Bruce Arena, coach of the Los Angeles Ga

Bruce Arena addresses L.A. Galaxy struggles

Leave a comment

The weekend biggie in Major League Soccer matches the best team in MLS (at the moment) against the best team in MLS (or so everyone thought).

Livestrong Sporting Park is the venue as undefeated, untied Sporting Kansas City hosts the reeling Los Angeles Galaxy (4 p.m. ET, ESPN).

The Galaxy struggles have topped MLS storylines this year. So L.A. manager Bruce Arena addressed some of the questions springing up around the Home Depot Center on Thursday. He told Extra Time Radio that his team certainly didn’t play well in last week’s 3-1 loss at home to New England.

He didn’t have solutions, exactly, but wasn’t tossing out excuses either. The heavy physical burden of those early, important Champions League matches? No longer a factor, he said.

“I don’t know that you ever chalk up losses to,” Arena told Extra Time. “If we knew why, it wouldn’t have happened. It wasn’t a good day I think need to give New England credit. They played well, they were opportunistic. They worked harder than we did.”

He also addressed the team’s defensive woes, having seen the Galaxy concede 11 goals in five matches (in all competitions). Four of those five matches were at home.

“The mistakes we made can be fixed,” he said of the beleaguered back line. “Some of them are pretty basic. We’ve probably given up one or two goals that may have been good goals, but they are all correctable mistakes, and hopefully over time they will be corrected.”

Arena talked about breaking in A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez back in 2009, about some of the elementary booboos his first-year pros made back then. But here’s the difference:

That team had Gregg Berhalter, whose mentoring presence was a major boon to Gonzalez’s development. (Gonzalez, in fact, won MLS Rookie of the Year, surely due in some part to Berhalter’s tutelage.)

This team doesn’t have a Berhalter. DeLaGarza worked last year as a reliable central partner alongside the dominant Gonzalez, but he’s not a cornerstone figure.

Some of the mistakes might be correctable, but there’s only so much certain individuals can do. Bottom line here: the Galaxy must address its hole at center back, or get a whole lot more work and help out of the midfield.

Saturday is the next big test; if Arena’s men aren’t up for it, Sporting Kansas City has enough ability to take things from bad to worse in a big hurry.

Newcastle’s Krul on crutches after injury in Dutch win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.

Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.

[ MORE: Ultimate guide to USMNT vs. Mexico ]

Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.

Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.

The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.

McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.