After scoring more than 80 goals for Municipal in Guatemala, as well as playing for PAS Ioanina in Greece and Jaguares in Mexico, the Guatemalan midfielder with the rocket shot off set pieces expected to be plying his trade in Los Angeles alongside his good friend and national teammate Carlos Ruiz. Instead, the Chapines’ captain has been part of a successful Galaxy streak, as the team has not lost a game with Landon Donovan in the line-up. Ramirez spoke to Soccer 365’s Andrea Canales about the adjustment.
(Translated from Spanish)
What do you expect from this year with the Galaxy?
I believe it will be a great year for us. I think that’s what we all want, and we have a good team. So if we apply ourselves on the field, we have to win games – both on the road as well as at home.
You’re come so close to scoring in a few games – is it frustrating?
Personally, it is frustrating to not be able to score. I’ve had various opportunities – on one I was fouled, which should have been a penalty, but the ref didn’t see it that way. I’ve got to keep working to take advantage of the opportunities that come my way. I do feel badly about the ones I’ve lost – but I’m happy to contribute to the team and to the team winning.
What do you feel you bring to the team?
Well, I think my effort will always be there, though it’s going to be a total team effort.
My position as winger means I have to try to send in good passes to the forwards so they can score and I hope to do this and hope we win.
Who on the Galaxy team do you work especially well with?
Well, I feel I work well with the whole team, but the player closest to my position is Todd (Dunivant). We understand each other very well. He plays the ball to me – which gives me good opportunities to make plays and to play well for the Galaxy.
Is it hard adjusting to the team with the differences in the culture, the language?
No – I feel ok, I feel comfortable. A lot of people on the team speak Spanish, and with the little bit of English that I speak, we understand each other very well. With my teammates and my coaches – in those aspects, we don’t have any problems.
What do you think of the level of play in MLS?
I think it’s good. We have a good team and I think the level is very good. Every team - so far - plays to win, and that’s very important. In other countries, all the players throw themselves into the defense – especially against a top team – and that makes it very hard to score goals, because the whole team plays back. Here, the players come out to play, and that’s important.
What’s the biggest difference between the Galaxy and your last team?
My last team was Municipal – and I think we have good players there. We won the championship this past season. But I’m not sure that we have as many competitive clubs there. Like I said before, many teams just focus on playing defense against Municipal – which is one of the biggest clubs in Guatemala. Here, the teams are competing for a win, which gives you more opportunity to score goals. Over there, you need a little more luck – and there’s rarely as many goals as the Galaxy have scored.
What do you miss about Guatemala?
I was in Greece for a year, and that was a little hard, because it was my first year abroad. The food, the language - everything was very different. So in Greece, yes, I was very homesick.
As far as here – well, I was also in Mexico for a while, and this is similar. There’s a lot of Mexican food, so that feels the same. It’s almost like Guatemala.
So I don’t miss too much. My friends, of course, but not much else. I feel comfortable here, and out on the town as well. I expect to have a good year here – and hope to help the team meet the objectives we all want.
Do you miss Carlos Ruiz?
Of course, I miss him a lot. I had hoped for the opportunity to play with him, but now I have to keep working, have good games and win, no?
How did it feel to go up against Ruiz in the FC Dallas/Galaxy match?
Well, we met up after the match – we still talk! But yes, on the field, a person has to do the best one can for one’s team. Right now, I’m fighting for the Galaxy. He’s my brother, but he’s playing against me. I played a tough game against him, but that’s the nature of the game. I believe you’ve got to play a strong game for whatever team you play for.
What are your hopes for the Guatemalan national team this year?
We hope to go the World Cup, which we’ve never been to. I think we’re well on our way – we’re in third place. We have tough games coming up – against Mexico on June 4th and then we face Costa Rica. We hope to get some points from those games and keep our place in the table – which is very important for us.
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