MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Sporting Park – Sunday, October 25 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Sporting Kansas City 6/4 – Draw 5/2 – LA Galaxy 13/8

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City welcome LA Galaxy to Sporting Park for a crucial MLS Decision Day encounter on Sunday evening as both sides still have it all to play for.

SKC are currently sixth in the Western Conference and clinging on to a playoff spot by the skin of their teeth with just one point separating them from San Jose in seventh.

Their fate is still in their own hands and they know that a win in this game is vital in order to secure a place in the postseason – a draw may still be enough but they would be relying on San Jose failing to beat FC Dallas or Seattle Sounders losing against Real Salt Lake.

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Peter Vermes doesn’t bring his team into this game in particularly high spirits after a poor run of form. They’ve lost their last two games without scoring and have won just two of their last 11 (D2, L7).

Sporting Kansas City’s MLS record: P33 – W13 – D9 – L11

LA Galaxy arrive in Kansas having experienced similar fortunes to their opponents recently. Since a run of four straight victories through August, the Galaxy have managed just one win in their last six (D2, L3).

Most disappointingly, they were convincingly beaten 5-2 at home to Portland Timbers last time out in MLS, although they did pick up a 1-1 draw away to Guatemalan side Comunicaciones in midweek, which saw them win their CONCACAF Champions League group stage and advance to the quarter-final.

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Despite a run of poor results, Bruce Arena’s side are still second in the Western Conference and will clinch an automatic semi-final berth with victory – a draw would be enough if Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers both fail to win.

Whatever the outcome, LA Galaxy will be in the postseason having already secured a top six finish.

LA Galaxy’s MLS record: P33 – W14 – D9 – L10

The last meeting between these two sides saw LA Galaxy edge a 2-1 home victory back in April. The last clash at Sporting Park was a 2-1 success for SKC in July 2014.

Team News

SKC have a number of doubts as Ike Opara (achilles), Seth Sinovic (hamstring), Amadou Dia (knee) and Roger Espinoza (foot) are all struggling with injuries.

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LA Galaxy will be without injured goalkeeper Brian Perk (ankle) and Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion). Todd Dunivant (foot) and Baggio Husidic (leg) are also doubts.

Key Points

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have only kept one clean sheet away from home in MLS this season.

Key Player: Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy have scored more goals than any other side in the Western Conference and Keane is one of the main reasons why. He has 19 goals and eight assists this season and has netted in his last three. He will be hoping for more of the same on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 LA Galaxy – Neither side comes into the game with any real form to boast about. As a result, we could see a tight affair with both sides relying on other results to decide their fate.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. New York City FC

Venue: StubHub Center – Sunday, August 23 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1) 

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/9 – Draw 18/5 – New York City 11/2

Match Preview

LA Galaxy host New York City FC on Sunday in a standout MLS fixture. This will be the first time these franchise’s have ever faced each other and the potential reunion of the Frank Lampard vs Steven Gerrard midfield battle makes this game the most highly anticipated of Week 25.

LA Galaxy come into this game top of the Western Conference and in fine form after winning their last three matches, scoring eight goals in the process.

The Galaxy have managed to score 22 times in their last five home games – that is an average of 4.4 goals in each MLS game at StubHub Center, which is incredible. The reigning MLS Cup holders have only lost one of their 13 home matches this season which just goes to show how tough it is going to be for NYCFC to take all three points away from StubHub on Sunday.

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New York City come into this game on a two-game unbeaten streak as they beat Eastern Conference leaders DC United before drawing 2-2 against Columbus on Wednesday night.

With NYCFC currently sat in seventh position in the Eastern Conference, they will be looking to be only the fourth side to take points away from the StubHub Center this season to boost their playoff chances with the end of the regular season just around the corner.

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On average New York City conceed 1.25 goals in every away game and with the attacking dominance that the Galaxy have shown at home this season, NYCFC will most certainly have to shore things up at the back to stand any chance of success in this one.

English fans will be hoping to see Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard face off against each other in midfield once more, but Lampard’s fitness concerns mean that it’s not guaranteed.

Team News

LA Galaxy are still without goalkeeper Brian Perk for the remainder of the season. Jose Villarreal, Baggio Husidic and Todd Dunivant all missed the win over FC Dallas and are doubts for the NYCFC game. Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos will all start, while Gyasi Zardes is expected to despite transfer rumours linking with a move to Europe.

New York City FC remain without long-term absentees George John, Tony Taylor and Connor Brandt. Javier Calle is out with a hamstring injury. Khiry Shelton is questionable, while Ned Grabavoy and Chris Wingert are doubtful after missing the win over DC United. Frank Lampard is facing a race against time to be ready as he continues to battle a thigh injury.

Key Points

La Galaxy’s form: W/W/W/W/W

New York City’s form: W/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have scored an average of 2.3 goals per home game this season. Attack.

