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CONCACAF Champions League Kicks Off With Preliminary Round

CARSON, Calif. - It’s been almost 12 months since the LA Galaxy were eliminated from last year’s edition of the CONCACAF Champions League, falling 5-3 on aggregate to the Puerto Rico Islanders. To say Galaxy players are eager to start the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League would be an understatement.

READ: Galaxy to host pair of CCL games on August 16 and 25

The Galaxy won’t play their first game of the Champions League until mid-August, when the Group Stage begins. But the Preliminary Round portion of the tournament is now underway with the Galaxy focused on two particular series— Motagua of Honduras vs. CSD Municipal of Guatemala and Monarcas Morelia of Mexico vs. Tempete FC of Haiti.

The first-leg of games began Tuesday night and will continue until Thursday night, when Motagua hosts Municipal in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (7 p.m., Fox Soccer), the last game on the schedule.

The winner between Motagua and Municipal, as well as the winner of the two-leg, aggregate-score series between Mexico’s Monarcas Morelia and Haiti’s Tempete FC, which also play on Thursday (5 p.m., Fox Soccer), will be placed in Group A of the Champions League along with the Galaxy and LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica.

Both games in the series between Tempete and Morelia will be played at Morelia’s home stadium, Estadio Morelos, due to renovations being done to Stade Sylvio Cantor in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, making the Mexican team that much more of a favorite to advance.

The second-leg of each series are next week, with Morelia “traveling” to take on Tempete at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 3 and Municipal hosting Motagua on Thursday, Aug. 4 at Guatemala City, Guatemala at 7 p.m. The series between Municipal and Motagua is harder to handicap, but expect national pride to come into play as one of Guatemala’s best takes on one of Honduras’ best.

The schedule for the Group Stage has not yet been announced by CONCACAF, but it was around this time last year that CONCACAF released the schedule for the first two rounds of games in the Group Stage.

Despite last year’s early elimination in the tournament, the Galaxy have a history of doing well in this competition, which up until 2008 was named the Champions Cup. In 1997, the club reached the Champions Cup Final the first time they qualified for the competition.

In 2000, the Galaxy won their first ever championship, defeating CD Olimpia of Honduras, 3-2, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the Final.