SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador. -- When Bruce Arena opted to go with a Reserve-laden lineup for the LA Galaxy’s second CONCACAF Champions League match on Aug. 29 against the Puerto Rico Islanders, many in the media—including this reporter—were surprised and skeptical.
However, Arena’s move paid off as the Galaxy’s reserves crushed the Islanders 4-0. When LA’s next match rolled around, it was no surprise that the Galaxy opted for a similar lineup that again shined, this time earning a tough scoreless draw in Puerto Rico.
As the Galaxy look to boost improve their seeding for the CCL quarterfinals, Arena is once again expected to turn to his reserves as he looks to earn a victory against Isidro Metapán at the foreboding Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez. A place that has proved to be a house of horrors for opposing teams as Metapán’s last competitive defeat came against the Colorado Rapids in CCL group play on Sept. 29, 2011, a span of 26 matches.
Although the match promises to be a challenging one, the Galaxy reserves believe that they are up to the task.
“It’s important on a couple of different levels, one for seeding for the next round and it’s important that we get three points and put ourselves in a good position,” said forward Pat Noonan. “We’ve obviously advanced, but now is a good opportunity for guys to get their minutes and show something to the coaches so we can get a result. It’s going to be a difficult atmosphere, but I think we’ll be up for the challenge.
“It’s important; a lot of these guys have deserved it so getting these opportunities,” Noonan added. “The coaching staff has stuck with us so it’s been good for guys to get the experience in tough situations and I think that’s one of the reasons that we’ve been able to get results.”