CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy paired two youngsters up front and rearranged their midfield with Robbie Keane and Robbie Rogers sidelined with injuries, and it worked wonderfully last weekend against Vancouver.
That provides some needed confidence, because they'll likely have to do so again.
Keane, who sustained a hip-flexor injury two weeks ago at Portland, and Rogers, who suffered a hamstring injury before last week's win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, haven't returned to full training and appear doubtful to be available for Saturday's game at Colorado (5 pm MT, ESPN2).
Head coach Bruce Arena won't say as much, of course. He rarely reveals anything significant about injuries.
“We're hopefully optimistic that they can train and play this weekend,” Arena said earlier in the week. On Thursday, he said the staff would “know more tomorrow.”
Teen forward Jose Villarreal stepped in for Keane next to rookie Gyasi Zardes, and both youngsters scored in the 2-1 triumph over Vancouver. Rogers' absence on the left flank led Arena to move Marcelo Sarvas to the flank and team Juninho with Pablo Mastroeni in the middle.
LA also must replace center back Omar Gonzalez, who is with the US national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Panama. Tommy Meyer or Leonardo is likely to fill in.
The Galaxy (10-8-3) have struggled this year when Keane is missing, but their dominance against Vancouver — best illustrated, perhaps, by the 22-4 shot disparity — was a positive step.
“We've always felt that we have depth this year,” associate head coach Dave Sarachan said. “We always feel as though if we lose someone, we have the next guy stepping in. We may not have the exact quality, but I think the confidence is there both with our staff and with our players that we can plug guys in and they'll handle themselves well.
“The system is the system. It's just a matter of these guys in the moment delivering, and I think the confidence is there that they will.”
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.