Beat

11 April 9:45 am

MONTERREY, Mexico – Landon Donovan made his first start and 90 minute performance of 2013 in the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat to C.F. Monterrey that saw LA’s CONCACAF Champions League dreams dashed 3-1 on aggregate.

Fitness seemed to be little issue for Donovan, who was once again making the type of darting runs and confident passes that have been a staple of his career.  However, goals were hard to come for Donovan and his Galaxy teammates as Monterrey’s organized defense repeatedly stifled LA’s attack. Following, Donovan admitted that his fitness wasn’t much of an issue for him on Wednesday, but rather it was Monterrey’s quality that proved too much for LA. .

“I felt good. It was a good game; they’re a very good team. We let ourselves down in the first leg, we tried, but this is a very tough place to come and play,” Donovan told reporters. “In my opinion, that’s the best team in this region and they played well and got a goal and made it difficult for us.”

Donovan offered Monterrey a glowing endorsement, but was also noted the disparity between the two sides.

When asked by a member of the Mexican media if scheduling was the reason for MLS clubs record against Liga MX in CONCACAF Champions League, Donovan stressed that is the income disparity more than anything.

 “We make about eight to nine million dollars [as a team], they make 25 to 30, so it’s difficult,” said Donovan. “Football is like that. When Manchester United plays Wigan, it’s different and it will always be like that until we start spending money and buying players like Aldo [De Nigris], like Humberto [Suazo] and players like that. We came to win, but this night, we didn’t.”

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Do you expect to see Donovan start against FC Dallas? What are your thoughts about his comments on the comparison between Liga MX and MLS?

Share your thoughts below. 

11 April 9:35 am

The LA Galaxy's  deficit proved to be too much for the club as they fell 1-0 to C.F. Monterrey and 3-2 on aggregate to end their CONCACAF Champions League dreams at the semifinal stage. 

My Three Points to the game are below...

Three Points: LA Galaxy fall to Monterrey in CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals.

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Agree with my analysis? Disagree?

Share your thoughts below. 

11 April 4:12 am

MONTERREY, Mexico –Bruce Arena addressed the media following the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal second leg defeat to C.F. Monterrey. LA fell 3-1 on aggregate.

Arena’s thoughts are below…

(On the club’s defeat…)

ARENA:  “First all, we’re disappointed with the result tonight, but we lost to a very good team. We may have lost this series in the last 10 minutes of the game in Los Angeles. We made it very difficult for ourselves and tonight was going to be hard because of the way that we played in the last 10 minutes last week. Having said that, Monterrey is an excellent team and deserving winners.”

(On whether desperation threw off the offense?)

ARENA: “There was no desperation until perhaps the last 20 minutes of the game. “

(On LA’s inability to create chances…)

ARENA: “I thought Monterrey played well. Their center backs had an excellent game. The two midfielders, Zavala and Ayovi were very good as well.”

(On starting Donovan…)

ARENA: “This competition is very difficult for MLS teams right now, we don’t have our full fitness at this time of year and certainly that is the case with Donovan. I thought Landon did very well to survive 90 minutes tonight.”

(On the experience…)

ARENA: “A great experience for our club and certainly, we will look back to game one where we were in position to win and come here to make it more difficult on our opponent and we failed in that regard.”

(On Omar Gonzalez’s performance…)

“I thought Omar performed very well. He can use this competition as a means of growing as a player. Hopefully, he learned something from last week. I think tonight he was excellent.”

(On whether MLS teams are at a disadvantage because they have just started their season…)

ARENA: "Yes."

(On how MLS compares to Liga MX…)

ARENA: “Football in the United States is growing and getting better each year. Our league is still behind the Mexican league, the Mexican league has greater resources to build better teams at this point.”

(On finishing…)

ARENA: “This game was going to be a tight game. We made on ourselves difficult last week so there was no reason to believe that this game was going to be open in the first 60 minutes of the game. They could comfortably organize their back line and their midfield and pick their spots to go forward. Last week, the last ten minutes of the game impacted the series greatly. We didn’t play well tonight in the attack, the last pass, the shot selection, but give them credit, they played very well.”

(On what the Galaxy can take from the series…)

ARENA: “There were a lot of positives. Our team played pretty well in this competition and this series. We learned that ten minutes might have sealed our fate.”

10 April 9:00 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico -- The LA Galaxy's dreams of the CONCACAF Champions League are over as LA fell 1-0 to Monterrey on Wednesday, suffering a 3-1 aggregate defeat. 

Aldo De Nigris scored the lone goal in the 81st minute in front of a sellout crowd at Estadio Tecnológico. 

More to come shortly...

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Share your thoughts on the defeat below. 

10 April 3:03 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico – We’re just a few hours from Wednesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal second leg between the LA Galaxy and C.F. Monterrey.

