SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Isidro Metapán may be playing for purely pride, but the LA Galaxy expect that to be a very dangerous thing when the two teams face off on Thursday at the Estadio Cuscatlán.
The tournament has hardly gone according to plan for the Salvadorians, who have earned just a single point in three CONCACAF Champions League matches. The fact that the team is unable to play at their home stadium in Metapán due to field size concerns from CONCACAF has not helped as the team dropped their last match in San Salvador 4-2 to C.S. Cartaginés.
That being said, the Galaxy expect Metapán to be eager to send the Galaxy to the CCL quarterfinals on a losing note.
“We don’t expect them to roll over at all; you're always playing for pride especially when you're in front of your home crowd in your home country against big clubs like the Galaxy. We expect them to test us,” said goalkeeper Brian Rowe. “They did well with their counter attack last time, but we're going to try to do a better job of keeping compact in the back and applying pressure on them early.”
Metapán’s pride won’t be the only issue for LA as they'll have to deal with a thick grass surface at Estadio Cuscatlán that is a far cry from the heavily manicured pitches that are provided in MLS play.
“The grass is a lot thicker than what we're used to. It’s a big and old stadium, but it'll be exciting with fans inside,” said forward Jack McBean. “We just have to play firm balls and get your touch in front of you because the ball is going to check up on you and stick in the grass.
In the latest edition of the LA Galaxy travel vlog, I help preview Thursday's match against Isidro Metapan.
Check it out below. Also be sure to read my Three Points to the match.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador. Heading into the final two CONCACAF Champions League matches, I've broken down all the scenarios for the LA Galaxy's potential opponents in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.
Unless the Galaxy can defeat Isidro Metpan by a margin of six or more goals, the Houston Dynamo's match in Panama against Arabe Unido will play a direct impact on LA's next opponent.
Check out all the scenarios below...
Win by six goals over Isidro Metapan:
No. 1 LA Galaxy face No. 8 San Jose Earthquakes in CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.
Win by a margin between three to five goals and the Houston Dynamo draws Arabe Unido:
No. 2 LA Galaxy face No. 7 Houston Dynamo.
Win by a margin between three to five goals and the Houston Dynamo or Arabe Unido win:
No. 2. LA Galaxy face No. 7 Sporting Kansas City.
Win by a margin between one to two goals and the Houston Dynamo draws Arabe Unido:
No. 3 LA Galaxy face No. 6 Sporting Kansas City.
Win by a margin between one and two goals and the Houston Dynamo or Arabe Unido win by less than five goals:
No. 3 LA Galaxy face No. 6 Alajuelense.
Tie vs. Isidro Metapan and the Houston Dynamo draws Arabe Unido:
No. 4 LA Galaxy face No. 5 Alajuelense.
Tie and the Houston Dynamo or Arabe Unido wins their match by less than two goals:
No. 4 LA Galaxy face No. 5 Houston Dynamo/Arabe Unido.
Tie and the Houston Dynamo wins by more than three or more goals over Arabe Unido win by more than three goals:
No. 4 Houston Dynamo/Arabe Unido face No. 5 LA Galaxy.
Lose vs. Isidro Metapan by less than three and the Houston Dynamo draws Arabe Unido:
No. 4 LA Galaxy face No. 5 Alajuelense.
Lose by more than three and the Houston Dynamo draws Arabe Unido:
No. 4 Alajuelense face No. 5 LA Galaxy.
Lose by less than three and the Houston Dynamo or Arabe Unido win by less than two goals:
No. 4 Houston Dynamo face No. 5 LA Galaxy OR No. 4 LA Galaxy vs. No. 5 Arabe Unido.
Lose by three or more and the Houston Dynamo or Arabe Unido win by a margin of three to five goals:
No. 3 Club Tijuana face No. 6 LA Galaxy.
Lose by three or more and the Houston Dynamo or Arabe Unido win by a margin of five or more goals:
No. 3 Houston Dynamo face No. 6 LA Galaxy OR No. 3 Club Tijuana face No. 6 LA Galaxy.
Based on this match and LA's status as a favorite, Alajuelense seems to be the most likely opponent -- if there is a result in Panama City -- for the LA Galaxy.
What do you think?
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Suspended for the LA Galaxy’s MLS Regular Season finale against Seattle Sounders FC, Brazilian midfielder Juninho is expected to log plenty of minutes in Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapán.
Juninho picked up his fifth yellow card in the closing stages of Sunday’s scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, which ruled him out for the Seattle trip, but with the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs looming, the midfielder believes it’s imperative for him to stay sharp by featuring in El Salvador.
“I know that I need to keep my fitness in good shape so I’m going to play significant minutes tomorrow and I hope that we can get points here and get 12 points in total,” Juninho told LAGalaxy.com at the team’s training session at the Estadio Cuscatlán on Wednesday. “I hope that I can pass my experience onto the guys on the field and make them comfortable. We’re going to try hard to get three points.”
