Galaxy acquire ex-UCLA star Hoffman

March, 1, 2013
The Los Angeles Galaxy added some offensive depth to its roster when the team announced Friday it had acquired second-year forward and former UCLA All-American Chandler Hoffman from the Philadelphia Union.

The Galaxy gave up a conditional pick in next year's MLS SuperDraft.

Hoffman, 22, appeared in only seven games in his rookie season with Philadelphia, making two starts.

During his final season at UCLA, Hoffman scored 18 goals with six assists to lead the Bruins to the NCAA College Cup semifinals. The goal total was the most in a season for a UCLA player since 1991.

The Galaxy, the two-time defending MLS Cup champions, open their season Sunday against the Chicago Fire at the Home Depot Center at 2 p.m.

Donovan, Galaxy win second straight MLS Cup

December, 1, 2012

Landon Donovan Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsLandon Donovan scored a goal in Saturday's MLS Cup victory and will decide his future later.

CARSON, Calif. -- Landon Donovan likes to talk about what he calls "being present" -- living in the moment and forgetting the past.

He found himself doing the exact opposite for a half-hour on Saturday afternoon. Donovan couldn't stop thinking about his 13th-minute empty-net whiff in the MLS Cup title game until halftime, when he finally collected himself and re-focused.

Twenty minutes later, his "present-ness" was tested. With Donovan's L.A. Galaxy tied, 1-1, with the Houston Dynamo in Saturday's season finale at the Home Depot Center, he took a crucial penalty kick.

"I'm not gonna fool anyone if I say I was calm about it," Donovan said. "I was pretty nervous. But you have to keep going."

Donovan kneeled for an extended stretch while Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall readied to defend the penalty, given for a Ricardo Clark handball in the 65th minute. Then, as soon as the whistle was blown, Donovan walked up to the penalty spot and delivered the ball to the right side of the net.

In extra time, the Galaxy tacked on another goal via a penalty kick -- which Donovan ceded to Irishman Robbie Keane -- and topped Houston 3-1. L.A. is the MLS Cup repeat champion for the first time in its history, after a 1-0 victory over these same Dynamo last year.

Donovan's early miss was so egregious stadium staffers set off confetti anyway, apparently believing a goal to be a sure bet. A great downfield ball from David Beckham and smart pass from Keane gave Donovan a clear look at an open goal, but his shot inexplicably went wide right.

He wasn't readily involved in the game for the rest of the half. But he then helped spearhead a mad Galaxy rush in the early portion of the second half and was rewarded with the penalty goal, the fifth of his career in an MLS Cup.

"It took some (guts) for him to step up and take that penalty," said Beckham, who played 89 minutes in his final game with the Galaxy, exiting the match to a massive ovation. "Because I could see what he was like after that (first) chance."

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Keane, Galaxy top Seattle 3-0

November, 12, 2012

CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane couldn't help himself.

Christian Wilhelmsson's 67th-minute rebound touch off a Landon Donovan shot appeared to be headed -- a bit slowly, albeit -- for the back of the net in Sunday's Western Conference Finals leadoff leg between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders.

But Keane, the productive Irish striker, just had to jump in and slam the ball behind Seattle keeper Michael Gspurning for the Galaxy's third and final goal in their 3-0 win.

"He was too slow, eh?" Keane joked afterward of Wilhelmsson.

The teams will play again next Sunday in the return leg in Seattle, with the Sounders now needing to outscore the Galaxy by four goals to advance to the MLS Cup in the aggregate-goal playoff system.

Keane has played inspired soccer in this 2012 postseason, with four goals in four matches thus far. The final one Sunday was a bit of a steal from a teammate, but Keane didn't mind. He was just following the words of his youth coaches, he said, and making sure the ball hit the back of the net as quickly as possible.

"This was on its way in, but it's OK," laughed Wilhelmsson, a Swedish international. "He's a striker. That's how they should think. It's better to be there one time too much than one time too little."

The Galaxy's first goal on Sunday, which coach Bruce Arena called "probably the difference in the game," came in the lone minute of extra time of a tightly played first half.

Wilhelmsson deftly pretended to touch Sean Franklin's pass from the right side, letting Donovan get it freely in the box. Donovan tried to create room for a shot, then delivered a short cross directly to Keane's head for his third postseason goal.

