Preseason Notes: Juninho update, on-field training intensifies and more

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy finally broke up their intense fitness preparation on Monday by participating in short-sided games for much for the club’s training session.

After spending the first week focusing primarily on fitness work, the session represented an opportunity for head coach Bruce Arena to evaluate his players in a new way.

“It’s just a start, we had five weeks before we open so we have plenty of time, but it was good to get the guys out in a regular training session today,” said Arena. “It’s a group of young players, but it was good to see how some of the responded to the training and look at their habits as well as things they do well and not do well so we can build on that.”

Midfielder Michael Stephens was overjoyed to take part in actual on-field work.

“Finally, we cut up the monotony of running around in a circle. We took the balls out and I thought that we had a good first day. I thought that everyone was pretty sharp,” said Stephens. “On the first day, it is usually pretty frantic, but it was generally very good. You can kind of see all the new guys and how they are on the ball as well as how everyone came back from the offseason. It’s a lot more fun than just straight running.”

A couple more notes below…

* Arena told reporters on Monday that Juninho will “probably” be at Galaxy training on Wednesday.  Juninho is currently in Brazil awaiting his visa. 

 *The Galaxy dealt with windy conditions today that seem to cause a greater problem for the assembled media than the players. Stephens had this to say on the conditions: “Today was windy which is a surprise for L.A. because we’re used to it being sunny and calm every day. It was nice until we did the wind sprints after practice because I think these 15 or 20 mph wind gusts made it hard to run on one side of the field.”

*One of the players who impressed in practice on Monday was Brazilian defender Leonardo who has recovered from the knee injuries that have plagued him over the past two years. writer Larry Morgan spoke to Leonardo to discuss his recovery.