CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are through to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals for the first time in club history and waiting for them is two-time defending CCL champion Monterrey.
Los Rayados (the pinstripes) may currently be in 7th place in the 2013 Clausura, but they pose a major test for the Galaxy with their full assortment of stars including Chilean forward Humberto Suazo as well as Mexican Internationals Sevro Meza and Jesus Zavala, among others. Monterrey has been particularly skilled in the CCL as they knocked off Real Salt Lake in the 2011 final and then Santos Laguna in 2012.
As Galaxy's focus turns to the Mexican giants, their success is not lost on head coach Bruce Arena.
"Monterrey has been the best club team in our region for a number of years now," said They’re the best team, they’re the team to beat, so it’s going to be a very big challenge for our club."
But perhaps, Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant put it best by stating that the match is not only important for the Galaxy, but for MLS as a whole.
"It’s exciting, it’s something that the league is looking to get over the hump with México and Seattle did a great job of winning their last series [against Tigres]. It’s the first time that ever happened so we want to continue that," said Dunivant. “This is big for our league. We really want to continue to push the envelope and win our region then start being the dominating force in this region."
CARSON, Calif. –Carlo Cudicini saw his 264 minute shutout streak snapped, but the LA Galaxy’s Italian goalkeeper was impressed by LA’s defensive play in their 4-1 victory over Herediano to seal a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals.
Cudicini made just two saves on the night, but his first was vitally important as he swatted an Ismael Gomez free kick away in the eighth minute of play to keep the tie level. Just ten minutes later, Omar Gonzalez nodded in a Juninho corner and LA never looked back from there to seal the 4-1 victory.
Cudicini will look to extend LA’s shutout streak in MLS play—which of course, stands at 90 minutes—during Sunday’s SuperClásico against Chivas USA.
Below Cudicini discusses his partnership with the Galaxy back four…
(On his chemistry with the back four…)
CUDICINI: “We’re working hard during the week to try and improve it. The more we play together, the more hopefully we can get results. I think we’re doing all right, we’re not conceding much, which is good. In front of me I have excellent players.”
(On the partnership of Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo…)
CUDICINI: “They are doing a very good job. They’re very concentrated, good personalities and that helps on the pitch. To be fair, whoever plays in front me, whether A.J. [DeLaGarza] or Omar, they’re very good players. They’re young but they have experience, they can read the game well. It’s good.”
(On his vocal nature…)
CUDICINI: “It’s not just one thing; I try to keep them concentrated during the game. Especially when you’re winning two-, three-nil your concentration tends to go a little bit. I just want to keep them on their toes. Mainly as a goalie want to try to have a good line in front of you, keep the defense compact, just try to help them as much as I can from behind. Which you hope is what they do it when you need help.”
(On his adjustment to the Galaxy…)
CUDICINI: “I’ve said before, it’s not a short process. It takes time, games, and training sessions. We’re just at the beginning, and hopefully it will be even better in the future. We cannot think that because we are a good team, things will just come to us. We need to work hard. As you can see today, winning easily three nil, we just switched off for a second and we concede a goal. We always want to keep 100 percent concentration.”
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy became the fourth MLS team to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Costa Rican side C.S. Herediano on Wednesday evening.
A few notes:
*LA will take on Monterrey with the dates for the two-legged series still to be determined. What we do know is this: the first leg will take place at The Home Depot Center between April 2 and April 4 while the second leg will be at Monterrey's Estadio Tecnológico between April 9 and April 11.
*Attendance for the game was 8,284. The attendance was capped at 12,500 for the match due to the stadium's agreement with CSU-Dominguez Hills. It is worth mentioning that CSUDH will be on Spring Recess during the potential first leg dates, according to their school calendar, so no caps will be necessary.
*Jack McBean now has four goals in the competition and is tied for second among leading goalscorers.
*Elias Aguilar snapped the Galaxy's shutout streak at 264 minutes in all competitions.
CARSON, Calif. –The LA Galaxy needed an early goal in their decisive tie against C.S. Herediano and in the 18th minute, Omar Gonzalez obliged.
Gonzalez nodded home one of his trademark goals off a set piece by finishing a Juninho corner to put LA ahead and they never looked back. LA notched a 4-1 aggregate victory to become just the fourth MLS team to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Below Gonzalez reflects on his play and his goal.
(On the play of the defense…)
GONZALEZ: “The defense has been playing very well. Everyone has a real good feeling for each other. Carlo been talking a lot with us, the organization is really good between us. To have one goal throughout the first three games is great, although we really wanted the shutout tonight. I think that was a soft goal we gave up, poor marking in the middle. Should have gotten closer to the cross.”
