SAN Salvador, El Salvador -- Ahead of tonight's game between the LA Galaxy and Isidro Metapán, check out my Three Points to the game, which can be found below.
Do you agree or disagree with my observations?
Share your thoughts below.
Ahead of tonight's LA Galaxy clash against Isidro Metapán and Guadalajara vs. Xelajú, here are the LA Galaxy's scenarios for the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League...
A Galaxy win over Metapán and Guadalajara win over Xelajú: The Galaxy will hold the fourth seed and face fifth seeded Herediano of Costa Rica.
A Galaxy win over Metapán and Xelajú win over Guadalajara by a margin less than five goals: The Galaxy would hold the fourth seed and face fifth seeded Xelajú.
A draw with Metapán and a Guadalajara win over Xelajú: The Galaxy would hold the sixth seed and face third seeded Seattle Sounders FC.
A draw with Metapán and a Xelajú win over Guadalajara: The Galaxy would hold the seventh seed and face second seeded Santos Laguna.
A Galaxy/Metapán draw and a Xelajú/Guadalajara draw: The Galaxy would hold the sixth seed and face third seeded Seattle Sounders FC
A Galaxy loss to Metapán and Guadalajara win over Xelajú: The Galaxy would hold the seventh seed and face second seeded Santos. LA could finish eighth and face top seeded Monterrey, provided Chivas makes up a +4 goal difference. Currently, LA at +7 with nine goals while Chivas is +3 with five goals.
A Galaxy loss to Metapán and Xelajú win over Guadalajara: The Galaxy would hold the eighth seed and face number one seeded Monterrey.
It was a banner week for the LA Galaxy Academy that featured each of LA's youth teams went unbeaten last weekend.
The week began with LA's Under-18's 7-0 demolition of Irvine-based youth club Strikers FC with Justin Dhillon tallying three goals, Oscar Sorto scoring two, while Paul Arriola and Jack McBean added one each. In the Under-16 match later in the evening, LA picked up a 3-2 victory over the Strikers with Christian Chavez, Steve Martinez, and Alex Ramos scoring for the Galaxy U-16 side.
In other action, LA's Under-15's defeated the Chivas USA U-15's, 5-1, LA's Under-14's crushed Arsenal FC 5-1. Adding to the Galaxy Academy's winning ways were the LA Under-13 side who defeated CZ Elite 4-0 and LA's Under-12's who beat Nomads and Pateadores by the score of 2-1.
But the victories weren't the only thing making news as a trio of players were making headlines of their own...
U-18 midfielder Paul Arriola has gone to spend the week training with Mexican side Club Tijuana for a week. Arriola announced the training stint on his Twitter account earlier in the week, but in a statement LA Galaxy Vice President Chris Klein told LA Galaxy Insider that U.S. youth international will be back with LA next week.
"Paul Arriola is someone that we are very high on in our Academy," said Klein. "He is simply training in Tijuana for the week and will be back with the Galaxy on Monday."
Meanwhile, Galaxy Under-16 players Rolando Munoz and Jorge Miranda each played a role in the United States' Under-17's 3-1 victory over Chile in a friendly in Argentina. The Under-17's are in Argentina participating in the Four Nations Tournament in Santa Fe, Argentina, where the U.S. won their first game of the tournament, 5-1 over Chile on Tuesday. Munoz and Miranda are back in action on Thursday with a Four Nations match against Argentina before closing the tour on Oct. 27 against the Paraguay U-17s.
Against the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend, the LA Galaxy enjoyed several good moments, but also a couple moments that were not as good as LA played to a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Throughout Sunday's clash against San Jose, LA's defense did well to limit San Jose's wide play as well as their reliance on second balls, which have been an important part to the club's success this season. However, on San Jose's two goals-- both of which came on set pieces --the Galaxy defenders admitted that their marking could have been much cleaner. With Sunday's match against Seattle Sounders FC serving as the final tune up ahead of next Thursday's Western Conference Knockout Round against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, defender Omar Gonzalez believes that LA's must iron out any kinks as soon as possible.
“I think from here on out it’s just about worrying about ourselves and the way we show up to games and how we start halves. Last game we started the game very well, but then second half we didn’t start so well. I think there’s just crucial moments in the game where we have to have our heads right," said Gonzalez. "And that’s beginning of games, the beginning of the second half, every time there’s some kind of stoppage just be focused and be mentally prepared to make plays. I think if we worry about ourselves and how we go into the game and how we’re going to play, it’s going to be really hard for teams to beat us.”
(On preparing for a game where the result doesn’t have an impact...)
GONZALEZ: “I think first and foremost you never want to go out with that kind of mindset. You always want to go out to win a game and to put your best effort out there. So for us it’s all about fine-tuning things that we need to right before Thursday’s game. It’s a crucial game, because it’s getting close and after Sunday’s game it’s going to be a brand new season, the postseason, playoffs start and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Some might say that the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapan is of little importance beyond the seeding for the CCL Quarterfinals -- but don't tell that to rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia.
The rookie midfielder is expected to play an important role in marshalling the Galaxy midfield that is expected to contain fellow youngsters Michael Stephens and Kenney Walker on Thursday. During LA's CCL matches with the Puerto Rico Islanders earlier in the tournament, Garcia enjoyed extensive success as his calmer style complements the energetic Stephens and Walker to a tee.
LA will need this order on Thursday as they hope to lock down a dynamic Metapan midfield that uses the wide field at Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez to spread out the opposition through the play of wide players like Pablo Suarez and Eliseo Quintanilla. During the last meeting between the two clubs, the pair enjoyed some success as Metapan jumped out to an early one goal lead, before LA's physical play proved too much for the Salvadorans as the Galaxy cruised to 5-2 victory.
