CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy may have started their MLS regular season campaign with a bang and a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday, but by Monday morning, they needed to shift their focus to Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal first leg against CS Herediano in Costa Rica on Thursday.
The CCL provides no shortage of challenges: whether it is hostile crowds, poorly maintained fields or inconsistent officiating, but over the past two years, the Galaxy have attempted to alleviate the effects of one challenge—lengthy international travel—by traveling on a chartered flight.
LA travel to Costa Rica on Tuesday, but rather than board a commercial flight for the five hour and a half hour journey, LA will travel via charter to San Jose, Costa Rica. The conditions are far different than traveling on a commercial flight -- think no screaming babies in aisle seats -- but is traveling charter really a difference for the players than a cross-country trip in MLS?
“It cuts off two and a half hours of the travel if not more, just waiting around for petty little things to get done," said Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens. "It’s not bad, it’s definitely better than a cross-country flight to New York on a commercial flight. It shouldn’t be too bad; they take good care of us.”
Does that mean that they’ll be more rested once they touch down in Central America?
“As rested as you can be for being on a five and a half hour flight," Stephens admitted. "It’s a big difference than if we were flying commercial. I think we’re lucky…the way the [team] takes care of us is very good.”