Juninho, Franklin likely to play when Galaxy host Quakes
CARSON, Calif. -- Juninho didn't practice with the LA Galaxy on Saturday, but he'll be ready to go -- and will see action -- in Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal opener against San Jose (9 pm ET; ESPN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), according to head coach Bruce Arena.
Sean Franklin also looks likely to play, but Christian Wilhelmsson's return from a quadriceps strain could be put off until Wednesday's second leg in Northern California -- or later, should LA advance.
Juninho, who tweaked his right Achilles' tendon with a non-contact movement near the end of the Galaxy's wild-card victory Thursday over Vancouver, said Friday that he expected to “be all right” for the first game against the Earthquakes, and he gave a thumbs-up to media before he walked into LA's locker room following Saturday's training session inside the Home Depot Center's main stadium.
“His status is he'll be playing,” Arena proclaimed during a post-practice media session. “That's his status.”
Asked about Franklin, Arena noted that he was “not probably going to give you our lineup today, but we're in good shape.”
Will Wilhelmsson be available? “Likely," Arena said.
Wilhelmsson, who was hurt in training Wednesday, didn't appear so certain.
“We'll see, we'll see,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “We'll see tomorrow -- one more day [before we'll know].”
Franklin experienced tightness in his left hamstring and exited at halftime during last weekend's regular-season finale against Seattle, and he was kept off the 18-man game roster for the postseason opener. He said it's felt “pretty good” for a few days but skipping the Vancouver game was “just the right time to be smart about it.”
“Everything seems good,” the veteran right back said. “I trained the past two days, so we'll see how it is tomorrow. It's up to the trainers to talk to Bruce about it, and I'm looking forward to hopefully playing tomorrow.”
Still out is center back A.J. DeLaGarza, who upon spraining his MCL on Sept. 30 at Colorado said his aim was to return for the playoffs. His left knee is still wrapped, he has not begun training, and the window for his return is shrinking.
He said last week he wasn't sure when he'd be back, and Arena said likewise Saturday.
“I don't know the answer” to whether he'll play again this season, the coach said. “I have not moved toward a conclusion one way or another.”