CARSON, Calif. – As the LA Galaxy prepare for life without A.J. DeLaGarza for the foreseeable future, the Galaxy appear ready to give Tommy Meyer the chance to partner alongside Omar Gonzalez in central defense.
Although Meyer struggled at the outset of his rookie year—with many commenting that he was thrown in too early—he has shown great personal growth over the last five months of the season. Last Sunday, while filling in for the injured DeLaGarza, Meyer looked like an accomplished center back in 56 minutes of action—his first since May 5 and his first league game alongside Gonzalez— helping LA claim a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids.
“I learned a lot in those first couple games that I played,” Meyer admitted on Tuesday. “I made some mistakes and the only thing that you can do is learn from those after those couple games that I wasn’t playing for a while, I had a talk with the coaches and they told me what I needed to work on. I thought that I improved on the little things they wanted me to do.”
Paramount to Meyer’s success will be his ability to form an effective partnership with Gonzalez, who he has only made one league appearance with as well as a brief stint together during LA’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur.
“He’s the best center back in the league, it’s kind of hard not to play with him,” said Meyer. “Omar is a bigger guy, I think that one thing that I’ve learned is that I need to be more physical and if we have the both of us being physical then that is something that could help us.”
Although the Galaxy have a host of other options including the likes of Andrew Boyens, David Junior Lopes and Bryan Gaul among others, Meyer is ready should his name be called in Saturday’s match against Real Salt Lake, the team that Meyer made his MLS debut against back in March.
“I’m just ready for whatever gets thrown at me. I think that’s how the whole group’s mentality is. Whomever [Bruce Arena] calls on, you’re ready,” said Meyer. “This is a chance to improve and help the team. Everyone wants to step in and help. You get your chances throughout the year, everyone has had them and hopefully however gets to step in does a good job.”
LEONARDO OUT FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR
One option the back that the LA Galaxy cannot call upon is Brazilian defender Leonardo.
At training on Wednesday, head coach Bruce Arena confirmed that Leonardo was “not ready to play” and would not feature for the remainder of the year. Leonardo has been on the disabled list since June 15 and due to the league’s roster freeze is unable to appear for LA for the duration of this season.
This caps a difficult year for Leonardo, who is still working through complications from a knee surgery last April that limited him to two Reserve League appearances and a 90 minute stint against the Carolina Railhawks in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
STANLEY CUP PAYS A VISIT TO TRAINING
The LA Galaxy had a special visitor at Wednesday’s training session—the Stanley Cup.
At the stadium for an Los Angeles Kings season ticket holder event later in the afternoon, Lord Stanley’s Cup paid a visit to The HDC training grounds at the end of the Galaxy’s session. Some of the players paused to take photos with the prestigious trophy, but none chose to lift the National Hockey League’s championship trophy.
“It’s certainly nice to see such a historic trophy,” said self-professed Kings fan Bruce Arena. “We won [MLS Cup] last year so it helps the guys to think that we’d like to win one again this year as well…Certainly it’s inspirational to athletes to see such a historic trophy as the Stanley Cup.”
Made a new friend today!...Mr. Stanley instagr.am/p/QVZr14LsaV/— Rafael Garcia(@Rafizzy07) October 3, 2012
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com