CARSON, Calif. – Five LA Galaxy players are missing from training this week while off with their national teams, but forward Giovani dos Santos was on the StubHub Center training field as the defending MLS Cup champions played a short-sided scrimmage Wednesday morning.
Dos Santos, one of Mexico's most important attacking players, was left off interim coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti's roster, along with his brother, Jonathan, and goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, for El Tri’s friendlies Friday against Trinidad and Tobago in Salt Lake City and Tuesday against Argentina in Dallas.
It was a controversial decision that bred great conjecture on why – everything from dos Santos' decision to come to MLS to his support via Twitter for ousted manager Miguel Herrera, who was fired after punching a reporter as the team returned home after winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup – but which the Mexican federation has termed a “sporting” decision, the preference of the manager.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was asked Wednesday whether he had any thoughts on the matter.
“Yeah, I have thoughts on it,” he replied, “but it's certainly not my business.”
Arena prefers to keep those thoughts to himself, and dos Santos, who has two goals and three assists in four MLS matches since joining LA last month, hasn't been made available to media since the roster was announced last Thursday and won't be made available this week, with the Galaxy facing a bye weekend.
Captain Robbie Keane this week is with Ireland's national team, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward/winger Gyasi Zardes are with the US, defender A.J. DeLaGarza is with Guam and defender Oscar Sorto is with the US Under-23 team.
LA (13-8-7), who sit atop the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield standings, play again Sept. 12, at home against Montreal.
Three of the four forwards on Ferretti's 23-man roster for the friendlies, preparation matches for the Oct. 10 Confederations Cup playoff against the US at the Rose Bowl, are based in Europe – Bayer Leverkusen's Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Benfica's Raul Jimenez and Real Sociedad's Carlos Vela – with Club America's Oribe Peralta the only North American-based striker.
Said Arena: “I would just think that they have a pretty good team if [Dos Santos] wasn't called up.”