Juninho is healthy and ready to play against Monterrey
CARSON, CALIFORNIA (BDCi) — There will be no nicks or injuries that will keep Galaxy midfielder Juninho from appearing in Wednesday’s CONCACAF semifinal second leg against Monterrey.
Head coach Bruce Arena and the Brazilian himself have declared the midfielder fit and ready to appear against Monterrey after he was forced to exit the first leg in the 61st minute with what the Brazilian described as a headache.
On Sunday, Juninho returned to the training field for the first time since Wednesday’s game and admitted he was feeling fit and ready to go.
“It was my first day back, I feel okay. I need a little bit more with the guys. My headache has no pain anymore. I’m available for the next game,” Juninho told LAGalaxy.com. “I want to help. It’s a very tough game and everyone knows that. Monterrey has a very good team, but we’re prepared. Now let’s go win.”
As for how the headache occurred, it was not action or reaction during the game but rather an aftereffect from a shake that did not agree with Juninho’s body.
“I drank some water and shake mix. That affected my headache and it stayed through until after the game…It wasn’t easy because my vision was blocked and my focus was not the same during the game, but now I’m fine,” Juninho said. “I was a little bit lazy the next day after the headache, but after two days of not training, I’ve been okay.”
Having Juninho back in the starting lineup is huge for the Galaxy as he was instrumental on both sides of the field last Wednesday. Teamed up with fellow Brazilian Marcelo Sarvas, the duo were able to spark offensive chances and thwart the Monterrey attack.
Healthy and fit, Juninho looks to play a key role in Wednesday’s clash as LA looks to overturn a 2-1 deficit in Mexico. It won’t be easy as any loss, draw or even a 1-0 Galaxy win will see Monterrey advance to the finals for the third straight year.Making matters more difficult will be the raucous crowd at Estadio Tecnologico, which is expected to be completely sold out as Monterrey looks to end LA’s CCL dreams.
The Galaxy have dealt with Mexican crowds before as they were unlucky not to defeat Monarcas Morelia in a CCL group stage match in September 2011 before falling 2-1 to the home side. Juninho did not play in that game after being sent off in a prior game against L.D. Alajuelense, but the Brazilian is eager to prove himself in Mexico.
“I like South American crowds, I know what to expect. The fans are very emotional and passionate,” said Juninho. “It’s going to be a nice and hard game, but if we score an early goal and then two goals, then it will be good. If we score early then it’ll be comfortable for us and we only need one more goal, so let’s try.”
As for the match itself, Juninho insists that the Galaxy have the ability to erase the deficit and defeat the Mexican giants.
“There are no secrets. We played at home last game and it was very good in the first half, but we slept late in the game and they scored two goals,” Juninho asserted. “Next game is going to be the same, we’re going to press them and the guys have to be ready for a big game.”