CARSON, Calif. – At the moment, the competition between right backs Matheau Hall, Dan Gargan and James Riley is a friendly one –they do carpool to the stadium every morning after all—but each has a simple goal: prove to the LA Galaxy coaching staff that they deserve a spot on the team’s roster in 2014.
With Sean Franklin and Hector Jimenez departing in the offseason, the Galaxy have sought out cover at the right back spot which led to camp invitations for Hall and 31-year-old Gargan at the start of preseason, and Riley a week later.
Hall, 26, went 45 minutes in strong performance during LA’s 2-2 draw with Chivas USA in a closed-door scrimmage, repeatedly challenging the Rojiblancos defense as he pressed forward early and often. Neither of the veteran defenders appeared in the scrimmage on Wednesday, but Riley, 31, expects to return see time during LA’s preseason friendly against Armenian side FC Shirak this weekend.
HALL: “The camp has been going great. I’ve been given a lot of work in short period of time, but it is going really well. Every day is a challenge because you have come ready to play since it is a position that everyone is hungry to earn. … I think that I add pace out of the back as well as versatility."
GARGAN: “Bruce is looking for competition in the backline and I’m an experienced guy with a lot of games in this league. I think that Bruce is looking for quality players who can compete every day, and this team has a lot of them.”
RILEY: “LA tries to set the bar and I think that’s a fantastic environment to come into. I love the challenge and I love the opportunity, and I am prepared for it. … I just want to build on my first two days [in training]. It’s definitely a marathon and not a sprint. The tortoise won that race, not the hare so I keep that in mind.”
Which of the three players will earn a spot on the roster?
Share your thoughts below.