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James Riley and the LA Galaxy's back line woes

Cumulatively, the LA Galaxy back line have put together a league best performance. However, keeping the individual moving parts match fit has been difficult.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

James Riley had to come into the match for the LA Galaxy in the 17' minute after Robbie Rogers was judged unable to continue. He then continued for seventy-four minutes, his first appearance since the second game of the MLS season, without the benefit of any full strength warm-up matches.

"I was hesitant about putting him in that early in the game," said Bruce Arena," and the thinking was he probably would have to come out in the second half at some point, but he hung in there so that's terrific. He has worked really hard to come back from that surgery and that injury and to be able to give us 75 minutes or so tonight, in a night where we needed it, was big."

Going into the season, the plan was to continue with Todd Dunivant at left back and have A.J. DeLaGarza replace Sean Franklin at right back. Injury to Dunivant forced Arena to use Riley, and then injury to Riley forced Arena to bring on Dan Gargan. Dunivant returned briefly, but another injury left the job open for Robbie Rogers.

The fullbacks have been a difficult spot for the Galaxy to keep healthy this season, and those returning from injury like Dunivant and Rogers have continued to struggle with ailments once back in the lineup. Playing Riley that long was a risk, but compared to the risk of further harming Rogers it was judged a worthy gamble.

"There was a possibility [Rogers] could have continued," said Bruce Arena. "We just took him in."

If indeed Rogers can get himself fit again for this weekend's trip to Dallas, it would go a long way toward solidifying a Galaxy back line that will face a tough task. Leonardo did fine in injury duty with Dan Gargan on the mend, but it's established that he is vulnerable to lapse in concentration now and again.