Suspended for Seattle, Juninho expects to play "significant minutes" against Metapan

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Suspended for the LA Galaxy’s MLS Regular Season finale against Seattle Sounders FC, Brazilian midfielder Juninho is expected to log plenty of minutes in Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapán.

Juninho picked up his fifth yellow card in the closing stages of Sunday’s scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, which ruled him out for the Seattle trip, but with the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs looming, the midfielder believes it’s imperative for him to stay sharp by featuring in El Salvador.  

“I know that I need to keep my fitness in good shape so I’m going to play significant minutes tomorrow and I hope that we can get points here and get 12 points in total,” Juninho told at the team’s training session at the Estadio Cuscatlán on Wednesday. “I hope that I can pass my experience onto the guys on the field and make them comfortable. We’re going to try hard to get three points.”

LA will try to get those points at the cavernous Estadio Cuscatlán where the shaggy field conditions may be an issue. A far cry from the well groomed pitches in MLS, Cuscatlán’s thick grass surface is likely to play a role in Thursday’s contest.

Although this may have been an issue for other players, Juninho believes that he can equip himself well to the conditions.  

“It’s very familiar to me because in Brazil where I grew up, we have a couple stadiums like this where the grass is very long like it is here,” said Juninho. “It’s a little difficult compared to the American stadiums, but we’ll need to do our best and not focus on those issues.”