MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Saturday, July 25 – 21:00 ET (Sunday, July 26 – 02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 11/5 – Draw 23/10 – LA Galaxy 5/4

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo host LA Galaxy in a Western Conference clash which should be full of action. Dynamo come into the game after their 2-0 loss away at Real Salt Lake. They are sitting ninth in the Western Conference, level on points with bottom side Colorado Rapids.

Owen Coyle’s side have struggled for form, winning once in their last five outings and this will be stern test for Dynamo.

Houston can take some hope from Galaxy’s poor form on the road but know that will mean nothing when the game kicks off.

This is the third meeting between the sides this season, with Houston taking just one point from the previous two games.

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LA Galaxy come into this one off the back of last weekend’s demolition of San Jose Earthquakes, which saw new signing Steven Gerrard in the thick of the action, netting his first goal for the club.

Bruce Arena will be willing his side on to end their 16 game winless run on the road. Galaxy should be full of confidence, nobody more so than Robbie Keane, who bagged a hat-trick in that 5-2 win.

Galaxy have four wins in their last five games, they are now sitting second in the Western Conference and will want to push on to get to the top of the pile.

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Team News

Houston Dynamo will be without Rob Lovejoy. Boniek Garcia and Alex are doubtful. Both Kofi Sarkodie and Luis Garrido are suspended while Ricardo Clark, Giles Barnes, Jermaine Taylor and Raul Rodriguez are all one booking away from suspension.

LA Galaxy have three injury concerns. Brian Perk is out while Jose Villarreal and Mika Vayrynen are doubts. Robbie Rogers is suspended and Baggio Husidic is one caution away from a ban.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo last five in MLS: L/L/D/W/L

LA Galaxy’s last five in MLS: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: Homesick – LA Galaxy have failed to win in their last 16 regular season games on the road.

Key Player: Steven Gerrard – Galaxy’s latest big name scored in the win last weekend and with his vast qualities we can expect him to be pivotal to his side.

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Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 1-2 LA Galaxy – Galaxy to finally put the unwanted winless run to an end and build upon their recent good run of form.


MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: StubHub Center – Friday, July 17 – 23:00 ET (04:00 BST)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/9 – Draw 16/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 11/2

Match Preview

LA Galaxy face the San Jose Earthquakes in the third Californian Clasico in less than three weeks at StubHub Center on Friday night in a game that should see Steven Gerrard make his MLS debut.

All eyes will be on Gerrard as he plays his first game in Major League Soccer but the former Liverpool captain will be focused on trying to seal all three points to move LA into top spot in the Western Conference for at least a few hours.

A Galaxy win would see them move onto 34 points, just one behind Supporters’ Shield leaders DC United so this is a crucial game for last year’s MLS Cup winners.

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The fact that it’s against their fiercest rivals in MLS will only intensify pressure and the home crowd will be desperate for revenge following their 3-1 defeat to San Jose in the reverse league fixture at the end of June.

LA did beat San Jose 1-0 in the US Open Cup a few days after that defeat but it’s results in MLS that mean most to fans. The loss to San Jose was their only league defeat in their last five and they’ve won their last three at home, scoring 14 and conceding just one.

The Earthquakes will have a tough task winning at StubHub Center as they haven’t done so since 2012 and come into the game off back-to-back losses to Portland and Houston without scoring a goal.

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Steven Gerrard has played 90 minutes over two games so far for the Galaxy but Friday night will see him make his MLS debut in front of his own fans and it’s tough to see San Jose spoiling the party.

Team News

Brian Perk is out for the season but is LA’s only injury concern heading into this one. But Jaime Penedo, Omar Gonzalez, Gyasi Zardes and Alan Gordon are all away at the Gold Cup as is new signing Giovani Dos Santos so none of those will feature here.

San Jose boss Dominic Kinnear is still without Innocent Emeghara and Steven Lenhart. More worryingly, Chris Wondolowski and Cordell Cato, who both scored in the 3-1 win over the Galaxy last month, are away at the Gold Cup with the USA and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have scored at least four goals in their last three home matches in MLS, conceding just once.

