First leg behind him, Stephens looks to rebound in Monterrey

04 April 5:03 pm

First leg behind him, Stephens looks to rebound in Monterrey

By Adam Serrano

CARSON, Calif. – Michael Stephens is ready to rebound after what he admits was not his best performance in the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 loss to Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal first leg on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old midfielder feels that he could have done better during his 29 minute shift, particularly with his marking of Cesar Delgado after the Monterrey midfielder fired the cross that led to Humberto Suazo’s goal which put Monterrey level with LA after 81 minutes.

“I was tracking [Delgado] out of midfield and the guy got me. That’s going to happen. He got me with a couple of cuts, but I definitely have to do better and shut down the cross,” Stephens said.

He may get a chance at immediate redemption as LA has yet to confirm whether Juninho will be able to play in Wednesday’s second leg. If called upon next week, either as a starter or off the bench, Stephens insists that he can perform.  

 “I’m ready to go. It was my first time playing in the middle in a while [on Wednesday]. I could have done a better job holding my position, but I’m ready to go,” said Stephens. “I’m not discouraged by it by any means and if my number is called then I’ll be ready to play.”

The job will be a difficult one for the Galaxy as a 1-0 LA win, any loss and any draw will see them out of the tournament. However, the plucky midfielder believes it is not an insurmountable task.  

“We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, it was unfortunate to give up those two goals, but it’s not finished yet,” said Stephens. “As long as we get two goals, that’s not something that’s out of reach by any means. If we get two goals down there [in Monterrey] then we’re in a decent position so it’s definitely not over.” 

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