After Donovan nearly found Keane again on a sharp sequence in the 57th minute, the Galaxy added a second goal in the 64th. Keane, coming off a long run through the midfield, passed smartly to Franklin to the right and Franklin one-timed a perfect ball to Mike Magee.

Playing to his “Mr. November” nickname, Magee proceeded to calmly knock it past Gspurning's outstretched hands.

"He gave me a layup," Magee said of Franklin.

The Galaxy had three more serious chances for goals, including in the 76th minute, when Donovan's tap-in was kicked out a foot away from the goal line by Seattle center back Jeff Parke.

"You can't have everything in life," Arena said, smirking, in his postgame news conference.

L.A. goalkeeper Josh Saunders was solid, but he was barely challenged. Seattle's two best chances to score came on a strongly hit deep ball from Osvaldo Alonso in the 31st minute and a poor touch from Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez in the 50th that almost went in for an own goal.

The Sounders, who beat Real Salt Lake on Thursday to qualify for the semis, were without top goal scorer Eddie Johnson until the 64th minute.

Sunday's return leg is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, meaning the Galaxy will get a week’s break, including the next two days off from practices. Having played four games during the past 11 days and five in the past 15, Keane acknowledged Sunday that there were "a lot of tired legs in our camp."

"We've played about 50 games in the last two weeks," midfielder David Beckham said.

In two games in Seattle this season, the Galaxy lost by a combined six goals, 6-0. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said he and his team "take solace in that fact," recalling their August 4-0 win, started by a sixth-minute strike from Johnson.

"We know we gotta come out with the same sort of effort," Schmid said.

Final notes: Donovan exited Sunday's match in the 84th minute with what he described as a tightening-up of his hamstring. Arena said the team was "hopeful" he'd be fine. … An announced sellout crowd of 27,000 attended Sunday's match, the second straight sellout at the Home Depot Center. Tickets for a potential Dec. 1 MLS Cup final at the stadium against the Houston Dynamo went on sale shortly after the final whistle Sunday. … Galaxy forward Edson Buddle did not suit up Sunday after suffering an unspecified injury during Saturday's training session. His absence in the lineup led to Wilhelmsson's start.

Galaxy fall to Earthquakes in first leg

November, 5, 2012

CARSON, Calif. -- Josh Saunders punted the ball away as soon as he got two hands firmly on it, but it was too late.

The Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper let a controversial free kick slip from his hands and into his net in stoppage time, giving the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-0 advantage just 90 seconds before the final whistle of the first leg of the teams' Western Conference semifinal series. To advance and defend their 2011 MLS Cup title, the Galaxy will have to beat San Jose by two goals in the return leg in the Bay Area on Wednesday (8 p.m. PT, ESPN2).

After Marcelo Sarvas fouled San Jose substitute Simon Dawkins, Earthquakes center back Victor Bernardez delivered a low ball with pace that deflected off the left foot of Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez and spun just before it reached the Saunders.

He appeared to touch the ball with both hands as he dove left, but a final bounce pushed the ball below his left shoulder and into the net.

The Galaxy disputed the foul call afterward, with forward Landon Donovan saying he suspected referee Ricardo Salazar would "probably say it was a mistake."

"If that's a foul in this game, then there's a hundred fouls," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said in a testy postgame news conference.

Los Angeles appeared in control for most of the match, never coming particularly close to a goal until the final half-hour but maintaining possession the majority of the time.

"It was never a game you would think that we would lose," Donovan said afterward. "We probably weren't sharp enough in the offensive third of the field, but at worst we thought we'd go up there 0-0 and just have to get a goal."

The two teams have played to some dramatic finishes this season, with a combined 15 goals in three previous matches and a lead change in every one. As is typical for leadoff legs under MLS rules, both teams seemed fairly content to make Wednesday's match the decider.

Now, the Galaxy need a dominating performance from Saunders on Wednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara and at least two goals from their attack. The Earthquakes lost just one of their 34 regular-season games by two or more goals this year, and none at home.

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U.S. aims to close gap on Mexico, the world

August, 16, 2012

Kyle BeckermanMarcos Delgado/ ImagesKyle Beckerman of the U.S. team celebrates a goal during a friendly soccer match between Mexico and USA on Tuesday. The U.S. won 1-0.

