CARSON, Calif. – On Thursday, the LA Galaxy’s quest for continental dominance begins as LA plays host to Salvadoran club Isidro Metapán in the opener for the CONCACAF Champions League.
Here at the Insider, I wanted to give you a brief look at the Salvadorans to go along with the great primer already located at LAGalaxy.com.
History: Metapán may have been founded in 2000 and promoted to El Salvador’s top flight in 2001, but the club from the tiny municipality outside of Santa Ana has quickly become one of the top teams in El Salvador by winning six Primera Division titles: Clausura 2007, Apertura 2008, Clausura 2009, Clausura 2010, Apertura 2010, Apertura 2011.
Key Players: Headlined by goal scorers Jorge Ramirez, Paolo Suarez (the older brother of Liverpool FC’s Luis) and Panamanian international Nicolás Muñoz, Metapán boast one of the most dynamic attack in El Salvador. Metapán also boast a plethora of former MLS talent including midfielders Eliseo Quintanilla (DC United), Ramon Sanchez (San Jose), and defender Alfredo Pacheco (New York Red Bulls)
Standings: Metapán are currently in second place in the Clausura 2012 behind Salvadoran giants Alianza. Although Los Caleros are tied with Alianza on points, the San Salvador based club holds a goal difference advantage on Metapán.
News: During the club’s recent 1-1 draw with Juventud Independiente on Sunday, starting goalkeeper Henry Hernandez suffered a broken leg. Hernandez had started the past two matches for Metapán, but with him out, the goalkeeper position falls to early season starter Fidel Mondragón.
Stadium: Metapan play at the 8,000 seat Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez. The fierce venue was home to a pair of huge Metapan victories in last year's tournament as the Salvadorans defeated Mexican giants Santos Laguna 2-0 in the group stage and Pumas UNAM, 2-1 during the Quarterfinals.
What the Galaxy coaches say about Metapán: “They’ve got a very good midfield particularly in the center in terms of passing and they’ve got a lot of left footed players so they tend to utilize that part of the field an awful lot. You can see that they’re well-coached and they’re a team that knows how to play at home and on the road, we know that we’ve got a tough game ahead of us.” - Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo.
What the Galaxy players say about Metapán: “Their team is going to be very technical and you know that they’re going to come in and obviously, play for a point. Not to say that they’re not going to try and attack us, but we’ve got to take advantage of that. It’s going to be a tough game, they already won their first game so they’re coming in off of three points and they want to make sure that they leave with a point, but we want to do our part and make sure we get a win.” – Galaxy defender Sean Franklin.
For even more, check out Mark Rogondino’s CCL 101 below: