The LA Galaxy got off to what head coach Bruce Arena called a "sluggish" start in training on Monday in what could be a hectic eight days for the Western Conference front-runners.
Not only do the Galaxy play Saturday in Toronto, which happens to be hosting the two-day G20 summit on Saturday and Sunday, they also are scheduled for a Third Round game in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup the following Tuesday, either at The Home Depot Center against AC St. Louis or against the NSC Minnesota Stars in Blaine, Minn..
But first there is the matter of this weekend's game against Toronto FC, who are the only team to take a point from the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center thanks to a 0-0 draw on May 15. Arena said there was no discussion regarding moving Saturday's game because of the summit, which annually invites finance ministers and central bank governors from around the world and has a history of touching off huge protests that occasionally have turned violent. Arena also said there was no chance of the Galaxy hosting the game in Los Angeles, since the teams already had played there and MLS requires a home-and-away series between all teams.
Major League Baseball, on the other hand, did move this weekend's series between the Blue Jays and Phillies from Toronto to Philadelphia because of what Commissioner Bud Selig earlier told the Associated Press were "security considerations."
Arena said he wasn't worried about any potential problems caused by the summit and the increased security in Toronto. Many parts of the city literally will be closed off to outsiders.
"What am I going to do about it?" Arena said. "The league should have been a little more understanding during the scheduling. It came in late, and it is what it is. I'm not going to worry about it ... I think it's more of a headache for the home team than it is for us."
The Galaxy could have an additional travel burden, depending on the outcome of Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup second-round match between AC St. Louis and NSC Minnesota Stars. That game, pitting two USSF Division 2 Pro League teams, will be played in Blaine, Minn. They earlier met on May 29, with the Stars winning 3-2.
Another Stars victory would mean they would host the Galaxy on Tuesday, June 29 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., and the Galaxy would fly directly from Toronto to Minnesota. If AC St. Louis wins, the Galaxy would host that matchup at The Home Depot Center on Tuesday.
The Galaxy aren't concerned so much about that potential meeting as they are with Saturday's game in Toronto, a team which has given them trouble. The Galaxy are 3-2-1 all-time against the Canadian side, including 1-1-1 on the road. The presence of the G20 summit shouldn't pose any additional problems, players said.
"It's a major metropolitan city, and the eyes of the world, I guess, are going to be on it," midfielder Chris Klein said. "We feel safe going in there, and we know the business we have to take care of. It really doesn't concern us."
Added defender Todd Dunivant, who played in Toronto during the 2008 season, "I don't think it will be a distraction. It's not any of our concern, and it's out of our control anyway. I don't even think it's anything that's on our radar at this point. It's not a big deal or something we're going to have to focus on or worry about.
"We just heard the G20 summit was going on, and most of the guys probably don't know what that is. We'll leave it at that."