CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy's pair of first-year Brazilians acquitted themselves nicely in Tuesday's friendly against English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, which was yet another step forward with the club for both of them.
Marcelo Sarvas (above left) impressively directed LA's attack in the absence of David Beckham and Landon Donovan, putting Spurs on their heels in a first-half performance that drew praise from Tottenham boss André Villas-Boas.
David Júnior Lopes, looking quite comfortable partnering with Omar Gonzalez in central defense, punctuated a fine first-half showing with his first goal since joining the Galaxy in an April trade with Chivas USA.
“Of course, the Galaxy were missing two extremely good players, but [they were] still fantastic,” Villas-Boas said following the 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Center. “We suffered in the beginning by letting them play. They were pretty creative. Marcelo particularly was extremely influential in the first half. He created problems for us."
Sarvas, acquired during the offseason from Costa Rican power Alajuelense, was honored to hear of Villas-Boas' salute and said he thought he was on the verge of something special.
“Every player needs some time for adaptation,” Sarvas said. “Some players it goes in one week, some take two months. I think my time is coming. I'm doing my things, doing my best. Good things are coming.”
Lopes, who was fourth in Chivas' center-back hierarchy but has started 16 of 20 Galaxy games since his arrival, has been increasingly solid in the back and is always a target on set pieces. He scored the equalizer Tuesday — 11 minutes after Spurs' Gareth Bale put Tottenham ahead — with a first-time blast from Hector Jimenez's following a sensational ball from Sarvas.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena noted “the finish wasn't as hard as the play” but lauded Lopes's “very good timing” and said he hoped Lopes and Gonzalez “will be an important part of our back line as we head into the last part of the season.”
“We’re getting used to him, he’s getting used to us,” said defender A.J. DeLaGarza, who played at right back after filling in for Gonzalez in the center during his rehab from a torn ACL “At the beginning of the season, it was kind of trying to learn each other, and it wasn’t really clicking, but now it’s getting better between everybody.”
Lopes thinks so, too.
“Every day I’m talking to my coaches, talking to my teammates, and things are progressing and getting better, and right now [the comfort level] is really good,” Lopes said. “[The] Galaxy [are] definitely my life now. Every day I like to learn more about the club, and every day the club gets to know more about me. That’s one of the best things.”