Carson, CA. – The LA Galaxy are loaded with top-flight midfielders, ranging from the likes of Frenchman Romain Alessandrini to the dos Santos brothers, Giovani and Jonathan, to Sebastian Lletget and Perry Kitchen.
Then there is Servando Carrasco. He may not get the same notoriety as his more highly regarded teammates, but there is no disputing his place on the five-time MLS Cup champions.
“I’m just a guy who’s willing to do whatever it takes for the team,” he said after playing 48 quality minutes in relief of the injured Joao Pedro in Saturday’s preseason finale, a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps in front of 9,020 at StubHub Center.
Carrasco, who turns 30 in August and is a native of San Diego, signed with the Galaxy on Jan. 11. His contract option had not been picked up by his previous team of three years, Orlando City, and the Galaxy selected him in stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid knows him well, having drafted him out of the University of California in 2011, and was pleased with his performance Saturday after Pedro went down with an apparent injury to his left leg. Schmid called it a strain, and Pedro’s status for next Sunday’s regular-season opener against Portland was unclear.
“I thought Servando did well,” Schmid told reporters. “He came in under obviously difficult circumstances where he didn’t have a chance to warm up, but I felt he was a smart enough player where he could get himself warm and play.
“I thought he played well.”
Carrasco said it didn’t take him long to get into the flow, although he admitted there was a minor adjustment to make in his on-field approach.
“I just tried to do my job,” he said. “Joao plays more of a box-to-box role. I’m definitely more comfortable playing that fifth defender, kind of shielding the back four.
“In this game, you have to be versatile. That’s a role I know I’ve played before. I think it’s just a matter of making that adjustment as quickly as possible and doing what the game demands.”
And doing what Schmid and his staff demand. Carrasco said he’s played long enough in MLS – this is his eighth season — to not do anything out of the ordinary to catch the attention of Galaxy coaches.
“I think I’ve been in this league long enough and this game long enough to don’t try to make an impression,” he said. “Just try and do my job. I try to do my job to the best of my ability and just try to be solid.
“Come in, train well, and when my number’s called like today, to play. Just try and be ready.”
Carrasco said he’ll always be prepared when his number is called. He knows no other way, especially on a team like the Galaxy that possesses so much depth.
“I think I know my role within this team,” he said. “And it’s to be the guy that comes in and trains hard, a guy who’s ready to step in and do a job.
“It’s a team with a lot of star power, for sure, so you need the guys who kind of grind in the games and try to make it easy for those guys to play.”