BY ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif. –Fresh off one of the most successful seasons, the Los Angeles Galaxy returned to the practice field amid a steady downpour at the Home Depot Center.
Missing several pieces like Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane (both on loan), Omar Gonzalez (injury) and Juninho (joined Sao Paulo) the club returned to the training ground in preparation for their CONCACAF Champions League matches against Toronto FC in March.There may have be a number of faces missing on the first day of camp, but the Galaxy revealed that one member of the 2011 MLS Cup Champion side would be returning.
Brazilian defender Leonardo is set to return to the club on an extension of his previous loan agreement from Brazilian club Sao Paulo. The Brazilian defender is still recovering from tearing his ACL and LCL in his right knee last April.
“Leonardo will be coming back. He’ll be in this week,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “He’s getting close [to returning], he should be fully able to play in April.”
When Leonardo returns from his injury layoff, he will likely play a key role alongside AJ DeLaGarza in 2012 with Omar Gonzalez sidelined for seven to nine months. In the offseason, the Galaxy sought to bolster their back line with a number of additions such as New Zealand International Andrew Boyens.
A great deal of uncertainty surrounds the Galaxy defense as ten defenders are currently in preseason camp — with Leonardo on the way shortly. Although there is a great deal of pressure for someone to step in for the MLS Defender of the Year, the Galaxy are preaching patience.
“Everyone is going to step up, we’ve played without Omar and we had to fill in and guys had to step up,” said Dunivant. “It’s the same difference, everyone has to step up and do their role, you can’t too far out of your own position or your own role, but if everyone does their job then we’ll have someone in [that position] capable without a doubt.”
KIROVSKI JOINS COACHING STAFF
Arena bolstered his coaching staff on Monday by announcing that Jovan Kirovski had joined the club’s coaching staff as an assistant coach. Kirovski, 37, ends a 20-year playing career that began when he was a member of the Manchester United youth academy. The forward ended his career with stints at a number of clubs including Borussia Dortmund, Birmingham City and the Colorado Rapids among others.
Kirovski spent much of the offseason, earning his coaching licenses and joins the season with his class “A” USSF coaching credential. Kirovski takes over for former assistant coach Gregg Berhalter, who became the head coach of Swedish club Hammerby,
“Bruce called me a month ago and put it out there and I was really excited because it’s a great opportunity,” said Kirovski. “I definitely wanted to and it was great to have the opportunity to do that for a club.”