CARSON, Calif.– The LA Galaxy will take on their first two MLS opponents of the preseason this week before heading to Arizona on Sunday for the start of a 10-day training camp. After dispatching Loyola Marymount University last Friday, the Galaxy will host Portland and San Jose this week as they round out their second full week of outdoor training sessions at The Home Depot Center.
OFF TO ARIZONA: After three weeks of training at The Home Depot Center, the Galaxy will hit the road for the first time in 2011 when they head to Arizona on Sunday for the start of a 10-day training camp. In addition to daily training sessions, the team will play three games during their time in Arizona, facing the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC twice (February 20 and 22) and the reigning MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids once (February 16).
This will be the third straight season that the Galaxy spend a portion of their preseason in the Grand Canyon State. In March 2009, LA played to a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Last year, the club spent 10 days training on the campus of Arizona State University while playing three games against MLS opposition, collecting a 2-0-1 record with wins over Colorado and Kansas City and a draw with Columbus.
SCHEDULE TO BE UNVEILED ON THURSDAY: With the Galaxy’s 2011 season opener just over five weeks away, Major League Soccer will unveil the complete league schedule on Thursday, February 10.
At this time, the first three games of the season are known for LA, with the club opening the year in Seattle against the Sounders on Tuesday, March 15 as part of MLS First Kick 2011, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. Five days later, on Sunday, March 20, the Galaxy will play their home opener against the New England Revolution. LA will then go back on the road six days later when they travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday, March 26.
The Galaxy and all MLS teams will played a total of 34 regular season games in 2011, facing each of the other 17 teams in the league twice, once at home and once on the road.
MORE NUMBER CHANGES: After seeing a number of players change their uniform numbers during the first two weeks of preseason training, three more have gotten into the act, with Chad Barrett, Chris Birchall and Ryan Thomas each donning new numbers to start this week’s training.
Birchall, who had worn the #33 shirt in his first season with the Galaxy in 2009 and then the #11 shirt last year, will now wear #8, which was last worn by Dema Kovalenko for the first half of the 2010 MLS season. With Birchall, taking #8, Barrett will now wear the #11 shirt that was vacated by Birchall. This is the third number of the preseason for Barrett, who began camp with #29 and briefly wore #8 before exchanging numbers with Birchall.
Finally, rookie defender Ryan Thomas will now wear the #28 shirt that was worn by Sean Franklin form 2008-2010. Thomas had opened camp with the #14 shirt that was worn by Edson Buddle from 2007-2010.
With 28 players on the clubs roster, there are now only four available uniform numbers from 1-32, with nobody claiming them are the #13, #14, #29 and #31 shirts.
MCBEAN AIMS TO TRAVEL TO JAMAICA THIS WEEK: Galaxy forward Jack McBean will be looking to be named in United States Under-17 National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera’s final squad that will travel to Jamaica ahead of the start of the CONCACAF Championship, which decides the four teams that will represent the region at this summer’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico. The U.S. team will travel to Jamaica on Saturday, before opening the tournament against Cuba on Monday, February 14. They will then take on Panama on Friday, February 18 with the top two teams from that group of three advancing to the Quarterfinals. If the U.S. advances past the Quarterfinals, which will be played on Tuesday, February 22, they will earn a spot in the U-17 World Cup.
McBean has made three appearances for the U-17’s since arriving in Florida last month, helping the U.S. to a 2-0-1 record. He made his international debut as a second half substitute in a 0-0 draw with Jamaica on January 28. Two days later, he was in the starting lineup and played the full 90 minutes as the same two sides met again, this time in a 2-1 U.S. win. He started again on Saturday and helped the U.S. take a 4-0 halftime lead over Honduras in Florida en route to a 6-0 win.
If named in the U.S. squad, McBean is expected to join the Galaxy in training for the first time after returning from Jamaica later this month.
GALAXY TO PLAY CLUB TIJUANA ON MARCH 2 AT TORERO STADIUM: The LA Galaxy will play Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente of Mexico’s Liga de Ascenso in the “San Diego Clasico”, presented by Freeway Insurance, on Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m. The game will be played at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego.
Club Tijuana is coached by former Club America and Mexican National Team midfielder Joaquín Del Olmo, who in his first season with the club guided the Xoloitzcuintles to their first title last December, winning the Liga de Ascenso Apertura Season. Led by their captain Javier Gandolfi, goalkeeper Adrian Zermeno and forward Raúl Enríquez, last season, Club Tijuana posted an impressive 11-1-5 record and only conceded seven goals all year, including playoffs. So far this season, the Xoloitzcuintles are winless after four games with a 0-1-3 record.
Tickets are on sale now starting at just $25 by calling the University of San Diego’s JCP Ticket Office at (619) 260-7550 or by visiting www.tickets.com.
GONZALEZ, RICKETTS AND ONALFO TO BE IN LONG BEACH SATURDAY: Galaxy players Omar Gonzalez and Donovan Ricketts, as well as assistant coach Curt Onalfo will be on hand at the Cal South Soccer Nation Expo on Saturday afternoon at the Long Beach Convention Center. Gonzalez and Ricketts will be signing autographs for fans for 90 minutes starting at approximately 1:30 p.m., while Onalfo will lead a passing and receiving skills clinic with a group of local youth soccer players starting at 2 p.m.