CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy returned to training on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s decisive CONCACAF Champions League second leg match against C.S. Herediano at The Home Depot Center.
LA and the Forenses will have all to play for in the second leg after the two teams battled to a scoreless draw last Thursday. Attacks were few and far between, but a Mike Magee goal was negated on an extremely-questionable offside call in the 67th while Herediano’s Ismael Gomez failed to convert a penalty kick in the 87th minute.
“We’re in position to advance if we win the game,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “I would say that most of the time, you need to come home in these competitions and need to win the game.”
Heading back to The HDC will be a major benefit for the Galaxy, particularly, after the harsh conditions at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero. Throughout the first leg, the Galaxy saw their attacks stopped, not by Herediano defenders, but an unforgiving turf surface.
With two days left until their second leg, defender Todd Dunivant admits that LA is still recovering from their experience last week.
“You expect turf fields to, at least, play true, but it was really bumpy and really uneven. That’s just not what you expect out of a turf field. That is the one thing that you should be able to get [from a turf field] is a true surface and that wasn’t the case,” said Dunivant. “It was very hard and even now, a lot of guys are complaining about their knees and joints…so it’s a good thing that we didn’t have a game this weekend. It was smart by the league to give us that break and they canceled their game against Saprissa, so we’re going to be on even terms.”
Thousands of miles away from the rough conditions at El Rosabal, Arena expects to see “more of what [Herediano] is made of” in the second leg, but does he expect them to drop back in hopes for a draw and a goal off a counter attack?
“Yeah, I would think that’s a logical assumption to make. Herediano is a good team, they’re experienced and just like with our team, we feel like we’re in position to advance, I think so do they,” said Arena. “Obviously, any kind of draw where there is a goal scored is in their favor and they would advance. 0-0 sends it into extra time, 1-1, 2-2 and etc. favors Herediano, so we need to be solid on both sides of the ball.”