CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy, already missing Landon Donovan and Donovan Ricketts because of their respective national team duties for the ongoing CONCACAF Gold Cup, will also be without Juninho for Saturday’s game against Toronto FC at The Home Depot Center (7:30 p.m. PT, PRIME TICKET).
The second-year midfielder’s absence this weekend isn’t soccer-related, however. He’s getting married in Brazil.
“We’ve been giving him a hard time about how his life is over,” forward Mike Magee joked. “We haven’t even met the girl yet."
Juninho has been one of the Galaxy’s steadiest performers this season with 15 starts in 15 games, two goals and one assist. The only game he missed, April 17 in Chicago, was because of a red card late in the 0-0 draw with Toronto FC on April 13.
“He’s been pretty much a rock on the team,” Magee said. “He’s done an amazing job. He’s logged a lot of minutes, but I think it’s going to be good for him to get a break anyway.
“He’ll definitely be missed.”
David Beckham said the Galaxy simply will have to make do, just as they have when other players have been out this season.
“He’s got a special occasion going on back in Brazil,” he said of his teammate. “We’ve said all the way through the season we’re going to have to go without players in certain games, and obviously there’s going to be players injured. It’s just another one of these games that we’ve got players that can come in and play the same sort of ways he plays.
“We just have to deal with what we’ve got. We’ve got a great squad of players, so we should be fine.”
HALL OF FAMER
Veteran defender Todd Dunivant was in Denver earlier this week for his induction into the hall of fame for his old club team, the Colorado Rush.
Dunivant, a native of Wheat Ridge, Colo., said he was touched by a ceremony that featured old video clips (including rare goals with the Galaxy) and the appearances of former teammates and coaches.
Dunivant even spoke for 15 minutes.
“I didn’t know I could talk that long,” he said with a grin.
Dunivant said he initially feared the worst in the festivities.
“You go back and don’t know exactly how those things go, but they did a really good job,” he said. “It was tough to hold back the emotions. It was a special night.”
First-year forward Jack McBean, who turns 17 in December, was called up to the U.S. Under-17 National Team by head coach Wilmer Cabrera on Thursday.
The team, which will compete in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico, plays its first Group D game on June 19 against the Czech Republic. Other first-round games are June 22 against Uzbekistan and June 26 against New Zealand.
The team qualified for the Cup by winning the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 championship in Jamaica in February and will depart for Torreon on Friday to begin final preparations.
McBean, who lives in Newport Beach and signed with the Galaxy on Jan. 28 as a Home Grown player, is the lone MLS professional on the 21-player U.S. roster. He made his U-17 debut in a friendly with Jamaica in January, just days before signing with the Galaxy.
“We obviously think he’s a kid who has potential and a good future,” Arena said. “He hasn’t been with us much; basically the whole spring he’s been with the U-17 program. He’s obviously made some progress since he made their final roster.
“We hope when he comes back he’s a kid we’re going to be able to move forward.”
Juan Pablo Angel, who has two goals in 13 games since coming over from the New York Red Bulls during the offseason, feels ready to go for Saturday’s game against Toronto FC at The Home Depot Center.
Angel has been bothered by a right leg injury for the last 10 days but returned to training this week and said Thursday was “a good day.”
“It’s been very frustrating,” he said. “Hopefully if I don’t have any more problems. I’ll be ready for the weekend.”
Said Arena, “He’s had a little bit of a nagging injury. It looks like he’s over that now and hopefully he can string together some good games for us.”
Arena briefly met with more than 40 coaches who have been at The Home Depot Center for a USSF “A” coaching license audit refresher course.
The instruction began last Friday and continues through Saturday. The coaches also have attended Galaxy Academy training sessions, and half of them watched Monday’s Gold Cup games featuring Guatemala against Honduras and Jamaica-Grenada.
“I told them between the lines is one thing,” Arena said, “but when you step outside the lines you’ve got to meet this group (reporters). It’s always dangerous.”