Since joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in the offseason, Clint Mathis hasn't had much of an influence on his new club.
In February, Mathis had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and is just now getting back to full training. He has yet to dress for a match, let alone see any playing time.
Mathis did play roughly 75 minutes in a scrimmage on Tuesday in a 3-0 win against the Ventura County Fusion and is in the running to be part of the Galaxy squad next weekend.
So having the chance to debut against his former club, Real Salt Lake, should likely serve as an added bit of motivation and make his first game back with the Galaxy a bit more meaningful. Right?
The Galaxy will host Real Salt Lake on Saturday and Mathis longs to play in the match for the sake of playing, not to try and exact any sort of revenge on his former team.
“I don’t think the first game will matter,” Mathis said. “Hopefully it would be one of those situations where I’ll be fit enough and feel stable enough in my knee to know that I’m not going to hurt it any worse if I could play in that game.”
Mathis wasn't necessarily a favorite of the Galaxy’s in 2009. After all, he helped Real Salt Lake win MLS Cup ’09 at the Galaxy’s expense. The former U.S. international entered MLS Cup as a substitute when Javier Morales was injured early in the match and was an influential part of the game. He converted a penalty in the decisive shootout as RSL beat the Galaxy in a shootout.
Early in 2010, however, Mathis and RSL parted ways on good terms as the one-time Galaxy player re-joined the club a day after the SuperDraft. There is no sense of hatred or bitterness in Mathis.
“It’s just a matter of getting to see them and competing with those guys," he said. "There’s nothing personal or anything in that regards. They did me a favor as well as the Galaxy to bring me back to a team I wanted to end my career with. There are no hard feelings by any means in that locker room.”
RSL say they will present Mathis with his MLS Cup championship ring at Rio Tinto Stadium when the Galaxy visit Sandy, Utah, on June 9.
Does Mathis keep tabs on his former team? He said he has been paying close attention to the defending MLS Cup champions.
“Their team’s looking good and I think it’s going to show if they continue to play as well as they’re playing,” Mathis said. “In the first [three] games they’ve definitely looked good.”