentioned wanting to have players ready for the opening of the season.  You believe you’ll have all the pieces that you need defensively by the start of the season before the summer window?

DTK: The construction of the roster in MLS with the rules that are given, that takes a little bit of time. We’ll never put any excuses behind anything here. We’ll just work hard.  We already started, and we’ll do our very very best to be top-class from day one. But it could be that certain pieces could fit in over the summer or a little bit later.

It was only the 3rd of January, but I felt management should already be talking to players for their positions on the roster and also figuring out who they want to have leadership on the pitch. No one wants to look back at the 2018 season, so it’s best to look at this as a fresh start. That said, I go into the 2019 season with cautious optimism.

There are more questions than answers at this point, and the motto for this year seems to be “we’ll see.” I was looking for a sense of urgency in the management to get things together NOW.  Opportunities can present themselves as late as the summer window or after, but fans expect to see results come opening day. Of course, patience is key and options shouldn’t be limited, but this Los Angeles team has a reputation to uphold as kings of MLS and that reputation has been compromised.

There have been many rumors including overseas interest in the Lion and other players. It’s speculated that, due to finances and MLS regulations regarding designated players and international positions, some players will have to be moved. Juninho and Chris Pontius have been welcomed back, but the Galaxy’s midfield is crowded.  The back line is what needs significant improvement, yet they re-signed Servando Carrasco. Schelotto’s style is an offensive one but the Galaxy need to work on defense which he assured they would work on.

In terms of forwards, there doesn’t seem to be a spot for Ola Kamara with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is now confirmed to be staying with the club. Scoring goals wasn’t the Galaxy’s issue last season: it was allowing goals, which is a defensive issue. It’s speculated Kamara could also be traded for his spot. Romain Alessandrini is also a possible option. Gio Dos Santos would be a more favorable move. It hasn’t been announced who will captain the team either.

MLS has released the regular season schedule and it’s much shorter, which means it’s more important than ever for the team to build a roster with depth.

We’ll see soon enough.

Preseason kicks off in February with exhibition games and the Jersey Launch Party. LA Galaxy home games are at Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly known as StubHub Center).

The preseason schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, February 9–LA Galaxy vs Toronto FC at home
  • Saturday, February 16–LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC at OC Great Park
  • Sunday, February 17–Jersey Launch Party at The Novo
  • Saturday, February 23–LA Galaxy vs Colorado Rapids at home

The home opener is set for March 2nd against the Chicago Fire at 5pm PST.

Featured image of LA Galaxy management panel: Michelle Huitink

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

 

 

 

 

LA Galaxy 2018 Season Wrap-Up and Latest News

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Ashley Cole (c); Romain Alessandrini, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng; Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Sheanon Williams, Jorgen Skjelvik, Servando Carrasco, Perry Kitchen, Baggio Husidic, Giovani dos Santos.

The Los Angeles Galaxy just were not meant to make the 2018 playoffs. They had one game to win on October 28th, but the Houston Dynamo spoiled the party.

Although a bad penalty kick call and a few offside calls could also be blamed, this is MLS and this loss falls on the LA Galaxy. It should never have come down to this game and Decision Day.  Sure, that’s the point of this day, but not for a club with a reputation as the winningest team. With the worst 2017 season still haunting LAG, the pressure was on, especially with a star like Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the squad.

This result is no surprise. Earlier in the season, the Galaxy failed to beat and collect more points against lower ranked teams, such as the Colorado Rapids, Minnesota United, and DC United.

Not winning at home just pours salt in the wound.

The Galaxy had many chances right down to the last minute of stoppage time. They just couldn’t finish in front of the net. As a fan, it was a tough game to watch as hope slipped away with the minutes.

The Galaxy were actually up 2 goals in the half, both scored by Ola Kamara.

Watch his goals below:

Final score was 2-3 for Houston.

Two weeks later, I’m still moving through all the stages of grief as if on repeat. As I watched the MLS playoffs from my couch this past weekend, I have to relive the loss. I have to listen as the commentators say how Real Salt Lake had made it in that last slot and were able to compete.  

The fans are already looking forward to the 2019 season.

Latest News

LA still don’t have an official head coach since Sigi Schmid‘s resignation and Dominic Kinnear stepped in.

