CARSON, Calif. — After Sunday’s overcast, glum 0-0 draw with FC Dallas, the sun shone a little brighter on Carson on Tuesday as the LA Galaxy continued their potential “Race to Seis” – a shot at the team’s sixth MLS Cup. But it wasn’t just because the weather happily dovetailed with an optimistic outlook for Wednesday's home Knockout Round match vs. Real Salt Lake. It was also because Tuesday’s practice came bolstered by a smile that lights up a training field – and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Gyasi Zardes, returning from a broken foot this past August, happily took to the field with his teammates in a sign of a potential return in time for the postseason. The offensive favorite spent a little under an hour with the team, not quite completing a full training session, but definitely close to returning to his usual fitness.
“He’s coming along,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “He’s a tremendous athlete, very dedicated.”
All of this? Good news. So you know what comes next, right?
The not-so-good news: despite the triumphant return, Zardes will not, in fact, make an appearance in the Knockout Round match. Should the Galaxy’s playoff run continue on to the weekend, too, it’s highly unlikely he’ll figure then, either.
“It all depends on my next X-ray,” Zardes said. “I can feel great all I want, but it all depends on the X-ray to get cleared.”
That X-ray comes next Thursday – well after Wednesday's game and any weekend matches.
But let’s finish the good-news sandwich around this piece of disappointment, though, shall we? First of all, if Zardes gets the all-clear, and the Galaxy go through to the Western Conference Semifinals, he’ll bounce back to where he used to be, he says.
"Today I was working on stability and also just getting more touches under my belt, because I haven’t touched the ball in a long time,” he said. “Coming out of that I felt great. I felt like I’m back where I used to be. Not 100 percent — but as far as touching the ball, and doing some of the tricks I can do, and some of the passing and shooting. It’s amazing.”
Also – this isn’t the only potential good news about returns. Both Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard attended training Tuesday morning, too. And if they didn’t complete the full regime with all of Wednesday night’s likely starters, Arena says fans can still likely expect to see them soon.
“Our decisions on both of them will be on game day, but they both look good,” he said. “They’ve both done a good job in training, and I expect them to be part of our team.”