CARSON, Calif. — In a typical week, the LA Galaxy’s training sessions are generally intense as players and coaches work on getting sharp for the upcoming opponent. This week, though, is hardly the norm. Instead of a demanding practice schedule, Galaxy players have been given some time off.
With no league match scheduled for the weekend, LA have had a bit of a restful week of training. This has allowed players to recover from what has been an unrelenting calendar, one that featured three games in seven days a week ago.
“We tried the last few days to get our legs back and kind of take a break,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said after Wednesday’s practice. “We don’t have many opportunities like this during the season. We have Thursday off and we come back Friday watching video and really diving into Motagua [the Galaxy’s first opponent in the CONCACAF Champions League on Aug. 16].”
With one exception, Galaxy players were able to relax, both mentally and physically, after the 3-1 victory over FC Dallas last Saturday. Having had mixed results in the two games before that — a four-goal win in Vancouver followed by a three-goal loss in Portland — not having to rush back into preparations for a match has been quite helpful.
The lone player who did not rest this week was Landon Donovan, who played 90 minutes in the United States’ 1-1 draw with Mexico on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Still, Donovan said the rest would benefit the team even if he was unable to take advantage of it.
“It helps a lot,” Donovan said before departing for national-team duty. “Guys are beat up from the last week of travel and two games on turf and a really hard, physically challenging game [last Saturday].”
Slowly, the club has been turning its focus toward the CCL and Motagua of Honduras, who will visit the Home Depot Center next Tuesday (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer). When the team has had training sessions this week, they have featured some slight differences. For one, Wednesday’s session was a rare afternoon practice in which players practiced with the new Nike ball that will be in use in their Champions League matches.
“It’s been pretty weird to get this many days off,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said. “[Wednesday] was the first time we really spoke about and started to prepare for the tournament.”
The Galaxy were originally scheduled to have a match on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park, although that match was rescheduled to Sept. 5. The Galaxy are still set to host Colorado on Sept. 9 and will play at Mexican side Morelia on Sept. 13.
For now, though, having moved the match ultimately helps the club get ready for the final third of the season and MLS Cup aspirations.
“We’re a team that needs a couple of days off, get a little rest, get our legs back and get ready for what’s going to be a really difficult August, September and October,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “The little bit of a break we have right now is a plus.”