Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan scored a goal in the 76th minute and an assist in the second half as Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States whipped Ian Mork’s Belize in CONCACAF Gold Cup action, 6-1, at JELD-WEN Field, the site of the Galaxy’s next match on Saturday against Caleb Porter’s Portland Timbers.
Chris Wondolowski scored a first-half hat trick (12′, 37′, 41′) to pace the USA. Also scoring for the home side were Stuart Holden (58′) and Michael Orozco Fiscal (72′). Ian Gaynair scored for Belize in the 40th minute of play.
As for the Galaxy, Robbie Rogers had his best game yet, earning an assist in the second half as well as plaudits from manager Bruce Arena.
“It takes awhile, and I think his fitness looked real good, and the last, I’d say, 60 minutes tonight were real good,” Arena told MLSSoccer.com’s Scott French. “A little unlucky: The one header he had looked like a goal to me, [and] there was another shot they saved off the line. He was a little unlucky there, but he’s in good positions, his width at times is real good.”
“I think [Sunday] was one of my more complete performances of the season,” Rogers said. “[I was] a little bit unlucky [with the chances], but I’m not too worried about that. I’m just really happy we won. I’m sure people will make comments, but if we keep winning, it won’t bother me.”
“I think this week did him good, playing Thursday and Sunday straightaway, fitness-wise, and we saw it tonight,” Galaxy captain Robbie Keane added. “Tonight was his best performance since he’s been here.”
Also breaking through was Hector Jimenez, who made it two goals in three games on Sunday against FC Dallas. With 31 appearances and 20 starts over three years, Jimenez is a player clearly on the rise for LA.
“I’ve been able to get a couple chances here and there and luckily, I got a goal on Sunday,” Jimenez told LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano. “Now I just have to keep building on that. Sometimes, I’m not fully focused, I guess I would say.
“But it’s about taking advantage of the opportunities. When I get one or two, just put them away and hopefully things will work out. I just have to be more consistent and make it harder for Bruce to decide whether I should play or not. I just have to keep building on that.”
The Anschutz Entertainment Group holds a stake in Hammarby IF of the Swedish Superettan, and a number of players will be sent to Hammarby to up their game in defender Bryan Gaul, forward Charlie Rugg and midfielder Kenney Walker. Gregg Berhalter is the boss at Hammarby and was a former assistant manager to Arena.
“It’s a great experience for them,” Los Angeles Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski told Serrano. “They get a chance to experience a different environment…This is about these kids getting some experience and hopefully getting some minutes and turning this [training stint] into some kind of loan deal, maybe.
“Gregg and I go way a long way back and we spoke about this [move] back and forth. We respect each other’s opinions and we think that these are some guys that might be able to help [Hammarby]. It depends how [the three players] fit in.
“This is a good experience for players in the future as well to see how they fit in their system and how much they can help them. For young players, it’s great for them to experience a different type of culture, a different style of play, and living in a different type of environment. It’s great for us to have this partnership because we have another option for our players for their development.
“Overall, it’ll be a great advantage for our club.”
Los Angeles Galaxy president Chris Klein is confident that the young blood will mesh well with the players already based in Sweden. “We’re constantly looking to get a better idea of how the level over there compares to the level over here, so we can do more stuff with them, in the end,” Klein said.
In other news, Mike Munoz, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Coach of the Year for 2010-11, has been added to the Coaching Staff of the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy. Munoz was with Real Salt Lake-Arizona before coming to the home of the Young G’s. He is also a local product, born and raised in Bellflower, Calif.
“Mike Munoz is an accomplished young coach with a proven track record and we are excited to be adding him to our coaching staff,” said LA Galaxy Academy Director Peter Vagenas. “The Galaxy Academy will continue to help nurture and produce players for our first team and Mike, who has already shown the ability to develop young talent, will play a major role in that endeavor.”
Finally, a number of players were named to the Starting XI of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Defender Oscar Sorto and midfielders Raul Mendiola and Drew Murphy were named to the Western Conference Under-17/18 Starting XI while forward Steve Martinez earned similar honors for the Western Conference Under-15/16 Starting XI.