Pete Vagenas, Vice President of Soccer Operations, was let go on November 6th.  Fans have been calling for Front Office changes and place the Galaxy’s poor performance on them. This is little consolation to fans as he’s low on the club’s hierarchy and this is a step, but it’s not a big indicator of positive changes to come. We’ll have to continue to wait and see.

In better news, Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the MLS award for Newcomer of the Year. He earned the honor for 22 goals scored and 10 assists this season. He made 24 starts and played more than 2100 minutes. This is the first time a Galaxy player has received this award. He was the runner-up for the Golden Boot, which was given to Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez after his 31 goals set the single-season, goal-scoring record. He was also named to MLS Best XI. 

Rumors circulate that Ibrahimovic plans to leave the Galaxy, but at an official press conference on November 7th, he said his primary focus is with the Since ’96 Los Angeles team. As expected, he has some demands, but that is up to the Front Office to meet in order to keep him for sure. See a portion of the interview below:

International Duty

Sebastian Lletget has been included in the roster for two upcoming USMNT friendlies.

Ola Kamara was called-up for Norway’s team for the final in the UEFA Nation’s League final two matches of group play.

That wraps up the 2018 LA Galaxy season. Below are some pics from the October 28th Decision Day match.

IMG_5383
(Left to right) Josh Richardson, Me, Leslie, and Jamie. The good thing about the 2018 season was the friends I made. We are not in this alone. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

IMG_5395
The scoreboard at the end of the game. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

IMG_5403
The field and fans after the game ended. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

IMG_5412
Captain Ashley Cole with his son as he paid his respect to the fans in the LA Riot Squad. He posed for pictures. His future with the LA Galaxy is uncertain. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

Featured image of Michelle cheering at kickoff: Josh Richardson

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

LA Galaxy One Win Away from Clinching Last Playoff Spot

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Ashley Cole (c); Romain Alessandrini, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng; Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Sheanon Williams, Jorgen Skjelvik, Servando Carrasco, Perry Kitchen, Baggio Husidic, Ariel Lassiter.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Photo Credit: Romain Alessandrini official Instagram. Goal scorers right to left: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara, and Alessandrini.

The Los Angeles Galaxy only need to win their next match against the Houston Dynamo Sunday, October 28th to qualify for the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Galaxy won on the road against Minnesota United on October 21st.

The attention and focus have been on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of course. He’s made quite the impact and has really helped to get the Galaxy into a better position. Still, when looking at such a talented and highly paid team, the fact that it comes down to Decision Day reflects the uncertain state of the team.

Last season was very disappointing. Not only had they not qualified, but they were in last place. This season looked bleak and statistically wasn’t much better. Historically, the Galaxy are a team that set high standards for MLS.

Their winning reputation and the idea of StubHub as a fortress has been compromised. Currently, the Galaxy have a temporary coach, Dominic Kinnear. Now, as attributed to Ibrahimovic, the Galaxy’s playoff chances have significantly increased.

On Sunday’s game against the Loons, Ibrahimovic played on artificial turf, which was a feat in itself due to his previous knee condition. But, he played as promised because that’s how focused and important it is to qualify for the playoffs. He was responsible for getting the G’s up when he scored a header in the 30th minute. Then, he assisted Romain Alessandrini’s goal.

He also played a full 90 minutes! Not only was playing on turf a risk, but he was also one yellow card away from suspension. When he wasn’t the first sub and the minutes ticked by, it became clear he would stay on the pitch. It was concerning to see him take injury breaks.

Ola Kamara scored the second goal. But, they also gave up a goal to MNUFC Àngelo Rodriguez in the 53rd minute.

The Galaxy managed to pull off the win in front of 50,000 in attendance. The final score was 3-1.

Watch Galaxy highlights here:

The Dynamo are a beatable team. Their season ends with them most likely staying in 10th place in the west.

The Galaxy are the home team this Sunday and it’s Fan Appreciation DayLAG have everything to play for.

Featured image: @Ibra_official

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

 

LA Galaxy Hanging Onto Playoff Hopes

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Reviewing the past two matches

Saturday, September 29: 3-0 Win

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Ashley Cole ©; Ema Boateng, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos; Romain Alessandrini; Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Servando Carrasco, Perry Kitchen, Baggio Husidic, Ariel Lassiter.

Saturday’s match at StubHub Center kicked off at 7:00pm. The Los Angeles Galaxy played with confidence against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Within a few minutes, the score was 1-0. Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the penalty kick after Romain Alessandrini was taken down in the box on an unnecessary challenge. VAN keeper Stefan Marinovic guessed the right direction, but Ibrahimovic still got the ball past him.

