CARSON, Calif. -- Todd Dunivant says he’s ready to step in when needed for the LA Galaxy after seeing his first action in more than four months in the club’s reserve game last weekend, but head coach Bruce Arena isn’t quite ready to declare him a starter moving forward.
The 33-year-old left back, out since tearing an abdominal muscle in LA’s April 6 SuperClasico victory over Chivas USA, started and played 78 minutes in LA Galaxy II’s 3-2 USL PRO victory this past Saturday night over visiting Arizona United, and the first team might need him here and there as it embarks on its roughest stretch of schedule this season, with four games in 12 days and eight in 30.
Dunivant is unlikely to see much time, if any, in Saturday night’s clash at Columbus (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live), but he might see a few minutes the following Wednesday at Colorado, a homecoming game for him.
The weekend assignment, he said, "was better than expected."
"We were talking about 45 minutes and hoping for more, if possible, but that was kind of the goal: 45," Dunivant told MLSsoccer.com. "Felt good after halftime and pushed it and pushed it and pushed it, and to get 78 was awesome. I mean, I was really thrilled with that."
Dunivant has missed 20 matches altogether, and began training fully only in late July. Arena has included him on LA’s 18-man game-day roster for its past two games, but that was more about getting him back into the swing than anything else.
On Saturday night, he was solid defensively and contributed mightily to the attack in the first half, playing several dangerous balls forward and setting up Charlie Rugg for a scoring opportunity in the fifth minute.
"He did OK," Arena assessed. "You’ve got to remember, those [USL PRO] games are a little different. They’re not to the level of Major League Soccer, so it’s not always a perfect situation. I think he has a way to go before he gets any extended minutes in our games, but it’s a good first step back."
Dunivant said the level of competition was "perfect for exactly what I needed: It was getting minutes going against professional players, [and that] was huge for me."
Most important, he said, was pushing his body beyond where it’s been since he was hurt.
"It’s different, getting game minutes, because in practice, it’s short stints, it’s little bursts, and so to go over that long period [of action in a game] is a different type of fitness," he said. "Getting that first one out of the way is big because that’s kind of a shock to your system, getting those first game minutes, so getting over that is big.
"Physically, I feel great. Don’t have any problems with the surgical area, and so that’s the biggest thing. Now it’s just getting used to it, and getting that first one out of the way was big."
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Dunivant said he wasn’t expecting to get another Galaxy II assignment, and Arena said he didn’t yet know "what we’re going to go" in that regard. "Los Dos" heads to Oklahoma City for a game Saturday night with OKC Energy FC.
Dunivant won’t be there.
"I’m going on this road trip, and it’s going to be hard to get in Galaxy II games when I’m on the road with [the first team]."