CARSON, Calif. – With a quick turnaround and numerous injuries, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has repeatedly stated that he anticipates lineup changes for Sunday’s Western Conference Semifinal first leg
One potential change could see Marcelo Sarvas slot into the center of midfield, in place of his compatriot Juninho. During Thursday’s Knockout Round victory over Vancouver Whitecaps, Juninho took a knock to his right Achilles, but has admitted that he is hopeful that he could feature in some capacity on Sunday. Juninho did not train on Saturday, but head coach Bruce Arena told reporters after training that “his status is that he’ll be playing” on Sunday.
However, if Juninho is unable to start, Sarvas represents an option, particularly after his role in helping spark the Galaxy attack in Thursday's win.
“I don’t know what is going to happen. I hope [Juninho is] back and we have our full team ready to play,” said Sarvas. “If I have to play there, you don’t have to think too much, you just have to be ready to help the team in that position.”
Adding Sarvas to the lineup could be a benefit for LA as the Brazilian midfielder enjoyed great success during the two teams’ 2-2 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium in October. Throughout the match, Sarvas helped fuel the Galaxy attack by completing 24 of 31 passes while helping LA control wide stretches of the game. Despite his success, San Jose was still able to battle back from two deficits to earn a 2-2 draw against the Galaxy. But regardless of the result, Sarvas believes the Galaxy understand San Jose’s style of play.
“It’s a very simple game, the ball is in the defense, it’s a long ball direct to the forwards, and we fight for the second ball. For 90 minutes, they play like that. It’s nothing beautiful to see, it’s some kind of boring football in my opinion, but it’s the way that they are leading the league so we have to respect that, and be ready for it.”
And just how does Sarvas believe the Galaxy will approach San Jose?
“You have to be physical also; you have to be ready for the second balls,” said Sarvas. “You cannot rest during the game; you have to be alert for 90 minutes.”