Quest for Three: First bye week since June vital for the LA Galaxy as they seek to return key players from injury

Galaxy taking some time to “exhale” during their first idle week since mid-June

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As the LA Galaxy continue their Quest for Three, each week, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will discuss the upcoming match and its playoff implications. With no match this week, the Galaxy reflect on the importance of their bye week.

CARSON, Calif.  – In the heat of the playoff chase, teams rarely get a chance to catch their breath in the midst of the decisive stretch, but this week, the LA Galaxy will receive just that.   

The Galaxy will receive a much needed respite this week after navigating a hectic schedule that has seen them play at least once every week—in MLS Regular Season, CONCACAF Champions League or Guinness International Champions Cup play— since the week of June 11. During that nearly four month span, the Galaxy have compiled an 11-9-4 record in all matches since their last full week without a game.

With more than a week to prepare for their important clash with the Montreal Impact at StubHub Center on Oct. 16, the Galaxy are simply hoping to return to full fitness as they look to close out the season and lock down a berth in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.

“We won’t keep the intensity level up this week because there’s no point in doing that,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “What we’re going to do is just get guys as healthy as possible and have a number of options for our games next week.”

The chance to provide players with a time to get healthy ahead of next Wednesday’s match against the Impact is pivotal as the Galaxy are dealing with a series of injuries to a number of important pieces.  Despite their impressive 5-0 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday, the Galaxy were missing midfielder Juninho due to a right adductor strain and center back Leonardo, who has been limited with left adductor fatigue since last playing in the 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Sept. 21.

The two Brazilians weren’t the only players banged up, however, as center back Omar Gonzalez withdrew from U.S. National Team duty on Monday with a left hip strain that was suffered during the first half of the match against Chivas USA.  Also, defender A.J. DeLaGarza remains on the comeback trail from a dislocated left elbow suffered on Sept. 14 while midfielder Robbie Rogers continues to battle back from a left hamstring strain that has plagued him since mid-August.

With so many important players on the mend, defender Todd Dunivant said that the team’s “mental break” is important as they prepare to close the season and one of his LA teammates is quick to agree. 

“It’s the time of the year where we don’t normally have breaks,” said right back Sean Franklin.  “We’ve got a chance to get guys healthy, so it’s nice to have that. We’ve got a nice stretch of games and every point matters. It’s nice to get guys back on the field who may have picked some nicks and knocks.

“We’re excited that Leonardo is getting back into things and A.J. will be back soon. We’re getting guys back healthy at the time right. That’s what you want with the team clicking going into the last couple games of our season.”

Getting the team “clicking” ahead of the end of the season is vital to LA’s aspirations of winning their third consecutive MLS Cup title. With the possibility of six more playoff games ahead of them, getting important pieces back from injury will go a long way in helping the Galaxy position themselves to achieve that goal.  

But before they return to the toil of the playoff chase next Wednesday, it’s important to take a little time to exhale.

“It’s been a real grind the last five or six weeks, so it’s just about taking a deep breath as we get ready for final stretch because it’s going to come fast and furious again,” said Dunivant.  “We’re going to have to go to El Salvador again [to face Isidro Metapán] on Oct. 24 and every league game from here on out is huge results wise.”

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com