All To Play For
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will play perhaps their most important game of the year on Thursday night when they take on Club Motagua in an all-important CONCACAF Champions League game. Motagua have already been eliminated from the competition, having lost all five of their games, but that fact will do little to deter what is expected to be a capacity crowd at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The crowd will be loud, it will be hostile and they will be supporting the home side.
But the Galaxy would not want it any other way.
“That’s what you expect when you go to different countries and you play different players in their home countries,” David Beckham said after training Tuesday. “These are the games that you want to play in, the ones that matter.”
WATCH: Donovan, Galaxy talk CCL & Motagua
The Galaxy enter the game (7 p.m., Fox Soccer, Galavision) more than likely needing a victory to reach the Champions League quarterfinals, but they also will move on from group play if they tie Motagua and Alajuelense defeats Morelia on Tuesday.
Galaxy coaches and players, however, aren’t interested in such qualifying possibilities. They are approaching Thursday’s game with one thought in mind: win.
“We need to get a result,” Beckham said. “I think obviously it’s going to be a tough place to go and win, but it’s a must.”
Said head coach Bruce Arena, “It’s likely we have to win the game. That’s what we’re expecting that needs to be done, and we’re preparing to do that.
“They’re playing at home, and I think it’s going to be a big game for them. We have to be prepared for them playing their best game in group play. We know we have to be ready to play.”
Mike Magee said the Galaxy have one huge factor in their favor: Win and they’re in, no matter what Alajuelense and Morelia do in Mexico on Tuesday.
That’s a nice luxury to have, he admitted.
“A lot of times at this point when you’ve lost a couple of road games then you go into this game and you’re not sure, you need to wait for another result,” he said. “Controlling our own destiny, we can’t ask for much more than that. We’ll play a team in the parking lot or wherever for one game.”
Landon Donovan, who has been battling a strained right quad and said he likely will be a game-time decision Thursday, said the Champions League has been everything the Galaxy expected, and then some.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “I’ve been through these games a lot, and I understand how slipping up for a game can affect you. I understand how a bad call here or there can affect you and we’ve dealt with a lot of that.
“But through it all it’s been a really good experience and at the end of it going to the last game, controlling your own destiny, you can’t ask for a whole lot more than that.”