LA will try to get those points at the cavernous Estadio Cuscatlán where the shaggy field conditions may be an issue. A far cry from the well groomed pitches in MLS, Cuscatlán’s thick grass surface is likely to play a role in Thursday’s contest.
Although this may have been an issue for other players, Juninho believes that he can equip himself well to the conditions.
“It’s very familiar to me because in Brazil where I grew up, we have a couple stadiums like this where the grass is very long like it is here,” said Juninho. “It’s a little difficult compared to the American stadiums, but we’ll need to do our best and not focus on those issues.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have a hefty portion on their plate this week as they close out the CONCACAF Champions League against Isidro Metapán in El Salvador before changing gears three days later to take on Seattle Sounders FC in their MLS regular season finale.
The two game slate promises to be a challenging one that will cause the Galaxy to utilize their entire squad and LA head coach Bruce Arena takes full responsibility for their congested schedule. Arena noted following the Galaxy’s final training session before departing for El Salvador that he was aware of the busy schedule last December, but the club and MLS were unable to work with CONCACAF to prevent MLS teams from playing in the final week.
“I think that the whole exercise of us playing this week is stupid. I take the majority of the blame for that. I should not have allowed this to happen. It is poor communication and procedure on a part of the LA Galaxy, CONCACAF and MLS. This shouldn’t have happened at this time. There are teams in our group that are finished and there aren’t any other leagues that are in their last week. We should have been the league not playing this week.
Thoughts on Arena's comments?
Share them below.
CARSON, Calif. – It’s a travel day for the LA Galaxy as they’ll head to El Salvador in preparation for Thursday’s match against Isidro Metapán.
A year ago, the Galaxy traveled commercially to El Salvador ahead of their clash with Isidro Metapán, but with the team facing a pair of vital matches this week, LA will once again travel to Central America via charter.
“We’ll be chartering so it takes two and a half hours off the trip,” said midfielder Michael Stephens. “Also, it helps us so we can leave immediately following the game in El Salvador and focus right away on Seattle.”
CARSON, Calif. -- In the latest edition of Herbalife's "Be a Pro" series, Marcelo Sarvas is profiled.
Check it out below..
Below is a break down of all the Galaxy’s scenarios heading into the final week of the season:
The LA Galaxy finish first in the Western Conference IF:
*They defeat Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 27 AND have Real Salt Lake fall to Chivas USA on Oct. 23 AND have Portland Timbers fall to Chivas USA on Oct. 26
The LA Galaxy finish second in the Western Conference IF:
*They defeat Seattle Sounders FC AND have either Real Salt Lake or the Portland Timbers lose or draw in their finales.
The LA Galaxy finish in third in the Western Conference IF:
*They defeat Seattle Sounders FC AND have Real Salt Lake AND Portland Timbers win their finales.
The LA Galaxy finish fourth in the Western Conference IF:
*They tie Seattle Sounders FC AND have the Colorado Rapids win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 27.
*They lose to Seattle Sounders FC AND Colorado Rapids lose or draw against Vancouver Whitecaps
The Galaxy finish in fifth in the Western Conference IF:
*They lose to Seattle Sounders FC AND the Colorado Rapids defeat Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
CARSON, Calif. –Robbie Rogers earned his first competitive minutes since Aug. 20th, but the LA Galaxy midfielder admits that he still has a ways to go to get back to full fitness.
Rogers came on in the 68th minute of LA’s scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes in place of midfielder Michael Stephens, but despite several dangerous runs he was unable to help LA break the deadlock. At times the speed was there from Rogers, but his sharpness was lacking as he looked went through his first appearance in nearly two months.
“It's been quite a while,” Rogers said after his first MLS regular season appearance since July. “It felt good to be out there. It felt, I don't know, just kind of like finally. Finally I'm helping the team out.”
Said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena of Rogers' 22 miuntes shift: "He did okay, he has been out for a while. He made a couple good plays for us, I think he could have maybe been a little sharper on the ball. He was part of a play that created a chance on goals. ... He did okay."
With the Galaxy heading to El Salvador this week for their CONCACAF Champions League finale, Rogers expects to earn minutes against Isidro Metapán as he seeks to help LA during their playoff push.
“I think for sure I need to play in that Champions League game,” said Rogers. “I think that would be important for me, and hopefully play as long as I can. I think that's important for my fitness and my game sharpness. It's been [two] months since I played, and there's a lot of improvement I need to make.”
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane was noticibly frustrated after LA was unable to earn three points in a cagey scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.
Courtesy of LAGalaxy.com Robbie Keane's conversation with reporters after the match is below. No quote was more telling than Keane's answer to a question about any lingering disappointment from failing to remain in the MLSSupporters' Shield race.
KEANE: “Yeah, it’s disappointing. I don’t care about that, I’m just disappointed that we didn’t take advantage of the game tonight, you know. Because it was certainly there to be taken. To be fair to them, they played well, they had few chances, it could have gone either way, but if we could have had more composure in the last 15 minutes we certainly could have gotten the three points but it is what it is so we’re put in a tough spot and we’ll take it from here.”