Nearly halfway through the 2010 MLS season, the LA Galaxy have just a single loss to their name, with that lone defeat coming via a blown offside call that gifted Real Salt Lake a 1-0 home win on June 9.
Making the near-record breaking start all that more impressive is the fact that the club has accomplished it with a never-ending rotation of injured players. Add into that the absence of Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan, the MLS leaders in goals and assists, respectively.
But now those two are back and the Galaxy’s veteran midfielder Chris Klein could not be happier.
“We did OK with them being gone, but to get two world-class players back and insert them right away into our lineup is great,” he said. “We're excited for what they did for our country and we're excited to have them back and make us push on in the second half of the season.”
Klein’s fellow midfielder Eddie Lewis agreed with that assessment.
“Having them back without a doubt is a big lift in terms of goal-scoring ability. Landon without a doubt is the best player in the league. It's a huge boost for us; for everyone else it's probably a big realization that this is a good team and not just dependent on one or two players.”
But it’s not just the return of those two that has buoyed the spirits in Galaxy camp this week. The team has also welcomed back long-time injury victims such as Lewis, Dema Kovalenko, Leonardo and many others, making the team with the best record in MLS, once again the deepest.
“It's reassuring for everybody. It's been a big goal of the entire team and organization for the last 18 months to build a strong, consistent, rotatable squad and it's probably gone just about as well as it could have,” Klein said. “We demonstrated it is a good squad, and a lot of guys are capable of getting the job done.”
After struggling at times to dress 18 healthy bodies for much of the season, Bruce Arena will now have 22 of his 24 players available to him, with only the injured Mike Magee, who was placed on the club’s Disabled List last week, and the on loan Yohance Marshall unavailable for selection.
The Galaxy have jumped to the top of the MLS standings without a number of players over the first three months of the year. Now, with nearly the full squad available, they will look to cement their position there over the final three months of the year.