Key Player: Robbie Keane – The Irishman has been in fine form this season, scoring 13 goals, 10 of which have come at home. He could prove to be the difference this weekend and it’s tough not to see him continuing his fine scoring form at home this Sunday against a leaky NYCFC defence. With his incredible movement and keen eye for goal, we can see him causing New York City’s defence huge problems.

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Score Prediction

La Galaxy 3-2 New York City – This looks like a game that promises plenty of goals due to the creativity that both sides have in their midfield through the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo. These veterans should create chances throughout the game and with both sides boasting clinical strikers in Robbie Keane and David Villa, we can see this game being an end-to-end affair with lots of goals. The Galaxy haven’t managed a clean sheet in their last five encounters, which means this game could be closer than what many may think, though the home side should still edge it.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Sunday, May 31 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Monday, June 1)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – LA Galaxy 11/5

Match Preview

New England Revolution welcome LA Galaxy to Gillette Stadium for a repeat of the 2014 MLS Cup final and the only fixture between these two sides in the 2015 MLS regular season.

The Revs come into this crucial encounter seeking revenge for the 2014 MLS Cup final defeat, but they’re on a run of four games without a win (D3, L1), although they’ve only lost once in their last 11.

Jay Heaps’ side are currently second in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from their opening 13 games and are also unbeaten in seven matches at home so far this season (W3, D4).

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LA Galaxy have put an end to a five-game winless streak by winning two on the bounce, beating both Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake 1-0 at StubHub Center.

Bruce Arena will be concerned with the Galaxy’s away form as they haven’t won any of their seven games on the road this season (D3, L4) – in-fact, LA haven’t won any of their last 13 away games in MLS.

The Galaxy are currently fourth in the Western Conference with 20 points from their first 14 games and a win here could potentially take them level with conference leaders Seattle.

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The last time these two met was of course the MLS Cup final in December 2014 that saw LA Galaxy win 2-1 after extra-time. The game was tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes before a Robbie Keane strike made the difference.

The most recent regular season meeting was a comprehensive 5-1 victory for LA Galaxy in July 2014 and the last fixture at Gillette Stadium saw the Revs thrash Galaxy 5-0 in June 2013, so this couldn’t be harder to predict.

Team News

New England Revolution will be without Darrius Barnes (knee) through injury, while key players Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney will miss the game through suspension after they were both sent off against DC United last week.

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LA Galaxy defenders Todd Dunivant (knee), Robbie Rogers (achilles) and A.J. DeLaGarza (foot) could all miss out through injury, while goalkeeper Brian Perk is a long-term absentee with a broken ankle.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five: W/D/D/L/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: New England are undefeated in their last 17 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Robbie Keane – The Galaxy have automatically looked more convincing since their skipper returned to action and he could play a crucial role in helping LA to secure a positive result.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 1-1 LA Galaxy – The Revs have drawn their last two home games 1-1, making it a likely scoreline against a Galaxy side that have won two on the bounce and have recovered well from the 4-0 loss in Orlando two weeks ago.

Former Leeds player explains how LA Galaxy move changed his life

LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers has reflected on his first MLS game for the club back in May 2013 and how it has changed his life after he had previously left Championship side Leeds United and retired from the game, believing he couldn’t continue because of his sexuality.

Rogers returned to action with a substitute appearance for the Galaxy during a 4-0 win over the Seattle Sounders on May 26, 2013 and is delighted he’s playing again and sees that first game as a defining moment.

“It was amazing, it was one of those games where you realise (being gay) is put into perspective. There’s millions of kids that struggle in the world with who they are, regardless if they’re gay or straight, or different religions, or ethnicities,” Rogers told LA Galaxy’s official YouTube channel.

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“To be a spokesperson for just being different I guess, I realised that game was a symbol in that way. I wasn’t ready to play, I wasn’t really fit or hadn’t trained for a long time but I was really excited and I felt grateful to be able to get onto the field and start my career and have my family there. And obviously my teammates were really supportive,” he added.

The 28-year-old has since gone on to make 29 appearances for the Galaxy and enjoyed another pivotal moment in his career when LA secured the MLS Cup title in 2014.

“Winning the championship last year, I think that’s why I was overly emotional after we won because I remembered all those experiences; the ups and downs, hard road trips, tough training sessions, bad games and good games.”

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The LA Galaxy defender can’t believe how quickly time has flown since his arrival and admits that his life has changed for the better.

“It’s crazy that it’s been two years, it feels like it’s been a lot longer than that. I think some of the biggest changes would be more just enjoying every day coming in here and being at peace with who I am and how I am different from guys on the team.

“But also how I’ve been able to fit in and to transition into being just another member on our team and to be a soccer player, or Robbie, rather than being a gay soccer player.

