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Leonardo steps up big as comeback turns to success

Leonardo has been working on coming back from a knee injury for almost two years. He's fit right back into the LA Galaxy back line.

USA TODAY Sports

With FIFA dates and impacted schedules, the Galaxy's depth on the back line is going to be tested. Luckily for LA not only is Tommy Meyer still a viable option, but Leonardo has successfully come back from almost two years of injury recuperation. He paired well with A.J. DeLaGarza on Saturday night, after pairing with Omar Gonzalez in the Galaxy's season opener.

Leonardo was responsible for 14 turnovers on Saturday, which accounts for 12% of the possessions that Colorado had. Together he and DeLaGarza limited Colorado to just five attempts on goal. Only one of those attempts was from inside the box, and one was blocked.

"[Leonardo's] Playing very well. His comeback, if you want to call it that, from some serious injuries over the last couple years has been remarkable."

By the Opta stats, Leonardo was able to get up for ten headers, showing his jumping ability has come along just fine. One thing the Galaxy missed last year when Gonzalez was out with his injury was that tall leaping presence in the middle that can take down crosses.

"It looks to me that he's jumping very well, as you can see tonight the number of headers he won, and he's getting his speed back. We're real pleased with Leo and throughout the year we're going to need to have a lot of depth in our back line and certainly he's only made it stronger by the way he's been able to come back."

The Galaxy have the luxury this year of a full second string back line that is match ready. Leonardo and Tommy Meyer at center back are certainly ready to go, and in a pinch Brian Gaul and Oscar Sorto could make it work at the fullback positions.

Against Toronto FC, it's likely the Galaxy could go with Leonardo and A.J. DeLaGarza at center backs again to give Omar Gonzalez some rest after his national team duty; snow and Mexico City will take its toll on a defender. Leonardo and DeLaGarza have proven they're up to the task.