Ibrahimovic scored again in the 58th minute. He made an individual effort, made room for himself, and took a shot at the goal just inside the box.

A second PK was given, this time Alessandrini asked to take it. Showing his leadership, 9 let him. The Galaxy won 3-0.  

Zlatan definitely had his night with a brace and celebrating to the audience. The South side of the stadium was filled with Swedish supporters.

Zlatan congrats Fans
Photo Credit: Jamie Bacon. Ibrahimovic greets fans after the win.

Interim coach Dominic Kinnear should be given credit where and when it is due. His decisions to put Michael Ciani and Jorgen Skjelvik on the bench help. The formations of the players have been pretty basic. The Galaxy made fewer mistakes this match in particular and the players really seem to be connecting well. They’re able to hold the lead even after subs come on.

Still, it’s too soon to say if he’s the sole reason the G’s have been playing better. The away games will give a clearer outlook as the team guns for the playoffs.

 

Saturday, October 6: 1-1 Draw

Cozmito
Beloved Mascot Cozmo watches attentively at the viewing party. Photo credit: Michelle Huitink

I stopped by the viewing party and was able to catch the game before the LA Galaxy II faced Sacramento Republic FC. I had the pleasure of being the guide to Los Angeles for fellow MLSFemale reporter and photographer, Tisha Gale.  She actually was friends with one of the visiting players, Shannon Gomez, whose team ended up defeating mine 2-1. 

It was really wonderful to spend the day with a fellow soccer fan.  She supported me through the roller coaster that was the LA Galaxy vs Sporting Kansas City. I really feel I’ve made a life-long friend in this sisterhood of soccer.

Tisha_MLSFEMALE
Me and Tisha. MLSFemales. Photo credit: Kitisha MacCollum.

The Galaxy’s lineup had to be altered per Rolf Feltscher’s yellow card accumulation suspension. Sheanon Williams took that spot. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a penalty kick in the 25th minute.

The game got heated and players on both sides got physical. The Galaxy held on despite the tough environment of pouring rain and being the away team.  But, in the 83rd minute, SKC’s Johnny Russell leveled it.

The Galaxy had plenty of chances, especially with 6 minutes of stoppage time. It seemed the subs caused the defense to weaken, which can happen. But, this has been the narrative for the Galaxy.

 The Man of the Match performance came from David Bingham, who made at least 8 saves to keep the Galaxy from losing. 

This game ended in a wild 1-1 draw.

LAG haven’t won since 2007 in Missouri, so a draw doesn’t seem so bad. Except, tying this game means the Galaxy now rely on other teams in the west to help them make the playoffs. They’re only one point behind Real Salt Lake for the last seed to qualify.  

The Galaxy had a clean sheet and won their two previous matches.  They definitely look like a better, more confident team at home. This match was an indicator to see how well this team is really jelling. It’s just too bad it seems to be too little too late. There were two points from this match left on the table for sure.

The Galaxy’s last road match of the regular season is Sunday, October 21 as they face Minnesota United FC. Kickoff is set for 2pm.

The Loons should be a beatable team for Los Angeles, but they drew in their last meeting. Minnesota were able to defeat strong teams, NYCFC and Portland Timbers at home. The Galaxy have their work cut out for them. Their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.

But, there’s still hope.

Featured image: Romain Alessandrini Official Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Playoffs Quest in the wild, wild west continues

Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy – Match Preview

Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS.

When: Saturday, October 6, 7:30 p.m. CT.

How to watch: FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.


Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Sporting KC Contributor

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The lion is coming to Kansas City.

Sporting Kansas City will host the LA Galaxy at Children’s Mercy Park as they look to clinch a playoff spot and reclaim first place (even for a brief moment) on Saturday.

The last time these two clubs met was when Sporting KC defeated the Galaxy in a 2-0 victory when they visited the StubHub Center in Carson on Sunday, April 8.

The LA Galaxy is coming in hot off of a two-straight shutout – having defeated the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps – and will look to dash Sporting KC’s playoffs hopes.

LA Galaxy are now 4-7-4 on the road and have been having a turbulent campaign this season. Now with a new interim coach, the Galaxy are just two points away from knocking Real Salt Lake below the line.

