CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal is back with the LA Galaxy from international duty and the Homegrown forward may slide right into LA’s starting XI starting with Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal second leg against C.S. Herediano.
Villarreal returned to Southern California last week from Mexico after scoring three goals while helping the U.S. reach the final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship and qualify for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in Turkey. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena opted not to bring Villarreal to Costa Rica last week, but he told reporters on Tuesday that “all options are available” ahead of Wednesday’s decisive tie.
Should Villarreal start, he’ll likely be placed alongside Robbie Keane up top while the Galaxy captain’s current forward partner Mike Magee slides into midfield. If Arena does opt to start the 19-year-old forward on Wednesday, Keane is confident that he can do the job.
“He’s a great young player. I told him last year at the end of the season before I left that ‘next year could be a big season for you, so make sure you keep yourself fit and keep yourself sharp when you come back for preseason’ and that is what he’s done,” said Keane. “He’s been with the national team and played very well with them. He’s a good player and he’s good to play with because he’s very clever and the two of us like to keep the ball on the ground and play to feet.
“Mike Magee can fit in there also, so [Villarreal has] got to come in and do as good a job,” added Keane. “Naturally, he’s kind of a front man, and like I said, he’s been playing regular games with the national team so he’s fit and sharp. He looks good in training and hopefully, we can play well together.”
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