The LA Galaxy will be travelling to Mexico today to prepare themselves for a big showdown against CONCACAF Titans Monterrey. With the the Galaxy's match against FC Dallas looming large for Hoops fans, what factors should we be looking at that might have an effect on Saturday's performance?
The Monterrey match is a must-win if the Galaxy want to remain in the Champion's League, and despite being down by a goal (and having given up two away goals), it's doubtful they will put their arms in the air and give up. It's not in Bruce Arena's DNA to write a competition of this nature off even if the odds are long. Arena has already stated his players are highly motivated for the upcoming match and look to make a tough go of it for Monterrey.
Given that the Galaxy are going to give it their all, here are some issues that might play a role as to how they plan for their game on the weekend.
- How many minutes will Landon Donovan get, if any? Donovan's fitness has been described as "higher then 80% but not quite 90%". If the Galaxy are to have a prayer of staging a major upset, they will need their dangerous midfielder in the game. Given his fitness issues however, it is very doubtful he will play anything approaching full a 90 for both games. Does Arena start him against Monterrey and sub him off later, or does he bring him off the bench for a late game surge? If he starts in Mexico, he will likely be on the bench against Dallas, whereas if he comes off the bench in Monterrey he will most likely start on Saturday.
- Playing into the fitness issue is the rest of the team. Monterrey will try and bury them early, but if the Galaxy are committed you could see their players exert a tremendous effort to keep a result within striking distance. With LA being rested this past weekend by MLS (to improve their chances tomorrow), they will have plenty of gas in the tank to run down Monterrey. It's awkward to cheer for a Mexican team in the CCL, but it is in Dallas' best interests to see Los Rayados make LA work themselves to death.
- If LA lose, which looks likely given how excellent Monterrey (and Mexican teams in general) are on home soil, how does that affect their mentality for Saturday? Do they become deflated and suffer a blow to their morale, having been eliminated from the competition yet again? Or do they up their ante and re-focus on the league, with the loss propelling them to put forward a massive effort to regain lost pride?
- In the bizarre event that the Galaxy win (a mastodonic accomplishment that all of MLS should celebrate), does the emotional high and exhaustion make them less likely to take FC Dallas as seriously this next week?
MLS Quick Hits:
- Omar Salgado hasn't had the easiest time in Vancouver after being selected with the first pick of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Reports out of Vancouver are saying he was kicked out of a training session for an altercation with a teammate.
- Remember the injury David Horst picked up against Dynamo during Portland's upset win? Yeah, about that... he will be out for six months after having surgery on his leg/ankle.
- There are some rumors that Kei Kamara might be bought by Norwich. This must be taken with a grain of salt, but with his positive showings for the English club it wouldn't be a surprise.
- The Montreal Impact have picked up Maximiliano Rodriguez from Argentinian club Newell's Old Boys.