Typically after a tough home loss, Galaxy coaches and players can go home, rest and ponder what went wrong.
After Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League loss to Puerto Rico, though, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and four of the team’s key players will have a bit of a different scenario in which to try and move on.
Immediately following their 4-1 loss to Puerto Rico at Home Depot Center, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Omar Gonzalez and Donovan Ricketts joined Arena on a private plane bound from Los Angeles to Houston. As the sun rises in southeast Texas, then, the quintet of All-Stars will be in town for the MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United.
No matter the score, though, Arena insisted the approach to the All-Star Game stays the same.
“It doesn’t change anything from the way it was going to be. We were going to this All-Star Game, myself and four players, regardless of the result,” Arena said. “[Wednesday] night we’ll be in the All-Star Game against a prestigious opponent and I look forward to that. [Tuesday] doesn’t tarnish that.”
While neither Ricketts nor Gonzalez played, Donovan and Buddle each went the distance against Puerto Rico. As each player is a member of the First XI, the two would likely have been key players for the MLS All-Stars under different circumstances. Now the league leader in assists (Donovan) and the league leader in goals (Buddle) will likely have limited roles in the All-Star Game.
For his part, Buddle said he’s in a bit of a holding pattern.
“We’ll see. I’m just taking it minute by minute,” Buddle said when asked how much he felt he could play. “Hopefully I can just do whatever Bruce wants me to do out there. We have plenty of guys out there who didn’t play [Tuesday] who can play.”
The loss likely won’t affect him mentally heading into the All-Star Game, though.
“The older I get, the better I am of having a short memory and try to put this one behind me as quickly as possible,” Buddle said. “It does hurt right now but we just try to move forward and [Wednesday] will take care of itself.
Donovan, meanwhile, said he was unsure of his own status for the match.
“We’ll see how my body feels and then go from there,” Donovan said.
Even though the focus will be on Manchester United, Arena admitted that Puerto Rico will still be on his mind.
“It will still be stinging [Wednesday], believe me,” Arena said. “But I need to be a good professional as well as our players and we move on to that challenge [Wednesday] night the way in the way we’re supposed to and then when we return we resume business the way we’re supposed to.”
As far as the Galaxy’s All-Star representatives go, two out of the four look in good shape for getting minutes.
“Ricketts and Gonzalez are certainly going to be able to play,” Arena said. “Buddle and Donovan, it will certainly depend on what they’re like after the travel and how they feel [Wednesday].”