Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas hoping to wrestle control of the game away from Cristian Pellerano and the Tijuana midfield
CARSON, Calif. – In what promises to be a match played a breakneck pace, controlling the midfield will be vital once the LA Galaxy take the field against Club Tijuana at the Estadio Caliente on Tuesday.
The task of slowing the game down will not be an easy one for Galaxy midfielders Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas as they’ll look to stifle Tijuana’s dynamic midfield pairing of Fernando Arce and Christian Pellerano.
In the second half of LA’s 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg victory last week, Pellerano was particularly effective, pulling the strings as Tijuana tried searched for equalizer. With Tijuana needing a goal to get back into the series, limiting the box-to-box midfielder’s chances at goal will be key for LA.
“[Pellerano is] a very good player. He was a very calm player, he looks to control the game and dish the ball across the field. Marcelo and I have talked about him a lot this week,” said Juninho. “We’ve also got to be mindful of [Arce] as well, so we’ve got to be prepared and pay attention at all times.”
Although the two midfielders pose a major threat for LA, Sarvas believes that if LA can slow down the frantic pace, the team can force Tijuana into uncomfortable positions.
“We have to be in good spots and not give up space. But the most important thing is that every time we go forward, we have to [get shots off] which allows the team time to go back and defend again,” said Sarvas. “We've simply have to delay the game as much as we can whether it’s with fouls, corner kicks, free kicks, or throw-ins because as time wears on, they’re going to get nervous and make mistakes."
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy know that when they take on Club Tijuana in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg, they’ll be facing not only the players on the field, but a raucous crowd at Estadio Caliente.
One of the most fierce atmospheres in Liga MX, the Galaxy understand that they’ll be facing a boisterous fan base on Tuesday when they look to hold up their 1-0 aggregate lead over Tijuana.
“I expect it to be pretty wild and pretty crazy,” said Landon Donovan. “It’ll be fun for us because we enjoy playing in games like that. With this team over the years, we usually play in front of the opposing team’s best crowd. We’re used to hostile environments and we thrive on it.”
Marcelo Sarvas, who also has considerable experience playing in hostile environments throughout his career, expects a fevered atmosphere on Tuesday.
“I’m from Brazil and I think it’ll be the same. People will scream at you, they’ll be throwing things like coins or water or whatever,” said Sarvas. “They’re going to push the team for 90 minutes and it’ll be tough. It’s a good game to play because you have to put your heart before everything and face the game the right way.”
CARSON, Calif. – With just two days remaining before the LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg match against Club Tijuana, LA head coach Bruce Arena spoke to the media.
As a little update, myself and the rest of the LAGalaxy.com team will be traveling down to Tijuana tomorrow and we’ll have plenty of coverage ahead of Tuesday’s match.
Arena’s comments are below.
(On what he expects to be the keys to the game…)
ARENA: “Certainly not conceding a goal in the game. We don’t concede a goal and we go through in the competition. Defending in the early minutes is going to be important because we know that Club Tijuana will come hard at the start.”
(On Club Tijuana resting their starters for the league match against Club Tijuana...)
ARENA: “We anticipated that. They’ll have their full team and we’ll have our full team. It’ll be a good game.”
(On what the Galaxy’s mood is heading into the second leg down in Tijuana…)
ARENA: “We’re really optimistic that we can get through this game and then prepare for the semifinals.”
(On the struggles of MLS teams down in Mexico…)
ARENA: “One thing that is a bit of a relief is that we’re not playing at altitude. However, the artificial field will certainly be an advantage for Tijuana, but we’ve played on [turf] enough. We’ll be ready.”
Club Tijuana is going all in with their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg against the LA Galaxy.
Tijuana head coach Cesar Farias opted to use a reserve-laden squad in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Cruz Azul in Mexico City. Cruz Azul striker Marco Fabian tallied twice as La Maquina roared back from an early deficit to extend Tijuana’s league road winless streak to 20 games.
The Xoloitzcuintles went ahead in the 45th minute when San Diego native Alejandro Guido fed Paul Arriola with a through ball that split two Cruz Azul defenders before the former Galaxy Academy attacker fired a pass across the goal mouth to Richard Ruiz, who scored from close range.Tijuana’s lead would not last, however, as Fabian fired a blast from beyond 25 yards just two minutes into the second half to equalize.
