CARSON, Calif. – Todd Dunivant returned to the field Tuesday morning, going the full 90 in the LA Galaxy's 1-0 MLS Reserve League victory over Chivas USA.
That was just prelude, though, as the veteran then declared himself ready to take on the Rojiblancos in Sunday's SuperClasico showdown (11 pm ET; ESPN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Dunivant, who is coming off a calf injury suffered in a July 18 draw at Vancouver, was his usual steady self at left back in the Reserve game, weathering unseasonable heat on one of The Home Depot Center's training fields.
“It was great,” said Dunivant, who wore the captain's armband. “I've been out I think two-and-a-half weeks, and just good to get running again. ... Second half, I felt like I was getting forward quite a bit, and the pace of the game slowed down, so that allowed me to get forward a little more. I think the biggest thing for us: We got a shutout, and defensively that's something we're going to continue to focus on as a team.”
Dunivant, an MLS Best XI selection last year, walked off in the first half against the Whitecaps with a calf hematoma resulting from an unintentional kick from Dane Richards. He returned to training last week and was on the bench, but didn't play, in LA's 4-0 loss at Seattle on Sunday.
“I was fit enough [to play against the Sounders],” he said. “I only had, I think, two training sessions, so it was difficult, but I told Bruce [Arena] I was available if he needed me, and we decided to wait until [the Chivas game].”
Dunivant has missed four games, including friendlies against Tottenham and Real Madrid, and his presence can only help a backline that has struggled the past week while dealing with chemistry issues. Dunivant’s replacement, rookie Bryan Gaul struggled, against Seattle in particular.
“It's still a work in progress, without a doubt,” Dunivant said. “We have had a consistent, solid four [until the past month], and we need to keep working at that. But we need to get it right. ... [The defensive play in the past two games is] not encouraging, but it's not something where we're throwing our hands up and it's the end of the world. But it is a dip in from, and it can't happen. It's easy goals and it's early goals we've given up. We have to be smarter there and have to do a better job early on in the game.”
Dunivant said he's ready to step into the lineup against Chivas, but it's “obviously up to Bruce and see how training goes, but I felt good today in the 90, and keep pushing this week.”