MEXICO CITY -- The United States hopes its historic victory at Estadio Azteca is a precursor of sorts, but nobody is mistaking it as a shift in the balance within the region's primary rivalry. The gap separating the Americans from Mexico remains intact, and the only questions concern how great is the chasm and what must be done to bridge it.

Mexico's focus on youth development has created a golden generation of players and could signal El Tri's arrival among the truly elite in international soccer. Last weekend's gold-medal triumph at the London Olympics, with their under-23 team, follows successes by the U-17s (World Cup titles in 2005 and 2011) and the U-20s (third place at last year's World Cup), and the impact on the full national team -- the one that could, for real, be competing for the spoils in Brazil in two years -- has been profound.

Mexico's destruction of the U.S. at last year's CONCACAF Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl, built on the sublime talent of Giovani Dos Santos, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Andres Guardado, was product of Mexico's reaction to the Americans' dominance in the series for nearly a decade from 2000.

Now the U.S. must respond in kind.

“I think Mexico deserves a big compliment,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in advance of the Yanks' 1-0 victory in Wednesday's friendly. “What they've done the last three or four years is tremendous. They’ve identified a way they want to play, and everybody dedicates themselves to that style of play. ...

“There is a gap. It would be foolish not to recognize that.”

The U.S. went 10-2-2, with both losses at Azteca and one of the victories from the 2002 World Cup, over a span of about 8½ years. That dominance, star forward/midfielder Landon Donovan notes, was while “we had a group of us together for five, six, seven, eight years, and they were kind of in flux.” The roles shifted: The U.S. team is now in transition under Klinsmann.

He took charge a year ago after that Gold Cup defeat and is working toward creating a system and a style that will emphasize attacking soccer, a necessity for success in a landscape that has been altered by Spain's success the past five years. He's also altering the makeup of an aging squad, especially at the back. The Americans' great youngsters aren't so young anymore; Donovan is 30.

Mexico's most important figures aren't yet in their primes. Chicharito is 24, Giovani 23. Defender Hector Moreno is 24. Guardado, a relative veteran, is 25. More than a dozen more first-team pool players are younger than 25.

The U.S. also has a promising young contingent -- Jozy Altidore and Brek Shea are 22, Terrence Boyd 21, Danny Williams 23 and Fabian Johnson 24 -- and several others under 25 who might or might not pan out as international players.

“It's hard to quantify a gap,” Donovan said. “We're kind of a little more in flux now, but the hope is that in two years we've closed that gap and we're [like Mexico] a well-oiled machine.”

The 2014 World Cup is the Americans' chief focus, but the real view is longer. Whatever success the U.S. has enjoyed has been about belief and power, not technical and tactical acumen, although there have been great improvement in both areas since the 1994 World Cup changed everything. Klinsmann, a legendary German striker who has called Orange County home for more than a decade, is looking to alter the foundation of how the U.S. plays, and that requires a philosophical shift.

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Struggles secondary in historic U.S. win

August, 16, 2012

MEXICO CITY -- It was an historic victory, the first by the United States at Estadio Azteca in a series that dates to the 1930s, and those responsible couldn't have been more pleased with what they achieved.

The Americans got a superb performance from their backline, at least two heroic saves from Tim Howard and one fortuitous goal to claim a 1-0 triumph Wednesday night over Mexico.

And they weren't shy about proclaiming how important was the result ... even if didn't really mean a thing.

“At the end of the day, we won't win any trophies for winning tonight or won't get any points for it,” said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, who made an imprint defensively before departing at halftime. “But considering the history, and who knows what happens in the future, [a first win here] can never happen again. We're going to enjoy it tonight.”

They should. Beating Mexico at Azteca is nearly impossible: It has happened only once in an official game, a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in 2001, and in a handful of friendlies. Indeed, this was just the third defeat for El Tri in an international exhibition since 1973.

That the U.S. squad didn’t perform particularly well -- defense aside -- is beside the point.

“It's a wonderful moment, because winning a game against a very, very good Mexico team that we have lots of respect for, at Azteca Stadium, that means a lot to us.,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Obviously, when we analyze the game, we'll find many, many things that we want to do better. Obviously, in the first half, we had big problems to keep the ball, to get the ball into zones up front, but Mexico, too, had no chances in the first half at all. Second half, they had more chances, really more chances, than we had, and it became difficult.”

