CARSON, Calif. (Monday, January 23, 2012) – The LA Galaxy opened their 2012 preseason at The Home Depot Center, with a training session in the rain this afternoon at The Home Depot Center. Just over six weeks after the club returned from Australia at the end of their Asia Pacific Tour, the reigning MLS Cup champions were back on the field for the first time as they begin the process of trying to defend that title.
Monday’s training session was focused on fitness, as much of the sessions will be for the first week of camp as the club approaches their preseason opener on Friday, February 3 against the USL Pro League’s Los Angeles Blues. A total of 26 of the 34 players that are currently on the club’s preseason roster were on the field for today’s session, with three players missing out because of injury, while two are away on loan and three more are on international duty.
The club will continue to train throughout the week before taking the weekend off and returning to the field on Monday, January 30 when they begin their second week of preseason.
NEW FACES ARRIVE: There were a total of 14 new faces in attendance today as the Galaxy held their first training session of the year at The Home Depot Center. Off season acquisitions Andrew Boyens, Nick Noble, Pat Noonan, Marcelo Sarvas and Jose Villarreal were all out on the field training as were trialists Bill Gaudette and J.T. Murray. Additionally, six of the club’s seven recent draft picks were on the field as SuperDraft selections Tommy Meyer and Kenney Walker were joined by Supplemental Draft picks Bryan Gaul, Rafael Garcia, Yuri Gorentzvaig and Stephen Posa. Justin Davies, a defender from San Diego State who was the final pick of last week’s Supplemental Draft, did not train as he continues to recover from a left ankle sprain that he suffered prior to joining the club, though he is expected to be on the field for the first time later this week.
THREE AWAY WITH THE U.S.: Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza made his international debut on Saturday, playing the full 90 minutes at right back as the U.S. beat Venezuela 1-0 in Glendale, Arizona. Now entering his fourth season with the Galaxy, DeLaGarza is in the annual January camp with the U.S. for the second straight year, though he did not play in a game for the team last year. DeLaGarza and the rest of Jurgen Klinsmann’s team will be back in action on Wednesday, January 25 when they hit the road to face Panama.
While DeLaGarza was making his international debut in Arizona, Brian Perk and Michael Stephens were in Costa Rica with the U.S. Under-23 National Team. Stephens came on as a second half substitute in a scrimmage with Saprissa while Perk did not play. The U-23’s have one more scrimmage scheduled against LD Alajuelense, who the Galaxy faced in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, before returning to the U.S. later this week.
All three players are expected to join up with their Galaxy teammates in training for the first time on Monday.
ON LOAN UPDATES: Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane continued their preseason loans to Everton and Aston Villa respectively, helping each get points over the weekend.
Playing his fifth game since joining the club at the start of the month, Donovan helped set up a Tim Cahill goal as Everton claimed a 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers at Goodison Park. That result left Everton unbeaten in their last three games in all competitions and gave them 26 points on the year, which is good for 14th place in the Premier League.
Keane scored his first goals in an Aston Villa uniform, tallying twice as his current squad beat his former team, Wolves, 3-2. Making his first start since joining Villa, Keane tied the score at 2-2 in the 51st minute and then scored the game-winner in the 84th minute, giving Alex McLeish’s squad their first Premier League win of 2012, pushing the team up to 11th in the standings.
Both are expected to be back in action this weekend in the FA Cup, with Everton hosting Fulham on Friday night and Aston Villa playing away to Arsenal on Sunday.
The LA Galaxy will play their first official game of 2012 on Wednesday, March 7 when they face Toronto FC in the first leg of their 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, which will be played at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They will open the 2012 MLS season three days later on Saturday, March 10 when they host Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center in MLS First Kick 2012, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. That game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and tickets are on sale now as part of season ticket packages as well as three and six-game plans. Click here for more information on Galaxy tickets or visit www.lagalaxy.com/tickets.