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The Best of Both Worlds - 2014 Beer-view: Los Angeles Galaxy

With Major League Soccer and the rest of American soccer kicking off in just over a week we've curated an impressive list of players, personalities, broadcasters, front office folk, and fans to have them tell us (and you) about their upcoming 2014 season.

And, of course, pair their hopes and dreams for this season with a tasty local brew.

That's not just a preview... it's a "beer-view".

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By Adam Serrano LA Galaxy Insider

Team: LA Galaxy

Coach:  Bruce Arena

Is he the right man for the job?

There’s no question that Bruce Arena is the right man for the LA Galaxy and will be until he’s ready to retire. Despite LA’s poor showing in 2013, the Galaxy awarded the four-time MLS Cup champion with a new three year contract this offseason that will keep him with LA for good.  In recent years, Arena has not just had success because of his three Designated Players, but he’s also been able to retool his team and integrate young talent into the squad. As Arena continues his term at the helm of the Galaxy, expect more young players to earn significant minutes as the team contends for championships.

Player(s) to watch?

Robbie Keane is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in MLS and the Galaxy will go as far as their captain will take him. In 2013, Keane put in an MVP caliber season with 16 goals and 11 assists despite battling through nagging Achilles injuries throughout the season. After undergoing offseason surgery on both of his achillies, Keane enters the season completely healthy for the first time since 2012. With few international commitments, expect even greater production from the Irishman.

The Galaxy have made a number of additions with the acquisitions of Swedish international Stefan Ishizaki, towering forward Rob Friend and midfielder Baggio Hušidić, but keep a trained eye on Brazilian target man Samuel. The 22-year-old forward was acquired on loan from Fluminense; the technical attacker has been one of the shining stars of LA’s preseason with impressive displays of technical ability and finishing prowess. If he can form a solid partnership with Robbie Keane, then LA may have found their strike pairing for the foreseeable future.

Goalkeeping was a major issue for the Galaxy at the start of the 2013 season, but the problem seemed to be corrected midseason with the acquisition of Panamanian shot stopper Jaime Penedo.  In his first season in MLS, Penedo had a flair for the dramatic with a number of highlight-reel saves but he must improve on a number of different areas heading into the 2014 campaign. In particular, Penedo appeared too eager at times to come off his line, leading to easy attempts for the opposition. If the Galaxy are to compete for an MLS Cup in 2014, they’ll need Penedo to improve his timing and positioning, in addition, to making acrobatic saves.

Also keep an eye on Gyasi Zardes who is starting to round into one of the finest young talents in MLS and midfielder Robbie Rogers, who is seeking to rebound from an inconsistent and injury-riddled 2013 season.

Predictions for 2014?

MLS beware, the LA Galaxy are well-aware of what went wrong in 2013 and they’re aiming to right the wrong during the 2014 season.  Late game breakdowns, poor road form and inconsistent play from the team’s youngsters doomed the Galaxy last season, and to correct those issues, Arena brought in more experience faces into his squad with the acquisitions of Friend, Hušidić and Ishizaki. With more experienced personnel and the talent of the likes of Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane, the Galaxy should remain competitive in an already loaded Western Conference. If LA can get continued production from Keane and company, don’t be surprised if the Galaxy are lifting their fifth MLS Cup this December. 

Local Beer Pairing:

Southern California has produced many fine beers, but the list starts with Angel City Brewery.  They were a no-brainer due to their name’s similarity with the Galaxy’s largest supporters group, the Angel City Brigade. Angel City Brewery has a number of top-tier offerings which all have great Los Angeles themed names, but their finest brew is the Imperial Chai Stout. The Chai Stout may appear to boast a heavy touch at first glance due to the bold mix of malt, chai and chocolate flavors, but the taste is as smooth as Robbie Keane’s first touch. Whenever in the Downtown Los Angeles area, the Chai Stout is a must have.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

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