Healthy again, Jermaine Jones eyeing more minutes in return to New England

Jermaine Jones - LA Galaxy - close-up

CARSON, Calif. – For the first time since he left the Revolution following the 2015 season, Jermaine Jones will likely return to Foxborough this weekend when his LA Galaxy take on New England at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE).

The veteran midfielder, who missed the trip to New England while with Colorado last year due to injury, is hoping his return to the Boston-area will coincide with more minutes as he continues his return from injury. Jones returned from a knee ailment that kept him out of nine games with a 21-minute substitute appearance in LA’s home loss to Vancouver on Wednesday.

“I feel good, but now I need minutes in the games,” Jones said after the Galaxy fell to the ‘Caps. “We start at Manchester [United on Saturday] then today we get another, now we go to New England, my ex-club. It’s important to get minutes and I hope to get more minutes than today.”

Jones spent a year and a half bossing the midfield at Gillette Stadium, helping lead the Revolution to the 2014 MLS Cup final. Yet, the 35-year-old feels he’s matured to a point where facing a former club no longer carries added significance.

“Of course I still have a lot of friends there,” he said. “It’s an ex-club and it’s always nice to go back, but it’s a regular game. I think I’m out of the age where I say it’s something special.”

Instead, he’s focused on getting back to full fitness following a long layoff with an MCL sprain and helping the Galaxy right the ship. The turf field in New England could have an effect on both, but Jones doesn’t see the surface as much of a storyline.

“No, that’s just an excuse,” he said when asked if he was worried about playing on turf. “Of course I know it’s not easy to play on it. I played one and a half years on it. It’s tough for teams to come there and get points, but if I go, of course I want to play.”

While Jones knows every turn in the corridors of Gillette Stadium, it will be the first trip for many of the projected Galaxy starters.

“I’ve never played there personally,” said striker Jack McBean. “It’s a tough turf field and it’s all the way across the country for us after a Wednesday night game. It will be tough, but we will be ready for it.”

“I’ve never been there,” added LA captain Jelle Van Damme. “It’s a pretty long flight. It’s a turf field. Those kind of games are all about mentality and coming back with three points, because it’s a hell of a trip.”