CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy wrapped up training on Thursday to the news that Chivas USA, their opponents in Saturday’s SuperClásico (10:30 pm ET, ESPN2, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com), were in the process of completing a blockbuster trade for defender Danny Califf and striker Juan Agudelo.
But even if the deals had been completed ahead of time, chances are the Galaxy would have gone through the same training session. Because although the Goats may have changed the look of their squad, LA aren’t changing their approach to the first of three matches this season against their in-stadium rivals.
“It doesn’t affect mine at all,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Thursday about the team’s planning. “It must affect theirs a little bit.”
According to Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser, both Califf and Agudelo will be available for selection on Saturday, and both could play a factor in the game.
But the Galaxy’s attention right now is focused on what happens on their side of The Home Depot Center.
“They can trade all of them or keep all of them, it doesn’t impact us at all,” Arena said. “Our focus is on the 11 we’re getting on the field.”
LA sticking with center backs
Ever since losing Omar Gonzalez to injury in the offseason, LA have been looking for reinforcements at center back. But despite his ties to the Galaxy and his US international pedigree, the club weren’t interested in bringing in Califf for the job.
“We have two center backs coming back that are pretty good center backs,” Arena said. “The last thing we need is to fill the locker room with center backs. We have two good ones that hopefully are going to play this year.”
Since Gonzalez injured his knee in early January, the Galaxy have picked up four center backs: Andrew Boyens in the Phase 2 Re-Entry Draft, Tommy Meyer in the SuperDraft, David Júnior Lopes in a trade from Chivas and Bryan Gaul in the Supplemental Draft. With the exception of Gaul, all have logged time alongside A.J. DeLaGarza this season in central defense, with second-year man Dan Keat also picking up minutes.
LA are also set to receive a boost in the return of Leonardo, in his third year with the Galaxy but sidelined at the moment due to a right knee injury.
“Leonardo is real close [to coming back],” Arena said.
Beckham away, may yet play
David Beckham was in Athens Thursday as part of official preparations for the 2012 London Olympics. But despite missing training, the trip does not necessarily mean that the Englishman will miss out on Saturday’s SuperClásico.
“We’ll know as soon as he gets here,” Arena said when asked if Beckham would play a role in the match. “I would think it depends on the situation with travel: if his flights are delayed, if he has to travel through thunderstorms. We’ll see when he gets here whether he feels ready to play.”
The Englishman’s will also spend time in London during his stay in Europe as he helps take the Olympic torch to the United Kingdom.
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.