“When I first came in, it was tough, media every day had different events where there was just so much focus on me being a gay athlete. And now I don’t really even think about it so I think that’s the biggest difference.”

Are you impressed with how good Robbie Rogers has been for LA Galaxy?

Steven Gerrard’s career in numbers ahead of MLS move

Steven Gerrard has played his final game for Liverpool after 28 years of loyal service and will now look ahead to his next adventure at MLS side LA Galaxy where he arrives as one of the most recognised figures in the game, looking to help the Galaxy win a record sixth MLS Cup title.

The 34-year-old has endured a career of ups and downs, which included turning down the opportunity to leave Liverpool on numerous occasions, instead opting to stay with his boyhood club.

Despite the success, Gerrard will always be disappointed that the Premier League title eluded him. The Reds came agonisingly close to winning the league in the 2013/14 season when a 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea and a 3-3 draw away at Crystal Palace in the last few games of the season allowed Manchester City to swoop in and lift the crown.

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Gerrard has won seven major trophies in his career so far and here is a look at those honours:

Trophies:

  • FA Cup (2) – 2001, 2006
  • League Cup (3) – 2001, 2003, 2012
  • UEFA Champions League (1) – 2005
  • Europa League (1) – 2001

Notable individual awards:

  • PFA Young Player of the Year (1) – 2001
  • PFA Team of the Year (8) – 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014
  • Ballon D’Or Bronze (1) – 2005
  • UEFA Club Footballer of the Year (1) – 2005
  • PFA Players’ Player of the Year (1) – 2006
  • UEFA Team of the Year (3) – 2005, 2006, 2007
  • Liverpool Top Goalscorer (4) – 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2014/15
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The highlight of Gerrard’s career will most likely be the incredible 2005 Champions League final triumph in Istanbul after Liverpool came from three goals down against AC Milan to tie the game 3-3 before winning on penalties.

The Liverpool captain hasn’t claimed a wide array of club and indivdual awards without earning them, having scored 120 goals in 504 league appearances, with 186 goals from 708 appearances in all competitions. Gerrard also captained the England national team, making 114 appearances and scoring 21 goals for his country.

How good will Steven Gerrard be for LA Galaxy and how excited are you about his move to MLS?

 

 

Former Chelsea and Tottenham star says Gerrard will ‘enjoy’ a ‘growing’ MLS

Former Chelsea and Tottenham goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini believes that Liverpool‘s Steven Gerrard is going to have a good time in the USA when he arrives to play for MLS side LA Galaxy in July.

“It’s a great club, great people. It’s a great city to live in. I think he (Gerrard) is going to enjoy it,” Cudicini said while talking on Sky One’s Soccer AM.

The Italian shot-stopper played one season for LA Galaxy in 2013 making 21 league appearances and keeping seven clean sheets on the way to a third place finish, before being eliminated at the conference semi-final stage of the MLS Cup playoffs.

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Cudicini is one of many people recognising the rapid growth of Major League Soccer and its fanbase. He has also warned Gerrard that he will have to adapt to the fact the game isn’t called football in the USA.

“MLS in general is growing very fast and people absolutely love soccer, like they call it, so he has to get used to the word soccer. A lot of kids and a lot of families at the stadium create an unbelievable atmosphere.”

The 41-year-old doesn’t feel that MLS is on the same level as European football just yet but he believes that with time and more top quality players heading Stateside, it will improve constantly.

“The level is not comparable to Europe of course, but as I said, it’s growing and the more players that go from here to America to play, and to in a way give an example to the kids coming up, the better it will be.”

Do you agree with Carlo Cudicini? Is MLS constantly growing?

Atletico Madrid star aspires to be like Liverpool legend and LA Galaxy DP

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has revealed that he would like to replicate the legacy of departing Liverpool legend and new LA Galaxy Designated Player Steven Gerrard.

“I have a contract with Atletico, I want to accomplish things and I am happy here. Of course I’d like to be Atleti’s Gerrard,” Koke told FourFourTwo magazine.

The 23-year-old has scored two goals and made ten assists in La Liga this season and although he has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Chelsea in the last few months, it looks like he is keen to stay at the Vicente Calderon for as long as possible.

Koke began his youth career with Atletico back in 2000 at the age of eight and has been in the Spanish capital ever since. He broke into the first-team in 2009 when he was 17-years-old and has been a regular in midfield for the last six years.

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The Spaniard’s career so far follows a similar pattern to that of Gerrard’s – the Englishman began his youth career with Liverpool in 1987 at the age of seven before bursting on to the first-team scene in 1998 as an 18-year-old.

Gerrard will arrive at LA Galaxy at some point in July and will look to improve the performances of his new side who are currently struggling with just three wins (D5, L4) from their opening 12 gamesand are seventh out of ten in the Western Conference.

The 34-year-old will play his last Premier League game for Liverpool on Sunday away at Stoke City before he prepares for his MLS adventure with a short summer break.

