A busy day at training leads to LA Galaxy updates on Romain Alessandrini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bradford Jamieson, and Sebastian Lletget
Carson, CA. – There was at least one positive development in the LA Galaxy’s otherwise disappointing 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City last Sunday at StubHub Center.
The game marked the long-awaited return of midfielder Romain Alessandrini, who played 67 minutes before being subbed out by Sebastian Lletget. Alessandrini hadn’t played since suffering a strained hamstring 61 minutes into a season-opening, 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers on March 4.
Alessandrini, last year’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 12 assists in his first season with the five-time MLS Cup champions, admitted he was not at his best last weekend.
“I think I need maybe one or two games more, you know, to be 100 percent,” he said after training Wednesday as the club prepared for Saturday’s game in Chicago against the Fire (12:30 p.m., Univision) at a sold-out Toyota Park. “It wasn’t easy for me. I need to get fit quickly.”
Alessandrini said he was thankful for simply getting some playing time.
“It’s good to be back and doing something,” he said. “I have to give more. In the second half, I got two or three chances, but I need one or two games more to be 100 percent.”
The midfielder, in his fifth season with the team, likely will see action with the Galaxy’s reserve squad, Galaxy II, as he nears playing in any games again with the parent club.
“Bradford has been cleared for full training,” Schmid said. “Now we just have to get him moving again, get his fitness level up. Hopefully get in some games, as well with the second team.
“It’s good to see him out here. We’re just trying to build him up slowly and be careful with him.”
The Galaxy also is taking a cautionary approach with midfielder Giovani dos Santos, slowly recovering from a strained hamstring suffered in the first half of a 2-1 loss to New York City FC on March 11 at Yankee Stadium.
Dos Santos worked out off to the side on Wednesday and Schmid said he “did more work than yesterday.”
“We’ll see how that progresses,” he added.
Schmid, asked if it was “unlikely” he will play Saturday, answered, “That’s probably a fair statement.”
THE ZLATAN EFFECT
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was held out of training Wednesday for precautionary reasons but was expected to return to the practice field Thursday, Schmid said.
The Swedish international already appears to be a big draw in Chicago, where a capacity crowd of 20,000 will be on hand for the match against the Fire.
“Is it sold out? I didn’t know they had a lot of Swedes there,” Schmid said with a straight face. “Swedes and Croats, they have a lot of things. Germans, Poles … they have a lot of things there.
“Obviously Zlatan is like we said, he’s in that elite group and he’s going to draw attention wherever we go around the league. But for us, our concern is we’re not concerned about the crowd count or anything like that.
“We’re just concerned about winning games.”
Lletget said he is nearing top form as he rebounds from surgery on his left foot that limited to him to just three appearances in 2017.
He said he also had his right foot stepped on during a 0-0 tie with Vancouver on March 24. He scored his first goal in more than a year in a 4-3 victory over Los Angeles FC a week later and played 23 minutes in the loss to Sporting Kansas City.
“I’m feeling good,” he said Wednesday. Lletget has made five appearances this year, including a season-high 81 minutes against Vancouver. “I feel those early games and a lot of minutes are definitely going to help out moving on. I’m happy everything’s moving along.
“I played a small part in the last game and we’ll see about Chicago.”
Schmid has been careful in trying to limit Lletget’s minutes this season, and the 25-year-old San Francisco native said he was appreciative of the effort.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s tough for him (Schmid) and tough for me. I feel great physically. I’ve done well, I’ve done the hard work to get to this point.
“I think it’s a little bigger than me at the moment, if you know what I mean.”