Midweek Notebook – Set for the Crew

Lewis returns as Galaxy prepare for the Crew

lewis_boca

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora

Eddie Lewis didn't feel any more
stiff or sore Monday morning, but the aches and pains still felt great to the
LA Galaxy's 36-year-old midfielder.

The veteran of two World Cups and
more than 80 national team caps returned to action for the first time since the
2010 season opener. Lewis played 72 minutes as the Galaxy captain in a 1-0
victory over Argentina's
Boca Juniors in an international friendly at The Home Depot Center before being
replaced by Todd Dunivant.

Lewis had just returned to full-time
training last week after being sidelined with an injury to his left foot. Lewis
said he tore the ligament from the bone "quite a long time ago," and
a hard tackle in a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on March 27
aggravated the condition.

"The ligament won't necessarily
grow back on ... a lot of scar tissue builds up over it," he said. "A
couple of times over the course of my career I've torn that scar tissue back
off the bone, and it takes a while to heal up. I've got a lump on there now
that's probably for good."

Lewis said the team's success -- the
Galaxy is 8-0-2, 10 points clear atop the Western Conference -- made his
inactivity a little less frustrating.

"It's easier when you're
winning games, that's for sure," he said.

"You're always disappointed
when you're not playing, but it does make it a bit easier when the team is
doing well. You certainly don't feel as helpless."

Nothing beats being back in the mix,
he added.

"Absolutely," he said.
"That's what you miss most, training every day and then the games come
along. Those are obviously tough days. Not being able to train with the guys
and compete with them, that's the hardest part."

HELLO AGAIN

The Galaxy's Chris Klein will be
meeting up with an old friend in Saturday's showdown in Columbus against the unbeaten Crew.

Klein will be facing Crew goalkeeper
Will Hesmer, his former teammate in Kansas
City in 2004 and 2005. Hesmer was Kansas City's 17th overall draft pick out of
the University of Wake Forest in 2004, and Klein quickly sensed Hesmer had
special qualities. Hesmer currently has a 6-0-2 record, four shutouts and a
0.75 goals-against-average.

"Physically he commands a lot
of respect in the goal," Klein said.

"He's a good shot stopper, he's
very smart, he can read the game and he knows the game. When you look at their
team and what they represent and why they're so difficult to break down, he's a
big reason for that."

Klein, who said Hesmer played a
major role during recent talks for a new collective bargaining agreement, said
the 28-year-old doesn't get mentioned enough in discussions involving top MLS
goalkeepers.

"I know the type of person that
he is and the type of goalie that he is," Klein said. "He was always
one of those guys that even when he was very young we knew that he'd be a very
good goalkeeper in this league for a long time. He has the right approach
mentally and physically he's very gifted.

"That makes for a very good
combination for a goalie."

FORMIDABLE

Galaxy defender Sean Franklin understandably has been impressed with
the Crew, who top the East by five points. Columbus is led in scoring by Guillermo
Barros Schelotto's four goals, but Andy Iro, Eddie Gaven and Emilio Renteria
each have two. Gaven, Frankie Hedjuk and Scheletto also have two assists each.

"They're a good team," Franklin said. "I've
seen some film of some of their games, and they've scored a number of goals on
set pieces.

“They're just a tough opponent this
week ... we have to be sharp."

Franklin, asked if this could be the best
team the Galaxy have faced this season, said, "They might be. They're like
us, undefeated."

LET'S GET PHYSICAL

Tristan Bowen, now in his second
full season in Los Angeles,
drew praise from head coach Bruce Arena for his play in Sunday's 1-0 victory
over Boca Juniors.

Bowen not only scored the
game-winning goal in the 83rd minute, but he also emerged unscathed from a
running battle with Boca Juniors defender Breyner Bonilla, who roughed him up
almost the entire match.

Bowen had the last laugh, though,
when he got free from Bonilla to score the game's lone goal.

"He did a great job,"
Bowen said of his opponent. "Like I've always said, if we battle for 90
minutes we'll get results. He kind of wore out toward the end of the game, and
I was fortunate to get in front of the goal and get one in.

"That was pretty
exciting."