CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are less than a week away from the start of the 2015 regular season and will hold a dress rehearsal of sorts on Saturday when they face travel north to face the San Jose Earthquakes in their final preseason game of the year at 2 p.m.
The preseason friendly will serve as a “soft open” for the Earthquakes’ glittering new Avaya Stadium which replaces the archaic Buck Shaw Stadium as San Jose’s new home.
In order to prepare for the start of the season, the capacity of the stadium will be limited to 10,000 for the preseason friendly.
While the Earthquakes’ will be focusing on affairs on off the field, the Galaxy are looking to move forward fitness-wise ahead of their March 6 season opener at StubHub Center against the Chicago Fire as players like captain Robbie Keane are expecting to play substantial minutes.
“Certainly, you have to at least play 90 minutes in this game because the manager is thinking of playing our game next week,” said Keane who will look to lead the Galaxy in their first match back in the U.S. after a 11-day European tour. “It’s very difficult to go into a game at the start of the season when you haven’t played 90 minutes [in preseason], and expect to do so later.”
Throughout the preseason, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has steadily increased the minutes of starters like Keane in order to prepare his charges for the start of the 2015 campaign. This strategy has reaped rewards for the Galaxy who have gone 4-1-0 this preseason.
“We’re looking to increase minutes along the way,” said Arena. “We’ve had a number of players play extended minutes along the way so we’re going to continue that.”
Even though Saturday’s friendly will provide a barometer for how prepared the team is for the season ahead, Keane admits that no matter the result in San Jose, the Galaxy can only truly see what they’re made of when the season starts up on March 6.
“We’ll see where we are next week,” Keane said. “We’ve done everything that the training staff and coaches have asked us to do. We’ll go to this game in San Jose to prepare ourselves and it will be a good fitness test for us before the start of the season. We certainly should be ready [for Chicago].”