April 30, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
SANDY, Utah- With his 2013 Reserve League debut under his belt, Brian Perk is ready to regain his role as the LA Galaxy's No. 2 goalkeeper.
The 23-year-old, who returned to training less than a week ago after undergoing sports hernia surgery on March 16 shined in his first game back, an MLS Reserve League match against Real Salt Lake. Showing no ill effects of his injury, Perk was agile while making six saves in the 1-0 defeat at America First Field.
"It felt really good. I felt really healthy and that's the most important thing. I was getting a feel for all the movements in the game, we played a really good opponent, who took it to us, so it was good," Perk told LAGalaxy.com. "I feel close [to 100 percent], in the 90's, 95-ish (percent), just the little things that I'm still improving. There are certain things where I feel a lot better, in lateral movements and other things that I've been working on in physical therapy."
Perk may not have been at full fitness, but impressed LA's coaching staff particularly with his ability to make big saves on breakaways. However, Perk was unable to prevent Sebastian Velasquez's goal in the 75th minute.
"Brian came up big on a couple of those breakaways and we know that he's capable of that," Galaxy assistant coach and Reserve League head coach Curt Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com. "He had a very good performance."
Perk and the Galaxy may have dropped the result to RSL, but he had a rare opportunity to catch up with former Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who earned the shutout on Sunday. The 23-year-old 'keeper served the understudy for Saunders for three years before the club parted ways with him in the offseason.
"It was awesome," said Perk. "It's sad that he's gone and everything because he's been such a big part of this team for so many years. It's always good to look across [the field] and see a familiar face, who I've learned a lot from over the years."
But if Perk wishes to regain his place as the backup to Carlo Cudicini, he'll have to win his space back from Brian Rowe, who put in a stellar, seven-save MLS debut in LA's 2-0 win over RSL in the league on Saturday. Rowe's debut brought back memories of Perk's own MLS debut when he recorded a shutout and saved a Fredy Montero penalty kick in a scoreless draw with Seattle Sounders FC on July 4, 2011.
It will likely be a battle in training for that second spot behind Cudicini, but Perk is up to the task.
"It's obviously a fight [for the backup spot]. When someone puts in a performance like that, you have to stand and applaud. But he's getting us three points, so I'm just as happy as he is," Perk said. "We're going to come in and train, it's not really any different than it's been. There's a little bit different dynamic in terms of the performances, but it's the same exact situation as it's always been."