CARSON, Calif. – When the LA Galaxy take the field against Isidro Metapán in CONCACAF Champions League play on Thursday (10pm ET/ 7pm PT, FOX Soccer, Galavision, 1330 AM, LIVE CHAT) they’ll be facing a club motivated not only by victory, but the opportunity to showcase their talents to a broader audience.
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Considered by many to be the Galaxy’s primary threat in Group 5, when Metapán arrive at The Home Depot Center, they’ll bring with them a team that has quickly risen to the top of the Salvadoran league. Led by goal scorers Paolo Suarez and Nicolás Muñoz as well as a cadre of former MLS players, Metapán are the reigning Clausura champions in the Salvadoran Primera División and are currently tied for first in the Apertura.
Fully aware of the talent of their opponents, the Galaxy expect a stiff test from the Salvadoran club.
“We know what to expect and we know that they’ll come in with a really strong mindset and anytime that you’re playing the Galaxy, teams seem to pick it up a notch,” Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com following training on Monday. “Certainly teams from other parts of the world [do this] because it’s an opportunity for them to show not only collectively, but individually try to better their situations and their careers.”
This situation is incredibly familiar for Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas. While playing for Costa Rican club Alajuelense, Sarvas was one of the top performers during the club’s Champions League campaign, appearing in all six CCL matches for Liga while serving as one of the club’s main offensive weapons.
His two stellar showings against the Galaxy firmly in mind, LA signed the Brazilian midfielder to bolster their midfield during the offseason. Following training on Monday, Sarvas admitted that advancing his career was one of his principal motivations when he played in the Champions League.
“Of course,” Sarvas said. “You’re always trying to do your best because you’re always trying to move up so they’ll come up with that mentality.”
Having traveled down that road in the past, Sarvas is keenly aware of the challenge that the Galaxy face on Thursday night.
“I think it’ll be the game of their life,” said Sarvas. “They want to show themselves to Galaxy, to the U.S. and to show themselves for the future and maybe have the opportunity to come here. For sure, they’ll come at it with big motivation.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider