Galaxy return to the practice field as preseason begins
CARSON, Calif. - The journey that is the 2013 MLS season began on Monday for the LA Galaxy as the club kicked off preseason - a full 41 days removed from their season opener against the Chicago Fire on March 3.
The glory of the club's second straight MLS Cup may have been less than two months ago, but it was all business on Monday as the Galaxy returned to their training ground on the fields surrounding The Home Depot Center.
"It's always fun with a new adventure and new challenge each year," said Arena of the start of preseason. "Every year is a challenge, it'll be interesting to see what kind of team that we put on the field, hopefully we can have a better start to the season than last season and position ourselves to advance in CONCACAF and, perhaps, position ourselves to defend the MLS Cup." Arena on Donovan's return
Sixteen players were out on the field on Monday morning, going through various fitness tests under the supervision of the Galaxy coaching staff. Arena did confirm during the session that LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan will be returning for the 2013 season, but no timetable had been set at the moment.
One of those players participating in training was the club's 38th overall selection in last Thursday's 2013 MLS SuperDraft, versatile left sided midfielder Greg Cochrane. The defender turned midfielder from the University of Louisville was taken with the final pick in the second round and is admittedly already looking forward to earning his spot on the defending MLS Cup champions.
"It's a lot of fun, it's exciting to be out here with a bunch of the guys," said Cochrane. "Even though we don't get to play just being part of the team and the locker room is a blast. I'm looking forward to tomorrow already."
Unlike in past seasons, Cochrane and the Galaxy will train at The HDC rather than participate in preseason tournaments - like last year's Desert Diamond Cup appearance - after Arena and his staff determined it was best form of preparation for the club.
"We're going to be here the entire time," said Arena. "There might be something that comes up where we're out of town for a day or two to play a game, but we're going to here for the whole time which I think is good."
During that time, the Galaxy are expected play eight exhibition or practice matches as they prepare for the season opener. Although the road promises to be difficult, the Galaxy's players are excited to return to the field - and eager to get to the work.
"It's a good day, everyone is happy to be back," said midfielder Marcelo Sarvas. "There are a lot of expectations with the new season and to be honest, the first two weeks are very hard for us, but it's nice to see everyone."
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