Key Player: Steven Gerrard – Impossible to overlook the midfield enforcer as he will be desperate to start his MLS career with a victory against the Galaxy’s fierce rivals.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes – Both sides missing players but the Galaxy to get revenge for last month’s loss with a win by the same scoreline. Expect Gerrard to be involved with plenty of positive play going forward.

Former Spurs attackers reunited in MLS as LA Galaxy secure Giovani deal

LA Galaxy’s capture of Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos is a huge one for the club and few seemed more excited about the deal than Robbie Keane.

The former Spurs attackers will link up once again for the first time in five years and Keane is tipping Giovani to go on a “become a superstar” in Major League Soccer.

“I’m very excited to have him here,” Keane said on Wednesday. “We had a good relationship when he came to Tottenham. He came to Tottenham as a young kid who couldn’t’ speak English so I made sure that he was looked after.

“I looked after him when he came over, and we’d stayed in contact since. He’s here to win. He wants to make sure that he takes the Galaxy to the next level.”

Dos Santos joins the Galaxy from Spanish side Villarreal in a deal worth around $34 million (or £21 million). He won’t link up with his new teammates until early August after Mexico’s CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign but Keane is buzzing to play alongside the tricky playmaker once more.

“I think that he’s going to be a superstar in this league,” the Irishman added. “There’s no question about it. He has the right mentality, he has the flair, and I’m sure that Galaxy fans are going to be excited to see him play.”

As well as linking up with Keane in LA, Giovani will be able to play alongside fellow new arrival Steven Gerrard in what is looking like the strongest Designated Player trio in MLS.

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“It’s certainly looking like exciting times for the Galaxy,” Keane finalised. “I think that everyone is looking forward to getting the group on the field and developing chemistry.”

Gerrard has yet to make his MLS debut but is expected to do so in Friday night’s contest against the San Jose Earthquakes, while Dos Santos’s debut could come at home to the Seattle Sounders on August 9.

Have LA Galaxy got the best trio of Designated Players in MLS?

Gerrard and Lampard to face Spurs as 13 MLS All-Stars announced

There’s just over two weeks to go until the 2015 MLS All-Star game in Colorado takes place as the best in Major League Soccer will take on Tottenham Hotspur at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday, July 29.

And now 13 of the 22 players likely to lineup against Spurs in this year’s All-Star game have been revealed, with league newcomers Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard both included despite not yet making an MLS appearance.

Lampard and Gerrard were both named to the All-Star team as as MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s picks for the game. That could see the English midfielders play together for the first time since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Chelsea and Liverpool legends have made a combined total of 58 appearances against Spurs, scoring 12 times against the Lilywhites.

The Fan XI was also announced on Monday along with the Commissioner’s picks as 11 of the best have been put forward for the All-Star game.

2015 MLS All-Star Fan XI: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Kaka (Orlando City), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), David Villa (New York City FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) & Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders)

Obafemi Martins was selected by the AT&T/EA SPORTS™ MLS All-Star “More Than a Vote” Tournament in which EA SPORTS FIFA 15 players scored more than one million goals with the Nigerian frontman, seeing him earn his place on the All-Star game through the same process as last year.

There will be three players making their All-Star debuts as superstars Kaka and David Villa will be joined by Benny Feilhaber, who is enjoying a phenomenal campaign with SKC.

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The biggest surprise from the Fan XI is the absence of Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco, who has been the best player in the league this season, netting 11 times in 17 games to be placed as the second highest goalscorer after 19 weeks.

The ‘Atomic Ant’ is more than likely to be announced in the final squad that Colorado Rapids and this year’s MLS All-Star head coach Pablo Mastroeni reveals on Saturday.

Lampard and Gerrard will definitely be included in the 22-man squad, while those selected in the Fan XI are expected to make up 11 of the remaining 20 places. Being named to the Fan XI doesn’t guarantee a spot on the final roster but is taken into strong consideration.