I interviewed my fellow colleague, Michelle Huitink to get the insight:

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Araceli Villanueva: LA Galaxy is coming off a two-straight shutout streak and seems to be performing well after Sigi’s departure. But is Dominic Kinnear the answer?

Michelle Huitink: I think having Michael Ciani and Jorgen Skjelvik on the bench is part of the reason the Galaxy are doing well.

Those decisions were made by [Dom] Kinnear, so in that sense, it’s working. He’s been going with basic formations. But, something definitely has been figured out, also among the players. Defensively they’ve really tightened up and are playing confidently. The touches on the ball are much better, they connect more, and are making fewer defensive mistakes. Plus, the absence of Sigi [Schmid] is the reason they are doing better.

That said, I don’t want him to be a permanent coach. He’s been on the coaching staff, so I don’t see him having any secrets. Even when “weaker” links get subbed in, the Galaxy is still able to hang on. I honestly need to see more games to say for sure; the road games will be a good test. So, I can’t really say it’s because he took over.

AV: The Western Conference has been tight this season and with the Galaxy just barely holding on, do you think the team will change anything (formation, roster, etc.) when they visit KC?

MH: Rolf Feltscher is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Though, I wouldn’t want Ema Boateng to start. [Boateng] has been playing well, too, but he’s a little short in height. His speed and that he gets between defenders are what makes him great, but we need those fresh legs in the second half – that’s when results from him really stand out. Romney and Steres seem like a good combo. Cole‘s experience shows. Additionally, Jonathan Dos Santos is a good connection between midfield and the defense – thanks to Kinnear.

I think we’ll see the same lineup. I would hope they wouldn’t change what they don’t have to if it’s working. Plus, if they keep the same formation and lineup, it can be a better sample for comparing the last two matches to road games. Gio Dos Santos seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth – minus seeing him at the season ticket holder player signing event. And since the playoffs are hanging in the balance, there’s no reason Zlatan Ibrahimovic would miss this game.

AV: Ibrahimovic is red hot right now. However, over the summer he fueled rumors about him potentially returning to Europe after the season ends – what is the latest update?

MH: At the season ticket member event on September 30th at Alpine Village Restaurant, he said he might return next season. The fans started chanting “one more year!” He’s shut down rumors about returning to Malmo despite offers.

In my personal opinion, he’s said his focus is on the Galaxy and he turned down a lot of other offers (and money) to come here. Some would say to stay here, he would want a raise since our backline is paid more.

Featured image: @sportingkc Instagram

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Aracelv1

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

LA Galaxy Playoff Hopes Alive

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

September 23, 2018

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Dave Romney, Daniel Steres, Ashley Cole, Romain Alessandrini, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng, Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Servando Carrasco, Michael Ciani, Sheanon Williams, Perry Kitchen, Baggio Husidic, Ariel Lassiter.

Photo Credit: LA Galaxy official Instagram

The match started off with a bang as 7-year-old Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja sang a sensational rendition of the National Anthem that has since gone viral.

Going into this match, the Los Angeles Galaxy had a winless 7 game streak. Seattle Sounders had a 9 game winning streak until it was snapped by the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. This surging team was struggling defensively.

So, this gave me hope that the Galaxy could pull off a win at home. When they’d last faced Seattle at Centurylink last month, they lost 5-0 without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and designated players.

Now, the Sounders were missing Chad Marshall and Harry Shipp due to injury.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer. Photo Credit: Roberto E. Lepe

The Galaxy changed its lineup with Daniel Steres. This was his first start since last September in 2017 when he suffered a back injury against The Rave Green. He definitely had a positive impact on the game, often clearing the ball or getting possession to move the ball up to create chances.

The Galaxy had come out strong despite the Sounders usual mid-low defense. Rolf Feltscher started what was a great game by pressing to get possession back and get the ball to Ola Kamara who then passed it to Romain Alessandrini in the center of the box. He ran up when opponent Brad Smith tripped Kamara, and both 11s were down in the penalty area.

A penalty was awarded. Ibrahimovic took it, keeper Stefan Frei went the other way, and his ball went into the right bottom corner of the net without a problem, putting the Galaxy in the lead 1-0.

The Galaxy continued to play with confidence, especially in their passing. Ashley Cole’s back pass in the 23rd minute and the team as a whole kept up the momentum after the first goal. The Galaxy’s defensive issues showed when Will Bruin had a shot but missed the header. He wasn’t covered by anyone at the back post a minute later.

