CARSON, Calif. – Southern California has been stricken with a heat wave that has led to triple-digit temperatures across the region, and like everyone else in the Southland, the LA Galaxy have felt the effects.
In order to protect his players from the scorching sun, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has moved up his training times throughout the week to avoid the rising temperatures that could cause his players to breakdown in the heat.
Although many members of the Galaxy are familiar with the heat after lengthy careers in MLS, Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki admits that that it has been difficult to handle. Upon signing with the Galaxy during the offseason, Ishizaki told reporters that he believed there would be a transition period to playing in the heat, which he admits is still ongoing.
“Luckily, none of the games have been in these temperatures. I’m not used to it and while you try to make your usual runs and keep up with the tempo, it’s hard,” said Ishizaki. “Luckily, we take a lot of breaks in training and get a lot of water in us. We try to do our best.”
Although Ishizaki may like to think that he'll eventually acclimate to training in triple-digit temperatures, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane paints a bleak picture.
“I never get prepared for this type of weather. It’s too hot for me,” Keane joked with reporters after training on Thursday.
Dealing with heat is something that LA’s opponents on the weekend, the Houston Dynamo are quite familiar used to handling. The last time that the Galaxy traveled to BBVA Compass Stadium back in May 2012, LA fell 2-1 as the midday Texas heat, with temperatures that reached over 90-degrees, overwhelmed the Galaxy.
This time around, the Galaxy will take on the Dynamo at 7:00 PM local time in manageable yet humid 85-degree temperatures which according to Keane should lessen the impact of the weather on Saturday’s match.
“Obviously, Houston is going to be in the evening but very humid,” said Keane. “Their players will be used to it because they play there every day. You have to get used to something for more than a day.”
But as for how the Galaxy plan to manage the temperatures, Keane attests that LA must be clever and look to move the ball early and often to keep the Dynamo chasing.
“We just have to be clever and move the ball as quickly as possible,” added Keane. “The ball moves quicker than anybody, it doesn’t get tired. We’re going to move the ball and try to make them do a lot of running. That’s the one way that we can help ourselves. “