Can Koke replicate Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool achievements at Atletico Madrid? And will Gerrard be a success at LA Galaxy?

LA Galaxy would welcome LAFC but won’t change their approach

LA Galaxy‘s club president, Chris Klein, is ‘happy for them and happy for the league’ after Los Angeles Football Club unveiled on Monday but their arrival will not chance Galaxy’s approach nor what he is working on.

Klein reveals Galaxy will not be distracted by a potential rivalry with another LA franchise.

“We don’t change.” Klein told LAGalaxy.com “The things that we do as we build our team and we build our club in this city and community, we’ve had a specific goal. We want to win first, and win a certain way, with a certain group of players, and we’re going to continue to do that.”

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Klein added: “We’re as aggressive as we’ve ever been in LA. The ideals that we hold are ones that we’ve built over a long period of time, and those aren’t changing… We’re going full steam ahead.”

LAFC are due to start playing in 2018 and it will be interesting to see if a rivalry can develop between the two sides.

Will there be an MLS rivalry in Los Angeles?

LA Galaxy ‘weren’t very good’ says head coach Bruce Arena

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena hasn’t defended his team’s performance in the 1-1 draw with Houston Dynamo at the StubHub Center on Saturday night and says they still aren’t “sharp enough” or “fit enough” yet.

“I didn’t like a whole lot on the night, we weren’t very good to be honest with you, we lost too many battles,” said Bruce Arena in his post match press conference.

He was very frank in his description of how his team performed and admitted that Houston “played harder” than the Galaxy and that “made the difference” in the game.

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The LA boss was also extremely disappointed with the defending for the Dynamo goal, especially considering the equaliser came just minutes after the Galaxy had taken the lead.

“We had a mental breakdown on a corner-kick, Robbie Rogers loses his man and it’s a goal.

“In a game like this where your opponent is sitting back and defending with numbers looking to get at you on the break, we’ve got to be better than that. To concede a goal shortly after we scored, that’s not good on our part.”

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LA Galaxy’s lacklustre passing was another concern to Bruce Arena, but he did credit the Houston Dynamo’s efforts in defence.

“Our passing on the night wasn’t good. Our backline didn’t pass the ball very well and I think that impacted the ability for the midfielders to have a better impact on the game.

“Overall I think on the night they [Houston Dynamo] defended pretty well.”

LA Galaxy are still undefeated after three games of the new MLS season having won one and drawn two.

They’re currently third in the Western Conference and their next game is a tough trip to DC United on Saturday, March 28.

Was Bruce Arena right to publicly criticise his LA Galaxy team?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: LA Galaxy

As the new season draws ever closer we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what the LA Galaxy will be looking to achieve this year.

LA Galaxy head into the 2015 season off the back of one of the most memorable campaigns in the history of the club. They won a record fifth MLS Cup title and said goodbye to the legendary Landon Donovan following his retirement. The Galaxy must ensure that Donovan’s retirement doesn’t have a negative impact on their performances on the pitch. Deciding how they will set-up in order to get the best out of the team once new signing Steven Gerrard joins in July will be crucial. The aim for 2015 will be to achieve at least the same again in terms of honours.

Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 2nd – P34 – W17 – D10 – L7

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What needs to change this year?

It’s not so much a case of what needs to change for LA Galaxy, but more how they can set about continuing from where they left off.  The 2014 season saw them lose just seven regular season games – the least out of any MLS team. Three of those defeats came in the opening eight fixtures, so a better start this time around will ensure they can be the early pacesetters.  The only disappointment from last year will be that they failed to win the Supporters’ Shield, so that will be one of their targets for 2015.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Steven Gerrard – Midfielder (Designated Player)

Outs: Landon Donovan – Midfielder/Forward, Marcelo Sarvas – Midfielder, Rob Friend – Forward

Key player: Robbie KeaneForward

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Robbie Keane‘s contribution throughout the 2014 season was astonishing. He is the captain, a leader of men and possesses bags of experience. He will have achieved hero status after his performance last year, including the famous MLS Cup Final winning goal. He will need to continue to take responsibility and guide his team along the way.

One to watch: Gyasi ZardesForward

The 23-year-old is an exciting prospect. Gyasi Zardes was very much the unsung hero last season, due to the attention given to Landon Donovan’s farewell season and Robbie Keane’s superb efforts. He scored 16 goals in the regular season campaign and is growing in quality with every second he spends on the pitch. The recent inclusion in the USMNT will only give him further confidence to act as a springboard for 2015.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 1st

Competition is going to be even higher in the Western Conference this season, but LA Galaxy still boast one of the strongest squads in Major League Soccer. They’re certainly one of the strong favourites for the Supporters’ Shield and will also expect to retain their MLS Cup title.

How will LA Galaxy fare in 2015?