“I think it's important for us to understand that we can compete with big teams at their stadiums, at their locations,” he said. “Very special occasion and we want the players to appreciate that. I want the players to take it all in, because you never know if you can have an occasion like that. That's what we told the players. We said you have nothing to lose, give it all you have. Can we play better? Yes. Can we play technically cleaner? Yes. But moments like this are really important.”

The U.S. generated nearly no offense until the 80th minute. Brek Shea, who had been on the field all of two minutes, ran from the left flank past Mexico right back Severo Meza and winger Elias Hernandez and into the box. He then sent the ball into the goalmouth, where it bounced around a little until Terrence Boyd's backheel put it on the goal line. And Michael Orozco Fiscal, who had come off the bench three minutes earlier, poked it home.

“I never thought that would happen,” said Orozco Fiscal, an Orange Countian who plays for San Luis in Mexico. “It's a dream come true.”

That aside, the Americans struggled to possess the ball, couldn't connect passes and for the most part -- save for performances by Jermaine Jones in midfield, Howard in the net and, especially, Geoff Cameron and Edgar Castillo on the left side of the backline -- failed to offer a whole lot.

There were reasons for the lack of chemistry: Pachuca's Jose Torres was out of position in midfield; Fabian Johnson, a natural left back, was on the right side; and Santos Laguna's Herculez Gomez was often stranded up top in a 4-2-3-1 formation until Boyd joined him at forward in the second half; more than half the first-choice lineup wasn't present. Mexico applied heavy pressure, especially in midfield, and would have won if not for Cameron (who owned Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in the first half, stopping him cold three times), Club Tijuana's Castillo (a statement-making performance) and Howard (who flew to stop Hernandez twice after Orozco Fiscal's goal).

The U.S. insists things were better than they appeared.

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U.S. will feature players with Mexican experience

August, 15, 2012
MEXICO CITY -- The United States will face a crowd expected to approach 110,000, perhaps more, when it takes on Mexico in Wednesday night's friendly at iconic Estadio Azteca, as daunting a task as exists in international soccer.

It's a huge showdown for the Americans, as is every game against their archrival, and they've brought in six players with advanced knowledge of the Mexican game and the men who will suit up for El Tri.

That could be advantageous, but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann says the call-ups of the half-dozen from Liga MX -- Santos Laguna forward Herculez Gomez, Pachuca midfielder Jose Torres, Puebla winger DaMarcus Beasley, Club Tijuana midfielder Joe Corona and defender Edgar Castillo, and San Luis defender Michael Orozco Fiscal -- has less to do with where they play than with what they can provide for the U.S.

“We bring them in because we believe how good they are,” Klinsmann said in advance of the match (ESPN2 and Univision, 5 p.m. PT; coverage starting at 4:30). “We bring them in because they are a big part of our program going forward. It's all about the quality that they provide for us . . . You come in here in this group because you proved you're good.

“These players worked their way through the Mexican league, a very difficult league, a very tough league for them. And they proved their point. They are here because they are quality.”

That they know the inner workings of the Mexican game is an added bonus.

“It's important. I think that's why Jurgen brought a lot of the guys from Mexico in,” said Beasley, a three-World Cup veteran who joined Puebla after seven years in Holland, England, Scotland and Germany. “We know the style, the guys [on El Tri], how they play, what they can do, what they can't do. Hopefully, that will work to our advantage.”

This game is something special for the other five -- Gomez and Torres, who were Beasley's teammates on the 2010 World Cup team, plus Corona, Castillo and Orozco Fiscal -- all of whom are Mexican-American. Torres, who has been at Pachuca for seven years, since he was 17, delayed his commitment to the U.S. while awaiting a potential Mexico call-up. Corona, who is from San Diego, featured in a Mexican under-22 camp before pledging his future to the U.S.

“When I was 17, I was at Pachuca watching the U.S.-Mexico game, and I would always think I will be there one day. And I'm here now,” Torres said. “I have the chance to face Mexico at Azteca, and that's something special.”

