CARSON, Calif. – Finally healthy after knee injuries decimated his last two seasons, burly LA Galaxy center back Leonardo is making the most of his opportunities in the Galaxy back four.
Leonardo has started five of the Galaxy’s last six matches in all competitions, which includes three starts in the Guinness International Champions Cup. During those appearances, Leonardo has looked confident alongside a variety of center back partners, but he has shined with Omar Gonzalez to form a formidable and sizable combination.
After his impressive showings, it is likely that Leonardo will lineup against Gonzalez again on Saturday when the Galaxy take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“I feel good right now,” Leonardo said earlier this week. “I didn't play a whole year, then I came back last year and I played some, then I didn't play some games, then I played again, didn't play again. Right now I have to thank God I am getting games, and I have to keep working hard to maintain that rhythm.”
Key to Leonardo building a rhythm has been his ability to stay healthy, which he attributes to a new workout regimen that includes pilates and more time in the weight room. This added commitment to staying fit has not gone unnoticed by the Galaxy coaching staff.
“He just continues to get better,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We knew it was going to take time. He had a few minor setbacks this year but now is headed in the right direction.”
“Now that he's gotten this good, long stretch of being available, he's gotten into a rhythm,” associate head coach Dave Sarachan said. “And when you get into that rhythm and you get minutes, you get confidence. ... Now the true player that we felt we knew a year and a half ago is starting to emerge.”