CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, October 19, 2011) – One week after clinching the Supporters’ Shield, the LA Galaxy claimed their second trophy of the season on Sunday night, beating Chivas USA 1-0 to win the SuperClasico title for the sixth time in the last seven years. The team has now shifted their focus to another competition as they look to advance to the quarterfinal stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Galaxy traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras earlier today ahead of Thursday night’s all-important Group A decider against Motagua. Following last night’s 2-1 win for Morelia over Alajuelense, the Galaxy find themselves in third place in their group heading into their final game at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino. If the Galaxy can defeat Motagua, who they beat 2-0 at The Home Depot Center on August 16 to open their Champions League campaign, they will create a three-way tie at the top of the group, with the Galaxy advancing as group winners on tiebreakers. Motagua, who have lost all five of their games so far in the group, have been outscored 6-2 in their two home games and 13-2 overall since the start of group play.
Following Thursday’s game in Honduras, the team will travel to Houston for their final game of the regular season against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, October 23. Both the Galaxy and Dynamo have already clinched playoff berths, though the Dynamo could finish in the top three of the Eastern Conference and avoid the wild card round of the playoffs with a win. The Galaxy will be the top seed in the Western Conference regardless of Sunday’s result.
LA have not lost in Houston since the 2008 season and are 3-2-2 all-time on the road against Houston, including a 2-0 win at Robertson Stadium last season. Earlier this year, Landon Donovan scored the game’s only goal, beating Tally Hall from the penalty spot to give the Galaxy a 1-0 win over the Dynamo at The Home Depot Center. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on FOX Sports West, starting with the Galaxy Live pregame show at 3:30 p.m.
OUT – Sean Alvarado (Right Knee – Surgery), Bryan Jordan (Left Middle Finger Tendon – Rupture), Robbie Keane (Left Adductor – Strain), Leonardo (Right Knee – Surgery)
DOUBTFUL – None
QUESTIONABLE – David Beckham (Back Spasms), Gregg Berhalter (Right Foot – Sprain), Landon Donovan (Right Quad – Strain), Sean Franklin (Right Knee – Inflammation), Donovan Ricketts (Right Quad – Tightness)
PROBABLE – None
QUARTERFINAL BERTH ON THE LINE: The Galaxy head to Honduras this week for their final Group Stage game of the CONCACAF Champions League knowing that a win over Motagua on Thursday night will give the club their first ever quarterfinal berth in the Champions League. Currently in third place with one game remaining on the schedule, the Galaxy are three points behind both Alajuelense and Morelia, though each of those teams have completed their schedules, with each recording identical 4-2-0 records for 12 points. If the Galaxy can beat Motagua, they will also have a 4-2-0 record for 12 points, creating a three-way tie at the top of the Group A standings.
In that instance, the Galaxy would advance as group winners given their superior goal differential in games played between the three teams. LA, Alajuelense and Morelia each recorded 2-2-0 records against one another, with each team winning at home while losing on the road. However, in those matches, the Galaxy have a goal differential of +1, scoring five times against those two teams while allowing just four. Morelia would advance as the Group A runner-up with an even goal difference, scoring five times and allowing five goals, while Alajuelense would be eliminated from the tournament because of a -1 goal difference against the Galaxy and Morelia.
If the Galaxy lose or draw against Motagua, they will be eliminated from the 2011/12 Champions League.
HEADING TO HONDURAS: Including their 2-0 win over Motagua in the Group A opener on August 16, the Galaxy are 3-0-2 all-time against Honduran teams in both the CONCACAF Champions League and its predecessor, the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Four of those five games have been played in Southern California. Thursday’s game will be their fourth all-time against Motagua, with the Galaxy going 2-0-1 in the previous three, while they are 1-0-0 against Olimpia, beating them 3-2 in the 2000 Champions Cup Final, and 0-0-1 against Real Espana, playing them to a 0-0 draw in the 2000 Champions Cup Quarterfinals before dispatching them 5-3 on penalties.
On their only previous visit to Honduras in CONCACAF play, the Galaxy played to a 2-2 draw with Motagua in the first leg of their 2003 CONCACAF Champions Cup Round of 16 match on March 16, 2003. Current Motagua captain Amado Guevara scored twice in that game while Carlos Ruiz and Alexi Lalas scored for the Galaxy, who won the return leg at home a week later to advance to the Champions Cup Quarterfinals.
