CARSON, Calif. – The Three Points looking ahead to Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League match against the Puerto Rico Islanders (7pm PT, FOX Soccer, 1220 AM, LIVE CHAT)…
HARNESS THE REVENGE FACTOR
When it was announced that the LA Galaxy would be facing the Puerto Rico Islanders in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage, no one would blame the Galaxy for circling the matches in bright red ink.
The last time the teams met, the Galaxy crashed out of the 2010-2011 CCL in the preliminary round with a 5-3 aggregate defeat that included an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to the Islanders at The Home Depot Center. With the Galaxy nucleus still largely the same as the side that fell in 2010, the Galaxy have admitted this week that they would like to exact a little revenge on the Islanders.
For the Galaxy to avoid a repeat of 2010, they will need to match the intensity of an Islanders side that is playing in one of their biggest matches of the season. With the Galaxy holding a distinct advantage talent-wise, matching Puerto Rico’s intensity could prove to be the difference.
SHUT DOWN MOTIVATED PUERTO RICO ATTACK
The Puerto Rico Islanders attack has been moribund in NASL play lately; going three matches without a goal, but the Galaxy are well-aware that means little come Wednesday.
In a match dubbed “the most important game of the season” by many in Puerto Rico, the Islanders will head into Wednesday’s match needing a result at The HDC if they are to keep their CCL hopes alive after dropping their first match 3-2 to Isidro Metapán. Spearheading the Puerto Rico charge will be forward Nicolas Addlerly, who has struggled in front of net as of late, but remains one of the NASL’s most dangerous forwards.
With the Islanders likely to use their speed to attack early, the focus will be on center backs A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez to slow down Puerto Rico’s attack.
LA TO FACE PUERTO RICO WITHOUT ALL THREE DP’S?
When the LA Galaxy line up against the Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday, they may be without their Designated Player troika of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Keane’s absence is assured as he was sent off during last week’s 5-3 victory over Isidro Metapán, but both Beckham and Donovan are facing a race to be fit in time for Wednesday. Beckham is still dealing with the lingering effects of a stomach bug that troubled him during Sunday’s victory over FC Dallas, but he did take part in LA’s final training session before the match on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Donovan remains hampered with a left hamstring strain that has limited his ability to practice with the team this week.
If Beckham and Donovan can not participate, the Galaxy may opt for a front line of Mike Magee and Jose Villarreal while in-form midfielder Michael Stephens is expected to be the primary option to replace the influential Englishman in midfield.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. He can be reached at LAGalaxy.com/Insider