The LA Galaxy will step away from MLS action on Tuesday night and begin play in the CONCACAF Champions League against the Puerto Rico Islanders of the U.S.S.F. Division-2 Pro League in the First Leg of their Preliminary Round series at 7 p.m. at The Home Depot Center. The return leg of the series will be played in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, August 4.
Fox Soccer Channel will broadcast Tuesday night’s game live nationally, with ESPN Deportes Radio 1330 AM covering the match delayed to 8:30 p.m. locally on the radio in Spanish. Fans can also watch live online at lagalaxy.com.
Following the game against Puerto Rico, the Galaxy will quickly return their focus to MLS, where they will host the Chicago Fire on Sunday, August 1 at 4:30 p.m. at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy swept the season series against the Fire, who are expected to debut their most recent acquisition Mexican forward Nery Castillo on Sunday, in 2009, winning 2-0 in Chicago and 1-0 at The Home Depot Center.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
Thurs., July 22, 2010; Galaxy 2 – San Jose Earthquakes 2 – The Home Depot Center – Attendance: 17,712
Landon Donovan scored in the 90th minute to help the Galaxy avoid their first home defeat of the season with a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at The Home Depot Center on Thursday night. The Galaxy twice trailed their Northern California rivals, but goals from Edson Buddle and Donovan allowed the Galaxy to gain a point and maintain their lead at the top of the Western Conference standings.
Friday, July 23, 2010; Galaxy U-17’s 1 – Kansas City Wizards U-17’s 2 – Centennial Park
Eric Gonzalez scored to give LA a 1-0 lead, but they allowed two goals after the halftime break to drop their group play opener at the U-17 SUM Cup in Houston
Saturday, July 24, 2010; Galaxy U-17’s 1 – Real Salt Lake U-17’s 1 (RSL win on penalties) – Centennial Park
Dyllan Stevens scored the Galaxy’s only goal, giving them a 1-0 lead midway through the second half. But RSL was able to equalize a minute later before winning the game on penalties.
OUT – Mike Magee (Bilateral Sports Hernia – Disabled List)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – None
PROBABLE - None
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURNS: The Galaxy will begin their quest for a CONCACAF Champions League title on Tuesday night when they host the Puerto Rico Islanders in the first leg of their Preliminary Round series at The Home Depot Center. The return leg of the series will be played eight days later in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the aggregate goal winner of the series moving on to the Champions League Group Stage.
This is the Galaxy’s first berth in the current version of the Champions League, having last played in the tournament in 2006 when it was called the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
LA lost a two-game, aggregate goal series to Saprissa of Costa Rica that year, playing to a 0-0 draw at home before falling 3-2 in extra time in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Galaxy have also played in the Champions Cup in 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2003, reaching the final before losing to Mexico’s Cruz Azul in 1997 and then winning the title in 2000 over CD Olimpia of Honduras.
In 2008, CONCACAF changed the tournament’s format, adopting the current structure, which sees the eight teams which advance past the Preliminary Round join eight other teams that have been directly seeded into the Group Stage. Those 16 teams are divided into four groups of four that will play round robin style, giving each team a total of six games. After those games are played, the top two teams in each group will advance to the Champions League Quarterfinals, which will begin in March 2011. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals are all two-leg, aggregate goal series, with the finals being held in April 2011.
The winner of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League will then advance to the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held in Japan in December of that year.
If the Galaxy advance past Puerto Rico, who qualified for the tournament by winning the 2010 Caribbean Football Union Club Championship, they will be placed into Group D along with Mexican champion Toluca, Honduran side CD Olimpia and the winner of the series between FAS of El Salvador and Xelaju of Guatemala.
BUDDLE AND DONOVAN DO IT AGAIN: Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan were each on the scoresheet for the second consecutive game, helping the Galaxy earn a 2-2 draw with San Jose on Thursday night. Buddle scored his MLS-best 12th goal of the season while Donovan grabbed his third of the season and his second in the last two games.
The pair have now each scored in the Galaxy’s last two league games after failing to score in the same game in the first 17 games of the year.
Despite being the club’s two leading scorers over the past four years, Buddle and Donovan have only scored in the same regular season game six times in the 58 regular season games in which they have both played since Buddle joined the club in June 2007. The Galaxy are 2-1-3 in the six games in which both players are on the scoresheet. Donovan has 41 regular season goals for the Galaxy since that time, while Buddle has 36.
SIX OF TEN: In four MLS games during the month of July, the Galaxy allowed six goals, equaling 60 percent of their season total of goals allowed. After keeping nine clean sheets in their first 11 games of the season, the Galaxy have now not recorded a shutout in a league game since June 26 in a 0-0 draw at Toronto FC. Dating back to the start of June, the club has allowed at least one goal in six of their last seven games, accounting for eight of the 10 goals allowed by the club this season.
