By ADAM SERRANO
In 2009, the Los Angles Galaxy were a penalty kick shootout away from winning the third MLS Cup in the club's history. With a new season looming, the Galaxy will be looking to begin the road back to the final.
The Western Conference Champions trained on Friday morning before heading to Arizona on Friday afternoon for a training camp that includes matches against the Columbus Crew, Kansas City Wizards and the Colorado Rapids. Although the Galaxy are without their two biggest stars, the team is optimistic about building on last season's success.
"We're at a better place than we were last year," said defender Gregg Berhalter. "This year we're all on the same page and we're ready to build on what we did last year, which was being solid defensively and organized, which makes us a difficult team to beat.
"We already have that base so it's gives us a heads up above the rest."
On Friday, the team focused on a number of ball drills including the impressive four goal drill in which the field of play was spread among four different goals with the club attacking and defending each. During these drills the star of the show was forward Tristen Bowen who scored an impressive top-shelf goal, beating goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
Perhaps the biggest story, however, is the continued development of the club's three Brazilian additions — midfielder Juninho, versatile defender Alex and center back Leonardo signed from Brazilian giant Sao Paulo. Signed this winter, the three have been a pleasant surprise during their time in Southern California. In particular, the play of Alex was in focus Friday as the defender saw time at the wing position as well as wing back. The Brazilian looked impressive in his ability to distribute to his fellow attackers creating a goal during a 6 v. 6 scrimmage.
The three Brazilians are also progressing in their integration to America as the club has hired an English teacher to help the players learn the language.
"They're all intelligent players, in particular, Alex is great going forward and has that Brazilian swagger," said defender AJ De La Garza. "We just try to help them with their English, but they're pretty experienced and know what to do on the field."
The Los Angeles club will be returning to the Southland in 10 days as they begin preparations for a March 10th friendly against Costa Rican side Puntarenas.
Lastly, today the Galaxy finalized a March 25th friendly with Salvadorian table toppers C.D. Aguila which will be one of the club's final friendlies before the start of the season.
Not sure how much impact the Brazilians are going to have on the results of the team. Frankly, I see this as depth, not upgrades to the starting XI.
Essentially Leonardo and Alex would be complements for Berhalter and Dunivant, who both played solid all year for the Galaxy in 2009. Hence, you’re not really upgrading the starters, just the back-ups (regardless who ends up starting).
Can Juninho buck the MLS trend and make it as a slender 5’3″ player? Most small midfielders have failed in the league, and Galaxy have a lot of options on the right wing (Beckham, Donovan, Klein, Birchall and Franklin all played there in 2009 and now you add Mathis to the mix).
Don’t get me wrong, the Galaxy have terrific depth for a MLS squad, and this is a positive move — I just don’t see it elevating them significantly in total points.
Go ahead and continue to hate ELAChivausa… Galaxy will own the goats again this coming season and I (having secured my season seats this weekend) will be there for all of the continued LA dominance!
they got them because they are clearly surplus to requirements at Sao Paulo and they arent young enough for the club to want to keep them around in the youth teams. While I agree it is a good move for the club, it is by no means a coup in my mind.
The market rules in this game and in no other country is that more true than in Brazil, where the big clubs effectively survive off the selling of their young players abroad. For a club like this to send 3 players–at this age(read young, but not young in terms of brazilian football)–says to me that they are not that good.
Wow, how underwhelming.
Message for Bruce Arena: Now that you have some efficient new players, let Donovan stay in England.
its entirely possible theyre not paying them much. The brazilian real is worth about 55 cents. They could be getting them for chump change.
Anybody know how much they are paying these new players? Aren’t they out of roster space or over the cap cause they also have 2 DPs?
there was no question in my mind, that these three were going to be great additions. I dont know how they did it, but these three are going to make them a very versatile team and nice additions to an already skilled team. They’re going to be a handful post world cup, thats for sure.
YES!!!! Good to hear bout LA Galaxy, i was forsure thinking we were gonna go NOWHERE next season if we lost Donovan, but 3 young Brazilians isnt bad, looks like Donovan (if his loan isnt extended) and Beckham are finally gonna have sum1 to pass it to but themselves 🙂 Made my Saturday