Fabian struck again in the 70th minute with yet another classy finish, this time from close range to give Cruz Azul the victory. Heading into Champions League quarterfinal second leg against the Galaxy, Tijuana sits in 10th place in the Liga MX 2014 Clausura Tournament with 14 points and a 4-5-2 record.
On Sunday, Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan stated that Farias' willingness to save his first team players for the Champions League second leg showed just how important the competition has become in recent years.
"It's a sign of the times," said Donovan following Galaxy training on Sunday. "I think that five years ago, they would have played their full team against Cruz Azul and we would have gotten their reserve team, but now, these teams realize that they can't do that anymore. We're going to see their absolute best effort on Tuesday and we're going to need to be ready."
Highlights of Tijuana's loss to Cruz Azul are below.
CARSON, Calif. – Gyasi Zardes was blunt when asked about his offensive performance in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
“I don’t think that I did good at all,” Zardes told LA Galaxy Insider following the team’s training session on Saturday morning. “I could have been a better threat. We got the result, but I wasn’t much of a threat.”
Following a successful start against Real Salt Lake, Zardes struggled going forward against Tijuana as his passing and crossing was frequently off the mark with the forward completing just 13 of his 27 passes. Meanwhile his darting attacking runs amounted in little as he was blanketed by speedy Xolos right back Juan Nunez. Although he struggled to create going forward, Zardes did excel defensively making 11 recoveries and a single clearance to help LA keep the shutout.
“Good physical effort, but he has to be better technically,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “He’s still young and it’s going to be up and down. As he gets into the season and we get into a rhythm, we’re going to see some good soccer out of him.”
Whether Zardes remains in the starting XI for the second leg is still up in the air, however, as substitute Stefan Ishizaki was solid in a 20 minute shift against Tijuana. But if he is indeed starting at the Estadio Caliente, Zardes understands that he’ll need to have a more complete performance.
“I just need to make sure that I defend as well as attack,” said Zardes who asserted that he expected to see a full-strength Xolos team face LA on Tuesday. “I need to be smart with the [forward] runs that I make and listen to my teammates.”
Should Zardes start?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. -- MLS teams have struggled mightly in Mexico witha 2-26-5 record all-time, but when the LA Galaxy takes the field on Tuesday evening at Estadio Caliente in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg match, they'll have a player on their team who has tasted CCL victory south of the border.
LA Galaxy left back James Riley was in the Seattle Sounders FC starting XI on August 23, 2011 when Seattle gave MLS their second ever victory in Mexico with a 1-0 victory over C.F. Monterrey in CONCACAF CCL group stage. Riley's play was instrumental on the game-winning sequence as he helped force a turnover that resulted in a Sounders counter attack that ended when current Galaxy assistant coach Pat Noonan fed Alvaro Fernandez who fired a blistering shot past Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco. Seattle's feat came just a week after FC Dallas defeated a reserve-laden Pumas UNAM to become the first team to win in Mexico, but has not been repeated since.
"We put an experienced bunch out and came in with a gameplan that said that we wanted to catch them on the break or a set piece. We got guys behind the ball and, to be honest, there was some fortune on our side. Our goalkeeper [Terry Boss] played huge, some guys made some critical plays and we were able to hold on for the victory."
Although the stakes for Tuesday's quarterfinal are considerably higher than they were when Seattle knocked off Los Rayados, Riley believes that there are lessons to take from the Sounders' victory.
"We think that Tijuana will come with the same high tempo and try to force the issue early on, which we can expect," said Riley. "We'll simply need to be ready."
Highlights of Seattle's game-winning goal are below. Riley can be seen at the outset forcing a Monterrey attacker to pass the ball away from the end line, which leads to the decisive turnover .
Marcelo Sarvas preaches that the LA Galaxy must be ready to attack during important second leg in Tijuana
CARSON, Calif. – Marcelo Sarvas knows that there’s a battle looming ahead for the LA Galaxy.
Sarvas’ fortitude in central midfield was vital during the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Club Tijuana on Wednesday. Throughout the match, Sarvas and midfield partner Juninho tussled frequently with Tijuana sparkplug Cristian Pellerano who provided the engine for the Xolos.
