L.A. Galaxy can gauge its progress in exhibition against FC Shirak on Saturday
The rebuilding Galaxy is still waiting for some of its bigger pieces to arrive from Europe, but Coach Bruce Arena will get an early look at the progress of his reconstruction project just the same Saturday when his team meets former Armenian champion FC Shirak in a StubHub Center exhibition at 7 p.m.
New Galaxy defenders Jelle Van Damme and Ashley Cole aren’t expected to arrive in Southern California until next week. And the Galaxy is still working on the final details of midfielder Nigel de Jong’s transfer.
Then there are the players missing from a year ago, among them former U.S. national team defender Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Juninho, both of whom played at least 180 games for Arena; midfielder Mika Vayrynen; and goalkeepers Donovan Ricketts, Jaime Penedo and Brian Perk.
But there are 28 other players in camp, including new goalkeepers Dan Kennedy and Clement Diop; forward Emmanuel Boateng; and midfielders Mike Magee and Jeff Larentowicz.
And Arena hopes to get a look at many of them Saturday.
“We’ll learn a lot of things,” said Arena, whose team opened training camp eight days ago. “Where some of the young players are. Where our fitness is.”
The game will be played with unlimited substitutions, so Arena said he plans to use at least two squads, each playing no more than 45 minutes. Saturday will also mark Robbie Rogers’ debut at right back, a move across the field that was dictated by the acquisition of Cole.
“You have to learn the position on the field, timing, different body movements” said Rogers, who emerged as one of Major League Soccer’s top left backs over the last two seasons. “All that stuff I’m going to have to get used to during preseason.”
The Galaxy’s unusually long off-season — the team was eliminated before the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008 — allowed Rogers to take care of another problem by undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip that was causing pain around his right ankle.
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