CARSON, Calif. – In January, LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk went off with the US Under-23 national team, hopeful of making some noise and possibly helping out in Olympic qualifying.
Instead, Perk returned with an unwelcomed souvenir, and on Wednesday, it knocked him out for at least a month.
Perk underwent sports hernia surgery this week nearly two months after he initially picked up the injury. The waiting game didn’t pay off.
“He was injured in the Olympic camp in January,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Thursday. “We held off and tried to rehabilitate him and see if he could go without surgery, but it got to a point where he wasn’t getting any better, so the decision was made to do the surgery.”
The injury may not have appeared serious to outsiders. Perk, after all, has been on the bench for all four of the Galaxy’s games this year and got some minutes in the preseason. In fact, he was in goal on March 3 when LA and New England went to a penalty-kick shootout in the final of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. Perk made two saves to help win the shootout and the tournament.
But the hernia was there all along and ultimately had to be dealt with.
“It’s just been a lingering injury,” Arena said. “He had to come back from the Under-23 camp because he hurt it there. We’ve been monitoring him for about two months now. ...These sports hernias, you come back quickly so he would be back in four to six weeks, I would think.”
With Perk out, Bill Guadette assumes the No. 2 role behind Josh Saunders. The veteran beat out Nick Noble for third goalkeeper spot in the preseason and could dress for the first time when the Galaxy host New England on March 31.
Just as he did with Perk, Arena said he has confidence in Gaudette should the need to play him arise. The former Columbus Crew man proved it first-hand to Arena, manning nets for the Puerto Rico Islanders in the second-division team's surprising scalp of LA in the preliminary round of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League.
“He’s an experienced goalkeeper and he’s played against us in the past,” Arena said. “You saw him with Puerto Rico. He’s a good experienced ‘keeper. There’s no reason to believe he’s not going to be a player who is capable of playing for us.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.