October 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM
Friday notes: Injury updates, goalkeeper decisions and Lamar Neagle’s comeback?
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— Here is the daily health update from coach Sigi Schmid: “(Obafemi Martins) is still struggling a little bit, so we’ll see. Djimi (Traore) got through all of training today; he was fine. Leo (Gonzalez), we’ll make a decision. We’re still trying to be careful with him. We know we’re in the playoffs and we want him to be available to us for that. Mauro (Rosales) was back into training today.”
— Eddie Johnson wasn’t affected by the groin injury Friday and looks in line for a return to the field against the Galaxy unless he doesn’t feel right coming out of Saturday’s practice.
— It sounds like Clint Dempsey has intentions on powering through the sore shoulder, which he has the past couple games. Schmid had mentioned the idea of resting guys Sunday to go into the playoffs as healthy as possible, and Dempsey was asked if he would benefit from taking the game off. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t think you can look at things like that. I think you have to go out there and play, and it’s important to get a rhythm, have a consistency in your team. We have good enough physios where if you play a game, you can rehab properly and you can ready for the next one. The most important thing for the people you are playing with is to have a good understanding of each other and know the kind of the way we play.”
— Regarding a long-term injury, it still sounds like the team is focusing on getting Steve Zakuani back ready for the 2014 season. (It is worth noting that Zakuani is in the final year of his contract, so this appears to be an indication he’ll come back). The midfielder will get a second opinion a setback-laden recovery from sports hernia surgery, which is partly related to the broken leg from a couple years. “It’s a matter of probably a lot more extensive buildup that you can’t really do in season to prepare him for the next season,” said Schmid.
— Schmid noted again that while they’re not planning on Zakuani returning this year, it isn’t completely ruled out. “It could change. … You never know for sure, but right now that’s the approach. We’re trying to treat it by staying off the wear and tear and grind of training, and working on his strength and rehabilitation.”
— Consistent with the update earlier this week, there will be no announcement regarding a starting goalkeeper before the game as it relates to Michael Gspurning and Marcus Hahnemann. “It’s like I said before,” said Schmid, “I think we have two good goalkeepers and we’ll make a decision who’s going to play. Then we’ll make a decision for the playoff game. We haven’t won with either recently, but I think we can win with either, so it’s just a matter of making that decision.”
— And is this something Schmid would like to have completely settled by the playoffs? “We’ll have to see,” he said. “You hate saying something and then a week later, you change your mind, so I don’t want to do that. Right now, my mind’s open, and you never know what’s going to happen as you move down the line. Ideally, yeah, you probably want to name one and move forward, but if that’s not the way it works out, that’s fine.”
— Outside of Humanitarian of the Year, Lamar Neagle is on the MLS ballot for Comeback Player of the Year. Neagle has had a great season with a career best eight goals, but he was healthy and in the league last year with Montreal, so I asked him in the nomination is a bit odd. “Yeah, that’s weird,” he said. “I mean any honor is good when you’re getting your name out there. I guess I’ll take it. It’s not like a really went anywhere. … I went to Canada. I guess that’s a comeback.”
— The Galaxy played Thursday night in El Salvador for a CONCACAF Champions League game against Isidro Metapan. Schmid, however, doesn’t think it will affect Sunday’s game since most of L.A. starters didn’t make the trip.
— L.A. is also motivated to win Sunday to avoid the play-in game. In some personnel notes regarding the visitors, Juninho is suspended and Schmid is guessing Pablo Mastroeni might start in his place beside Marcelo Sarvas in central midfield. And regarding Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez, who are coming in with injuries? “You don’t know,” Schmid said. “You never know with (coach Bruce Arena) because he never talks about injuries. We’re going to prepare as if they’re going to play.”
— Johnson was asked about going up against Gonzalez, a USMNT teammate. “He ain’t ready. … Naw, I’m just kidding,” Johnson joked. “Omar’s a very good young player. He’s hungry. He’s done well with the national team as well as L.A. He’s got two rings man; I don’t have one.”
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