For the Galaxy to be the first team to win in Metapan in more than a year, Garcia knows his teammates must be in for a fight.
'It’s going to be a battle from the beginning and a war. We know that they’re not going to want to lose to us on their home field," said Garcia. "It’s hard to say [what to expect from them], I want to think that we got all the travel out of us in the session, it took a while for us to get going. We’re expecting a battle from them and we’re expecting to play good soccer tomorrow, we wouldn’t have it any other way. I know that the coaches have high expectation on the whole team and we need to come out and do our best...We have to be alert on restarts, set pieces and everything. We know that they’re not going to give us anything on the field so we’re expecting to battle."
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- The LA Galaxy trained on Wednesday at the Estadio Jorge "El Magico" Gonzalez in San Salvador in preparation for Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League clash against Isidro Metapán.
Above is a shot of a Pyramid that occupies the Stadium's north end. The "El Magico" is currently without a tenant, but was the former home of Salvadoran Primera Division club Atletico Marte.
As has been stated throughout the week, the Galaxy have taken a Reserve squad and half of the coaching staff --including assistant coach Curt Onalfo -- to El Salvador. The complete roster is below:
Goalkeepers: Brian Perk, Brian Rowe
Defenders: Andrew Boyens, Bryan Gaul, Bryan Jordan, Tommy Meyer
Midfielders: Rafael Garcia, Hector Jimenez, Dan Keat, Marcelo Sarvas, Michael Stephens, Kenney Walker
Forwards: Jack McBean, Pat Noonan, Jose Villarreal
During the training, head coach Bruce Arena met with U.S. ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte and presented her with an autographed Galaxy uniform. That wasn't all that occured as Galaxy legend and longtime Salvadoran International Mauricio Cienfuegos also met with Aponte as well as a group of Salvadoran children to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Photos from those moments below:
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) October 24, 2012
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) October 24, 2012
Thoughts from several Galaxy players, the Three Points to the game and more coming later...
A new name has been added to the LA Galaxy injury list.
Galaxy defender David Junior Lopes, who is listed as out with a left facial fracture. Lopes joins DeLaGarza, Leonardo and Nakazawa, who are also listed as out. Joining Lopes on the list are David Beckham and Landon Donovan, the pair are listed as questionable on the sheet with left ankle soreness and a left knee bone bruise, respectively.
OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); DF David Junior Lopes (L facial fracture); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (L ankle soreness); MF Landon Donovan (L knee bone bruise)
The LA Galaxy have arrived in El Salvador ahead of Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League Group 5 finale against Isidro Metapan. Above is a photo snapped at sunset as the club landed in San Salvador.
As head coach Bruce Arena and Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday, the club has split its squads and the coaching staff with half traveling to El Salvador, while the others -- like David Beckham and Landon Donovan -- stayed behind. LA train on Wednesday morning in San Salvador.
Meanwhile, in other CONCACAF Champions League action, the Houston Dynamo qualified for the CCL quarterfinals from Group 3, after a 1-1 draw with Honduran club Olimpia. Real Salt Lake was not so lucky as RSL played to a scoreless draw with C.S. Herediano advancing from Group 2. In the third game of the night, defending CCL champions Monterrey crushed Panamaian side Chorrillo, 6-0.
It’s time for one of the final “Ask the Insider” segments of the season.
Today’s question comes from Dennyz Hernandez, who asks: “Since we’ll be 4th place regardless of the score on Sunday’s game…do you think it would be a good idea to sit and rest all the starters for the wild card game.
With the LA Galaxy’s playoff destiny set, the Galaxy coaching staff are expected to limit the minutes for their first team regulars in Sunday’s contest against the Seattle Sounders as they look ahead to next week’s First Knockout Round game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but don’t expect the entire squad to rest.
In particular, Landon Donovan and David Beckham, who are still returning from injuries could use in-game minutes against Seattle as they look to improve their sharpness ahead of the unforgiving postseason schedule. Both players took part in training on Monday and are expected to be evaluated throughout the week by Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan, who has stayed behind with half of LA's coaching staff. While getting minutes for the likes of Donovan and Beckham is important, so is providing time forward Edson Buddle and midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson, each in need additional minutes as they continue to round back into form.
But there is another wrinkle for the Galaxy to navigate in balancing the squads as head coach Bruce Arena has sent his Reserve squad to El Salvador for Thursday’s match against Isidro Metapán.This match will serve as a valuable learning experience for Arena’s youngsters, but could limit their availability for Sunday’s contest as even those that do not play 90 minutes, will return on short rest from El Salvador.
Taking all these factors into account, expect Arena to use a mix of first team players and reserves on Sunday.
Thanks Dennyz, you can get your tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For everyone else, remember to leave your questions on the LA Galaxy Facebook page following the club's next match against Isidro Metapán on Oct. 24 for the chance to have your question featured and win tickets to LA's regular season finale against the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 28.
Landon Donovan has been incredibly introspective in recent months and on Tuesday; the LA Galaxy captain gave another intuitive interview, this time with ESPN FC’s Roger Bennett.
During his conversation with Bennett, the 30-year-old Donovan discussed his role with the U.S. National Team, his diminished presence on social media as well as his stints with English Premier League side Everton. When asked about his expectations to suit up for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Donovan provided an honest response.
"I don't have the answer to that," Donovan told Bennett. "There are a lot of moving pieces: Will I be playing, period? Will I be part of the team? Will I be good enough to be wanted?" he continued. "If I had to guess I would say it is 50-50. I will have more clarity after I take a break."
Donovan is currently working his way back from a bone bruise on his left knee that has prevented him from playing in LA’s 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last Sunday.