(On Carlo Cudicini's influence…)
GONZALEZ: “I think he’s just added the experience and also vocally. He’s always chirping. He’s always telling us what to do and reminding to get in the right position to put out fires before they even start. With that it makes the game a lot easier.”
(On his goal against Herediano, a classic Omar goal…)
GONZALEZ: “I guess if I score a few more it can be a classic. Just one of those where Juninho puts it high enough for me, the guy marking me was maybe to my shoulders, so I should get one of those.”
(On partnering with Leonardo in middle…)
GONZALEZ: “He’s been incredible for us. I remember before he got hurt and we were having about five or six games together where we didn’t lose. I think he’s back, he’s playing great, fits in well with the rest of the back line and I’m just happy he’s healthy and we’re playing well together.”
(On how confident the team is…)
GONZALEZ: “I think we’re flying pretty high. Overall, we’ve been playing pretty well since our season started and we’re just going to take it game by game, not think too far into the future. Everyone’s really happy tonight, getting to this round is great for our team and the organization, everyone’s just really thrilled.”
CARSON, Calif. -- We're just hours away from the decisive CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal second leg between the LA Galaxy and C.S. Herediano.
Below are selection of links, match-ups and predicted lineups to get you to kick off.
*Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena offered his thoughts on the CCL Quarterfinal Second Leg following Tuesday's practice.
*Marcelo Sarvas has traveled up from Central America to The Home Depot Center before and the Brazilian midfielder knows what to expect on Wednesday from Herediano.
*Could we see a forward partnership of Jose Villarreal and Robbie Keane? Possibly.
*LA will be focused on stopping two of Herediano's danger men Elias Aguilar and Ismael Gomez.
*LAGalaxy.com preview Larry Morgan provided this preview of the game.
*Lastly, my Three Points to the match.
MATCH-UPS TO WATCH:
Marcelo Sarvas vs. Elias Aguilar
Arguably the most important player match-up of the game will pit Sarvas against the dynamic Aguilar, who was responsible for creating the lion share of Herediano's attacks during the first leg. As Aguilar looks to spark counter-attacks, Sarvas will be tasked with covering plenty of ground on defense when the Costa Ricans do have opportunities to push forward. Positioning will be key for Sarvas -- and his midfield partner Juninho -- as the it could make the difference between a Herediano scoring chance and a Galaxy counter attack.
Robbie Keane vs. Pablo Salazar
Pablo Salazar enjoyed a strong game in the first leg against the Galaxy by making a team-high 10 clearances down at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero, but he'll need another strong game against Robbie Keane in Southern California. Keane made several dangerous runs during the first leg, but routinely saw his guile disrupted by an unruly turf surface that stymied the Irishman. Following the Galaxy's final practice on Tuesday, Keane stated that had the conditions, not been substandard, he might have had more opportunities. Well, he'll get those chances at The Home Depot Center on Wednesday.
Galaxy speed vs. Herediano Bunker
The speed of play will be vital for both the LA Galaxy and C.S. Herediano during the CCL quarterfinal. From the get go, the Galaxy will look to play a high-tempo game and force the Costa Ricans out of their defensive stance while Herediano seeks to slow the game down and attack on the counter. If LA can maintain a high tempo than the Galaxy could create gaps in the Herediano defensive shape.
Referee: Walter López (Guatemala); AR1: Gerson López (GUA); AR2: Ronaldo de la Cruz (GUA); 4th: Óscar Reyna (GUA)
*Lopez last handled an LA Galaxy game in 2011 when LA defeated C.D. Motagua 1-0 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to advance to the 2011/2012 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals. He awarded two yellow cards.
PREDICTED GALAXY LINEUP:
Cudicini; DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Dunivant; Franklin, Sarvas, Juninho, Magee; Villarreal, Keane
Cambronero; Obando, Salazar, Montero, Francis; Granados, Hernández, Gomez, Aguilar, Ramírez; Ruiz
Share your thoughts on the match below.
CONCACAF announced the complete schedule for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Wednesday at the site of the final, Chicago's Soldier Field.
The tournament will open with double header at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on July 7 as Group A play opens Canada faces Martinique before Mexico battles Panama in the headlining match. The United States will begin Group C play at JELD-WEN Field in Portland against Belize on July 9 with Cuba and Costa Rica facing off beforehand. The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup final will take place on July 28 at Soldier Field.
More notes are below...
*Herediano head coach Marvin Solano revealed the lineup that Los Floreneses will use in Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League match up. The lineup is as follows: Cambronero; Salazar, Lula, Francis, Obando; Granados, Hernández, Gomez, Aguilar, Ramírez; Ruiz
*LAGalaxy.com provided an update to the Galaxy Academy.
