Leonardo overjoyed with first MLS regular season start in nearly two years


CARSON, Calif. -- Mike Magee was the hero as the LA Galaxy crushed the Chicago Fire 4-0 in their MLS regular season opener, but Brazilian defender Leonardo earned a milestone of his own as he made his first MLS appearance since undergoing a serious knee injury in April of 2011.

Leonardo discusses his first start in nearly two years below...

(On how gratifying to be on the field again...)

LEONARDO: "A lot of things were going through my head. Not just today, but even yesterday I was thinking about today. The fact that yes, it was almost two years ago and yes, this very exact team in Chicago when I got injured. And all the training sessions, games and games leading up to this moment I was thinking about everything. And I leave with a good feeling, that I’m ready not just for this game but the season and many more games."

(On if he ever thought about quitting and not being able to play again...)

LEOANRDO: "None. I had my faith in God and with that it was all there. I never lost confidence, I never lost my faith in God. And I just kept working hard."

(On how comfortable he felt today...)

LEOANRDO: I felt good. Like I told you guys at the beginning of the preseason, I wasn’t 100 percent, but I had five games to get in shape. Right now I’m hitting my stride and I’m ready for the season.

(On whether he is past the point of thinking about the knee...)

LEONARDO: No, I don’t think about my knee. I think more about the muscle mass on my knee and giving it enough rest, which I would normally do. I don’t think about the knee being strong enough or not being strong enough.

(On if he felt like he could 90 minutes today...)

LEONARDO: "Yeah, I thought I could play 90 minutes. Yes, it was a time of day where it’s really hot, so that sort of made me level myself a little more, not play very crazy and not make crazy runs. And that would lead to cramps or anything like that. But in the end I was confident in myself going 90 minutes."