A RESULT AWAY FROM THE RECORD: The 2011 LA Galaxy can write their name into the MLS history books on Sunday with a win or a draw in Houston in their final game of the regular season. Currently holding a 19-4-10 record for 67 points, the Galaxy would equal the MLS record for points in a season, a record that was set by the 1998 Galaxy, with a draw against the Dynamo. A win in that game would see the Galaxy finish the year with a 20-4-10 record for 70 points, setting a new league record and becoming the first team in league history to finish the season with 70 or more points.
The Galaxy are 3-2-2 all-time on the road against the Dynamo, including 2-2-2 at Robertson Stadium. Sunday’s game will be LA’s final regular season game at Robertson Stadium, as the Dynamo will be moving to a new stadium in Houston at the start of next season. They have not lost there since 2008, playing to a 0-0 draw on the road against the Dynamo in 2009 and then beating them 2-0 at Robertson Stadium last season.
FINISHING OUT THE SCHEDULE: The Galaxy will play their 34th and final game of the regular season on Sunday evening in Houston when they face the Dynamo. In the longest regular season in terms of games played, the Galaxy are 7-4-5 so far on the road and 8-1-8 against teams from the Eastern Conference heading into Sunday’s game. All-time, the Galaxy are 9-4-2 in their final game of the regular season, though they have not ended a season on the road since 2007, when they lost 1-0 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. That is also the last time that the Galaxy have lost their final regular season game.
Following Sunday’s win over Chivas USA, the Galaxy are now 12-2-2 all-time in their final home game of the regular season. The Galaxy have also found success in their final road game of the season, going 7-6-2 in those matches.
TEAM AWARD WINNERS UNVEILED: Following Sunday’s 1-0 win over Chivas USA, the Galaxy handed out their annual team awards, with Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez all being honored. Donovan won the club’s Golden Boot as top goal scorer, tallying 12 times in the regular season so far this year, while also being voted the Most Valuable Player by the local media. This was the sixth time in Donovan’s seven years with the Galaxy that he has won the club’s Golden Boot and the fourth time he has been selected as MVP, each of which are club records.
In the other award that is voted on by the media, Omar Gonzalez was selected as the club’s Defender of the Year for the second straight season, narrowly edging out Todd Dunivant, while Sean Franklin was selected as the club’s Humanitarian of the Year for his charitable work and contributions in the local community.
PLAYOFF OPPONENT TO BE DECIDED NEXT WEEK: Nine teams, including the Galaxy, have already qualified for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs, meaning that there is one spot left in the expanded 10-team field. The New York Red Bulls currently hold the 10th and final playoff spot, but they could be surpassed by the Chicago Fire, D.C. United or Portland Timbers.
The Galaxy will not discover the identity of their Western Conference Semifinal Series opponent until the two Wild Card Games are played next week. The Galaxy will face the lowest seed to advance from those games in a two-leg, aggregate goal series, starting on the road next weekend, with the return leg to be played at The Home Depot Center on Wednesday, November 2 or Thursday, November 3.
While it is still unknown who the Galaxy will play, there are three teams that LA cannot play in the Conference Semifinals. Seattle are guaranteed the second seed in the Western Conference, meaning that they will open the postseason against the third seed in the West, which will be either FC Dallas or Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy could not open the postseason with either of those teams, as one will be the third seed in the Western Conference and the other would be the top seeded Wild Card team, which means that they would face the top seeded team in the Eastern Conference were they to win their Wild Card Game.
IN THE COMMUNITY
MEET ROBBIE KEANE AND JOVAN KIROVSKI: Galaxy fans will have the chance to meet Robbie Keane, who will be making his first public appearance for the club, and Jovan Kirovski on Tuesday, October 25. Keane and Kirovski will be at The Home Depot in Huntington Park from 6-7 p.m., signing autographs for the first 200 fans in attendance. For more information about this event, please be sure to visit www.facebook.com/lagalaxy and click on the "events" tab for all the latest information about this event, or CLICK HERE.
NEED TO KNOW
LOOKING FOR MORE UPDATES?: If you are looking for continuous updates from the Galaxy all week long, be sure to visit the club’s official websites www.lagalaxy.com and www.lagalaxyfutbol.com. The Galaxy can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lagalaxy and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lagalaxy.