BAYAMÓN, Puerto Rico— The Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League match against the Puerto Rico Islanders…
MIX YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE
The last time the two teams met, the Galaxy opted for a youth-laden lineup as they crushed Puerto Rico, 4-0 and more of the same is expected on Wednesday—with a few notable exceptions.
Despite not having five of the starters from last Saturday’s victory against the Colorado Rapids as well as David Beckham, LA has brought more than nine players to Puerto Rico who could be considered first team regulars. Headlining that list is Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, who is expected to lead a mixed squad of first team and reserves come Wednesday evening.
Donovan’s inclusion not only offers a chance for the club to be more dynamic in the attack, but also provides LA’s young lineup with an experienced veteran, who is well aware of the rigors of CCL road matches.
Paramount to the Galaxy’s hopes in picking up a victory in Bayamón will be their ability to start quickly against a hyper motivated Islanders side desperate to stay alive in CCL play.
Expect the Galaxy to pressure the Islanders from the outset as they look to earn an early goal to silence a hostile crowd at the Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel. A fast start was a big part of the Galaxy’s victory over Puerto Rico in August as LA tallied the first goal of the match seven minutes in on Tommy Meyer’s strike and then added a second with Jose Villarreal’s goal just a minute into the second half.
If the Galaxy are going to move closer to a spot in the CCL quarterfinals, they will need to put pressure on the Puerto Rico defense from the outset—of both halves—as LA attempts to nab a goal early.
BRAVE THE CONDITIONS
As is the norm in CONCACAF Champions League play, the conditions at the Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel will give the Galaxy no favors once the match kicks off on Wednesday.
At first glance during the Galaxy’s final training session on Tuesday, the high grass at the Juan Ramón Lobriel was quite apparent and several Galaxy players admitted that the field was “spongy.” The humid weather will pose another hurdle for LA as Wednesday’s forecast calls for temperatures in high-80s with scattered showers by kick off.
Although the conditions at Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel are not ideal, by all accounts, the conditions at the stadium have improved greatly since LA’s last trip to Puerto Rico in 2010 due to a massive renovation process.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com