Look ahead to Herediano: Galaxy ready for CONCACAF Quarterfinal First Leg

07 March 1:46 pm

Look ahead to Herediano: Galaxy ready for CONCACAF Quarterfinal First Leg

By Adam Serrano

HEREDIA, COSTA RICA -- We're only hours away from the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal first leg match up against C.S. Herediano. 

Below are a few last minute pieces of reading material, a few match-ups to watch and predicted lineups... 

*Robbie Keane relishes the chance to play in hostile enviornments and he'll get to face another on Thursday.

*There has been no bigger story this week in Costa Rica than Marcelo Sarvas' return,  so Joe Tutino caught up with Sarvas in this edition of All-Access.

*Galaxy boss Bruce Arena spoke to the media on Wednesday and offered his thoughts on the game.

*LA wrapped their preparations on Wednesday evening and I filed this notebook, but additional notes can be found here

*For more on Herediano, I spoke to Fox Deportes reporter Juan Carlos Aguero to get an inside look at the Costa Rican team

*LAGalaxy.com reporter Larry Morgan offers his game preview.

Lastly, my Three Points to the game.

MATCH-UPS TO WATCH

OMAR GONZALEZ VS. YENDRICK RUIZ

Ruiz is the leading goal scorer in Costa Rica with six goals at the moment, but he's not known for his physicality, so he'll face a serious test in Gonzalez when the first whistle blows. However, Ruiz's speed off the ball will provide a challenge for LA's back four as Herediano will look to stretch the field early and often. Ruiz is not the only forward to watch, however, as his likely strike partner Mainov Diaz has scored three goals in his last three games.

MARCELO SARVAS vs. ELIAS AGUILAR

No player has received more attention from the locals than Marcelo Sarvas, but he'll face a major test on Thursday as he matches up against Herediano playmaker Elias Aguilar. The Argentine prefers to play just behind the strikers where he can best use his passing ability to create chances for Ruiz and Diaz, but if LA is to come out of Costa Rica with a result, Sarvas and his midfield partner Juninho must pressure Aguilar and cut down on his passing lanes. 

HEREDIANO SET PIECES vs. GALAXY SET PIECES

For all the bluster about the speed of play in Thursday's match, the game may very well come down to set pieces. Aguilar and left midfielder Ismael Gomez each have a knack for scoring during dead ball opportunties and are expected to test goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini often. However, LA's own free kick taker Juninho should be more than a worthy adversary for Herediano 'keeper Daniel Cambrorero. 

PREDICTED LINEUPS

HEREDIANO: Cambronero; Obando, Salazar, Montero, Francis; Ramirez, Granados, Aguilar, Gomez; Ruiz, Diaz

GALAXY: Cudicini; DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Dunivant; Franklin, Sarvas, Juninho, Stephens; Keane, Magee