LA Galaxy coping with curious MLS scheduling

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s Rob Friend had been playing soccer in Europe for more than 10 years and was curious to try his luck with Major League Soccer when he signed during the offseason. What he didn’t expect was the quirkiness of the league’s scheduling.

“It’s a bit strange,” he admitted after training this week.

Just how strange? It’s not so unusual that the Galaxy have this weekend off and resume the regular season on April 6 against Chivas USA, but it’s what they’ve already gone through that has Friend and his teammates shaking their heads.

The Galaxy, for example, have already played Real Salt Lake twice in two weeks and Club Tijuana in CONCACAF Champions League twice in six days. Upcoming are two games against the Vancouver Whitecaps on April 12 and April 19, followed by a two-week break before they play the Colorado Rapids.

They have a return match against Chivas USA on June 8, which will be followed by an almost three-week break before they take on the San Jose Earthquakes. The Galaxy also end the regular season with back-to-back games against the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 19 and Oct. 25.

“I’m still getting used to the scheduling here,” Friend said. “As a player you want to stay in rhythm and it throws it off a bit when you have such a long break between games.”

The Galaxy’s Marcelo Sarvas said he’d rather be playing this weekend.

“It’s a little bit weird for me,” he said. “We just start the season and we have all these days off.

“We don’t need this break.”

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, when asked if his team was a little tired from such a hectic, early schedule, said the Galaxy “would have been fine playing this weekend.”

Defender Todd Dunivant, for one, said he welcomed the time off.

“I think the break comes at a good time, really,” he said. “It gives us a chance to regroup after the [CONCACAF] Champions League. I thought we did a good job responding in Salt Lake and getting that point and letting Champions League not dwell on us.

“I thought it does come at a good time. AJ [DeLaGarza] got a knock and we picked up some injuries. Guys in general are a little fatigued at the start of the season.”

Added Friend, “The good thing about a week like this is you get the extra time to train. It’s a good week to do extra fitness, extra shooting, a good time to work on your game. You can never work too much on your game.”

“We had issues with the schedule when it came out and haven’t been able to resolve it,” Arena said.

“Thank God we’re not playing Salt Lake this weekend,” he said with a grin. “We’ve got that going for us.”