SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Isidro Metapán may be playing for purely pride, but the LA Galaxy expect that to be a very dangerous thing when the two teams face off on Thursday at the Estadio Cuscatlán.
The tournament has hardly gone according to plan for the Salvadorians, who have earned just a single point in three CONCACAF Champions League matches. The fact that the team is unable to play at their home stadium in Metapán due to field size concerns from CONCACAF has not helped as the team dropped their last match in San Salvador 4-2 to C.S. Cartaginés.
That being said, the Galaxy expect Metapán to be eager to send the Galaxy to the CCL quarterfinals on a losing note.
“We don’t expect them to roll over at all; you're always playing for pride especially when you're in front of your home crowd in your home country against big clubs like the Galaxy. We expect them to test us,” said goalkeeper Brian Rowe. “They did well with their counter attack last time, but we're going to try to do a better job of keeping compact in the back and applying pressure on them early.”
Metapán’s pride won’t be the only issue for LA as they'll have to deal with a thick grass surface at Estadio Cuscatlán that is a far cry from the heavily manicured pitches that are provided in MLS play.
“The grass is a lot thicker than what we're used to. It’s a big and old stadium, but it'll be exciting with fans inside,” said forward Jack McBean. “We just have to play firm balls and get your touch in front of you because the ball is going to check up on you and stick in the grass.