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Galaxy's Josh Saunders to miss game with Seattle

The goalkeeper has been enrolled in Major League Soccer's substance abuse and behavioral health program. The team says he did not fail a league drug test.

May 01, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders fails to stop a shot by Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara (not pictured) during a match on April 7.
Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders fails to stop a shot by Sporting Kansas… (Ed Zurga / Getty Images )

Goalkeeper Josh Saunders will be lost to the Galaxy for an indefinite period after being enrolled in Major League Soccer's substance abuse and behavioral health program.

The Galaxy was informed Friday that Saunders would be unavailable to play until he completes a treatment protocol.

Team officials insisted Tuesday that Saunders did not fail a league-administered drug test but have been evasive in explaining his absence.

Saunders missed Saturday's tie with FC Dallas and is unavailable for Wednesday night's match in Seattle, with Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena saying only that the keeper was missing for "personal reasons."

Saunders, 31, a backup for most of his eight-year pro career, took over as the Galaxy starter last June after Donovan Ricketts broke his arm.

Saunders went on to set career highs for games, starts and minutes played. After posting eight shutouts in the regular season, he recorded two more in the 2011 playoffs, including a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup final.

The Galaxy rewarded Saunders by trading Ricketts, a former MLS goalkeeper of the year, to Montreal a week after the season ended.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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