CARSON, Calif. – Giovani Dos Santos will be ready to go when the LA Galaxy play Saturday night at Real Salt Lake (9:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE).
So says head coach Bruce Arena, who was forced to pull the Mexican star from the field at halftime in last weekend's scoreless draw with the Montreal Impact because of what the team called “groin soreness.”
Dos Santos didn't train Tuesday but was fully involved at Thursday morning's session at StubHub Center, LA's final home practice before heading Friday to Salt Lake City. “He's doing fine,” Arena reported afterward. “We plan on playing him.”
Arena on Saturday called his injury “a physical problem” that was “minor.”
“I think he's going to be fine,” Arena then said Tuesday. “Just had a little bit of a cramp, and we wanted to be smart about it.”
Dos Santos was not made available to the media on Thursday, which is when Designated Players hold sessions prior to Saturday games. The Galaxy (13-8-8) have not made him available since Aug. 26, the day before Mexico announced a roster for two friendlies that omitted him.
He's part of a 32-man provisional roster for the Oct. 10 CONCACAF Cup playoff at the Rose Bowl against the United States for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
Meanwhile, his absence for the second half last weekend hindered a dormant Galaxy attack.
“[You miss] his creativity, his cleverness around the box,” captain Robbie Keane said Thursday. “And, obviously, to set people up, he's very, very good at that. He's a big player when he doesn't play.”
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Dos Santos has three goals and five assists in seven matches for the Galaxy – two goals and three assists in five MLS games – and has scored and/or assisted goals in his first five appearances, before LA were shutout in a loss Aug. 28 at San Jose and by the Impact.
“Second half [against Montreal], we needed that little creativity just to open up the defense. It just didn't happen,” winger Sebastian Lletget said. “He plays a big part in our offense, so it was tough to miss him.”
Keane, who has 15 goals in 19 MLS appearances this year, says he most missed “him passing the ball to me, so I can [score]. He looks fine. He looks very good."
Lletget echoed those observations. “I didn't know he was fit to train today, but he did really well, he got through it,” he said. “So, hopefully, he'll be OK for Saturday.”