CARSON, Calif. – Contrary to popular opinion Sunday has not been marked on the calendar of the LA Galaxy’s Laurent Courtois for weeks. All the 35-year-old knows is this weekend’s SuperClasico at StubHub Center (2 p.m., Time Warner Cable SportsNet, UniMas) has definite playoff implications.
That it happens to be against his former club, the one that originally brought him to MLS in 2011, really doesn’t matter, he pointed out.
“It’s going to be a little bit weird, I guess, but nothing special for me,” he said after training Wednesday. “I’m just busy trying to do my best to help the team for the playoffs.”
Courtois, a native of Lyon, France, was in his third season playing for Chivas USA when he was released in mid-July. He soon called Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski and inquired about the possibility of coming in to train with the Galaxy. The veteran of the French, English and Spanish leagues arrived a few days later and spent two weeks training with the club while also featuring against Portland in a Reserve League game. After impressing in his trial, the Galaxy signed him on July 19.
He has played in four regular season games – including each of the last two games against Seattle and Portland – and has also scored twice for the club in CONCACAF Champions League, including the lone goal in the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan on Sept. 18.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said Courtois has been a solid addition to the club given his versatility in the midfield as well as his experience. Once the veteran became available, Arena said it pretty much was a no-brainer to bring him in.
“We obviously knew Laurent from being around Chivas. We saw him often and knew about him as a person and a player,” Arena said. “I felt at the time we were a little thin in a couple of positions he could play and be a good addition.
“He comes out as a real professional every day and he’s been able to help us obviously with some minutes with the first team, as well as a reserve. He just brings a good approach to things every day and he’s respected.
“He’s not a guy that at this point in his career he’s going to play 90 minutes every game. But he can still give us minutes to help the team, and he’s done that.”
Courtois said he holds no animosity toward his former club and still keeps in touch with many of his former teammates. If he sees them in the hallways of StubHub Center, he’ll likely stop and say hello – even during this rivalry week.
“Pretending we don’t see each other would be pretty dumb,” he said. “This is the way it is for soccer players. I’ve been doing this for a while, and I was aware those kinds of things may happen when I first got here.
“I’m 35, I’m a big boy. Nothing surprises me.”
Courtois said he still counts his blessings that he moved down the hall to the two-time defending MLS Cup champions.
“I’m with the biggest club in MLS,” he said. “We play Champions League, I’m playing with the top DP’s you can find in the league, I’m in Los Angeles where my family is really happy.
“It’s worked out well. I want to be a part of the team’s success in the next game and see if I can grab minutes and be decisive.”