The Galaxy midfield controlled the issue in the first half but the Xolos dominated the second half even forcing Sarvas to make a key off-the-line stop in the 68th minute of a Javier Gandolfi header. The save was an important one for Sarvas, who Omar Gonzalez stated after the game, was criticized internally for conceding goals while he was supposed to be defending the near post.
“Marcelo got a lot of flak last year about letting goals in while he was supposed on the post. I’m sure since he saved that one; he’ll let Bruce know ‘hey, look what I did,’” joked Gonzalez.
Heading into the second leg at Estadio Caliente, Sarvas is among three Galaxy players (Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez being the others) holding a yellow card as the Galaxy prepare to head down to the raucous Tijuana stadium. Although the Brazilian midfielder will need to be smart about his challenges due to the caution, he's ready for the challenge.
“We’ve never been there, but we know that it is artificial grass and their fans will be loud. We know that they will press for 90 minutes and it’ll be more like the second half [of the first leg],” said Sarvas. “We have to be able to create something on the counter attack and score a goal. If we score a goal, the scenario will change.”
POLL: How confident are you heading into the LA Galaxy's CCL quarterfinal second leg against Club Tijuana?
CARSON, Calif. -- We're at Matchday Minus-Five before the LA Galaxy take on Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg at the Estadio Caliente.
After the Galaxy earned a 1-0 victory over Tijuana at StubHub Center on Wednesday thanks to some clinical finishing by Samuel and cat-like reactions from goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, setting up a do-or-die match south of the border. Following the match, Club Tijuana were adamant that the series was merely at "halftime" as the two teams prepare to head down to the Estadio Caliente where they have won 18 of their last 19 league matches.
While Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena stated that the club was in a "good, but not great" position heading into the match in Tijuana, just how confident are you feeling heading into the second leg?
It's week two of the MLS season and even though the LA Galaxy will not be playing, MLS Fantasy participants will be keeping a close eye on the action.
In my first week, "The LA Galaxy Insider" fantasy team finished with a total of 52 points in what was a disappointing week, but according to MLS Fantasy guru Ben Jata, just above average. Thanks to the Galaxy's scoreless performance against Real Salt Lake and zero points from starting midfielder Oriol Rosell, my team managed only 54 points and finished the week ranked No. 267 in the Los Angeles Galaxy group. The showing could have been even worse if it wasn't for 12 points from Chivas USA midfielder Mauro Rosales and 11 points from FC Dallas forward Blas Perez.
Betting heavily on LA wasn't the only issue for my team in week one as I also selected two players from the New England Revolution, who were demolished 4-0 by the Houston Dynamo in week one.
My performance from the first week is below.
Well, out with the old and in with the new.
With the Galaxy on a bye this week, my two transfers were to remove Robbie Keane and Juninho from the starting lineup, while I replaced A.J. DeLaGarza with Houston Dynamo full back Kofi Sarkodie. To replace Keane, I opted for Dynamo forward Will Bruin, who tallied 15 points in week one with two goals and one assist. Bruin and Sarkodie appear to be safe selections as the Dynamo prepare to take on a Montreal side that is coming off a 3-2 defeat to FC Dallas. In that defeat, the Impact struggled to contain Perez, making Bruin a safe play heading into the second week of the season.
Meanwhile, Juninho was switched out for new Vancouver Whitecaps FC Designated Player Pedro Morales who takes on Chivas USA at StubHub Center on Sunday after scoring a goal and an assist in a substitute performance during Vancouver's 4-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls. Although the Rojiblancos were victorious on a late goal last week, they were frequently tested by the Chicago Fire attack and should be pressured early and often by a Vancouver offense that smashed the defending Supporters' Shield winning Red Bulls last week. If needing some punch in your attack, signing Morales appears to be a safe option as he is likely to be in the starting lineup against Chivas.
My team for the second week of MLS Fantasy is below.
What changes are you making to your lineup? What position are you in at the moment?
Share your thoughts below.
Last week, Topps unveiled a series of officially licensed MLS jersey posters that feature some of the league's biggest stars including LA Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan.
You can purchase your own Donovan poster from the Topps website, but you can see the complete image below.