LA's DeLaGarza returns to training following injury

CARSON, Calif. — Early in the LA Galaxy's July 4 match against Seattle, A.J. DeLaGarza tried to get his head on a ball. Instead, he took a boot to the face. He fell, got up and played about five more minutes before finally succumbing to the initial strike.
 
One week afterward, he doesn't remember a thing.
 
"I watched the replay about 100 times," DeLaGarza said Monday. "It's crazy. It's kind of funny [not being able to remember], but it's pretty scary."
 
DeLaGarza returned to training for the first time on Monday, one week after Fredy Montero knocked him out of the match. He was diagnosed with face/head trauma and missed the Galaxy's match against Chicago on Saturday.
 
Both DeLaGarza and Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said the defender could be in the mix for Wednesday's US Open Cup match against Seattle (10 pm ET, streamed live at soundersfc.com). However, DeLaGarza has been unable to do some simple things.
 
"I haven't hit a ball yet," he said. "The next step is to see how that is."
 
Though some players suspected after the match that DeLaGarza had had a concussion, the player said he was not doing too badly the following day. On Tuesday, a Galaxy spokesperson confirmed the injury as a facial contusion.

"I did some biking the next day and I was fine," he said. "It was just immediately after and walking in [to the locker room]."

If DeLaGarza is able to participate in Wednesday's match in Seattle, he would have much to play for.

"We've been knocked out [of the Open Cup] the last couple of years," he said. "Seattle has won the last two [and] they're always ready for this game. The fans are on top of you but we're stressing this a lot: It’s very important to win this and go on to the semifinals."

Still, if DeLaGarza doesn't travel with the squad on Wednesday, he will have plenty of chances to play in upcoming matches. The Galaxy will play Real Madrid (Saturday), Columbus (July 20) and Manchester City (July 24) all within the next two weeks.

DeLeGarza, though, acknowledged it may not be the greatest stretch to have this many games in such a short amount of time.

"We have a lot of guys who went down, three or four guys who didn't dress last week who are in the starting rotation," he added. "You have a lot of young guys who can come in and play and have a chance to play against those teams like I was able to do my first year. It's a big challenge so they're going to have to step up."