In the June 2 Reserve League match, the Los Angeles Galaxy reserves posted a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers. Chad Barrett and Leonardo each capitalized on Kyle Nakazawa's free kicks to score two first half goals. Although Eric Alexander converted a second half penalty kick, the Galaxy preserved their lead for their second Reserve League win of the season. Along with winning the game at JELD-WEN field, there were several significant events that took place during the match.
Josh Saunders Returns
After spending time in Major League Soccer's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health treatment program, Josh Saunders made his first appearance in over a month. Due to stress, the goalkeeper had been out of action since April 21. Until his absence, Saunders had been our first string keeper. He returned to training on May 21. However, it has not been determined when he will play for the first team. Our next regular season game is on June 17th. Considering our team has lost their last three regular season games we could use Saunders in the lineup. I think Bill Gaudette and Brian Perk have had decent performances but Saunders is the best man for the job.
The most unfortunate event of the night was Leonardo's knee injury. In the 3rd minute the Brazilian scored from Nakazawa's free kick. Yet, a few minutes later, he was involved in a collision with Timbers forward Sebastian Rincon. Immediately, the defender started limping and had to leave the game. The injury was on the right knee. Considering Leonardo was out for over a year with a knee injury, it's disconcerting to think he might have another injury. During the Open Cup game against the RailHawks, the center back played the full 90 and had a solid performance. I was counting on him making an appearance for the first team against Portland in two weeks. Now, we will have to wait to see the extent of his injury.
I know it was only a Reserve League match. However, at this point, any victory is a step in the right direction. We scored two goals and then managed to keep our lead. Since some of the reserves will make it into the first team lineup, these wins are confidence builders. They also indicate that some of our younger players are improving.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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