Any other day a 5-1 victory on the road would be a center back’s dream come true. Walker Zimmerman’s nerves were frayed as LAFC played Real Salt Lake.
“It was stressful, to be honest,” Zimmerman said of the Club’s second match of the season.
Set to start the first match in Club history a week earlier in Seattle, Zimmerman was pulled from the lineup following warmups due to a re-aggravation of a prior injury. After missing LAFC’s first-ever victory, the center back then had to watch from home as his teammates mounted a comeback and eventual demolition of RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“On the field, or even on the bench for that matter, you can encourage guys and make some kind of an impact,” Zimmerman said. “On the field you can obviously impact the game with how you play and your decision making, so to not even be a part of it was hard to sit there and watch. You’re just a complete fan in that moment.”
Eager to get back on the field, a bye week followed by the international break gave the defender extra time to prepare for the Club’s third match of the season. It was extra time with the team rolling that in hindsight turned into a blessing.
“It was good to get the extra week for me. Just to get an extra week of training in has been good to make sure I’m match fit and ready to go 90 minutes,” Zimmerman said following training on Wednesday. “So that’s been my mentality during my two weeks of rehab or so was to just heal this up the right way and push myself physically to make sure I don’t miss a beat when we start playing again.”
Now fully fit, the timing of Zimmerman’s potential debut couldn’t be better for LAFC. On Saturday, the Club travels to Carson to kick off the most highly anticipated new rivalry in MLS.
And he’s already hearing it from the fans.
“The fans are definitely involved saying ‘You gotta go out and beat the Carson boys, you gotta beat them Galaxy.’ You can tell it’s what they’ve been talking about since the beginning of the year,” Zimmerman said. “They’ve had it circled on their calendars, which means we’ve had it circled on our calendars.”
“I’m sure there will be a lot of energy on Saturday at StubHub and we just want to get those three points.”