The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Landon Donovan for the month of July as he looks to lead the U.S. National Team to glory at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, but they aren’t alone as 31 other players from 16 MLS teams will be taking part in the tournament’s group stages.
That number could grow after the group stage as the teams that advance to the knockout stages will be able to amend their rosters with players from their 35-man preliminary rosters—a prime example of this type of player is LA’s own Omar Gonzalez, who is considered likely to join the U.S. after the initial round.
Although the Galaxy are expected to feel the sting of the tournament, they may capitalize on it as two of their remaining four opponents in the month of July will be without key members of their respective squads.
On Thursday, the Columbus Crew were without the services of Costa Rican winger Jairo Arrieta during LA’s 2-1 victory. A third team would have been included in the list if the Galaxy’s next opponent FC Dallas had not reached an agreement with the Panamanian Federation to keep forward Blas Perez through Sunday’s match at StubHub Center.
After the Dallas match, Bruce Arena’s squad will take on the Portland Timbers on July 13 at JELD-WEN Field, who will be without captain Will Johnson (Canada), left back Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica), and forward Frédéric Piquionne (Martinique). The Timbers can make a case for the team most affected by the tournament as they will be without their leader in goals (Johnson), leader in assists (Wallace), and an emerging offensive contributor (Piquionne). With LA aiming to make a run up the Western Conference standings, they may be making the trip up to Portland at just the right time.
A week later, the Galaxy will take on a Vancouver Whitecaps FC side on July 20 that could also be missing three players: midfielder Russell Teibert and goalkeeper Simon Thomas (Canada) as well as defender Carlyle Mitchell (Trinidad and Tobago). The latter two may be fringe players for the Whitecaps, but LA fans remember Teibert, who notched a brace against the club in their last meeting on May 11 at BC Place. Teibert may not be the only player missing from Vancouver's roster when the Whitecaps come to visit, however, as center back Johnny Leverón was named to Honduras’ 35-man preliminary roster and could be called up after the group stage.
The Galaxy wrap on their July slate on the 27th at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park when they take on a Colorado Rapids side free of Gold Cup entanglements. Colorado is one of three teams (New England Revolution and Montreal Impact being the others) who will not be affected by the tournament during the group stage.
Can the Galaxy capitalize on this opportunity? Will LA make a run up the table in July?