Who do you want to see make the final MLS All-Star squad of those not included in the Fan XI?

PHOTOS: Steven Gerrard makes LA Galaxy debut in win over Club America

Steven Gerrard made his LA Galaxy debut in the club’s International Champions Cup game against Club America on Saturday night, playing 45 minutes with his new teammates in front of 27,924 fans at StubHub Center.

The former Liverpool midfielder helped the Galaxy to a 2-1 win on the night, despite going behind early on, and he was delighted to have got his first piece of action under his belt.

“It was a great feeling,” Gerrard said after the game. “It was a difficult game and I thought [Club América] were very good. I thought after 15 or 20 minutes that the team settled really well, we played some good football and we got our deserved equalizer.

“For me personally, it was good to get 45 minutes under my belt and I’ll keep getting better and better and the more I get used to my teammates, I’ll improve.”

WATCH – Highlights of Steven Gerrard’s first performance in an LA Galaxy shirt:

His manager, Bruce Arena, was equally pleased to see the English hero make his debut but he refused to confirm whether or not Gerrard will play against Real Salt Lake in their US Open Cup quarterfinal clash on Tuesday.

“I think Steven played well, we are going to see how he feels tomorrow and Monday before we make a decision moving forward for Open Cup,” Arena said.

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“His passing was very good, his partnership with Juninho was good, he won some tackles, helped create some chances, he could have had a goal, the ‘keeper made a great save on him. For his first time out it was very encouraging, he looked like he belonged, his leadership was really good, and I thought he was solid.”

If Gerrard doesn’t play on Tuesday night, he will expect to make his MLS debut against fierce rivals San Jose Earthquakes next Friday.

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Steven Gerrard’s LA Galaxy arrival from Liverpool announced

Steven Gerrard will be unveiled in front of the LA Galaxy supporters for the first time on Independence Day next weekend.

The Liverpool legend will enter the field at halftime during Saturday’s game with Toronto FC at StubHub Center as Galaxy fans will be able to cheer their new man’s name for the first time since his signing was announced in January.

The 35-year-old will take part in his first training session with his new teammates on Tuesday, July 7 and will be eligible to play for the reining champions when the MLS transfer window opens on July 8.

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That should see Gerrard play his first game in Major League Soccer on July 17 in the home game against Western rivals San Jose Earthquakes in the Californian Clasico – the reverse fixture of the game LA lost 3-1 on Saturday night.

Gerrard and his wife Alex Curran were greeted by paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday as the former Reds captain’s new life stateside is about to get underway.

Will Steven Gerrard be a hero at LA Galaxy?

Liverpool’s new signing ‘can be what he wants to be’

LA Galaxy‘s Steven Gerrard is excited about Liverpool‘s signing of striker Danny Ings, according to Sky Sports.

The Liverpool legend is urging fans to be patient with Ings, who will join when his Burnley contract expires on July 1.

“The Ings one I’m really excited about, because he can be what he wants to be. I know the talent’s there, he’s very young, he’s fresh.

“For me, the supporters just need to be patient with him and I’m sure he’ll get eased in gently.”

Gerrard, who will make his LA Galaxy debut in July, feels Liverpool can give Ings what he needs to become a top striker.

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“I think if he carries on learning and developing he can become a top striker and we love top strikers, so the stage is there. I wish him the best of luck and I’m looking forward to watching him play.

“He might be the type of player that needs that bigger club and does thrive on the pressure. He’s certainly got the platform there at one of the best clubs in the world to showcase his talents.

The 22-year-old Englishman netted 11 times last season for Burnley, but it was enough to see his side avoid relegation. His performances attracted interest from a number of clubs and Gerrard hopes he can do what he does best early on in his Liverpool career, score goals.

“Hopefully he can get some goals early on which will give him the confidence that’ll make him feel like he belongs there.”

It is no surprise that Gerrard will continue to make comment on Liverpool despite his departure for Major League Soccer and his comments will be a boost for Ings and the fans to help him settle in easily.

