The Galaxy fly out of LAX at 8:30 a.m. Monday en route to Toronto for the opening leg of their quarterfinal CONCACAF Champions League clash two days later, a game that kicks off a run of four games in 11 days to open the MLS season.
A largely reserve and auditioning lineup for the Galaxy won their first silverware of the year Saturday, beating the New England Revolution on penalty kicks at the Desert Diamond Cup in Tuscon after the game ended 0-0. Probably more of a guide to the starting XI Wednesday were the personnel present this morning at the final practice in Southern California before the season begins.
The practice was largely a five-a-side scrimmage with a team of Josh Saunders, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Robbie Keane and A.J. DeLaGarza playing a lineup of goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer, Edson Buddle, Sean Franklin, Mike Magee and Andrew Boyens.
Add in Todd Dunivant and Juninho (who Coach Bruce Arena said needed the minutes Saturday) and that’s the probable starting lineup for Wednesday’s game, I’d say.
This was the second training session of the preseason with the club for both Donovan and Keane, incidentally; Donovan, who turned 30 today – and wasn’t enamored with his age being pointed out to him – said he did nothing for two weeks during his bout of bronchitis except lie on his back (and try to breathe).
Arena claimed he hasn’t yet decided who will partner A.J. DeLaGarza in the center of defense Wednesday, but you’ve got to figure the presence of Boyens at Sunday’s scrimmage suggests the Galaxy won’t give a rookie a pro debut in the CL quarterfinals before a crowd of 45,000. Doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, the Galaxy Monday will announce at least two roster cuts and new signings from among unsigned center back Bryan Gaul, former Cal State Northridge midfielder Rafael Garcia, former University of Louisville midfielder Kenny Walker, defender J.T. Murray, a former Sporting Kansas City draft pick and former San Diego State midfielder Justin Davies. They are the only Galaxy players still in camp not under contract.
Decisions have already been made, Arena said.
I’ll have more on the Galaxy’s preparations for the game Wednesday and season in general in Tuesday’s column.