*Alex Morgan scored a brace as the U.S. Women's team defeated Germany 2-0 in the Algarve Cup final.
It’s time for the first edition of “Ask the Insider” of 2013”
The very first question comes from Marmar A. who asks: “If you were to change anything in the lineup, what would you change?”
The one possible change that I would like to see would be to insert Jose Villarreal into the starting XI alongside Robbie Keane as the Galaxy awaits Landon Donovan’s return to the club.
Why exactly? When Keane and Villarreal are partnered alongside one another, the Galaxy are able to play a fast tempo game that will become the club’s stable throughout the 2013 season. Both strikers enjoy keeping the ball on the ground while Keane’s ability to drop into midfield allows Villarreal to play with his back towards goal. Add Mike Magee’s familiarity on the left midfield position and the formation could create a formidable attacking lineup for LA.
Villarreal was one of the club’s pleasant surprises during the 2012 season by tallying two goals and one assists in all competitions and appears poised for a breakout season. Following his three goal performance with the U.S. Under-20’s during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Villarreal looks set to become a major contributor, particularly, with the club balancing commitments in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League.
What makes Villarreal unique as a young forward, is the maturity that the 19-year-old forward shows on the field. Not only does he have a deft touch, but he possesses the awareness to make clever runs to create dangerous scoring opportunities and open up space for his teammates. With more playing time, Villarreal could become a real asset for LA on the attacking end.
What are your thoughts on my observation?
We’ll have another call for questions over the next week.
The LA Galaxy and C.S. Herediano will do battle for the chance to match up against two-time defending CONCACAF Champions League winner Monterrey on the CCL semifinals.
Following los Rayados' 4-2 aggregate victory over Guatemalan side Xelaju, Monterrey head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich offered his thoughts on Thursday's second leg tie between the Galaxy and Herediano.
"The teams have been progressing. Naturally, one would find it interesting to see the Galaxy advance, but Herediano is a team that has done things well. They almost won. The game is a coin toss," said Vucetich.
Think Vucetich is hoping to face LA?
Share your thoughts below.
The first two tickets for the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals have been punched.
Two-time defending champion Monterrey became the first team to qualify by defeating Guatemalan side Xelaju 4-2 on aggregate. Fredy Santiago scored early for the SuperChivos, but Monterrey put the match out of reach with a goal from Walter Ayovi to preserve a 1-1 draw in the second leg. Although Monterrey went through to the semis, Xelaju's draw was the first result by a Guatemalan team in Mexico since C.D. Suchitepéquez earned a 1-1 draw against Tigres UNAL in the 1983 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
Los Rayados will face the winner of tomorrow's LA Galaxy and Herediano clash.
Meanwhile, Seattle Sounders FC made history as the first MLS side to knock off a Mexican club in two-legged series in CCL play with a 4-2 aggregate win over Tigres UNAL. The last victory for an American side came when the Kansas City Wizards defeated Santos Laguna in the 2002 Champions Cup.
Goals by DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traoré and Eddie Johnson nullified an Elias Hernandez strike to send the Sounders through the CCL semis for the first time in club history with a 3-1 victory at CenturyLink Field. The winner of the Houston Dynamo and Santos series will face Seattle. Houston is currently up 1-0 on aggregate.
Hoping for a Galaxy vs. Monterrey match up. Think Houston can set up an all-MLS semi-final with a win over Santos?
Share your thoughts below.
CARSON, Calif. – On Wednesday, C.S. Herediano will face the LA Galaxy just days after traveling thousands of miles from Heredia, Costa Rica to Southern California. With the script flipped to The Home Depot Center, the Costa Ricans must conquer not just the Galaxy, but an entirely new setting.
One member of the opposition, Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, understands exactly what Herediano will be facing in Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal second leg. In 2011, Sarvas’ L.D. Alajuelense side traveled up to Southern California during the 2011/2012 edition of the tournament and ultimately fell 2-0 to the Galaxy in the group stage match.
Having made the trip to the United States from Central America before, Sarvas knows from experience what will be going through the minds of the Herediano players once the opening whistle is blown.
“You just have to control your emotions and the way that you see the opponent,” said Sarvas. “I remember when I came here with Alajuela, first, you play against the Galaxy jersey and [their] big players then you come to play a game. [Herediano] already had the first game, they saw our team and in the beginning, they’re always impressed to play against bigger clubs but then it’s [just a] game.”
But what kind of game does Sarvas expect Herediano expect to give the Galaxy?
“They did a good job in the first leg and for sure, they believe that they can beat us here. They’ll come and make everything hard so I expect a tough game,” said Sarvas. “We just have to play how we’re doing…we have to press them and make things fast, so it’ll be a totally different game for sure.”