Notebook: Galaxy return to training after short break
CARSON, Calif— After a few days off to start the week, the Galaxy were back in training on Thursday morning at The Home Depot Center. The full squad had not been together since last Friday and head coach Bruce Arena feels that the time away was good for his group.
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“The break was good,” Arena said. “I think we needed it with all the games, the travel and the heat that we dealt with. So hopefully it’s a good break for the guys.”
The club will train the rest of this week and all of next week, including a Reserve League game in Vancouver on Tuesday, ahead of their meeting with Portland at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, June 17. That game will be their first MLS regular season game since May 26.
Josh Saunders, who has missed the last six regular season games while completing Major League Soccer’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program, was on the field training with the rest of the Galaxy goalkeepers under the direction of Ian Feuer. Saunders, who played the full 90 minutes in LA’s 2-1 Reserve League win over Portland on Saturday, has officially completed the program and is eligible to play next weekend when the Galaxy resume their regular season schedule. The 31-year-old resumed training with the club late last month ahead of the May 23 home game against San Jose but had not been cleared to play.
Saunders was in goal for each of LA’s first six regular season games of the year, helping them earn a 3-3-0 record with a 1.67 goals against average and 16 saves, including one on an Omar Cummings penalty kick in second half stoppage time of a 2-1 win at Colorado on April 21. That was his last appearance with the Galaxy in a league game.
The Galaxy welcomed a couple of new faces to training on Thursday with defender Andy Iro and midfielder Robbie Rogers each joining the team on the field. The pair were each teammates with the Columbus Crew from 2008-11 before Iro was traded to Toronto FC in July 2011.
A Southern California native, Rogers signed with Leeds United in England following the 2011 MLS season and remains under contract with the club who play in the English League Championship.
Iro, a central defender who played his college soccer at UC Santa Barbara, was a first round pick by the Crew in the first round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, two picks after Sean Franklin. He appeared in 17 games with the Crew and Toronto FC last season. He was unable to agree to terms on a new contract with TFC following the season and the club announced in January that he would not be returning for the 2012 campaign.
The 27-year-old is a native of Liverpool, England. He has appeared in 71 regular season games during his MLS career, making 58 starts while scoring five goals and adding an assist. He helped the Crew win consecutive Supporters’ Shields in 2008 and 2009 and their first MLS Cup in 2008 when he made 18 appearances as a rookie. He has also played in four postseason games in that time, including the final minutes of MLS Cup 2008 when he came on as a late substitute.