We spoke to both coaches and a number of players from both sides following last night's match.
Here is what they had to say…
LA GALAXY HEAD COACH BRUCE ARENA
On the win:
I thought it was a good game tonight. San Jose really pushed us. I think we played well for long periods of the game. I think the first half our passing was poor, and it got us in trouble a couple of times, but I think overall we had a real good effort. The guys played well. Thirty games in—it’s been a good year. There is no question about that. We deserve a day to pat ourselves on the back before we have to get back to work and try to win this first playoff series.
On coming in first place in the Western Conference:
I know we won the tiebreaker, but I don’t know if that crowns you that. But that’s great. It certainly wasn’t something we were thinking about as we started to rebuild the team in the offseason, but it’s a fabulous accomplishment for the players and our coaching staff and our organization, so it’s been gratifying to see the progress we’ve made. Hopefully this is the start of things being better and having a team that is constantly good. Only time is going to tell with that.
On Donovan Ricketts winning LA Galaxy Defender of the Year:
Well deserved. He has a fabulous year for us.
On his preference on who the Galaxy meets in the first leg of the playoffs:
No. It doesn’t matter. How many people even thought we would be here? I’m not in a position to pick and chose who we are going to play. We are please to be at this point. We’ve made the playoffs, and the next week or so we are going to taste that competition. I think its all old stories. We’ve played Chivas three times this year, and Houston twice. Everyone knows what those teams are about. They are both very good teams, and there is very little that separates either one of us. I don’t know. I can rattle off names and everything else. I think everyone here is well aware of those two teams and what they offer. Once you get into the playoffs in this league, it’s not like there are any unknowns—everyone knows each other. It’s simply going to be when you roll that ball out if you can play 90 minutes better than your opponent.
On the Galaxy’s fans:
It was a great crowd tonight. I haven’t been here very long, but my understanding and I remember the early days in ’96, ’97 and ’98 when I was with D.C. United and we visited LA, you could see that the fan base was phenomenal. I know that over the last two or three years, it’s been disappointing. This is a fan base and an organization that deserves better. We are pleased that we have been able to make progress this year, and to get the team better and to have a team that is worthy is of our fan base and our organization. That hasn’t been easy, and my hat goes off to everyone that has been involved with this team this year to be able to do that. It’s nice on a night like tonight. It’s the last game of the year, and there was so much at stake for our team and our fans. To come out on top was fabulous. I’m hopeful our fans are pleased and they go home with a smile on their faces because they’ve supported us. They’ve obviously supported this team in good times and bad times. They deserve a lot of credit, and I’m happy we’ve been able to turn things around a bit.
LA Galaxy Midfielder David Beckham
On winning tonight…
“Tonight we wanted to finish off on a high, especially in front of our fans, and we did do that. It was important that we won the game and finish on top of our conference, which we did. We have played better in [other] games and have passed the ball better in [other] games but, you know what, we won the game. It pleased the fans and it made us tops. We won’t stop here because there is a lot of work to be done, but we are happy with the position we’re in.”
On receiving a standing ovation…
“There’s been up and downs this season [with the fans], and it has been made aware of by a lot of people, but it’s always nice to have the support of your fans. You always go out there and play your hardest. You can’t always make everybody happy, that’s just life, but it’s been good in last couple of weeks, or months. I hope it continues because we need the support of the fans, for the whole team, not just myself. We need the support we had there tonight for the playoffs.”
On what Galaxy need to do to win the MLS Cup…
“Win every game. Apart from that, stay together as a team. We don’t want to get over confident because that can bring certain things to a team, which we don’t want to see. It’s that unity that we need to keep and that togetherness. We just need to stay focused and continue were we left off.”
LOS ANGELES GALAXY FORWARD LANDON DONOVAN
On making the playoffs for the first time since 2005:
It feels great; it’s been a long time for the fans and for me personally. Some of the new guys or the rookies have no idea, but it’s been a long time coming from this organization, and we are proud of it.
On finishing first in the Western Conference:
It gives us every advantage. We know that the other three teams are going to be difficult no matter who we play, but it gives us that little edge. We like going on the road first, we are going to like coming home second, and then we win that series and get a home game before MLS Cup, that’s huge for us.
On the overall season:
I think back to the beginning of the year, we had all those ties in a row. I think we were all a little disappointed that we weren’t winning games, but you look back now, and three, four or five of those ties have made the difference, and putting us where we are today. I think we were close then, and we’ve become a complete team. And now we are playing very well.