To get you prepared for kick off, check out my links, matchups to watch and my predicted lineup below…

*When Omar Gonzalez takes the field at Estadio Tecnológico, he play within the same lines as his uncle Lalo Rodriguez Plata, I spoke to both about Gonzalez's connections to Monterrey.

*Juninho is fully fit and ready to participate in Wednesday's match.

* Landon Donovan may end up playing extended minutes for the LA Galaxy in their do-or-die match up and Donovan spoke at length about what is needed for LA to advance: goals and leadership.

*Michael Stephens struggled late in LA’s 2-1 defeat, but he’s eager to return to form if called upon in the second leg.

*Jose Villarreal succeeded in Mexico with the U.S. Under-20 squad, but will that translate to Wednesday’s match?

*Lastly, read my Three Points to the game. 

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

OMAR GONZALEZ vs. ALDO DE NIGRIS

Old friends turned adversaries; Gonzalez will need one of the best games of his career to handle De Nigris and his strike partner Humberto Suazo.  Gonzalez and the Galaxy backline had success against Monterrey in the first leg, but total focus and concentration will be needed for LA to wrap up the Rayados attack.

ROBBIE KEANE VS. JOSE MARIA BASANTA

The veteran internationals tasseled repeatedly in the first leg, but for the Galaxy to advance over Monterrey, they will need a big game from Keane. The Irishman’s guile tested Bastanta several times in the first leg, but the Argentine will be a formidable foe for Keane.

TODD DUNIVANT vs. CESAR DELGADO

Delgado looks poised to start for Los Rayados after a strong game in the first leg. As a second half substitute, the Argentine was influential in creating a goal for LA and left back Todd Dunivant will have a major test if he is to shut down the winger.

PREDICTED LINEUP:

Cudicini; DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Dunivant; Franklin, Juninho, Sarvas, Magee; Donovan, Keane 

10 April 1:30 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico -- It's game day in Monterrey and to get you prepared, LAGalaxy.com videographer Paolo Ferrari has provided this preview video, which was produced following the LA Galaxy's final training session on Tuesday. 

My own piece from training which emphasized the triple digit temperatures that LA trained in at the Estadio Tecnológico, can be found here. Luckily for the Galaxy, the forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70's during the game and 74 degrees at kick off. 

Watch the video below...

10 April 1:23 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico -- In preparation for Wednesday night's CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal second leg between the LA Galaxy and C.F. Monterrey, I spoke to a pair of notable soccer podcasts to preview the important match.

First up, I spoke to Jason Davis' "American Soccer Morning" podcast on the North American Soccer Network. Don't just listen to my interview as Davis also interviews former LA Galaxy defender and current Hammarby IF manager Gregg Berhalter about his club's prospects for the upcoming season. 

Lastly, I joined MLSsoccer.com's "March to the Match" alongside Nicolas Rosano to preview the Galaxy's CCL tie. 

09 April 7:54 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico -- Omar Gonzalez's visit to Monterrey is headline news in Mexico ahead of Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal second leg, but in this feature for LAGalaxy.com, I speak to Gonzalez and his uncle former Monterrey captain Everardo “Lalo” Rodriguez Plata about the Galaxy's defender's past in Monterrey

As for how Gonzalez is reacting to the increased attention in Monterrey, the LA Galaxy defender spoke about it to the media on Tuesday. 

" I think it’s great that everyone found out that I’m from this city and that I have a lot of ties to this city and this is a great city even though it’s a little dangerous right now and I always still love coming back to visit," said Gonzalez.

09 April 7:25 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico -- The stage is set, the LA Galaxy will face C.F. Monterrey for the right to face Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League final. 

Santos knocked out Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 on aggregate despite a late charge by Seattle. On Wednesday, the Galaxy will look to erase their own 2-1 deficit against Los Rayados at the Estadio Tecnologico. 

My Three Points to the game are below...

Three Points: LA Galaxy out to make history against Monterrey

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Agree with my points? Disagree?

Share your thoughts below. 

09 April 5:27 pm

MONTERREY, Mexico – The LA Galaxy were close to knocking off C.F. Monterrey in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, now if they are to pull off an impressive comeback, finishing the match will be key.

Speaking to reporters prior to the club’s training session on Tuesday, LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan stressed that a complete performance –with zero late goals— will be mandatory if LA is to advance past the two-time defending CCL winners.

“I think we turned off a bit on some plays [in the first leg]and it’s been a little bit of a characteristic of our team so far this year. So us older guys, us leaders need to take more control in those situations and make sure that we don’t get sloppy and give up late goals,” said Donovan. “ We've given up too many late goals, too many chances immediately after we score goals, we've given up too many opportunities late in games that we were better in, so we've got to be better about that.”

If they can manage that, than Donovan believes that a result is possible, regardless of the odds.

“ We've got a lot of players who've played in these games, know how to deal with these games and we have a lot of quality on our team,” Donovan said.” Is it a perfect scenario? No, but there’s every chance we can make something happen and pull off a special result.”