TUCSON, Ariz. – Sebastian Lletget couldn’t stop grinning.
On Saturday, the LA Galaxy midfielder made his long-awaited return to the field, going 20 minutes in his team’s 3-1 preseason defeat to Real Salt Lake in Tucson. Lletget played with the squad’s second group as Sigi Schmid played three different lineups over the 90 minutes.
The action was Lletget’s first since suffering a horrific Lisfranc injury during a World Cup Qualifier with the U.S. National Team in March. Returning from the injury has been a grueling process for the 25-year-old midfielder, but the chance to take the field, even for a brief period, left him all smiles.
“It feels amazing. It was great to just walk out there. All the guys congratulated me. To get up to this point has been a long road. It was great to get my first minutes,” Lletget told LA Galaxy Insider. “I did have some butterflies [stepping on the field]. I know that it was a preseason game and it’s supposed to be chill, but I was nervous. I treated it like the season opener."
Lletget’s 20-minute shift an auspicious one as he provided the service on Michael Ciani’s tally in the 33rd minute, while also providing an energetic weapon along the left side of midfield. Playing in his first match in more than a year, Lletget showed signs of rust as his touch was lacking on numerous occasions.
Even though Lletget’s wasn’t perfect, head coach Sigi Schmid was encouraged by his brief cameo.
“It was good. We talked about 15 minutes, he felt good, and he ended up going 20. It’s good,” Schmid said. “He’s in that stage right now where his body is feeling it, and his touches are off a little bit. Once he gets that done, he’ll be okay.”
Lletget will now seek to earn his way back into the starting lineup for Schmid’s group, which is an exciting challenge for the midfielder.
“I got my touches in [Saturday],” Lletget said. “We were cautious with my minutes and [the coaching staff and I] were communicating while I was on the field. We’ll keep progressing.”