In previous matches, the Galaxy weren’t used to being up and lately they haven’t been able to maintain a lead. So, then we had to see how the Galaxy would respond defensively.

The issues I saw watching this LA team were the way they rushed with the ball instead of taking it easy, maintaining control of the game, and not giving away possession with simple mistakes. They have no need to rush when they’re ahead! The other thing was not to give in to the other team’s strategies and play right into their traps.

At least they weren’t just trying to serve the ball to Ibrahimovic; instead, Boateng was getting a lot of the service.

The players really hustled on the field. Overall, the Galaxy had a great game. Alessandrini would sneak up the sides to keep possession or move the ball up, which helped him assist Ola Kamara’s goal in the 40th minute and Emmanuel Boateng’s in the 52nd minute.

Boateng, Dos Santos, and Rolf Feltscher were the MVPs of the game.

Boateng is small, but he’s fierce. When he has room to run, he uses his speed to get past defenders and take advantage of deflections. The goal he scored was kicked in across the line after a bad bounce off Román Torres.

Jonathan Dos Santos played a traditionally deep mid defensive position, which had him working hard.

Feltscher got a yellow and seemed to be so actively defending. He had quite a few blocks on shots.

As well as the Galaxy played, this does feel like a fluke. They have a temporary coach, Dominic Kinnear. We have to see how the next few games will go, especially to make the playoffs. At this point, drawing isn’t good enough because then other teams in the West would have to lose for the Galaxy to slip into the last qualifying spot. The Galaxy need to keep playing to win like it’s make it or break it (because it is).

With this win against Seattle, they are only behind by 3 points for the final playoff spot.

LAG play home again against Vancouver Whitecaps this Saturday, September 29. Kickoff is set at 7pm.

Michelle Huitink waiting for the players to pass by. Photo Credit: Roberto E. Lepe

A special thank you to LA is Our House for the seat upgrade. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Galaxy Mascot, Cozmo, running past the trophy case. Photo Credit: Michelle Huitink

Featured image of the view from the tunnel: Roberto E. Lepe

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Joins 500-Goal Club

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

September 15, 2018

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Dave Romney, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole; Romain Alessandrini, Bradford Jamieson IV, Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos, Ola Kamara; Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Servando Carrasco, Michael Ciani, Ema Boateng, Baggio Husidic, Ariel Lassiter, Chris Pontius.

The match against Toronto FC was the Los Angeles Galaxy’s first this season and the first with Dominic Kinnear as interim head coach after Sigi Schmid stepped down.

LA were down in the first half by three goals, until the last few minutes before stoppage time when Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 500th career goal

In the second half, Michael Ciani was brought on for Jorgen Skjelvik. In the 56’ Ola Kamara scored a header on an assist from Jonathan Dos Santos.

Rolf Feltscher leveled it in the 58’ with another nice header serviced from Ashley Cole to make it 3-3. It seemed as though the Galaxy could make a comeback. Adis “Baggio” Husidic was subbed for Bradford Jamieson IV and then Emmanuel Boateng came on for Perry Kitchen. In the 75’ the bleeding of goals resumed. Jonathan Osorio scored for TFC. Then, several yellow cards were given to the Galaxy. The final insult to injury was Jay Chapman’s goal in stoppage time.

This is another tough and embarrassing loss, but this one will be remembered for Ibrahimovic’s 500th. The goal was spectacular and in perfect Ibrahimovic fashion; a spin that was ballerina-esque and martial arts influenced.

Soccer giants such as Paul Pogba and David Beckham congratulated the Lion on his accomplishment.

Fans keep wondering how many goals LAG are going to allow and whether they’re playoff material. It does seem that when the team is behind, they fight harder and start scoring. Since Kinnear has been with the team as assistant coach, there was little chance that there would be a difference in the blue, white, and gold’s play or the defense. His starting XI put Ciani on the bench and we saw some players we hadn’t in some time, such as Husidic and BJV.  

The coach isn’t quite the problem, though the G’s are in need of one now. The state of play just reflects the ongoing issues the club has had. Many fans are calling for an overhaul of the front office, specifically to get president Chris Klein out.

Winter is coming. We’ll have to wait and see what changes are to be made. Til then, the Galaxy’s next “must-win” match is September 23rd against the Seattle Sounders, who just had their winning streak snapped by the Philadelphia Union.

See you at kickoff this Saturday at 7:30pm.

Featured image: @CozmoLAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x