CCL: Heat tests the LA Galaxy before second leg in Mexico
MONTERREY, Mexico. – The LA Galaxy got a taste of the infamous Monterrey heat during their final training session ahead of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal second leg against C.F. Monterrey. But luckily for LA, heat is not expected to be a factor come Wednesday night.
The Galaxy trained for 90 minutes on Tuesday afternoon at Estadio Tecnológico, where the temperatures reached the triple digits as the team completed their preparations for Monterrey.
PREVIEW: Monterrey vs LA Galaxy
The heat was a boon for a local snow cone vendor, who made easy money from journalists, who were waiting for the training session to finish. Bruce Arena’s players were unable to enjoy the frozen treats, but the Galaxy left thankful that the match will kick off at 9 p.m. local time.
“It was hot. Too hot. I’m so happy [we’re playing at 9 p.m.],” Galaxy captain Robbie Keane told reporters. “With my Irish skin, I’m not used to this weather; at least we’re at 9 p.m. It’s going to be nice [by then] so thank God.”
Despite the uncomfortable conditions, the Galaxy were pleased with the tenor of their final training session ahead of their second leg tie.
“Everything was pretty much in slow motion, but I thought it was good out here,” said defender Omar Gonzalez. “It was good to get a sweat going and we were able to focus on things that we wanted to work on tomorrow, so it should be good.”
The Galaxy’s mission on Tuesday is a simple one as the Galaxy must score at least two goals to remain in contention to advance to the final. Down 2-1 on aggregate, a 1-0 win, any loss or any draw will see LA crash out while Monterrey would advance to the Champions League Finals for a third consecutive year.
With ground to make up on aggregate, an early goal could be a major boost to LA’s chances at Estadio Tecnológico.
“Ideally if we can, sometimes, it doesn’t work out as well as that so we’ll try and push on to make it hard for them,” said Keane. “If we get an early goal then, it’s certainly good for us and the confidence for us and it could knock them back a little bit.”
“We have to win the game,” Keane added. “We can’t sit back, we have to go and win the game and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
But with the late collapse in the first leg at The Home Depot Center in the back of their minds, maintaining defensive shape and shutting down Monterrey’s deadly strike force of Humberto Suazo and Aldo De Nigris will be key to achieving an historic result.
“We gotta just talk to each other and make sure everybody’s in the right places, get everyone in the right places whenever the ball goes out or a foul, make sure that everyone’s tuned in,” said Gonzalez. “Because those moments where a ball goes backwards or the ball stops, people tend to just shut off, so we just have to make sure everyone’s ready for any situation.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com