Dan Gargan ready to step up in the absence of the injured James Riley

CARSON, Calif. – When LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena turns to you and says “You’re in,” there’s no time to think.

That was the situation facing Galaxy defender Dan Gargan during last Saturday’s 1-1 tie with Real Salt Lake in Sandy, Utah. The game was in its 33rd minute when Galaxy right back James Riley was involved in a collision with RSL’s Ned Grabavoy that forced Riley out of the game with what turned out to be torn meniscus in his left knee.

Gargan was just beginning to get loose on the sideline when he received word he was going in as a substitute.

“I got one sprint from the bench to the corner flag, back to the bench and that was it,” the 33-year-old said with a grin. “Bruce says ‘You’re in,’ you don’t question when Bruce says you’re in.”

Gargan, in his ninth MLS season, said he wasn’t sure of his availability because of a nagging groin injury. But he helped stabilize a back line that also lost the services of A.J. DeLaGarza (left ankle contusion) after a hard tackle by Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio in the 62nd minute and the Galaxy salvaged a hard-earned draw.

“That was a difficult situation, literally coming in cold like that,” said Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant, who just returned to the lineup after nursing a hamstring injury during preseason. “He handled it really well. He did exactly what he needed to do.

“He came in, stepped in and did a great job.”

Gargan originally was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the fourth round of the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft and has been with five MLS clubs, including Chivas USA (2008), before joining the Galaxy on a trial basis during preseason and signing with the club earlier this month.

Gargan, who spent last season with the San Jose Earthquakes, said it didn’t take long for him to decide to come to L.A.

“Obviously, the Galaxy is one of the best organizations in the world, certainly our country,” he said. “A great roster to be a part of.

“No, there wasn’t much of a thought,” he added with a grin.

Now it appears he could be in the starting lineup, with Riley expected to be out several weeks because of impending knee surgery. Gargan said he is only happy to do his part.

“I’ve been training well,” he said. “Obviously you never want to see guys go down, and it’s unfortunate that James had that happen. He’s dealt with injuries in the past, he’s a hard worker. He’ll be back.

“I’ve been in this league a long time and I feel good with my ability. I’m happy to contribute.”

Dunivant said the Galaxy’s right side of defense will be in good hands.

“Dan’s been around for a long time,” he said. “He’s kind of like one of those guys you know what you’re getting with him. He’s got pace, obviously he’s a right back and he’s done well over the years.

“He’s another guy who’s a good piece for us to have.”