- Neil Morris
- The L.A. Galaxy train Tuesday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—On Tuesday afternoon, the L.A. Galaxy took to the pristine pitch of Field 3 at WakeMed Soccer Park for a training session in advance of Wednesday’s match against the hometown Carolina RailHawks in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Two days removed from a home win over the Seattle Sounders and five days before a trip to Foxboro, Mass. to face the New England Revolution, a squad of mainly reservists and bench players made the trip to Cary, N.C. for Wednesday’s match. However, many of them were part of the Galaxy contingent that was upset by the RailHawks in last year’s U.S. Open Cup.
The more notable names at Tuesday’s training included Michael Stephens, Jose Villarreal, Hector Jiménez, Greg Cochrane and Gyasi Zardes. However, it was newest Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers who drew the most media attention. Rogers made his Galaxy debut on Sunday, becoming the first openly gay player to compete in Major League Soccer (MLS). More pertinent to this week’s Cup draw against Carolina is the fact that Rogers has not started a competitive match since late last year. Wednesday’s match provides a much-needed opportunity for Rogers to work on his match fitness, something he addressed with the media after training, among other topics.
Also, Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo spoke to the media in lieu of manager Bruce Arena, who was not at Tuesday’s practice. Indeed, Onalfo said he will be the bench coach for the game against the RailHawks, and Arena will apparently remain in Southern California to prepare for Sunday’s match.
The RailHawks and Galaxy kick-off Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. According to a club official, tickets have been purchased from over 107 different cities and 15 different states thus far. VIP and Club sections have sold out, but seats are still available in Premium and Spectator seating categories.