CARSON, Calif. – Midseason pickup Laurent Courtois is finally making real contributions to the LA Galaxy, providing savvy and skill off the bench, and he hopes he can make an impact when they face his former club in this weekend's SuperClasico.
The 35-year-old Frenchman, who signed with the Galaxy after Chivas USA dropped him at the end of June, would love to beat the Goats on Sunday afternoon at the StubHub Center (5 pm ET; UniMas), but it has nothing to do with how his tenure with LA's rival ended.
He's more concerned with the playoff race.
The Galaxy (13-11-6) are fourth in the Western Conference, just one point clear of the red line for the fifth and final playoff spot. And after three successive games without a victory, the Galaxy need to grab every point at home.
Playing Chivas is nice, but it's not a big deal, Courtois said.
“I have a couple guys in the [Chivas] locker room I really love, a couple of fans who were really great, a couple of guys in the office that were good, too,” Courtois said this week. “Other than that ... I want the Galaxy to be successful. I don't care about Chivas anymore.”
- Get the latest LA Galaxy news at LAGalaxy.com
Courtois, who came to MLS when he signed with Chivas two summers ago, has evolved into the Galaxy's most incisive attacking midfielder off the bench. He has displayed a wiliness to his game and has shown a nose for the net.
He scored beautiful goals in the Galaxy's last two CONCACAF Champions League matches, the lone strike to beat Isidro Metapán and the second tally in the victory at Cartaginés that ensured a spot in next year's knockout phase.
“I'm really happy at a personal level, but also because it was useful for the whole team and [advancing in] Champions League,” Courtois said. “… Every offensive player wants to be decisive, either with a goal or an assist, so every time you get those types of plays, you always feel more confident, more yourself.”
He's made only four MLS appearances for LA, all off the bench, but has featured in their last four competitive games, starting both CCL matches. The Galaxy staff likes his experience, the energy he generates and his calmness on the field.
“He's got a little different dimension that a lot of alternatives that we have right now, of guys coming in and giving us energy and can play in a few different spots,” associate head coach Dave Sarachan said. “Very technical guy, can sort of open things up. We've been pleased. He's a great pro.”
Courtois said he doesn't keep up with Chivas, but he noted he’s heard news of their success under new head coach José Luis “Guero” Real.
“They really have clear ideas of what they want to play,” he said.
He continued: “This is the game of the year for Chivas. It's game of the year for every team that plays the Galaxy, in general. Even more for Chivas, because they are out of the playoffs. They want to rehabilitate their image, they want to show they are useful and a good team in this league. They're going to go at us really strong.”