CARSON, Calif. –At just 19, Jose Villarreal has experienced plenty in his whirlwind first year as a professional including the deafening roar of a Mexican crowd rooting against an American opponent.
Earlier this year, Villarreal was a key member of the U.S. Under-20 side that took Mexico to extra time in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico. He’ll experience a similar situation on Wednesday as the Galaxy look to overturn a 2-1 aggregate deficit in their CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal tie against C.F. Monterrey at the vaunted Estadio Tecnológico.
The circumstances may be a tad different, but Villarreal believes that he can draw on the past experience when he takes the field in Monterrey.
“The experience is going to be the same, playing against a Mexican team full of Mexicans and the atmosphere with the crowd screaming. It might help me, it might not, but we’ll just see,” said Villarreal. “It’s going to be a tough game for us going down a goal being in Monterrey, but we just have to be focused and approach It with the right mentality.”
As for the game plan, an early goal seems to be a requirement for LA’s hopes, but Villarreal believes that LA can manage no matter how the game plays out.
“Maybe if we score an early goal, they pick it up and it’s an intense game after that or maybe we can close them for the first 45 minutes and it’d be better for us, but we’re just going down there with the mentality to win the game,” said Villarreal.