Despite the recent uptick in goals allowed, the Galaxy still have the best defensive record in MLS, surrendering three fewer goals than their nearest competition, the Columbus Crew who have given up 13 goals in 17 games.
Prior to July 2010, the last month in which the Galaxy played more than one game and did not record a shutout was October 2008, when the club went 1-2-1 while allowing eight goals in those four games.
FACING THE FIRE: The Galaxy return to MLS action on Sunday afternoon when they host the Chicago Fire at The Home Depot Center. Chicago is one of two MLS teams, along with the New York Red Bulls, that the Galaxy have not faced yet this season, with the club scheduled to play in Chicago just over a month later on Saturday, September 4.
The Galaxy swept the season series against the Fire, who are expected to debut their most recent acquisition Mexican forward Nery Castillo on Sunday, in 2009, winning 2-0 in Chicago and 1-0 at The Home Depot Center.
GALAXY U-20’S HEAD TO ILLINOIS FOR SUPER-20 FINALS: The LA Galaxy U-20’s will travel to Illinois this week for the annual USL Super-20 North American Finals. The Galaxy won the USL Super-20 Pacific Southern California Division and will now look for the first national championship in club history.
A total of 12 teams qualified for the Super-20 Finals, with those teams being divided into three groups of four. The three group winners, as well as the best second place team, will advance to the tournament semifinals, which will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 31. The winners of those two semifinals will then meet in the Final, at 10 a.m. (PT) the following day.
The complete tournament schedule will be unveiled on Tuesday.
GALAXY U-17’S ROUND OUT SUM CUP PLAY THIS WEEK: The LA Galaxy U-17 team is currently in Houston for the fourth annual SUM Cup, which features Under-17 teams from all 16 MLS clubs.
The Galaxy lost their first two games of the tournament last weekend, despite taking the lead in each game. An Eric Gonzalez free kick gave LA a 1-0 lead over Kansas City in their Group D opener on Friday, only to allow with Derek Schrick scoring twice after the break to give the Wizards the victory. On Saturday, Dyllan Stevens gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes left in their game against Real Salt Lake. However, RSL equalized a minute later and ended up winning the game on penalty kicks to jump to the top of the group with five points, while the Galaxy have one point heading into tonight’s Group D finale against New York.
While they can no longer win the group, the Galaxy will remain in Houston to play games on Tuesday and Thursday, while also attending the MLS All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday night.
IN THE COMMUNITY
GALAXY TO HOST SCHOOL SUPPLIES DRIVE ON AUG. 1: Prior to the to LA Galaxy’s game against the Chicago Fire on Sunday, August 1, the Galaxy will be hosting a School Supplies Drive as part of the club’s annual Drive Series. Fans are encouraged to give the gift of education by donating new school supplies. The donated school supplies – pens, pencils, crayons, erasers, notebooks, binder, backpacks, etc. are all acceptable - can be dropped off outside each entrance of The Home Depot Center on the day of the match beginning two hours before kickoff and ending 15 minutes after the start of the match.
The Galaxy Drive Series is a community initiative where the Galaxy's Community Development department conducts equipment, food, clothing, and school supplies drives aimed at assisting Los Angeles area youth and local non-profit organizations. For more information on the Galaxy Drive Series, please visit the Community section of the website at www.lagalaxy.com.
GALAXY FOUNDATION SHOT OF THE WEEK: At each LA Galaxy home game, fans are invited to visit the Galaxy Foundation Booth to place your bid on the Galaxy Foundation's Shot of the Week presented by MoraPhotography.com. Each photo will be signed by the player or players featured. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Galaxy Foundation.
FOR THE FANS
GALAXY HELP ARRANGE TRIPS FOR FANS TO SAN JOSE AND NEW YORK: Galaxy fans wishing to see their team play live in New York on August 14 or San Jose on August 21 are in luck as the club has paired with Bixby Travel Company to put together a pair of exciting travel packages. Visit www.lagalaxy.com/roadtrips for more information.
NEED TO KNOW
LOOKING FOR MORE UPDATES?: If you are looking for continuous updates from the Galaxy all week long, be sure to visit the club’s official websites www.lagalaxy.com and www.lagalaxyfutbol.com, or the club’s official blog at www.thelagalaxy.blogspot.com for all the latest news from the club. The Galaxy can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lagalaxy, Facebook at www.facebook.com/lagalaxy and YouTube at www.youtube.com/TheLAGalaxy.