CARSON -- About 24 hours after Bruce Arena told media that Leonardo would be activated “soon” while refusing to be more specific, the Galaxy made the move, on Friday pulling the 24-year-old Brazilian defender off the MLS Disabled List.
He'll be available for Saturday's SuperClasico against Chivas USA at Home Depot Center.
Fellow center back Andrew Boyens was placed on the DL with a sports hernia, will undergo surgery next week and faces four to six weeks on the sidelines, the club reported. The New Zealander must sit out at least six games before he can be activated for Major League Soccer play -- he could return for the June 30 game at San Jose -- although he can participate in U.S. Open Cup and MLS Reserve League matches and friendlies.
Leonardo, who was acquired in February on a free transfer after spending the last two seasons with L.A. on loan from São Paulo, started the first seven games last season before shredding several knee ligaments -- including the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral -- in the closing moments of a mid-April victory in Chicago last season. He underwent a second surgery late last fall and has been working steadily the past couple of months to return.
He made appearances in two reserve matches, going 11 minutes in an April 24 victory over the L.A. Blues and all of the first half in last week's MLS Reserve League tie with San Jose.
Arena on Thursday was asked why the Galaxy hadn't looked into acquiring veteran center back Danny Califf, who began his pro career with the club and was traded to Chivas USA.
“We have two center backs [Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez] coming back [from injuries] that are pretty good center backs,” Arena said. “Last thing we need is to fill the locker room with more center backs. We have two good ones that are hopefully going to play this year.”
He added that “Leonardo's real close” but wouldn't specify a target date to pull him off the DL, saying only that it would happen “soon.”
Leonardo has made 17 MLS starts while with the Galaxy, seven of them in shutouts.
Boyens, 28, was acquired in December's re-entry draft from Chivas USA, started three of the first five games of the season and has seen only reserve-team action since. He last played in last week's reserve game against San Jose.