Optimism runs rampant for Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy, whose coaching staff earned a four out of four stars for their direction of the 2012 Major League Soccer season, according to LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano. The most defining moment came on Aug. 29 in their 4-0 shutout victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders in CONCACAF Champions League play, while their demise to Toronto FC in the previous CCL is considered as the nadir.
We just laid it out to the guys and one thing, our local media was convincing me every day that it was impossible to make the playoffs and I showed our guys the math,” Arena told the media on Dec. 1 following their 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo in the 2012 MLS Cup Final. “They told me that you’re freaking crazy and it can’t be done so I laid out an equation for our guys that with 17 games left, we had to get 27 to 30 points to make the playoffs.
“We ended up getting 34, which is more than anyone had. We had a focus about it, but the great part was that we started our first game playing Philadelphia at home and we lost. We had actually had 34 points in 16 games, but we made it clear that was the target. We reminded them every day that we had to chip away at it and we managed to do it, but it was a real focus on a part of the whole team and the whole organization.
“It was a test of character, obviously, a test in leadership. I could write a pretty good book with a five star general now on leadership. I’ve been through the wars this year. It’s really just, we have enough talent to win games, you just have to really, do the best job that you can to maximize performance. We focused on that, did it and got it done.”
Two players on the backline, Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza, have been called up to the US Men’s National Team annual training camp at the Home Depot Center. However, Gonzalez has been issued a challenge by the boss, and it’s simple and a no-brainer: Step Yo Game Up.
“He needs to show us he’s ready for a big step into international football,” Klinsmann told MLSSoccer.com. “He needs to show us that he wants to break in. He needs to show us that he’s ready to guide a back line, that he’s ready to communicate a lot and take over the responsibility.
“If it wasn’t for his injury at the beginning of last year, he would have been with us already on a regular basis. Yes, [he] obviously [has] tremendous physical abilities. He grew under Bruce Arena into a very good, solid centerback but national team is another level. And so we are happy to have him now finally with us in camp and to see him work on a daily basis.”
Gonzalez’s health and work rate will be under close scrutiny as the US Men’s National Team being a long, long campaign working that CONCACAF Hexagonal with the aim of making it to Brazil next year and the FIFA World Cup Finals.
Meanwhile, here comes Carlo Cuducini. The 39-year old backup goalkeeper for Tottenham Hotspur has now been offloaded to the Galaxy and is lauded as a fresh start by the Guardian. Cuducini has made his name known at Chelsea, where he made 142 appearances for the Blues. Joining forces with fellow former Spur Robbie Keane, Cuducini will be challenging Josh Saunders for the starting goalkeeper position this winter.