TIJUANA, Mexico – The gap between MLS teams and Mexico ones in CONCACAF Champions League remains.
The LA Galaxy crashed out of the CCL on Tuesday with a 4-2 defeat to Club Tijuana that saw them fall to the Liga MX side 4-3 on aggregate. LA’s loss gives MLS clubs a 2-27-5 record all time against Mexican clubs in Champions League and a 0-8-2 record in knockout round matches.
Following LA’s defeat, which featured three Tijuana goals in the opening 30 minutes of the game,Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan admitted that the gap between the two leagues was apparent on Tuesday.
“I think that you see the difference in the leagues in nights like tonight. We’ve got about eight who are mature and know how these games are while they’ve got 20 guys who know how these games go,” said Donovan. “That’s the difference in the payrolls and that’s where it is going to be difficult to make that next step until we get on equal terms where we can have the type of players that know how to play in these games.”
TIJUANA, Mexico – Bruce Arena spoke to the media following the LA Galaxy’s 4-2 defeat to Club Tijuana on Tuesday at Estadio Caliente. With the loss, the Galaxy exited the CONCACAF Champions League 4-3 on aggregate.
Arena’s comments are below.
(On the Galaxy’s 4-2 loss…)
ARENA: “It wasn’t our intention to make this game entertaining but it certainly became an entertaining game. Our first half play was awful right from the start. We understood the conditions, the field was going to make the game hectic, make the ball bounce around and spin and all that. Right from the start we conceded a goal in the first minute, very disappointing, and it took our team 30 minutes to get into the game and we positioned ourselves in the second half to advance. We got another goal and conceded the fourth. The game was 90 minutes but certainly the first 45 minutes put us in a hole.”
(On both teams’ overall performance…)
ARENA: “I think they were good. The way we played, they couldn’t beat that. We didn’t win a tackle, our backline was very poor. Let’s be fair, we weren’t good. How good they were I don’t know. They were certainly better than we were.”
(On whether the result can be called a choke…)
ARENA: “A choke? I don’t know. It didn’t look like the guys were choking in the second half. It was a good game, it ended up being a good game and we were certainly positioned to get that second goal and advance. A choke is not a good description of the performance and the character of our team. I’d choose another word.”
(On Rob Friend’s performance in the second half after coming on for Samuel…)
ARENA: “We had to be more direct, no question about it. He gave us that and he was the presence and engaged Landon [Donovan] and Robbie [Keane] a little bit more with his presence there. And I thought Samuel had a very good first half.”
TIJUANA – Club Tijuana may be down a goal in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against the LA Galaxy, but there’s little reason to worry from the Xolos camp ahead of Tuesday’s decisive second leg.
Tijuana have been near invincible at home in recent years with the team dropping just one match in their last 18 league games—a 3-0 defeat to Chiapas Jaguar in February—and will be looking to use the crowd to their advantage against the Galaxy.
If Tijuana can use their home advantage to their favor, former Galaxy forward Herculez Gomez promises that his old club will be in for a “very tough day” at the Estadio Caliente.
“We can be very unpredictable, and that's a very dangerous fighter to face,” Former Galaxy forward Herculez Gomez told reporters on Monday prior to the first leg. “The good thing about a fight, it just takes one punch. And we're one of those teams, we have some punch.”
Outside back Greg Garza, who was one of the most dangerous players in the first leg, believes that the Tijuana have found spaces to exploit in the Galaxy back line.
“They’re a very dangerous team offensively; they have a lot of good players in the attack," Garza told MLSsoccer.com's ExtraTime Radio podcast on Monday. "Maybe their weakness can be in their back line and we have to take advantage of that.”
Just because you're in town for an important game, doesn't mean that you can't have a little fun.
During the LA Galaxy's training session at Estadio Caliente on Monday, LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane fired an amazing trick shot firing a pinpoint laser into a nearby shopping cart pushed by LA Equipment coordinator Rafael Verdin.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy know that a shutout of Club Tijuana will send them through to the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals for a second straight year. But don’t expect them to hang back for 90 plus minutes.
With the Galaxy holding a 1-0 aggregate advantage after their one goal victory over Tijuana in the first leg, the Xolos must attack from the outset as they look to erase their deficit. While Tijuana’s attacking mindset might lead to the temptation to bunker in, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena believes LA must get a goal if they’re to assure themselves a spot in the semifinals.
“We have an advantage [by not conceding an away goal], but it’s only halfway through in the competition and a goal tomorrow will go a long way in helping us advance,” said Arena at a press conference on Monday at the Estadio Caliente. “We don’t anticipate being defensive for 90 minutes, we need to get a goal.”
Where the Galaxy may have have the most success is with the counter attack as Tijuana will look to send waves of attackers forward, which may open chances for LA to exploit the spaces left in the back. But according to Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, that won’t be all that LA will be relying on against the Xolos.
“We’re certainly very used to doing that and confident in our counter attack, but we’re not coming here to sit back and let them keep the ball for 90 minutes, attacking us for the whole game,” said Keane who has scored once in two CONCACAF Champions League matches in Mexico. “We have quality on this team that is quite capable of playing against any team. With them pressing so much that they have to score, the first 15-20 minutes will be important to not concede any goals and from there, we’re quite capable of scoring ourselves.”
In the latest edition of What to Watch For, Cobi Jones and Joe Tutino breakdown the CONCACAF Champions League second leg between the LA Galaxy and Club Tijuana.
Check it out below.
TIJUANA – Much has been made about the LA Galaxy’s ability to play on the turf field at Club Tijuana’s Estadio Caliente, but following the team’s training session at the stadium on Monday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena gave it a ringing endorsement.
In an evening press conference at the Estadio Caliente, following the team’s hour long training session in Tijuana, Arena admitted that he was pleased with the conditions that LA will face in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg.
“The fibers are a little bit higher than we see in the American fields. The American fields are usually matted down and a little bit harder,” said Arena. “They’re also faster and they water them as well, but I don’t know if they’ll do that tomorrow. This surface is must slower than the ones that we see in MLS.
“From what I’ve seen of it, it is probably better than the ones that we have in MLS.”
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's "By the Numbers," we look at the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals second leg against Club Tijuana.
Check it out below.