CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy came into the 2014 campaign eager to learn from the failures of a year ago, and they’ll get their first opportunity to right the wrongs of 2013 when they kick off their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Club Tijuana on Wednesday.
The two biggest letdowns of 2013 saw the LA Galaxy falter in two-leg series falling to C.F. Monterrey in the CCL Semifinals and Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. Despite being played months apart, both series featured similar problems for the Galaxy as the team was unable to convert a number of scoring opportunities in the home leg before crashing out away from StubHub Center.
To correct these issues, the Galaxy invested heavily in experienced players during the offseason in hopes of turning the club’s fortunes around. A strategy that the team is hoping will pay off come Wednesday evening against Club Tijuana.
“We have to learn our lessons from previous games,” said defender Todd Dunivant, who is expecting to be available for Wednesday’s match after dealing with a nagging injury. “When you talk about previous games, you look at the Monterrey home leg, where we were dominating that game for 80 minutes and feeling confident that we could get another goal or another two goals but we lost our shape and when you do that against good teams it’s going to hurt you. We have to be smart.
“This year, this team has brought in more experienced players with guys like Rob Friend, Stefan Ishizaki that have been in big games and won championships in other countries,” Dunivant added. “There’s definitely a different mood around our clubhouse.”
And the first lesson that the Galaxy must learn? Finish their chances at home.
“In both of those games, we played very well, but we didn't finish our chances and it gets magnified in these series,” said Landon Donovan. “In a series like this, every goal is important. In both of those games, we played well at home, but we couldn’t finish our chances. We just have to be better in front of goal. It’s as simple as that.”