CARSON -- Chad Barrett has shed his tears and moaned his fate, and now he's ready to get on with it. He might not be able to take the field when the Galaxy and Houston Dynamo tangle Sunday night in the MLS Cup final, but he can't wait for the game to begin.
The striker will watch from the sidelines after suffering a dislocated right foot in training a week ago, an injury that would force him out three or four weeks, just a little longer that he needs it to be.
“[The timing] couldn't be worse, really,” Barrett said Thursday as he took a break from rehab at Home Depot Center. “As it's getting more and more close to the game, I'm starting to feel a little bit more sad about the whole thing. But at the same time, this is still, like, an exciting time. This is my first MLS Cup experience, and all the stuff that goes before, during and after, you know, it's great to be a part of of. It's great to be part of this team.
“Just because I'm out doesn't change anything. We've been a team all year. We've had injuries all year, and people have missed certain times. This is just the time that I was unlucky to miss. But we're still going to go out there, and whoever's going to step on Sunday is going to do a great job like we have all year, and I expect to still be wearing a ring at the end and lifting the trophy.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has several options to replace Barrett. Backup forward Adam Cristman, who is little bigger and more physical that Barrett, would be a straight swap, but L.A. could opt for slippery Miguel Lopez or push Landon Donovan or Mike Magee up from midfield and use Chris Birchall or Michael Stephens in their place.
“It's unfortunate Chad's not available for this game, but our whole season's been this,” Arena said. “Whenever we need to replace a player, the next guy steps up and gets the job done. We have plenty of options, haven't made a decision yet, but I think we'll have a good choice.”
Cristman, who had his share of ailments this season -- he saw little first-team action until August after a preseason knee injury -- says he's ready to go if called upon.
“I think this game could lend to me being a good potential [to start], with playing against their big backs,” said Cristman, who, like Barrett, was acquired during the offseason. “They're a physical team, and that's kind of my style of play. We'll see how it goes. ...
“Chad's a huge loss for us. I know he's extremely disappointed not to be able to play in the game himself. It's just a bummer that we lose him that way. But each of us has a role on the team, and I need to take care of my role and step up if I'm called upon.”
Barrett, the Galaxy's No. 2 goal scorer this season, was hurt in a non-contact play while turning with the ball late in last Thursday's training session. His cleat got caught in the grass, he rolled over on the ankle, and the foot dislocated.
“I thought it was broken ...,” Barrett said. “It sounded like getting your back popped. Like four or five cracks -- guys said they could hear it from, like, 15 yards away. I felt the cracks, I hurt the cracks [and] then I looked down, and my foot was turned upwards. It was pretty gruesome to see.”
Barrett shared a photo taken shortly after the incident -- it shows the foot at a most unnatural angle -- and his foot clearly was bloated Thursday. He has been keeping it elevated, getting massages, working with the Galaxy's trainers.
He acknowledged that “it's hard to put into words” the emotions he's gone through.
“To be honest, I shed a couple of tears in the ambulance on the way [from the training field to the hospital],” he said. “Just because it's all I've been playing for. This is my MLS Cup finale, the biggest stage I've ever been on. It would have been great to be there on national TV in front of my friends and family. ...
“It's part of the game. Injuries are part of the game. A really crappy time.”
Barrett said, all in all, he was fortunate. The bone wasn't broken, the damage does not require surgery, and he expects no issues preparing for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Toronto FC, one of his former clubs, next March. He will skip the postseason trek to Asia and Australia.
“It looks like the bone could have gone through the skin, but it didn't,” he said. “So many bad things could have happened. But the precautions were taken. The ambulance guys were great. Except one fireman. One fireman said, 'Oh, yeah, that's broken. You're never playing again.' I was like, 'Who brought this guy?' ”
WORTH NOTING: The Galaxy has called a news conference Friday to “formally announce a special, groundbreaking business-related agreement” -- expected to be the 10-year, $55 million television deal with Time Warner Cable's local sports stations, to begin in 2012. ... Robbie Keane returned to training Thursday, but David Beckham was missing. Why? “He's downtown today,” Arena answered. “I think he's protesting the banking system in this country.” (Protests were held in downtown L.A. on Friday morning, right outside the league's hotel.) Actually, Arena added, Beckham was given the morning off with “a little bit of a cold.” ... There also were protests at Home Depot Center, by Cal State Dominguez Hills faculty unhappy with working conditions at the university. ...
The Galaxy will win MLS Cup by a 3-1 scoreline. So says EA Sports, which played a simulation of the final on its FIFA Soccer 12 videogame. Beckham scored in the seventh minute, Keane in the 62nd, and Donovan netted an 86th-minute clincher after Geoff Cameron's header for Houston in the 86th. ... The ball they'll use in the final is different than the ball used during the regular season, in one sense: It's silver. That aside, it's the same ball -- adidas Jabulani -- and both teams saw it once this season, in their games at Colorado.