David Junior Lopes
German Alegria/LA Galaxy

Big pressure, no problem for new Galaxy defender Lopes

CARSON, Calif. – David Junior Lopes made his regular-season debut on Saturday, but few could have imagined the scenario in which it actually unfolded.

Fresh off a deal that brought him over to the LA Galaxy from rivals Chivas USA, Lopes was thrust into action against Portland at The Home Depot Center, and he didn’t disappoint. Lopes stepped into the Galaxy’s central defense and brought some instant stability to the club’s biggest eyesore from the 2012 season, despite logging just two workouts with the team ahead of the start.

“I was very happy for the start,” Lopes told MLSsoccer.com. “I think it was a good game for me and for the group because we came out with three points, which is most important. We have time now to work on things and improve before the next game.”

Although the Galaxy did not pick up their first clean sheet of the year, Lopes still helped make a difference along the backline, helping neutralize Portland ace Kris Boyd as well as standout Darlington Nagbe.

An injury to A.J. DeLaGarza forced Lopes into the lineup, and while Lopes appeared in eight games for Chivas USA last year, he still faced some tense pregame moments.

“It’s normal, right? Even though I’ve played in the league, there were some nerves: a new team, new tactics. But that’s normal,” Lopes said. “If you don’t have nerves before your first game with a new team, maybe something isn’t right.”

With DeLaGarza listed as questionable with an adductor strain, Lopes could very well continue to see himself on the field regularly. And even with a healthy squad, Lopes now has a bit of confidence in his ability to push for playing time.

“A good start and a good win like we had on Saturday always gives you confidence to do your job better, do things every time with more focus and concentrate more,” Lopes said. “But I don’t think that’s just with me. I think it gives the whole team confidence, more desire to continue fighting for three points and that’s important."

Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by email at buenodad@gmail.com.

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