In comparison with the teams that did not make the playoffs:
I am confident in my ability and I am confident in our team’s ability, but it doesn’t mean that it always come together. In the past we had a lot of talented players, but it hasn’t worked out. I think Bruce has done a great job, I think the guys who have come in have been terrific. We keep getting better, we keep building, and now we are in a good spot.
On finishing in first place:
It’s a huge reward. We put ourselves in a position tonight to be the Western Conference Champions, and we worked really hard and we didn’t want that to slip away, so we wanted to take advantage of it, we wanted the momentum going to the playoffs, and I can’t imagine anybody wants the playoffs right now.
On the Galaxy’s goals tonight:
The first one was an own goal. I was just trying to cross it, and it came off Bobby [Burling], and it was just a lucky play. But, you put pressure on people, put them in awkward positions and those things happen. And the second one, it was a great ball from [Chris] Klein through, and it kind of got away from me a little, and I just reached for it, and popped it through Joe [Cannon]’s legs.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY MIDFIELDER DEMA KOVALENKO
On the team’s attitude throughout the season:
Everybody in this locker room is competitive. It doesn’t matter who you put on the field, they just want to win, and at the end of the day, I think that is the most important thing. Sometimes in soccer, it doesn’t come out to be the best on some days, but if you have guys that compete, fight, and want to win and do the little things. Like they always say, if you do the little things, the big things take care of themselves. And, that’s what we did today and what we’ve been doing it the whole year. We have great chemistry in this locker room, good younger guys, good older guys, it’s a good mix of players.
LOS ANGELES MIDFIELDER MIKE MAGEE
On the team’s performance:
We were doubted pretty early on in the season, a lot of people set their expectation on us pretty low, and maybe for a moment we believed it; but the work we’ve put in this year, starting all the way back in January, it’s been incredible. From the first guy to the last guy, we showed up every single game, we might have had one or two games in all year we were led up. But, I am really proud for being part of this team.
On clinching the first spot in the Western Conference:
It’s huge. The West this year was by far the harder conference, and we won it. So, it’s incredible, it’s one of the best things I’ve had.
On his optimism heading into the postseason:
I wouldn’t count us out in any game. We’ve shown that we’re tough on the road, and we can win games at home, so nobody take us for granted.
SAN JOSE HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOP
On the result:
First of all, congratulations to the Galaxy for their performance this season and making the playoffs. Well done to them. I think the game probably hinged on us having some chances at 1-0 and not really taking them. The second goal kind of killed the game off, but I’m proud of the way our guys kept on going tonight. We don’t have a full roster right now; we have a few injuries here and there with a few guys back home. We kept going to the end. I’ve seen some good signs with this squad. I think we will be a good side next season.
On the Galaxy:
They are well organized. I think that you saw tonight—the big, big thing for me—the big difference for any team is a person like Landon. I think that he makes any good team very good. I think that they used him well. They find him in good spots. They are difficult to break down. I think we had chances against them, but we didn’t have a ton. Defensively as a unit, they are tough to get chances against. Goalkeeper is good. Good all around unit.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES GOALKEEPER JOE CANNON
On the Galaxy goals:
The first goal, I think, had an unlucky bounce. We were just unlucky not to get the goal back, and then create to Landon. He beat his man and it was two-nothing. We didn’t create much all day, which is disappointing.
On playing at The Home Depot Center:
It’s like any other place. I’m not a big fan of the surface; the pitch is really wide, which is nice. They seem to wet it a little bit much. But other than that, I like playing in front of big atmospheres. The atmosphere tonight was really good I think because of what they had on the line tonight. I don’t mind playing here. It’s a nice place.
SAN JOSE FORWARD RYAN JOHNSON
We played well. They were organized a little bit better than us. They got lucky on the first goal—very fortunate off the deflection. Landon took the second goal very well. We fought to the end of the whistle. That showed some character that we didn’t give up even though our season was over.
SAN JOSE DEFENDER BRANDON MCDONALD
On the match:
It was a hard battle. They came in with everything they had. Obviously, they had a lot on the line. They took first place in the Western Conference. I thought we did well. We were unlucky on the first goal, but a lapse on the second one. I thought we did alright. They just came and brought their A game.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Posted by LA Galaxy at 1:22 PM