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Odds against U.S., but Azteca win is the aim

August, 14, 2012

MEXICO CITY -- El Tri has never lost to the United States in 20 meetings at Estadio Azteca, they're soaring following their under-23 team's gold-medal triumph at the London Olympics, the last competitive meeting between CONCACAF's powers was a full-on rout, and they've got a strong, representative side ready to take on a young, incomplete American team in what could be a full house at North America's most iconic soccer venue.

What hope could the U.S. possibly have in Wednesday night's friendly?

“Expectation, I would say, is relatively low, all things considered ... ,” Landon Donovan said. “But it's still a good opportunity. We want to try to make the most of it.”

Actually, the Yanks want to do more than that. They might be missing more than half their first-choice lineup, and Mexico surely has taken the lead in the region's more rabid rivalry, but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann insists this is more than just a tuneup to prepare for the next steps in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

“This test means a lot to us,” the German legend said at a news conference in advance of the match (ESPN and Univision, 5 p.m. PT; coverage begins at 4:30). “We have a lot of respect for the Mexican side. We have a lot of admiration for what Mexico has achieved the last couple of years. ... But we're not coming here to defend or looking good, we're coming here to win this game. And we're going to give Mexico a tough one.”

Victory might appear impossible. The best the U.S. has done at Azteca, at an elevation higher than 7,300 feet, is a scoreless draw in a World Cup qualifier 15 years ago. But all four meetings since have been tight -- Mexico claiming four one-goal wins -- and Klinsmann's edict, central to his culture-changing approach since taking charge in July 2011, is that the Americans do not back down.

“I think we can compete with the best in the world,” he said. “Maybe not with Spain right away, because I think Spain still is at a different level. But the next level underneath Spain. We gave France a game [last November], only lost, 1-nil, and we could have tied the game. We won in Italy in February and surprised some people. We challenged Brazil in June -- the result maybe looked a little different, 4-1, you'd think they outplayed us. I thought we actually gave them a very good game.

“Now we want to match ourselves with Mexico. And we respect what they did and we have admiration, but we're coming here to win.”

There's plenty against the U.S., starting with the venue -- 110,000-seat Azteca, where the mix of altitude, air quality and atmosphere provides El Tri probably the best home-field advantage in international soccer. “Everybody told me it's going to be crazy,” said German-born defender Fabian Johnson.

“I've played there a couple times with [Club Tijuana],” said midfielder Joe Corona, one of six Mexico-based players on the U.S. roster. “What I tell the guys is that altitude plays a very big role here. I mean, they have to get a good sweat in before the warm-up. And the ball travels way more in the air than it does in regular altitude. I know [Azteca] will be impacting at first, but once we start playing, it will go away.”

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Donovan: Mexico is a 'well-oiled machine'

August, 14, 2012
MEXICO CITY -- Landon Donovan is a veteran of the soccer clashes with Mexico, one of the chief figures behind the United States' dominance in the rivalry from 2000 through early 2009 -- and one of the most hated U.S. players, at least on this side of the border.

So he possesses a keen sense of what's what with the region's twin powers, and his take on El Tri's resurgence the past few years, behind a golden generation of young talent, is simple: Mexico is something else, indeed.

“Very good. They're very good,” the Galaxy's captain said on the eve of Wednesday night's friendly at Estadio Azteca (ESPN2 and Univision, 5 p.m. PT; coverage beginning at 4:30 p.m.). “They're a well-oiled machine. They know exactly what they're doing, they have a style that they like to play, and when they play at home, they're relentless.

“So, in my opinion, especially when they play here, they're one of the best teams in the world, no question.”

That makes this match, the first Azteca friendly between the sides since 1984, a tough proposition for a young U.S. team that is missing a number of key players, including three-quarters of its first-choice backline, midfield anchor Michael Bradley, attacking stars Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, and much of its depth.

Mexico has gone from strength to strength with its national teams, including last year's emphatic triumph over the U.S. in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final -- a result that led to Jurgen Klinsmann's appointment as the Yanks' head coach -- and, just last weekend, a stunning victory over Brazil in the gold-medal match at the London Olympics.

None of the Olympians are on Mexico's roster for Wednesday, but several play key roles for El Tri's full national team, and their success marks another step forward. Donovan wasn't surprised.

