SAN JOSE, Costa Rica— Issues with the lighting system at C.S. Cartaginés’ home stadium forced the match into the sparking and cavernous Estadio Nacional, but although this may hurt the locals, the LA Galaxy are excited to play at the sparkling venue.
Following training on Tuesday’s training session; I spoke to several players about the stadium conditions.
Their thoughts are below…
RAFAEL GARCIA: “It’s a big stadium with a beautiful field that is not too much different from ours. If it is wet the ball will move fast and it’s a great field that we can’t complain about.”
JACK MCBEAN: “It’s a cool stadium with a really nice field. It’s brand new and we’re excited for the game tomorrow. We’ll see if it benefits us. Last year, we went into El Salvador and played in a really rough stadium and got the result, so we’ll see.”
BRUCE ARENA: “The field is in good shape. We’re obviously looking forward to the game. The fans won’t be too close to the field, which is good.”
LANDON DONOVAN: “It should be exciting for our guys to play here. Generally you play in small stadiums with bad fields or turf, old stadiums that are weathered and worn. This will be an opportunity to play in a nice stadium, but we expect that they’ll still have a raucous crowd and it will look like an away game in CONCACAF. That has to be the mentality, and we need to do our best to get three points.”
MARCELO SARVAS: “It’s beautiful. It’s really nice and the grass is in good condition. It’s always hard to grow because it rains a lot, but it’s in great condition. It’ll be a beautiful place for a game tomorrow. I think the stadium will help them because it’s better for soccer and it’s good for a beautiful game and to try to do things right.”
Traveling in Central America isn't all stadium photos and soccer as I went to have dinner with LA Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas at his favorite chicharronera from his days playing in Costa Rica.
Check out the video below...
Prior to the team departing for Costa Rica, LAGalaxy.com caught up with Pablo Mastroeni, Brian Rowe and Michael Stephens for a video preview of Wednesday's match against C.S. Cartagines.
Check it out below...
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica—LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is well versed in the drama of CONCACAF Champions League road matches and he expects nothing less than a battle during Wednesday’s match against C.S. Cartaginés.
Arena is likely to opt for a similar squad as the one that defeated Isidro Metapan a week earlier with a mix of first team players and reserves. Several of the players that won't participate include Omar Gonzalez, Jaime Penedo, Juninho, and captain Robbie Keane, all of which stayed behind in Southern Calfiornia. The Galaxy squad will undoubtedly be in for a brawl on Wednesday the Costa Ricans needing a victory to keep their slim hopes of winning Group 8 alive.
"They'll be very aggressive to start the game,” said Arena following the team’s training session at the Estadio Nacional on Tuesday. “The early moments of the game will be very important."
But with Cartaginés expected to heap on early pressure and the Galaxy needing just a point to advance to the quarterfinals, will Arena opt for a defensive mindset?
"We're going to go play,” he asserted. “We don't know what the game is going to look like. If they get a goal in the first 15 minutes then it won't be a defensive effort. We'll see what the game is going to look like."
Landon Donovan admits ankle condition improving, but he remains a question mark for C.S. Cartagines match
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Landon Donovan made the trip to Costa Rica, but whether or not he’ll play in the LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartaginés still remains to be seen.
Donovan was present during the Galaxy’s training session at the Estadio Nacional in Costa Rica on Tuesday as LA wrapped up their preparation for their vital CCL fixture. The 31-year-old Donovan admits that the right ankle sprain that he suffered during LA’s 1-1 draw with D.C. United two weeks ago is still lingering and because of that, he understands that he’ll need to be cautious on Wednesday.
“I feel a lot better. Every day is getting better. It lingered more than I wanted, but it is part of it. We’ll keep doing everything to try and get it ready for the game,” said Donovan. “We’re going to do what’s right. If I can play then I want to play. I’m not going to do anymore damage then I want to play. If the determination is that I can still do more damage then we’ll be smart.”
Even if he does not participate, he’ll be able to offer plenty of insight into playing at Estadio Nacional as he took part in a World Cup qualifier with the U.S. National Team earlier this month against Costa Rica. Donovan and Galaxy teammate Omar Gonzalez—who did not make the trip—were unable to earn a victory as the U.S. fell 3-1, but he’s hopeful that LA will not suffer a similar fate.
Although the stadium’s design, which includes a massive track around the field that separates the crowd from the field, Donovan admits that the team must be wary of the environment.
“The atmosphere is different because when the fans are right on top of you, it creates more pressure so this will be a little bit different," said Donovan. "But we learned with the U.S. team that it doesn't guarantee you anything. We have to be prepared for a team that is at home and with their fans in the stadium that is going to come after us."
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- The LA Galaxy are currently in Costa Rica in preparation for Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartagines and to prepare you for the match, I'll be providing constant video updates.
Check out the first installment below...
CARSON, Calif. -- A left ankle injury prevented Landon Donovan from participating in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Seattle Sounders FC, but he'll be traveling to the LA Galaxy's vital CONCACAF Champions League match against C.S. Cartagines, said head coach Bruce Arena.
Following Monday's training session, Arena told reporters Donovan will be traveling with the team to Costa Rica for the Wednesay's all-important match, in which the club could clinch a berth in the CCL quarterfinals with a draw.
"I'm bringing a roster that will help us win the game and that's why he is coming with us," said Arena of Donovan, who suffered the injury during LA's 1-1 draw with D.C. United two weeks ago. "I'm bringing a roster that will help us win the game. That's the answer to your question and he's included on the roster."
The LA Galaxy Under-16 and Under-18 squads began the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season with a bang this weekend going undefeated in four matches.
The U-18’s were unbeaten in games against the Seattle Sounders FC Academy and Portland Timbers Academy as they overpowered their foes from the Pacific Northwest winning both games by a combined score of nine to two.
In the first match on Saturday, the U-18's decimated Seattle by a 4-1 margin with Adonis Amaya, Aaron Lombardi, Steve Martinez, and Jaime Villarreal scoring. On Sunday, they once again put on an attacking clinic as Villarreal scored a pair of goals while Christian Chavez, Bradford Jamieson, and Martinez all scored in a 5-1 victory over the Timbers. Meanwhile, the U-16’s began the weekend’s slate with a 1-1 draw against the Sounders Academy, but roared back on Sunday with a 6-0 pummeling of the Timbers. After a Sounders own goal gave them a draw in Seattle, the U-16’s decimated Portland with three goals from Jorge Ruiz, two from Jesus Nunez and one from Christian Segovia.
Both teams return to action next weekend when they take on the San Diego Surf at StubHub Center. The U-18’s take the field at StubHub Center’s University Field 2 at 10:00am while the U-16’s play at 12:30pm.
Highlights from the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC are below...
Yes, the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders was a physical and emotional battle between two clubs fighting for the berths in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but there were a few moments of levity.
Check out this hilarious gif by Seattle-based 8-bit Sports. This had to be an intentional "Night at the Roxbury" impression by Brad Evans and Omar Gonzalez, right?
Let me know your thoughts.