CARSON -- Chad Barrett's Galaxy teammates are saddened he won't be on the field for next weekend's MLS Cup final against Houston -- and they're still a little scarred after watching the striker dislocate his right ankle on a “freak play.”
Barrett was hurt in training Thursday while checking to a ball, then turning.
“I've never seen anything like that, in person,” defender Todd Dunivant said following L.A.'s training session Friday morning at Home Depot Center. “It was a pretty freak incident, freak play ... a nothing play. There was no contact. His cleat got stuck in the ground, and his leg just rolled over. And his foot was not where it's supposed to be.
“That's unsettling when you see that.”
Barrett, a former UCLA star who made 20 regular-season starts, has been partnered up front with Robbie Keane during the playoffs. He's scored eight goals in all competitions, a few of them pivotal strikes -- and his presence up top will be missed.
“It really took the air out of everyone,” Dunivant said. “We just feel so bad for him, because he's had such a good year, and he's solidified that spot for himself. He deserves to play in this final. We're gutted for him for that, but, fortunately, we have guys that can step in and do the job, and that's how we have to look at it.”
Landon Donovan wasn't on the field when it happened.
“I just heard and saw pictures today. ... No, not pretty,” he said. “It visibly shook some of our guys. It was good to see him [at HDC] today, see how he's dealing with it OK. We'll certainly keep that in our minds next week when we play.”
STAYING HOME: Donovan said the decision to remain with the Galaxy this week rather than travel to Paris for the U.S. national team's friendly against France was far from simple but, ultimately, the only real choice.
It's tough to tell exactly how Jurgen Klinsmann feels about it, but the U.S. coach made it clear in a U.S. Soccer statement that the decision was Donovan's, not his.
“Fortunately, I have a coach who's played at the highest level, who's played for championships and knows you only get so many chances to play for a championship ...,” Donovan said. “At the end of the day, he understands what this means to me. He knows how much I've put into this year for this opportunity, and the last thing anyone would want would be to go travel there, play a game and get hurt, and miss the final, and we'd never forgive any of us.”
Donovan said the quadriceps injury that sidelined him most of October was an issue, too.
“Had this been the beginning of the season, it might have been a different story,” he said. “Had I not been injured previously, it would have been a different story. There were a lot of factors that played into that decision, and when those factors were added up, it overwhelmingly made sense to stay here.”
The U.S. lost Friday to France, 1-0, Friday in Saint-Denis. The Yanks play Tuesday against Slovenia in Ljubljana.
BEST OF BEST XI: Donovan has been an MLS Best XI selection five times, including the last four seasons, and Omar Gonzalez has done it back-to-back. David Beckham received his first honor this week, but he's, you know, David Beckham.
The best thing about this year's Best XI team, from the Galaxy's standpoint, was Dunivant's inclusion.
L.A.'s left back was rewarded for a superb campaign, the best of his career, giving the Galaxy two of the three backline slots.
“I'm real happy for Todd,” Donovan said. “This honor is legitimate because your peers are voting for it. ... And he's been fantastic. You could argue that even A.J. [DeLaGarza, Gonzalez's current partner in the middle], had he played the whole year, could be in consideration for that, too.”
Dunivant called it “a huge honor, it's a year-long thing, and I think for us it's as much a team award as anything, because we've done so well and we had four guys represented, which is pretty big out of 11 players in an 18-team league.”
WORTH NOTING: MLS Cup officially is a sellout. An unspecified number of tickets were put on sale Thursday and were gone within minutes. ... Coach Bruce Arena said he doubts Barrett will be able to play in the postseason trip to Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia. ... The Galaxy are off Saturday and Sunday. “I think this week has been kind of a little downcycle part of it,” Dunivant said, “because we have two weeks [to prepare for the final], and we were at such a high intensity level mentally and physically for three games in a row in eight days, and that takes a lot out of you. This week has been more about recovery and getting our bodies back into it and giving our minds a little bit of a break, and we have the weekend off, and come Monday we'll start really honing it again and getting sharp.”