“I thought they would win. I really did,” he said. “We played that Brazil team [in May], almost the exact same team, and the scoreline was 4-1 [for Brazil], but I wasn't overly impressed with them. I thought Mexico would give them a really hard game.”

The full national team is even better, of course -- the roster for this one includes Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Hector Moreno and Pablo Barrera -- and they've dominated the rivalry since a 5-0 romp over a third-tier U.S. side in the 2009 Gold Cup title game. The last meeting, in Klinsmann's debut a year ago in Philadelphia, was a 1-1 draw.

“The reason Mexico is so good,” Donovan said, “is they can play in those games [against great teams], and they do a good enough job to really stifle teams. But what makes them successful is that when they get the ball, they can actually do something with the ball. A lot of times you play a team like Brazil, and you're defending for long stretches of the game. You get the ball and you're tired, you don't make the right pass, and you're under pressure again.

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CLASICO: Joseph changes the landscape

August, 11, 2012

JosephKyle Rivas/Getty ImagesSharlie Joseph will make his debut for Chivas USA on Sunday night against the Galaxy.

CARSON -- The Galaxy and Chivas USA face off in one of the most meaningful of SuperClasico showdowns, surely the biggest since the 2009 playoffs, and a rivalry first-timer will be playing the wild-card role.

The measure of Shalrie Joseph's impact in his Chivas debut Sunday night (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 8 p.m.) could determine the final regular-season meeting this season, one which could send the Galaxy streaking toward a top-three spot in Major League Soccer's Western Conference or leave the Goats within striking distance -- with games in hand -- in the battle for the West's final postseason berth.

Joseph, 34, was acquired last week in a trade with the New England Revolution, and although the four-time MLS Best XI selection is on the far side of his professional arc, bringing him to L.A. could be be the pivotal step in Robin Fraser's quest to return Chivas to league-power status.

He figures to solidify the Goats' midfield, combine in the middle with Oswaldo Minda in what surely will be MLS's most intimidating central tandem, and provide the link required to connect a fine possession game with a talented frontline that has starved for appropriate service.

“He's a winner, he's a battler ...,” Fraser said. “He's a very intelligent player at both ends of the field. Very solid in the defensive end, certainly very competent and potent at the attacking end. We've seen many times in the past where New England needs something, so they put him up front and he scores a goal. They need him to play in the back, he prevents goals. You need him to connect through the midfield, he does that.

“Bringing him into the mix is certainly going to help.”

Chivas (7-8-5, 26 points) could use some assistance. It has scored just 14 times in 20 games, by far the worst total in the league, and sits just seven points behind L.A. (10-11-3, 33 points) on the other side of the dividing line for a playoff spot because of defense that has conceded an MLS-low 21 goals.

“It's about me trying to connect the dots, passing forward, trying to get the ball to the talented guys ...,” Joseph said. “I just find it unbelievable they haven't been able to score so many goals. World-class forwards they have here. So I look forward to getting them the balls in [dangerous] situations.”

The Grenada-born, Brooklyn-bred Joseph is certainly a known quantity. He spent nearly a decade with the Revolution, some of that as captain, and led the club to four MLS Cup title games. He likely would have been a starting midfielder for the U.S. in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups had he not impatiently turned out for his native island's national team when he was younger.

The Galaxy, who look to bounce back from last week's 4-0 debacle at Seattle without David Beckham, who is in London for the Olympic Closing Ceremonies, certainly know what Joseph can do. Left back Todd Dunivant calls him “one of the best defensive mids, if not the best, in the history of the league,” and head coach Bruce Arena predicts “in time he's going to be able to reshape their midfield.”

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David Beckham not where he should be

August, 2, 2012

CARSON, Calif. -- David Beckham says he's happy to be back in Los Angeles.

He's happy to be back home with his wife and kids. He's happy to be back with his Los Angeles Galaxy teammates. He's happy to be enjoying the Olympics in London, like the rest of America, on tape delay from the comfort of his living room.

But you can tell he's not really happy, and he has every right to feel that way.

On Thursday night, Beckham was on the field at the Home Depot Center to take on his former team, Real Madrid, in front of 30,317, the largest soccer crowd ever at the stadium. It was, as expected, a lopsided affair that Madrid won 5-1. Beckham set up the Galaxy’s only goal with a picture-perfect serve off a free kick that went off the head of David Junior Lopes and past Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Beckham, however, should be in England, preparing for Great Britain’s quarterfinal match against South Korea on Saturday.