Will Danny Ings be a hit for Liverpool?

Liverpool closing in on £18m-rated Arsenal target as Gerrard replacement

Liverpool have reportedly made an offer for Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic as they look to fill the void left by Steven Gerrard as he leaves for MLS side LA Galaxy, according to the Express.

The 21-year-old has also attracted interest from Arsenal and Liverpool initially made an offer of £7.5m which was rejected by the Italian club.

But now Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport have reported that Liverpool have returned with a new offer of £12.9m for the Croatian youngster.

Despite the improved offer, it’s expected that Inter are likely to turn it down as they are hoping to hold out for a figure closer to the £18m mark for one of their key players.

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With Liverpool stepping up their interest, it could force Arsenal into action if they are to further pursue the possibility of bringing Kovacic to the club.

Kovacic is a versatile midfielder capable of playing numerous roles whether it be as an attacking midfielder, box-to-box player or in the holding role.

The Croatian international made 34 appearances, scored five goals and made two assists for Inter in Serie A this season.

Would Mateo Kovacic be an ideal replacement for Steven Gerrard?

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: Surprise Arsenal move, United’s done deal & Cole to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Thursday, May 28)

MLS Rumours

West Ham United striker Carlton Cole is set to leave the Premier League club after revealing he would not be extending his contract which expires at the end of June, and a move to MLS could be his next step. (REPORT)

Recently released Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper is reportedly on New England Revolution’s discovery list as a move to MLS could be his next option. (REPORT)

Steven Gerrard is set to make his first LA Galaxy appearance in a home fixture against Mexico’s Club America in the International Champions Cup on July 11. (REPORT)

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Premier League Rumours

Arsenal will consider a move for Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung this summer as Arsene Wenger looks to bolster his midfield options. (REPORT)

Manchester City have moved in front of their rivals in the hunt for Paul Pogba and will make a huge £85 million move to sign the Frenchman this summer. (REPORT)

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Manchester United are reportedly set to announce the £20 million transfer of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan this weekend. (REPORT)

Steven Gerrard writes emotional farewell letter to fans ahead of LA Galaxy move

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has delivered one final message to the fans before he jets off for the USA in July to join up with his LA Galaxy teammates and prepares for life in MLS.

“Saying goodbye hasn’t been easy. Liverpool Football Club has been such a massive part of my life since I was eight years old and I know how much I’m going to miss it,” said Gerrard in an open letter.

“It’s been an emotional time for my family and I with my final game at Anfield against Crystal Palace and then my last appearance away to Stoke City. But I’ve been blown away by the send-off I’ve been given by the supporters and I’d like to thank every one of you.

“It’s been very humbling and it’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. It’s been an absolute privilege to represent this football club for so long.”

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The 34-year-old points to the dramatic Champions League final turnaround against AC Milan in 2005 as the highlight of his time at Anfield and is thankful for the support the fans have given him.

“Of course the pinnacle of my career arrived in Istanbul 10 years ago. That was the best night of my life. When I lifted the European Cup, there was no prouder man on the planet.”

“It meant so much to me to deliver that trophy for you. The supporters played such a big part in helping to inspire that famous comeback against AC Milan. I’ll never forget how they helped to lift our chins off the floor after that nightmare first half.”

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The ex-England skipper hasn’t bemoaned the extra responsibility that came with being the main man at such a big club but says it was something he enjoyed.

“People have often asked me about the pressure on my shoulders to deliver for Liverpool but I’ve never seen that as a burden. There’s been huge responsibility on me but I’ve always loved and embraced that. It’s been a massive honour to be captain of this club for so long.”

Gerrard rounded off his goodbye with a short and simple message that most Liverpool fans would agree is a fair reflection on the efforts he’s put in for the club.

“I’ve always given my best and tried to lead by example.”

Will Liverpool cope with life after Steven Gerrard? And will he enjoy his MLS experience with LA Galaxy?