With a 3-2 victory over Isidro Metapán on Thursday and Chivas de Guadalajara’s 2-1 victory over Xelajú , the LA Galaxy clinched the fourth seed in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The LA Galaxy will face Costa Rican club Herediano in the Quarterfinals. The winner would take on either top-seeded Monterrey or eight seeded Xelaju in the semifinals.
A couple of notes from the result:
*Jack McBean tallied a pair of goals and has now tallied three CCL goals in his career, putting him second on LA’s all-time list just one behind Juninho, who has four.
*The Galaxy were incensed with a call in the 45th as referee Hugo Cruz took away a goal by Michael Stephens after the shot tapped in by Stephens was ruled to have been in possession of goalkeeper Mondragon.
*Stephens had the last laugh, tallying a goal in the 79th minute to give LA the victory.
*Bryan Gaul had a pair of assists on the night.
*The match will be the second time in three years that the Galaxy have faced a Costa Rican team as LA took on Alajuelense in the group stage during last year’s tournament.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador. -- When Bruce Arena opted to go with a Reserve-laden lineup for the LA Galaxy’s second CONCACAF Champions League match on Aug. 29 against the Puerto Rico Islanders, many in the media—including this reporter—were surprised and skeptical.
However, Arena’s move paid off as the Galaxy’s reserves crushed the Islanders 4-0. When LA’s next match rolled around, it was no surprise that the Galaxy opted for a similar lineup that again shined, this time earning a tough scoreless draw in Puerto Rico.
As the Galaxy look to boost improve their seeding for the CCL quarterfinals, Arena is once again expected to turn to his reserves as he looks to earn a victory against Isidro Metapán at the foreboding Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez. A place that has proved to be a house of horrors for opposing teams as Metapán’s last competitive defeat came against the Colorado Rapids in CCL group play on Sept. 29, 2011, a span of 26 matches.
Although the match promises to be a challenging one, the Galaxy reserves believe that they are up to the task.
“It’s important on a couple of different levels, one for seeding for the next round and it’s important that we get three points and put ourselves in a good position,” said forward Pat Noonan. “We’ve obviously advanced, but now is a good opportunity for guys to get their minutes and show something to the coaches so we can get a result. It’s going to be a difficult atmosphere, but I think we’ll be up for the challenge.
“It’s important; a lot of these guys have deserved it so getting these opportunities,” Noonan added. “The coaching staff has stuck with us so it’s been good for guys to get the experience in tough situations and I think that’s one of the reasons that we’ve been able to get results.”
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...
CARSON, Calif. -- Second-year midfielder Dan Keat was widely considered the top rookie during the 2011 season, but since undergoing knee surgery in June, the New Zealand International has struggled to find playing time in MLS or Reserve League play. However, now finally healthy, Keat is eager to play some role in Thursday's CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapan.
Keat faces a stiff test as he will need to crack into a Galaxy midfield that includes Michael Stephens, Rafael Garcia and Kenney Walker, each who have flourished in CCL play this year. However, Keat, traveled to El Salvador believes that a good appearance against Metapan could do wonders for inserting him back into Bruce Arena's rotation.
Below are thoughts from Keat on his fitness and his goal of earning more minutes...
KEAT: "It’s good, I feel healthy, which is a good start and I think everything follows from that. When you know that your body is good and your mind is right, I know that I can play and help the team. Just have to be ready if and when you’re called."
(On attempting to earn minutes from the Garcia and Walker...)
KEAT: "I suppose when I got injured those guys came in and did really well, especially in reserve games. That’s life in a club like this, I’ve been really impressive with the way those guys have stepped in this year, and even though it’s never easy, I think that I can play."
(On what he could do break into the lineup...)
KEAT: "I just need to play my own game and you can only control what you can do. If I get a chance to play this week then I need to play well, and just go from there. There’s not a whole lot left in the season and you have to see what happens, but hopefully by playing well, you can help the team out."
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)