After all, Beckham was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to London, calling it "one of the proudest moments I've been involved with." Giving one of the most famous and influential figures in English sports history a spot on the 18-man roster seemed like the right thing to do. Given the way Beckham, 37, has been playing of late, few would have seen it as a courtesy gesture. Beckham had every right to be on the team for on- and off-the-field reasons.

That is, of course, not how Great Britain manager Stuart Pearce felt in June when he opted to fill the three over-23 slots on his team with Liverpool's Craig Bellamy, Manchester City's Micah Richards and Manchester United's Ryan Giggs, who will turn 39 in November.

"Of course, I'm disappointed, but life goes on," Beckham said. "My family is healthy, I'm pretty healthy, so at the end of the day, I'll be there to support the Great Britain team."

Instead of being an Olympian at the Summer Games he helped attract to his country, Beckham played a central figure in last week’s opening ceremonies and will again play a part in the closing ceremonies. He helped bring the torch to the Olympic Stadium while wearing one of his custom suits and driving a speed boat, in a scene that looked straight out of a James Bond film.

"I was out on the boat for a few hours, so it was good," Beckham said. "I had a few days during the week so I was prepared. It was good times. … Obviously being an East End boy and growing up there, having the Olympics in that part of London is a very proud moment for us all. But it was a great experience being part of it, being part of such a historic moment for England. It was special."

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Galaxy loan Chad Barrett to Norwegian club

July, 31, 2012
Galaxy forward Chad Barrett has been loaned to Valerenga of the Norwegian Premier League, the team announced Tuesday.

Barrett, 27, trained with the club for a week earlier this month. He will travel to Oslo on Wednesday to join his new team, whose season concludes in November.

In 45 regular-season games with the Galaxy since 2011, Barrett has scored eight goals and eight assists.

This season, Barrett appeared in 18 regular-season games, scoring one goal against Philadelphia on July 4. He also had three assists this season.

Valerenga team is currently sits in sixth place in its standings and have 13 games left on its schedule.

MLS, Galaxy, Europe

Galaxy get key road win at Dallas

July, 28, 2012
Mike Magee scored in the 62nd minute to lift the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 1-0 victory over FC Dallas. Click this link to read the game story.

Galaxy brand keeps on growing

July, 24, 2012

Galaxy/TottenhamRic Tapia/Getty ImagesWith players like Robbie Keane, above, coming to play for the Galaxy, it has helped raised the team's profile.

CARSON, Calif. -- The mission had been accomplished long before the teams even took the field Tuesday night.

The final score was irrelevant to the larger goals for the Los Angeles Galaxy, which, if you must know, played to a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League in front of a near sellout crowd at the Home Depot Center.

As nice as it was to see an undermanned Galaxy team (playing without David Beckham and Landon Donovan) hold their own against a Tottenham side, which finished fourth in the English Premier League last season, the Galaxy’s goal have always been larger than one game, one player and one country.

The vision of Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, has always been to make the Galaxy a global brand that would be easily recognizable around the world. He wanted fans to be familiar with the Galaxy and be able to rattle off two or three players on the team no matter what continent they were on.

It was a lofty goal, especially considering Major League Soccer’s place in the global soccer landscape and soccer’s place in the United States’ sporting pecking order.

Yet, five years after Beckham arrived in Los Angeles, Leiweke’s dream for the Galaxy has come true.

When Tottenham arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday to play the first of three exhibition matches in the U.S., they didn’t come for a sun-kissed vacation on the beach and to walk over an unknown side filled with unfamiliar players.

Everyone on Tottenham was quite familiar with the Galaxy and their surging status in the soccer world. It began when the Galaxy signed Beckham in 2007 but for many who play at White Hart Lane it grew when Los Angeles signed their old friend and teammate Robbie Keane last year.

Keane played at Tottenham from 2002 to 2011 with a brief stint at Liverpool in 2008 and still captains the Ireland national team.

“A lot more players overseas know about the MLS now,” said Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, who scored a first half goal on Tuesday.

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In the video below, Landon Donovan talks about the MLS All-Star game, the opportunity to play Chelsea, and playing Mexico.