SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Some might say that the LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapan is of little importance beyond the seeding for the CCL Quarterfinals -- but don't tell that to rookie midfielder Rafael Garcia.
The rookie midfielder is expected to play an important role in marshalling the Galaxy midfield that is expected to contain fellow youngsters Michael Stephens and Kenney Walker on Thursday. During LA's CCL matches with the Puerto Rico Islanders earlier in the tournament, Garcia enjoyed extensive success as his calmer style complements the energetic Stephens and Walker to a tee.
LA will need this order on Thursday as they hope to lock down a dynamic Metapan midfield that uses the wide field at Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez to spread out the opposition through the play of wide players like Pablo Suarez and Eliseo Quintanilla. During the last meeting between the two clubs, the pair enjoyed some success as Metapan jumped out to an early one goal lead, before LA's physical play proved too much for the Salvadorans as the Galaxy cruised to 5-2 victory.
For the Galaxy to be the first team to win in Metapan in more than a year, Garcia knows his teammates must be in for a fight.
'It’s going to be a battle from the beginning and a war. We know that they’re not going to want to lose to us on their home field," said Garcia. "It’s hard to say [what to expect from them], I want to think that we got all the travel out of us in the session, it took a while for us to get going. We’re expecting a battle from them and we’re expecting to play good soccer tomorrow, we wouldn’t have it any other way. I know that the coaches have high expectation on the whole team and we need to come out and do our best...We have to be alert on restarts, set pieces and everything. We know that they’re not going to give us anything on the field so we’re expecting to battle."